Komrad K sits you down for a swipe at an indie oud café tucked away between Kampot and the Vietnam border, where Kambodis smell of black tea and getting two bottles leaves you with change to spare.
A smooth move from any EDP (or T) into a more sensual world of primal aromatic wonder.
This is a total departure from what we got up to during our Great Cambodian Experiment, so don’t expect anything like Kambodi Kuwwa & Co. Those showcased a different style, different taste, different distillation altogether. They’re resin roughing it old-school oils, where Komrad K is bohemian black, imbued with olde pu-erh and osmanthus-laced tobacco leaf, and no trace of animalics to mime its earthy cool.
The GCE oils cleared up many false beliefs (like that Cambodis are inherently ‘fruity’). Komrad K ups the ante, and gives you a smell that costs a pretty $ more elsewhere.
For a philosophical critique of why Komrad K says no to nonsense, read on here. As for DIY proof that some ouds are punching below the belt and cost you way more that what they should, a swipe of K will do just fine.
You smell the tropical floral hues of gyrinops, not the yellow peaches of Trat. Less of Walla’s mimosa and more white lotus. There’s the absence of raw red, swapped for forest-lush pine notes you’d expect from Sumatran steam distills. Instead of a single hydro run, our risky two-step distillation experiment infused Komrad K with vanilla-sweet green amidst the pu-erh in a profile that ought to be all apricots and pears; ought to only exist in ouds with a high concentration oleoresin… i.e the smell of oud that’s sold for much more than this.
To spice things up even more: This is a montage of mostly wild (60-70%) Cambodian aquilarias collected from across the country (including the big guns Kampong Speu, Koh Kong, and Pursat) and locally cultivated Cambodian crassnas (not Thai imports). So, if you have a soft spot for Archipelago style ouds, it’ll be right up your alley.
If you have an even softer spot for myth-busting, Komrad K comes marching with plenty of that, too.
As the Papuan petrichor fades (but never leaves), Koh Kong’s old-school syrupy incense wafts up and Sumatra goes all zen. Then, about 30 minutes in you smell a soft Kampot green leaf bitterness that’s totally unexpected—and mighty satisfying. A pure ‘intrinsic’ note that flows between black tea and pepper auxiliaries.
Solid longevity with silage that doesn’t flaunt itself—perfumesque—yet with plenty of agar oomph to announce your presence, its easygoing profile & price make Komrad K an indispensable daily swiper.
So I finally tried the mystery oil and Komrad K side by side. You are absolutely right!! They are so similar but Komrad K runs circles around the mystery oil… I still can’t believe the price of Komrad K. I have smelled oils from others twice the price and they don’t have half the depth of this oil. I read on Gaharu the distillation technique you guys used for this oil. I don’t have much knowledge on the intricacies of the distillation process but from everyone’s response, it seems you guys have tried something quite revolutionary. I do agree with you regarding the staying power of Komrad K. Interestingly the mystery oil turns floral about an hour in while Komrad K continues to go strong and becomes darker. I simply love this oil!! – Nazif, USA