For me, 2011 is carved in gold. It was the year of Purple Kinam, Encens Imperial, Pinoy LTD, and Oud Yaqoub.
It was the year we exposed the China Market, plunged full-on into Organic Oud, and started a series of new oud experiments that inspired a whole entourage of would be distillers.
My distillation style and personal aesthetic has evolved over the last decade, and 2011 was a crucial turning point.
Back then, all anybody knew was ‘Assam’. Any and all oud called Hindi meant your juice came from Assam. Oud was oud and oud was Indian. The smells were the same, the wood distilled was the same, and the distillation style was the same used for a thousand years before. Assam was, and in many ways remains, a World Heritage site for oud oil.
But, wouldn’t you, too, have felt the itch to set sail? To breathe in the age-old air of India… ALL of it.
That’s how you went on to form a brigade of Hindis from jungles no oud seller knew how to spell or point out on a map. Oud lovers first heard the call from Meghalaya, North Cachar, from Nagaland and Bhutan, of Oud Nuh, Oud Khidr, Oud Musa, and Oud Idrees.
You’ve since heard of ‘zero-soak’ Hindis, ‘floral’ Hindis, ‘non-barn’ Hindis. The likes of Assam 3000 and Muana LTD.
That all started in… 2011, when Indian oud got a makeover that forever changed how Indian oud would be enjoyed.
And this is the oud that triggered the revolution. Oud Shuayb, which hails from easliy the most legendary region in India: Manipur, bordering Burma.
The pollen, vanillicious tone of Oud Idrees stuffed with sweet plum and cherry tobacco. (Watch me give the future EO No 1 a Manipuri twist!)
The rich notes of plum and cherry and the scent wafting from a rugged Boer’s pipe infused with clementine peel and a sweet floral note—not honeysuckle, not jasmine, but almost. Rooibos shrubs show up thirty minutes in (sooner, if you smell closely) smoothed over with a herbaceous agalollochan warmth with an arcane Vietnamese tinge that only comes after a decade’s aging.
Though there's an echo of fermentation, all that’s left of it after a decade oozing in Pyrex is the bold spicy bite it leaves in old, old resin. The spicy richness of eighty-year-old aloes distilled beautifully.
I miss those days. Thankfully, a single swipe takes you back there. Throws you back. One whiff of Oud Shuayb and the floodgates open and you're instantly back with the heavyweights.
From raw materials to production costs and logistics, you know as well as I do how everything’s gone up year by year. And India barely has a wild tree left.
But, in light of the worldwide lockdown, and my urge to let you tune up your oud collection with some old-school GUSTO, the past decades’ natural maturation is on the house.
Plus, on top of the 0% interest on the aging, I’m letting Oud Shuayb go for the same price it would have sold for in 2011.
Oud Shuayb is such a beautiful composition that shows how subtle fermentation can absolutely uplift an oil rather than hide it’s flaws. It opens with a gorgeous red cedar heartwood vibe and incense. It feels like you’re standing in the middle of a loft in an old red barn where the worn-in saddles hang on the walls next to bails of hay and golden straw. You can smell wafts of fresh animalic musks and whisps of Oud bubbling on a charcoal somewhere in the distance. It’s the kind of barnyard note that almost feels like golden leather and warmth rather than fecal matter or bad breath. It’s tenacious but pleasant. The opening lasts for a solid hour or so before unveiling a beautiful, resinous core. Thick globs of oleoresins permeate the remainder of the drydown. To my nose it smells like burning clean Agollacha on a low temp subitism. Overall the projection is pretty solid and the longevity is well over 8 hours. This may be one of the most beautiful Hindi oils I’ve smelled. – Aaron, USA
This one outperforms the two from Assam with a softer animalic base; a more spiced plum semi-sweetness, allspice and a touch of cinnamon. it has a rounded and not sharp sour touch that doesn't pierce through but contributes to the common foundation I've found in all the Hindis. In this manner, it reminds me of Oud Nuh with a more velvety soft power, with minor touches of ethereal headiness found in ouds from further east, while primarily being grounded with a richly refined animalic gravitas. – Lucas, USA
To say that I’m so surprised is an understatement...you’ve knocked me off my solidity. [...] I appreciate this compendium of beauty. Holy cow! Right out of the gate, Oud Shuayb is going to be a full bottle for me! – Beverly, USA
