April 24, 2021

Listening to Kunjudo Karin Kifune

During the height of the Heian period the practice of scenting one's clothing with incense became an important facet of daily life for courtiers and high ranking officials of Kyoto's Imperial Court. Great care was taken to create unique fragrances that served as an individual's fragrant signature upon the silk robes of the elite. The six traditional scents of plum blossom, lotus, chamberlain, chrysanthemum, fallen leaves, and black were employed by courtesans as a fragrant sign of their refinement and wealth. Kunjudo's Karin Kifune pays homage to the fine scented robes of imperial nobles of old with its traditional blending of Aloeswood, Sandalwood, and spices fitting of it's Royal Knave namesake.

Part of Kunjudo's well known Karin line of fragrances, Kifune is described as sophisticated, understated, and graceful. A blending of select Sandalwood and Aloeswood, Kifune creates a gentle, rich, masculine fragrance. Karin Kafune is a perfect incense for those searching for a subtle traditional fragrance filled with grace and refinement of an Imperial Courtier.

Kifune's unlit stick is sharp and peppery, with notes of cinnamon and clove hidden beneath its sharp exterior. The stick presents as a fine men's cologne, full of earthy leather and masculine spice. Robust and earthy, Kifune's stick indeed brings to mind the masculine royal knave dressed in his splendor for his position at the Imperial court.

Kifune once lit begins sharp, bitter, and fall like with an air of aristocracy. Shortly after the initial smoke has risen, the woody notes present themselves - first a salty Aloeswood note followed by a sweet Sandalwood note. The two woody notes present the opposite side of Kifune's personality in a brilliant dance - the Aloeswood in sharp contrast to the smoothness of the Sandalwood. The interplay between the two is worthy of the experience alone and sure to delight traditional woody fragrance lovers.

But Kifune delivers even greater riches as the fragrance continues to mature. A cool softness develops into a larger awareness, expanding the space the fragrance encompasses. Pleasant woody notes that are soft and welcoming, float in an out with an ease in gentle waves. Intermixed in the expanding fragrant space sweet notes of cinnamon and clove bubble in supporting role within the background softly. The expansion of Kifune's fragrance space is really quite lovely and enjoyable, adding to the feeling of being within a chapter of Lady Murasaki's Tales of Genji.

Kifune combines a woody creaminess of Sandalwood with a sharp note of Aloeswood into a wonderfully woody cologne. Overtime this mellows even further to include a semi-sweet powdery feel that develops gently and demonstrates an even greater level of refinement and elegance. Soft, confident, and easily detected at a distance, Kifune is a one hundred paces incense that easily fills the listening space with its traditional masculine fragrance.

Kifune's afternote a a thing of beauty and one of its strongest attributes. After the stick has extinguished itself, a coolness develops that is slighly sweet and expansive. Kifune's presence is known, even as it seems to fade into the background, almost as though it invisibly still fills the space. A strong salty Aloeswood note that is very enjoyable deepens over time and proves exceptionally long lasting up to a day after burning with its earthy fragrance permeating the listening space. Returning to a space Kifune has filled is like being greeted by a familiar friend, bringing a surprisingly enjoyable remembrance of its experience to the listener upon return.

Kifune's masterful woody blend of spicy Aloeswood and smooth Sandalwood provides an amazingly elegant and long lasting fragrance of a natural woody cologne. Thoroughly enjoyable and unabashedly masculine, Kifune is highly recommend for enthusiasts of traditional wood blends.

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