Oudh with Roja Dove: Mini Movie

Heya Oudh Heads,

Don’t forget to enter our GIVEAWAY for Rouge Avignon by Phaedon<<<JUMP

Here is a five minute journey into the history and uses of Oudh, Roja Dove takes us on an olfactory visit to the Middle east.

agarwoodoudhPhoto Stolen agarwoodoudh

Portia xx


Oud Yaqoub by Ensar Oud


Guest Post by Jordan River


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.

Oud Yaqoub was distilled from the resin of this 60 year old cultivated agarwood tree.

Oud Yaqoub was distilled from the resin of this 60-year-old cultivated agarwood tree.

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.

Ensar Oud Yaqoub

Oud Yaqoub
Single Tree Harvested

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.
Oud Yaqoub
Scent profile

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.
-Ensar Oud

The most interesting aspects of this oil are the intoxicating flowers: jasmine sambac, ylang ylang, sweet violet and rose that permeate the whole journey.
-Andrej, Croatia

Oud Yaqoub Experiment
3 grams is $US 299.99 from Ensar Oud
You can choose a decorative or sturdy glass bottle.
For Arabic readers you can visit Ensar Oud in Arabic.

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.
Thomas Kruger
Ensar Oud

See you next month,
Jordan River

The End of Oudh: Ensar Oud: Interview


Guest Post by Jordan River


Hello APJ Family,

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. Most of you would not have come across this smell in daily life unless you have spent some time in an Islamic culture. We will explore this culture today through the prism of scent.

The End of Oudh: An Interview with Ensar Oud


Agarwood, Oud, Aloeswood, Gaharu, and Jinko are all names for the Aquilaria tree which grows in South East Asia. This tree can be invaded by tree eating insects. To self-inoculate the tree produces a fragrant resin to repel the invaders. Not every wild tree produces resin and the older the tree the better the resin. The best resin was found in trees that were 60 to 80 years old. These trees have been over harvested and it is now rare to find a wild resin producing tree. They have all but vanished.

The best agarwood is called sinking wood as the amount of resin causes the wood to sink in water instead of floating. This grade of wood is usually reserved for Japanese incense. Chinese carvers also use this grade of agarwood for making fragrant beads and statues.

Khai Yai Oud  wood chip Ensar Oud

Khao Yai Oud wood chip. Private Collection: Jordan River

Portia and I have often spoken about how intense a particular Oud Artisan is. So tonight let’s talk with him. His name is Ensar from Ensar Oud. Ensar Oud specializes in Artisanal Oud oils that are traceable to specific jungle locations. In April 2012 Ensar rang the bell on the end of wild harvested oud by traditional gaharu hunters. He then researched organic Oud sources and re-imagined his business into the 21st century.

Ensar Oud artisan Oud

Oud Artisan Ensar at work.

Let’s zoom over to Medina now for a chat with Ensar.

Welcome Ensar, Peace.
Peace to you too Jordan.


Outside al-Masjid al-Nabawi in Medina, after morning prayer. Photo: Americophile

What are the smells of Medina?
The copious smoke of Oud wood and burning bukhoor reaches you from all sides as you walk down the street. But to quote one vendor: “Oud is finished. There is no more wood these days. Back in 2004, you had Indian wood that was mumtaz (excellent). You had Malaysian as late as 2006 that used to boggle your mind. Real chips, solid. Now all you get is this stuff… (he points to a drawer of well polished Papuan gyrinops agarwood that feels as light as packing peanuts when you hold it) Nothing is real. Fabricated wood is all you get these days.”

This is known as Black Magic wood because it is impregnanted with synthetic scent and streaked with black paint to give the impression of Oud resin.
Indeed. As for the oils that you smell here, that’s an even bleaker story. I hate to say, none of the stuff you find is natural. Everything (literally) is a scent chemical, whether it be from the so-called ‘big houses’ or the small timers tending the corner shops. The French perfume industry is booming; that is certain; and Medina is one major outlet.

