Laos oud has a bad rep.
Do you remember the last time you smelled Laotian oud that didn’t smell like old socks or a chunk of blue cheese locked up in Tupperware for too long?
Neither do I.
I know… I know… those mainstream perfume houses claim to use oud from Laos. That’s only because they seek out the cheapest oud money can buy. When the ‘oud note’ in 9 out of 10 ‘oud perfumes’ has nothing to do with oud, who cares if they add a drop of funky Laotian cheese to sound legit?
Chances are you’ve only tried one or two ouds from Laos, if any at all. And from those, I bet you didn’t bother even giving them a second sniff…
It’s sad because Laos oud showcases among the most mesmerizing scents on the planet. Or can showcase such a fragrance—if you get the right batch of aloes and distill it the right way. And that’s what we set out to do with Lao Chai.
A citrus-sugary undertone lacquered with sweet silver needle chai as you smell a faint peppery lime note that prickles your scent buds just enough to give the overall profile a picante, gourmand flavor that doesn’t take away from the airy citrus-lime-green Laos core.
Because this is a co-distillation of wild harvests and mature organic kyen, you get an oud fragrance that bats way above its league compared to its price.
It’s true that much of the high-grade agarwood sold in Laos today is imported Malaysian agarwood. Genuine wild Laos wood is so sought-after and expensive, it’s cheaper (and more profitable) to import harvests from neighboring countries to sell as ‘Laotian.‘
Worse, the chips that end up in the boilers are from trees tailored to be grown and cut as fast as possible, exported and then blended into obscurity. Laos oud is a massive industry, so it’s funny how there are so few rated Laotian oud distillations out there. (From the top of your head, can you think of more than two?)
People either like those potent cheesed-up Hindi-style oils, while perfume conglomerates happily pay the lower prices for low-grade oils because they only need the oud to say they used ‘oud’.
But Lao Cha has nothing to do with the blue cheese funk of Laos’ agarwood industry standard. That’s the point.
You can’t just skip the fermentation process to get this clean, deliciously fruit-infused Yinzhen aroma. If it were that simple, we’d gladly be dishing out a lot more of these oils. Instead, you only capture a scent like this once every few years (Wang Liao Kuo is the only Laos oud we released the past three, almost four years). It’s a unique marriage of incense-grade chips with super kyen shavings that creates its sumptuous sencha-Fujian fusion.
If you’re one of the many who doesn’t have any Laotian oud, Lao Cha takes all excuses off the table. Its pristine aroma makes it a joy to wear anywhere, so if you’ve tried to bring yourself to like those mainstay blue cheese variety but just couldn’t—now you know Laos oud doesn’t have to smell like that; that it can smell like this instead.
Lao cha is one powerful tornado that really transport me and make my brain numb. I'm really totally expanded..I find it a rich blend of many strong notes; rich incense, black velvety pepper, expensive bitter chocolate and menthol that's so amazingly created in a heavenly balance that I'm in love with it, and it's a good price. Even when it fades on my skin after some time it has that multidimensional power. – Charalambos, Cyprus