Like a crazed writer who crumples up a sheet of paper and chucks it in the bin for the tenth time, there are ouds that get kissed by copper but never see the light of day.
You see it all the time: Ouds that are advertised and sold before they’re even distilled, no matter what might drip from the beaker in the end. How many oud sellers release every single oil they distill?
And they call these first drafts ‘art’. Worse, they call dishing out every oud that gets made the work of an ‘artist’ – thinking art gets made without failures.
We’ve spent thousands upon thousands on ouds you will never hear of because, despite our best efforts, they just didn’t come out right. I know this is our problem, not yours. But I’m sharing this because I am, like you, first and foremost an oud lover. As an oud connoisseur myself, and one that makes his living distilling oud, I have a double obligation to give you a bottle of oud I would gladly wear myself.
I don’t release an oud if it’s not IMMENSE.
Every once in a while, you make an oud that is not just great, but makes you go, ‘Now this is something else.’
It happens when you run a new experiment and the result blows your mind beyond your expectations.
Kampong Seila, my friends, blows your mind.
This was an experimental distillation that on paper ticked all the boxes, and we only had one shot not to screw it up: It’s the first and only oud I know of distilled exclusively from rare wild aloes from the tiny province of Kampong Seila.
We ground and juiced this limited batch in a brand new distillery we had just set up (unique condensers, enclosed heating modules, and other curly-twirlies that let you coax artisanal oud like this).
These details might not matter to you, but it’s how these tweaks came together that does: a scent that’s 100% Senkoh.
You know Cambodian ouds… they range from red to medicinal to raw – to playfully fruity to twangy tart. Even the cheaper ones can be nicely layered, and move through at least a few scent transitions until you get to the woody drydown. That’s what sets Kampong Seila not just apart but makes you appreciate it SO MUCH MORE. To own a Cambodi that goes against the grain. It’s not raw, not fruity, not twangy nor tart. In fact, you could easily mistake it for Vietnamese.
Seriously, you can hardly tell. A touch bitter with its black tea infused cardamom sweetness that amps up Kampong Seila’s unique powdery incense core. Do yourself a favor and swipe some Ori Guallam next to Kampong Seila…
You’re probably familiar with ouds from Koh Kong and Pursat, and that’s great! Having any of these on your scent palette will let you really savor and appreciate the soft smokey, practically-fruitless aroma unique to oud pressed from Kampung Seila’s soil. My own infatuation with Cambodian oud has made me appreciate this fragrance all the more. In fact, it’s more than just an oud affair with all things Kambodi.
If you have a soft spot for Vietnamese or Chinese oud, Kampong Seila will stir your tastebuds as only the finest ones do. It’s an addictive oud liqueur that, if you’re like me, you’d want to wear non-stop. Bitter smokey incense that stays for hours. It’s Senkoh, so don’t expect a dance of different stages as the fragrance moves from top notes through drydown. The unitone scent of softy heated aloes smelled at low temp tells you about the caliber of the wood, and lets you enjoy its agarlicious one-hum mantra to the max.
As a distiller, smelling Kampong Seila has been exciting, honestly unexpected (to smell the uncanny resemblance to top tier Vietnamese ouds), and just an overall olfactory feast for your nose buds. So, I’m as excited to share this scent with you as I am sad to see such a rare oil go (the raw agarwood was obviously limited, and the little we got took A LONG time to track down). For lack of a better metaphor, such a unique batch of Cambodian oud wood brewed in natural waterfall water makes Kampong Seila soft-spoken, but loud in character: Olfactory Zazen.
An amazing Cambodi oud with a remarkable clearness and brightness to it. Rich woody forest without any dankness or heaviness.
There is a slight smokiness but nothing at all overpowering, it could easily be worn anywhere.
A strong sense of spice and honey lingering in the background.
Truly, a winner - I'd love to see how this wears when it has aged 5 or 10 years. – David, USA