This oud isn’t dark like Marokes; ain’t airy either. It tends toward green — but brushes more with blue: Think the watery freshness of blue cypress, laced with an aquatic sea breeze saltiness, with an incense note stitching in and out to remind you that this is high grade oud.
Here you’ve got a straight batch of incense quality New Guinea agarwood cooked in a copper-on-top hybrid pot. Depending on how you extract a precious batch of wild New Guinea wood, you’ll get to zoom in on its incense character, or its seashore-earthy coolness, or its guava-green fruity tones. Sultan Mujeeb is a prism that captures all three scent dimensions.
Incense: Pure oud inevitably has a ‘woody’ note hiding somewhere. But not all ouds have the ‘incense’ note. The incense note is a moment when the scent mimics that of raw heated agarwood—the scent of the resin. ‘Woody’ is the scent of the tree or forest—it's very different.
You get different levels of incensy-ness, just like you get different grades of raw chips. Sultan Mujeeb was distilled from decades old wild harvested aloes packed with resin. Put a piece on the burner and you get a smell sold by top-notch Japanese incense houses. But not just any smell…
If you’re a Kodo aficionado or frequently fumigate with agarwood, you know the delicate scales of quality the scent of agarwood smoke ascends through. Some incense connoisseurs spend a whole evening simply in search of a single note! Sultan Mujeeb is an exquisite portrait of high high high quality agarwood chips, slowly heated to release the most subtle scents. And not just that—how many incense houses do you know that offer slivers of wild New Guinea aloes? So, this oil adds a wonderfully eccentric scent to your palette!
Clarity and depth: Remember, we’re talking oud oil here, not oud wood. And all the better! Why? Because oud oil lets you experience scents that normally last seconds, for hours! Incense ceremonies have their place, but if you ask me the scent potential of distilled incense is vaster and even more intoxicating. Instead of a note, Sultan Mujeeb is like an arpeggio that builds up and up and up until you get the blast of a chord.
In Sultan Mujeeb you don’t only get to smell the incense note of a rare and precious breed of agar, you get to olfactorize that scent to its core. In other words: if you’re a scent junky, this is a high that lasts and lets you delve deep.
Fruits or flowers? Dab yourself with cypress on one arm and blue lotus on the other. Move your nose to and fro: what you’re smelling are fractions of Sultan Mujeeb. Deep green incense notes often come at the expense of floral ones—smoke doesn’t smell like flowers, after all. But again, we’re talking oud here—the richest fragrant microcosm on earth! But to get the flowers through the smoke takes some doing. So, here’s how we did it:
Oud Yusuf is the most floral oud I know of. When I wanted to accentuate the floral notes in Sultan Mujeeb, it didn't take much figuring out: Distill this one Oud Yusuf style! But this was easier said than done. The way Oud Yusuf is extracted is very different to how I normally tackle my New Guinea distills and could compromise the other nuances hidden in the resin. I had to keep the incense and the clarity intact.
Part of the job was to use the same well-water Oud Yusuf gets cooked in. So, it took many back and forths between distilleries before finally lighting the burners. Oud Yusuf is an exclusively copper distilled oud, but going all copper would have tampered with the depth of the incense tones, which is why Sultan Mujeeb passed through a one-of-a-kind hybrid setup to capture its blue-green incense body.
One of the secrets to getting a fully rounded oud scent is to perfect the cooking in one go. In other words, no fractionation. It's common practice to collect the oil at different stages of the distillation—on the first day, the second day, etc. It's an interesting study into how the oud scent develops, but to me each of these fractions is a way to get away from the oudiness of oud.
Now here's the punchline: To get Sultan Mujeeb didn't mean a mere 8-10 day distillation. The extraction ran for over two months straight. No stopping, no fractionation. This is where distillation gets very tricky. To keep all the elements—the flowers, the fruit, the earthy incense—in unison is a 24/7 job.
The first fractions will smell a lot more gentle and floral, but you lose out on so much more that oud can give. The last fraction is almost pure base. But a well rounded, well executed distillation will capture the incense with the flowers with the fruits with the spice. So, imagine an oil artisanally distilled for over two months—the complexity, the aromatic oomph... That's Sultan Mujeeb....