A sensually green, zero-soak, wild oud oil from Aceh province in Indonesia, Oud Aceh Flora is a sweet, floral, and minty green beauty that reflects, in my mind, the flora of the jungle from where it hails, hence the name. Swiping on the arm, it opens up with a strong blast of all shades of green: bright, grassy, mentholic, minty, jungly and vetivery notes, all accompanied by what reminds me of the powdery scent of rice flour, and perhaps a soft whisper of vanilla in the background. Softening and sweetening as the scent progresses, this exquisitely bright, sweet and sour red cherry emerges, weaving in-between the soft vanilla and dark green jungles to produce what some may call a cola vibe that is simply beautiful. Overall, however, this remains a dark green jungle-type oud which, alongside the gorgeous red cherry note mentioned earlier, also has floral, leathery, vetivery, mossy and even an almost dark, diesel-like facet to it which is hard to accurately describe, but makes it a fascinating oil in any collection.
This is an exceptionally beautiful Bourbon Vetiver essential oil from Reunion Islands that is rich and complex and yet ultra suave and smooth, making it gorgeous worn as an attar or as an ingredient in the natural perfumer's arsenal. Testing on my skin, the aroma immediately oozes with the soft warmth of baked earth, clay, roots and dry soil with a touch of woods, petrichor and campfire smoke. I also detect a beautiful undercurrent of warm sweetness throughout, calling to mind labdanum, tolu balsam, sandalwood, and a variety of other resins and woods that it would pair well with. As a heavy base note, it displays typical soft projection with incredible tenacity, lasting for many days on a paper strip. It also makes for a great study in comparison with Ruh Khus, the wild North Indian variety, which is a much more green, grassy and wet soily affair. Overall, this is a truly beautiful vetiver oil and one that I'd definitely recommend for vetiver connoisseurs and natural perfume enthusiasts alike.
Hailing from the ancient cradle of oud, this is a special 2018 co-distillation of incense-grade oud collected from various regions of Al Hind and beyond. Artisanally distilled, with a short soak, low temperature cook, and several years of ageing now, it’s transformed into a beautifully balanced and rounded profile over time: A very refined Hindi oud full of character and depth, and yet void of all things animalics and barn. As a high-grade Hindi, this can easily be called Kalakassi, but that term is actually a misnomer: an inaccurately-used label that’s often attached to top-drawer Hindis nowadays for marketing purposes*. *(Kalakassi actually refers to one of the shapes of Hindi oud (wood). When a piece of oud is large and concave, i.e. resembles the shape of a banana leaf, it’s classified as Kalakassi, but that has no bearing on its grade or how resinated it is, simply its shape). And hence, I decided to forgo this name for Choron instead, the Bengali distiller’s name for oud shavings. And not any shavings were used here; but the highly resinated shavings of wild, incense-grade oud. And the result is this gorgeous beauty… Ultra-smooth, buttery almost, and complex, it opens up with a waft of soft incense, spices, and gentle tobacco around its beautifully dark Hindi oudy core. As the scent develops, it gains slightly in sweetness, molasses now perhaps, contrasted by tobacco, woods, spices and leather, with a hint of hay and a clean barn somewhere in the distance, before eventually descending into a soft woody and spicy drydown. Choron is most definitely not a loud Hindi oud roaring with animalics and barn, but it also isn’t a squeaky clean new-gen lacking in complexity and depth. Instead, it’s perhaps what many of its namesakes would love to be: A beautiful, delicate, tightrope walk between the two that shows you what Hindi oud, done right, can be.
Golden Sylhet 2021
Every once in a while, you come across an oud oil that just stops you in your tracks. It demands attention. This is one of them. As an oud oil distilled from old wild trees from Sylhet and nearby regions, you know it’s going to be a complex Hindi oud. What you smell however is not just complex, but a sweet, leathery, barny, and smoky Bengal powerhouse that is truly captivating. The scent opens up with an intensely rich sweetness reminiscent of overripe fruits and honey, wafting in-between layers of strong animalic leather and barnyard. As it progresses, the exquisite sweetness is replaced by a warm, spicy, smoky, and barny leather which comes to the forefront, holding centre stage before eventually reaching a sweet woody drydown. Gorgeously warm and radiant, if this scent had a colour it would be gold. The sweet, golden, rays of sunrise penetrating the dense jungles of Sylhet, waking its inhabitants to another day in the wild. Notes: • Please note that is the new 2021 batch. The image will be updated shortly.
