Oud: Regional Profiling

The scents of oud oils can loosely be categorized according to geographic region. There is, however, some crossover, and it’s important to recognize that the scent of oils don’t strictly respect artificial boundaries or political borders .

The first oud I purchased was from Borneo and I think it was a good choice for my introductory experience. Borneo oils are amongst the lightest, airiest and most ethereal of ouds. They have terpenoid top notes that have been compared to camphor, mint, acetone, magic marker, turpentine, lacquer thinner, etc. This high, whistle-y note is typical of Borneo oils and is one of their most distinguishing characteristics. The effusive, light sweetness of these oils is sometimes described as “floral”.  Although I think that description is slightly misleading, their sweet and piercing topnote is vaguely reminiscent of the indolic nature of some flowers, or the mintiness of tuberose. Borneo ouds have a clear, woody drydown. One of my favorite ouds from this region is Oriscent’s Borneo 3000. Its clean crispness is typical of Borneo oils.

Oils from Malinau, in northern Indonesia, boast hints of sweet vanilla, cool melon, apple, tangerine and gentle spices. One of the finest examples is AgarAura’s Malinau. The complexity of notes adds depth, interest, substance and weight to the Borneo profile.

The brightness and clarity of Borneo and Northern Indonesia oils amplify their happy and uplifting spirit. Because of their sunny  and breezy disposition the season with which I associate them is Spring.

Indonesian oils from Merauke also start out with a clear, vaporous topnote but their midrange and basenotes are herbal, dry, mossy and earthy. Notes of mushrooms and patchouli are clearly distinguishable; some exhibit salty and metallic notes. The cool dryness of Merauke oils is refreshing, however their earthiness adds a grounded and unrefined element to their character. Some people have said that Merauke oils that are distilled from Aquilaria filarial (such as Oriscent’s old Oud Royale) are closest to the smell of burning agarwood. Uns Fine Craft’s “Maroke” is an example, though it is no longer available.

Once again a (more subtle) clear and vapory top note greets the nose on sniffing oils from Irian Jaya in West Papua, Indonesia. This time that note is mixed with an ample sprinkling of white pepper, cloves and nutmeg. Some Irian Jaya oils have a resinous, pine-y mossiness that is reminiscent of a cross between patchouli and oakmoss. They exhibit balsamic, musty, muddy and damp notes in the base. Uns’ Irian Jaya oil (sold out) is representative of this group of oils. I associate Merauke and Irian Jaya oils with summer because of their herbal and earthy herbaceousness.

Peninsular Malaysian oils smell slightly turpy and sweet, are enlivened with a pinch of feisty cinnamon, and remind me of the smell of old, dark and damp basements.  A classic example is Oudline’s well priced ML-OL-SRN- Super. I like its faintly musty smell that, to me, feels cozy and warm. In worst cases these oils may exhibit strong, swampy notes of decaying vegetation.  East Malaysian oils smell sweet, thick and resinous and have a delicious, woody drydown. One such example is Oriscent’s Malay Royale. These  “Borneo Maylay” oils (for example those from the states of Sabah and Sarawak), smell very similar to oils from Indonesia.

Ouds from Cambodia are amongst my favorites. They are very accessible to the Western palate, and their complexity and curvilinear development add to their wide appeal. Some of the notes I associate with Cambodian oils are figs, prunes, plums, liqueur, berries, jam, caramel, tobacco, cinnamon and vanilla. The drydown of Cambodian oils is sweet, gently spicy and woody.  Oils from this region smell deep, warm, rich and sensuous- they are truly jewel-toned.  A mouthwatering and affordable Cambodian oil is Oudimentary’s  KSSS. In appearance and texture it exhibits the thick and gummy stickiness common to some of the finest Cambodian oils. I associate these oils with Autumn because they are bursting with richness and ripeness.

Laotian ouds can smell very fecal and barnyard-y. Because of their strength and reckless character I personally prefer them in blends, however there are some people who think their “energy” is unparalleled when it comes to using ouds for meditation. One very surprising aspect of Laotian oils is that although they start out smelling very raucous and unsavoury they have an unexpectedly sweet dry down. It’s hard to believe that these oils, after an hour on the skin, are the same oil that smelled so funky right out of the bottle.  A large selection of Laotian ouds can be found on the Enfleurage website.

