Most people either buy oud chips for the look or for the smell. But if you’ve got any experience with different varieties of oud, you know look and smell don’t always go together. The blackest chips often possess a mere echo of the burst of oudy goodness that wafts from a ‘normal’, lighter-colored chip.
That’s why I don’t encourage anyone to buy oud for its Monkoh-value based on looks alone. It’s also why some have wondered why we often offer oud chips that, in their book, look ‘low’ or ‘medium’ grade… lacking the black exterior they consider ‘high’ grade.
I hate to burst the bubble, but the typical grading structure of agarwood you’re probably familiar with—A, AAA, Super, King Super, Medium, Low, whatever—is highly problematic when it’s the aroma you’re after, not the look.
It wouldn’t matter if Bois d’Iris looked like plywood or floated like a feather. Because of the smell—this distinct note of iris, redolent of Ceram 1997, taken to the next level. A deep psychoactive dry-floral aroma infused in musk and orris root, anchored in a gently bitter undertone you’d smell in vintage agarwood across the board. If only we could gather enough to run a proper distillation, you’d never be reading this.
Speaking of, think about this: if everyone is out to capture the ‘scent of heated oud chips’ in oud oil, shouldn’t the same logic apply? Shouldn’t it be even more about the smell—not the blackness of the wood you distill?
But that’s not that case. The myth that black = best is held as dogma in many distillation circles and the folks who adhere to this mistaken belief are quick to judge wood by its blackness. The difference is, where they might be out to distill the look, you’re chasing the smell. Unless you’re carving beads or looking for a display piece, it’s always about the smell.
This is a superior, more resinous (denser, so they’d last longer on the heater) companion to Ceram 1997. For all the talk about ‘low’-grade-looking wood, as far as visual appeal goes, they’re stunning. The resination pattern and color hue is quite different to your run-of-the-mill oud chips, with long strains instead of spots. Not to mention, the resin runs through the entire chips, so you can enjoy every splinter down to the core, not just the outer crust (as is the case with most oud chips), so in terms of weight, you’re getting every milligram’s worth.
I haven’t smelled the iris note in wood from anywhere but Maluku and neighboring New Guinea. I can’t tell you why that is, where it’s from, or what caused it. What I do know is that the iris is intoxicating, beautiful, and such a rare olfactory experience you can’t miss it.
If you only know about ‘black’ resin agarwood and not red resin, yellow resin, green resin, etc., you’d dismiss fantastic oud as being barely resinated white wood, and soil agarwood will simply look like broken fibers pastiched together. If black is all you know, you’ll miss out on some of the supreme agarwood-heating experiences known to man—you’d be dissing superior agarwood and not even know it. You would never have discovered the sandal-cedar symphony of Maluku…… or the iris chord of Bois d’Iris.
Reviews of Ceram 1997:
How in the world is this possible? How can a wood smell more floral than a flower? Why was this kept a secret from all of us? And lastly you better have an oil made from this wood already and it better be aging in the deep dark corners of your safe within a safe within a safe behind a secret bookshelf behind a painting. I feel it will shove PK’s face in it and immediately jump to your top releases ever. This is deliscious delicious wood and beyond pretty. It is profound. Score!
100% agree that the ambient aroma of the wood is not only present but on steroids and it is distinctly purple in scent. Iris in fact is the closest thing that springs to mind. Zero exaggeration and no power of suggestion needed. It is just that obvious when it is staring you in the face. – Rasoul, Canada