Top notch Maroke ouds are a mission to make. The distillation runs forever and the yield is notoriously low. Not to mention finding resin dense living trees—not the readily available 'swamp' wood dug up, dried and sold for cheap.
I've tried, tested, and rejected many Maroke oils over the years. It's not a profile I frequently offer. Even with yield maximizing techniques pumping the distillation, incense-grade Maroke agarwood gives little oil, and the wood costs a fortune. So, it's risky.
The idea to tackle another Maroke run came after Oud Royale III, crafted in early 2014. Distilling insanely costly aloes for over two months straight with hardly any oil to show for it was dicey. But once you smell a Maroke like that, olfactory euphoria dampens your logic and everything makes sense in the end.
The challenge Maroke Sultan was up against was that Oud Royale III was expensive. Even if I sold it it well below cost, it'll still go down as a 'pricy' oud. With Maroke Sultan I wanted an equally fantastic, equally meticulously crafted, just as complex, as beautiful an oud as my Royale III.... but with a lower price tag.
To pull this off we did what we haven't done in a while: steam distill the daylights out of a great batch of raw Marokean agarwood. This meant we spared ourselves two months of insanity at the distillery and lowered the production cost (steam distillation takes far less time than hydro runs.) Compared to hydro distills, steam extraction generally also lightens the scent profile, turning it from dark to bright, deep to airy, which is good news if you're looking for a more mellow Maroke.
The problem is that normally these airy top notes are fleeting and the drydown way too linear. Not here: Maroke Sultan hits you with a completely un-Maroke intro that stays put and dives deep. Pine leaf green, melissa white and frangipani yellow. It's actually so perfume-y, I thought of launching it under my Perfumes category!
But then you smell it.
A mighty Maroke drydown sways in steadily. Deep dark berry naked earth after rain morning dew. Now we're talking oud. I wanted to call Kruger and tell him: "Looks like our Taiwanese wizard is back in the game!"
Maroke Sultan is like a cleaner cut version of Maroke 2004, except the top notes don't match at all. We used the same low-temp technique our Taiwanese wizard pioneered many years ago and added a modern twist to turn this oil into no Maroke you've ever smelled. From the get go, Maroke 2004 was all base, no treble, while Maroke Sultan swings a soprano that gives the airiest Borneos a good go. But come the drydown, they merge like two violins tuned to a smooth Papuan adagio.
Sadly, in the end when the burners were put out and the last drops collected, we got exactly what we expected: very little oud. So, supply is limited...