The origins of Oud oil, this precious stuff we all love so much, can be traced back to either Assam or Sylhet. The answer to which one of these predates the other will depend on whether you ask a Bengali or an Indian, but one thing is certain: it was in Assam, India, where the first full-fledged oud distillation industry was born.
But this post is not about the evolution of Assamese distillation methodology, nor is it about the extinction of wild agarwood in Assam (which, fyi, has been officially extinct since ~ the 1950’s). I will briefly touch on these topics as well, but this post is primarily about a rare, elusive aroma. An aroma whose reputation precedes its recognition, and its actual existence today is usually more fiction than fact.
- 1 hunter busted his knee. He’s recovering fine.
- 2 hunters were admitted to the hospital with serious injuries sustained. One expedition was canceled entirely due to this.
- In other news, 3 weeks ago one of Yusof’s friends (a hunter in Malaysia) died in the jungle, poisoned by drinking water that was contaminated with a rat-carried parasite.
- And a few months ago, another one of his friends fell off a cliff and died. He remains in an impenetrable thicket, because his friends were unable to reach the corpse.
Its about time more people started “doing things right”, won’t you agree?
Sadly, the big bosses’ greed is too strong a driving force in this industry, and its the poor that suffer because of it.
Over the years, we’ve released numerous oud oils from countless jungles across South East Asia, and you already know by now that no two batches of wild oud are ever alike. The most obvious reason for this is the specific set of chemical reactions that take place inside the tree. Even two sister-trees standing side-by-side in a jungle will display aromatic variance.
What I’m going through is nothing.
Sure, I nearly fainted several times (and in the most inconvenient of spots, like crossing a tree trunk over a creek 6 feet below), got bruised up, punctured, bitten, and more sore than a gruelling cardio session. Continue reading
For lovers of ‘barnyard’ style ouds, it doesn’t get any better than Lao oud. For those averse to animalic/fecal/cheesy ouds, Lao oud is probably at the bottom of their wish list.
But is this funky aroma really intrinsic to Lao oud?
One only has to look at the countries surrounding Laos, and its easy then to know what Lao oud should smell like.
Burma to the west, China to the North, Vietnam to the east, and Cambodia and Thailand to the south – Laos lies at the very heart of the regions that give us Aquilaria Crassna (called Mai Ketsana here). Continue reading
Its no secret: oud oil prices have been going up like crazy over the past 5 years. When you look at the price of agarwood in the market, even at the wholesale level, each grade of wood today is approximately 3-10 times the price it was back in 2003 (and the highest grades over 40 times more than they were in 1995)!
So it makes sense that as the price of wild agarwood continues to rise, the price of oils should go up as well, right?
Agar Aura’s Byakudan No. 1 is our first ever hands-on non-oud distillation.
Although it was meant to be part of the private ‘Syed Series‘ collection of oils which I distill for myself and only share with a very small number of people due to the insane costs and limited availablity of certain batches of raw materials, in the case of Byakudan No. 1 the cost-per-gram turned out to be close enough to being ‘sane’ so I decided to share it with a larger circle of lovers of high grade artisanal oils.