With our Kemenyan sold out and no other Indonesian oil in the AgarAura catalog for some weeks, I’m sure many of you guessed I would be releasing a new Borneo oud oil soon.
To date, I have released 5 main ‘genres’ of Borneo oud oils. There were the jungly and earthy types (Borneo Jewel, Borneo Symphony), fruity (Jiwa Borneo, Oud Malinau), utterly woody (Borneo Hutan), dark (Borneo Noir), and resinous (East Kalimantan LTD, Kemenyan).
There is a 6th genre, but I have not released it publicly yet (although some of you have already purchased some through private sales) – and that is: bright, fizzy and ethereal. I plan to release oils of this genre later on this year.
Kuno Kayu is a clean and incredibly fruity oud oil with scrumptious notes of orange marmalade and ripe melons. It even beats most Cambodian/Thai ouds in its sweet fruitiness. There is a mouthwatering vanilla note intermingled with the fruits which makes me think of an orange-and-melon creamsicle.
Kuno Kayu happens to be from the same region of Borneo island as our old Oud Malinau and Jiwa Borneo oud oils, the region most prized for its agarwood: Malinau. But although it has the classic citrus and melon notes of any great Malinau oil, it was distilled in a fashion similar to Kemenyan which gives it a gummy and deep resinous character like Kemenyan’s.
Many of you will immediately make the connection between this oil and the sinking-grade Borneo chips I recently sold out of. And that’s no surprise because those chips were, after all, from Malinau as well!
The wood used for this distillation was collected over a period of about 8 months. With wild trees dwindling at an alarming rate, its getting harder to procure wood from this region that is worth distilling AgarAura oils from.
There have been some questions raised about whether the wild-harvested wood for my Borneo oils is truly wild or not. I can assure you that not only were the trees for all of the oils mentioned earlier wild-harvested, but they were (more importantly) all naturally infected as well. I will be writing up another blog entry later, outlining exactly why and how I am able to get truly wild Borneo agarwood (i.e. growing in the jungle, and with naturally occurring resin) in this day and age, when finding such a thing is comparable to finding a needle in a haystack.
It is common practice in Indonesia – as is elsewhere – to use chemical inoculants to trigger resin formation in trees; not just in plantations but even in trees growing in the wild. Oils extracted from inoculated Borneo trees have a very distinct and unmistakable aroma. Aside from the fact that they’re utterly flat and lack complexity, they simply smell ‘wrong’. There is a strong seedy note, like soaked sunflower seeds. Or the smell of fermenting tea bags. Or latex. I tested a lot of inoculated ouds when I visited Indonesia last year, and until things start getting better, I’ve decided to stay away from Borneo agarwood obtained from inoculated trees.
A total of about 350kg was procured from Malinau for distillation, some of it being used for crafting this oil and part of it being saved for a different distillation method. I want you to see for yourselves how much changing (what might appear to be ‘minor’) distillations factors can affect the smell of the resulting oil.
With our last two Borneo oils being our most expensive offerings to date, some of you might be wondering why Kuno Kayu is selling for only $350. There are a couple of reasons for that.
First and foremost, I have decided to lower my profit margins for new AgarAura releases. This past year has been amazing, and with the extra sales volume I only saw it fit to lower my prices.
Secondly, by now I have fine-tuned the various distillation designs for different scent genres, which reduces risks and costs. In the case of oud, distillation yield follows a Laffer-curve pattern. Up to a certain point, increasing the quality of wood (i.e. the amount of oleoresin in the raw material) improves the smell and also increases the yield – all the way up to the Optimal Point. Beyond that, increasing the quality (and cost) of the raw material does not result in an increase in the oil’s quality, or hardly makes a difference. Furthermore, the Law of Diminishing Marginal Return kicks in so the yield also goes down. Essentially, it costs more for no justifiable reason. By avoiding this unnecessary expense by distilling close to the Optimal Point, not only do I manage to lower my costs but you, the customer, also save. Everybody wins. : )
Those of you who frequent my blog or are subscribed for updates & coupons can also use the coupon code KUNO30 by the 15th of July to get an additional $30 off.