The first time I put the tiniest sliver on the heater, I was expecting wafts of plumy twang or a darker shade of New Guinea filaria. I was even open for disappointment, as many have been with Filipino lots.
What I got instead was a distinct slice of blue. First thought: Kyara de Kalbar.
The same powderiness hits you through its maiden vapor, except you’re only supposed to smell that in oil form, not raw chips. A fantastic layer of blue with a flowery sweetness that instantly reminded me of Brunei chips like I haven’t smelled in a long time.
Bedazzled by the Brunean blue, I shaved off a second sliver, a third and a fourth, and even whipped out the high-temp heater just to smell what happens on there.
Within minutes, I sat down buzzing like I haven’t since spending that night in Sarawak high on Baram. Your ears tingle a bit. The hairs on your head feel prickled, standing erect. A head shiver, if there were such a thing. I thought I’d need camomile to calm me down, but instead I sat back and let the stunning, clean-fresh-blue spike run like a soft DC current through my head and let the oud do its thing. Narcotic.
That’s when it hit me and I went to the small bottle of Kyara Ketone, took a swipe… and the stars aligned.
The narcotic hit of Baram, the powderiness of Kyara de Kalbar, and ultimately the piercing blue, oceanic without the green, beauty of Kyara Ketone’s core.
If you have any Filipino oud chips, I’m sure you know that now is not the time to sell any. Now’s the time to keep them.
Just as you’d expect, we’ve seen oud prices skyrocket across the Philippines within the past two years alone, just like it happened in Sri Lanka, affecting every province.
And then the lockdown hit.
Imagine the same caliber oud you see below from Vietnam or Cambodia, and what you wouldn't give to steal a whiff…
Obviously, that’s because there hasn’t been agarwood of this class coming from those jungles for a long time. In the China Market, had these chips been Vietnamese, Burmese, or Laotian, you’d be looking at prices approaching that of top tier kinam—and for good reason.
I have no doubts that this batch will go down with the best of them.
Harvests in the Philippines have peaked and the hunters are desperate to unearth new trees. Many of the hot spots of two years ago are now done for, while the ones that aren’t are already past their prime.
Hunters have tapped jungle after jungle to the point that Tawi Tawi sounds like old news. Indian, Thai, and Chinese teams compete neck to neck for the prize, increasing not only the tempo but the drop in quality.
These Filipino Exclusive chips are the cream of the crop; extra dense so the chips sound like clinking steel when dropped against each other. The scent is sweet-narcotic, reminiscent of early Kambodi king nuggets… drenched in blue. They sink in water.
When you witness such a gold rush, keep your eyes wide open. It was a major issue in Sri Lanka, and it’s a problem now. When chips aren’t properly dried and chiseled, you lose out in two ways: You pay more and get less.
When you buy upper-end oud chips, any excess bunk or moisture quickly adds up to a pretty penny. Not only do you pay for excess weight, but the heating experience gets tainted by those unresinated strands.
Filipino Exclusive was expertly chiseled to remove not just bunk strands, but the chips retain a uniform grade throughout. (Keep in mind that most chips in the market don’t technically represent a single grade, despite being sold as A, AAA, etc. because the resin density fluctuates between chips in the batch and within a single piece itself.)
Quality chiseling guarantees an even distribution of solid resin and gives you, gram for gram, what you pay for.
Lockdown has been a great chance for oud lovers. Many have started to dig deep into the raw heating experience. You finally have the time to sit through a few sessions to really get to know different grades and terroir, or to simply hone in and become intimately familiar with one.
Where you previously ‘settled’ for 'cheap' chips, you now get what makes higher grade cuts so precious—and you want in on that caliber.
Filipino Exclusive is purely for burning. It’s not about looks or carving potential. It’s all about the smell.
Many guys lost out big with logs that look like black mambas, but smell like… nothing much. Everyone who’s been on the Filipino ride for a while knows that the scent integrity differs massively between barangays. Unless your main goal was carving, you’d easily get burned investing in fantastic looking aloes that smell nothing like they look.
I haven’t been this excited by chips in a while. Once you get used to too much kyara, you aren’t easily impressed. But these chips are such a surprise, such an exquisite delight, such a treasure to enjoy with a swipe of your highest-grade oils, I’d love to have others buzzing along during these interesting times.
I can’t replace Filipino Exclusive—I bought all that what was available from this harvest—and once the smoke starts to whirl from your heater, you’ll smell why they’ll be worth a lot more down the line.
But this isn’t about investment. That’s why I’m not holding on to them myself. Filipino Exclusive is, right alongside kinam, as good a kodo experience as you can have. Don’t hold onto a single sliver. Make this your lockdown stash and let the fragrance literally take your mind away.
To make sure this blue magic reaches as many as possible, we're offering them in a vareity of smaller sizes. For those who wish to, but couldn't yet score this caliber agarwood, I hope this makes it easier to acquire. If you've already passed the point of no return, this lets you add a packet or three to gift around and let others know what staring into nothingness, locked in an inner olfactory wonderland, is all about.
Stay safe, and bliss out!
*For reference, the piece above weighs .87 gr, enough to enjoy over several sessions. The one below is 2.6 gr.
Filipino Exclusive is fantastic - reminds me much more of a Borneo/Brunei wood than anything, it's over on that part of the scent spectrum/palette for sure, though I may like it better than any of my other Borneo woods.. Really nice stuff, a delightful treat.. – Josh, USA