Oudimentary: Super Assam, Thai Super, Thai Old

Since Oudimentary is having a summer sale with everything marked down 25%, I’ve been getting requests to finish my review of their Oud oils. So here we go:



Super Assam

Super Assam

Super Assam. When it comes to Indian Oud, I never know what to expect. There is such a diversity of fragrance when it comes to Oud from this region. Super Assam is a brown-reddish colored oil with decent viscosity. In its opening, the oil wastes no time in expressing that classic Indian funk–but not for too long. The funkiness is not very potent. It is more of a sharp top note that soon merges into the body of the oil. This oil does not have a “fecal” or even a very strong “barnyard” aroma. Instead, imagine woods and hay with notes of dry tobacco, chocolate undertones, and a hint of fruit. But it is the woodiness of Super Assam that stands out to me. I think the oil is likely distilled from the Assam chips that Oudimentary offers, because the oil smells identical to those chips. At its core, it is a woody aroma paired with the smell of sweet hay, accented with cinnamon. With Super Assam, I really enjoy the dry down of the oil the most. It is not as diffuse as other Indian oils I have worn, but it does have excellent tenacity. Super Assam would blend beautifully in a  perfume because it lacks an overpowering aroma while presenting clean notes of wood and hay. For $187.50/3ml, it is the cheapest Indian Oud I have smelled that is still good quality. I would consider using it in my perfumes and also wearing it when I’m in the mood for an Indian oil that is not too loud and fecal.

Thai Super opens with a sweet woodiness that immediately draws me in. Characteristic mineraly Thai notes. Slightly fruity, but mostly sweet. The woodiness is very nice and captures something of the smell of burning Oud chips. This is one of Oudimentary’s higher quality distillations, to my nose. Moderately diffuse with an average tenacity, but it makes for a nice wear.


Thai Old

Thai Old

Thai Old stands in contrast to Thai Super, immediately exhibiting peppery notes amidst tobacco leaf. It is much more lively than Thai Super. Thai Old’s cigar-like aroma carries itself quite well, making for a more diffuse aroma with a moderate tenacity. Notes of fruit mingle in the body lending some complexity to the aroma. This oil is also an organic distillation. It is hard to choose between Thai Old and Thai Super. Thai Super certainly has a more mature aroma and its woody notes are beautiful. But Thai Old has a little more kick. It depends what you are in the mood for. They are both good Thai oils, although I no longer see Thai Super available on the Oudimentary website. At $74.25 for 3ml, Thai Old gets the award for the most affordable Oud oil of good quality.

Encens Imperial


Encens Imperial is the most unusual Indian Oud I have smelled so far. The fragrance catches me off guard when it opens with a very potent top note. As the opening aroma meets my nose, I am greeted with an incredibly strong and crystalline aroma that smells almost medicinal and that is initially off-putting. By describing it as “medicinal”, I am intending to convey something of its potency, depth, and healing potential, as well as its “concentrated” aroma. After all, Oud has been used as medicine in the ancient healing traditions of the East–and when I smell a note like this, I remember why. It is one of the strongest notes I have encountered in an Oud oil so far.

This mysterious crystalline note is shrouded by a more traditional Indian aroma of sweet hay and woods, and a gentle barnyard tease. But as I smell my wrist over and over again, it is that top note that I am constantly reaching for. And it is quite playful–sometimes elusive, and at other times floating at the top, or sinking underneath the base notes, only to be found in the last seconds of the inhalation. As the fragrance unfolds, I realize that this mysterious “top note” actually pervades the aroma, top to bottom.

Within minutes, I am addicted to the singing clarity of Encens Imperial. It is an Indian Oud that possesses the clarity, beauty, and sensuality of the finest Borneo Ouds without sacrificing its Indian roots. Usually with Indian Oud, the woods, the hay, the resin, all of it mixes together into a “thick” fragrance. Yet Encens Imperial maintains a smooth, water-like clarity, without compromising any tenacity or potency.

In the official description for Encens Imperial, Ensar writes:

There might be no Kyara in Assam. But only in Assam do you find Muana, a heart note of serenity not even Kyara can capture, and just as rare. You might have smelled it when burning crazy-grade Assam wood chips, but pick it up in an oud oil… this is a first.

