The Kyara Genius
Every genius saves his grand opus for last. The Ninth Symphony was the last thing Beethoven composed, and it is universally recognized as his greatest work. The same can be said of Mozart’s Requiem, Van Gogh’s Arles masterpieces of 1888, Dostoevsky’s Brothers Karamazov. – The same can be said of our Taiwanese distiller’s grand Kyara finale.
But before he abandoned pure oud oil so he could devote his time to carving Vietnamese kyara beads, he distilled one oil which not only matched but completely outstripped all his previous olfactory masterpieces.
I recall him putting some precious Vietnamese kyara carving dust on his low heat electric burner (specially designed for kyara chips) as he handed me the oil. And he gave me some green kyara powder to chew on and keep under my tongue. With a numbed mouth and a nose that was to be numbed even further by his Kyara de Kalbar, I bid him farewell.
A continuous medley of orris, wild fig, blackcurrant, persimmon, and the softest powderiness spontaneously drive the fragrance adrift a wave of resinous Brunean incense, with a hypnotic pull calling from behind the smoke.
The heart notes rhythmically sway from raspberries to purple grapes to jasmine, while a piercing minty ray shines through every so often as if to whisper 'Kyara', before it dances off into a violet drydown.
A lot of things have happened in the China market, the most notable of which is the evolution of their unique kyara school. Departing from the Japanese tenet that kyara can only originate in Vietnam, the Chinese kyara sifus have identified kyara in agarwood harvested in Brunei, Cambodia, Hainan, Laos, and elsewhere. Kyara de Kalbar was literally distilled from Brunei kyara agarwood of a quality that would today command many thousands of dollars a kilogram.