Cambodia’s got Koh Kong and Laos has Pusong, but there’s no place in the oud world more cherished than Nha Trang. I don’t know of oud more sought-after than oud from this small coastal strip renowned for dishing up the most expensive kyara on the planet.
Vietnamese hunters get arrested across the Far East in hopes of finding what they once found locally. Trek into the most virgin jungles in Borneo and 9/10 times you’ll find an abandoned camp left by Vietnamese poachers.
That’s because Nha Trang is the Mecca of Kyara and jungles were tapped early on and now the gold rush has long since passed. Most we’re left with is NT fame, the legend it left behind, and the strips of vintage kinam sold in private backrooms across China and Japan. You basically only get cultivated trees growing there now, the odd batch of unearthed wild wood, and plenty of Malaysian imports to trick folks into buying the ‘latest harvest’.
But despite the fame, there’s a story to Nha Trang that has hardly been told…
Between the kinam and the wild harvests that ended up with collectors of rare agarwood over the years, nobody ever had the spunk to actually make oil from those harvests – any of them. The reason it’s hard to find any high-grade Nha Trang wood is because few even think of selling theirs…… If that’s how they feel about the wood, imagine how they’d feel about Nha Trang oil, which is a gazillion times rarer than any batch of insanely good wood from NT.
But in making Nha Trang LTD, you’re not after just any batch and you’re not just talking about centennial mother-trees harvested back in the heydays either. If you can track down any kind of high-grade Nha Trang oil, count yourself lucky. Unearth a bottle of incense-grade Nha Trang oud and you’ve struck gold.
But who distills ancient incense-grade Nha Trang wood? Certainly nobody would even think about distilling the sinking stuff which on the wood market fetches the highest prices. Today, you’re looking at what used to be kinam prices for proper incense grade Nha Trang.
Nha Trang LTD isn’t just a pure incense-grade distillation. 25% of the wood that went into its making was sinking-grade.
That you’ve got the chance to get your hands on oud like this should make you cry. Not just because it’s incense-grade Nha Trang, sinking and next to impossible to imagine it ever being produced.
Nha Trang agarwood is so revered because its profile is distinctly kinamic. In fact, incense-grade Nha Trang could get traded as kinam because it smells so similar. Hard as it is to find and expensive as it is to buy, distill a good batch of pure incense-grade Nha Trang wood today and you’re almost guaranteed to get a whiff of kinam in there. Distill the mother trees that grew right next to the kyara trees – often containing kyara themselves – and you’ve got oud from an era of agarwood that’s the stuff of legend. We’re not talking about a hint of kinam anymore. You ARE smelling kinam; the very DNA that permeates this famed East Vietnamese jungle.
Now, add the sinking-grade black incense strips and you’ve just catapulted into a different dimension. Here, the kyara profile is even more acute and much smoother (lesser grades will give you a cruder twangy hue of it). Think of it this way: high-end Nha Trang oud oil is you burning a shaving of kyara at a slightly higher temp than the Kōdō masters would have you do. Nha Trang LTD puts the sliver at the perfect ultra low temp to reveal kinam’s succulent finesse as it fuses its trademark bitterness with a creamy come-hither! that makes for a single note that’s just ‘OMG!’
The scent is voluptuous because it’s just straight up Beautiful. I don’t mean floral (which many people confuse with aromatic beauty). I mean a primal scent that moves you; awes you. A scent that’s as unique to this legendary province as Hainan is to China.
Don’t expect a bombardment of different scent notes. This oil is pristinely linear and lets you look out onto an olfactory field where you’re struck with immediate beauty and perfection, not counting how many different kinds of flowers grow there or how high the hills are. A single tune of awe that reverberates into the drydown.
I’m not gonna go into the distillation details. Suffice to say you can’t just throw a bag of sinking Nha Trang agarwood into the boiler like that. As far as I’m concerned there’s only one way to distill such nose-numbingly good agarwood and that’s the classic Oriscent way. The process takes long and costs a fortune (we’ve still got over $250K to go in paying it off) but it’s the only way to get you a bottle of Nha Trang LTD.
Forget about Oud Royale 1. If there’s one oud I’d want to be remembered for, it’s this one. If there’s just one oud you could ever experience, let it be a swipe of Nha Trang LTD. Gun to my head, if I had to give it all up and choose just one oud to keep for the rest of my days, it’d have to be Nha Trang LTD.
Vietnamese oud doesn’t – cannot – get better than this. Numerous people can quote me saying, “This is the most beautiful oud I’ve ever smelled” pretty much every time I take a swipe of it. So, if you’ve been chasing the rainbow of Vietnamese agarwood, stop. This is the one.
Smelling this calibre oud will probably do to you what it did to me: render just about every other kind of oud irrelevant. A scent so primal, so sensual it casts a shadow over everything else and it’s as if you’re smelling oud for the first time.
