If you ever wished you had a Time Machine to go back to the days when Oud Royale I was selling for a fifth of the price, your wish has just been granted.
Hailing from Sumatra, Oud Royale 1985 is one of the very first harvests of Sumatran agarwood to be distilled into oil (in many parts of Indonesia, distillation only began to take off in the early ‘90s). So, just imagine the kind of agarwood that was used to craft this oil!
Imagine only centennial mother trees available everywhere you turned in the jungle.... No China Market to send the wood off to.... Back in 1985, oud oil commanded considerably higher prices than raw agarwood. This is why oils from the early ‘80s are the best, most fragrant smelling specimens of pure oud you can possibly lay your hands on.
I remember the biggest agarwood tycoon in Southeast Asia giving a sigh when he recalled the tons upon tons of precious Malaysian tigerwood that he and his brother ground up into dust and put into the boilers. ‘Back then, the oil was expensive,’ he said. ‘But not the wood.’
Take the fact that the Indonesian jungle was just beginning to get explored back then, combine it with a weak wood market and what do you get? The absolute richest, most opulent oud oils that were ever distilled. Among them my Oud Royale I, which by universal consensus is the most famous and highly coveted oud oil ever distilled.
It’s no secret that just about every big oud brand employs force-aging techniques to imbue their ouds with the ‘old smell’. Of course, these kind of ouds haven’t actually been aged and the scent is simply a vague echo of that deep, genuine vintage smell you only get in oud that’s been maturing for many years.
There’s no mimicking maturity. Ouds can be settled and cured, but that’s merely when the aging game begins. And can you guess what 30 years aging does to fine Indonesian oud?
What should you do with a bottle of Oud Royale 1985? When your oud crave gets the better of you, take out the applicator stick, inhale deeply, then plug it back. On the rarest occasion, take an actual swipe. A tiny drop. Where on earth will you find oud like this again?
This is one of those rare opportunities to own something absolutely pristine, ancient, from a different era completely. An oud that’s older than many distillers today – just think of that for a moment!
The scent? There’s a sparkling note of vintage agarwoody liqueur that just takes your mind away.... a note that oils like Oud Sultani, Kambodi 1976 and Oud Royale 1982 all share: The scent of the finest specimen of oud from any given jungle, aged – for a long, long time. A granddaddy charisma that shows you the true meaning of ‘oudy’ like no oil distilled today can.
For one, there was absolutely NO fractionation at play in the extraction of Royale 1985. No ‘latest technique’ that somehow ingeniously managed to get the immortal scent of black thickly resined gaharu out of half-decayed chips.
Here, you have the blackest raw materials harvested from centennial mother trees wantonly thrown into the boilers, and then the resulting elixir aged for thirty years. Our distiller didn’t have a crystal ball to tell him this wood would be worth thousands per kilogram somewhere down the line. So he did the best that he could for the time he was in, which was to cook the absolute best oil. That was his luck, and this is now your luck.
Most people with the faintest business sense will see a rare opportunity in this oil. The oud and the scent and everything else aside, Royale 1985 presents an investment opportunity like no other.
Think of the lucky few who had the foresight to buy multiple bottles of Oud Royale I a decade ago, and stash them in a safe deposit box. The returns they reaped just a few years down the line were something no investment banker could even get his head around, and no stock market could ever match.
So why don’t I do it myself? This is something that I’ve thought about long and hard.
In deciding to launch Royale 1985, I had to go back to square one, when I set out to found this market over a decade ago, and my role was to educate more so than to sell or to profit. I had to teach the world, among other things, that oud oil and Montale were completely different things. We started from zero....
I find that the market I strove to create has become rife with all sorts of nonsense that is being peddled as the latest ‘cutting edge’ distillation genius. Where oils distilled last month are being marketed as more ‘aged’ than oils distilled a decade ago. And the unsuspecting enthusiast is listening.
I sometimes wonder what would have happened if I’d put the same sort of effort that I invested in agarwood into something completely different, like sandalwood.... Would we have an equally competitive sandalwood craze in the West now, with every designer brand boasting their own unique ‘sandalwood’ flavor the way they do oud? Would the sandalwood essential oil market be as cutthroat, as rife with rivalry, jealousy, and sheer lies as our little agarwood oil market has become?
It is because I live with such questions from day to day that I have decided to bid Oud Royale 1985 a tight farewell, and hand him over to you, my loyal customers and fellow oud lovers for safekeeping. More than oud oil, what I aim to give you here is information. Something for you to take and sniff the same way you’d take a book and read what it has to say to you.