Hindi ouds from Assam are amongst the most beloved and respected of Dehn al Oudhs, especially in the Middle East. Because so many of the wild trees were cut down and are now protected by CITES, today most oils are distilled from plantation trees. The scents that predominate in Assam ouds are the healthy barnyard scent of new mown hay, the animalic lustiness of leather and the campfire-memory-generating smokiness of smoldering wood. Some ooze with the juicy note of  succulent plums (Areej’s Hindi Manipouri); others exhibit more primal notes that only the most confident and daring would feel comfortable wearing in public (Oriscent’s Mostafa). An Indian oud that exhibits the stature, dignity and wholesomeness for which these oils are revered yet is still eminently wearable is Oudhasi’s Assam Flora. Because these ouds can smell aloof and imposing they remind me of winter.

I’ve only smelled one pure oud from China- Oriscent’s Chinese Exclusive. It gets the award for “rudest oud”. Anyone who loves the smell of ripe cheese and humus should definitely give it a go!

These descriptions are not exhaustive and not every oud is going to conform to these general profiles. They’re a start, though, in figuring out which oils might appeal to you. I strongly recommend purchasing samples, if they’re available. It’s taken me a long time to accept that we don’t all perceive smells the same way, and that basing a purchase decision on another person’s description isn’t really a substitute for sniffing an oil with your own nose on your own skin.

I hope your exploration of oud oils is an exciting and rewarding adventure. Onward and oudward!

44 Comments

  1. MattnDC said,

    May 5, 2011 at 6:47 pm

    Well, it has been a long time, but I need to comment back on that Thaqeel.

    It is wonderful, indeed. The oil is thick, thick, thick, like molasses.
    And that beautiful fruit sweetness is sooo addictive. It is interesting that the scent doesn’t really come alive until it is on your skin, you have to put it on and then resist the urge to instantly judge it. The magic somehow arises from the heat and oils of your own body, in a kind of alchemical marriage.

    It is totally surprising to me how completely different the Agar Aura Borneo oils are from Thaqeel. I alternated for a few days to just convince myself that they were all really Oud.. They elicit very different moods as well, as your review explains.

    Thank you Marian, for helping spur this journey!

    • Marian Williams said,

      May 5, 2011 at 8:29 pm

      Thaqeel is my favorite Cambodian oil- it’s so luscious, luxurious and sumptuous. Layers, facets and curves- each glows through and is enhanced by the others. As you said: it’s thick: both literally and in depth and complexity. And yes- it’s SO different than Borneo oils. I guess that’s what intrigues me most about oud- there are so many variations in the scent. My taste has changed over the time I’ve been sampling ouds, but Thaqueel has never lost it’s place amongst my top few oils.
      I’m so glad you like it, Matt. Thanks for the update.

      • Bev said,

        May 6, 2011 at 9:11 am

        Well shoot. I managed to find some Thaqeel for myself, having read about how amazing it was. But I’m wondering if I might have what some say is the ‘new batch.’ I get no ethereal fruitiness at all. Instead there’s just a persistent smell of acrid rubber that never fully goes away. 😦 It’s the only oud in my collection that gives me a headache to wear. I’m so bummed 😦

        • Marian Williams said,

          May 6, 2011 at 9:46 am

          Gee, Bev! That is terrible 😦 I am truly, truly sorry to hear that. I’ve never heard of anyone having that problem before. A fig-y jam-y fruitiness is the hallmark of Thaqeel- it’s like a horn of plenty filled with licquour-drenched dried raisins, caramel, plum jam, honey, camphor, pipe tobacco (thank you, Al-Khidr!), cinnamon sticks, and the merest hint of the farm. Acrid Rubber is a scent I’ve smelled mainly in inexpensive oils – a sign of poor distillation techniques and cutting corners. No wonder you’re bummed. What a disappointment…….

