In late 2018, Muhamad and I went to
the jungle of Mount Jerai in far-north Malaysia to shoot a
mini documentary featuring a well-known old tree in that
region (and to harvest for distillation as well, if I deemed
the quality suitable). When we got there, the tree was
already gone, and so we ended up shooting another
documentary, featuring another tree in Bedong
As it turns out, the Jerai tree we were after was already harvested by another team of hunters about a month before we went to search for it, but it ended up in Agar Aura's possession after all!
When I asked what was so special about the Jerai tree and why it was our first target, Muhamad told me that "the tree so sick, he want to die". And when I saw the raw logs, it was clear what he meant. The signs of sickness and death were clear (which is a sign of excellent agarwood) – something I had observed before in very old trees in The Philippines.
We ended up partitioning the wood into two piles. The pile with the juiciest most resinous wood was used for distilling Royal Jerai.
(and the second pile was also distilled, for a future-release oil)
Beauty. Extreme beauty.
The older and sicker the tree, the more beautiful the aroma of its agarwood (and oil) will be.
There are 4 dominant Malaysian oud scent profiles:
(1) rugged, dark and intense (like Pencerahan or Hulubalang)
(2) green / jungly (like Taman Negara)
(3) golden-ambery (like Berkilau or Kirana)
(4) ...and lasty, this one (our first ever Malaysian oud of this genre), which also happens to be the rarest.
Imagine being wrapped up in satiny silk, bouquets of lilac surrounding you, eating honey-sweetened strawberry shortcake, while burning gooey-gummy Malaysian agarwood chips on your censer.
That is the most concise description of what Royal Jerai smells like.
Malaysia is home to the most diverse assortment of oud flavors, and although this particular oud oil smells like no other Malay we have released in the past, it is however immediately reminiscent of Malaya and Pencerahan, two other top tier Malay oud oils. Not in scent, but in performance - it possesses the same deeply penetrating incensy flare.
As for the scent profile in more detail -
The opening is bright and minty, but with a juxtaposing equally deep incensy backbone. Thereafter, its vanilla, honey, strawberry, and the aroma that fills the air when there's shortcake baking in the oven. Packed between these 'pretty' notes are dense layers of woody and thick resinous notes. A purple floral sweetness permeates the entire scent evolution, and a Borneo-like airiness lifts up the entire scent spectrum all the way to the drydown of sweet resin, honey-rubbed wood, and incense.
One tree, two oils, of different grades.
Royal Jerai together with her sister batch are an excellent study for any serious oud enthusiast, who wants to witness exactly what differences – in aroma and mind effects – arise from using wood of different grades for distillation.
What better way than to observe that, than experiencing two oils of different calibers, from the exact same tree.
RJ subhanallah ouf ouf ouf...
I think RJ will be dubbed as the preetiest malay ever
It will beat MSK in terms of beauty
The real beauty of Royal Jerai (beside the scent profile which I like) is that it is a confirmed single tree distillation. When RJ is compared to Jerai, an oil from the same tree but made with relatively lower grade wood, a valuable learning opportunity is available for those that seek it.
This indeed is turning into a beast I've swiped this after 4 weeks and I can clearly see how this oil is settling in all other compound interacting with each other and taking this oil to a whole new level...
RJ is so sweet smelling...
Rj will make you flyyyy
Honeysuckle! pollen, wax, and wood... blue menthol acacia honey and flowers, slight vaporous musk... the sweet honey note is amazing... medicinal and astringent notes emerge and dissolve..... thai herbal clinic, tropical flowers, tiger balm and palm sugar. dry down is a slow boil of cane sugar, propolis, vanilla custard, and whispers of neroli.... final resting place is pure honey wood.... on a bed of ethereal pine needles..