First I’d like to thank the contributors to our Baieido Facebook page for jogging my writers block and for all their great contributions.
This series of incense was designed by Masaichiro Nakata to come as close to the original recipes of Jinkoya Sakubei, the founder of Baieido, in 2007 at the 350th anniversary. The original recipes were discontinued when musk and ambergris became endangered sometime prior to 1979. Both of these items were used more as fixatives than aromas, but having strong aromas were in ancient times blended as to work as the very necessary contrasting aroma you find in all great aromatic creations.
Below is an interesting writing by Rabbi Avraham Sutton about the eleventh spice in the Qetoret
“We have seen how the Qetoret consisted of eleven spices or perfumes. The other
ingredients mentioned (Karshina lye, Cyprus wine, Sodom salt, smoke-producing
herb, and Jordan amber) were used to treat the eleven spices; they were not part of
the Qetoret per se. After treating and grinding each separately, they were blended
together into a special mixture to be used in the Temple. As Rabbi Kaplan noted
above, the Talmud goes on to explain that ten of these spices had good fragrances,
while an eleventh spice, chelbenah-galbanum, had an unpleasant odor. The question
is, naturally, why include the latter?
XVI. Qetoret and Prayer
The answer lies in the intimate connection that exists between prayer and the
Qetoret. First, King David equates the two: "May my prayer rise up as Qetoret before
You, and when I lift my hands to You [may it be considered as if I had brought] a
minchah offering of my whole being" (Psalms 141:2). Second, community prayer
requires a minyan (quorum of ten adult men). This is also similar to the Qetoret that
contains ten good smelling spices and one evil spice. Thus, by including the
chelbenah along with the other ten spices, the Torah alludes to the fact that the
prayers of a minyan cannot rise up "like qetoret" until an eleventh man, a sinner,
joins them.” – Avraham Sutton
The Anniversary Series
Of course, Masaichiro Nakata would be the best person to remember and recreate the original aroma, and using modern herbs and spices without the use of any chemicals he made this new formula. There are, of course, three in the series, but really only one basic formula Kokonoe-Koh, Horyu Koh is the same formula using a type of Vietnamese Aloeswood, and Kunsho-Koh uses a different type of Vietnamese Aloeswood. Kokonoe – Koh is the basic formula and they all contain Sandalwood.