I got all my training at the hands of the Chinese sifu. While familiar with the Japanese kodo tradition, it’s not something I identify with for several reasons (like non-agarwood species of trees being used to illustrate ‘Sumatora’ simply because of the ‘sour’ quality of the fragrance; the palpable superiority of Brunei Kinam to other types of agarwood, and its resemblance to some Hainanese varieties; etc).
So the term Kyara is used to denote Vietnamese Kinam, as in the case of Kyara LTD. The Japanese senseis would definitely classify Chinese kinam as kyara, but I opted for ‘Royal Kinam’ when naming my Chinese kinam oils, to stay true to the Chinese sifu’s way.
People say they never see such Oriscent caliber oils anymore. True, this class of oud has become increasingly inaccessible and nobody’s seen anything wild come from China/Hainan in years. Anything and everything from the region today is cultivated — and mostly CO2 extracted to cover up the shortcomings and make the best of oud distilled from agarwood trees that are barely 3 years old.
There’s no way you can make this caliber oud today, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. I’m putting Royal Kinam 2.0 out there to show you oud like this, while incredibly rare and impossible to make again, does still exist.
The original Royal Kinam was a once in a lifetime distillation from Hong Kong agarwood, conducted thirteen years ago. The closest you got to its profile after it was Kyara Koutan.
As fantastic and rare as RK was, and as much as Kyara Koutan has been praised and sought out since, no one (including me) will question that Royal Kinam 2.0 is superior to both.
Three years passed after its predecessor, and with this edition we stepped up the game, which is evident in an aroma replete with the medicinal bitter-sweetness of kinam stripped of anything besides. Not just replete, but identical in scent and taste.
This is not a marketing pitch cashing in on the kinam label, nor did we need to hide any blemishes behind blue lotus — or anything else, except a bona fide kyara injection. Royal Kinam 2.0 was distilled from minimum 50% kinam species agarwood, sourced in Hainan. The same trees that the oil was distilled from either contained kinam, or were in the process of kinam formation. Hence the essential oil produced from them is one and the same oil that would harden into proper kinam resin.
That's one explanation. But here's the bulletproof test: Nibble on a bite of certified kinam with a swipe of RK 2.0 on your wrist, then suck… salivate… smell… and it’s as if you’re directly inhaling the flavor numbing your tongue. In fact, drip a drop on your tongue and feel the sedating sensation as the scent sprints through your cavities like an opiate. This doesn’t happen with oud save chewing on kinam — certainly not with any kind of oud oil!
The scent of kinam leaves anyone at a loss for words. That’s why even the most meticulous descriptions (antique and modern) are useless if you’ve never actually smelled true kyara. And once you have… descriptions mean as much as descriptions of light to someone standing under the sun. A piercing, narcotic fragrance that shoots into your head like a shot of camphor, that once you’ve smelled it, you know.
The original RK captured the scent of kinam, and was obviously distilled from exceptional agarwood. This edition IS the scent of kinam.
Just as we’re about to enter a new decade, Royal Kinam 2.0 celebrates it’s tenth anniversary. I’ve kept it under wraps for a decade because it threw the oud game into a different league even back then. Today, it remains the most precious oud on the planet, plus ten years in the dark made it even better; made the fact that oud like this can still be found an opportunity you should not let pass.