Bottled agarwood liqueur, aged for thirty years, doesn’t get cooked in copper or steel. It’s crafted by a golden clock. Oud Royale I sold for $550 nine years ago. The last bottle I know of that sold went for $10,000. Take any investment, rare assets in particular, and just think of the annual lost interest, not to mention currency devaluation, drastic drops in worldwide supply, and the sheer worth of time that any merchant takes into account when finally selling, and you can clearly see that offering this oil at 2007 pricing is not me cashing in.
Oud Royale 1985 is nothing short of a gift, from me to you.
Oud Royale 1985. Oh boy! Age makes that Samatran oil sweet and tangy. I noticed that the younger oil that I smelled previously has more of a bitter Kyara smell in the opening. The top notes of the aged oil remind of a musky Hindi oud but the mid and base are definitely Samatran all the way. I'm going to really enjoy that one as well. Thanks for sharing these wonderful oils with the world! – T J, USA
One should not get distracted by mails while driving. Got a little overexcited when I saw Oud Royale 1985 on sale and drove a bit faster to get home… unfortunately police didn’t share my passion. Got stopped and received a hefty $450 fine. Should send you the bill for having such addictive products! – Waqas, Norway
Please extend my thanks to Ensar for sharing this oil, or shall I say, experience, with me and everyone else in the world who has been lucky enough to come across EnsarOud.com. I will certainly cherish every drop of this oil and it will be the most prized item in my oud and essential oil collection. – Keith, USA
My first impression is that this oud is out of this world… Simply Royale! – Mohamed, France
Oud Royale 1985 has a deep, dense power to it that makes it quite distinct and quite dignified – a bottomless aroma. In terms of scent this one is all green, menthol, earth, rain, rocks. It smells like like an antique hardwood drawer filled with wet rocks and vibrant jungle plants. There is a distinct medicinal aroma, as if the various components of the fragrance have fused into a magical elixir for the mind. The vibrant, exhilarating aspects of the scent seem just as dominant as the aged, vintage aspects – ancient and youthful at the same time. Quite exceptional. Thanks for making it available! – Josh, CA
Oud Royale 1985… Deep, Dark, Delicious… Even my best Malaysian oil is jealous. – Curt, CA
I received my package yesterday and I am blown away by Oud Royale 1985. This is by far the best oud oil I have purchased from you. I am glad I got two bottles of this amazing oil. The quality of this oil proves that you are still at the top when it comes to fine grade oud. – Inder, CA
I was born only a few years before this oud, and it’s interesting for me to think that during the ups and downs of my life, this scent was patiently maturing. I was careful to only apply a little bit, but I did apply some. How could I not? The first thing that struck me is that this smells like the mystery Oud that I smell inside the boxes that other Ouds from Ensar have come in. For me the smell is fresh lake water, sun-drenched wood, and my Grandpa’s room. There is some pipe tobacco in there, and then of course, smoke from amazing oud chips. There is something else that I can’t put my finger on, actually many notes that I can’t visualize, but they all smell comforting. I’m sitting here at work now wishing that I’d put some on, and the first thing I do once I get home will be removing the cap from the bottle and inhaling. This scent helps me to feel comfortable just being. It must be tapping into some old, old memories somehow. I feel very fortunate to own a bottle. – Matt, USA
Herbal grassy woods. Dark swamp with trees growing out the water. Slight tingling menthol note. Can definitely smell it’s an aged oil. Close your eyes and imagine the heating of high quality aged agarwood chips in an antique store full of old grandfather clocks and tables and chairs. Slight medicinal note tingling but it blends very smoothly. It is a very smooth scent, nothing overpowering. Having it on is very relaxing and just puts you on a level as in being very content. Oud is not just about wearing the oil. It’s all about how it makes you feel inside. With this oil I feel like I’ve been transported to another realm. It’s very relaxing and the herbal green grassy swampy notes like it’s just been raining in a hot rain forest take you to another dimension. – Omar, UK
This is my first oud from Sumatra that I’m aware of. First of all, it’s just huge in its power. Its huge character reminds me of several other great ones (they have all been excellent) from your selection over the years. There is a greenness that recalls Crassna Cha Experiment, a wet jungly-ness like Maroke 2004, and an ‘I know a lot of very old secrets’ sort of like Ishaq. Even a tiny bit of the feralness of Chinese Exclusive. This really has me spinning. It also reminds me somehow of an Oud that is purported to be 100 years old. It’s kind of hard to put my finger on, and yet it’s everywhere at once. Wet stones and all that, and yet the drydown and beyond is very oudy and rather sweet. This is one I can’t say for sure I like better in the beginning or in the middle or in the end, which is the hallmark of many great things. – Jeff, USA
