The Six grades of Jinko (Aloeswood, Agarwood)
In Japan Aloeswood is the most prized fragrant wood incense of all. The amazing quality of its incense is only just being discovered in the West.
In Japan, valuable kimonos were scented with smoke from burning Aloeswood. This is the traditional wood for the incense ceremony of Kodo, and in Japan it is purchased in six different qualities. The best wood, Kyara, is differentiated by colour and quality.
Aloeswood, along with santal and clove, is sacred to the Buddhist religion. The living and dead tree is attacked by a fungus, and over time, preferably centuries, nature provides an incense material worth more than its weight in gold.
Aloeswood is a psychoactive substance, and is used in oriental medicines for nervous disorders, colic and as a heart tonic.
The six grades of Jinko are as follows:-
Reminiscent of the warrior, the aroma of Rakoku is considered relatively pungent and bitter. This type originally hailed from Thailand.
Sasora (The Monk)
Of priestly demeanor, the aroma is considered delicate, cool and sour. Sasora may have originated from the western shores of India, around Goa.
Sumotara (The Servant disguised as a noble)
The aroma has the makings of Kyara, but with the lack of subtlety in-depth. It is an impersonator, hence the name. Described as a sour smell, Sumotara has a somewhat distasteful demeanor. Sumotara originally came from the island of Sumatra in the east Indian archipelago.
Manaka (The fickle one of changing moods)
Delicate and ever-changing, the tastes of sweet, sour bitter, hot and salty are not easily detectable, and if they are it is a fleeting impression. Manaka hailed from the strait of Malacca between Indonesia and Malaya.
Manaban ( The coarse peasant)
Sweet. unrefined and coarse, with a grittiness that distinguishes it from high quality material. Manaban came from the Malabar coast of southern India.
Mike & Nikki
Thank you to The library of Congress for the images
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