It certainly falls under the ‘classic Indian profile’ category, but its quite unusual too. Sure, many of the distillation techniques employed to craft this oil were more traditional compared to Aatma, but you might recall that we threw in our own modifications. Sniffing my wrist right now, its like a classic Hindi oud profile being screened through some very unexpected ‘filters’.
The opening is unusually Borneo-esque. Or north Papuan. There’s something bright and ‘happy’ about the opening. Something very Indonesian.
And right after that stage, I could swear I’m smelling a Thai oil. Not the super-sweet fruity type, but the deep smoky kind, with the sweeter notes taking the back seat.
So what’s next – the Hindi (finally)? Nope. A sweet tawny leather aroma that’s more Burmese than anything. A happy marriage of leather, barny and fruity notes.
Just when I’m wondering what’s going on, the Hindiness finally takes over. You can smell Aatma embedded in this oil – that sweet, creamy smooth woodiness. One thing you’ll notice is that this oil is very soft (much like the famous Kalakassi Indian oud), and smells like its been aged more than it actually has. That is thanks to one of our ‘own modifications’.
You see, when it comes to crafting an oud oil, there are countless variables that you can tinker with, and each modification has its effect on the scent. The result of our tinkering is a traditional Indian oud that’s just about as smooth as a classic Indian oud can get. It doesn’t have the fleeting lightheartedness of Aatma, it smells darker; it doesn’t have the pungency of classic Hindis, its smoother.
It has a classic Indian profile, but its smooth and soft, and its not too distant a departure from the scent of gently heated Indian agarwood chips.
Prior to distillation, most Indian distillers soak the wood for a long period of time. A month, 3 months, even 5 months. Quite a bit of microbial activity takes place during this period, and this fermentation is actually the reason why Indian ouds are often fecal and pungent.
For creating Aatma, there was no fermentation involved. Just a quick soak to make the wood fibers softer and more penetrable. As for Bhavana, the wood was soaked for longer – 17 days. Enough for the wood to ‘bond’ with the water and for the fibers to get softened for better water penetration, but not long enough for the typical unpleasant notes to develop.
An extremely gentle distillation followed. Gentler distillations yield softer and friendlier smelling oils. The yield from the first 5 days was collected. We conferred it the name Bhavana.
It is the absolute essence of the most classic Indian profile, but softer, and modified to tone down typical notes that many find unpleasant to a point where they are enjoyable.
And its also the essence of India itself. The wood got to marinate for 17 days in Indian groundwater. It bonded with it, and was seasoned with the minerals naturally found in the water there. As a matter of fact, since the oil is still relatively young, a keen nose will be able to detect a slight mineral smell in the dry down. This will disappear after a few months. But for now, when I smell it I can’t help but picture myself in India, with my face turned to the heavens and my arms stretched out, getting drenched in a late summer Indian monsoon rain shower. Truly a taste of the Motherland of Oud.
Note 1: I’ve repeated the word ‘tinkering’ several times in this post. Please note that this oil has NOT been adulterated with any other substance – be it a natural, synthetic, stretching, spiking, or any other kind of agent. Matter of fact, if you find a single foreign molecule in this oil via a GC/MS test, I will not only refund you the full cost of the lab test, but I will give you a full refund for your purchase of the oil as well.
When I say tinkering, I’m referring to selecting certain distillation techniques and dropping others. And the choice of (the type of) wood used for crafting the oil. The treatment, distillation and curing times, and so on.
Note 2: As you can see from the photo above, only a small quantity of this oil was produced – around 7 tolas, so make sure you grab yours before its gone!
Note 3: You will also notice that its in a dark amber bottle. The oil is so smooth and soft that I do not want it to get oxidized or exposed to light at all. I recommend you store your bottle in a cool dark place as well.
Bhavana. Get a taste of India.