Henna Sandalwood Attar
Perhaps most famous for the paste-like hinna dye made from its crushed leaves, the Henna tree (Lawsonia Inermis) has been used since ancient times in Egypt, the Middle East, and the Indian subcontinent to create dye for the skin and hair as well as for fabrics such as silk, wool, and leather. This beautiful Henna attar on the other hand is made from the flowers of the tree, traditionally distilled by Kannauj's famed artisans onto a bed of pure sandalwood oil to produce this exceptionally beautiful attar. Though a simple soliflore, the profile has a wonderful complexity and warmth about it, bursting with a lush yellow earthiness that to me feels soft and fuzzy, reminiscent of the henna powder almost or perhaps somewhat of mimosa and marigold. It's also dry, earthy, herbaceous and floral with a soft sweetness to it and a touch of turmeric-like spice in there, altogether creating a really beautiful and balanced profile. Overall, this is one of my all-time favourites from Kannauj and one that I'd very highly recommend. Collection: Kannauj Series In the Kannauj Series, I explore and share with you the wonderful natural oils and attars of India’s historic perfume capital, Kannauj. The oils in this collection are pure botanical extracts and attars distilled in sandalwood oil by some of Kannauj's most renowned and trusted artisans, who share our passion for distilling the highest quality aromatics and attars. These attars are distilled using the ancient ‘deg and bhapka’ apparatus; a traditional distilling method largely unchanged for 400 years. I hope you enjoy these breathtaking scents of nature from a bygone era, an era fast being forgotten in today's race towards modernity and industrialisation at all costs.
When it comes to the world of oud, there’s a rare shade that catches the eye. Hijau as they call it in Malay. Akhdarr. Green. The shimmering jade of the oud world that’s as rare as it sounds and always a treat. But not all green gaharus are the same of course. There’s the green oceanic marine of the Ceylons, the green cola-jungle vibes of the Acehnese, and the green bitter-cacao incensiness of the Meraukes. And then there’s this hijau. Where the other greens dive with you to the dark depths of oceans and incense-laden jungles, this takes you very much in the opposite direction. Up and up for a breath of fresh air, high above the waves and wilderness, and up into the cotton-candied clouds of Malinau’s air. It doesn’t smell of cotton-candied clouds, of course (?) but opens up instead with a beautiful airiness, a soft powdery cloud of bergamot-like citrus alongside wildflowers and honey, all underpinned by the tiniest hint of violet leaf’s green powderiness in the background. With time, this incredible opening slowly settles and gains in sweetness, slightly resembling to me the tart and powdery scent of raspberries, or a mysterious narcotic floral of the tropics, before eventually arriving at its sweet green oudy drydown. Artisanally distilled from high grade wild Malinau oud, the result is nothing short of sensational. One waft of this will tell you all you need to know about why true Malinau is one of the most sought-after profiles of Borneo - itself replete with many other treasured regions - and why its gorgeous old gaharus are only getting rarer with every passing year.
Botanical Name: Pogostemon cablin Origin: India, 2022 Process: Iron-Distilled Essential Oil, Dark Note: Base Perfumery: Excellent fixative This is a gorgeous iron-distilled Indian patchouli oil bursting with its characteristically sweet, warm, rich, herbaceous, spicy, minty, woody, and earthy profile that makes it so valuable in natural perfumery and perfumery at large. Comparing this Indian distillation to the more common Indonesian one, I personally prefer the Indian variety due to its deeper and richer profile that feels more earthy, chocolaty, and almost caramel-like in its sweetness, compared with its more herbaceous, minty and fruity Indonesian counterpart that feels lighter and more top-note heavy. An incredibly versatile oil due to its outstandingly beautiful and complex profile, patchouli is a great fixative that can find use in almost all accords, from earthy, green and forest-type blends to spicy orientals, florals, and woods. It also improves with ageing if stored correctly, and should become smoother, rounder and fuller in profile with time.
Ruh Khus 2020
This is a beautiful example of India's famed Ruh Khus, the essential oil distilled from the roots of wild vetiver plants (Vetiveria zizanioides) in northern India. Distilled in 2020, it now has a beautifully soft and rounded profile with almost no harsh notes, displaying a soft and yet ultra-dense character instead (much like oud and sandalwood, vetiver improves with age, the scent becoming deeper and more rounded). Testing on my skin, it opens up with a quiet, complex and yet very smooth leathery and rooty profile - a touch more than others I've encountered - before slowly revealing its classic Ruh Khus profile: an incredibly rich bouquet of green grass along with leafy, earthy, rooty, leathery and woody notes that lasts for many hours. Gorgeous worn neat as a standalone attar, its excellent tenacity and fixative properties also make it an exceptional base note and ingredient in natural perfumery, working well in fougères, chypres and mossy, woody and green accords amongst others. Note: • As with all natural materials, the scent, colour, and profile can vary slightly from batch to batch. Please note reviews include those from previous batches Collection: Kannauj Chronicles In the Kannauj Chronicles, I explore and share with you the wonderful natural oils and attars of India’s historic perfume capital, Kannauj. The oils in this collection are pure botanical extracts and attars distilled in sandalwood oil by some of Kannauj's most renowned and trusted artisans, who share our passion for distilling the highest quality of aromatics and attars. These attars are distilled using the ancient ‘deg and bhapka’ apparatus; a traditional distilling method largely unchanged for 400 years. I hope you enjoy these breathtaking scents of nature from a bygone era, an era fast being forgotten in today's race towards modernity and industrialisation at all costs.
