Taking the art of distillation to a whole new level, Encens Khmer introduces a suaveness, an intoxicating powdery-woods character unattained till now by any distiller.
Kyara de Kalbar
Every genius saves his grand opus for last. The Ninth Symphony is the last thing Beethoven composed, and it's universally recognized as his greatest work. The same can be said of Mozart's Requiem, Van Gogh's Arles masterpieces of 1888, Dostoevsky's Brothers Karamazov. – The same can be said of our Taiwanese distiller's grand Kyara finale.
With world-cherished masterworks like Kyara LTD, Borneo 4000, Royal Kinam, Kyara Koutan and Borneo Kinam in his portfolio, you'd think there was little left for him to accomplish in the craft of oud extraction.
But before he abandoned pure oud oil so he could devote his time to carving Vietnamese kyara beads, he distilled one oil that not only matched but completely outstripped and surpassed all his previous olfactory masterpieces: Kyara de Kalbar.
I recall him putting some precious Vietnamese kyara carving dust on his low heat electric burner (specially designed for kyara chips) as he handed me the oil. And he gave me some green kyara powder to chew on and keep under my tongue. With a numbed mouth and a nose that was to be numbed even further by his Kyara de Kalbar, I bid him farewell.
Not only due to its unusually high price tag but also because of what this oil marks in the history of Ensar Oud, as well as the turning point that it marks in the way agarwood oil is harvested and produced worldwide, I have decided to keep Kyara de Kalbar in the company archives and not offer it for sale.
What I have done, however, is use some of it to craft a signature oud by which I introduce myself to distillers, agarwood farmers, as well as colleagues and fellow oud enthusiasts.
My 'business card'
I remember meeting the illustrious owner of one of the largest oud companies in the world, and him handing me a business card made out of a thin sheet of metal that seemed to have been plated in gold. This was then sealed in a special transparent glossy wrap. Instead of my humble business card, I gave him a swipe of Encens Khmer.
A business card is of little use in my line of work. It would take a whole list of references, guarantees and certificates (sanity included) to convince any farmer or distiller the kind of oils I'm out to produce are indeed possible, and I am not some comedian with a camera man out to take folks for a ride.
Encens Khmer always does the trick. Some are stymied speechless. Others burst out laughing hysterically. 'I'm a very lucky man to have met you,' one of them said; then he put his entire distillery at my disposal for the production of Thai Encens. Yet another took me on a tour of distilleries, demanding that every farmer we met along the way be given a swipe of Khmer. His distillery was then used for our Khao Yai Experiment.
To me Khmer smells extremely powdery, almost tobbaco-y, with a sweet pollen undertone, dark honey and lush vanilla-flavored ultra mellow Havana cigar smoke permeating the composition, with the faintest hint of cinnamon. It's a lazy man's oil. A daily swiper unlike some sublime Hindis you just can't wear unless it's a special occasion. I've never smelled anything more powdery or soporific. It's like getting lost in a trance of Cuban cigar smoke laced with vanilla, powdered wood, Peru balsam, cinnamon, ambery labdanum absolute – the united notes of amber and fine cigars in Oud Lulu Land.
A beautiful and most unusual oud oil it is. Beautiful golden sun rays mixed in with sweet delicious incense smoke. Powdery and soft, well balanced and a nay of anything jarring or off-putting. It displays a definite Borneo profile (think Borneo Kinam) but with Cambodian tendencies (leaning towards the dark resiny notes). Even though my sample was almost invisible it displayed a powerful surge once it came in contact with the skin like a tidal wave that gives buoyancy and lift. The scent kept getting stronger as it got heated on the skin. This is one of the few oils that could truly be said to be appealing to both sexes. Truly, this is one all time favorite that I would dare give a 9 or a 9.5 on my personal likability scale even though I just tested it twice. – Hisham Suliman, FL
A luminous oil with a refined, oudy middle. Opening brightly, this gem settles finely into a sweet, powdery waft reminiscent of swirls from the choicest chip. Its soft center is up there with the old Oud Royale, and I rank Khmer with the very best, including Kyara LTD. After sampling it for the first time, I found myself thinking, 'It's perfect! No off-notes whatsoever.' Mr. Oud's description hits the target with vanilla-laced cigars. Much kudos to Khmer. – Abu Medina, NY
This oil is intoxicating! The fragrance is so complex it filled my face up like a cloud of menthol would, if menthol was sweet vanilla cola and green kyara notes with cloves, if cloves were softer and more seductive. The undercurrent sharp notes are so complex I can't yet describe them. They hit the top of my nostrils then proceeded to seduce the back of the eyeballs making my eyeballs roll back into my head. It's as if someone blew kyara dust and glass powder at your face, cutting through your thought processes, shutting down your olfactory system from a sensory overload. There is a bold, masculine undercurrent to this oil riding through the kyara, making it more attractive than the Kyara Koutan. – Edward Thoman, FL
I think of Khmer as the 'pillow oud'. I think it is the softest, gentlest oil I've come across, yet it still retains a great deal of depth and resonance. It's a true sweetheart of an oud yet it has a mellowness and easiness that I associate with a person who has been around for a long time who is very comfortable with himself. This is kind of a strange and wonderful dichotomy. I think all good things are complex like that. – Isabella Lee, NY
Encens Khmer: A clean, light oil that makes me think of rivers running through a honeysuckle-filled meadow after an invigorating rain. – Erkan S., NY
The first swipe seemed like it was going to be another typical Cambodi, yet as it left the bottle and approached my epiderm a second whiff emanated and caught my nose. The initial top note was fruity like melons. A foretelling that something extraordinary was to transpire. After a few minutes of wearing the yet unnamed scent, my head began to feel faint, my legs numb. My entire being began to feel lighter. Minutes went by when I finally realized how unbelievable the effect this Cambodian oud had on me was. It took the meaning of 'aromatherapy' to another dimension. The dry down was drying grapes. My senses regaled in the presence of this fine creation by the will of the Almighty. I basked in a sea of serenity and delight. Content with my Lord, thankful. My heart soared as it and my mind rode on the combustive effect the aromatic substance had on me. How could this be? So much, in so little an oil? Now the base notes emanate dry berries. Am I insane? – Alexander Kaps, Canada
Encens Khmer is a refined and majestic Oud! – Alan Cheidde, Brazil
Ensar is not joking when he says 'powdery'. It does smell like baby's skin after shower. The powdery smell though is not feminine in any way but rather like white fog that envelops the person in a dignified way. From the tiny glimpse I had of it, it reminded me a lot of Kyara Koutan but in a more grown up and adult, or what Ensar I guess calls 'lazy', way. – Hisham Suliman, FL
The Encens Khmer is beyond a dream... – Jon Brunner, CA