I’ve seriously thought of turning this into an extrait de parfum. A Papuamantan spray. If only a bottle didn’t turn out costing $3,000+, it’d already be in the works.
I’d do it simply to bring the scent to a bigger crowd because if there was ever a pure oud perfume I’d like to see stand next to all the ‘oud’ perfumes, Papuamantan’s the oud ambassador who tells Oud’s true story. It’s oozing bubbling oudiness. The jungle, the syrupiness, the woodiness, depth and charisma that dive into an olfactory ravine no other aromatic can begin to offer.
Papuamantan is from the alumni of Legends. Distilled hardly a year after the original 3000, Kynam No 1, and Royale No 5, it was born alongside big guns like Chen Xiang Qi, Sheikh’s Borneo, and Royal Kinam, during the days when Marokes just hit the oud world, and Chinese oils were half the price (and still available).
If an oud was the average of the company it keeps, you can see where this is going…
If Port Moresby hung out with Maroke LTD after Purple Papua dropped in, you get an idea of what you’d be in for. Papua yes, and a proper oldie at that, but compared to MLTD and PP, you’re getting a total black sheep. (Hint: Think closer to OR1.)
There’s nothing airy, nothing vanilla or cinnamon about Papuamantan. No fruity berries or wafts of yellow and gold. Expect instead the dark side of the jungle.
Vintage LazyBoy leather admixed with a clean low-key syrupy incensed mintiness that wafts lively oleoresin aburst with bubbles on your heater. Some will pick up the ambergris—not the raw animalic black, but sandal infused grey (not unlike the muskiness of tigerwood), which is something you might have noticed the vintage classics have in common.
What really blows you away is how Papuamantan totally nails the age-effect. Sure, it’s already been aged for twelve years—way more than most ouds out there. Yet, as much as it already oozes with agelicious incense-heavy agar nectar, the scent easily stands next to ouds a decade older, overflowing with such ripe medicinal liqueur top notes you only either smell in kinam oils or in really, really old, high-grade ouds that were properly preserved. (Hint 2: if OR1 had a cousin from north of the island…)
I’m convinced if I were to say this is a ‘70s distillation nobody would wince. That’s a testament to the quality of the original oud and its distillation success, even more so than what the smell has to give. And Papuamantan sure has a LOT to give…
As if the older-than-it-is magic isn’t enough of a treat, wait till you encounter its flatline tenacity. The top notes don’t stay (they’re not supposed to) but they also never leave. There’s no sign of the drydown until right at the end of your wear, with a scent that surpasses any description of your picture-perfect Papua.
If Papuan ouds have always been a bit wet, or Marokes too muddy; Borneos too airy, and Malays lacking in old-world verve, Papuamantan highlights the best of those profiles and ditches the rest. Get a load of that olde Papuan pine-forest, minus the moist. Maroke’s spicy incense, without the swampy brown. A Papua with body—no fleeting peppermint or old library book cover dustiness. I.e. a beautifully rounded, balanced oud. (Read: perks of fantastic aging.)
Olde oud is a niche within a niche. For many, vintage ouds are almost too good to wear. They only steal a sniff direct from the applicator, then put it back until the crave hits once more. Like a first-edition leather-bound novel you don’t dare open if you can help it. But you know it exists, that it’s yours to gaze upon whenever you want. Solemnly precious, and a valuable heirloom. I’m like this myself with certain ouds. And I’m sure many will feel this way about Papuamantan.
On the flip side, life is short and God loves to see His blessings on His servants. So, if you want to engulf yourself in an ancient aromatic aura that scoffs at the niche within a niche of see-through synthetics – which is what even the finest of what artisan perfumery has to offer these days – then it’s about time someone revived real fragrance.
This doesn’t have to be either/or, of course. Order two bottles and problem solved! So, go on… one to keep & cherish, and the other? Dab on a mighty swipe of rich syrupy jungly oomph and watch them noses go, ‘Mmmmmmm, what’s that?’
Papuamantan might not make its way to a spray-on line, but who cares? If you’re reading this, it means you like your oud neat. Like it’s supposed to be worn. To watch the velvet glaze on your skin as you bring it up and closer, and you inhale, and you say, ‘Mmmmmmm, what IS that?’
4 proper wears so far.
Opening is more Maroke but a more approachable and accessible one. Less damp.
The spice of Green Papua is there. There is indeed a purple note and after looking for it I see a friend’s find of Ceram wood suggestion in this oil. More violet than iris to my nose. It is faint and not always there but can be sensed. In other words, the purple note is not a strong defining character or easily picked up note to my nose to date.
With 5 min or so in, the Maroke note does a disappearance magic act and vanishes and instead an Encens Royale (minus the cooling and camphor note) jumps in. Think a very old scent. Like an uncle to Port Moresby. Hallmark of PM is the perfect roundness and balance. An oil that is like a perfect sphere. So to my nose it’s more of the texture and behavior of PM rather than following its aromatic accords note by note. Also both are among few green oils that don’t have that camphoric/minty note.
The oriental spice and star anise are subtle but awesome. The whole super dark green profile is wicked. Best of all it has the settled mature qualities while the top note (heart) comes alive 15 min later with that fuzzy buzzy Kinamantany vapours recalling fern and oak moss and lichens. In other words it’s as if there is a few percent of that Borneo green there like a sprinkle on top. This note was completely undetectable in first 10-15 minutes in my 4 wears so far.
Drydown is nothing but that oudy oud marrow that clingers to your sinuses and satisfies the wearer.
A very solid pick up and imho punches above its price point. — Rasoul, Canada
Waow, Papuamantan is incredible, like a blend of Green Papua, Midori Qi and Naga 3000. I love the heart of this scent. It is perfectly balanced and beautiful. I love it! – Antonin, France
I thoroughly enjoyed Papuamantan yesterday. I’d describe it as 30% Green Papua, 30% Archinam, 20% Royale No 5 and 20% Kinamantan! Now THAT is an amazing mash-up! Just sublime. – Philip, USA
A very complex oil - it smells of Port Moresby with whiffs of Malaysian oud, similar to Tigerwood Royale. It's a very beautiful oil - ethereal and multilayered.
It is also very obvious that the oud (wood) Papuamantan is made of is extremely resinous. – Mohamed, USA
Papuamantan is a gift to us. It smells like a mix between Port Moresby and Archinam and Purple Kinam. Anyone who missed out on those oils needs to get this one. What an oil. How do you guys even distill these oils? When I broke down the price it’s essentially $183/g which is insane for an oil of this caliber. – Nazif, USA