I’m stingy with any bottle in my atelier labeled Manipur.
In fact, I’ve had Oud Shibli poured and ready to ship for about four years, prior to which it had already been aged for two. It’s always been on the verge of release, but I’ve never pulled the trigger. To date, nobody (Rasoul included!) has even tried a sample.
I'm sure it won't take more than one whiff for you to treasure it as much as I do. The scent is loud but not twangy, pineapple pie warm instead of brewed peach kombucha. Smokey—but not the dry tobacco leaf kind—and you can tell that the batch was fermented… yet you don’t smell it. Instead, you smell the effect, not the funky edges left after uncontrolled fizzing.
While new-age Hindis have their place, Oud Shibli satisfies your crave for higher-octane agallocha while those virgin new-age ones fizzle out pretty quickly. Quality Manipur ouds are a notoriously scarce breed because most of the wood never ends up as oud oil. The few batches of Manipur agarwood that do end up in oil form usually showcase the new-school style…
Or, as you might suspect, when the marketing wears off they turn out to be run-of-the-mill plantation oils from Assam with a ‘Manipur’ label slapped on for convenience! Oud Shibli is not only a 100% wild purebred, but a no-holds-barred, horses out to pasture, grandaddy portrait of Manipur oud.
Wafts of honeybush and steeped rooibos twigs of the same accord as you’d smell in Yoshi… except these notes are only the outline of Oud Shibli's more rugged wildflower core. Winter dry, pollen rich, with a bittersweet peppery balm base that makes it intensely delectable.
It’s funny how things work in the oud biz. Oils fresh off the still fetch a premium, yet you can still find old ouds like this at old prices. Of course, we could—and according to most finance textbooks should—cash in on all the dividends we miss out on year in year out. Instead, Oud Shibli is priced exactly how it would have been six years ago. All those years of natural aging are yours gratis, bottled to bliss out on.
It's been a while since I've smelled oud like this. The most recent Hindi we did that was as high-grade went straight onto my perfume shelf, where other rare batches are pending the same fate (you'd notice that even my old Mysores have been discontinued for the same reason). Few ouds work so many wonders in perfumes as quality Indian oud—which explains why I'm becoming more and more stingy with the ones I have. Frankly, if I hadn't already poured these bottles, I doubt you'd ever be reading this.
But because so many folks have been thirsting after an old-school blast of O.U.D. in this drought of lackluster, baby-faced echoes of an echo of a scent as mighty as old Manipur agarwood artisanally distilled, this is for you.