Then something magical happens. After getting lost in it and you finally do take a swipe of another oud, it hits you just how truly it enhances your appreciation of all ouds. You’ll look with new eyes at even something as different as a Maroke. But the most dramatic duet is with Chinese oud. Smell this and smell quality Chinese oud on your other wrist and it’s like you’re spiraling down a path that ends up with you in an olfactory asylum, bats in the belfry and wishing for more. That’s Nha Trang for you.
Wow. What an experience. I was enthralled with Kyara LTD 2.0. Its narcotic and medicinal notes left me mesmerized. And now with Nha Trang LTD, it translates the Vietnamese oudiness in such piercing and mind-elevating fashion. It's reminiscent of Kinam Rogue, a definite favorite of the ouds I've experienced, and Kyara LTD 2.0. It has that special bitter edge and medicinal quality to it. Like Kyara, it is gloriously otherworldly. It marries the juicy red/rouge tones with the medicinal so beautifully. Whereas Kyara registers more green-bitter-medicinal to my nose, Nha Trang is rouge-y-esque and zingy, and wow does it spark something deep. I'm convinced these soul-stirring beauties are best experienced during a meditation session or while listening to epic orchestral music. I dabbed some NTLTD and let it sink in and work its magic while listening to the trailer music for the film Mortal Engines.
There is this metaphysical spark that is both elevating and calming. It provokes a sense of deep connection with the atman and sparks wonder and curiosity for all that Is. This oud oil is truly a Wonder. If the Cosmos could speak, its language would be Nha Trang LTD. – Aeona, USA
Smelled Nha Trang off the bottle and it blew my mind. I need to pick up the pieces and then try it on my skin. – Nazif, USA
An oil so beautiful I was perplexed and kept wondering if it was a kinam extract. It’s that beautiful. A single note of perfection that struts along the entire scent development until the drydown (at which point it changes a bit). This ‘perfect single note’ is what had me suspecting Ensar’s sanity (i.e. had me fooled into thinking this could be a kinam extract).
Nha Trang LTD is the bloodiest red oil you’ll ever smell. A thrumming glowing serene red that’ll make you want to scream and pull out your hair as you ask yourself how your (mere human) nose is able to smell such a perfect aroma. – Taha, Malaysia
Nha Trang LTD is stunningly beautiful. It might have just a tad of kinam. But this is all about the bittersweet-sweet-sour Vietnamese agarwood. I have nothing else like it. Closest in my collection would be Royal Guallam, but even this amazing oil (and it is amazing) falls a bit short of Nha Trang. In all fairness, almost any other oil I’ve ever tried falls short as well. – Brian, USA
If you love medicinal notes, you would definitely love Nha Trang… it has one of the most medicinal notes I have ever smelled albeit I have only had one swipe of it. I am going to abstain buying any more oils for the rest of the year just to hopefully save enough to get a bottle of it. – Melvin, Singapore
Nha Trang is ridiculous. The small amount that I have will last a looooooong time. I'm very reluctant to use any and have been smelling the cap 17 times everyday since it arrived, lol. I will take a small swipe and see if I can detect the same medicinal/mind-numbing effect. I have to do it when everyone is asleep so that I can truly tune into it. – Steve, USA
A casual impression share of Nha Trang LTD, the oil of oils.
There were other oils tried and many incenses after. This impression is a casual one but one worth sharing nonetheless.
I was left feeling this oil is not about what is there but what is NOT. It’s not about having this note and that note and this scent and that one. Can’t really actually compare it to anything. It’s a less is more kind of oil in some ways. It’s Kinam Rouge without the Rouge, Purple Kinam without the Purple, you get my drift... It appears to be the very soul of Kinam.
It is painfully in a very beautiful way bitter. No real sweetness in way of Vietnamese oils I have tried to date. More like the bitterness of Royal Guallam but of a much more higher pedigree. There is maybe perhaps something slightly floral but not any flower I have smelled to date on this earth. Maybe some flower on some other planet has this narcotic-like scent. There is some development but not really in way of new notes forming but more like the texture and intensity of the oil coming and going and behaving in a nonlinear fashion. One thing though that registered to my nose a few times as a subtle note which caught me off guard was a faint note that I can best describe as metallic or stainless steel note. I need more study time and more importantly giving this oil the solo performance it deserves. Quiet evening, no other distractions, scents, eats, or tea or anything. Just a man his nose his mind and heart with Nha Trang LTD.
I leave you with one last impression. I like to think that smelling blind I would have gone straight to Vietnam and not Nha Trang, until an hour or more in where the Nha Trang origin really showed itself in crystal clear light. I know that thnx to procuring some of the most insanely petrified, crayon looking oooooold Nha Trang heartwood and also a sugary formation Nha Trang old piece via a dear and close Chinese friend whose family has been appreciating chen xiang and kinam for decades. – Rasoul, Canada
Nha Trang LTD… ouff, that oil…
I see you’ve finally settled on a name. I wonder if there’s a synonym for ‘ULTRA’ which is aesthetically acceptable, which could fit in right before the ‘LTD’, just to really get it across how rare it is to be able to experience this oil’s aroma.