There are oils that one can enjoy on several levels, and this is definitely one of them. Its inhale takes one to a better place emotionally. – Muriel, CA
After receiving my Oud Royale I decided to go against any recommendations and wear it on an almost daily basis. Why wait for a special occasion? When you’re 63 every day is special. This oil is superb. At first I smelled spice – cardamom comes to mind. After about 30 minutes I smelled aged wood smoldering. But there was still something underneath that caught my attention. A few weeks prior I purchased a bottle of Maroke Zen. That’s the aroma beneath the burning wood of Oud Royale. This aroma is best described by the simple term ‘aged’. In Maroke Zen it reminds me of a musty old chest filled with leatherbound books. In Oud Royale it reminisces of the old thick ropes found on the sailing vessels of yesterday. Both of these oils are remarkable and wearing them concurrently is quite an experience. – Bob, USA
Before even opening, the infinitely dark contents make me want to turn this encapsulated tar-like liquid over and over in my hands. It is impenetrably black, and looks as though an entire tear of resin had been cried out into the bottle. Simply twisting the golden cap loosens a powerfully fragrant genie rushing to your face. I can instantly tell the aroma’s might waiting to punch through… But, it doesn’t. Finally seeing the glistening, inky drop hit my skin, I’m startled by how strong yet totally cohesive this oil seems to be. Most powerhouse ouds tend to lead with a singularly strategic note, or perhaps a grouping of few; they jettison out with a recognizable edge. 1985 has no strategies of offense, no discernible corners or ledges, but it swells its chest and pushes up against your nostrils with everything all at once. It’s so rich and deep that picking out individual facets becomes a difficult task. Through earthiness, I catch glimpses of aged patchouli. Somewhere, within crumbling foundation, are buried beams of ancient mahogany and teak. A briny, oceanic musk of ambergris revives the sinking woods. Lost spirits of bitter herbs cling to a vacant cauldron, dripping with sticky green absinthe. The textural experience of this oud is akin to walking on memory foam: a smooth, seamless force, which yields instantaneously, but the further you push, the greater the resistance. The best analogy for this oil, if you could compare it to any one thing, would probably be a traditional French cassoulet – rich, hearty, slow cooked, with an abundance of deep satisfying flavors. – Casey, USA
Oud Royale 1985 riecht für mich sehr nach Erde. Wie ein Acker nach dem pflügen. Es ist sehr dunkle Erde. Und nach dem pflügen regnet es. Ein wunderbarer, tiefer, meiner Heimat verbundener Duft. Ich habe das Gefühl, der Duft wird im Verlauf weicher. Man merkt die Liebe und die Leidenschaft von Ensar Oud. – Katrin, Germany
I get a lot of Malaysian out of 1985, probably the Malaccensis. Every time I swipe, I get this Malaysian association (a deep dark one) and I seem to smell the ghost of what once was sweet fruity florals 30 years ago. Of course there’s a lot more going on. It’s quite complex. Drydown reverts more to the resinous agarwood and at that point it is in a scent group of any oil carefully distilled from sinkers. – Curt, CA
This Oud is so intoxicating I feel I need a swipe even before I sleep! – Mohammad, UAE
Visual: Appears black in the bottle; completely opaque. The air bubble shows it to be a deep dark brown colour. Viscosity is pretty low.
Scent from the stick: Wet stone, damp cave walls. Herbal grassy notes; moss; peat. Gentle cooling menthol note. Minerality.
After 2 hours: If I were to match it to another oil I’ve owned, I’d say it most closely resembles Maroke 2004. This is in colour, consistency and scent. It is however more rounded, mellow and complete. Age has dialled back the Maroke’s jungly menthol just a little, bringing it into balance. Perhaps this is what Maroke 2004 will smell like after another 20 years?
I think I can safely propose that if you’ve been enjoying Ensar’s Maroke oils over the past few years, you’re going to love this one. I guess the odd thing about this observation is that this is billed as a Sumatran oil, which places it quite far geographically from New Guinea. Perhaps it is most particularly the distillation of very high grade, old wood that informs much of the Maroke oils’ characteristics. This would explain why an early distillation of ancient, ultra-grade Sumatran wood produces a similar result: I believe this grade of wood was available in New Guinea back in 2004. This oil strongly reminds me of the heated scent of some special Port Moresby chips I got from Ensar last year; really black ones.
