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April 02, 2018 8 min read

A kind review from GalileoFigaroMagnific (genuine customer, who bought our samples). Reviews were made here and here

This post is NOT a sponsored post either.

Wild Agarwood Oud (Oudh) oil Samples

Wild Dark Merauke
Origin: Merauke, presumably
1 minute: medicinal blast of eucalyptus, wintergreen and jungle canopy
3 minutes: the blast has settled into a medium minty freshness (minty like a mint julep, not toothpaste-minty) with a curious and not unpleasant rubber/disinfectant note, like opening up a fresh Band-Aid.
10 minutes: Potting soil plus ozone, like the air when it's going to rain soon. Settling down a little.
40 minutes: Has combined well with my skin scent and is now putting off a flinty, high-pitched mineral/earth note, like clean clay.
80 minutes: Finally safe for company. A lovely leafy green garden aroma.
110 minutes: Greenness is getting a little less lovely and a little more threadbare. To be honest, it isn't my favorite type of smell.
140 minutes: The mentholated opening has returned, with a soft woody backdrop, and continues this way until it fades out completely.

Scasa Saat
Origin: Cambodia
1 minute: Rubber, leather, and bacon. Yes, bacon. There's a powerful smoke hit combined with an unmistakable meaty aspect. Quite intriguing but not really presentable yet.
5 minutes: Still leathery/smoky but the meat has receded (been eaten?)
15 minutes: Barnyard qualities begin to emerge. Manure, hay and grass combine with the pre-existing leather and wood to make a truly pastoral scent. Cat is suddenly very interested in my arm.
50 minutes: A most delightful and unexpected sweetness is peeking out. I can't tell if it's honey, maple, molasses or what, but it's lightening and broadening the entire landscape.
75 minutes: It finally hits me what the sweetness is. About 10 years ago I had the good fortune to smell some fearsomely expensive narcissus absolute, and *this is that scent*: pillowy-soft sweet clean strawlike floral. It's the perfect complement to the barniness. Cat has been locked out of my room because she keeps trying to lick me. Still wouldn't go out in public with this on.
100 minutes: Whoa, who's started smoking vanilla Cavendish pipe tobacco in my house? THIS is the scent I want to wear in public. Still not 100% barn-free but definitely more presentable.
150 minutes: Has softened into a smooth dry benzoin-heavy amber. I confess to a weakness for extravagant perfumery ambers like Parfum d'Empire's Ambre Russe and Lutens' Ambre Sultan. This is not that, but rather a softer, more solemn amber. Not completely stripped of the sweet tobaccoey goodness but any mainstream perfume house would be thrilled to package this aroma as their latest amber scent.
170 minutes: Fade out on soft woody powder.

The Scent of Enlightenment II: Crimson Flower

Origin: unknown
1 minute: LEATHERLEATHERLEATHER with some additional twists of cured and tanned animal hides. ;)
15 minutes: A strong pine/evergreen note emerges, resinous and tarry but quite pleasant. Reminds me of a piñon salve I got in New Mexico... comfortingly incensey.
45 minutes: GRAPES. WTF. Bunches and bunches of succulent sweet purple grapes. Not a winey grape scent either. I have a sudden craving for a PB&J.
75 minutes: Fruitiness has receded to reveal a softly oudy leather/wood note, glazed with a layer of beeswax.
110 minutes: Well hello there, lapsang souchong tea.
140 minutes: Woodsy tea until fade out.

The Forbidden Scent
Origin: Brunei
1 minute: Buckets of barnyard, heavy on the hay and manure.
15 minutes: Manure is receding but this is still uncomfortably high-pitched and immobile.
45 minutes: Like I said, immobile. Has not changed since last sniff. This could be any commercial Oud Du Jour.
80 minutes: Holy smoke! Literally, holy smoke. Astoundingly, after nearly an hour and a half, this stagnant and previously unimpressive oud is pouring forth billows of luscious churchy incense smoke. I cannot say if this replicates actual burning agarwood, having never had the pleasure, but WOW is that an impressive effect. It may disturb those around you, it's that realistic.
120 minutes: Still smokin'. I imagine I can actually see the smoke but realize that is not in fact possible.
140 minutes: The smoke illusion continues and I feel as though I can actually smell ash from the imaginary incense. Vetiver and grassy notes appear and remain until fade-out.

