‘Do you have any Laotian oud?’ is one of the most frequently asked questions I get.
The short answer is ‘no’ but the truth is, I do have Laotian oud—I just don’t want to sell it. Laos is a hotbed for cheating (selling imported wood as local), mass low-grade cultivation, and funky blue-cheese-smelling oud, so to make good Laos oils is tough, and the batches I have are rare and limited.
I honestly didn’t plan to release this oud anytime soon, but I do want to end 2018 on an extra fragrant note… so here you are: the EO Laotian everyone’s been asking for, way ahead of schedule.
This is not a locally distilled Laosi. (If that’s what you’re after, just visit the nearest deli and you’re all set.) Instead, the scent is pristine, almost Bruneian bitter-aquamarine with a medicinal top I doubt you’ll smell in any Laotian oil, conventional or otherwise. If Nha Trang LTD ever cloned itself into Laotian sinensis, this would be what it smells like.
The profile’s Monkoh quotient is super high, with rich tart resinousness instead of peachy fruit that explodes in combination with a gentle bitterness verging on medicinal. Minty without the bite, shredded orange-peel zest that hints at its sinensis marrow.
You would never think of wearing traditionally distilled Laotian ouds in public. Personally, I wouldn’t wear them, period. The over-fermented-bunk-wood combos work wonders to produce oud that works well as a mosquito repellent, not a fragrance meant for enjoyment—or for any reason other than shock-appeal. Wang Liao Kuo is the polar opposite. It demands to be doused on lavishly, oozing with luscious silage and low-key but oh so succulent projection.
Scent-wise, Wang Liao Kuo is the equivalent of low-temp, kodo-style heating and listening to Hoi An chen xiang, the most prized Indochinese agarwood profile…… It amps up the ceremony with rich peppery chords atop this narcotic sinensis litsea-citrusy chorus that starts to sing within minutes after the swipe settles on your skin.
The distillation itself was discreet, lower-temp copper, in many ways an extension of Sultan Series topography… Full-spectrum, un-fractionated beauty, bottled. No bleach, no lactic acid, no chemicals. 100% wild, ultra high-grade Laotian oud like you’ve never smelled it.
Tried a small swipe of Wang Liao Kuo earlier today. Wow. I have to really take my time and study this one. There is a hint of Jing Shen Lu in it, but just a hint, because I smell so much more going on. I really like this one. I want to be judicious with the swipes because I don't want to waste any of it, but I also want to give it a good wearing to really understand it. – Steven, USA
This 2017 Laotian is a beauty all its own and just about the most tenacious and projecting oud I've ever worn. – Benjamin, USA
I have worn several swipes since receiving Wang Liao Kuo and every swipe feels new, like a new adventure every time, learning from it and always finding a little more about it, without fail, every time. The only way to describe it would be to refer to a pouch that I put all of my tester vials in: some are full, some half full, some almost empty, and a few all the way empty. There's about twenty or so vials in the pouch and I've had that pouch sitting in my dresser drawer for some time. Every once in a while I will take the pouch out and uncinch it, put my nose inside and just inhale... There's a lot of natural perfume vials mixed in with synthetics vials, and maybe one or two unused Oud vials. That smell, if only it were deeper, richer, would be the smell of Wang Liao Kuo. Each time I swipe it, I smell a new nuance, a nanobyte of aromatic difference that pops up anew. Each wearing is as fascinating as it is puzzling- a wonderful conundrum that I don't think I would ever want to figure out. – Steven, USA