Al-Masjid an-Nabawi

Al-Masjid an-Nabawi, The Prophet’s Mosque

How do Muslim men think of fragrance?
As Muslim men, we are taught that to wear perfume is an act of charity towards others around you. Enabling others to smell something pleasant is equal to giving them a gift.

Why is incense burnt in the Middle East? Is this for fumigation or for spiritual reasons?
Incense burning for remembrance and invocation as well as personal scenting is woven into Arab and Muslim culture. Again, an innate love of anything that perfumes one is what drives Muslims to bukhoor and Oud wood. Fumigating the house, scenting clothing, and cleansing an area of evil spirits who abhor beautiful fragrance; spreading an unearthly scent to facilitate remembrance in circles of invocation;these are some of the uses of incense in the Middle East.

Do you scent your beard? Under your chin?
The way I apply Oud oil is by first taking a swipe on the inside of my left wrist. Then I rub the insides of both wrists. Then I apply that sheen to the left and right sides of my neck, right under the beard. I do not apply any Oud to the beard itself as the scent would be too overpowering.

Ensar oud

What terroir of Oud are you distilling next?
We have some logs of incense grade wood, of the quality that was offered by Baieido back in the day, going into the boilers this very week. They were harvested in Chanthaburi Province (in Thailand) a few years back, and are the last specimens of wild Thai oud wood of this calibre that I’ve seen in a very long time.

Ensar, thank you for your time and for sharing your fragrant thoughts. Let’s catch up with you soon in Amman. Khuda Hafiz.

The end of wild harvested Oud has become the beginning of organically farmed trees. All over South East Asia there are plantations, many of which need several more years to age the resin.

Organic Oud plantation

Ensar on an Organic and Sustainable Oud Plantation

See you soon,
Jordan River

(Ed: This is a much edited version of an incredibly interesting interview. If you’d like to learn how Ensar gets his oils, some of his best selling fragrances and a whole lot more go to TheFragrantMan<<<JUMP)

Aoud Lime by Montale

Hey All,

On Monday I had my first sniff into the big, bad, scary world of Montale (<<Jump to read). Guess what? It wasn’t any of that, um, no, I mean yes, it IS big! Montale has an enormous range and I have a sample group of 10+ and still I have only dipped my toe in their offerings. In the comments on Monday I was asked , challenged, dared even, to try Aoud Lime. People are saying it will take my chest (where I spray all first time frag sniffs), pick me up, shake me, throw me against a wall and leave me there groaning and too sore to cry. Well, never let it be said that Portia Turbo was one to walk away from a Cer Ay Zee Challenge.

Aoud Lime by Montale

Photo Stolen Fragrantica

Fragrantica gives these featured accords:
Pakistan oudh, Indian rose, Italian orris, sandalwood, patchouli, saffron, amber

11am: As my 2 samples of Aoud Lime go into a glass decant spray the juice is the same colour as one of my 1970s Shalimar parfums, rich amber coloured nectar and it smells like ambrosia. The initial rush is reminiscent of Bar B Q’d citrus or limes left in the sun after a cocktail has been drunk. An alcoholic, slightly dry, hot, citrus with a clean, synthetic oudh smell that could be medicinal but is mainly herbal to me so far and has no hint of the pooh smell.

Photo Stolen TheRawRecipe

1.30pm: I have now cleaned the bathrooms, dusted, vacuumed and steam mopped the house. Quite regularly throughout my cleaning frenzy I have been given little huffs that have stayed almost linear with just a push into rose territory, a spicy and honeyed rose. Aoud Lime has become a quiet scent by now, very pretty rather than the audacious, extreme, screamer I was expecting. I think after the first half hour that you could totally wear Aoud Lime to dinner, movies, theatre or not close proximity work environs. It has become a classy and cool fragrance on my skin that I would be proud to wear as a regular day scent or with an extra spritz or 2 for a big night on the town.

