Vietnam? Nope, although it does have
that dignified bitter woody tinge.
Indonesia? Nope, although it does have the sort of vibrancy and brightness more common in Indonesian oud.
Wild Cambodian oud might be your last guess when you smell this oil, but that's precisely what it is. Green hued, green smelling, crafted in a Portuguese copper still, you (and I) have never smelled a Cambodian like this before. From one of my trips to Cambodia where I picked up 82kg of a few different batches of agarwood, the thing you will realize when you smell every single one of these batches – including this oil – is that each one is utterly unique, and unlike anything you've smelled before.
During that trip, I didn't manage to find a single sliver of recently-harvested wood to cook. So I hand-picked from old stocks, each one as singular as the next.
Fancy apparatus and distillation tricks are not the reason why this oil smells so unusual, rather it was the raw material itself. In fact, I had initially prepared an all-glass setup for this distillation for the 'wow' factor (there aren't many all-glass brews out there), and had even loaded the pot. However, I ended up transferring it all to a copper pot.
For capturing the right tea notes, it had to be a copper brew, and had to be cooked a certain way. In that sense the apparatus and techniques did play a critical role, but only in preserving the true aroma of this rare batch of raw material. A quick trial batch cooked in Cambodia, in Cambodian water, and using conventional Cambodian apparatus and techniques, smelled more "typical Cambodian". And it did utter injustice to the true smell of the oleoresin.
What I find baffling is that tea notes are possibly the least mentioned scent facet for Cambodian and Vietnamese oud oils, whereas to me they are present in every single batch. In Au Luong, the tea notes are unusually dominant, and of a very specific type. They are like the 4th and 5th steeping (a balance of strong fragrance and sweetness) of an oriental-style brew of a fine batch of spring harvest (bitter), medium-oxidized (floral, with no leafy-vegetal smell), lightly-roasted (minimal fruit), ball-rolled Oolong tea, with a prolonged 5th steep (tannic punch).
As with all hand-cooked Agar Aura Cambodian oud oils, there is a dominant tobacco note as well. But in Au Luong, its more of a sweet flue-cured tobacco, whereas with most of the other batches it is of the more bitter fire-cured variety.
Its no secret that Cambodian oud is the most universally appealing and least challenging of all oud oils. But if you ask me, they all smell way too similar to each other, albeit some being nicer than others, or displaying slightly different arrangements of more or less the same scent notes.
Au Luong is so different from everything else that you might be tempted to make an entirely different profile category for it. And yet, this is a pure-bred wild Cambodian oud to the bone.
The only difference is that the shackles of thoughtless rote distillation parameters were broken, and instead the oil was cooked with one single aim in mind: to showcase the truest and most pristine essence of the oleoresin from this unique batch of agarwood.
That, gentle-ladies and men, is Au Luong.
PS – I have received multiple inquiries asking about the final (settled) color of this oil. Yes, its bright lime-green, and it will stay that way.
Simply a mind blowing oil. A
oil which has so many phases its not even funny! Each one
turns out to be awesome and the other note comes and says
Au Luong has some astonishing 'unreal' 'otherworldly' notes which are truly unique & magically bright.
Like some extremely beautiful unknown flowers but actually not flowers. Some fragrant things in it from heaven. Unbelievable purity, depth & clarity.
This type of oud are not for everyone. For those who smell from their souls. Nose cannot get those notes.
An enlightenment through each time wear. It is indeed a spiritual type oud & very very different from anything else.
This is a mix of pure sesquiterpenes. It’s the sesquipedalia of sesquiterpenes. A sesquicentennial celebration of sesquiterpenes! It’s so pure and so powerful that I’m actually having trouble with it. OTOH, Ayu did this to me at first, and Ayu is now among the most precious oils to me. So I’m going to keep working at it until I lay down the neural hardware necessary to observe it.
Anise-flavored chocolate stuffed orange hard candy with traces of licorice and wintergreen soaked in sugary fizzy iced white tea mixed with drops of tropical fruit juice and white cognac essential oil with brush of sour green apple and black lime on top served in breezy metallic hues.
This brew in its hearnote is the most unusual scent profile I have smelled in oud oil not to mention it’s supposed to be Cambodi. Delicate, urban and minimalistic like modern art sketch. Plus points for creativity whether someone like it or not. Even its color is avant garde. BRAVO!
Sparkling oud sangria…
The Au Luong profile is for me totally unique. A brighter oil with very defined oolong tea notes, melon and a more oudy drydown. This one is growing on me in a huge way but I confess it really did not ‘get’ it at first. Very complex and an oil that requires some study.
Au Luong is pure sesquiterpene overload. At first it was almost too much and I found its sister Camellia easier to approach. Now, man o man, it is something. It’s pristine purity is staggering.
Au Luong has some astonishing 'unreal' 'otherworldly' notes which are truly unique & magically bright. A realm from another universe. Like some extremely beautiful unknown flowers but actually not flowers. Some fragrant things in it from heaven. Unbelievable purity, depth & clarity. This type of oud are not for everyone. For those who smell from their souls. Nose cannot get those notes. An enlightenment through each time wear. It is indeed a spiritual type oud & very very different from anything else.
It truly is a mind blowing Cambodian and being a Gen 3 Oil what more could you ask for?