        • MattnDC said,

          May 6, 2011 at 1:44 pm

          Oh no. That is awful. I am so sorry that happened to you.
          The sweetness in the bit I have is not subtle. People at work noticed it, though it does kind of come and go with body heat, moisture, and shifts in breezes, I found.
          I hope your seller can make amends.

          • Bev said,

            May 6, 2011 at 10:59 pm

            *sigh* Your descriptions sound so beautiful. I do hope someday I get the chance to experience this fragrance, even if only a one-time whiff 🙂

  2. vinny said,

    April 21, 2011 at 8:29 pm

    I tried the NR Rao “OUDH” incense , I found it really nice , it has a sweet woody smell but there is something animalic about it , not in a dirty barn yard sense , more of a musky tone. It could pass for a very high end man’s cologne . I highly recommend it!

    • Marian Williams said,

      April 24, 2011 at 8:42 pm

      Thanks for the recommendation, Vinny. I’ve never tried any Indian agarwood sticks. I’d be curious to compare them to some of the Japanese jinkoh sticks I’ve tried.

  3. Bev said,

    April 19, 2011 at 11:42 am

    Fantastic overview of the regional characteristics of oud. Thank you for such an insightful post and for sharing your depth of knowledge. Today I’m wearing an oud said to a “Kyara” type oud, though I’ve heard that Kyara is prohibitively expensive and so this is most likely not pure Kyara (although it *was* quite expensive). Would love to see you write a bit about Kyara, as I know it’s also a popular element of high-end Japanese incense.

    Looking forward to reading more from you!

    • Marian said,

      April 19, 2011 at 12:33 pm

      Thanks, Bev. As you said, kyara is so expensive it’s highly unlikely the oil you purchased contains any “real” kyara. I think when an oil is supposed to be a “Kyara type” oud, it’s meant to suggest that the oil is extremely high quality and/or that there are aspects of it’s scent that resemble the kyara profile. Oriscent has sold oils called Kyara LTD and Kyara Koutan as well as Royal Kinam, Burmese Kinam, Assam Kinam and Borneo Kinam. Although they don’t smell like burning kyara to me, they all have lovely smooth, warm woody drydowns and are considered to be some of Oriscent’s finest offerings. If I’m fortunate enough to come across an oil that truly captures the scent of burning kyara, I’d be thrilled to write about it at length( if I’m not so excited that I’m totally speechless)!

      • hisham suliman said,

        May 9, 2011 at 1:35 pm

        Thank you for the wonderful comprehensive and precise Oud article I have to say IMHO, Oriscent Kyara Koutan comes very close to the smell of slowly burning Kyara chips that I have obtained from Yamad. There is that wringling high opening note and golden sunshine that I can smell in both the oil and the burning smke.
        BTW, I have also tried the Chinese Exclusive and I thought I could hear the army marching down the street…very assertive. but I was wondering about you comparing it to the smell of “Humus”; did you mean regular humus or humus that has gone Bad?

        • Marian said,

          May 9, 2011 at 7:05 pm

          You’re welcome, Hisham Suliman. Here’s a dictionary definition of the humus I meant-” the dark organic material in soils, produced by the decomposition of vegetable or animal matter and essential to the fertility of the earth”. Did you think I meant the dish made out of chickpeas? I like chickpea hummus but it doesn’t smell like oud 🙂
          I meant there’s a smell of damp soil in Chinese Exclusive, in addition to tobacco, cheese, ambergris and barnyard notes. I like your army analogy- Chinese Exclusive is a very powerful scent (and complex, too). I’m surprised it doesn’t get more attention in the oud community.

  4. MattnDC said,

    March 22, 2011 at 1:18 pm

    Hi Marian:
    Thanks for those updates on ‘smoked’ and ‘aged’ ouds.
    Yes, I had seen the terms on Zahra’s site.
    I replied directly to the original post since the mini-thread has gotten so narrow.
    Hope I’ll be able to post some thoughts on Purana, Cambodi Royale and Thaqeel in a few days.