When I tried this oil it was sooooooooooooooo shockingly beautiful, all I could think to myself was that its beauty is something you’d never have thought was possible for a a mere human nose to be privileged enough to smell.
Okay, that was not the only thing running through my mind. The other thing was…“is this a kinam extract?” After having smelled it over and over, and especially well into the drydown where there is a shift in the aroma, it was clear that it wasn’t kinam. But the way the oil’s aroma is orchestrated, and just how minimalistically perfect it is, I hope it won’t be held against me for having wondered that.
To me, kinam is not about a rollercoaster ride – its not about stuffing the fattest suitcase of aromatic notes possible… horizontal and vertical complexity and so on. Rather, its about the fact that there is a note in there that’s SO perfect, you don’t want it getting crowded out by auxiliary notes. That is what you want shining in the oil. That ‘perfect agarwood note’.
There are only 3 oils I’ve smelled in my entire life that are like this and they all blow my brain fuse. For me, Nha Trang LTD is at the top of that short list. – Taha, Malaysia
Scent of last night: Had to wear Nha Trang LTD again, since the first time was a brief encounter and other scents were tried before and after. For yoga practice this time I wore a bit more and refrained from wearing any other scents earlier in the evening. Many similarities with the impressions of the first wear I shared above but also new facets were experienced.
On one hand, it truly smells of wild, old, insanely awesome Nha Trang heartwood on very very low gentle heat (especially after 30 min to an hour) and on the other hand, there is a kyara incense burning scent. Not a kyara stick like Translucent Path or Kyara Enju but more of a naked kyara like Kyara Kokoh. Very incense. Bitter is the note. Bitter is the personality. Bitter is the lead role play and supporting cast but not a solo performance like I perceived the first time. There is a cast. A respectful and polite cast that is there to support the last show of a legend. The cast is letting the lead have all the glory. Hard to pinpoint the cast. Maybe it’s b/c I deeply don’t want to. Somehow with this oil instead of being analytical and breaking it apart, I like to refuse to do that and just enjoy it as a whole. Just turn off the brain and see it for what it is and stop myself from looking for this or that. The oil helps with my goal too as it’s not busy and easy to let it flow over you and take you to higher plains. Further study is required. Minus what I still saw as mildly metallic or stainlessy or something alloy-like that is out of place to my nose, the rest is all beauty. – Rasoul, Canada
Nha Trang LTD. Oh my. If there is a more beautiful, heavenly or soul-stirring scent around, let me know. She had me wrapped around her lovely Vietnamese fingers the moment she touched my skin. – Brian, USA
Wow. I’m just going to be blunt and say it. Nha Trang LTD blows Kynam No 1 away. Why? Nha Trang LTD has a woody profile that Kynam No 1 is missing. I can definitely pick up a little bit of Kynam No 1 in Nha Trang in the beginning, but then Nha Trang really mellows out and the smell of raw agarwood comes through. I even get a slight sweetness once the bitter Kynam No 1 notes go away. That’s really it. It’s that simple, but it is more beautiful than any other oil out there. I can’t say for sure because I don’t have personal experience with raw kinam incense, but I would imagine that this oil smells like a fragrant piece of kinam-laced agarwood at room temperature. I’m going off of my nose and using Kynam No 1 as my kinam reference and a few pieces of raw Vietnamese agarwood that I have. Please thank Ensar so much for sharing and keep me posted on his plans with selling Nha Trang in the future. I definitely feel that everyone should at least try Nha Trang LTD, especially anyone that has Kynam No 1. It’s a benchmark oud that can be used to measure the quality of other ouds… much like Kynam No 1. – Steve, USA
As I was sniffing Nha Trang LTD late last night, totally blissing out obviously, I mentioned to Ensar that my concern is that perhaps some might find this oud to be monotonous. The most beautiful aroma in the world, undoubtedly, but monotonous. Its actually anything but. However, its entire scent development unravels in the Z axis. It smells like a million bucks (priceless actually, especially if you consider its replacement value, but my guess for the selling price like I told Ensar was $10,000 per bottle) but THIS oud, to me, is the ultimate litmus test. If you think its a flat (albeit sublimely beautiful) oud, your nose needs some schooling. If you feel like you're drowning (in an infinite Z-axis depth, like NOTHING ELSE that I for one have ever encountered), you got yourself a solid schnoz. – Taha, Malaysia
Nha Trang LTD may be the most beautiful thing I’ve ever come across. I mean seriously, I am a good 8 hours in and it is still crazy delicious. – Brian, USA