Kalimantan
Origin: Borneo
1 minute: Sandalwood dust. Smells like an old sandalwood fan my mother had. Smooth, cerealy, very pleasant.
10 minutes: Still sandalwood, but the tangy yogurty note of great sandalwood is very faint.
30 minutes: Has not developed significantly, or if I'm to be honest, even moderately. I wonder if this is made with less-infected agarwood? None of the fermentation or animalic notes I've come to associate with the other ouds in this sampler. Still pleasant, but I can't think of a reason to pay big bucks for this over my vintage Caswell-Massey sandalwood EDC or any other good sandalwood.
60 minutes: Yep, sandalwood. Actually this is bizarrely impressive in its monotonous linear longevity. It's kind of boring on its own but if I were blending a natural perfume and had unlimited funds, I might use this to add a consistent sandalwood tone to my scent.
90 minutes: I take back what I said at 60 minutes. This is not kind of boring, this is extremely boring. It's nice but absolutely not worth the money and I'm wondering if it's even real, so unchanging it is.

Which ones would I personally consider FBW? Scasa Saat definitely, Crimson Flower possibly.

Cultivated Agarwood (Oud, Oudh) Samples review

The Middle Easterner
Origin: "the border of Thai and Laos"
1 minute: Instant barnyard but it's (gasp) a good barnyard, heavy on the wood and lighter on the manure.
5 minutes: Complexity is increasing but so is the smoothness, with a slightly sweet cocoa note that has my mouth watering.
20 minutes: Animalic notes (I recognize them as animalic, but I'm not sure whether they are civet or castoreum or what) are making this oud a little sweaty, and not in a bad way. This is not outdoor-friendly yet, but for different reasons: it smells like hot flushed skin. Human? Bovine? Porcine? Equine? Maybe a bit of each.
40 minutes: Still major sexytime aroma. If you wear conventional eaux de parfum or toilette, an infinitesimal dab of TME underneath would boost the va-va-voom factor quite a bit, I reckon.
80 minutes: The afterglow: light fruity chypre notes. Patchouli, moss, and a fruit I can't quite identify. Finally presentable Lovers of chypre and vetiver scents are going gaga right now.
110 minutes: Still detectable and delectable. Feels (can I say this about an oil called "The Middle Easterner"?) very old-school French :D in a Mitsouko/Dioressence sort of way. Remains that way until fade-out.

Super Smooth Thai Floral
Origin: Thailand, I guess
1 minute: Glorious tuberose and jasmine. WOW this is a floral topnote mainstream perfumes can only dream of.
5 minutes: Honey sweetness and a curious salinity. It's kettle corn, but in oud oil form!
25 minutes: That dried up quickly: both the swoonworthy flowers and the salty honey are suddenly replaced by a bone-dry camphor/eucalyptus/liniment note.
40 minutes: The wood is peeking out but the camphor still dominates. It's really nice, though. It's the liniment of the gods. If Hercules had been laboring a bit too hard and hurt himself, this is what he'd rub on his sore shoulder.
80 minutes: Some of the florals have come back to join the camphoraceous party. Just like it says on the vial, this is super super smooth. The camphor "lifts" the florals so it feels almost like it's floating above my skin.
100 minutes: Soft clean skin scent until fade out.