So what is Muana? It is hard for me to say exactly what Ensar means by using this term. In my own feeling, Muana is the defining aroma of Encens Imperial. It is that mysterious crystalline note at the heart of Encens Imperial that will puzzle your olfactory sensibilities. In its opening, it is the clearest top note I have ever smelled in an Indian Oud. As it wears, it dances and blends into the woodier undertones, and I’m smelling highly-resinated Oud chips on my wrist. This is my best guess as to what Muana refers to.

In the drydown, Encens Imperial emerges as more of a unified composition. Everything has integrated, revealing a deep and resinous profile, with accents of spice and a defined woodiness. The end result? The intoxicating aroma of incense-grade Indian Oud chips on your wrist.

Oud as incense has been the theme and goal of Ensar’s most recent releases. He has been emphasizing the true goal of Oud distillation as Oud oil that smells like incense. By incense, I feel he means a purity of scent. And Encens Imperial certainly fits into that category with its clear piercing aroma.

Ensar’s Indian Oud oils are undeniably his most diverse offerings–each one is a world of its own. So far, I have yet to smell any two that are similar. I think back to Legends such as Oud Mostafa and Oud Nuh. Encens Imperial is not the bottle I personally would reach for when I want to wear an Indian Oud. It is not as smooth and balanced as some of Ensar’s other Indian oils. Rather, Encens Imperial is an Oud I would save more for medicinal or meditative use. Assam lovers will find something very atypical in Encens Imperial, as it smells nothing like my other Assam oils. I almost forgot it was from Assam.

Clear, beautiful, and potent enough to be healing–Encens Imperial is an oil for the adventurous to explore.

But Muana doesn’t end with Encens Imperial, as I recently received a sample of an unreleased oil called “Muana LTD”…

Oud Idrees: Sunshine In A Bottle

Oud Idrees is an oil that deserves a worthy introduction. A truly unique offering to the agarwood world, Oud Idrees represents a hallmark in the history of Oud oil. I did not know much about this oil when Ensar first mentioned it to me. All he said was that it was one of his favorite Oud oils, and that it was like “sunshine in a bottle”. His words were striking and left me curious. Sunshine in a bottle? I tried to imagine the fragrance of the vision, but could not even scratch the surface of it. I reserved my bottle soon afterwards, sensing the uniqueness of the oil. It was not until reading Ensar’s description of this recently-launched oil that I began to feel a reverence for this sacred oil.

Oud Idrees is the only Oud oil to come from Bhutan that I am aware of. As Ensar describes, Bhutan’s government has strict policies that protect its jungles, making it nearly impossible to distill Oud oil from their trees. Here we have the first great wonder of Idrees: How did Ensar and his distiller manage to acquire trees from Bhutan? 

However, this is not the only wonder. The jungle in Bhutan from which Idrees originates is home to pristine Aquilaria Agallocha trees, at least 100 years old. Due to the government’s policies, the agarwood trees in these jungles have been untouched, and have been allowed to mature indefinitely, not subject to the gross consumerism that now pervades the Oud world and threatens the future of the oil. In Oud Idrees, we have Oud oil from trees that are at least 100 years old. The wonder is that it is actually true, and not a superficially stated marketing ploy. The number “100” has become a standard form of reference in the Oud world to give the superficial impression that the oil is necessarily superior. To my knowledge, Idrees is the only oil I have come across that can be confirmed as having been distilled from the wood of trees that were at least 100 years old.

But there are 100 year old trees still standing that may or may not have any infection, and thus may not have any aromatic resin at all. In that sense, the age of the tree is completely irrelevant. How do we know that Oud Idrees is the most mature Oud oil we may have ever seen? One word. Ghubal. What is ghubal? “Ghubal” is the term used to refer to the ultimate maturation of the resin in the heartwood of the tree. This maturity is evidenced in the semi-hardening of the resin. This is what “sinking-grade” wood actually refers to.  As Ensar writes of Idrees, “Rather than Oud oil, Idrees is pure ghubal, bottled.” That itself is another wonder. But one more perplexing fact remains: Ghubal is nearly impossible to extract. And so we have our final wonder: how was Idrees distilled?

These wonders remain a mystery, and these wonders do not necessitate knowledge. The fragrance is truly wonderful, a wondrous aroma, aromatically transmitting with it the mysteries that fill it.

So what does Oud Idrees smell like? Idrees boldly expresses its Indian profile, leaving no room for speculation or doubt that it is an Indian oil. Idrees opens with notes of deep delectable resinous bliss. My attention moves upwards and I feel moved beyond the world, held in the arms of this intoxicating fragrance. The more I smell, the more I feel drawn into contemplation, as if the smelling of the oil itself were a meditation. Its effect is immediate and unforgettable. My mind sings its praises. Truly, that first smell is everything. What a moment!

