This is a marriage between two of the most renowned scents in agarwood history – the classic red-liqueur savoriness of extra-vintage top-tier Pursat, and the feisty balsam of early 70s Koh Kong.
If you need a break from the typical tangy Cambodian fruit punch, this oud is for you. Don’t expect a peachy profile or any wafts of lilies. Even the hallmark honey notes you expect in a modern Cambodi are nowhere in sight. The gritty red raw verve, dried leather & fringe puffs of suntanned tobacco leaves all meld together to give you a bottle of oud straight from the 1970s.
Nhek 1976 is 100% wild-harvested Koh Kong agarwood, distilled during our Great Cambodian Experiment, steeped in what is hands-down the pinnacle of old school Cambodian oud, Kambodi 1976 – an insanely great Pursat distillation that’s older than many of us (and last sold for $3,500 a bottle).
The rawness of the naked Koh Kong distillation pulsates with rich, linear resinousness that beats from top through heart into a baked earthy drydown. The hit of Kambodi 1976 adds a sensual medicinal note in the pollen-dry subtly sour top cadence, and veers the heart notes from apricots to a bitter raw-resin aroma. (Note: Don’t equate rawness with fermentation funk – some Cambodis simply got soaked a couple of weeks too long… and smell like it. There’s zero barn in here.)
If you haven’t read about our Cambodian exploits on the blog, we basically hauled a one ton tank filled with hand-drawn well water from Koh Kong across the border into Thailand… countless times. We even lost the tank once – don’t ask… it was 2 AM on a dark night on a bumpy road… we had to buy a new one the next morning. The chips we distilled came from trees that were never cut down. Only the resinated areas chiseled out, leaving the tree to grow. That it’s a 3 day hike to pull it all off is a story for another day.
Veteran Koh Kong distillers have long since packed up and the new kids on the block run systems that… well… work better for distilling lemongrass. The entire distillation get-up had to mimic the style of old-school Koh Kong cooking, so the wood came stuffed in suitcases, wheat sacks, and boxes on a boat, one way or the other, to our distillery.
Oud like this doesn’t distill itself, nor can you buy it in bulk from the Bangkok oud hub. Do the math and you’ll see you’re already getting the Cambodi bargain of the decade: Pursatian oomph that adds a raunchy vintage flare to our rendition of old-school Khmer for an oud fusion you would have had a hard time finding even back then. Not to mention the pure Koh Kong harvest, distilled in Mr. Nhek’s well water, aged for 3 years… you could easily be paying quite a bit more for a lot less.