Imagine walking down the halls of an imperial library where, instead of books, each shelf is lined with green boxes containing crystal flasks filled with sinking-grade agarwood; the choicest rose harvests the world has to offer; musk pods from all species of deer dating back centuries; colossal ambergris rocks... frankincense, jasmine, sandalwood, vetiver – all carefully selected by a team of experts who serve one solitary customer and none besides.
As a kid, I used to wonder about the galaxies and it never failed to bewilder my mind. Thinking about the number of centennial agarwood trees needed to fill up such a collection is even more mind-boggling.
What if you could wander through this osmotheque? Not just roam freely but also swipe to your heart’s content; explore and open the green boxes that house the crystals and the gold flasks, untouched by sun or light. Unopened for decades.
Where would you even begin? As you ponder how many tons of black agarwood must have gone into filling those flasks, you can’t help by think “For all the advancements in perfumery, how come nothing smells like this anymore?”
After the tour, the curator gives you full access and commissions you to compose a perfume for the man who made it his mission to gather all these aromatics from all over the world. You may open and choose any of the green boxes for the composition, and pocket as much musk & ambergris as you can carry.
Then, once you’ve lined up your selection and tinctured the musk and ambergris, the curator pulls out a special box and tells you, “Here, make this the star of the show…”
Little did anyone know that this library existed, and that forty-odd years after those flasks were put on the shelves, they’d end up in the EO atelier. And that, from the atelier, instead of going to the patron who made it all possible the perfume would end up in a 15 ml bottle, on your shelf.
The curator’s secret ingredient was a blend of rose, oud, and spices you could “smell from 15 miles away” (this is how Omanis describe the royal collection). A mukhallat composed by time as the ingredients have macerated year after year into a scent you cannot decipher. You smell the rose—but what a rose! And the oud—but what oud! Like the library’s antique musk, separate pieces turned into an inseparable whole, you get to indulge in a fragrance that’s literally from another era.
A soft whiff of cardamom fused with an unorthodox duo of green mandarin and French rose lines the top notes which gradually make way for the full force of what Sultan Red Rose has to showcase: two rare harvests of vintage and exceptionally diffusive Ta’ifi rose extracts that form the heart of the composition.
Vintage rose and oud, even if simply blended neat create this rich deep-red liqueur which is a beautiful companion to the red tenor of Rose de Mai with that slight tinge of mandarin amped up with a citrus sweet Hojari note.
The heady vintage heart is enhanced by one of my most prized sinking-grade Malaysians, which adds a layer of resinous, pull-your-hair-out gorgeous, oudy element to the composition.
Distilled decades ago, the Sultan’s sinking-grade Malaysian oud is so rich, you smell it right in the opening, while its ultra replete agarwoody profile is brought to life by the diffusive power of the Ta’ifi roses.
If you’ve smelled Oud Sultani and Purple Kinam, picture a mix of the two and you’ll have a rough idea what the Malaysian smells like.
This narcotic purpleness drenched in that sinking-oud-rose mukhallat’s velvet liqueur heart gives off gentle wafts of Hojari sweetness in the background, intertwined with the lush olde Malayzi with just a touch of tobacco to compliment the juicy tone the Ta’ifi roses bring to the profile.
Creating a perfume using our curator’s vision to acquire the world’s most delectable ouds and flowers and unite them in what would become a royal artifact—embroidered by today’s most sought-after aromatics—was a challenge and a privilege.
Few have heard… felt… an oud tree heavy with hard sinking resin hit the ground—the earth doesn’t shake; it thunders—or gazed at football fields full of roses, or swam out to collect a massive floating ‘rock’ at sea, or tried to clean up after handling the stickiest musk pods from yesteryear.
But that’s what you get here, bottled.