Minimalist, with such an ethereal bitter-sweet aquatic core, it makes you wish you could put the bottle up in a frame and showcase it to the world. Zen-like olfactory simplicity that makes it redundant to nitpick at notes, yet packing as much gusto as the most vintage ouds you’ve ever smelled.
Previous Sultan oils have ventured into pretty eccentric terrain, but this one easily takes the cake for the most far-out one to date.
When you’ve made oud – or any craft – your life, the worst thing that can happen is stagnation; the proverbial writer’s block.
You’ve experimented with pure white wood, then crushed a batch of wood that could have paid for an S Class. You’ve gone through zero soaks, six month stints in ceramic and hybrid cold cookings. Sometimes you feel like you’ve stuck your nose into every crevice the acquilarian scent scape has to hide. And like every traveler who reaches his destination you want to know: where will you go next?
I’ve been doing oud for a long time and sometimes – I’ll be honest… sometimes I worry that I’ll lose my compass and won’t know where to go next.
But this is exactly the kind of anxiety that stokes the fire and jerks you out of bed to distill an oud that blows the lid right off the pot. It’s when you ease out the dipstick to get a succulent whiff of oud like this that makes it all worth it.
This is the first and only Sumba/New Guinea fusion in history. Sumba Island is as far down south as the oud map goes, right in line with the other batch in here, New Guinea. (Sumba ≠ Sumbawa, in case you’re wondering.) If Bhutanese oud is the northern apex, Sultan Abdüs Selam is the furthest south your oud crave will ever get to go… unless the Aussies have untapped oud oases lurking in the outback.
If only we had more materials to work with, I’d be distilling New Guinea-Sumbas non-stop. The scent is just so delectably perfumey – I’m not exaggerating when I say it’s even more accessible than Oud Yusuf, and just as floral – without losing its oudy zing one iota. Its blue-green pitch is gorgeous & seductive, with a virgin bitterness that pumps out the resinous heartwood every bit as much as distillations 4 times the price.
Abdüs Selam takes the aquatic signature of earlier NG Sultans and tropicafies it. More spices, less green. Ethereal blue, with an earthy overtone that takes you out of the sea onto palm beach where salty oceanic top notes ooze from the resinous New Guinean heart notes. That makes the aroma a notch more grounding than most of its predecessors.
The fragrance treads finely on the line where oleoresin elbows aside auxiliary guise. A delicious guava-blue fruity profile, with a whiff of mimosa white within 5 minutes. Among the least smokey of all the Sultans, exuding silage that’s low-key and note progression that’s chilled and steady, with no erratic scent shifts as you move from top to drydown. It’s your low-temp kōdō equivalent in every way.
I can’t say this about most ouds, but where Sultan Abdüs Selam really hits the spot is about an hour in, down to the base. For many it’s all about the top notes. Isn’t that where all the life is? Lush as the top notes are – and believe me, they’re flying higher than even the most delicate Papuan distills – it’s the quintessential oudy zest that shows itself fully after the chirping top notes settle down into this crazy Sumbaesque that makes your nose explode: “Now, THIS is OUD!”
If you thought Sultan Salman’s Walla was a rarity among rubies, it’s only because Sultan Abdüs Selam wasn’t available then. This is hands down the rarest terroir fusion done by anyone ever, with a jiddan naadir smell to back up the claim.
All natural and chemical-free. Extracted by traditional means, without the use of synthetic chemicals. This oil does not have an expiration date. It will only improve as it ages. No "gassing" required.
