I thought of calling this oil “Kinam”.
Just that: Kinam.
Then I thought of what the naysayers would come up with… “Whose definition of kinam do you go by?” Some of them will go on a tirade about the difference between the Japanese and Chinese schools of thought and will insist calling it “Kinam” is just marketing.
Fair enough, I’ll grant them that—only because they haven’t smelled this yet.
A sunlight yellow, bitter kyara numbness atop the most elegant woody profile signed by our Taiwanese kyara Sifu himself. There’s this mindnumbing note that really hits the spot; a sensation that’s more pheromonal than the most sensual musk, more beautiful than the most delicate botanicals. That’s the quality of the wood that went into the boilers you smell, as well as the treatment of that wood in our signature Oriscent style, stripped of all experimentation and techniqueing.
So, let’s be specific. Let’s be as conservative as we can.
To the Japanese masters, Guallam is a sacrosanct profile. Kinam to them is defined by Vietnam. A narcotic, bitter-spicy fragrance specifically captured by an unexplained event that only happened in the jungles of Vietnam. And today, Japanese kyara houses from Shoyeido to Baieido, are so strictly discerning about what passes as kinam you can have your kinam tested by a school of experts.
So, let’s do that. Let’s follow the kodo masters and apply the strictest standards of what the Japanese, according to their strictest definition and most rigorous olfactory criterion would call “kinam”.
And you can actually try this at home. Pull out a pellet of Baieido’s Vietnamese kinam and get the ash ready. And start chewing while you’re at it!
A suave spicy drydown that’s as ethereal as the airiest Borneo – without the ‘Borneo’. Incense à la monkoh, where the goal was never to depart from the properties of the outrageously rare jinkoh that transmuted into drops of the most precious oud on Earth.
It smells like one note – the note of bitter medicinal Vietnamese agarwood – yet, that note contains within it an entire aromatic cosmos that is even more complex than Kinam Rouge.
We can’t go back in time and deflate the astronomical costs of wild Vietnamese agarwood. We can’t un-string the $50,000 bangles, un-carve the miniatures, or revive the jungles and resurrect the centennial grandmother trees. It takes all one’s effort and cleans out one’s bank account just to scrape together a few hundred grams of wild incense-grade wood here and there. So it’s not about how much the raw wood cost us. Give us a truck stuffed with cash today, and we can hardly find you that wood again… and as you might know: good luck getting more than a single gram at a time from the Japanese masters.
There are ouds I recommend over others. Sometimes its a Borneo over a Cambodi, other times a Cambodi over a Borneo. I know some people would enjoy Burmese oud more than Maroke. But it’s not about recommending Guallam Kilam.
This is the kind of oud I’d choose to wear. The scent of Vietnamese kinam is the smell my wife most identifies with me. If you smell oud smoke in my house, it’s kinam smoke. And this is not about boasting, but to answer perhaps the question I get asked most. After recommending this over that over the other and our fellow oudhead insists, “Fine…… but now tell me: What’s YOUR favorite oud?!”
Most oud lovers probably had to tell someone at one point how “oud is an acquired taste…”
But I’m sure you’ve discovered that for anyone in the oud world any fine Vietnamese oud, not to mention kyara, is quickly acquired. And even quicker to become your favorite.
So, if you want the kodo masters’ own benchmark on your shelf, here's a full bottle’s worth of it to numb your nose over and over and over.
Like a gong humming its steady ring until it gently fades and the new go-nnnnnggggg starts the mantra afresh, Guallam Kilam is one smell.