Idrees is a very mature and full-bodied oil that develops in pronounced phases. After revealing its resinous succulence, Idrees begins to show its bright heart. Sunlight. Yes, this is what it is to smell sunlight, to feel its brilliant rays pervading all the senses. Idrees has a very bright and expansive energy, it is the one Oud oil I could characterize as having  the strongest quality of radiance. Oud Idrees is pure light. Its fragrance fills the body and mind with visions of gold and all-encompassing light. Idrees has a mood that is completely unique and absolutely contagious. It is the mood of happiness, of delight, joy, wonder. And yet it is not naive. Idrees is the fragrant vision of the Romantic poets–a beautiful meadow under a clear sky of brilliant sun, grassy hills active with the silent mindless purity of animals and the song of birds symphonic all-around. But the idealism of the Romantics is met with a wisdom and groundedness that gives Idrees its balanced expression. The inherent unity of the outer world and the intuition of its resonance with our deepest heart is brought to fragrant life in Oud Idrees.

Indeed, Idrees comes from a tree, a life-form that has been deeply rooted in the Earth for a century, nourished by sunlight. Oud Idrees is a profound expression of the inner dimension of the natural world, and its fragrance opens an intuition in us all of the Divine Sustenance in which this world is non-separately arising.

While revealing the experiential truth behind Ensar’s statement that Idrees was “sunshine in a bottle”, this oil also perfectly matches Ensar’s description of it as “the embodiment of sheer sunlight and fragrant pollen“. Yes, the notes of pollen are quite astounding. I have never encountered the smell of pollen in an Oud oil, or any oil for that matter. And it is not the smell of honey. It is far more earthy than the essential smell of honey. It is the sweetness of the natural world in play, the sweetness that precedes the nectarous essence of honey. A beautiful fragrance. This sunlight-pollen note is the heart of Oud Idrees.

The resinous current flows up and around and all through this lighted heart. After some time, the resinous aspect of the fragrance becomes noticeably similar to amber. Suddenly, we have a beautiful mix, a converging of notes in a perfection of spontaneous harmony. Resin, sunlight, pollen, amber–all at once and moving, pulsating with an irresistible life. As the amber becomes apparent, the balsamic bottom of the oil also comes to surface. If I were to summarize the notes in Idrees: Resinous-amber, sunlit pollen, balsamic spiciness, and a powderiness in the dry-down.

To my nose, the orchestration of notes in Idrees sing a tuneful melody that is irresistible. Since receiving my bottle, I have worn it twice a day for two days. Never have I applied an Oud oil so frequently as Idrees.

While Idrees is unabashedly Indian, it has a totally unique scent profile, if one is to examine it as a totality. It opens with notes of deep resin that keep rising from the oil, and this is a shared characteristic with legendary Indian oils such as Oud Mostafa, Oud Nuh, and Oud Khidr. Idrees does not display any barnyard notes, as do the aforementioned oils. Nor does Idrees exhibit any fruity notes, as in the case of Mostafa.

Idrees matches Mostafa in its aromatic profundity, maturity, power, and resinous delight. Idrees matches Nuh in its balance, its perfection, its sense of harmony and gentle unfolding, and its royal elegance.
Idrees matches Khidr in its depth, its raw and primordial character, and deep distinct resinous notes.

Oud Idrees is the most unique Oud oil I have come across so far. Truly, it defies categorization and mere description. Idrees stands strong among the greatest Oud oils ever distilled, and is one of my favorites. I highly recommend all Oud lovers acquire and get to know this oil, it is a true gem to add to a collection, especially for lovers of Indian Oud. Idrees is an Oud to cherish for ages to come.

Above the clouds, There Is Always The Sun–Forever Free Of Earthly weather.
–His Divine Presence, Avatar Adi Da Samraj

Jungle: Bhutan
Crafted: May 2009
Yield: 15 tolas
Price: $550
Status: LTD

Oud Khidr: The Fragrant Heart of India

Oud Khidr. Thick. Black. Potent. Indian. This is Oud. This is why I love Oud. This is what I am always searching for. The rich and deeply resinous aroma of Oud Khidr freshly permeates the air, exhibiting the darkest barnyard character that I have smelled in an Indian oil so far. And yet it is so clean and smooth. There is even a sweetness tingling in its resinous purity. Tone down Oud Mostafa’s fruitiness, deepen and darken its Indian notes as much as possible, and you have something similar to Khidr. Both are epitome Oud fragrances–Khidr moreso in the sense that its scent profile is more classically Indian.