Oud Shuayb starts off with luscious florals, the barn is there in the background glowing like a drip of wild honey. I have never come across a Hindi oud with such beauty. When I first applied it I was mesmerized upon first sniff. This oud glows, it reminds you of the finest assortment of flowers fermenting in sweet wild honey, the age of this oud turned it into a heavenly liquor. At the heart and dry down you get whiffs of the finest agallochan incense filling your air in the room. It's a majestic oud, bravo dear Ensar for producing and giving us a chance to smell ouds of this beauty. – Rezwan, Canada
This one has everything I love about Indian Oud. It has no doubt that barnyard note, there’s no way around that, but the thing is that it is not only that as most Hindi Ouds are. It’s just a part of it. It is softened by a dry green smell, almost like a very dry and hot jungle which over time gets more and more smoky. If one likes that strong animalic note as I do, he will love this, but if not he won’t get turned away. This one has as much strong a personality as it has depth. – André, Portugal
Oud Shuayb is probably one of my favourite "Hindis". I have samples from years ago, and I remember the first time I smelled it. The sweet tingling notes on my nose it had. "Sedative" / "asesthesia" sounds like a good choice of words for it. – Yazid, UK
A very distinct scent, a bit animalic. Slight mint flavor at first and a tinge of sour which set it apart from all other ouds I have encountered. Drydown seems to disappear on first swipe. Yet, a faint jasmine seemed to come through. – Jimmy, USA
C’est comme une couverture épaisse, très épaisse, qu’on enroulerait autour de soi. Ces senteurs sécurisent, apaisent, apportent le discernement et la confiance au coeur de la tranquillité. Il est possible que Mustapha 7 soit mon oud préféré, à cause de cette dimension. Je l’utilise très rarement, mais c’est peut être celui qui me manquerait le plus si je n’avais plus mes huiles, presque comme un être à part entière! – Antonin, France
Originating from further east than most "Hindi" ouds, the profile foreshadows the just beyond. Exhibiting undertones of its eastern neighbor, Yunnan, it preserves what just across the boarder has been completely lost. Oud Shuayb redefines Indian oud exuding a balanced profile preserving the best of both worlds, the species yields its potency and tenacity while its terroir results in invigorating oriental zest.
Like finding yourself in close proximity to an Indochinese tiger resting on a bed of potent sedative herbs; a fierce and powerful, yet soothing presence, a paradox of adrenaline and anesthesia Oud Shuayb exudes a strong notorious edge with dignified composure. – Adam Coburn, Jordan
Oud Şuayip ise Turkiyeden satın aldığım Udi hind' nin çok benzeriydi. Fakat sizin koku kesinlikle çok daha kaliteli idi. Açılışta Köz ağaç tütsü.. Son notasında taze toprak kokusu vardı. – Burak, Turkey
I am extremely impressed with it. I've grown to appreciate the 'barn' note and I find it very fortifying and therapeutic.
As soon as I swiped the oil on my left hand the beautiful aroma hit me but something strange happened – my hand began tingling. It was a very pleasant sensation, but also as I inhaled the oil my nose went red and it then too started to tingle! I'd never had this reaction to an Oud oil before or indeed any other natural fragrance.
Not only was the oil sensational to listen to, it actually made me physically somewhat 'euphoric.' I'd love to hear your reaction to this and whether you or the team have experienced anything like this. It definitely wasn't an allergic reaction as my hand neither itched nor became inflamed.
– James, UK
HOW? Perfume, this is a full spectrum pure perfume. Top is similar to that of Oud Ayoub but with a much more pronounced indole note, richer and longer lasting in the progression of the oil. Similar to the indole note in Taha's Chamkeila as well. The top note leads into something very different. In you description you mentioned an "arcane Vietnamese vibe" and it's prominent.
Along with my Kinam Rouge, you sent some wood from the distillation. I had a chance to heat some of it and was able to make the connection between the wood and the resulting profile of the oil. When one says Hindi oud I think Aquillaria Agallocha not Aquillaria Crassna, how you coaxed that full profile from either type is astounding (was it codistilled?).
Oud Shuayb marks the journey from the heart of Manipur to the jungles of Vietnam. The middle note is pure purple fruits and the same kinamic juiciness of KR, so much so that I would have thought I swiped it and not a Hindi oil. The drydown is nearly the same vaporous haze of KR.
I don't know how you did it, but just as said by the Master of Death after receiving a devastating blow to the neck by the Shogun assassin's sword, "your technique is magnificent".
I completely understand why this is one of your favorite Hindi oils. Transformative. The outlier. – Lance, USA