In 2012, as we concluded crafting Qi Nam Khmer, we got a shot to distill an oud oil that would be jacked up greatly by some insane incense-grade pot conditioning.
We prepared a batch of organic Thai agarwood from a mature twenty four year-old tree to follow in Qi Nam Khmer's fragrant wake, right after a full month's straight distillation stint. Normally, you'd have to run multiple incense-grade distills to condition the pots before they'd be ready for a run like this, but because Qi Nam Khmer was almost four distillations in one (and everybody who owns a bottle also knows that it was one of the most powerful incense-heavy oud oils ever made) even if you distilled plain pinewood you'd still get a hefty oud scent!
What would otherwise have been a delicate fruity scent, Xen Ji turned into a robust fragrance you'd think was from pure wild incense-grade agarwood. The scent is ripe with dark berries, honeyed-incense, and a deep woody-dark-menthol drydown reminiscent of the mighty Oud Ishaq.
Utilizing pot conditioning wisely is one of the best ways to enhance the aromatic depth in oud oils. Because of the spill-over effect—in this case, the effect of a $2,500 bottle of oud—you get a pimped up version of an oil that wouldn't have been as rich, as complex, as great as it would have been had you simply washed the pot before distillation (as is the norm.)
Natural aging does wonders to oud oil. Here, you're not just getting an amplified scent profile thanks to Qi Nam Khmer. Xen Ji has already been aging for three years, all the while its blackcurrant maturity channeled deeper and deeper, and its honey sweetness, its peachy jam fruitiness taken onto a new level of richness, with longer longevity on your skin and silage that gets you those mmmmm, what's that you're wearing? glances.
The upshot: The breadth and quality of Xen Ji scent is many notches higher than its price. To capture the same depth of smell without Qi Nam Khmer's spillover scent would have required higher quality raw materials and further customized distillation tweaks—it would have cost us much more.
We only use incense-grade pot coniditoning in this way on rare occasions, to turn a 'pretty' profile into a beauty — like with the incredible Maroke Kyen.
And as with Maroke Kyen, this oil's a real treat, in profile and price. So, if you're just starting out in pure oud, Xen Ji fast forwards you to fine artisanal scents that would cost you more to get otherwise. If your olfactory insight is already tuned in to the intricacies of pure oud scents, Xen Ji is one insightful look into just how one oud can affect the scent of another.