Maroke 2004

Maroke 2004Maroke 2004 is everything you would want in a Papuan oil. This oil is delicious and displays the beautiful equanimity and depth of the most classic Indonesian oils. At first sniff, I reflect back to Oud Emerald. Jungly, but not quite as swampy and damp as Oud Emerald. Its deeper, much deeper. Woody, earthy, with some florals. It smells like the rainforest and contains a similar diversity of notes. But the notes are very close together, as if the oil is just its heart, not much movement, a stillness of rich Oud fragrance that radiates a fullness of thrilling fragrance.

There is such a purity in Papuan oils. I feel like nothing gets closer to the pure Oud profile than these oils. Why? Because when distilled from very high quality wood, they bring you the closest to the scent of the wood, to the smell of burning wood, to that mysteriously narcotic aroma that no one can describe. Indian Oud is classic, but even it has its tweaks. The soaking of the wood really adds quite a dimension to the oil’s profile, and the fecal notes are the real power of Indian oils. They have an impressive depth, robustness, and tenacity. The power of Indian oils really epitomizes and defines Oud. And yet, I find myself drifting deeper into Papuan oils. There is something irresistible in the clean, pure, and even-tempered scent of oils such as Oud Royale and Maroke 2004.

Within 10 or so years, I predict that Maroke 2004 will be a close comparison to Oud Royale No. 1 as it is now. Although, by then, Oud Royale No. 1 will have aged more, and from smelling the two, clearly Oud Royale comes from the highest possible grade of wood.  Still, Maroke 2004 will come in a close second. It already smells quite similar. It is perhaps not quite as deep and tantalizing as Oud Royale No. 1, but it is not far off either!

In that regard, there is not really too much that can be said about this oil. Those who are familiar with oils such as Oud Royale No. 2 and Oud Emerald will light up when they smell this oil. It is everything you liked in those oils–but better. Those who have not tried Oud Royale No. 1 will get a beautiful taste of the potential of Oud oil when they smell Maroke 2004. It will leave you dreaming about Oud Royale No. 1, for sure. But really, Maroke 2004 is top of the line. Oud Royale No. 1 just went an extra step.

There are a few noteworthy aspects of this offering. For one, it was distilled by the same man who distilled Kyara Koutan, Borneo 3000, Borneo 4000, Kyara de Kalbar, Royal Kinam, and etc. That list alone is quite impressive, because they are all legendary oils (except for Kyara de Kalbar), and have come to be loved and treasured by collectors worldwide as some of the best Oud oils ever distilled. Furthermore, Maroke 2004 is already a little over 8 years old. To find an oil like this for $550 is really a generous offering. It could easily be sold for much more than that.

My recommendation: If you’ve never ventured into the territory of Papuan oils, then with Maroke 2004 you have found a beginning and possibly even an end. If you already love Papuan oils and own a few Legendary ones, then you have found that unexpected gem for your collection. Lovers of Oud Royale No. 1 and Oud Sultani, Maroke 2004 is waiting for you.

Chinese Exclusive

Chinese ExclusiveChinese Exclusive makes me feel foolish. Foolish for not having bought this oil when it was selling in the $300 range a year or two ago! Now an LTD oil, Chinese Exclusive has finally commanded my attention. Having been lost in the worlds of Indian, Cambodian, and Indonesian oils, I never even thought about China. Having finally tried more than my fair share of Indian, Cambodian, Indonesian, and even Bhutanese Oud oils, it was high time to see what China had to offer. 

At first sniff, Chinese Exclusive smells exactly like I want it to smell. It smells like a fully developed profile right at the start. Oud oils tend to develop quite a bit once they are worn. I notice the development is most dramatic with Indian oils. When I smell an Indian oil and then once I’m actually wearing it, the emerging profile becomes very different from my initial impression. Some oils I put on, I sort of “hope” for a bit of development, curious to see what it has to offer, how it will unfold, what its fragrance really holds. With Chinese Exclusive, I am totally satisfied at the first sniff. In fact, for the first time, I am bit afraid of an oil’s potential development.

The first smell of this oil was a wonderful whirl of soft vanilla with tobacco’s earthiness, and a sharp edge of musk slicing through. The muskiness of the oil captures me immediately. I love that spiciness–and yet its not the spiciness of an Indian oil, nor the spiciness of conventional musk. It is more akin to genuine deer musk–a soft spiciness that has a floral tinge to it. The oil’s effect is grounding and earthy, much like an Indian oil would be, but not nearly as robust. Chinese Exclusive has higher notes and maintains a delicacy, like a breeze blowing from below to above the clouds.

This oil smells like a perfect blend of Oud and deer musk, in which the alchemy of the two oils creates a scent completely unique to itself. When genuine deer musk is used as a fixative in perfumery, it completely transforms the scent, it reveals and “creates” notes that you could not have predicted or imagined (see Borneo Zen). In this sense, Chinese Exclusive exemplifies the essence and grandeur of true perfumery. But it was crafted entirely by nature, in the jungles of China, within a single tree, where all the elements uniquely combined to create this wonderful oil.

A hint of pungency will leave Indian Oud lovers satisfied, but the real barnyard element only emerges toward the dry down. Even then, it is not “fecal”, but it has similarities to the base and heart notes of Indian Oud. The mid range and top notes smell very similar to Ensar’s organic Cambodian releases, leaving no doubt that the oil was distilled from Aquilaria Crassna. The oil is very complex, hard to dissect. Its anatomy is constantly shifting and is truly multi-dimensional. I cannot describe it from the bottom up. It has sides, angles, and curves. In the end, it has a fantastic sweetness to it that is just right–somewhere between Cambodia and Borneo. Its vanillin sweetness is all too reminiscent of the best Borneo oils, but it is not clear and pronounced enough, and thus allows itself to be nicely blended with earthy, musky, and floral tones in the body of the oil. Although lacking in fruit, there is certainly some orange peel in here.

All in all, I have to say that Chinese Exclusive is one of Ensar’s hallmark releases. It is primordial and sensual, deep and exotic–and as Ensar wrote of it, “pheremonal”. It stands among his more unique offerings to date, truly one of a kind. Highly recommended to connoisseurs who will most certainly appreciate this nuanced oil.

Oud For Sale

Dear readers, I am putting the following Oud oils from my collection up for sale. The list is posted below, and also includes two blends I made. Most of the oils listed below are nearly full bottles, with not more than a few swipes taken, unless otherwise indicated. All oils listed below are from Ensar Oud. If you are interested or want more information, please email me and make an offer at

Cambodi Caramel (2.5g)

Oud Yusuf (1.5g)

Assam Organic (Assam, 2.7g)

Thai Encens No. 2 (Trat, 2011, 1/11 bottles, 3g)