    • Marian said,

      March 22, 2011 at 1:50 pm

      I’m really curious to hear your thoughts, Matt. I hope you like them as much as I do.

  5. MattnDC said,

    March 16, 2011 at 8:51 am

    Thank you Marian for this woderful post.

    It finally got my going and so I ordered some oud from Taha at AgarAura.

    His Borneo Jewel (now sold out) and Malinau are wonderful things. Quite beautiful.
    My only previous experience with Aoud was a sniff or two in Dubai, once at Abdu-Samad and once (probably a scent from ASQ also) from an aquaintance’s bottle. Both had that horse stall scent (when the hay is not so fresh).
    But these Borneos are very different:
    (excepted from an email to Taha on Borneo Jewel):

    “Well, all I can say is it is ENTIRELY different than those Ouds at Abu Samad al-Qurashi. No funkyness. At all.

    This is like an incredible walk in the woods – to me (and I know this is the impression of an untrained nose) – it is like a burst of pine and spruce pitch with Cedar and Patchouli and Vetiver all at the same time. Instant impressions of deep woods, the rich smell of aromatic roots, and the fresh earth around them. It is so odd, because the forest impression seems both tropical and boreal at the same time.

    Very wonderful, and this was just an accidental touch.”

    The Malinau is less earthy, more flute-like as you say. Here the image shifted for me from a walk in the forest to visiting some wood worker/ oil painters shop – linseed oils, lacquer, varnishes, just-sawn aromatic woods – another strong image of a place, but a diffent place.

    I think both these oils will appeal to incense folks, due to the very intense woodiness.

    Matt

    • Marian said,

      March 16, 2011 at 9:52 am

      What great descriptions, Matt! You captured the essences of those oils perfectly. If Taha has any more of his Royale around you might consider trying it. It’s very, very different from the oils you purchased, and it’s one of the nicest Cambodians around. Also, a lot of people really like his Purana. It’s Indian, like the ASAQ oils you dislike, but without any horsey-ness. It took me a while to become fond of Indian ouds, but I’m so glad I gave them a chance. Purana is one of the gentlest Indians I’ve sampled, yet it retains the dignified character that makes Indian oils distinctive.

      • MattnDC said,

        March 16, 2011 at 12:05 pm

        Thanks Marian, for the kind words and recommendations.
        As for those recommendations – I had already ordered Purana (along with a full bottle of Borneo Jewel). Although the Cambodi Royale is now sold out, Taha is going to try to get some fraction of a bottle out of remnants he has. Also, I took a big plunge and ordered some Thaqeel (from ASAQ) from him.

        And by the way, I have a couple of ASAQ mukhallats I really like. So it isn’t ASAQ as a company I was reacting to, just those particular oils, from a complete Oud beginner’s perspective! I am positive the Sales Clerk in Dubai did not hand me Thaqeel to sniff. 🙂

        Also not dissing horse stalls – A nice clean barn with fresh straw, the mare chomping on molasses oats, of a Pennsylvania winter’s evening – that scent captured in a bottle might just bring tears of joy to my eyes.

        Anyway, I am very excited to see how these new oils differ from the Borneos. This is going to be quite a learning curve, in every sense.

        Matt

        • Marian said,

          March 16, 2011 at 2:37 pm

          Thaqeel was the first oud I absolutely fell in love with. You can really lose yourself in it’s opulence-people who haven’t smelled oud before might mistake it for a very beautiful and sophisticated “perfume”. There’s only 1 problem with Thaqeel- it will spoil you forever 🙂 It’s a cornucopia of port-soaked figs, thick plum jam, oozing caramel, honied tobacco, pert cinnamon and the merest wisps of light-footed vapour and wholesome barnyard. It’s a glamorous woman wrapped in satin and furs, golden jewelry gleaming on deep bronze skin, warm sensuality and sparkling ardor that hypnotize and titillate. Can you tell how much I like/admire it? I’d love to see your face when you smell it 🙂
          What are your favorite ASAQ mukhallats, Matt?

          • MattnDC said,

            March 17, 2011 at 7:52 am

            Wow, every desciption I have read of Thaqeel borders on the Ecstatic. Yours is just a delight to read.

