This is not an S Class. It’s not a C Class. What you’ve got here is a 1969 Boss Mustang in mint condition.
If ‘Vintage Malaysian Oud’ rings a bell, it’s because there are a couple Malaysian oils you might have heard of: Oud Sultani, Oud Ahmad… Salahuddin. You know where this is going…
Back in the early 2000s, we distilled sinking-grade wood because we could. During the 1990s, they did the same with resin-packed tigerwood.
At the dawn of the 90s, they didn’t do pretty, they didn’t do fruit. What you got back then was no-nonsense Oud, un-fractionated to capture the holistic beauty of black-striped wild tigerwood that would today demand a couple thousand per bottle. Just to distill.
I remember the biggest agarwood tycoon in Southeast Asia giving a sigh when he recalled the tons upon tons of precious Malaysian tigerwood that he and his brother ground up into dust and put into the boilers.
‘Looking back now, what we did was crazy. But who could have known what that kind of wood could sell go for today?’
What would sell today for no less than $2,000 - $5,000 per kilogram, they dumped into the grinders and boiled into oil.
‘Back then, the oil was expensive,’ he sighed. ‘But not the wood!’
What is Tigerwood, anyway? And what does this oldie smell like?
First of all, this is not the tigerwood that refers to the trees found in Africa. We’re talking agarwood here, not the stuff you make floors and ceilings with.
In the oud world, tigerwood is called exactly that because of the way it looks. Resin-rich veins run along like tiger stripes.
Tigerwood comes in various grades, currently selling for up to $5,000 / kg, where quality tigerwood is especially sought after in the carving market (authentic bangles go for several thousand apiece).
The same wood Tigerwood 1990 was distilled from goes for $2,000 - $5,000 today. So, go out tomorrow and buy the cheapest batch of tigerwood, juice up the most phenomenal yield, and… for the price of Tigerwood 1990 you won't even be able to pay off the wood. No distillation expenses, logistics, flights, hotels, packaging – no profit for one’s labor – nothing. Just the wood. You should be able to see how a bottle today can easily run you $1,000+… cost. – All that WITHOUT 30 years aging.
Tigerwood 1990 is an aromatic cosmos unto itself that emanates oooud, with a capital O. Thirty years’ aging has smoothed its ethereal sweetness and jacked up its resinous depth. Layers of agar liqueur solidified into an oud scent that’s every Classic Oud lover’s dream come true. I’m stymied by the aromatic complexity, the sensual ‘Oh my!’ as your skin drinks the scent of raw resin.
This fragrance does not take you back to the 1990s. (In order to do that, it’d have to be fresh off the still.) No fleeting top notes that leave you wishing they lingered only a little longer. For almost thirty years this oil has quietly beautified, deepened and bedazzled itself into what you have here: a scent that no modern distillation can capture. Oud that no amount of treating or techniqueing can bring to life.
What stands out about the scent is its sheer depth and pure oudiness without compromise. It’s no-nonsense Oud, 100% incense-note through and through, like the very best Malaysian ouds you’ve smelled. Purple Kinam without the Purple. Oud Ahmad without the Red. And a dash more base. No head notes. No narcotic brain-freeze. Pure base oudiness.
Same caliber oud you got in Oud Royale 1985, same vintage vibe, but with an added smooth creamy Malaysian twist, and zero damp jungle notes. No rocks. No moss. The ‘90 is sweet and sultry, and a dash more incensy… Think dark velvet, silky-smooth creaminess infused with the ooze of resin-packed raw Malaysian nuggets bubbling on your burner, and you know exactly what to expect.
This is the kind of oud you wear time and time again. Day in and day out. As you delve deeper and deeper into its labyrinthine aroma you discover a lush perfume-like composition of notes reminiscent of vintage Kelantan / Terengganu profiles. Need I mention the depth 30 years aging adds to precious Malaysian Oud?
Old oud doesn’t automatically mean good oud. Always keep this in mind. Well-made oud, aged into an irreplaceable olfactory gem that screams quality, depth and charisma… that’s what you’re looking for. MOST old ouds give you the exact opposite: Top notes that last two minutes, followed by a dusty, damp, moths-in-the-closet aroma that goes nowhere – that’s most old ouds for you. Why? Because they were either just poorly made oils from low grade agarwood to begin with, or they’ve been aged badly and have oxidized, losing any verve they might have had in their youth.
Tigerwood 1990 is not just old oud. It was a stellar oil to begin with, perfectly aged to make it even better.
Not the least notable feature of Tigerwood 1990 is the very air and water and pots it was distilled in. If you’re an agarwood craftsman, you know full well that the scent in your little bottle doesn’t come from resin inside a tree. It is the scent that you breathe in the air and taste in the food you eat when you’re in the locality that tree is native to. That’s right. The air in Kelantan smells like Oud. The food tastes like it. It’s the same flare that permeates an entire ecosystem that you get to infiltrate the resin of aquilarias native to the climate, which must then be carefully distilled into the oil everyone prizes. You won’t get authentic Malaysian Oud if it’s done in India. What you’ll get instead is Indian Oud.
