Incense addicts, listen up! Copper connoisseurs, come even closer.
How to de-fruitify copper distilled oud oils seems like an impossible job – especially if you’re distilling Aquilaria Crassna. It’s like trying to turn apple juice into Earl Grey.
But why on earth would you want to tone down the fruits in the first place?
Crafting artisanal oud oil isn’t about clinging onto tradition, nor is it about designing new distillations set-ups. It’s about discovery. Whatever it takes. If it means using old school equipment, so be it. If we need to inaugurate new distillation methods, we’re all on board.
To craft Aroha Kyaku we used a traditional distillation set-up from which nobody would expect anything but honey and fruit. We fired up gas heated copper stills and ground up some of the finest Crassna. The only problem.... I mean.... discovery.... was that.... WOW! We must have distilled Crassnas from another planet!
Alright, I’ll confess. Maybe the set-up wasn’t all that traditional. The crazy introverted dark incense profile we unlocked in what otherwise should have been a playful breed of Thai fruitiness might have something to do with the water we used for distillation. Instead of using a single water source, we used earthwater from a selection of different local wells. Then again, it might also have to do with us collecting Crassnas from three distinct mountains. Or was it the addition of glass filtering to compliment the copper? The use of two different sets of condensers must have played a role too, I’m sure.
At the end of the day it wasn’t about toning down the fruits at all. It wasn’t just about trying new distillation tweaks either. All we cared for was to crack open unchartered scent profiles – olfactory notes that lay dormant in a copper pot, nestled in a Crassna crust – to bring you artisanally crafted organic oud oil that goes so hard against the grain you can literally smell the friction!
The (lack of) fruits of our exclusive distillation techniques is an oud fragrance that breaks all the rules. There are no fermentation notes, nor any metallic undertones. No dustiness, no fresh-off-the-still twang. You’ll smell spicy oud smoke instead of dried figs, purple berries infused with bubbling agarwood resin instead of apricot jam. The scent progression is smooth and gradual and the silage unintrusive. Did I mention the price?
Chock full of unfruity-smoky, spicy-sweet surprises, in Aroha Kyaku you’ve got one bedazzling bottle of oud!
My uncle was ambassador to India in the 80s. When visiting in the summer, their home was in the hills above Bombay. Below were two temples – incense wafting in the air 24/7. Their nanny always had a transistor radio around her wrist. In the sun you could smell the copper coils from the radio and when this mixed with the mogra jasmine, champa and sandalwood – wow – even the dirt smelled good when this was in the air! – Mostafa, USA
After applying it on my skin and being hit by the initial whiff I had to take a second look… how could what I’m smelling be a crassna!? Where is the honeyed fruitiness? That bright, carefree, joyful profile Thais are know for?
Instead what I was greeted by was predominantly smoky, smoked, umami like campfire scent.
Imagine yourself being outdoors on a winter evening, when the weather is crisp and air is filled with that unmistakable smoky aroma, one that is so addictively comforting. Second phase of the scent’s life on my skin is dominated by the leather after the smokiness takes a black seat, but thankfully never fully goes away.
If you are expecting the leather to smell like a new purse or pair of delicate gloves, you’re setting yourself up for a good dose of disappointment – what you are getting here instead is horse saddle leather, worn in, one that has absorbed the animal skin scent over the years. I you are looking for “pretty”, you won’t find it here – it is all about unadulterated, raw and commanding, unmistakably carnal allure, sex appeal cranked up to 11.
It is more masculine than not, smokey spicy leather, with whiffs of dark slightly sweet fruits hiding somewhere deep in the background and peeking through from time to time as a quiet reminder of Aroha Kyaku’s Thai origin.
I get whiffs of almost camphorous minuteness making the very back of my throat tingle when I inhale it, especially up close, but that part is more faint and not as pronounced as the smokiness, the spice and the leather.
Longevity and projection is above moderate leaning towards heavy with this one, one tiny swipe on my forearm left a noticeable scent trail and lasted exceptionally well, even on my scent-thirsty skin.
