The creamy, toffee-meets-barnyard character of Meghalayan oud got me super curious back in 2007 when I saw how it breathed new life into more common Assam profiles.
Greater discrimination in the raw materials, less soaking and a slightly higher cooking temperature gave birth to my second Maghalayan production: Assam Kinam (2008). When I got this oil, I was struck dumb by the sweet, almost Cambodi-like profile.
Further tweaks, a few debates with the distiller down the line and we got Oud Isa, the predecessor to Oud Nuh (2009). I could see the Meghalayan hue transmute from Cambodi to Bornean fruit right under my nostrils. Yet all the while, the same signature Meghalayan temperament permeating each batch.
The inspiration for naming Oud Nuh came from the timelessness of the scent. With Oud Isa, its gentleness. Known for being a meeting place on the note scale between Bornean and Cambodian, Oud Nuh is undoubtedly the mildest, fruitiest, most subdued, most unusual Hindi anyone's tried. But Oud Isa... even more so.
Don't imagine that you'll find another Hindi that matches the honeyed heart notes in Oud Isa. Even Oud Nuh's mellow appeal is slightly smokier compared to the sweetness of Oud Isa. Even the airiest Borneo has to fight hard to compete with its liveliness; the fruitiest Cambodi has to dig deep.
To the Western palate, Oud Isa might well be the most sensual of all ouds – more so than even the most playful Indonesian ones. Mulberries dipped in Hadrami honey, dressed in a soft shade of suede, poised and self-assured, a two-step waltz between a woman and her man. Oud Isa is all charm.
Soft woods and plums, caramel-cream, figs and toffee, wild berries, farmhouse haystacks, honey and honey and honey. Steadily the scent then starts to hint at a delicate floral bouquet dawning from behind the soft-spice, Hindi top notes – the likes of which you won't find in Oud Nuh, or in any Cambodi, or in any Borneo.
Only in mature Indian oud do so many different notes dance so tightly together. This is why it's the pinnacle of the spectrum; why, for so many who've spent some years exploring oud, Indian oud waits at the end of the road. Oud Isa accentuates the already sacred aroma of Indian oud to reveal a fragrant plateau you've not stepped foot on before this.
If you missed out on Oud Nuh, get Oud Isa. If you didn't miss out on Oud Nuh, definitely get Oud Isa.
Note: Oud Isa is available for a limited time only. For anyone in love Oud al Hindi, this is a must-have textbook reference.
Instantly likable, fresh but aromatic Hindi oil, with minimal barnyard effect, nicely aged. Opening is smooth, mellow leathery barnyard. The best way I can describe its high Kinam-like notes is a memory: Mediterranean island, the scent of wild rosemary, pines and Satureja, as warm wind carries them through the air. A hint of lavender and frankincense. Moist caolin and fresh tree rind come to mind. After a while, sweetness returns with acacia honey, fruit, and then the floral notes become noticeable. Comeback of green herbaceous notes. The high notes remain present for a very long time. An hour later, the balance of leather/skin high notes, wax-impregnated wood and fruitiness. After a couple of hours, spice, mossiness and faintly resinous wood. Oud Isa transforms like the beautiful rippling surface movement of a quicksilver droplet. – Andrej, Croatia
You know my likes in Oud pretty much cover the whole spectrum from Borneo to Cambodian to Hindi and everything in between. I don't think Oud Isa fits anywhere in the spectrum but rather, it IS the spectrum. Fruity spicy openings that give way to notes that remind one of the finest leather. Anyone who was ever skeptical of the terms 'fecal' or 'barnyard' normally used when describing Hindi oils need not worry. This oil is pure class and a pleasure to experience as it unfolds. – Yousuf, UAE
Very, very nice are my first thoughts. This is definitely an oil that anyone and everyone can appreciate, especially us Westerners. I felt very comfortable wearing this to my office. I think honey when I wear this, but at the same time it is not a simple oil. I can tell that a lot of different notes are coming together. It is a very pleasant oil and that is why I say everyone will like it. A wonderful creation and a very appropriate name. – Sultan, IL