Bhavana: Custom distillation techniques embrace age-old tradition
Bhavana is a fascinating adventure in the world of oud distillation, just as it is an olfacory adventure in the broad scent spectrum that it offers.
Right after the distillation of Aatma and Hindi Khalis was concluded, I told the distiller to craft yet another oud. The oil was to be distilled from agarwood stock virtually identical to that used for making Aatma, but with slightly different techniques.
Bhavana was crafted using more traditional Indian distillation methods, but with AgarAura’s meticulous preferences and our own modifications thrown in for good measure.
The result: an oil with a bottomless depth, and a scent spectrum that encompasses that of Aatma’s and adds to it. Where Aatma is a clear and crisp rendition of the first whisps of oud smoke rising from heated Indian agarwood chips, Bhavana offers the same but within a composition of more classic Indian oud notes.
If Aatma is brighter, friskier and more spirited, Bhavana is the darker, more mature and composed elder brother.
Most Indian oud oils have a pungent, fecal and barnyard character. With Aatma, the aim was to create an oil completely devoid of this. As for Bhavana, the distillation method was meticulously designed to steer clear of all harsh and fecal elements; however the smoky, deep, barnyard and leather notes were carefully designed to be part of the scent, but toned down and tamed to make them enjoyable and unoffensive. Bhavana was extracted from the first 5 days of distillation only, to preserve the oil’s pristine clarity.
The opening has a bright ethereal quality, with top notes of sweet hay, honey and peaches. Smoky tobbaco and leather notes surface after a few minutes, and create a nice contrast between the brighter and darker facets of this oil.
As the oil develops on the skin, a sweet butterscotch toffee note emerges which rides beautifully atop the deep, opulent base.
Bhavana and Aatma are like the same landscape, seen on two different days. Or painted by two different hands. If Aatma is a painting in the Impressionist style, Bhavana is unmistakably Baroque.