Kyara Koko

Kyara KokohA new and yet-to-be-released parfum from Ensar Oud, Kyara Koko is beautifully rich, warm, and sensuous. The name is a clear allusion to the famous Baieido Incense, “Kyara Kokoh“–20 sticks of which currently sell for $829.50. Does the perfume live up to the incense by the same name? You will have to see for yourself! I have actually not burned Baiedo’s Kyara Kokoh before, but in light of this perfume, I will have to check it out and see how it compares.

Koko opens with a velvety texture of animalic notes that turn sweet before you can find the funk. As the parfum begins to expand, its complexity unravels. With such intricacy and nuance, I suspect that many different oils were used in Koko’s composition, yet not a single one stands out individually. Having made a few perfumes myself, I  can appreciate the artistry in crafting a perfume that confidently boasts a single fragrance–the alchemy of a new scent, rather than an amalgamation of various scents. If I had to compare Kyara Koko to another oil, I would say that it reminds me of Amulya Attar. Amulya Attar is the most complex perfume I have smelled, composed of over 60 ingredients, mostly focused on precious Indian florals. But as with Kyara Koko, its core aroma is completely unique, unified, and intoxicating.

I have little to say about the ingredients used in Kyara Koko, because they are largely undetectable to me as individual components. Rather, Koko radiates a whole fragrance,  a sweet-spicy Oudiness with civet-like undertones. The end result is a deliciously incensey fragrance. Incense lovers really have much to look forward to in this perfume. In terms of color, think purple. Deep purple. For an Oud-based perfume, I find that Koko beautifully expresses its Oudiness while also blending in well, making for a deliciously smooth and well-rounded fragrance.

What also stands out to me in Kyara Koko is its tenacity. It may be the most tenacious perfume I have smelled from Ensar Oud so far. Radiating on my wrist, Koko surrounds me in its fragrant aura. And I can smell its remnants on my wrist the next morning. I really love a perfume that can maintain itself like this. I have found myself addicted to this perfume as of late, discovering something else with each new wearing.

Kyara Koko is a full-bodied perfume of mystery and confidence, suitable for man or woman, and great to wear out in the evening. Its sensual and aristocratic vibe is sure to catch the attention of anyone who crosses its path.

Pulau Maluku: Papua Meets Borneo

Pulau MalukuWhen I first swiped Agar Aura’s Pulau Maluku, I thought I was smelling an oil from Maroke, only to have my senses puzzled a few seconds later as I began to perceive a full-blown Borneo profile.

This strangely beautiful juxtaposition of scent profiles is what sets Pulau Maluku apart from other Oud oils, with its geographical roots being a perfect mirror for its fragrance. It was only after applying the oil a few times that I realized that Maluku, an island in Indonesia, is located exactly between Borneo and Papua. Mystery solved!

Map of Indonesia

Map of Indonesia

This is the first oil from Maluku that I have come across so far. I am not aware of any other quality distillations from Maluku wood at this time, making Pulau Maluku a very unique and special offering. I love the dark, jungly, and pristine aspects of Papuan oils, and I also love the bright and sweet aspects of Borneo oils. In my opinion, Oud oils from these two regions stand in contrast to one another, and I have never really associated them with one another in any way, until I smelled Pulau Maluku.

The oil opens with Papuan notes–jungly, dense, herbaceous. For a moment, I have no reason to think I am smelling anything else, despite the fragrance being noticeably lighter than the Papuan oils I am so used to. When my nose returns to my wrist again, I realize there is something else going on here, as the fragrance begins to rapidly morph. The Papuan elements quickly become luscious undertones for a fragrance that is now beginning to express the most recognizable Borneo notes.

Soon I have forgotten the jungles and am entranced in a rapture of one of the most pristine and balmy vanilla notes. The vanilla is very pronounced, more pronounced than in other Borneo oils in my collection. Maluku starts to smell like a Borneo stripped of its base–sensual, smooth, suave, and beautifully light-hearted. Pulau Maluku beautifully captures the ethereal aspect of Borneo oils with stunning accuracy and clarity.


Vanilla bean

With the oil singing on my wrist, I am again lost in a vine of vanilla beans. So much vanilla. It is not that it smells like vanilla, it is nearly identical to putting your nose in a bottle of vanilla extract–but without the concentration, and much more velvety.

As the fragrance approaches its dry down phase, the Papuan elements make a re-appearance, and this time to stay. Undertones of mineral, resin, and fresh jungle support the sweet and airy base of Pulau Maluku, making it one of the more impressive Oud oils I have had the opportunity to experience. More remarkable is that the fragrance of burning Oud chips–the mark of high quality Papuan oils–begins to come into focus, drawing the finishing stroke of a wonderful composition.

Pulau Maluku is a classic stainless steel distillation. Regarding the raw materials used, Taha said to me in a personal communication, “Feedstock for Pulau Maluku was collected from trees that are quite possibly the oldest of ALL ouds that you and I have ever come across.”

I must congratulate him in distilling the first Maluku Oud oil of this quality that I have found, and in offering such a high quality distillation. Additionally, the oil has great longevity and sillage on my skin, a surprisingly nice kick for a “light” oil.

Unfortunately (and expectedly) Pulau Maluku is sold out. But this is an oil worth tracking down in private collections, if you get the chance. On a related note, for anyone curious about Maluku wood, check out Olfactory Rescue Service’s post here.