There are very few wild Agarwood trees left in the world due to over-harvesting. This has created another issue; the early-harvesting of cultivated trees. Harvesting these trees early has resulted in a less potent Oud oil, because the resin has not been aged long enough while the tree is alive.
Many of you will be familiar with the smell of synthetic Oud in modern perfumes. This is not what we are talking about. We are talking about Oud from nature, from a tree.
Oud is a journey through scent with all sorts of interesting ‘breezes’ making appearances over time; like a treasure trove of nature referencing smells from the barnyard to spring blossoms.
I like to think of ‘barnyard’ as the smell of Mother Nature regenerating. There are also other words used to describe this aspect of some Oud oils, especially the Hindi oils. Cambodi Ouds (agarwood trees grown in the Cambodia/Thailand area) are less barnyardy while the Papuan Oud is more floral. The medicinal note is a fleeting feature of many true Oud oils. These are very broad descriptions; a universe of scent swirls around in each Oud oil.
We interviewed Ensar from Ensar Oud last month about The End of Oud and the beginning of sustainable cultivation.
Ensar has been keeping his eye on a 60-year-old cultivated tree in Thailand that just recently began to show signs of readiness for harvest. An ethical choice to harvest this tree at 60 years old instead of earlier means that a rare oil has just been produced. There is a video; you can follow the making of this oil from harvest, through distillation to its manifestation as Oud Yaqoub.
This is an Oud oil to keep and age as the scent profile will change with time. Keep away from sunlight and smell or swipe every year or as suits your yearning.
A perfumer-to-be would think this a rare ingredient. I would consider this release to be a collector’s item. The yield from the tree was 23 tolas ~ 268 grams.
Narcotic à la the finest jasmine, Oud Yaqoub is already the finest Cambodi you’ll ever lay nostrils on. Age it a year or two, and you’ll be in possession of one of the Greats of all time.
The most interesting aspects of this oil are the intoxicating flowers: jasmine sambac, ylang ylang, sweet violet and rose that permeate the whole journey.
Nomenclature: Lest you be confused by the word ‘experiment’ in the name Oud Yaqoub Experiment I have asked for clarification from Thomas at Ensar Oud. Here is his explanation.
When we started our journey with organic oud, our focus was not only on ethical and sustainable harvesting practices. We also wanted to imbue these new distillations with the techniques and standards that you find in our vintage ouds. The ‘Experiment’ not only refers to this oud being a custom distillation, but also that it’s a departure from the norm. Oud Yaqoub’s fragrance attests to how the distillation tweaks we put in place were able to produce an oil that’s against the grain when it comes to the typical Cambodi/Thai scent profile.