Oud Mostafa. One of the greatest olfactory creations–only two years old, but already boasting a timelessness that will hold the minds and hearts of those who own this bottle for decades to come. An unspeakable deep and pulsating aroma that leaves an impression in the depths of your being. Anyone who has smelled this oil or who will be Graced to smell this oil, will be left with an unforgettable impression of its sacred aroma.
An Oud oil named after the Revered Prophet of Islam is no light matter. Given the significance of fragrance in the Islamic tradition (and furthermore the unique significance of Oud in Islam), the name of this oil spoke volumes to me before I ever smelled it. I felt a strong attraction to Oud Mostafa, and knew early on that it was an oil I would have to acquire.
After all of the anticipation, I finally ordered a bottle, and held the bubble-wrapped box in my hands. Immediately, my senses are filled with the sweet aroma of berries, but remarkably deep–not a light sweetness at all. This is before my hands have even unwrapped the box! I knew that these delectable top notes were only a taste of what circulated beneath it, in what I was beginning to feel would be a very full-bodied Oud. Needless to say, I was astonished at the potency of the fragrance, given that I had not even opened the box yet. Indeed, this powerfully penetrating quality of Oud Mostafa is something I have come to know and enjoy as one of its most endearing characteristics.
Alas, the top is unscrewed just enough, revealing the rim. I receive the first smell as if receiving a blessed gift. I find the sweet berry notes again, now mingling on top of a strong barnyard body. I had never imagined a harmony of barnyard and sweet notes like this before. However, Mostafa exudes a sweetness that is entirely its own. It is not a sweetness comparable to the sweetness one encounters in a Cambodi, or to the ascending sweetness of a Borneo, or even to the sweetness one encounters in other Indian Ouds. It is a sweetness that is inextricable from the barnyard heart of this oil, inseparable from the body of the Oud. Their simultaneous existence is at once beautiful, intoxicating, and addictive.
Oud Mostafa evokes the strongest response in me of any other Oud oil I have smelled. Mostafa stirs emotions of passion and ecstasy, reverence and gratitude. It speaks the language of supremacy and sublimity. It breathes its life into the body like a mystical offering.
As I swipe my wrist, the oil’s fragrance begins to emanate from my wrist. I can almost see it rising from my wrist like the smoke from a mabkhara, creating a field of fragrance that surrounds the whole body. My eyes close in response. I am stilled, motionless, captured in the rapture of this holy fragrance. I raise my wrists to my nose, holding my hands together, as if in a mysterious gesture of prayer. The fragrance reaches the heart with such power.
As I come out of this beholding, I begin to move and notice how Mostafa radiates its fragrance with a serious potency. I am more accustomed to experiencing the “burst” of an oil’s fragrance and character upon a fresh swipe, which always is soon to settle into a more consistent display of the oil’s scent profile. However, with Mostafa I was surprised to find that the initial “burst” lasted for a very long time. It is the only oil in my collection that steadily radiates such a strong fragrance for such a period of time. There is no diminishment in the potency of the fragrance after swiping it. In fact, it only feels to magnify, to expand itself, and express itself more with time. Oud Mostafa has a profound quality of radiation, of emanation, of ecstatic expression. It yearns to embrace and hold, to speak aloud the glories of the Supreme, to draw everyone into its ecstatic dance.
I drink in the fragrance. Each breath feels too shallow to fully receive the fragrance. There always feels to be more before the breath is finished. As I breathe in the fragrance, it feels as if it goes down my throat, entering the body in mysterious shape and form. An incredibly intimate experience. Mostafa has an all-pervasive and penetrating quality that I have not experienced before. The feeling of profundity pervades my heart. I spontaneously utter the Name of God. How can an aroma have such an affect? I nearly fall into self-consciousness, feeling the sense of madness the fragrance creates, wondering if I have gone mad, or if this is really possible. And yet, with every new breath, conviction is restored to the extraordinary and undeniable power of this fragrance.
Ensar writes on his website that “True Indian Agarwood oil is the epitome of the pure Oud fragrance”. I would take this a step further in saying that not only is Indian Oud the epitome of the pure Oud fragrance, but Oud Mostafa epitomizes Oud altogether.
Part of what leads me to this declaration is that Oud Mostafa possesses and exhibits the qualities that are commonly spoken of as the defining characteristics of Oud oil. Mostafa is easily the most long-lasting Oud oil in my collection, and I would be surprised to encounter an Oud oil that lasts longer and maintains such a consistent intensity and liveliness. Mostafa is unable to remain silent. Infused with deep purpose, Mostafa is the fragrant sound and vibration of a Holy Scripture being recited. The feeling of Revelation makes this oil epic in proportion.
Oud Mostafa sits on the dresser by my Hawaiian window, a screen with open louvers. The wind is constantly blowing in and circulating the room with its freshness. Even when sitting in its bottle, I have found it impossible not to encounter Oud Mostafa. It has become impossible to enter my room without sensing its sublime aroma. On my wrist, this oil lasts over 24 hours if I do not apply soap where the oil has been applied.
Another noteworthy aspect of this Oud oil is that it leaves a trail. The trail of intoxicating fragrance is well known in Islamic literature. As Ensar shares in his description of Oud Mostafa, “Ibn Mas’ud (Allah be well pleased with him) used to apply the very finest perfumes money could buy, and after the Prophet’s passing (Allah bless him and grant us his perfumed visage) it was easy for people to say Ibn Mas’ud has been somewhere due to the unearthly scent that lingered well after he’d left the place.”
To give an example of this oil’s trail: I had recently walked into my office to retrieve something I needed when I suddenly caught the fragrance of Oud Mostafa. I immediately dismissed it because I had not been wearing the oil, and thought that perhaps my mind was playing tricks on me. I kept smelling. I was certain that I was smelling Mostafa. I walked out of the room perplexed, and moved to the kitchen. There I encountered the intensity of the oil’s fragrance and saw its source standing there in the form of my girlfriend, who had just applied some of the oil from the bottle’s rim. I felt relief in knowing that my olfactory endeavors had not left me crazy, and that indeed I had smelled Mostafa. I was amazed at the trail the fragrance left. It was clearly perceptible in the other room, where she had only stood a moment.
When this oil finally dries down after a few hours, one encounters a red-earthiness that has a subtle hint of spice and cacao in its body. Cloves and cardamom. If you smell it even later, there is even a leatheriness that is evident. Quite a display and diversity of notes!
But beyond its aesthetic value, Oud Mostafa is a sacred experience, a deep and profound fragrance that is not about this world. I feel that it has incredible healing effect on those who are in need of it, because it penetrates the heart, and uplifts the soul. Restoring sacred harmony to the whole body, Oud Mostafa is a reverberation of Divine proportions.
Crafted: January 2010
Yield: 13 tolas
Status: 3 bottles left, near-Legend
Interesting facts: Oud Mostafa is a single-origin distillation from incense-grade agarwood from wild trees at least 70-80 years old. Absolutely impossible to come by anymore.
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