Khidr is a strong and powerful fragrance. It’s aroma hovers above my wrists. The inhalations are not deep enough to reach the bottom of this scent. There is more that I cannot express. Creamy in the mid-range, but only subtly. The body of this oil is the core of the fragrance. I return to my wrists to go back for more–and there is always more. Khidr ultimately dries to down a pristine nutty-spiciness that is a fresh breath of jungle air with hints of cardamom.

Oud Khidr takes me back home, to the sacred and fragrant heart of India. A breath of Khidr is a fragrant taste of sacred history. Khidr is the Oud spoken of since ancient times, the primordial and timeless fragrance used in many different religious and Spiritual traditions for its absolutely powerful, rich, deep, and penetrating aroma. Khidr is the Oud that has perplexed mystics for ages with its uniquely complex and living aroma.

A must have for all lovers of Indian Oud oil, I deeply recommend Oud Khidr to everyone who is interested in tasting the essence and epitome of pure Indian Oud oil of the highest calibre. Wild-harvested from trees at least seventy to eighty years old in the jungle of North Cachar.

Junge: North Cachar
Crafted: January 2009
Yield: 20 tolas
Price: $550
Status: LTD


Bhavana.  The Sanskrit root of the word Bhavana is Bhava, meaning something like “intoxicated passion”. I would render Bhavana to therefore mean “the process of becoming passionately intoxicated”. An apt name for an Oud oil! The is the first Indian Oud I have tried from Agar Aura. After reading Taha’s description of Bhavana as being devoid of harsh fecal notes, I was preparing myself for a light and soft Indian oil. However, Bhavana is an undeniably Indian, with plenty of barnyard character. What makes Bhavana unique is the elegance with which it expresses its Indian flair. Bhavana is a full-range Indian oil, but its gentility and smooth creaminess is very soothing. This oil has a soft texture and possesses feminine qualities. It does not possess the overpowering masculine force of classic Indian Oud. It is simple and even sweet in its higher range. I have to agree with Taha’s description of Bhavana having fruity notes of peaches in it. It is very peachy, and the fruit notes hold very tightly to the barnyard aspect, as if in a strict classical composition. No meandering here. Bhavana is also rather linear for an Indian Oud, which is interesting. I certainly do not consider its linearity a negative, because I can see that this oil definitely has its place in a collection of Indian Oud oils. This is that oil that is not too overpowering and intensely Indian, with sharp fecal notes that give you confident knowledge that you cannot wear it outside. This is that Indian oil you reach for when you are not feeling up for the “blast” and depth of an Indian oil, but also know that a Cambodi or Borneo won’t fulfill your craving.

Bhavana reminds me of Oud Nuh with its balance (where Oud Nuh is considerably more potent). Still, both oils are characterized by a certain equanimity and balanced dynamic. Bhavana reminds me most of Oud Shuyukh #2 (now officially named “Oud Yunus”), with its creamy-smooth textures, and soft-sweetness. Bhavana dries down to a charmingly Indian woodiness that is common to all high quality Indian Oud oils. It is a specific kind of woodiness in the dry down that is absolutely delectable and beautifully deep. And when you smell it, you know that only an Indian Oud oil could give it to you. In its higher range, Bhavana remains slightly reminiscent of a Cambodi. But no worries here, Bhavana’s Indian character is quite distinguished and unmistakable.

I personally love the fruity Indian Ouds. The alchemy of fruits and deep barnyard is absolutely incredible and always unexpected to me. Nonetheless, when it comes to Indian Oud oil, there is nothing I love more than an absolutely raw, overpowering, pungent Indian Oud. I still do not have anything in my collection that I can characterize as being completely classically Indian. And that is why I have my eye on Oud Khidr, and I suggest all you fanatics for Indian Oud oil should too. That said, there is no doubt that Bhavana is a high quality Oud oil, from quality raw materials, and the distillation is obviously sophisticated as evidenced in the oil’s scent profile. But even beyond being a high quality oil, Bhavana would make a wonderful addition to anyone’s Oud collection. But beware, if you are looking for something that is black and deep and robust, then this is not your oil! Think of how the blackest Indian Oud oil would smell if rendered in female form. Put it in a bottle, and you have Bhavana–the other side of Indian Oud.

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