by now those who know me know that i have a certain aesthetic but also i have gone thru phases in my oud journey. there was a time i was crazy for taha's oils, almost all of them. how can u not,when you are greeted by nothing than clean pristine crystalline shimmering top notes in such high frequency that sometimes you can't even smell them, rather feel them. these oils mostly end up leaving me desiring for more on the drydown, but i guess when taha made a deal with the devil to realize these absolutely pristine top notes, he had to give something up. having said that some oils thru out the years: bericlau, hindustan 1, royal malinau OG, Malaya at the top levels and kanzen, kenmei, hulubalang... in mid tier have managed to have all of the top mid and base... like royal sumatra or royal maluku seram or philipina 1.... all have the most glorious opening, and almost come close to delivering the same full heart but the tail end drops a bit too soon. oh well. enough ranting. let's look at some specifics... tia sang: vietnamese. mid tier price pretty. bittersweet, cool minty note, but while oils like kenmei, kiyosumi or wanmei went green oil kyara in profile, tia siang goes more sweet and that cambodi twang. is still coming to its own. as i was giving up and about to move on, the profile went back to vietnam and got a bit more yellow and green. this oil still coming to its own. not ready to my nose. drops off early. is pleasant but not much more. i get some that lower grade new oil wood notes here. luang and koh chang: thai oils. mid+ and mid_ pricing tier couldnt be more different froma nother. koh chang is a very pleasant well rounded thai. similar to other thai oils but also has its own gentle differences and own frequency. i prefer it over so many other thais like koh kood, prachini and others. luong on the other hand, cant even be guessed as a thai. i would have thought chinese. it has that sobering bitter, hospital, neroli vibe of chinese oils from yunnan. think ensars, or IO chinese oils. too bitter and cold in the way it makes me feel. literally i get a chill in my bones from luong. not for me. phan fa: south thai-upper mid tier cant do it. far too cloying and suggary. thickest jam jazzed up with tamarind extract, gobs and gobs of syrups. not for me. pursat 4k: cambodi , mid- pricing. built to be used in a perfume. it is a like a perfume itself. classic pursat in every way. lovely medicinal red cherry tobacco note mingling with bitter and kinamic notes. i am not a crassna or big cambodi fan but this is lovely. more than decent heart and ok-ish drydown too for the tier. overall a big win and i see it as an oil just below the tier as hulubalang, kanzen.... a solid mid tier oil, but then again i think priced lower too. kyoryuko: burmese. mid price+ bhamo sister batch. killer burmese. pretty darn unique profile. cant put my finger on it but an overall vibe of laos, nagaland, china. a sinesis, agalocha mashup with sprinkle of a crassna vibe. this oil needs more time, not ready to my nose, but does it ever show potential. it has captured my interest quite a bit. and here is the most anticipated malay trio: mahkota: finally after months, 8-9? this oil has arrived. big brass balls. deep. malaya level of opening. the profile here stradles many oils: the cola notes of hulu/ayu, the purple of malaya, the spice of and avatar psychedelics of bericlau, malaya but it also has a green and a unqiue shade of green only before seen in ensar's old legend: kynam emerald. a sick, off the charts, out of this world, papua like, malay! there are distinct notes of nutmeg and aged cinnamon oil present too. lovely stuff. mid development: equally impressive and almost (80-90%?) same level of impressiveness as the opening. drydown: respectable. leaving me wanting a bit more even, but cant complain. lovely lovely stuff. cintaku: this too finally is coming to is own. maybe a couple months behind mahkota still? or maybe that it will just remain leaner but more buzzy and high pitched... cintaku has alot of the same notes found in mahokta, just shuffled around and more high pitched, vs fat. it is cooling and more dark green. it is more bitter. while mahkota had sweeter baking species, here i get tons of black pepper corn and that pencil lead shaving note of cedar and graphite. the biggest difference in these two oils for me is mahkota is cola as in coke cola and cola nut (purple/dark) profile while the cola in cintku is like royal sumatra and suka cita: is more lime cola, like sprite or 7up. both are lovely, both are must haves. gun to head i go for mahkota, but happy to have both royal malaya: couldnt bring myself to put it on the skin for i want to preserve as much of it as i can for down the line. a quick whiff off the vial, told me this oil is still not ready. can sense it but still not fully smell it... it has come a long way but needs another 6 months or more for prime time. guessing based on how many other royal ols have behaved... for example, royal Sumatra is in its spot right now as of only a couple months ago. if memory serves me right they were 3-4 month apart in their cooking time.