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.
In 1995, 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 1995 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 1995 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 20+ years aging.
Tigerwood 1995 is an aromatic cosmos unto itself that emanates oooud, with a capital O. Over twenty 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 over twenty 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 ‘95 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 20+ 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 1995 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 1995 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 1995 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 mid ‘90s, for the price it went for in the mid ‘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.