Monday, November 26, 2012

Smell in the tea room


What do you smell in the tea room?  The aroma of green tea?  Yes, it’s not only that.  During summer we use the fragrance wood and kneaded incense in winter.  To fill the room with incense, it is placed by the charcoals in the brazier or sunken hearth. Japanese incense has more subdued and earthy smell compared to the fragrances used at Western countries which are floral or sweet.  The earthly aromas probably fit better with green tea. I honestly don't know much about incenses.  I even don't know what aromas I like to smell. There are many things to learn about in sado, The Way of Tea.

lisn, an incense shop in Kyoto

One of my blog readers introduced me “lisn”, an incense shop in Kyoto.  Ever since I saw their cool website (http://www2.lisn.co.jp/), I wanted to visit there.  I was finally able to visit their shop during my trip to Kyoto.  At the shop, there are a large variety of samples displayed. Customers are allowed to smell them. Such aromas were fruity, nutty, sweet to refreshing ones.  Customers can buy incenses by piece. 

Their incenses were sold as a stick, which is different from what we use in sado.  Since I don’t use charcoal at home, it is difficult for me to try the classic type of the incense.  Their stick incenses were very attractive for me.  I bought three kinds of incenses including sandalwood.  Sandalwood is a popular aroma used in sado.  Their sandalwood has a little sweetness in it.  The smell may be slightly different from the classic but I’m still happy to enjoy the incense casually.  I would like to explore more and see what scents I like and also the ones that goes well with tea. How about you?  What aroma would you prefer for your tea?


11 comments:

  1. Wow, they let you buy incense by the piece? And you can smell samples? I would love to go to a store like that -- here I have to just guess and buy a whole box. There are some blogs that review incense, and I try to read them to get an idea of the scent, but I find incense is very personal, and different people smell it differently.

    How does the store let you smell many different kinds of incense in the same place? Is each kind burning in a separate box?

    I like the chart/graph on the lisn website. It looks useful!

    I wonder if there are stores where you can blend your own incense, the way you could blend your own tea. Once Shoyeido and the master-to-be of the Shino school of incense came to visit Boston, and showed us an incense ceremony and game, and also let us blend some incense sachets. The event was too short for me to get a good feel for the different scents in the sachets. But it was a fascinating experience! I would like to do it again someday.

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    1. By the way, I remember the first time I (realized that I) smelled incense in the brazier. It was after a tea ceremony at my school, and I was helping to bring the brazier back to the preparation room. When we took the kettle off the brazier and I could see the charcoal, I thought, wow, this charcoal is amazing, it smells better than any charcoal I have ever used! It was only later that I realized it wasn't the charcoal smell, it was the incense. Haha! :)

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    2. es, I love their chart/graph on the website, too. It stimulates me to look for my favorite smells.

      I’m sorry for that my English was not so clear. You cannot actually burn them to try at lisn. I wanted to mean that you can just smell the sticks. However, when I was at the store, one of the customers ware talking to a staff member and they seemed to light one of the incenses. So, if you ask them, they might let you try a few of them. I’m not really sure though.

      I don’t know any stores that you can blend your own incense.

      Wow, you have experienced the incense ceremony and game! Thant’s wonderful. I have never had a chance for it. I think I’m not so good at it. I’m too sensitive to smells and I can’t smell strong fragrances for a long time. They give me a headache. Hahaha. Even at home, I break a stick incense and use only one third of the amount for each time. I’m an economical man, hehehe.

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    3. I love a natural faint smell that you can barely notice. The scent from the brazier you realized must be this kind of natural smell. Thanks for sharing a nice story!

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  2. Greetings, are you now using incense? in the past you had said you were not really interested in it. LISN is made by Shoyeido for them. there is a lot of Shoyeido incense that is much nicer and better priced. I recommend going to Baieido and Shoyeido websites. to me LISN is over priced and gimicky, marketed at a younger market. If you are interested I can send you some high end samples from my collection of stuff that is awesome.they don't even sell LISN any more in the U.S. because it didn't sell. in conclusion, save your money and buy else where instead of over priced packaging. it is not bad stuff ,it is just not in a league that the price demands of it.

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    1. Okay, maybe next time, I’ll visit Baieido or Shoyeido. Thanks for your advice. As you say, the products at lisn may not be reasonable. However, I like how they present their products by using chart/graph and also I love that you can buy their incenses by piece. I think that these kinds of things are quite friendly for someone who doesn’t consume incense a lot like me. Anyway, I want to try more, so I’ll visit Baieido or Shoyeido for the next time.

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  3. Greetings , I forgot to tell that I am having right now some Organic Fukamushi Sencha made by Matsushita Tea Co. It won 1st place in it's category at the 2012 World Tea Conference. It is very nice ,but it is no Gyokuro that's for sure. I don't know why any one would drink any thing after getting to taste Gyokuro. This sencha was gifted to me.It is not some thing I would have bought. It is very high end for sencha,but still not at a Gyokuro level. I would say this is the finest Sencha I have ever had. It is priced at Gyokuro prices. You can go to the Matsushita Tea Co. website and see the different products. I have had their matchas and they are really great priced. Blessings!!!

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    1. I see. Matsushita Tea! It sounds great! Thanks for the information.

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