3pm: Finished the washing, swam, sunbaked for 45 minutes and still a lovely sweet oudh, citrus and wood, slightly powdery. Heading for skin scent but it really has been through the wringer today. I’m going to wear it again tonight to see if less strenuous activity gives it a different run.

Photo Stolen flickrhivemind

Go see the WhatMenShouldSmellLike review for further reading.
LuckyScent has 50ml/$110
FourSeasons has 100ml/$160
SurrenderToChance starts at $4/ml

Photo Stolen foodmatters

Sorry everyone. I don’t understand what all the fuss was about. this is beautiful and wearable for me. I will seriously be contemplating a full bottle of Aoud Lime after I’ve tried the rest of the Montales.

We wish you painless, easy and harmless world domination in whatever is your chosen field, and at least one beautiful moment before we see you tomorrow.
Till then,
Portia xx

Aoud Shiny by Pierre Montale for Montale 2008

Hello fellow Fumies,

Have you ever read a bunch of reviews and they have frightened you off something? All I keep reading is about how harsh,  strong, powerful and long lasting the Montale fragrances are. That they are kick you in the head and then jump on your carcass as you lay there dead by asphyxiation. Recently on SurrenderToChance they had a DailyChanceSpecial on the Montale manufacturers samples where you could get them for only 99c each. Of course I grabbed a bunch and they have been sitting there unloved and unsniffed since because I had to wait for there to be nothing involving people to do and nobody awake to skunk. Tonight’s the night!!

Photo Stolen Fragrantica

Fragrantica gives these featured accords:
Bulgarian rose, violet leaf, oud, nagarmotha root (Cyperus scariosus), sandalwood, patchouli.

My skin completely explodes with crushed violet leaf, slightly earthy nagarmotha root and a soft, clean, oudh for the first 15-20 minutes. It is fresh and lively, green and summery, and not what I was expecting AT ALL. Ha ha ha! I often read about the moment when you start to think you know something about fragrance and you get all, “Oh, I know what this will be like because I’m a frag DIVA!” It’s at that exact time something will come along and surprise the shit out of you. Well, here it is! While being lush and wet, like walking through the immaculate gardens of a tropical resort after rain, this is not a big fragrance. Yes you are perfumed and fragrant, you have better than good sillage and sit still for a while and people will notice that you smell incredible but Aoud Shiny is not a skunker.

Photo Stolen novinite

Oh MY! This is the part where the Bulgarian roses come in and smack everything else down. I have been wearing Aoud Shiny by Montale for nearly 40 minutes and slowly the roses have been taking over, right now they are all there is. A lavish, slightly spicy, full blown rose: those big fat global roses that open up as big as a salad plate. CooEEEEEEE! This splendiferous rose remains front and centre for a good, long while, maybe 1.5-2 hours and then a spicy, minty, medical/chewing gum experience takes over (almost like the opening of Geranium Pour Monsieur but less intense). It’s not an oudh-ish medicine but a dentist surgery, get  it?

Photo Stolen inspiredbythis

One of the things I really enjoy about this fragrance is the amount of time you get with each stage of the fragrances development, now at around the 3-4 hour mark the sandalwood is making a big buttered wood statement that doesn’t run completely over the lingering violet leaf and rose, it’s a triumvirate with the sandalwood walking slightly ahead. at this point I start to feel like we are really about to arrive in a Middle Eastern fragrance. Here is where the real depths of the fragrance begin to shine. While still retaining its light and freshness Aoud Shiny gives up its hidden depths to us and will continue to do so for hours more yet. By the time I lose the fragrance I’ve stopped checking the time, so some time after the 7 hour mark but before 10 hours. EXCELLENT!

I couldn’t find a dedicated review of Aoud Shiny by any of my favoured bloggers but on Basenotes and Fragrantica there was a mixture of love and hate reviews.
ParfumsRaffy has a selection of Aoud Shiny $100/50ml & $165/100ml
SurrenderToChance starts at $4/ml

There were quite a few complaints that Montale was doing another Rose/Oudh fragrance. I am new to the line so for me it had a fresh, lovely and unusual approach towards these 2 main accords, lighter than the heavy Indian and Middle Eastern oils that I’m familiar with and heavier than almost all of the Western fragrances. A fine, balanced perfume with a great, long story to tell. I can’t wait to try another Montale.