Would I say it is a unisex scent? Probably not, unless you are like me and enjoy heavier, darker, masculine leaning offerings. But if you are a guy, this should be an absolute no brainer. After all, for an oud of this caliber and at such a price, it’s almost too good to be true!! – Neringa, Ireland
Reviews for the previous batches:
…Together, the combination feels so brawny, burly, and inordinately macho that the only thing which came to mind was Ernest Hemingway. This is Hemingway at his most sybaritic, a cigar in one hand, scotch in another, his bare chest gleaming in the sun as he went fishing or shooting, every inch of him reeking with confident swagger and bravado. I’m one of those heretics who is not enamoured by the man (quite to the contrary, in fact), but there is no denying that he’s the archetype for a certain type of virility and machismo and that he is commonly associated with tobacco, whisky, and a rough, tough leatheriness. In that sense, he’s a perfect symbol for both the man and the scent that Aroha Kyaku represents…
I’ll just say that I think it’s a fantastic, nuanced, and beautifully smooth treatment of vetiver, tobacco, leather, and smoke which will appeal to a lot of men. I would take it any day over the Tauer Attar AT which, though nicely done, is significantly simpler and is also created with some aromachemicals. This one is all-natural and, in my opinion, a lot richer, deeper, stronger, and better quality. Much, much better quality, although that is to be expected from a luxury line like Ensar Oud and, to be fair, Tauer’s is not priced in the same way. On the other hand, relative to Ensar Oud’s pricing standards, Aroha Kyaku is very reasonable with samples starting at $19 and 3-gram bottles at $165. I strongly recommend trying it if you love any of the olfactory notes described here. A big thumbs-up from me. – Kafkaesque, USA (Click here for full review and scent note description by Kafkaesque!)
What a powerful experience. The strength of this oil gives me strength! A very smoky opening, the smell is similar to one of the best smoky scotch whiskies, you have to think Ardberg or a Lagavulin. Here, we are at the top of refined liquid!
The opening made me also think about something else, the perfume Jeke from Slumberhouse, for the smokiness, and for the drydown at Norne, from the same house, for the green note and the impression to be in humid forest. That's two of my favorite perfumes, also two strong and raw scents. Don't get me wrong, they are not the very similar but, from my olfactive memory, that's what came to my mind, in a very positive way! I like when what I wear has that richness expressing the power of nature! And now, with this oil, it's at an other level! – Simon, Canada
This oil emotes a quiet sense of power. Unlike AK, this one is devoid of the evolving dark red cassis and fruits which evolve during dry down. Stays smoky, green and potent... I am continually amazed at the variety of scents nature and deft artisans can create. – Phil, USA
I put on some of the Aroha Kyaku and was just taken back. It’s reminding me of winter in Kuwait in the desert tent with the smell of oud burning except the scent is better quality. – Zayd, USA
Smoky, like birch tar. An intense umami scent. There’s fruits hiding somewhere underneath. The barbecue, umami notes fade first. Then the smoke comes into balance with fruity notes making an appearance. They’re not the rich, juicy fruits that I’d expect. It reminds me more of cool, ripe white grapes just before they burst when you bite them. Several hours later, the smoke is still there, but it complements the fruit and wood rather than taking it over. Now I feel like I’m smelling bubbling oud chips instead of a camp fire. It’s very rich, almost animalic; it’s less musk and more damp wool. – Duncan, USA
This was the first ever Oud I tried, and it certainly made a very strong impression on me.
I will in the interest of accuracy paraphrase the letter I sent off to the company (with some parts deleted and rephrased for discretion!) interlaced with my current, more clinical style of reviewing. Apologies if anyone finds this confusing or disconcerting, but it was such a beautiful moment for me that I really want to share this. Letter content is normal roman, inserted review in italics:
However after trying your ink black oud from Thailand, Aroha Kyaku, I don’t think I ever want to go without it again.
It not only totally justified the expense of itself purely for me scent-wise, it lifted my mood, got me a lot of compliments from people on the one day I wore it out, helps my baby girl sleep through the night more (though perhaps that is the Mysore as well) but most of all and not least…
The Lady of the house found this to be an alluring scent on me eventually. Did not expect that at all as she has always been indifferent to nauseous to even the most expensive perfumes such as Roja Dove.
She hated, loathed the Aroha on me the moment I applied it as did I, but I stuck it out hoping the bat poop, sulfur and rubber stench would change as I had read that it can hugely change over time due to individual skin chemistry.