OK, it’s been over 4 hours now and what I’m liking about this oil is that the aroma is managing to remain in balance as it begins to dry down. Previously, I’ve been disappointed by some oils of this style that ‘hollow out’ as they reach the later stages in the skin, leaving behind a coarse reminder of what began as a sweet, pleasant menthol note. However, this one is maintaining its rich core.
Actually, as I sit here pondering this oil, I have been pulled back to an early memory I have of visiting one of my Aunts as a young boy. They had an ancient grandfather clock in the hallway and, at the time, I was just about small enough to climb inside (don’t ask me why!). It is the scent from inside, surrounded by the smell of the old wooden cabinet, most likely made from an exotic hardwood, that pulls me back to that time and place as I smell this oud. – Jonathan, UK
Experiencing Oud Royale 1985 feels like standing at the mouth of a cave hidden in the jungle. Starting out I get the smokey-peaty-ashiness of a fire extinguished by rain three hours ago. Also, the recent presence of hoofed animals; such creatures once sheltered here, now they’re gone. The hints of fire and animal society yield, and then I switch between facing the near-lifeless abyss of the cave and the hyper-botanical jungle: caveward, there’s cool, damp, mineralic darkness, wet slate, gravel, and distant stalactites, a musty draft the only suggestion of even the simplest forms of life; then I face the jungle and inhale the scent of succulents in profusion, bitter-sappy trees, vines, wholesome mulch, and wet red clay, their aromas suspended in dense humidity. Ancient mosses, lichens, and primitive fungi inhabit the frontier where the cave and jungle meet, their green and earthy aromas activated by sunlight. Any animals here are hiding from something. A breeze criss-crosses my face, bringing to my nose, in turns, the cold, dark, empty cave and the hot, bright, plant-laden jungle. Then a revelation: I am in prehistoric times, the only humanoid around. Oud Royale 1985 evokes in me feelings of luck, strength, and a giddy gratitude tempered by slight foreboding for having realized esoteric knowledge from a distant time and place. In short, Oud Royale 1985 has a lot going on, and it embodies many elements of oud (except no fruitiness or florals, which I’m pleased about). Having it is a great blessing. – Jensz, USA
The ’85 is a bit deceptive, it starts off softly as a subdued resinous mint, and then begins to deeply alter your consciousness. Impressive! – Hank, USA
First time in my life that I hear my wife telling me my Oud is nice! – Mohamed, France
This is less sweet than the Marokes I have – in fact it isn’t sweet at all. This has an oceanic, bitter, green type aroma to it… The bitter and green notes remind me also of Kyara Sayang. – Josh, CA
At first I pick up a vaporous Sumatran vibe similar to Hun Yin. Then the sweet licorice, oudy, woody, and resinous incense notes which are tightly knit and settled together. No rough edges, no wavering, and no camphor attest to a well aged oil from resinous agarwood. I get the references to Port Moresby, Kyara Sayang, Kannan Koh, Oud Sultani, and Maroke oils, but this is pure Sumatran. Very wearable, like a gourmand perfume.
A note on aged oils: I expected the century old Mysore that I came across to be thick, but since it was encapsulated, it didn’t thicken. It did not have an ‘old’ smell, just more refined with a lot of heart and base. Had Oud Royale 1985 been younger, the vapour would’ve been camphoric, and the sweet licorice would have fleeting florals ’n fruits.
Another note: I liked how Hun Yin dried down to a composed perfume. I hoped Oud Royale 1985 would also be like a perfume. Well, it certainly is.
Needless to say, I love it. – Curt, CA
At first swipe, it seems a rather provocative, monotonous woody base. However, quite slowly and surprisingly you find heart notes which are curiously sweet, mineral like. This is my first experience of an Olde Oud of this era which takes you on a journey back in time over three decades. I don’t have a scent profile like this at all in my collection and not sure I will get another chance again! I feel very privileged to have acquired this. – Haseeb, UK
Seems a little cruel and gloating to review the sublime Oud Royale 1985 now it is no longer available. It is a joy to own a product crafted with skill and artistry, an individual standalone manifestation of the realisation of the work of a true artisan. This is my first olfactory experience of any Oud that is older than five years, so I have nothing to compare to. It is impossible to divorce from the emotional response when experiencing this oil, from first application to final dry down it is smooth and peaceful, no jags or spikes, but a beautiful experience of wet salty-sweet, a trip into underground caverns, a running brook and a hint of a greeny menthol blown in on a gust of wind. Extraordinary. – Jon, UK
When I swipe Oud Royale 1985, suddenly I have the ability to reach inside my mind and grab hold of certain trials/problems encountered in everyday life, and wash myself clean of these stressors if only for a short time. The oil itself smells of what can only be described as ancient and mysterious. Indescribably complex with different scents weaving in and out of each other like a basket, holding the key to something amazing inside.
