A Journey into The World of Oud
My Favorite Ouds
I am somewhat reluctant to list my favorites among the 100+ agarwood oils in my collection, in part because several of them are no longer available, and I don't wish to frustrate you, my readers. (Note, the ones still available are hyperlinked -- and shown as underscored -- to allow you access to them.)
But admittedly, everyone has their own preferences, and yours may very well be quite different from mine.
A short aside of judging Oud and Oud purveyors
I recently stopped visiting the blog on Oud on the perfumer site basenotes.net because the infighting and the biases of its contributors grew too harsh for me.
It struck me was that there were two camps: those that championed artisanal Ouds that are higher priced, and the other that considered such pricing excessive and claimed, in some cases, to be able to get comparable Ouds at much lower prices.
Not only, as I've mentioned above, should we remember the Latin maxim that translates as "in matters of taste there can be no argument" but in addition, in matters of scent, no two people ever smell the same scent identically.
During my pre-med years (I never did go to Med school, but instead to graduate school in neurochemistry), one of the papers I published was on the sense of smell. I was shocked to find, in researching the sense of smell, that over 10% of people have no sense of smell, and over 50% of people have a diminished sense of smell!
Therefore, most people cannot even smell the many of the components of Oud, and therefore cannot possibly be at all accurate in comparing one Oud to another.
In addition, those that are only attending to the scent of Oud, and aren't transported by Oud to higher consciousness, are missing out on the most valuable gift Oud has to offer.
Back to my Favorites
[Since I wrote this page, I discovered an entirely new class of Ouds, which I called Ouds 2.0 that are profoundly better than any of these. You can read about them here.]
Therefore, in my Favorites listing, the primary focus is on the Ouds that offer the deepest influence on awareness, with pleasing aroma secondary.
One of the reasons why I championed Ensar Oud on Page Five of this blog was because so many of my Favorite Ouds were made by him.
Here are the best Ouds I've found:
Ensar has been creating artisanal Ouds for a very long time. His skill in finding the highest quality wood to use, and employing both traditional and pioneering methods of soaking and distilling, are unparalleled.
As I introduced on Page Two of my blog:
Oud Yusuf is the Oud with the loveliest fragrance, reminiscent of Lilacs and other Spring flowers.
It is also the only Oud that is ethically harvested (the trees aren't cut down, only the infected areas are removed.) and therefore has a spiritual aliveness and wholeness that is unparalleled.It is therefore incredibly uplifting.
Assam 3000 has a very subtle fragrance evocative of soft honeyed resin, and is one of the two most spiritually and psychically enhancing Ouds that I've experienced. It actually facilitated my channeling a new Guide!
Sultan Afnan is the newest Oud from Ensar, and is at least as spiritually impactful as Assam 3000, but with a completely different scent profile. In it you smell the dark jungle of Borneo, with notes of dark chocolate, and the embrace of the spirits of the Wood. It takes you deep into the moment, into the Earth, and into the mysterious stillness at the heart of everything.
Kong Hak, on the other hand, is much brighter, full of cherries, plums and roses. It wraps you in happiness, in the knowingness that life is beautiful and you are loved, and cherished.
Pursat 2005 is an Olde Oud that Ensar is about to offer. (I received a small sample from him recently.)
It is a Cambodhi Oud that has been aged for eleven years, and has therefore an incredibly mellowed fruitiness combined with a pure resin of great depth. It permeates your Soul with joy and stillness.
Way on the other side of the Oud spectrum is Aku Akira, the most pungent and potent
Oud that I've encountered. You only need a tiny, tiny bit to be enveloped in its magic, which is is both aligning and grounding as well as transcendental.
It's scent is old hindi, a refined barnyard that grabs you and takes you ever deeper into the world of the Earth.
Note: page 13 of this blog focuses on the latest and greatest Ouds from Ensar. Truly remarkable.
JK deLapp is an acupuncturist, herbalist, creator of natural perfumes, and purveyor of Oud. He works directly with distillers to create amazing Ouds.
Thai Pa Pa Kea - 190 Year Old Thai Crassna Oud Oil: This Oud is about as smooth as the finest honey, and as pure and clear a scent as Oud gets. It was distilled for the King of Thailand and is the only Oud I felt was pure enough to taste. The experience of its scent permeating my entire mouth was amazing.
It's a gentle Oud and yet still deep.
Thai Plummy, like Oud Yusuf, has a truly beautiful scent. It may be less complex, but its fragrant aroma of plums and flowers is stunning. Its lightness belies its depth, and in fact it brings Light to your Soul,gently lifting you higher and higher.
Important Note: Imperial Oud has closed their doors and is no longer selling Oud.
Faizal is dedicated towards providing phenomenal Ouds at the lowest possible prices, by working directly with distillers and ensuring that the quality of each oil is impeccable.
Kushiara: The scent is deeply and lushly resinous, enveloping, and even nourishing, touching the soul with the gentle hand of the Divine Mother. It is very much like the Assam 3000 but with a stronger and richer scent.
Koh Kong Classique is also quite resinous and lush, but with more butter, wood, and balsamic notes. I love its incredibly inviting nature, and complete olfactory harmony.
Adam and his partner are as "hands-on" as it gets. With great devotion, they find exceptional woods, both design and experiment with a variety of distillation methods, and even post videos on their website of the whole process.
Trat Adventure. Imagine a perfect marriage of barnyard with flowers, subtler than Hindi Ouds yet more forward than Cambodian Ouds. This unity of power and softness is deceptively gentle, yet amazingly potent at the same time.
Tawau Al-Awwal: Imagine the lovely smell of doeskin embellished with the slightest scent of both feral and flowers on a bed of resin. Initially seems subdued, but reveals an incredible refinement and surprising uplift.
A Raw Oud
Finally, an Oud that is too raw and too strong to have much initial appeal. When Oud is extracted with supercritical (high pressure) Carbon Dioxide, the result is often crude and, according to others, smells like the unrefined resin straight from the tree.
I purchased a Vietnamese CO2 extracted Oud from Lotus Garden Botanicals (sadly, it's sold out) that pushes the envelope on sharpness, pungency, and intensity. It has the most potent scent and is incredibly impactful psychically, but very easy to overdo and get overwhelmed by.
Nevertheless, a noteworthy achievement.
End of Part Six
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