AgarAura’s Royal Assam is an unusual Assam Oud. It does not possess the density and tenacity of your usual Indian Oud, nor the creamy profile of Meghalayan Oud. Rather, Royal Assam exhibits clear, almost airy notes, and a pleasant, pronounced woodiness. On top of the woody heart note are fruity notes that are subtler than say your typical Cambodian or Thai oil, while certainly adding sweetness to the profile. As the clarity and woody-fruity tones melt together, a unique Oud fragrance begins to emerge.
Mixed with the fruity top notes, the woodiness attains a sweetness reminiscent of cedarwood. But underneath the cedarwood lies a slight barnyard twinge–the only aspect of the oil that confesses its Assamese origins.
If someone told me this was a distillation of Crassna wood–I would believe them. In fact, I have smelled Crassna oils that have more of a barnyard element than Royal Assam. If someone told me that this was a co-distillation of Crassna and Malaccensis wood, then I would also believe them–because there is a lightness to Royal Assam that is uncharacteristic of both Indian and Cambodian/Thai oils.
However, in Royal Assam, Indian Oud lovers have found yet another interesting distillation from Aquilaria Agallocha to add to their collection. This oil is perfect for those days when you really want to wear an Indian Oud, but do not want everyone to pick up on those fecal and barnyard notes that you secretly love. This is a very balanced oil that one can find simple and easy enjoyment in wearing. It is not as overpowering as your typical Assam Oud, not as light as Borneo Oud, and not as sweet and fruity as a Cambodian/Thai oil. Royal Assam strikes a beautiful median, making it one of the more wearable Indian Ouds I have smelled.
But lovers of Assam Oud should also be aware that Royal Assam will not satisfy their deepest cravings for a funky Indian Oud. If you want a fragrance that epitomizes the classic Assam fragrance, then I would recommend Assam Organic. If you are not yet a fan of Assam Oud, then Royal Assam will give you a light introduction by which to gauge your tastes. But if you are a connoisseur and love to collect all the different types of precious Oud distillations, then Royal Assam is worth adding to your collection.
As Taha describes, there was no soaking involved in the distillation. The lack of fermentation prior to distillation explains the lack of fecal and barnyard notes. He also describes the use of pure drinking water rather than ground water. And this tweak is actually what I notice the most in terms of the oil’s scent profile. It is why Royal Assam smells so clean and even watery.
Royal Assam is a modern-day Indian Oud, whose wild and rough edges have been tamed and smoothed, producing one of the more wearable Indian Ouds I have come across so far. As with all Oud oils, age will only improve Royal Assam, and I look forward to seeing how this oil develops.
Currently available for $375, 2.5g.