Tigerwood 1990 was distilled using the same water that flows under the ground nourishing the roots of the mighty aquilarias it was harvested from. It was cooked in the same climate, using materials and techniques that are unique to age-old Malaysian oud distillation. As such, it is a pure classic Malaysian Oud through and through, and as authentic a bottle of it as you’ll ever get.
My distiller is still slapping his forehead over the tons of precious tigerwood he could have been offering his Chinese clients after the boom. Instead, what he ended up with is a few bottles of oil that was neither here nor there – too expensive for the Gulf, not Chinese or Vietnamese enough for China… So it just ended up as a relic in his safe deposit box, safely stowed alongside a 5 kg kyara log, among other curiosities.
Here is oud from the start of the ‘90s, for the price it went for in the ‘90s, with oodles more oudiness than any contemporary pressing. This is Oud as it’s been known for centuries: the scent that gave Oud its name. Given what folks are selling oud for these days, you don’t need to be a rocket scientist to figure out the kind of Gift this is.
Tigerwood 1990 is a mighty metallic beast, archaic and dark grey/blue, a heavy duty sawblade
to cut your mind off the daily routines and happenings, strictly mystic/magician's choice. More diesel and less floral, more stone than wood. – Erhard, Austria
Love all 3 Tigerwood ouds each in their own way! Tigerwood Royale with its regal aroma, Tigerwood '95 with its no nonsense straight oud heaven and Tigerwood 1990 with its incense touch that I find even better than Encens Royale '85! – Dean, USA
Tigerwood 1990! I get the Oud Ahmad, Malaysian profile from the one without the sweetness. Musky jungley goodness! – T J, USA
Reviews of Tigerwood 1995:
Tigerwood 1995 – the red-headed stepchild of Tigerwood Royale, the one nobody wanted but finally settled for… Not!! First of all, let’s not get it twisted, TW95 is older than TWR, so if there’s any red-headed stepchilding happening it would be the TWR… Ah yes, stirring up controversy where none really exists… Anyhow, the aged liquor aroma is only achieved by, well, long aging, and this TW95 has it in spades – pure oudy richness… When I smell oils like this I’m often filled with excitement (extremely mild, ‘let’s-just-relax’ sort of excitement) about my young oils, what they might smell like in 20 years… – Josh, USA
Rich and mesmerizing. This may be the most ‘oudy’ oud in my collection. The resinous depth just fills the soul. A camphorous liqueur base with a very subtle sweetness. This oil is Oud to me. Perfect. – Phil, USA
I am still crazy about my Tigerwood ‘95. I have my husband wear it, but occasionally wear it myself despite its totally masculine profile. – Svetlana, UAE
Craving to wear Tigerwood ‘95 today. When an oil makes me think about it, I know it’s a special one for me. A superb oil with the magical “Ensar Lift”. Incredible depth. Extremely high satisfaction quotient. Friendly pricing. If this is not a show of Oud passion, I don’t know what is. I own multiple luxury perfumes. They serve their purpose but the connect with inner self while wearing Oud is a moment worth celebrating. A sudden gush of olfactory pleasure with the feeling of wellbeing. I will always be grateful to brother Ensar for introducing me to fine ouds. For a surgeon whose day is spent among putrid dead organic matter, it is extremely important to swipe some of the Ensar to restore normalcy. – Nikhil, India
It opens very earthy. Less a smell of petrichor and more a smell of loam. As the earthy notes fade, a myriad of other oudy notes burst forth. I smell juicy fruits, dry wood, sharp resin, and a tinge of lime. Utterly composed and well integrated throughout. At full dryness, it’s pure oud with a hint of mint astringency. Age has made it smooth, but it’s lost none of its intensity. If I had to give someone who had never smelled oud an example, Tigerwood 1995 is *the* archetypal oud (with the exception of a fecal, barnyard note, but that’s not particularly newbie-friendly). Close sillage, but excellent tenacity. – Duncan, USA
On first application, burst of mentholated mint. Camphor, but not the medicinal variety, more so the freshly carved wood. So many notes, so many strange and interesting notes, uplifting and inspiring… balsamic? Really groping for the words here, but it’s beauty in structure.