Santal Ceylon Red
Distilled from wild santal roots in 2021, Santal Ceylon Red is a gorgeous Sri Lankan sandalwood oil oozing with notes of gourmand red woodiness throughout. Unlike many other Sri Lankan santals which open with sharp piney-camphoric top notes - which I also adore - this oil is all about deeply rich base woods from the get-go. Opening with freshly sawn woods alongside perhaps a slightly lactonic touch, it soon begins to transform into a sweet honeyed profile that reminds me of powdered almonds and tonka bean’s coumarinic marzipan-like goodness. This golden-hued coumarin-like sweetness balances out a base of freshly sawn, almost dark red woods throughout the oil's journey, with some creaminess, and perhaps even a slightly musky animalic warmth deep down in its layers adding to its beautiful complexity and depth. Overall, with its rich woody character and gorgeous sweetness, this makes for an exceptional sandalwood oil to wear neat. I also think it would work fantastically in blends and macerations, especially where musk or civet is used or where a strong woody character is desired.
Santal Ceylon Silk
Just like Ceylon Red, this is a wild Sri Lankan santal that has aged beautifully since it was distilled in 2021. Very much unlike CR, however, Ceylon Silk replaces those deep gourmand woody hues with a gorgeously airy and smooth butteriness throughout its olfactory journey. Testing on the skin, its initial sharp green piney top notes after distillation have almost completely disappeared, with the oil now a lot more smooth and rounded from start to finish. It opens up with a beautifully rich butteriness that's delicate and airy, and yet so very buttery at the same time. To me, it's quite reminiscent of Mysore's famed sandalwoods, minus the lime opening that typify oils from that region. As the scent progresses, you might also pick up on a hint of powdery nuttiness or earthiness, especially in the later stages. This powdery earthiness is not the soily facet found in vetiver, but a much more light and airy note that reminds me of Mitti attar's delicate nuttiness. Overall, this is a fantastic sandalwood oil that I'd very highly recommend if you're looking for a light, clean, and yet beautifully rich and buttery sandalwood oil to wear neat. I think it would also work fantastically well in almost any attar or perfume blend, providing an incredibly smooth base without overwhelming the rest of the composition.
A special traditional distillation that has been quietly macerating since 2021, I'm excited to finally release this gorgeous, all-natural Shamamah Amber attar in sandalwood oil, one of ancient India's finest aromatic achievements in my humble opinion. Shamama / Shamamatul Amber attars are complex, labour-intensive affairs that can take up to a month to distill in ancient copper ‘deg and bhapka’ pots, but the results are nothing short of a masterpiece of olfactory art by India's ancient perfume artisans. Each distilling family have their own secret recipe, but Shamamah's ingredients typically include exotic florals, woods, and spices such as oud, rose, jasmine, saffron, spikenard, nutmeg, cardamom, cinnamon, clove, pandanus, and sandalwood among a whole host of other natural ingredients. Scent-wise, I really enjoy this Shamamah as its notes are so finely balanced, opening up with a gorgeously diffusive bouquet of airy and musky amberiness before slowly settling down to a bed of contrasting resins, florals and spices. Overall, the scent isn't as heavy with dark base notes as some others are (which I also enjoy), but instead this takes you on a beautiful journey laden with ambers, musks, spices, florals and earthy notes that are diffusive and warm without being cloyingly heavy or sweet in any way. One of my all-time favourite attars from Kannauj’s ancient distilleries, Shamamah Amber is gorgeous worn neat as an attar or as a mid/base note ingredient in natural perfume blends. ----------------------------------------------- Collection: Kannauj Chronicles In the Kannauj Chronicles, I explore and share with you the wonderful natural oils and attars of India’s historic perfume capital, Kannauj. The oils in this collection are pure botanical extracts and attars distilled in sandalwood oil by some of Kannauj's most renowned and trusted artisans, who share our passion for distilling the highest quality of aromatics and attars. These attars are distilled using the ancient ‘deg and bhapka’ apparatus; a traditional distilling method largely unchanged for 400 years. I hope you enjoy these breathtaking scents of nature from a bygone era, an era fast being forgotten in today's race towards modernity and industrialisation at all costs.
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.