Evergreen Superior
Origin: Vietnam
1 minute: Dirty leather and pine tree with chargrilled meat accents. I think Santa brought me a medium-rare porterhouse and left it under the Christmas tree.
5 minutes: The Christmas tree not only has a steak under it, but a cow and some cow dung as well. The main accord has taken on a dusty, antique feel, which is an interesting effect.
20 minutes: Dusty barnyard has become a little less dusty and has acquired a powdery floral tinge. Heliotrope, maybe? Not enough to make it presentable, although it is an interesting effect
50 minutes: Tea tree antiseptic joins the heliotrope, which is an interesting effect.
80 minutes: Am contemplating the tea tree/woody dry down and am considering my final verdict. It's thumbs leaning down because I didn't find it a particularly pleasing oud. Then I re-read my review above. Every sniff of this oud surprised me with something interesting. It really was an olfactory journey to parts unknown. So, thumbs up out of respect for an oud that, odd as it seems to say, feels very smart.

The Misty Forest
Origin: unknown
1 minute: Mint, tree leaves, and--weirdly, iris. Iridescent, faintly sweet, and thoroughly surprising. If you like iris notes in perfumery, you will love this. I do not like iris notes in perfumery, and therefore I do not love this.
5 minutes: The pale iridescence of the opening notes has had its purple turned way up: there's violet, heliotrope and sharp lavender. I can't honestly say I like this yet, but it sure is interesting.
20 minutes: And now we have green tea joining the party. I haven't yet mentioned it but this was publicly wearable from the moment of application and is even more so now. Complex and fascinating.
50 minutes: Still tea but with more depth as the woody notes come out. I'm really digging this now.
70 minutes: The mint is back, and now we have a dead ringer for Adore's Moroccan Mint green tea, served just the way I like it--with honey. I should add that leafy, grassy green scents aren't really my bag, and this isn't that except at the very beginning. I'd gladly wear this as an everyday scent: it's both refreshing and calming and remains that way until fade out.

Floral Superior
Origin: unknown
1 minute: Black pine pitch and road tar.
5 minutes: Whoa nelly, that's some serious barnyard. Plenty of manure along with hay and moldy wood.
20 minutes: I feel sorry for all the Grandawood customers who saw "floral" in this oil's name and bought it expecting something like Fracas. The manure note is projecting more and more. Needless to say, this is not outdoor-friendly in the least.
30 minutes: At this point I'd like to define some terms I've seen used in other, more learned reviews. Some may find them interchangeable, and by all means feel free to disagree. but I'd like to clarify the difference as I see it.

Barnyard: There's a barn, and straw, and animals plus their collected excreta, fur, leather, and wood. Maybe some grass and grains too.
Fecal: Someone just took a sh*t on the rug.

Here we have fecal. Oh boy, do we ever.
40 minutes: There's some leather intermittently peeking through but this is still extremely fecal and terribly rude. Only my solemn duty as a reviewer is keeping me from washing this off. Be grateful, Ouddicts.
55 minutes: I didn't wash, but I did vigorously rub the spot on my arm with a paper towel. The poop is receding a little to reveal a more conventionally oudy wood scent. There's still plenty of poop though. Plenty. Sigh.
75 minutes: Even though it's 34 degrees out and the air conditioner is running, I have just put on a long-sleeved shirt to cover up the stench. If that doesn't work (this is pungent, if you hadn't guessed) I might spray some Musc Koublai Khan on top to lighten the mood.:eek:
90 minutes: I think this oud has said just about all it has to say. I've smelt the ways "barnyardy" oud" can still be complex and interesting (see The Middle Easterner, above, or The Forbidden Scent from Grandawood's Wild Sampler, reviewed earlier) but the entire olfactory drama of Floral Superior is really a trial to tolerate. Like Voltaire's Holy Roman Empire, Floral Superior is neither floral nor superior.

Which would I personally consider full-bottle worthy?The Misty Forest for sure. Super Smooth Thai Floral but mostly for that heavenly tropical-flower opening. The Middle Easterner in theory but maybe not in practice. Evergreen Superior is admirable but not really likeable, if that makes sense.

Thanks for reading.

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