Initial application of this, my first Oud caused quite a crisis on my skin that no other Oud before or after, including the same one has ever provoked. As I wrote above, the tumult of my skin chemistry, almost an allergic reaction caused an extremely vile outcome. Subsequently a little of this surfaces but passes within five minutes.
It opens currently with pitch, a touch of sulfur, only a little guano and very deep, dark incense.
Oh, dear God it did.
One hour subsequently I could imagine that I was in a very small room with an incense burner on which a handful of very resinated aloeswood chips had been festooned on. Such an intense aroma! I did err however by applying three large drops to my wrist and neck so it was very much overkill at this stage.
Currently the scent profile blossoms into yet more dark and complex incense punctuated by Oud lift, the scent of other rare wood oils that I have never smelt before, and if this has a colour, the colours would be deep darkest red and pitch velvet black. Deep inhalation over a minute not only induces a sense of relaxation but also a tingling sensation in my nose and lungs, not unpleasent at all.
By the time she came back from work she was amazed at how good I smelled!
Two hours and more on the scent is now that of grand incense, a slight Oud lift, cherrywood tobacco and deep dark aromatic pitch. Totally masculine in nature, wonderfully compelling. – Robert, USA
Imagine the essence of most crazily resinous, bubbling oud chips surrounding you all day. To wear Aroha Kyaku is like anointing yourself with a mabkhara session. – John, UK
The Aroha Akayu is one of its kind. It is the one I’ve been searching for all this while. I love it to bits and it is the one that suits my character best. This oud oil is serious and masculine in tone. It opens with a whift of dark heavy rich wood and then, the scent of spiceness and smokiness from beautifully burnt agarwood starts to blend in harmoniously. I imagine this is what a prince would wear to a ball. – Farid, UK
I have just started exploring Aroha Kyaku, but initially I love it. It comes on so strong with the smokey, tobacco notes… I feel a similar brassy, raw character like with Tigerwood 95, one of my deep loves. Then AK settles into a heart of resinous woody richness. The sweet cherry wood dry down is a nice completion to the journey. Great sillage and it powers on and on. And the great news is that it was just distilled 1 year ago from Organic material… Keep up the magic. – Joel, Cambodia
Wow the AK is strong, and it shares the same notes as my other bottles from previous distillations. I put some on this evening before I did some errands, maybe too much, but still not even a drop. I had a 30 min. blissed out drive and then I was waiting for some carry-out food and the ceiling fans in the place were swirling the air around me and all the different notes were hitting me… creamy dark woods and fruits and every once in a while that smoky note that to me smells like partially burnt logs, wet from the morning dew, left over from a campfire the night before. Sometimes I feel I could write a book about the Aroha Kyaku, there seems to be discoveries of new scents, for which I struggle to find words, each time I wear it. – Keith, USA
I have been wearing the Aroha Kyaku here and there during the week. Aroha Kyaku is a dark, rich agarwood oil, that at first scent, evokes a sense of intense spiciness. After application, the spiciness fades a bit, and the old, familiar oud fragrance rolls in, and in full force. Deep and complex, this oud has a smoky, piquant undertone that intertwines effortlessly with the a gentle hint of fruitiness. As for the sillage, even a dot of Aroha seems to last for hours and hours. This oud is bracing, multifarious and altogether a delight to wear. – Joseph, USA
I’m compelled to share my thoughts on Aroha Kyaku. It has been aging very nicely. The edges are rounding and I can’t wait to see what 2, 3, 10 years will bring. It looks like molasses.
Some days I feel this oud is like armor. It can be bracing. I like to imagine that this is what samurais smelled like as they scented their gear with agarwood before battle for luck. The indigo incense envelopes you in a personal cocoon. It has transparent smokiness which hides fruits in the distance. The incense is carefully balanced with bleeding red berries beneath it all, giving it energy from the bottom. All the while there is a clear, precise, high soprano note that weaves in and out, slicing what would be otherwise be a too heavy trail like a sharpened katana. It is a dance on a taught rope. On these days, AK makes me feel invincible, grounded, energized and ready to conquer my... office work.