            Mukhallats:

            I have two – both are labled briefly in arabic, there may be longer names for them:

            Arnaas: Spicy, frankincense blend. It wears kind of linearly, does not last a looong time like Ouds. Not a flowery smell at all, one I think westerners might decirbe as masculine?

            Abdus-Samad: Rose and tobacco(?) and sharp oud like top notes, dries down to a very smooth and sweet misk/anbar finish. That last dry down portion lasts a very long time and lingers on cuffs of jackets for days and days…

            I gave my mom and sister some Hala December and they love it, also my sister in law likes her bottle of Dumuu` A-Dhahab (Tears of Gold). They all picked those scencs over the Abdus-Samad.

            • Marian said,

              March 17, 2011 at 8:08 am

              I’m familiar with Khaltat Arnas. Mine has a strong, herbal patchouli note. In fact I can’t make out anything else in it, although I was told it contains rose, oud and musk! Agreed- very masculine. Hala December is one of their most popular female scents-an orange, vanilla, rose and white musk blend, if I remember right. I’ve never smelled the other 2 you mention. Too bad their perfumes aren’t more readily available.
              You’ve given me the idea of doing a post on mukhallats. I could limit it to the oud-based ones 🙂 I can see how mukhallats might be a good introduction to pure oud, and they might appeal to a wider audience.

              • MattnDC said,

                March 17, 2011 at 9:04 am

                Ahh, Patchouli. I did not pick it out, but it makes perfect sense. It is a very tight blend I agree! At ASAQ, I asked for a blend with khashab (can mean both ‘wood’ and ‘frankincense’). But I mostly mentioned the frankincense hre ’cause a friend said after a little sniff of my wrist – “Oh, you smell like Frankincense!”. Now that I am experiencing the Ouds in pure form, it will be fun to revisit Arnaas and try to pick out the notes better!
                In Dubai at least the ASAQ folks speak no english and my arabic is not good enough to really have detailed discussions…

                Marian, have you considered talking about what happens to Ouds when they are aged and smoked?

                • Marian said,

                  March 17, 2011 at 10:33 am

                  Matt- I’ve seen the effect that sunning and oxidation have on oud, and I’ve noticed how the ouds I’ve owned the longest have become smoother and more mellow. I’ve smelled some ouds that are a LOT smokier than others but I’m embarrassed to admit that it’s never occurred to me to wonder why. I would be very appreciative if you could educate me, particularly about smokiness. The smokiest oud I ever tried was Agarscent’s Steamed Kuphang. (I gave it to someone who was able to appreciate it more than I was). One interesting thing I’ve noticed- that some ouds smell smokier outdoors. Again- I never asked myself why. Now you’ve got me curious!

                • Marian said,

                  March 17, 2011 at 10:15 pm

                  I asked Taha what makes an oil smell smoky and he said it’s when the distillation is done at high temperatures and the wood is soaked and fermented. If I find out anything else I’ll post it.

                  • MattnDC said,

                    March 18, 2011 at 5:57 am

                    Thanks Marian,
                    I actually was just asking the question and dont know the answers myself. It is just that some ASAQ oils are described as ‘aged’ and ‘smoked’.. so I was wondering.

                    • Marian said,

                      March 18, 2011 at 6:49 am

                      Maybe you’re looking at Zahra’s site? If so, I wouldn’t pay any attention. Aged, however, usually means that the oil was sunned, or lamped, after distillation in order to get rid of the “still notes” that are common to new distillations. I was told that sometimes they are kept in the bottle to “age” before being marketed but I don’t know if that’s true. I’ve never heard of oils being “smoked”, although they might smell more, or less, smoky, apparently because they were cooked at high temperatures. Sorry I can’t be more helpful.

                    • Marian said,

                      March 18, 2011 at 11:57 am

                      I have some more information (thanks to Mr. Chowdhury of Oudline) on why some ouds smell “smokey”:
                      1) the oil was steam distilled
                      2) the boilers are old and rusty
                      And, as previously mentioned, the oud was soaked too long and was distilled at too high a temperature in order to increase yield.

