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AL-SYED TAN XIANG NO.1

I'm excited to present to you our Tan Xiang No. 1, Agar Aura's second hands-on non-oud distillation.

Whereas the raw material for Byakudan No.1 was procured from a Japanese incense house, the source for the raw material for Tan Xiang No.1 is Chinese.

The quality of the raw materials was virtually identical, and the species too of course: (vintage) Santalum Album, i.e. white sandalwood of Mysore, India.

Like I did with its predecessor, I did something not exactly common with sandalwood: I took sinking-grade Mysore sandalwood, and juiced it for its oil. 

Like agarwood, the sandalwood grade continuum is as follows:

bunk  — oil-grade — incense-grade — sinking incense-grade

As with my oud distillations, the distillation process was designed around the aroma of the raw material, to achieve perfection in every facet of the wood's scent.

From the particle size of the grind and the pre-distillation treatment of the wood (including the soaking process), to the temperature curve and the steam path (i.e. the shape and dimensions of the neck and receiver), and of course what was done with the hydrosol (what was re-fed, and what was drained)....
in short: once again, this is an artisanal distillation, and not just a rote extraction of oil from wood.

A little less butter, lots more cream, a dash of spices, and amplified woodiness. And bitterness in the sweetness, rather than sweetness in the bitterness (take a moment to make sense of that – yes, there's a difference).
If you were to ask about the key differences between Byakudan No.1 and Tan Xiang No.1, that's how I would summarize them.

Ever noticed baked sweet potatoes smell rather lovely? Its because of the caramelized starch. Smear some butter on, sprinkle a bit of cinammon, and it smells even lovelier.
"Sweet pataydow!", that's what my 4 year old exclaimed when I let him sniff this sandalwood.
Just add a warm cup of raw fatty buffalo milk (and of course a potent Santatol base), and you've got a pretty approximation of what this batch is all about.

For your enjoyment, here is a video that captures the birth of Tan Xiang No.1:


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