CH Japan: Kiun Incense

Fifth-generation incense maker Kazushi Iwasa's indigo-inspired scent

In Takamatsu, artisan Kazushi Iwasa—a fifth-generation incense maker—steers IWASA, his family’s business that’s been in operation since 1872. Long-inspired by indigo, we commissioned Iwasa to craft a scent around the natural color and its traditional dyeing process for our 2019 Omakase box. Pulling from the brand’s reservoir of scents, Iwasa assembled 400 limited edition incense sets, bearing notes of wood and musk. When lit, its earthen notes refresh the air as the ash curls gently downward (but doesn’t turn to powder). During our CH Japan excursion, guests were able to visit Iwasa, tour the Kiun facility and even prepare their own custom scent.

To accompany the CH Omakase incense, we worked with acclaimed ceramicist Taro Tabuchi, who is also based in Takamatsu, on an understated stand meant to contrast the blue hue. Taro embraces the wabi-sabi effect of clay, produced by uneven heat—hand-stoked in a wood-fired kiln—to create uneven coloration. Tabuchi produces only a few hundred pieces each year, and no two are the same.

Images by Josh Rubin