Perfumers of the past made musk tinctures, while the more lavish among them infused a bottle of sandalwood with the precious grains. Some carried the pods around bare.
But being two of the world’s most sought-after, rarest, and also most expensive aromatics, the idea of infusing musk into oud may have crossed the minds of many—but how many ever took the leap to actually do it is another question.
And, as extravagant as any oud-musk infusion would be, I’m not talking about just any such infusion.
As you’ve seen in Notes From Underground, Tonkin musk is hands-down the rarest musk on Earth. It’s by all accounts extinct, and the only way to acquire any is from apotheques or the vaults of Royalty. Once you’ve seen, handled, and smelled the intensity of genuine Tonkin musk, you know why it is hailed as the Kyara of the musk world.
The veteran collector we acquired these pods from happens to be the late Sultan Qaboos, who acquired them from his royal predecessors, who in turn have a lineage that likely spans back dynasties.
I have a personal collection of very old musk pods from each of the famed regions the deer roamed in, but these Tonkin ones make those seem like they came fresh from the mountain. Their putty-like stickiness exudes a formidable aroma unlike anything I’ve smelled in my career. So much so that smelling them straight up can be overwhelming… so you learn to take gentle whiffs when handling the pods.
Now, if you got your hands on ancient Tonkin musk, what would you do with it?
To honor these pods as best I could—and of course, get the most out of the vigor of the aroma—I saw two ways.
The first was to pair the musk with its counterpart from the oud world, i.e. using the most sought-after ‘Tonkin’ (i.e. Vietnamese) oud.
The second was to use that oud infusion in an artisanal perfume that pays homage to the heritage of musk in perfumery. And that’s what we did with Notes From Underground.
As for the neat marriage of Vietnamese musk and Vietnamese oud, that’s what you’ve got here.
My stash of Ha Tinh LTD is part of our Oriscent collection and not an oud I planned to release anytime soon. Until I dunked the Tonkin musk straight into the bottle and cured it for months and months, and then made it a full third of Notes From Underground, I hadn’t even mentioned this oil to anyone.
As for what’s left, this is your chance to smell the infusion neat, in all its potent, unabashedly muskified kinamiferous glory.
Think Purple Kinam…… with a bitter-sweet veneer. A medicinal purpleness that epitomizes the most exquisite Guallams (à la Nha Trang LTD) but with this gourmand earthiness that’s ripe with a brewed raw cacao note wrapped in Habanero leaves. All the while the piercing, kinamic tone of an exceptional Ha Tinh cooking bubbles to no end.
I’m sure Louis XIV could not have imagined this would ever happen to his Musc Tonquin—and if he did I have no doubt he would’t have rested until he acquired the entire batch. Nor did any of the parfumeurs and commerçants who unanimously dubbed Tonkin the king of all musk ever witness their precious pods steeped in an Oriscent Ha Tinh distill.
This wouldn’t happen for another thousand years. In the case of Louis, another three hundred years. And it’s no exaggeration to suggest that the musk inside your bottle of Ha Tinh LTD may well date back right to their times. Sultan Qaboos’ treasury itself contained the most prized aromatics in recent history—in fact, his collection likely gave that of Louis XIV a run for its money—but you would not find the likes of this oud even there.
Instead, all these centuries later, you and I are the sultans and kings who get to feast at this banquet.
So, if you want to let your nose taste the oud of ouds and the musk of musks, take a swipe of Ha Tinh LTD.
If you want to explore the smell even further and experience what the accessory notes inherent in the musk itself—tobacco, cacao, and more—smell like when made into a perfume, get a bottle of Notes From Underground to complete the set.
All I will say is don’t miss out on the Ha Tin LTD. I have both Notes From Underground and Ha Tin LTD just leaves you mesmerized and speechless after a swipe. I gave a few swipes to some of my friends and Sheikhs today and they were all in awe of this beautiful oil.
Subhanallah Sayyidi this one is just on another level overall. And the funny thing is it’s addictive so you want to keep going for more swipe after the ride is over. Allahu Akbar. – Saad, Australia
Here are my initial observations of a few wears of ha tinh ltd, it really changes quite a bit through time but only in short close facets... like smelling each facet of a bigger aromatic jewel as it tumbles through time.. slowly burning delicate green yellow fire..... unique stuff indeed...
bitter herbs and yeast
The musk gives it a morphing oscillating 3d waveform….
Its like opening a door to a victorian brothel mid day when the action has subsided and the cleaning has started… and going room to room as the evaporation and musk intermingles bringing things out and burying others all within a central soft Vietnamese aroma ….
Starts sweet and feral and moves through melon and light citrus with culinary herbs and calf leather... it morphs quite a bit but only floating points…. the musk is very feminine… its not in your face…. doughy and fox den... with soft golden leather and kinamic whispers...
Its like a delicate Vietnamese oud with that melon lemongrass vanilla smell with soft bitter kinamic whiffs and a doughy feminine feral musk that weaves in and out..... – Stephan, USA