Another delightful entry in the series of oils made from this very distinct New Guinea agarwood. The darkness of the New Guinea wood is tempered here by what I assume is some Sumba sunshine… Easy oil to love, hard to imagine anyone not immediately enjoying it… Lots of depth though, that New Guinea element is no joke! It smells like the sort of perfume one of those exotic blue creatures from that movie Avatar might wear (or perfume that eccentric psychology professors who watch a lot of sci-fi movies might wear). – Josh, USA
When I was younger my mum and dad would take me to Lulworth Cove on the south coast of England. Endless days of laughter, fun and freedom. They were happy times for us as a family. When I swiped Sultan Abdüs Selam I could picture a cool, blue ocean with the sun reflecting off its surface. I could hear the waves gently lapping on the shore and I could feel a gentle breeze and the warmth of the summer sun on my face. I felt calm. Please pass on my thanks to Ensar for allowing me to feel that sensation if but for a fleeting moment. – Rick, UK
Sultan Abdüs Selam is from one of the southernmost regions of the world that has agarwood trees. Ensar’s description of this oud really drew me in, and I couldn’t wait to experience it. Sultan Abdüs Selam is fascinating in its subtle complexity. Is it unique? Absolutely! Does it shout? Not at all. Here’s an oud you have to spend time with, as it has an intricacy of scents so perfectly united that teasing them apart is a wonderful experience in and of itself. It speaks to your mind, saying here, here, here. Quiet down enough to listen to me, and I’ll reward you greatly. The ultimate Kodo experience. I feel that I’m going to keep learning from this Oud for a long time. – Hank, USA
I cannot put into words how important this oil is to me. It can transport my mood for the better like nothing else. And I have been needing it a lot lately. Mind-bending beauty. – Phil, USA
My jaw hit the floor when I read what it was. Sultan Abdüs Selam is beautiful. It reminds me of a blue-green AND perfumey Sultan Sufyan, but not as heavy on the incense note. It’s going to be my SOTD tomorrow so that I can study it a little more. I will agree that this is in the same league as some of your more higher priced legends. – Steve, USA
Sultan Abdüs Selam is distilled from New Guinea and Sumba (Aquilaria Cumingiana) agarwood. Ensar mentioned that the synergy is more from uniformity than contrast. It sure resonates me sky high. I haven’t even swiped a second time yet, but all I can say for now is that I am VERY happy with this oil. – Curt, USA
This oil is quickly becoming a frequent standby. Uplifting, with a beautiful bright blue oceanic dry down. – Phil, USA
It has the notes of Surirankah that I love but also the narcotic mind-tickling quality of oils like Kinamantan, Sultan Ahmet… I can’t get enough of it. – Rasoul, Canada
Swipe number 2 of Sultan Abdüs Selam, and I’m already beginning to worry about running-out of this oil. I can’t help feeling this way, this oil is just too precious! Not precious in dollars, precious in Scent!! – CC, USA
To me this is a very uplifting and happy oil. It is not necessarily very bright smelling but certainly conveys a bright sunny mood. It immediately can change my mood, and always for the better. On my skin it does not have all day lasting power, but for the time it lasts, it is a beauty. – PO, USA
I too find it to be a very happy oil, uplifting and quite playful. Sweet cola, oceanic saltiness, agarwoodiness. That probably does not make any sense but that’s what I have come up with. – PC, France
Your Sultan Selam is quite nice. It dries down to a Purple Kinam Jr. type smell, really classy, with a tropical ocean opening smell. – Mark, USA
Agree with all. I get more from this oil. A subdued titular kind of bitterness and also kinam. I also see whispers of walla patta. Is beautiful stuff. If I was forced to pick a personal scent to live with for a long time this would be it. Sultan Ahmet is too powerful. Kenmei too lithe. Abdüs Selam just right. – RS, Canada
Finally, I got a chance to try this, so out for a walk I went this morning in the fresh air, armed with a few fresh swipes of SAS on the neck and under my chin. When the cold air hit me, the vapours sprung to life and I immediately felt disoriented. I could smell winter, but also got a whiff of this tropical oceanic vibe that others have mentioned. A warm breeze flowing one way, and the cold air flowing another. A beautiful experience. Worlds collided, and my mind wasn’t sure if I was on vacation somewhere warm or actually bundled up and marching into the crisp slap of winter. I loved this oil from the first sniff, and I can’t wait to test it again indoors with proper focus. According to me, anyone enamoured with the profiles of Archipelago and Green Papua wanting a next-level experience ought to give this a try. (Yes, wait for that dry-down!) – Stefan, Canada
Enjoying Abdüs Selam. So wonderful. Fruit notes of Yusuf. Cooling notes of Aceh. Numbing bitterness of best of Vietnam. Jungle of Maroke. Full but light on its feet. Iron fist in velvet glove fits here. Wonderful stuff. – Rasoul, Canada
Eternal sunshine on a rain-drenched mind. – SC, Canada
Another delightful entry in the series of oils made from this very distinct New Guinea agarwood - the darkness of the New Guinea wood is tempered here by what I assume is some Sumba sunshine.. Easy oil to love, hard to imagine anyone not immediately enjoying it.. Lots of depth though, that New Guinea element is no joke! It smells like the sort of perfume one of those exotic blue creatures from that movie "Avatar" might wear (or perfume that eccentric psychology professors who watch a lot of sci-fi movies might wear).. – Josh, USA
My first time trying it. Lives up to the hype. – Adeel, USA