Hailing from the rolling hills of Sylhet in Bangladesh, a picturesque region resplendent with lush tea gardens and tropical rainforests, this is most definitely NOT Hindi oud as you know it.
For most of us, traditional Hindi oud means barnyard and animalics. Love-it-or-hate-it affairs that are simply irreplaceable to their seasoned fans, and just downright offensive to everyone else.
Enter Sylhet Orchard, an artisanal distillation that showcases what high grade, wild Bengali oud can actually smell like. Gathered predominantly from the jungles of Sylhet Division and distilled using a special setup with zero fermentation, this oud firmly closes the door of the barn behind it and takes you on a summery sunshine-filled stroll amongst Sylhet’s fragrant orchards and hills.
Remarkably similar to excellent Thai or Cambodi oils, the scent opens up with a warm concoction of dark stewed fruits, honey, cinnamon and plums with a delicate tanginess reminiscent of green sultanas and hay perhaps, all streaming out together like the sun-ripened harvest of a luscious, fragrant orchard.
As the scent progresses, the green sultana-like tanginess comes to the forefront alongside a leathery facet, balancing out the profile beautifully against the sweet stewed fruits, before eventually reaching a light minty and sweet woody drydown.
Despite being a Bengal distillation, it’s amazing how Cambodian and Thai-esque this smells, but with a warm and radiantly yellow hue to it, and a beautifully rich and intense profile unlike many of today’s cultivated offerings from those regions.
Distilled in the first half of 2021, Sylhet Orchard has been ageing with me for several months now and already its profile has become a lot more beautiful and rounded, with the harsh edges disappearing and its profile becoming sweeter and richer, and it will continue to mature with time of course.
So, if you’re in search of an outstanding and unique distillation that will challenge your perception of what a Bengal oud can be… or can’t be, or you’re simply looking for a gorgeously pretty oud masquerading à la perfume to wear on the London Underground or NYC’s subway, I would highly recommend you try this.