Ever since Baieido opened for business, you never heard of Vietnamese oils anymore. That was 400 years ago, which does a lot of the explaining…
Being the incense of choice of the centuries old Japanese kodo tradition, Vietnamese agarwood has always been the most coveted substance on earth. I mean, right up there with rhino horns, precious stones etc.
As we busied ourselves crafting Borneo 3000 from sinking-grade black agarwood back in 2004, wild Vietnamese aloes was already headed for the exit, seldom to be seen again.
It was an oil you wanted to share so badly, but then again, given the impending extinction of the wood – and especially the value attached to anything resembling the most coveted scent on earth – you just had to try to replicate it and sell the replica instead, if you know what I mean.
And that’s what we did. The replica we distilled came to be known as Kyara LTD, an oil you may have heard of. The only difference was, unlike Kynam 1, a Vietnamese batch I was never interested in parting with, Kyara LTD was crafted from Burmese agarwood, which was more readily available.
The scent was still dead on, the profiles very similar. Only it took a seasoned connoisseur to sniff out the geographical difference between the two batches.
Kynam 1 was preserved in a high quality Taiwanese tin, with Chinese calligraphy written on it by my distiller. Kyara LTD made history.
These were not oils that you sold to make money. Scents like these are impossible to attach a dollar figure to, because they are priceless. These were brand builders. Oils that not only made a company but spurred an entire market where there was none before.
The impact of Kyara LTD has been so immense, you can Google ‘artisan’ and ‘oud’ and see the progeny it boasts. They all trace their lineage back to Kyara LTD.
Kynam 1 precedes it by a year, and hails from the most coveted agarwood region in the world. The very same jungles that were once home to the fabled substance the people with Japanese bank accounts used to control, until very recently.
I had intended to keep Kynam 1 as part of my retirement fund. Sort of like a private IRA that I’d only tap into under the right circumstances.
For the moment, I think we need a restructuring of the entire so-called ‘artisan’ oud scene. There are too many lukewarm distillations being sold as ‘artisanal’, enthusiasts are confused. Oils bought off Facebook are being peddled as the bargain of your lifetime (which they are anything but).
With Royal Kinam and Kyara LTD gone, and their early collectors cashing in on their IRAs as we speak, I think it is high time to ditch my plan of holding on to Kynam 1, and build that market again. Only this time, with a little something from Vietnam.
Ladies and gentlemen, without further ado, I give you Kynam No 1.
All natural and chemical-free. Extracted by traditional means, without the use of synthetic chemicals. This oil does not have an expiration date. It will only improve as it ages. No "gassing" required.
Can’t describe this scent. I’m just unable to explain this one. It’s bliss. It’s a HEAVENLY satisfying thing from another universe. – Syed, Bangladesh
So I’ve spent a good deal of time recently listening to both my Hainan kinam skins, along with a good swipe of Kynam No 1. Both are amazing. And what a treat to enjoy together. Kynam No 1 though. Man. This thing is really a thing of beauty. It goes on bright yet light green. Almost minty green. It definitely is bittersweet and medicinal and will tingle the nostrils with a deep whiff. A bit further in it grows more sweet before some sweet and soured element shows up, which is mouthwateringly delicious. That mind-numbing, nostril tingling, slightly bitter kinam is present beginning to end on this one, most often front and center here and is clearly meant to be the star of the show. This stuff is unreal and I hope I never run out. – Brian, USA
Can there be a more wonderful scent than Kynam 1? If there is spare me. K1 is to be treasured and worn once (or twice) a year. Though one’s heirs may wish one to wear it once in a lifetime in order that they may have it to wear during their lifetime(s). – Dr Scott, USA
Well I don’t know what to say. Upon first sniffing it, I felt like I was transported to another realm of being, or perhaps consciousness. I just can’t explain it. I had a similar experience with Port Moresby but not quite as strong. It is not a scent, it is an event of major magnitude. – Phil, USA
I actually had to put my Kynam No 1 away a few weeks ago because I couldn’t stop wearing a little of it every day. Never had an oud like that one before in my oud collection; there is just something about it that is balm for the soul. – M.I., USA
Kynam 1 has arrived. You have shared some wonderful oils with me. Some that have blown me away. This one has left me in a state of utter peace and tranquility. I have never experienced anything like this. This is bliss. This is happiness. This is from another world. I lack the sophistication to describe specific notes. But I am definitely in tune with what this does to my mind, to my body, to my soul. This is more than an oil, more than an oud, this is true medicine.
PS: I hated going to bed last night… the Kynam No 1 was just continuing to waft waves of the most divine thing I’ve ever smelled. Now I’m wishing I didn’t have to shower for work as it is still present and fairly strong 16 hours or so in! – Brian, USA
As with Purple Kinam, Kynam No 1 is also an amazing scent and actually had the opposite effect that Purple Kinam had. Kynam No 1 is a very relaxing scent. I’m not sure why, but there is a similarity between the two in the heart of the scent. Kynam No 1 also doesn’t display any ‘oudy’ characteristics. It is a bitter, green scent. It is also very strong and refined. It doesn’t smell like any kind of wood or flower. It doesn’t smell like anything that I’ve ever come across. There is a slight resemblance to Jing Shen Lu, but only in that it’s a non-oudy oud. However, there is a slight woody note in Jing Shen Lu, whereas Kynam No 1 doesn’t seem to have any. – Steve, USA
Thank you very, very much for one of the most, if not the most aromatic, unique, fabulous scents I have ever, ever come upon. And I am referring to Kynam No 1… It will definitely be used extremely sparingly but with love each and every time I do put it on. – Dr Scott, USA
It truly is an amazing oil. This morning there was the most amazing slightly sweet, slightly green, mildly woody yet grassy thing of beauty on my left forearm. And even after showering, it is still there, ever so faintly. Just a beautiful oil. One I’m so glad I own. – Brian, USA