After an hour the scent is more that of a workshop of aromatic woods, camphor still dominating but to a lesser degree, aroma now had become both intensely perfumed and balanced, lush and refreshing. Inhaling this is strangely invigorating in the same manner as a caffinated soap lukewarm shower, followed by a can of jolt cola but without the jitters. This absolutely has nootropic qualities to it. Bizarre that an exotic smell would have such an effect. This is certainly a masculine scent if worn out and about. – Robert, USA
I think this is by far one of the best of the best oud oils I have owned. Personally, I would consider this to be a well-balanced oud oil just as I like it. I’m not that good at picking up notes but as I’m sniffing the oil now, I get the combination of rich dark woods, fruits (reminds me of Oud Yusuf), spiciness and a bit of musk. Really top notch Malaysian oud. – Farid, UK
I can’t resist ordering a full bottle of Tigerwood 95 (in fact I have to exercise restraint not to order a whole tola). Not a day goes by that I don’t turn to Tigerwood for inspiration and peace. It is truly a masterpiece and at such a great price. I have over 35 magic oud oils from Ensar that I regularly sample, but there is something so playful and rambunctious about the funky, brassy and resinous goodness contained in that mystical elixir of Tigerwood. – Joel, Cambodia
The Tigerwood 1995 is just sooo amazing, and I haven’t even opened the bottle! Just smelling the uncapped, stoppered bottle ‘Regal’ comes to mind… the scent of Sheikhs and Kings of old. After receiving it, I couldn’t stop smelling this one. I had to tell myself “Stop… Put down the bottle… Step away… YOU HAVE TO MAKE DINNER!” – Keith, USA
Hard to imagine how much better than Tigerwood 95 a Malay can get. This oil has such incredible depth and sweetness it almost knocks me off my seat. – Taher, UAE
Just tried Tigerwood 1995 and I feel like I have hit the jackpot. – Bilal, Pakistan
Top note: is incredible. I smell kinam with green notes. It has a Sumatra scent profile that has a plum profile like aged Cambodian. Floral notes peeping back and forth. The viscosity is smooth & silky (sign of aging).
Middle note: comes out with a beautiful scent like Borneo Kinam III, with green notes still strong.
Dry down: is musky & spicy. I made ablution for salat and the top notes came out all over again with a powdery spicy scent. Just incredible.
All I can say is SubhanAllah! JazakAllah for an amazing oil. – Ish, Montreal
To me, Tigerwood 1995 is right behind Sultani in terms of Malaysians in my collection. I have […], which was made from sinking grade Malaysian wood, but nothing compares to the beauty of aged Oud to me. An absolute bargain at the price, I don’t care what anyone else says. – Customer
C’est mon premier oud de Malaisie et je dois dire que je ne suis pas du tout déçu et même plutôt agréablement surpris. C’est une huile trés sombre aux notes tres verte, avec une forte senteur résineuse, c’est boisé et muské a la fois. Je trouve beaucoup de similitude avec mon oud préféré le Meroke, avec cette vibrante et profonde scenteur de bois d’agar dans une forêt luxuriante humide. Le tout est très fondu, les notes s’entremêle, se chevauche avec brio, comme dans un parfum. D’ailleur c’est la première chose à laquelle j'ai pensé en ouvrant la fiol… un parfum de luxe. Le Tigerwood 1995 fait voyager dans un autre monde, fait d’odeur de bois et de résine précieuse… C’est magnifique… magique! – Thibot, France
I just got a chance to wear Tigerwood for the first time. It is exactly what I imagine my favorite modern Malaysian beasts will turn into in twenty years, when their Beastliness has been tamed a by age and come out more thoughtful and complex. This is what I’d hoped for when I ordered. Pure unfiltered oudyness. – Brad, USA
The Tigerwood 1995 is definitely my favorite. I frequently find myself craving the scent, and it never fails to please me. I thought it was noteworthy that when I first received it, my daughter took a whiff of it and said she had an immediate flashback to our trip to the tropical rainforest in Puerto Rico twelve years earlier. – Michael, USA
It is indeed a wonderful oud. Reminds me of other wild Malaysian and Indonesian ouds I have tried, but the age really gives it a special depth and smoothness – no funk or barnyard here. Bright wood notes and tons of resin with a hint of smoke. I’m also getting a bit of piny menthol and, dare I say, hashish. Very impressive, this one is definitely on my list. – Christian, Denmark
The Tigerwood should have been called Oud Royale if not for the word being overused by now LOL. It screams aged Oud... I do have two other artisanal Malay oils which resemble the profile somewhat but this really stands out in its refinement. I will have more to say later but I could actually taste it at the back of my tongue a few seconds after pulling my nose away from my forearm. – Taher, UAE
Both Tigerwoods from Ensar are essential. You must, for the good of all that is good for your sanity, experience both of them. – Stefan, Canada
JazakAllah khayr for Tigerwood 1995. The best way I can describe it is it has an old world charm about it, and for that price all I can say is, thank you! – Muhammad, UK
I love the raw, bright, rusty, reddish orange intensity. – Joel, Cambodia
Ok, just did a quick side by side of TW95 and TR. The first thing that came to my mind is how mind-bogglinlgy good these 2 oils are. Just incredible. Very different overall but distinctly similar as well. The TR is more camphorous, 'darker' and more musky and the TW95 a little greener perhaps?? The TR would be more of a sophisticated vs. the TW95 being a bit more raw in nature. The TR is clearly made of higher quality wood to my nose but that does not diminish the quality of the TW95. It is awesome in it's own right. I just don't know how one can choose between these two, other then by cost/budget. These just don't have any peers at their respective price points. – Phil, USA
Wow it has very deep resinous scent, shellacked dark woods like being in an antique shop or a wood paneled room or a forest with mighty evergreens. And later there is this incensey note that teases the nose. – Keith, USA