Have you tried any of the Montales? Do you have a favourite? Please tell me below in the comments,
We at APJ hope that you have enjoyed dropping in and we hope to see you back tomorrow. Till then, take care of yourselves,
Portia xx

Here is a gorgeous Belly Dancing Artist who gives the idea a great new modern spin. Do Enjoy!!

The Aoud by Pierre Mancera for Mancera 2011

Hiya All,

I have the best friends in the world. we had a BarBQ get together yesterday with a few of them and I was given a bottle of The Aoud by my mate Alice who has just returned from the UK recently. She was down shopping in Selfridges fragrance floor and the Mancera SA was so good at her job, and Alice so overwhelmed by the incredible amount of choice, that in next to no time Alice was buying herself and me a bottle each of different frags in the line. I’m not sure what Alice got for herself but The Aoud by Mancera is a winner. Don’t go to the Mancera website, it has no information, is totally annoying to navigate and doesn’t even tell you about their fragrances other than 3 of them. GRRRR! So bloody unhelpful and this lack of information only hinders us blogging perfume enthusiasts that like to go see what is what. Even more terrible for shoppers I think.

Fragrantica has this to say:
Perfumer Pierre Mancera opened his first Mancera luxurious perfume boutique at Place Vendo in Paris. Mancera perfumes are made from precious and luxurious ingredients, rare and refined materials, inspired by Art Deco design.

Photo Stolen Fragrantica

The fragrance features accords of: Geranium, sandalwood, saffron, incense, rose, agarwood (oud), leather and ambergris.

On opening the beautifully presented package with its shiny gold, very Arabian feeling, embossed cardboard box there is a gold drawstring pouch with the Mancera M in black repeated. It is a luxurious first glimpse and I like the feeling. The 60ml bottle is hefty and simple. Fits beautifully in my hand and the screw cap is a nice touch meaning the bottle is hand or gym bag ready without the worry of cap loss and self spraying of atomiser. V Important.

Photo Stolen lindsaybrothers

I love the opening medicinal notes, they are refined and luxurious. The oudh is noticeable right at the start as a warm, earthy, horse apple, green and grassy waft that lasts through the fragrance but it’s not toxic or heavy like many of the Arabian style of oudh. It is airy and fresh. The geranium adding a bright counterpoint and the sandalwood giving its buttery smoothness almost immediately. Oudh, geranium and sandalwood are triumphant kings through the story of this fragrance for me, their characters working in tandem and against each other to keep The Aoud interesting and unusual. Though rose is a featured note it doesn’t play heavily here, more a light accompaniment with the leather, saffron and incense. At about the 1.5-2 hour mark I start getting a lovely salty beach/sea water smell that I think may be The Aoud by Mancera’s ambergris. A fragrance of many colours, light and shade, an adventure in a bottle, subtle, alluring; I am running out of cliches to describe something far from cliched; even with the completely overwhelming amount of oudh on the market this is different and extremely wearable. No problem wearing anywhere except a strict no fragrance policy or close quarters work environment. The Aoud has good sillage but is not a skunker unless you are extremely lavish with your application, scent bubble around one meter maximum after the first hour.

Photo Stolen ferrebeekeeper

See how bright and new, sleek and lovely this trireme looks, The Aoud by Mancera has a kind of freshness about it that makes me think sea journey in a newly hewn ship with livestock in the hold for food and riding, naked, muscular slaves and the ever present smell of salt water on the cool breeze, but on the deck it would be warm and fragrant, and we of course would be in charge.

UniversalPerfumes&Cosmetics has 120ml/$130
Selfridges in the UK also has a selection in 60 & 120ml

Thanks for coming and spending a moment at APJ, see you tomorrow,
Portia xx