I have had a box of Zuika Koh from Shunkodo for about 5 months. I got it, used a little, and then got caught up in some other incenses and only recently started burning it again. Really, I think I had to grow up into it
Mike reviewed it last November and in recently going back to look at the review( because, yes, he was and is one of my main sources for what is worth getting :0 ) ) I sort of rediscovered it. So I realized that it had gotten somewhat lost in the shuffle and decided to bring it back out to play.
The ingredients list on the websites seemed a little lacking to me so I wrote to Kotaro at Japan Incense/Scents of Japan asking for a little more input. He wrote to Shunkodo and they wrote back:
“Ross, I got mail from Shunkohdo. It is a company secret recipe. However, he mentioned to me that Zuika Koh contains some of following ingredients such as: Aloeswood, Sandalwood, Clove, Cinnamon, Star anis, Spikenard, Patchouli, Benzoine and Boruneol.”
Which are pretty much the standards of the Japanese incense world. Of course there is the “secret” part that makes up the difference and adds that certain something of uniqueness.
One thing that I am now noticing about this incense is the quality of the materials. The Aloeswood is really nice, and given the price of the stuff of late, that can become a deciding factor in scent and cost.
Also Zuika Koh straddles that fine line between spice and floral where neither one is out front and the wood element can still play such a big part. Actually in this incense they all sort of trade places through out the burn. This is a really pleasant and captivating grouping of scents. It is great for the reflective moment or perhaps study. It’s calming, not overpowering, yet at the same time can really get your attention once you start to discover all the subtle nuances it has. As Mike said it’s better to burn this one early on if you are going to be using more then one incense, then you can really enjoy it.