Admittedly, I first found myself perplexed and unable to decipher exactly what images of scent came to mind. Over time however, I realized maybe I’m not supposed to fully understand what it is my nose is interpreting. The more I search for beauty in something which is seemingly complex beyond my capacity to understand, the more I can respect an oil which serves as a reminder that although my perception of this reality may remain blurred by my own fallible nature, that which evokes such a great aesthetic pleasure sensation to my olfactory receptors is a glimpse into something truly fulfilling, priceless and indescribable.
Oud Royale is art. A creation I am extremely grateful to be acquainted with. – C.C. USA
First impression is ‘Wooow!’ I never smelled anything like this. Alhamdulillah. The color is dark brown and when I put a swipe the oil stains my skin like ink. The scent is not agressive but very smooth. When I close my eyes, I am transported to a freshly watered rain forest. The smell of old wood all around me. Maybe there is mint growing afar in this forest because I feel a freshness in the air. After my walk in the forest I come back to my old stone house and sit near ‘incense’ fire with a vintage book. – Thibot, France
Close your eyes, imagine standing in a wide open field with wet freshly cut grass all around you. Take a deep breath, smell the fresh and moist green vegetal scent. Stand still, feel the cooling breeze caressing your face with its smooth and gentle touch…
This is an oil with great depth and complexity. It starts off with a gentle powdery green that reminds me of Port Moresby. Just when you think this will be another one of those ouds with a kyara-green note, that most perplexing moment comes when you start smelling the jungly dampness often associated with Maroke oud. Now I am not a great fan of Maroke oils but the well aged Oud Royale 1985 has an intriguing and smooth scent profile that is very delicately balanced with no odd notes overwhelming one another. All the notes are in perfect harmony.
From time to time I thought I could catch a hint of vanilla sweetness in the undertone, not dissimilar to that in Unnu Izza (another, much younger Sumatran), but in a more mellow and subtle manner. The years of aging must have toned down and smoothened the narcotic sweetness found in its younger brethren. The dry down has a medicinal sweet incense aroma that lasts for hours.
After missing out on Oud Royale I, I just feel very fortunate to have a chance to own this precious vintage gem! – Melvin, Singapore
I still cannot believe the drydown in the Royale 85. It seems endless and endless in its power. – Jeff, IL
Enter the tour of the ancient castle… Start with the underground storerooms made of large stones, moist with some small green grass trying to pick through the layers between the stones. On the way to the Marble Gallery of the castle, filled with old wooden chests and antique clocks, we pass through rooms of medicine cabinets full of small glass bottles containing old medicinal elixirs. And finally, we get to the castle garden where many grassy herbs are growing…
Thanks to Ensar and his team for giving me the opportunity to try something impossible to find these days, with the price tag of a gift. – Peter, CA
The first whiff of this is a pleasant woodiness, soft and grounding. To me, this is one of the many characteristics of old wild oud that touches the spiritual side of the brain. Its meditative properties immediately put you at ease. The woods appear have different facets – damp, green, rotting, musty… Very complex and all mix harmoniously with the other scent profiles like medicinal herbs, spices, dried fruits, patchouli and vetiver, most probably due to the maturity of the oil. All notes blend together so seamlessly and smoothly. This oil does not remind me of a completely dark jungle – from time to time, there is a ray of sunshine that cuts through the canopy of the trees, reflecting blades of green (camphorous) light. Truly amazing. A real collector’s item. – Kenny, UK
Royale 1985. Not sure where to start… it is the only time I smelled an oud with such depth on the ‘burning’ smell, I found it difficult to categorize the scent, but found it to be easier to relate it on the psychological effect. It indeed feels like a medicine to me, a medicine that heals the soul, a medicine that clears the fog in one’s mind. Out of all my ouds, this is the strongest one with this effect. – Zheng, USA
Oud Royale 1985 is truly wonderful! Has such an antique smell to it that is unique to this oil alone. Thanks again for providing me with this! – Adam, USA