I recently got Royal Kinam 2.0 and have been enjoying its company over the past few days. This one is hard to review because every wear presents different facets. I suppose the best I can do is talk about what I am discovering tonight. As it initially warms on the skin, I get a delectable swirling brown-sugar/molasses richness that forms a semi-transparent cloud radiating several feet out. This cloud moves in slightly closer a couple of hours later and reveals a lime green/yellow-hued sour-sweetness lying on a bed of freshly snapped-twig resinousness that you can almost (or actually, in fact) taste at the back of your throat. A slightly bitter orange-rind also joins the orchestra that is playing a “kinam” symphony. Like I said, there is so much going on that the above is just a narrow view gained from a few frugal wearings. I have a sneaking suspicion that I may reach the end of my bottle (hopefully sometime in the distant future) without having discovered all there is to find. What a journey! – Rodney, USA
Medical bitter opening note, rooty, very rare within the oud I've bought /sampled. (I have a pack of the Ensar sampler + loads of other oils) Clouds of just head permeating incense drys down to this amazing minty, mentholic nose tingling note. Reminded me of Bliss du Boche for some reason. But then I sampled it, alongside and bliss smelled almost animalic, fecal like oud hindi traditional compared to this beauty, strong iris note here for me. – Leandro, UK
I only can shake my head in wonder about the two miracle oils- the attached picture may describe
how I feel about this seemingly long lost Moghul opulence of treasures, and the two sides of the gold coin say a lot about how I feel- holding the cup, and (re)turn to the invisible splendor on the other side. Nothing relative. Einstein was definitely wrong: the ABSOLUTE exists. – Erhard, Austria
We are so incredibly lucky that Ensar not only has made an oud of this caliber, but is allowing us to acquire a portion of it. This is an incredibly potent oud! At first sniff, one is brought into the presence of kyara, feeling its huge impact, opening up the doors of the mind to a vaster plain. The scent itself is green, sharp, dark, and linear, unmistakably kinam. But it's greatest value, and why it's such a treasure, is because of its transcendental nature. It brings you to a place that most oils can't even glimpse, and keeps you there, basking in sublimity. There are only a handful of ouds on the planet in the same class as this one. Words fail... – Hank, USA
Can’t get enough. Spectacular oil. An entire cosmos captured in a tiny V-vial.
Almost the depth and weight of Nha Trang LTD but with longer lasting top notes and a more shimmering quality. The unraveling is the notes from that “red” “blue steak” Oriscent, to a strong bitter medicinal profile, to that insanely satisfying sweeeeeeeet sinesis heart. Oh my. I knew I would enjoy it but I am absolutely loving it! – Rasoul, Canada
I am 3 wears in. Distinctly an Oriscent oil. Shares the same classic bitter medicinal, endlessly deep, piercing while fat, and round on the top quality that all Oriscent oils seem to have. I do wonder how much of that is the result of the aging vs method of disttilation. Likely both.
While Kyara LTD, for example, has many distinct yet cohesive accords to it, Royal Kinam 2.0, like Nha Trang LTD is monotone but what a tone.... it is indeed kinam and Chinese kinam to be exact. The scent is very very close to old growth proper Hainan and Hong Kong wood (I procured via KZ and also in incense stick form from legenary Wu Shuang Ge) to my nose and with my experience. A gently cooling note is wrapped around bittersweet, mind tingling, elating yet grounding quality. These tier oils to me are equally if not more about the place they take you than the actual scent. They are truly like a shuttle transporting the wearer. In this case, I get mental images of a monestary on top of a hill in a non tropic jungle. More of a central China/Japan imagery comes to mind vs. lets say, Thailand or Cambodia. – Rasoul, Canada
This [Kyara LTD 2.0] and Royal Kinam v2 are simply the finest oud oils I've ever smelled. In every aspect too, not just beauty, but everything else as well. I think Royal Kinam had a slightly more medicinal effect, but I do think overall Kyara LTD v2 takes first place.
Wanna know the first thing I said to Ensar, when I smelled Kyara LTD v2? I said, why does any other vendor bother to stay in business, when you have oils like these?
This dude has got not just a Rolls-Royce, he's got a whole fleet of them. And right behind them, another fleet of Maseratis, and, and..
Pity I couldn't smell all the oils Ensar wanted to show me as I had to rush off to Borneo. From the look on Ensar's face though, I could tell he was sad I was missing out!
I hope everyone who smells these oils will give them the admiration they deserve, and I hope those who cannot do that don't get to smell them at all (i.e. leave them for those that know their value which, if you ask me, is worth far more than a mere dollar-value Ensar slaps on these babies). – Taha, Malaysia
…an extra level of decadence. – Josh, USA
You were absolutely right, I love Royal Kinam 2.0. And it came just in time as it was a bad weekend, pain wise. I was recovering so well, and I made the mistake of doing too much. I personally prefer the Royal Kinam 2.0 by a large margin. RK v. 2 and Kynam No 1 are simply "golden" oils, and once in a lifetime opportunities to own. I am truly very grateful to you, to Ensar and to Thomas for making the opportunity available. – MI, USA