Knowledge for oud novice

Discussion in 'Artisan's Talk' started by Rasoul S, Jan 12, 2020.

  1. Rasoul S

    Rasoul S Well-Known Member

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    Hi all

    I was thinking to myself what would be some of the most important knowledge advanced users and old timers could give to those newer to oud.
    I am not talking about tips, like buy in depth from a certain region or in breadth. Buy lots of samples instead of full bottles or don’t go ahead and quickly sell off something you don’t like anymore, cause you will regret it for the most part and will one day(sooner than you think) you will likely come back to actually very much enjoy a given oil you grew tired of. I am thinking of sharing facts and debunking misinformation. Share the bit of information that is not easily found.

    perhaps we can dedicate this space to all share what we wish someone would have shared with us in our own early days. I like to invite @Ensar Oud and team, @Oudamberlove @Simla House @Micheal Smith @Martin @John @JohnH @Thomas S. ... to all chime in here.

    To get the ball rolling here is one from me:
    I originally thought that most oils are made from incense grade wood or just below it. Wood that still has clear visible resin formation. I found this to stay true for me for a while b/c certain oils truly did smell like a double supper wood on low heat. Understanding typical yields and more about the chemistry side of things though opened my eyes and I now know better. This is important info as it helps you navigate the market and gauge the seller via their pitch. Many vendors do whatever they can to sell a product, including insane and blatant lies.

    Other point is how big of a difference aging a given oil can have. Some oils change very little while others go night and day. This is important to know, so if someone finds themselves not loving a certain oil, ask those with more experience. It may come around for you in time. It could be years in some instances or months for others.

    wild wood is not just wild wood. Backyard wild with nailed trees or drilled can be very different than natural formations. also cultivated oud is not all the same.

    Don’t think darker and more resin the better. Some kyen (oil rich wood or red resin formation in likes of maluku wood) can be faaaaaar superior of a scent and in complexity of it than the darkest and heaviest pieces. I don’t even go for pictures or grades anymore. Develop a relationship with your fave vendor and trust them to guide you and share what they believe is best for what you seek.

    Lastly I want to stress the importance of weather and climate on the enjoyment of an oil. It is absolutely insane how majorly different an oil shows itself to me when wore in a hot humid environment vs cool dry and chilly. Some oils suffer greatly in one climate while shine brilliantly in another. Keep this in mind in your journey.

    looking forward to read others
     
  2. Oudamberlove

    Oudamberlove Well-Known Member

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    My two cents...
    Sample as much artisanal oud as you can...
    build your oud olfactory library.
     
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  3. Martin

    Martin Active Member

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    The top couple of trusted distiller/ sellers generally (not always) price along a grade/ quality gradient. I'd much rather have a smaller quantity of a superb oil or agarwood to heat than a large amount of something just okay. I'll also go ahead and say this, I'm not a fan of cultivated agarwood or oils made from such wood. Why? Because there is zero possibility the wood can be virgin old growth with ancient multi source infected agarwood or anything close.
     
  4. Oudamberlove

    Oudamberlove Well-Known Member

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    I’d like to add some justification as to why I recommend a novice to acquire a lot of oils (samples first for $$ reasons).

    We often learn via Yin and Yang,
    the experience of some mediocre oils
    can make one appreciate the better ones.

    If I steer someone along the “good oil path”
    their journey will not be complete.
     
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2020
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  5. Rasoul S

    Rasoul S Well-Known Member

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    Sampling and going the breadth route or jump both feet in to a certain region, style or cultivar. The eternal debate of which route...

    With enough time, dedication and funds eventually both breadth and depth will be studied. I humbly think though that if you look at oud as a source of study then jumping around too much will not help as much as keeping focus to one or two regions. It allows the wearer to start seeing nuances even the most minute ones better.
    No right or wrong Eitherway
     
  6. Rasoul S

    Rasoul S Well-Known Member

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    Quality over quantity. Indeed. Always. In case of both oil and wood, the real good stuff are actually not as expensive as one may think. For example to get a real good session with ceram wood, 0.5 gram of the regular offering was neeeded to heat while not even 0.1 gram of the tasbih (super sink king) would be louder and packed more oomph than anything else. Same with oils, a full swipe of oud royale 2004 or Gp is needed Blvd a small dot of port moresbey....

    The message for newcomers is don’t fear high priced oils as you won’t end up using much of them to have a great time. Group shares are awesome. Full vial buys helps fellow artisans to work on their craft and not worry about their livelihood while gives us buyers more buying power.
     
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  7. John

    John Active Member

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    I rank low on the totem poll but hands down quality over quantity but that goes back to perception of life on many levels but for sure quality over quantity.
     
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  8. ~A Coburn

    ~A Coburn Well-Known Member

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    @Oudamberlove Thanks for sharing that, I've been holding my tongue on this thread as there is a lot that I'd like to share, but for now I'll just share my thoughts about sampling.