  6. Marian said,

    March 11, 2011 at 3:51 pm

    DaveR- if you read through the agarwood thread on BN you will find many negative comments relating to the authenticity and purity of QT’s oils that were posted by experienced “users”. You might want to review the thread before making a purchase.

    • DaveR said,

      March 11, 2011 at 11:22 pm

      Hey Marian…

      Thanks for the heads-up concerning QT’s store. I’ll definitely read the thread on BN.

      Cheers.

      • apsara said,

        March 12, 2011 at 10:34 am

        Scroll to comment # 21 by Aghora on this basenotes discussion:

        http://www.basenotes.net/threads/206040-Agarwood-(oud)-oil!

        It answers some of my previous question about adulteration of agarwood oil. The commenter is spot on with her comments on sandalwood oil, and her observations as to how and how often oud oil is “stretched” are worth taking into account. She mentions her negative experience with QT.

        A lot of online companies sell oud attars, and it is a good idea to stay away from these, as there are simply no traditional attars anymore (i.e.fragrance distilled in pure sandalwood oil – there is no santalum album since years, period). See the following article, which also explains the term DOP that is mentioned by Aghora’s comment, and which says how this perfume company still produces 4 tons of Attar in one month! Most of it is synthetic.

        http://businesstoday.intoday.in/bt/story/fleeting-fragrance.html/1/2521.html

        I have splurged recently on two samples, one of them Kyara Koutan, because my curiosity got the better of me. But I was well aware that one gram of Kyara sells for $500, which would bring the price of one kilo to five million dollars. Even if the price was only one million, how much oil can you distill from one kilo of wood? Ten milliliters or just five? True Kyara oil would be in the hundreds of thousands of dollars for a small vial. I was well aware that half a gram at the cost of $100 could not possibly contain more than a trace of Kyara oil, despite the fact that it is marketed under that name.

        I enjoy the five different oils / samples that I have, but I am also aware that oud can become quite the obsession – a very expensive one.

        • Marian said,

          March 12, 2011 at 11:19 am

          Apsara: Thanks for the 2 links. Both underscore why it’s so important only to purchase oud oils from established and trusted sellers. Trygve Harris has written extensively about the adulteration of ouds and attars here: http://www.absolutetrygve.blogspot.com/ She has actually slept in a distillation plant for days on end to make sure the oil she was purchasing for Enfleurage was unadulterated.

          According to “Traffic India” “black agarwood” yields .09-2.5% of oil. If a distiller could afford to purchase and distill true Kyara the price of the oil would be prohibitive. I think the name “Kyara Khoutan” is intended to be symbolic of the oil’s quality- nowhere is it stated that the oil was actually distilled from Kyara grade wood. ‘Kyara is that mystical figure spoken of in folklore of every kind. Its home is not India; it’s not Vietnam; it’s not here, nor there. In its place you find the heart of that unmistakable aroma: Green. Woody.” I personally enjoy the poetic descriptions on Oriscent’s website- they make enjoyable reading.

          • apsara said,

            March 12, 2011 at 12:45 pm

            Hi, thanks for your input, “not here nor there” describes me. I have gone on a long drive two days ago, and I put a trace of Kyara Koutan on my wrist before leaving. It has a turpentine quality, but more ephemerally than Borneo 3000, somewhat on a higher octave. My hands were in the sun the whole day while driving, and more than any of the other notes, the turpentine note lasted for almost seven hours, I was surprised. But I like it…for me, the thing with oud oil is that I keep wanting to take a whiff, whereas I can’t stand commercial perfumes for more than two whiffs, let alone having them on this body’s skin. Which is why I am a candidate for falling prey to the oud obsession, but try to keep it in check for sake of my wallet.

