The Oud of Luxury

Cambodi Caramel opens with a burst of berries–a delectable blend of blueberry and raspberry with a hint of strawberry. Unbelievably sweet! With every breath I feel that I am even swallowing and tasting the luxurious sweetness of this Oud. Cambodi Caramel has a sweetness that is so deep and rich…intoxicating. In a fullness of breath, the sweetness closes my eyes, as I allow myself to become lost in this Cambodi’s enticing aroma. Even then, I feel that a single breath alone is not sufficient to fully perceive and receive the depth of Caramel’s sweetness. Truly, I have not encountered a sweetness of this stature in any other Oud.

Cambodi Caramel is bright and deep. It is bold and confident, unashamed of being fearless and sensitive at the same time. Incredibly smooth and so soothing, Caramel is the most nurturing Oud I have come across. The fragrance is so deep and conscious that I cannot accurately say it is linear. It is strikingly alive.

There is no disappointment as Caramel dries down. I am surprised to find the same clarity, depth, and intensity of sweetness as I did in the opening. Wow! I return to my wrist to find that same incredible sweet fruitiness still so present and clear, and now there is a fine woodiness that has become evident. What a surprise! With exceptional sillage, Caramel maintains itself  perfectly, and that alone makes it one of my favorites. Even some of the finest Oud oils do not have this kind of clarity in the dry down. Caramel is aromatically articulate, an inspired musical phrase rich with color and clarity of tone.

Cambodi Caramel is the Oud of luxury–evoking an opulence that makes it a truly aristocratic Oud.

Cultivation: Koh Kong
Crafted: March 2010
Yield: 25 tolas
Status: Legend

Oud Bengal’s Royale Marriage

Oud BengalJust received my sample of Oud Bengal. My first thought upon smelling it in the vial is…chocolate! I generously swipe myself to discover a rich leathery aroma radiating from the body of this Oud. A few minutes later, and this leatheriness is accented by an ethereal sweet note that drys into that clean woodiness of a fresh jungle Oud. This oil is rich and luscious, and I’m sure there is more to discover as the day unfolds.

Since writing this first review above, I have worn Oud Bengal many more times. Each time has been a unique experience. Perhaps the most enticing aspect of Oud is its ever-changing and ever-deepening scent profile. Oud is alive. Oud has a consciousness, and its interplay with the one wearing it is a uniquely intimate experience. Oud Bengal stays close to the skin, but is a joy to wear. The tobacco-suede note is at the heart of this Oud, and it hints at a note that you think will be that fecal Indian note, but instead there is a more indescribable jungliness mixing with the tobacco-suede notes. It is that Bengali note, unique to this Oud. It is subtle and yet provocative. I cannot quite describe it or put my finger on it, but every time I catch it, I know it…the Bengali note.

Bengal has become an Oud that I enjoy wearing on a more regular basis in the ordinary context. It is an Oud fit for all occasions. Today I swiped Oud Bengal earlier in the morning, and it lasted quite a while. In the evening, I could still catch it, but as I was going out to dinner, I decided to give it a kick by adding some Oud Royale to the mix. Royale also has some tobacco-suede notes, but it also has an incredible sweetness and depth. I was curious to see how these Ouds would interact. To my surprise, they were a wonderful mix. All night, I was returning to my wrist, basking in the unique aromatic collage emanating from my skin.  When I first smelled my wrist, about half an hour after mixing, I immediately thought…rose. I exclaimed aloud to my girlfriend, “It smells like rose!” She said that she thought I had been wearing rose all this time! I was captivated in a new creation.

I now feel encouraged to attempt mixing Oud Nuh with Amulya Attar. I will first try it on my wrist and see how it blends. Amulya is quite a powerful scent, and I feel that a full-bodied Indian Oud would “cut” its floral dynamic. Nuh will embody it, giving it a womb within which to grow. Nuh already has a floral quality to it, and yet it has that wonderful low barnyard note and body. What balance! I will try this soon and report my impressions…

Oud of the Moghuls

Oud Nuh opens with a symphony of notes – a harmony of barnyard, fruits, and sweet wood. The fruity and sweet-woody notes quickly crescendo above the barnyard note, but in the next movement Nuh’s Indian heart mysteriously shows its forte and beauty in a dance with the fruity and sweet-woody notes.

The fruity note of Oud Nuh is tantalizing. My first thought is “Cambodi Caramel!” Oud Nuh boasts a fruity note that is strikingly similar to the colorful berries of Cambodi Caramel. And this is an Indian Oud?! Don’t worry, the barnyard is still there, but it is more “tame” than most Indian Ouds. Surprisingly, this “tameness” coupled with the Cambodian fruitiness is Oud Nuh’s unique allure. Later, one notices a subtle hint of suede amidst the clean woodiness. In its dry down, the aroma of cedar unites with the deeper barnyard note, and not one breath goes by without also noticing that intoxicating sweetness that tops and rounds every note like the grace note of a musical score.

Oud Nuh is truly regal, displaying a colorful range of notes and an enticing complexity with sophistication you have not known before. A desirable young prince, Nuh is beautiful and dignified, noble and strong, but possessing a sweet and soft heart.

While maintaining its simplicity amidst the fullness of its symphonic aroma, Nuh exudes luxury and succulence. Linear and provocative, Oud Nuh hums its own song of songs – a vibrant contemplation pulsating with a life and mystery unique to itself. Oud of the Moghuls, Nuh is the Oud of royalty.