    I get that as far as the 'oud journey' goes it's not about the destination but the experience along the way and I fully agree that comparison and contrast of oils is important to fully understand and appreciate the upper echelon of oud oils. Those that don't thoroughly explore the lower tiers of oil usually are disappointed by a top of the line oil because they actually don't or rather can't understand it, and lacking the patience to put in the time needed to develop their senses will head off towards another interest they may have.

    So a tip I also give to newcomers is not to go straight for Oriscent oils, the Senkohs or Sultans but to start by sampling organics, or better yet the Sampler Sets that give a variety of regions and tiers of quality, but absolutely stick to the 'good oil path' let the lows of the path be the regions you find mediocre, rather than wasting money on low quality oils that will just sit there unused, be given away to some poor soul, or discarded.

    But the second part to this tip is not to fall prey to the desire to sample everything, when you like an oud oil, then secure an amount that will make you happy, because if it's an artisanal oud oil there won't necessarily be something like it but better coming on down the line, and in fact with wild oud oil quality continues to diminish.

    There is also definitely something to say of the value of higher tier oils, as a little does go a looong way.

    For a long time I was of the opinion that the potency or aromatic density of the higher tier oils could simply be replaced by volume of low tier oils, meaning re-application, but that doesn't take into consideration the satiety index.

    There is something incredibly satisfying about donning a fine aromatic, it can literally change your being, and for someone like me that has to work really hard to save up for something like that, it's even more satisfying having attained what you had striven for, making it all the more precious and then not only is it a fine aromatic, but it also represents an achievement.

    And that gentlemen, is how you bottle victory.
     
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  9. Rasoul S

    Rasoul S Well-Known Member

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    What Adam said and I rehighlight below is most important words to walk away with. Hugely so. I add wood studies too and also incense for they all show you different facets and will help build you scent library and vocabulary.

    “Those that don't thoroughly explore the lower tiers of oil usually are disappointed by a top of the line oilbecause they actually don't or rather can'tunderstand it, and lacking the patience to put in the time needed to develop their senses will head off towards another interest they may have. “
     
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  10. Rasoul S

    Rasoul S Well-Known Member

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    on that note don’t go rushing to sell an oil you bought but don’t like. Or don’t love. Or you loved and now you don’t anymore. Tastes change. Seasons change. Give it time. I hadn’t worn oud yusuf for example for a loooooong time and the other month when I decided to check in on it not only did it grab me from the vial but actually I craved putting some on. It was delicious and really hit the spot.
     
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  11. ~A Coburn

    ~A Coburn Well-Known Member

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    To add a bit more, and to really emphasize the importance of the above, is the fact that our olfactory cells renew every 30-40 days, so your sensitivity and ability to perceive the nuances will improve with time and exposure.

    And oud changes, exhibiting various phases of its aromatic profile periodically, sometimes even from day to day.
     
  12. Ashfaque

    Ashfaque New Member

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    For me sampling is the key. I take my time (sometimes very long) and write note breakdown as much as possible. I kinda enjoy that part.
     
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  13. ~A Coburn

    ~A Coburn Well-Known Member

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    Here's another tip:

    When you're first getting started don't feel the need to do note-breakdowns, but rather just start with simple observations.

    What's important is that you're enjoying your journey, trust your instincts and your own impressions and ... follow your nose.
     
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  14. ~A Coburn

    ~A Coburn Well-Known Member

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    Yet another,

    As you explore you'll undoubtedly experience some underlying similarity between many of the samples especially since most the time you'll start within the organic range because there is common DNA coursing through the base of many Organic oud oils.

    Oud territory can be perplexing as many of the landmarks are quite subtle with many ouds needing extensive use to pick up on and even to reveal the fleeting nuances referred to and appreciated by connoisseurs. Oudepts who have dedicated their time and money to learn the subtle intricacies and differences of the art.

    For example the biggest landmark within Satori Fusho is Sultan Mustafa, and for those who have experienced it on many occasions, that particular characteristic stands out foremost in the scent, yet for those who haven't experienced Sultan Mustafa the note stands out as unique, without full understanding that they're experiencing a glimpse of a $2,500 oud.

    Also When first starting there may be a tendency to jump to conclusions about oud oils from their opening notes. Don't

    Two oud oils may resemble one another in their opening notes (or from the applicator) yet be entirely different ouds. So really only by applying the oud oil and an objective side by side comparison will you be able to experience the difference.

    For example, I've smelled other ouds that to my novice nose smelled exactly like Oud Yusuf... at least from the applicator, and for the first 10 minutes I was baffled thinking I just scored an Oud Yusuf profile for like $100 less, but then the true quality showed itself while Oud Yusuf continued strong for 6+ hours.

    These variables also must be factored into one's perception. An oud that's cheaper may exhibit the same profile at first sniff, but close observation and time will reveal the difference.

    That said, revisit your samples from time to time along your way, and without a doubt I am sure they will reveal more to you than what you've experienced thus far, and as you venture into the uncharted territories remember to ask if you don't recognize the landmarks or if they're unfamiliar to you.
     

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