            • Marian said,

              March 12, 2011 at 12:55 pm

              It is amazing how long that turpy note lasts. On me it softens up and becomes more muted, but rarely does it entirely disappear.
              One of my favorite things about oud is catching an unexpected whiff of whatever I’m wearing while going about my day, especially when I’m taking a walk on a breezy day. Although there are quite a few (especially Indian) oils that have me obsessively sniffing my wrist, I’ve never experienced that same magnetism coming from a Western perfume.
              Good luck with your self-discipline 🙂 Please keep us posted how you’re doing 🙂

  7. Anne said,

    March 10, 2011 at 4:52 am

    Lovely article, Marian. It’s informative and interesting and makes me want to go out and purchase oud oils. Alas, the price! The price! It’s no surprise really how expensive oud oils are, given the high cost of agarwood. Nonetheless, I’ll probably eventually get around to making a purchase of oud oil sometime down the line.

    • Marian said,

      March 10, 2011 at 7:33 am

      I know- the price is a big stumbling block. That’s why it’s such a boon when sellers sell samples. The first time I purchased one I was (unpleasantly) surprised by how tiny it was but it turned out to be enough for quite a few applications- only a drop is needed- and most importantly it made the decision of whether to buy the oil an easy one.

      • glennjf said,

        March 17, 2011 at 4:03 pm

        I’ve been resisting and resisting the idea of trying any simply because of the costs but I’m flagging now in the light of there being samples that can be purchased and not break the bank. I will now look at adding one lone oud to my list of things to try before I die. Probably it will be a cambodian and I’ll be hoping it’ll be enough to ease the itch or else I’ll have to consider selling the house and going back to renting!

        • Marian said,

          March 17, 2011 at 4:47 pm

          A sample is a very sensible place to start. But I gotta warn you-oud is kinda like potato chips in that it’s hard to eat just one 🙂

          • glennjf said,

            March 18, 2011 at 3:45 pm

            Potato chips 🙂 Wonder what they’re like steam distilled?

  8. Marian said,

    March 9, 2011 at 6:31 am

    Laotians can be pretty skanky, Raj.If all of my ouds were from Laos I’d call the group of them an “arsenal” and not a “collection” 🙂

  9. Raj said,

    March 9, 2011 at 5:35 am

    That was an great description of the varieties out there, I never though Laotian were that barnyard, but then again I never smelled some. I associated them with Cambodian for some weird reason. Do write more articles here if possible, I’m pretty sure people want to hear more from you.

  10. Marian said,

    March 7, 2011 at 10:43 am

    Thanks, Ross. I owe a ton to all my fellow forum members on the BN agarwood thread who taught me 99% of everything I know. Special thanks to Taha (agaraura.com), Abu (aluwwah.com), Mr.P and F. who have shared their knowledge and expertise with passion, humor and infinite patience.

  11. Ross Urrere said,

    March 7, 2011 at 10:15 am

    Great piece Marian. Packed with a huge amount of information on a subject that can be very hard to get insight into. Plus just googling some of the companies(Oudline looks to have a wonderful showroom) and names could be a days long internet journy. Thanks -Ross

  12. Marian said,

    March 7, 2011 at 6:53 am

    Masha- If’ you’d like to try an Indian oud that isn’t fecal, I’d suggest Agar Aura’s Purana, Oriscent’s Nuh, RK Sons Koh-i-noor or Abdul Samad Al Qurashis Kalakassi.
    I haven’t found a good source for Vietnamese oud oils. I’ve sampled a few from Secoin, which I believe are distilled from plantation oud. The one I liked the best from Secoin was very fruity (bubble gum-y) but it had an acrid plastic note that, for me, ruined it. Whose Vietnamese oil did you try? If you have a different source I’d be curious to sample their product(s).

    • DaveR said,

      March 11, 2011 at 2:54 pm

      I’ve had this supplier of oils in my favorites for some time. I haven’t purchased from them yet but they seem to have some very interesting and vintage examples…

      http://stores.ebay.com/QTs-Store

      Cheers.

  13. Masha said,

    March 7, 2011 at 4:05 am

    I’m with you, Cambodian oud is very friendly, it’s my favorite. I’ve sadly never tried an Indian oud that hasn’t “barnyarded” me out, but I do love the Vietnamese ouds I’ve tried. Now I have to seek out some of the others you mentioned!


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