This Oud is a silent and joyous dance of human and spiritual maturity – a radiant equanimity, touching the heart and gently opening a smile.

Price: $550/3ml
Jungle: Assam
Crafted: May 2009
Yield: 20 tolas
Status: Vintage LTD

Oud Shuyukh

Oud Shuyukh opens with the deepest and most intense barnyard note that I have ever smelled. It is almost too much to take. And yet it has a deep and mysterious allure that piques ones sensual curiosity, and in another breath–there is ecstasy. Shuyukh is primal and wild–a beautiful untamed stallion with natural finesse and noble character. This horse roams free in the wild, but when he stops for a breath, there is a quiet and gentle breeze that carries with it an astonishingly sweet fragrance. After the wild barnyard note has reached its climax, Shuyukh reveals a sweetness that begins to silently emanate from its barnyard heart. With the texture of silk and the creaminess of white chocolate, Shuyukh’s bold and wild intensity verges on the erotic. A few moments later, and the barnyard and sweet notes have realized their union in an elegant woodiness reminiscent of cedar. The notes only layer, and never disappear.

Oud Shuyukh not only hits the “spot” that only an Indian Oud can, it challenges and allures one into an exotic wildness of whole bodily intoxication. While the opening barnyard note may have you thinking that this will be your typical Indian Oud, think again. Oud Shuyukh is anything but your average (or even above average) Indian Oud. Shuyukh is nothing short of exceptional, unique, and aromatically complex. With its all-encompassing palette, Oud Shuyukh captures the heart of India, and expresses the deep passions and spiritual desires of the human soul.

Price: $550/3ml
Jungle: Assam
Crafted: 2006
Yield: 10 tolas
Status: Legend

Oud Royale

Oud Royale. As I approach the sample vial, I am hit with a wonderful aroma that is at first spicy, and then beautifully sweet. As I remove the cap, the spicy note has fully transmutated into a luscious green sweetness, broad and full. I see orange and blue and green. The sweetness shifts as the lower notes of Oud Royale begin to reveal themselves. The aroma of suede lingers in its body and then transforms into an ethereal note that is so familiar. The mind struggles to identify the note, and is simultaneously silenced by its upward allure. Irresistible. Alas, after showing me its full splendour, the words return. Kyara Koutan. I smell Kyara Koutan. I unscrewed the cap of my bottle of Kyara Koutan to confirm–and yes, to my nose, Oud Royale shares a note with Kyara Koutan. It is that vaporous cool heavenly note that seems to contain so much that it defies description. It is that irresistibly dynamic note that is the signature of the finest Oud oil. Moments later, and there is a subtle hint of tobacco mingling amidst the spicy-sweet-green-heavenly notes. As Oud Royale wears, the tobacco and suede notes become more assertive, and at times even dominant. And yet, even in its most full bodied moments, Royale never lets you forget the heavenly sweetness that is its aromatic heart.

Medicinal in the most pleasant way, the heart of Oud Royale is healing. It is a dive into the glories of nature and connectedness to life. With a scintillating sweetness and heavenly heart, Oud Royale has a broad range–and within minutes, has become one of my favorites.  I revisit my wrist and in an eye-closing breath, all the words are gone. Oud Royale soars above the head in an ascent that is as heavenly as Kyara Koutan–and yet it returns to a sweetness at the heart that is entirely its own. Royale is a timeless hymn, joyfully revealing its mysteries over time.

Royale lightens the heaviness of an Indian Oud, and deepens the sweetness of a Borneo. With a little bit of Kyara radiating from its heart, Oud Royale is easily one of the most mystical, engaging, and pleasant Ouds to wear.

Price: $550/3ml
Jungle: Phillipines
Crafted: 2008
Yield: 30 tolas
Status: Available

Kyara Koutan

Kyara Koutan. Speechless. No words can describe the moment of first smelling Kyara Koutan. Mystical and heavenly. Radiant. Green. Woodsy. My first thought upon unscrewing the cap is that this oil is almost too incredible to wear. A penetrating fragrance, deeply touching all the senses at once in a rapture of spiritual intoxication. Koutan is a fragrant journey into a mystical rainforest, colorful and sublime, teeming with magical life. The fresh-green-woodsy note of Koutan pulsates with an elegant sweetness–but the core of this oil is a wordless harmony, a complexity and aliveness that eludes the verbal mind.

Kyara Koutan is sublime and mysterious. It’s fragrance rests deep in the heart–and with each inhalation, Koutan draws the senses beyond themselves into the heights of ascended intoxication.

Kyara Koutan is a fragrance to behold, a truly sacred oil that epitomizes the unique mystical quality of Oud oil–blissfully stirring the mood of deep and joyous reverence for the Divine.

The most intoxicating, brilliantly complex, and stunningly unique Oud oil I have ever come across–Kyara Koutan resists definition, a shape-shifter whose origin cannot be found. Only comparable to Oud Mostafa in its spiritual depth–Kyara Koutan could even be described as its female counterpart.

Kyara Koutan is the most heavenly and intoxicating Oud I have ever smelled–an Oud with a unique spiritual depth that irresistibly moves the heart.

Price: $790/3ml
Jungle: Burma
Crafted: 2007
Yield: 100 tolas
Status: Legend