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.
Blind I would have gone Vietnam or Hainan. Hypnotic. Medicinal but round and settled. I can tell this oil will have medicinal/therapeutic qualities in spades. Few whiffs and I am sedated, gently light headed and slowly leaving Earth (levitating).
No florals. No fruit. Mildly animalic. I can't really say much more. Hard to put fingers on a particular scent. I am bit out of it. I'll just spill out few things that come to mind: hypothetical blend of Kinam Rouge, Hainan 2005, Yunnan Exclusive. – Rasoul, Canada
Just a month back I bought a Koh Kong oil from an artisanal vendor and it is one of their top offerings. It's not bad but the moment I opened the Nhek vial, I knew that I made a mistake. Nhek is around $170 cheaper but far far superior in character. The tobacco and leather creates an elegant old school vibe which beats typical fruity Cambodian oils on any given day. Now, I am worried that by the time I will be able to buy this oil, it will already be sold out. – Muaz, Saudi Arabia
There is one oil in my collection that I don't wear anymore, and will give it a few years to mellow out, because it is just tooooooo much. That oil is Kambodi X. It is crazzzzzy strong, and not in a barny way. The only way I can describe it, is it resembles a leather tannery, like a Dhaka Bangladesh type tannery. No refined leather here, just biker bar leather. No wimps allowed. If you want some cute jammy thing, this ain't it. If you drive a Harley, then anything with Nhek's well water is your bag. Most on here with any of Nhek's oils will tell you they will never part with it. I sold one, and immediately regretted it afterwards. First and last time I ever part with an oil. Nhek 1976 is even more unique than Kambodi X in my not so humble opinion. It goes on the same as Kambodi X, you are transported to Dhaka almost immediately. However, unlike Kambodi X that doesn't chill out into anything mildly jammy until many many hours later, Nhek gives off a very addicting caramelized jammy note within a half hour. This could only come from the secret weapon in this oil, the 5-10% of the 1976 original Nhek monster in this oil. It makes this oil have a much more refined character, and adds depth not available any other way. You won't have to wait years for this oil to chill out, the 1976 blended in already did that for you. The tenacity of this oil is out of control, similar to Kambodi X. You will smell it on your flannel shirt five days later. I'm not sure how many other Nhek's well water offerings are going to be released in the future, but I'm guessing the number is close to zero. If you enjoy being KO'd Ronda Rousey style by your oils, then I suggest you stock up on some Nhek well water oils. Very unique, and no other vendor will ever get this profile. Guaranteed no other vendor cares that much about you to lug one specific well water thousands of kilometers to get a unique profile either. – Mark, USA