Filipino agarwood is the new Vietnamese. Like with Malaysian harvests, agarwood from the Philippines is being brought into barren oudlands like Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam to be sold as local.
Whatever you pay for oud wood straight from the jungles, no matter if it’s Mindanao or up north, operation expenses double your costs. Despite the increasing costs, it’s still worth selling Filipino wood as wild Guallam because even if you were to find Guallam, it’ll cost you more.
That’s why everyone’s got their noses in slingshots working overtime to train their noses to know the Filipino oud smell. You don’t do this just to beat the cheaters selling them Filipino agarwood as Laosie or Vietnamese either…
The reason oud dealers are able to play the doppelganger games is because the Filipino profile is wonderfully diverse. Some areas mimic the Borneo aroma, others Indo-China, notably Vietnam and Cambodia (the latter also fetches a premium as a result.)
Some batches are cherry-dry like Kalimantan, some with a spicy Cambodi warmth, or red varieties of sinensis, while some parade wafts of curry stew I haven’t smelled before.
Then there’s the scent that’s unique to the Philippines, yet with a Vietnamese strain that’s cooling, softly piercing with a narcotic bitterness that's signature Guallam.
That what you’ll smell here. And this is the scent that’ll hit you when you slather on a swipe of Pinoy LTD.
Not everybody needs to pick up the subtle differences, of course. All you might want it for is to fumigate to your heart’s content. Priced and sliced for easy, frequent heating, Pinoy Priveé lets you snap off a sliver and bliss out to the scent’s petrichor freshness, oozing a resinous cool that, especially at low temp, will last you hours.
So, savor the scent as a benchmark, or for its narcotic, anxiolytic calm. Either way, this is oud wood at its finest.
We’ve gone through many batches of Filipino agarwood, and went out of our way to bring you the best Filipino from an olfactory standpoint.
Sure, there are much blacker looking pieces, or those baby nugget sinkers showcased all over the internet. But like with all the batches I offer, looks aren’t a thing for me. It’s not about black or sticky or about how fast a chip sinks in water.
Most of those pitch-black fast sinkers smell like pot curry, sundried tomoatoes, or old turmeric. Some big solid slabs smell like…… almost nothing. So much so that it’s been a huge risk for China market brokers to invest in six-figure pieces because of these funky smells — or no smell at all.
We don’t want agarwood for its looks. If you want looks, better check out the bangles and rosaries. When it comes to oud chips, we want agarwood for the WAY IT SMELLS, and for the ecstatic experience you go through when smelling the finest oud fumes emitted from your heater. And for heating, this is the highest quality agarwood you can get from the Philippines.
Remember kinam: when you get kinam that looks like cheap kyen but it lets you bliss out to its narcotic aroma that’s worth $1,500 a gram, it’s far superior to the blackest, densest, hardest, resinous agarwood that smells like hardly anything, against a backdrop of tomatoes and biryani.
(That said, speaking of resin — this IS sinking-grade agarwood. So, don’t let the looks deceive you.)
The curry kind is way easier to find, and mostly looks a lot ‘better’ if all you’re going by is looks. But to dig out a strain like this that echoes the rarest Vietnamese batches...... — that takes a lot of doing… and makes all the difference.
I’ve been hesitant to offer Filipino wood because of his challenge. But I’m happy to put my name on a packet of Pinoy Priveé knowing that it’s the most soul-stirring chips of its kind — a scent that cracks open the heart of Pinoy LTD as it emits fumes from another world entirely.
I received the Pinoy Privee wood today and heated a piece. I am very happy with this wood. It is beautifully bitter-sweet, oudy and the purple flower note right after you heat it is simply gorgeous. Very very pretty! – Naveed, Canada
It was my hoarder instinct to keep quiet about this wood until I could secure more baggies of it. Aside from a few errant pieces in the bunch, which btw possess the tobacco note, these unassuming babies Rock like kinam. No....not a kinamic note, but rather in it’s aroma delivery. They can torque from very low, all the way to high on the heater. As with other fragheads, I have tried numerous lots of Philippine Aloes, and aside from stumbling upon a couple excellent ones, all the rest just disappointed. Pinoy Privée is up there at the top, offering brighter shades of this wonderful profile.To be succinct.....you won’t find wood like this! – Curt, USA
Smells like peppermint mixed with pipe tobacco and oud. It smells delicious! – T J, USA
Pinoy Privée from Ensar and his team is a treat for a few reasons.
1) Compared to my stash of 6 other Filipino woods and cummingana as a whole (Tawi, Mindenao, area near Borneo, Sulawesi, from old kyen to super sinking king to soil wood...) which are all more or less similar, this batch, while it stays true to that unique profile, it brings with it a Vietnam vibe. A bitter note. A lithe body. Acrobatic but fit. Typical Filipino is fat. Brown butter. Viscous and thick and beautiful. But so can an elegant version of it, especially when it's like this: touch minty, gently sweet as opposed to the typical gobs and gobs of honey (dark amber honey) in Filipino wood. And did I mention all of this is while this wood blind would be pinned as Filipino? In other words, the telltale aromas of origin is there, then the rest of the commentary...
2) There is a variation in shape: from small to very small to medium size bits here and there that suits various intensions: to grind to dust for incense making, larger pieces best for shaving for monkoh, and perfect thickness and size pieces for high heat on subitism...
3) Back to the fact that this is a mixed bag, it is fun studying variations from piece to piece. It's like a trail mix. Reaching into a starburst candy as a kid.
I am not only very happy with my 20 grams, I am going for more on the next sale. – Rasoul, Canada