Wow. I have been using a quality Japanese ink stick for a long time. But this inkstick is so different: silky smooth in grinding, no small hard clusters of ink particles that can interrupt the stick’s motion as you grind or scar your grind stone. The color is lovely and dark, a bit on the warm side, brownish black rather than blue black. The calligraphy and graphic on the stick are lovely. You will enjoy grinding your own ink with this.