ARABIA. You know the smell. The elusive, seductive scent you encounter each time you enter any Oud shop in the Gulf. Or London. Or Paris.
Problem is, the scent of the Oud shops is only an imitation of another, far harder to find, more precious fragrance. Wild-harvested, aged Cambodian Oud. Kyara Ko-Twe is the scent that is advertised in the Oud shops. – That is, its authentic archetype.
If you were ever captivated by the Oud of the Arabs, or associated Oud with the Arabian peninsula, then you will immediately recognize Kyara Ko-Twe as the epitome of Arabian Oud. The oil which all the little (and big) shops in the Oud souqs are trying to imitate – without ever quite making it.
And how could they? The souq and bazaar shops were built to cater to the vast masses. Thousands upon thousands of habituated ouddicts. What they sell in one month, the entire Koh Kong Province could not yield in decades.
Whether we like it or not, the only way to supply en masse is to synthesize. Which is not a bad thing. For the trees. And the common welfare of the agarwood producing folk. – However, we're not offering anything en masse.
What we've got here is 20 tolas of Kyara Ko-Twe. This is the Oud that many an Arab brand built their entire reputation on. Just this one scent (and a few others admixed with it).
What we've done here is present the epitome of the Arabian Oud fragrance, stripped of all traces of synthetic musks that are commonly blended with it.
So, what does Ko-Twe smell like? Well, you already know... Take the compound of aroma chemicals admixed with wild, aged West-Cambodian Oud, fractionate it where nothing remains save the Oud and you've got Kyara Ko-Twe. – Almost.
If Kyara Koutan was the scent of Japanese incense, Ko-Twe is the Arabian version of Kyara. Thick, sticky, sweet, with a tangy twist that makes it just about the most addictive Oud fragrance in existence.
Japanese kyara is something you can only take so much of. Its green, pristine unearthliness only allows for special visitations, limited to meditation sessions, Kodo ceremonies, or moments of rare spiritual exploits.
Kyara Ko-Twe, on the hand, is the bottle you just can't leave home without. It's that special comforting balm the soul thirsts for unendingly. Rather than an awesome encounter you'd be too intimidated to keep constant company with, Ko-Twe is that loving companion whose caresses you can never get enough of.
It was actually perfect that I received this before I went on Umrah ... because when I went to the large perfume houses in Medina (like ASAQ and others) they kept showing me 'Cambodian ouds' and kept using words like 'the best' and 'pure.' What they didn't realize is that I had just smelled the most pure and the best a couple of days previously. I wish I had taken Kyara Ko-Twe with me. It would have been so interesting to see what their reaction would have been. You are absolutely correct when you say that this is the smell they are trying so hard to achieve. I absolutely love it. It might be my favorite of your creations. For me, it is a strong and masculine scent ... woody, leathery, basically what a man should smell like. This is what I want to wear during taraweeh in Ramadan. This is what I want to wear in the evening, to dinner. As I said, this is definitely one of my favorites. – Sultan K, IL
It is a dark amber, burnt sienna color. Extremely heavy body (Thaqeel-like in consistency). You can almost scoop it up with the applicator. It leaves a shiny, waxy sheen on the skin when spread. When you inhale, it feels similar to slowly suckling on a teaspoon of the best unfiltered dark Royal Sidr honey from Yemen, having rubbed the tiniest amount of Tiger Balm on your chest and neck. A crude picture but I hope you get the idea. As the high notes of mentholy camphor arise from your chest, it is tempered by the sweet honey notes that get accented with hints of lemongrass and white pepper. A suggestion of cinnamon and a hint of nutmeg all wrapped up in a powder dusted amulet of Amber.
The spices are not the main players here though, rather the yellowish fruity notes of dried apricots and peaches oozing in bittersweet nectar. I would hazard a guess that this is a steam-distilled Borneo. The dry-down is wet cigar smoke with some bitter fruit all sprinkled with white soft talc powder. It has a mid-range projection of about 3 to 4 feet. Its intensity does not increase with the amount you apply but rather remains level. On my skin, its longevity is limited to three hours before it diminishes considerably.
In terms of comparison to other ouds from Ensar, I would say it has an uncanny resemblance to Encens Khmer, and to a lesser degree to Kyara Koutan. It could also be the older, more luxurious cousin of Encens d'Angkor. What follows is strictly my humble opinion that this is a grown-up Oud that is complex and sophisticated, with a character the likes of Encens Khmer and Kyara Koutan. So, if you've tried those oils before and liked them, then I think you'll enjoy this one as well, otherwise it won't be your 'cup of tea'. – Hisham Suliman, FL