February 11, 2021

Listening to Kunjudo Karin Zuitou

Life during a global pandemic can at times be exhausting. Events continue to buffet us like waves upon a rocky shore. But sometimes when we allow the waves to come and wash over us, not attaching to them or resisting them, a sea of tranquility can form around us like a safe and peaceful cocoon. Karin Zuitou's fragrance is like that - a peaceful cocoon of golden waves who's fragrance washes over the listener, leaving softness and peace in their wake.

Part of Kunjudo's Karin line of fragrances, Karin Zuitou (Golden Waves) is described as a blend of East and West. Combining premium Vietnamese Aloeswood, select Sandalwood, and the subtle hint of rich sweet musk, Zuitou’s fragrance maintains a refreshing lightness in connection to the modern world while being firmly rooted in the luxurious Aloeswood and spice traditions of the past.

Zuitou's stick is sharp yet cool - almost breezy. Tart hints of citrus with a sweet evergreen overtone dominate the unlit stick. A clear, open, outdoorsy feeling like being in a grove of Cypress trees provides a refreshing fragrance to entice lighting.

Once lit, the burn starts with a earthy sour note that retains the sharpness of the unlit stick. There is a bitter note of the Vietnamese Aloeswood that sits confidently and subtly in the background as it mingles playfully with a softly sweet, almost powdery note. The initial bitterness quickly gives way to a beautifully soft and open semi-sweetness of the interplay between Zuitou's wood base and sweet musk, like an agitated mood calming to peaceful ease.

As the burn deepens, the fragrance becomes almost transparent, ethereal, and effortlessly comfortable, as a powdery sweetness develops as the main note. Yet the listener is not passively outside as the notes play, but instead actively surrounded and transported by them, in a relaxing cocoon of softness. The Aloeswood note is at times soft, other times sour, and yet other times slightly salty, but always in the background providing counterpoint to the soft semi-sweet notes effortlessly enveloping the listener. Sandalwood notes now begin to appear more frequently with mellow creaminess, mixing with the sharper Aloeswood and powdery sweet musk to create a cacophony of tones that blend effortlessly into chords.

The notes are often difficult to describe - fleeting, elusive, and changing, often they appear to be both there and not at the same time. As Zuitou's "golden waves" name implies, the fragrance comes in waves, effortlessly washing over the listener, then fading to the background. Despite its motion, Zuitou's fragrance remains always soft, subtle, and comforting. This is a fragrance that is very relaxing and easy to pause within while allowing the mind to rest.

Zuitou's after note is above all soft and subtle. Easily vanishing from awareness into the background, its fragrance seems to seek the background recesses of the space like a child playing hide and seek. The sweetness seen in the burn diminishes, leaving a subtle earthy bitter-salty almost sultry smokey Aloeswood note, low and in the background. The after note appears to fade quickly as the senses adjust to it easily, but upon returning to a space Zuitou has filled, its presence noticeably remains in a low sharp Aloeswood note that brings to mind the feeling of an outdoor summer festival with smokey barbecue on a distant breeze. The result is sharp, yet subtle, leaving no doubt to Zuitou's ability to remain several hours after the burn has ended.

Zuitou shows that blending East and West can be done and done well, producing a fragrance that is both unique and transparently ethereal. Relaxing, comforting, and distinctive, Zuitou is an experience that is easy to allow to wash over you.

Shadows of the day fade
I soften
Tranquil sky, beautiful sunset.