Other times the incense hums a low bass note more noticeably. It is brown amber colored. Deeper and deeper inhalations never draw fully from the well of humming vibrations. Like the engine purr of a finely tuned Porsche 911. On these days it is grounding and relaxing. It is a paradox, but I have come to accept that this oud simply amplifies your state of mind in either direction.
Someone else said that it is serious in tone, and I completely agree. It is not playful or charmingly coy like Yusuf. It is introverted, self-assured, and powerful. This is the mysterious tall, dark, confident stranger who arrived at the palace late one evening after a long journey. Severe and with unshakeable virtue, he is the one that wins over the heart of the beauty-renowned Princess Yusuf. She spotted the boyish sweetness underneath all the manly hardness.
Yusuf and Aroha together bring fireworks (hint-hint). – Rodney, USA
I was teaching at Greensville yesterday and one of the students had a beautiful Oud on. I wanted to ask him what it was but felt shy to as he might think it was an indirect way of saying ‘please give me some!’
The student then came up to me himself and gave me a swipe of Aroha Kyaku. It is amazing Masha Allah. I must have made wudu about 5 times (it’s cold here!) and the fragrance was still strong. I can tell it will become a classic.
May Allah bless you and your family and loved ones and may He continue to fragrance this earth at your hands, Ameen! – Shaykh Burhaan, UK
I think this will be my favorite oil as of now. I have never smelled actual oud wood on a burner but Aroha Kyaku is exactly what I’ve been imagining burning oud wood would smell like. Now I see exactly what Ensar means when he posts about this oil: ‘Aroha Kyaku is actually a $2,500 fragrance with a $165 pricetag, thanks to the organic raw materials and our state-of-the-art distillation techniques.’ – Pete, CA
I tried applying a little more than usual of the Aroha Kyaku and it was a transcendental experience, it was causing me to lose focus on my tasks to ponder the perplexing aromas. – Keith, MD
As I give the coal some air to get it breathing, I prepare to put a piece of agarwood onto it. The coal is ready and I place the agarwood piece on it slowly. I can see the bubbling and fizzing and the scent travels to my nose. I take a deep breath then my eyes open.... and I realize I’m smelling my wrist after just having applied Aroha Kyaku.
Well, I have to say Aroha Kyaku is an incense lover’s dream. To start off, Aroha Kyaku smells just like burning agarwood. The burning of the wood, the smoke, it’s pretty much identical. The smokiness remains and the scent of burned agarwood chips lingers. There is a slight fruitiness after a few hours that is trying to push through but doesn’t, and the scent of sweetness sweeps through all the smokiness and remains.
Overall this is a great Oud oil if you love burning agarwood and don’t have access to a burner, coal and chips 24/7. Just carry Aroha Kyaku with you! – Omar, UK
This is unlike any Thai oil I have ever experienced. In fact, it reminds me of some of the pricier Malaysian ouds in my collection, with its rich, dry woodiness.
Overall, I find Aroha Kyaku quite serious in tone and masculine leaning. It opens with slowly smoking agarwood incense and gradually a note of dark, unsweetened cocoa emerges. As the cocoa recedes, the woodiness becomes spicier and smokier. I imagine this on a dashing dark-haired man with devastating effects.
