Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Handcrafted Incense – Age Nerikoh Balls

Dear fellow Tea Enthusiasts,

I have recently completed a small batch of Nerikoh incense. I am making available a portion to my readers interested in using the beautiful aroma to complement a tea session, meditation, and for relaxation. I started making this batch in January of 2017 so it has taken me 1 year to complete. This unique and high quality incense presents a rich and purity of scent that can only be credited to the quality of the raw natural materials and traditional process. Heating one little incense ball will provide scent to a small room for easily over an hour. This batch of Nerikoh incense was intentionally crafted with the potential for long term aging and with time the aromas will transform and mature into something very special.

All Natural / No Synthetic Oils / No Fillers / No Chemical Binders / No Powdered Wood / High Quality Raw Materials / 1 Year Curing in Storage / Small Batch Production / Handmade using Rudimentary Tools to Best Preserve the Intrinsic Qualities of the Aromatic Wood and Resin

Nerikoh is a form of traditional kneaded incense that was once renowned in ancient Japan. Its scent was highly regarded and the heating and appreciation of Nerikoh was enjoyed by the nobility and upper class in Japan. The recipes for Nerikoh were diverse consisting of many kinds of fragrant woods, resins, herbs, etc. that would be meticulously pummeled and kneaded into a paste and aged. The aging of Nerikoh could vary from years to over a decade and would often rely on high quality honey to cure and help preserve the ingredients.

Following in the old ways of making Nerikoh I utilized basic rudimentary tools and high quality ingredients with the intent of allowing the quality of the natural materials to shine. The primary ingredients include Green Omani Frankincense and a blend of fragrant woods made into a paste and cured in dark honey for 1 year. It is a luxury of scent that was handcrafted without sparing any effort. No fillers were added to deceptively create an illusion of bulk and no wood or resin powder was used. As a result there is a wonderful richness and potency in the aroma. One small Nerikoh ball will emit a beautiful aroma that can fill a small enclosed room for easily over an hour under gentle heat. The aroma provides a soothing, sweet and uplifting scent that comes in 2 phases. The uplifting scent of Green Omani Frankincense is first to appear spreading waves of citrus, pine and eucalyptus notes into the air. After a time the denser and more substantial heart note releases warm spicy wood tones, dark honey with balancing touches of mild tartness and a hint of bitter. The early beginnings of age appear in the darkening complexion. It is a luxury of scent and one that is representative of the uniqueness and beauty of artisan handcrafted incense.

Recommended Heating and Use
Nerikoh is best suited for gentle heating to coax out the beautiful purity of scents that will take you on an aromatic journey. It is recommended that Nerikoh be used with the electric incense burner or heated under the practice of Japanese Kodo. The incense ball can be pressed down on a mica plate, aluminum foil or metal heating dish for better stability and to provide more surface area for heating. The recommended starting temperature is 140C. A gradual increase can be applied periodically to amplify the scent. After an hour turn the incense so that the top side can come into contact with direct heat. The benefit of gentle heating produces a purity of scent that eliminates visible smoke. Breathing in this natural scent will help bring calm and clarity to the mind.

The scent from Nerikoh incense creates a warming ambience that is ideal for a tea session, meditation, and relaxation.

Caution and Tip
Take caution when holding and pressing down on an incense ball as there can be wood splinters. Whilst the process of pummeling the ingredients are beneficial towards preserving more of the natural aroma in the raw materials and contributes to better aging it can leave behind sharp fragments.

My tip for appreciating incense over a long period of time is to step away from the fragrance from time to time. When our sense of smell becomes exposed to a scent over a lengthy period it becomes less sensitive. By stepping away and going out from the room for a few minutes you will be amazed at the scent that greets you upon returning.

Aging and Storage
Whilst it is perfectly fine to enjoy the Nerikoh incense now the incense was made with the potential for aging and therefore will develop new facets in aroma with time. You may wish to enjoy some now and store some away to allow the incense to develop and mature for future appreciation. The raw and natural ingredients were carefully selected to be conducive to further aging. Furthermore the utmost care and effort was made in the processing to best preserve the intrinsic quality of the natural ingredients. This incense can be stored for well over a decade and develop very unique aromas. For storage please keep the incense in a cool, dark and clean location away from contamination of bad odors. 

Pricing (does not include shipping cost)
10g Nerikoh Incense (20+ incense balls) – US$38.50
20g Nerikoh Incense (40+ incense balls) – US$70

Please contact me to place an order or customize weight of item. I can be reached by email at varatphong@yahoo.com

Hand pounding wood shavings into a paste
 
The age process at work. The darker paste is a batch from Jan 2017 whilst the lighter one is from later in the year in Oct. These were made from a blend of woods and resin, mixed with wild dark honey and pummeled in a paste and left to cure in storage. The older paste is noticeably darker and deeper in aroma with a spicy wood and a slight cacao note. The scent is aged and harmonious. The younger paste is more raw and sharp with a woodier tone. The younger paste has a scent that feels somewhat fragmented as the components have yet to really meld together, and lack the softness to the overall profile. The older paste is ready and it was used in this batch of incense.
Combining incense paste with Green Frankincense
Hard pounding of Nerikoh incense
Heating a Nerikoh ball at 140C

2 comments:

  1. I have to admit that this is the first time I read about the process of making incense. I was fascinated by the steps you described and the fact that you followed the old ways of making it and having the patience to let it age. Congratulations for and thank you for sharing!

    ReplyDelete