Here is the thickest oud in the world.
When you give the artisan behind Oud Ishaq a swipe of oud, he's not only able to identify the region where the wood came from, he can tell you how old the trees were. And he doesn't just tell you if the raw materials were wild or cultivated. He can tell you the ratio (wild to cultivated). Effortlessly, he identifies notes that take experienced connoisseurs years to figure out.
An aromatic savant, he's able to bequeath his vision to the tree. If he wants the drydown of his oil to smell more like spice than like incense smoke, the oil's drydown will smell more like spice than like incense smoke. If he wanted to unveil the deepest, most addictive sugary accords that lie beyond the tangy top notes of your typical Thai agarwood oil, he could. And he did.
Oud Ishaq is no less than his private stash of wild kien-distilled exclusive Chanthaburi raw materials – the distillation dating back to June 2008. The trees were 40 years-old, all collected from one small mountain in Chanthaburi Province.
The fiery groovy zest of naked Chanthaburi agarwood permeates the lower registers of Oud Ishaq, while the top and heart notes have been rounded off to perfection. The fragrance leads in with an extremely vintage mood – heavy, exotic, slightly pungent-woody, powdery, with a creamy, fruity tobacco undertone.
But as soon as the scrumptious drops of syrup meet the moonlight the fragrance starts to blossom, revealing a bouquet of lighter, more subtle notes you might not have picked up otherwise. Cinnamon and herbs, thick cherry jam, and an assortment of dark fruit heart notes that complement the classical tenor of the oil start to reveal themselves.
Ishaq radiates a suave and smooth presence with fine ethereal sweet woody notes that include tea, frangipani and neroli like nuances. Out of all the citrus flowers, linden blossom comes to mind. The narcotic spicy floral notes of golden champaca scintillate throughout the scent's evolution, permeating its woody character with a radiance rarely found in pure oud oil.
If you could imagine linden blossom as a base note... or if you've ever smelled raw musk deer – the unopened sack, laden with warm musk grains, still pulsating with life... or if you've tasted raw, pheromone-heavy mountain honey from Hadramaut... or ingested ambergris-smoked chai in Morocco on a summer evening, the scent of frangipani gently intertwined with even gentler citrus blossoms in the air... you'll find something to be reminded of in Oud Ishaq.
I thought the oil had no more surprises left... until I came to the drydown (many hours later). Expecting the typical dry woods-only comedown, I found that I returned full-circle to the same mellow fruitiness I smelt when I first applied the oil!
Out of all the ouds I've come across, this is the one I'm most tempted to save for use in oud parfum compositions. It has a body and a presence that would ground and fixate heart and top notes, imparting life, depth and incredible tenacity. The animalic aspect is very much present here, but devoid of heavy indol notes. Pure deer musk and ambergris, intertwined in what is likely the longest lasting oud oil ever distilled.
It is powerfully addictive, and in no figurative sense of the term.
Well... for the last few days... there's one thing that's been playing on my mind... when I'm lying in bed... or when I'm on my way to the masjid... or walking to the shops... I can't stop thinking about Oud Ishaq... and the thought that, what if I miss out and don't buy a bottle... I'll most likely regret it for the rest of my life! – Shafiq, UK
The profile of this oil has similarities to Dhul Kifl, but Ishaq is a more complex oil. The consistency is like refrigerated honey, with incredible viscosity. It opens with an intense wild forest honey note, with a discreet whiff of minerals or salt. The notes of marron glace, bee pollen, hay, thick fruit jam and butterscotch come to my mind. I associate it with the image of super soft suede brown/beige leather and aged wax-polished furniture, and things secure. All these notes are beautifully merged together, due to the aging process. After a while, I get notes reminiscent of wet pine rind and freshly sliced fennel bulb. At this point, the oil smells like something edible, with rum-soaked white raisins. After one or two hours, clean sweet-smelling skin, green treemoss, golden syrup and peppery notes become present. I had the lucky chance to compare linden blossoms to Oud Ishaq. On my street, the linden are blooming. The evening I tested Oud Ishaq, after a heavy rain I opened the windows and was suddenly enveloped by the scent of linden blossoms. I took the bottle of Ishaq, put it under my nose and smelled it together with the linden. They formed an incredibly beautiful perfume together, a perfect harmonious sweet accord. A wonderful experience. – Andrej Aurer, Croatia
Oooohhhh... I just love the Oud Ishaq! It starts with green and foresty notes, only to be transmuted into the sweetest linden flower scent... Then it becomes more strong, narcotic and floral... only to dry down to a sweet resinous, slightly peppery, woody note that reminds me of honey from conifers. It is irresistible, and sexy at times; and makes me think of all the wonderful plants and flowers one finds in rural settings. I am more than happy that now I have a supply that will keep me going for a long time – even though I suspect I will use it up faster than I wish I would... Keep up the good work at Ensar Oud! – Thomas Schwarze, Germany
I received Oud Ishaq today and I am taken aback at the thickness. The first two words my wife said when smelling it was, 'Wow, wow!' The opening is strong to the point that with every deep breath I feel a coolness deep in my lungs, sort of like what Vicks or Tiger Balm would do if inhaled deeply. I applied Oud Ishaq about 3 hours ago and here is where I've arrived. I get an image of myself sitting in my father's hometown of Macon, Georgia on the back porch of an old 18th century slavehouse in a rocking chair facing the woodland. A woodland filled with cedar and maple trees, with oakmoss all around. This oil feels and smells old, the primordial goodness. Spicy like the scent of oud chips before being placed on the burner (Khao Yai because this is the wood in front of me, and I'm smelling it now without heating it). Woody, sweet. Maple trees after a nice rain fall is what I get as the oil progresses, in that order, settling with a figgie maple sweetness! – Dondre Asberry, Canada
Here we are 24 hours later as I edit this post to report that Oud Ishaq, although faded on my skin, is still riding strong on my beard with that sweet figgie, toffee and maple syrup accord rising every now and again up to my nostrils and leaving the smell of the primordial in every room I enter in my home! – Dondre Asberry, Canada