At this price point, I think this is a great offering for regular wear, as it would be enjoyed by oud-lovers and the uninitiated alike. – Megan, Canada
Aroha Kyaku is one of the most unique oud oils I have yet experienced! If oud was liquor, this would be one of those peaty ‘Isle of Islay’ scotches. There is a prominent smokey note that, combined with dark woods and a subtle but pungent fruit note, comes together into a very striking and remarkable experience. The vibe of this oud is edgy but dignified, classy but raucous – nothing else like it in the collection. – Josh, CA
Aroha Kyaku is a dark smokey delight on my olfactory palate! The oil itself is very dark and potent. Tiny swipes are all I need to envelop myself in a smokey intoxicating aura. Applying the oil to my naked skin brings on a blast of alder infused jasmine-berry funk. Inhaling its aroma takes me deep into my psyche like only a good copper distilled oud can. It is a mix of dry woody notes wrapped in subtle spices with just enough of that jasmine-berry to tame the smokey energy. After about 5 hours it takes on that smooth spicy note that I associate with a good Japanese incense. This oil has great staying power and projection. At a killer price no less! Aroha Kyaku is a very welcome addition to my personal copper collection. – Chris, SD
When I used it the first time, I didn’t really get the smell... Second wear I was shocked by its magical and unique smokiness and deep oudiness. I’m a tobacco fragrance lover and I have many perfumes with this scent but I never imagined I would find this in a pure oud oil. Really, this oud is one of the top oils by Ensar Oud, and the price is SO special for this Monster! Thank you, dear Ensar, for enabling us to truly enjoy the world of pure oud oils! – Mandeel, Kuwait
Incense, incense, incense! Great power in the beginning, smoky, woody, and a delightful cocktail of spices. No barnyard note, showing its Cambodi type, and my wife loves it. As the hours go by, the heady fruit is as if hiding somewhere, giving the spices a roundness and sweetness I can’t resist. The next day, my shirt sleeves retain the memory of a truly original and delightful Cambodi oud. Not just any fragrance, but one that gives you other types of remembrances... – Antoine, France
الحمد لله I received my bottle of Aroha Kyaku yesterday evening. ما شاء الله first impressions is that this is an excellent oil, especially for the price. In fact I was kind of expecting lesser quality in comparison to the more expensive organic oils, but AK is just as good and could easily get away with the same price tag.
The scent to me possesses an almost Maroke 2004-like profile that’s been tamed by the airiness of the Sultani, cloaked by incense. The incense note is very prominent. My wife without any prior knowledge of this oil said, ‘It smells like the stuff you burn in the other room’. I also perceive a chocolate note and there is some fruit in there, but the darker type. All in all, I’m very pleased with this oil ما شاء الله. – Hamidur, UK
I got the package a couple days ago, and despite a sinus infection, I am delighted! I love the deep dark smoke and wood with crisp and bright ‘mint’. I won’t order a tola of the Aroha just yet, but do keep me posted when you produce another oil in that price range. Good to know I don’t have to give up my addiction just because of a bit of temporary financial trouble! – Bob, CA
Сначала я думал что масло мне напомнит запах в церкви... но...!
Мой лучший советчик в ароматах это моя жена. То что она сказала меня взволновало – она сказала что масло не просто пахнет, оно “звучит” и звучит в объеме, как будто его можно потрогать.... Я – внутри сферы, вокруг меня дымное благоухание, и третья сфера – это цветочно – древесная сфера... Наверно, я его просто много нанес на себя. Жду в выходные гостей для сюрприза.
Это очень необычный ладан – это смесь цветочных, дымно – цветочных, тлеющего дерева ароматов. Я даже не все ароматы прочувствовал. А как это масло успокаивает...
Масло идеально подойдет для использования дома и в кругу друзей. Имеет свойство вводить в транс... Особенно под спокойную музыку.
Очень доволен маслом Aroha Kyaku! Спасибо! – Maxim, Russia
I just received the the order today and wanted to let you know that this is marvelous oud. A true masterpiece of craftsmanship. At first I was taken aback by the extreme smokiness, very wild and raw. But as it settles on the skin it becomes absolutely beautiful, as the smoky and woody notes mingle together with a ghost of sweetness lingering in the background.
As it develops, the smokiness takes a gentle backseat but is going strong still, while the woody notes come out into the front. This note takes on very mystical qualities, it becomes almost floral around the edges teasing you with microscopic amounts of sweetness that seem to hide just around the corner. This harmonic interplay is like someone turned a musical composition into scent.
I can’t wait to play around with this in my perfume making. But I think it will be kept for only personal perfumes that I use myself. This is my most precious material at the moment. I have had ouds made from young agarwoods, nearly clear in colour and thin in consistency, still a nice smell to work with; but that is lead to compared to this gold. Absolutely gorgeous material. – Einar, Luxembourg
He is full of imagination.
I love him.
He is like a lost friend. – Ondrej, Czech Republic
Brother, this is out of the world. Believe me, I have never smelled something like this in my whole life. Really, I cannot believe what this is. There's a spicy green, smoky, incense feel I got and as I applied it was like I cannot concentrate on something else and just kept smelling it and slowly that smoke (a bit of fruit) made my mind and senses feel amazing and could feel each and every note there. Really, I haven't smelled anything like this before and now I will wait for the dry down and see where it will take me from here. – Hassam, UAE