Soradaki 空薫 or "empty burning" is the ritual of incense for pleasure

It is a slow, sensory appreciation of incense; the art of scent as an aesthetic experience.

Soradaki emerged as a new way of appreciating incense during the Heian period in Japan (794-1185)

While traditionally used during religious and spiritual practices, incense became seen as a symbol of sophistication and artistic expression.

Incense became popular among Heian courtiers, who took pleasure in scenting palaces with exquisite aromas.

Small pieces of fragrant wood were burned to welcome and entertain guests, and to heighten the mood during social occasions.

Incense was also used to perfume the body and hair, and to scent robes and kimonos, a practice known as soradakimono.

Incense to elevate the ordinary

While Heian courtiers may have fine-tuned the art of sensory pleasure, the practice of soradaki lives on today whenever you use incense to enhance a moment, an experience, or an encounter.

Soradaki is the art of appreciating incense, noticing the subtleties and nuances of the scent as it unfurls and drifts through the air, bringing beauty to an otherwise ordinary moment.

Incense for pleasure, for you

To source the finest incense for Appellation's Soradaki collection, we travelled to Japan to meet with the ko-shi, or the "fragrance masters" of Awaji island.

Explore the collection

“To sleep in a room where some fine incense has been burnt. To wash one's hair… and put on scented robes; even if not a soul sees one, these preparations still produce an inner pleasure.”

The Pillow Book by Sei Shōnagon