I’ve heated a whole lot of this wood. At the distillery, over unending cups of oolong, the wooden kyara heaters would get passed around: “Bunnei” the distiller would say in Hokkien, giving a thumbs up as if to say, “I told you so!”
The next heater would come: “Haillam…”
The next one: “Guallam…”
To my amazement, all of the “Kilams” had a similar bitterness at the core that was merely shrouded in different top notes.
Legend has it that the whole “Brunei Kinam” story is a marketing ploy invented by the Chinese when they ran out of Vietnamese Kyara. To me, it makes little difference who invented the story. I can spend the rest of my days heating Brunei Kinam.
The smoke of this wood is the story of my life. I’ve made oil from it, and it ranks well beyond anything any king or emperor has smelled, no matter how illustrious. And no, it’s no marketing story (or the oil would be for sale). Louis XIV may have slept next to the Mona Lisa, but he never smelled my Brunei Kinam. All of art revolves around the “ecstasy” factor, the power to transport the beholder. Few olfactory vistas are so grand they make you groan, where you want to pull your hair out from pure ecstasy.
Dark resinous top notes unfurl into the bitter core of Hainanese Kinam. The greenness of Vietnam Kyara is lacking. The profile is more purple blue than yuzu green. Some people report a milk note shrouded in signature Bruneian purple. I only get bitter-blue with the red effervescence of Hainanese Kinam in the background.
Wearing a greasy bangle of fast plummeting Brunei Kinam is no less appealing to me than wearing a Vietnamese. The bitter medicinal madness is about the same on the wrist. At room temperature, the scent is equally narcotic. That is the secret of kinam. It requires very low heat to unfold all of its secrets. Sometimes, no heat at all is required.
At super low temps I get a kind of silky woods with a soft creamy milk note. A tad bit of spice adds a kind of incensey vibe. Very enjoyable! Kyara is the only other wood that was this fragrant at such low temps on my burner. As I raise the temp I am greeted with a nice oudy undertone and wafts of that Bruneian DNA. Lovely green and dark agar notes weave themselves into a deeply meditative scent. At times I am sure I have smelled this note in oils like Kyara LTD Port Morseby… then it vanishes and I am left mystified at its beauty.
I was able to go back to my burner many times and enjoy this amazing scent. I only needed a tiny sliver of the piece you gave me for many hours of pleasure! It was that soft creamy almost warm milk type note that I couldn’t get enough of! Never encountered it in any other wood. Now that I have filed this experience in my olfactive memory bank, I will never forget this scent spectrum. – Chris, USA
Haven’t been posting much recently, but had to drop by to hype the Brunei kinam Ensar is offering. As most of you know, my taste in agarwood and oud oil is impeccable – it is difficult to overstate the discerning nature of my sniffer… I am also a very modest man – though I think it’s clear that eventually others will build statues of me sniffing my wrist…
Per the Brunei kinam – wow!! This is fantastic, and a truly unique scent profile. I have several varieties of Vietnamese kyara, and they are totally epic, but all occupy a similar scent spectrum. Given that I have several, my interest in buying more is fairly limited considering the price (I’m tempted though, by the batch Ensar is offering – that is no doubt top notch). This Brunei kinam however, I’ve never smelled anything like it, except that the unheated wood smells like some sort of decadent Malaysian oud oil (like Purple kinam etc)… Heated, the scent – I agree with Ensar – this is blue and red (does that make purple?) with an unearthly fruity/floral menthol aspect… Really incredible, highly recommended…
It is worth noting that I have sampled several other agarwoods that were billed as either “Borneo kinam” or “Brunei kinam” – in my opinion none of those were the real thing, and actually just smelled like good quality Brunei/Borneo wood (think “honey mint sunshine”). At this stage of my agarwood collecting I pretty much just buy woods that present a distinct scent profile, and this has it in spades… I had pretty much written off “Borneo kyara/Brunei kyara” as a marketing ploy, and have been surprised that even a couple of otherwise highly discerning sellers had fallen for it…
This Brunei kinam by Ensar is the real deal – it smells nothing like typical high end Brunei/Borneo wood… Ensar has consistently impressed me with his integrity in the ouds and agarwood he offers – his products may be pricey, but you never have to question the honesty of what he is offering – he may hype his products, but he’s honest about them and an admirable man because of that – ’tis how legends are made, and it shows the passion of someone who has devoted his life to this most exotic of substances. – Josh, USA