Perhaps one of the darkest ouds I’ve come across to date, this gorgeous Gyrinops Versteegii comes to you from Sumbawa island in Indonesia, part of the Lesser Sunda Islands chain that also includes Komodo, the land of Komodo dragons.
Largely forgotten to history, Sumbawa was once witness to one of the greatest natural events of the modern era, and yet one that few know about today.
On the 10th of April, 1815, Mount Tambora, a volcano on the north side of Sumbawa island erupted. It was one of the most powerful volcanic eruptions in recorded human history, and one of only several such VEI-7 eruptions in the last 2,000 years.
Such was the intensity of the blast that it was heard 2,600 kilometres away, and triggered a period of global cooling known as the “year without a summer” in 1816, causing failed harvests and extreme weather conditions worldwide. Anyways, a fascinating history that I thought was worth sharing, but back to the oud.
Almost as if still living in the shadow of Mount Tambora’s volcanic eruption, this ultra-thick oil opens up with a broodingly dark, wet and smoky earthiness; like the pitch black silence of a charred jungle floor; balanced by a lightly vanillic and spicy undercurrent, which together combine to create an incense-like quality that is simply beautiful.
As the scent progresses, it becomes more spicy and woody with a hint, perhaps, of the deep, dark and soily water of Southeast Asia’s water-logged mangroves. Largely, however, it retains its vanillic, spicy, woody and earthy heart with a hint of smoke through to the drydown.
A zero-soaked, artisanal undertaking with no barn or fermentation notes, Oud Sumbawa is the older brother to Borneo Tarakan, but without the former’s green-tinged heart and instead slightly more smoke, spice and earth. A gorgeous oil for those in search of dark, incensey and ultra-jungly ouds.
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