Maluku: Wood from the “Island of the Kings”

Some woods smell super sweet- like melted brown sugar infused with vanilla- and others are bone dry. Gregg’s Maluku, harvested and distilled in a small island off the coast of Indonesia, is agreeably in between. The bittersweet scent of cocoa and the fresh, clean scent of newly sawn wood happily coexist along with the robust, spicy liveliness of cinnamon. My favorite slivers have a very minty green/ cucumber/honeydew scent. The deeper smelling pieces are bold and invigorating; the minty pieces are light, cool and refreshing. Maluku is not the most resinous wood but with an electric burner on a low heat setting I’m able to enjoy even very small pieces for a satisfyingly long time and because it is reasonably priced I feel as though I can burn it liberally without its burning a hole in my pocket.
I was happy to discover that Maluku is perfectly paired with Rou Gui oolong tea. The staunch robustness and cassia flavor of the tea accentuates the vigor and tempered sweetness of the wood. Thank you, Gregg! On this gray and chillingly wet February afternoon your wood is exactly what I needed to sweeten, bolster and fortify my spirits!

4 Comments

  1. March 8, 2013 at 7:07 am

    Hi ! I like Incense of Nag Champa. I am Crazy about it. i heard that it used for perfume.

    • Marian said,

      March 8, 2013 at 8:41 am

      I have some champaca absolute that smells like a combination of apricot, or maybe some very ripe, tropical fruit, cloves and ylang-ylang. You’re right- it is used in perfumery. Ormonde Jayne’s “Champaca” and Tom Ford’s Champaca Absolute both feature that particular flower.

  2. Gregg King said,

    February 23, 2013 at 2:53 pm

    Well, glad you liked at least one of the woods I sent you anyhow 🙂 The Malaku is indeed a nice wood, and one rather off of the radar of discussion of most agarwood boards, perhaps due to the remoteness of the Ambon Island area in comparison to Borneo, which is the “In” place it seems. However, in general I would agree with Hishams assessment that a majority of the Borneo woods start off with a rather “plastic” smell, although finishing with better aromas, while the woods from any of the outlying islands have more character. There are, as you noted, 2 distinct types of aroma characteristics of the Malaku area wood, the “twisted” wood having one aroma, while the pointy wood displays the other. The Bangka Island is another favorite of mine, that unlike the Malaku, while it doesn’t appear to have much resin content, once you start top heat it, the resin doesn’t stop 🙂 However, it is more pricey, and more inline with the Malinau, just a better quality of wood.

    • Marian said,

      February 23, 2013 at 3:05 pm

      Just because I haven’t yet written about your other woods doesn’t mean I don’t like them 😛 That you have such a large variety is quite remarkable and I consider myself very fortunate to have tried a number of them. I’ve heard quite a few people complain about how often they’re ripped off when purchasing wood on the Internet. So- not only am I appreciative of the selection of woods you make available but your honesty and fairness are something that I never take for granted. There are few sellers I know who I’m sure will never take advantage of their clients but you, in my experience, certainly are one of them 🙂


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