Natural perfumers have despaired of creating the scent of lilies. Lilacs are an even harder note to capture. Perhaps a hint of vanilla, with a touch of rose, some orris butter, violet leaves in a sandalwood base is as close as we get. Oud Yusuf smells so much like these sumptuous florals you'd think it was distilled from lilacs' and lilies' petals, not oud wood!
The seductive effect of the florals is punctuated by subtle honeydew and an ever present apricot that follows the scent all the way down to its immaculate powdered woody climax.
Perhaps the lightest oud you can wear, Oud Yusuf also ranks as the most flawless orchestration of scent notes I have ever encountered in single origin oud oil. Subtler than the finest Borneos' berried craze, it combines all the succulent fruit notes you crave in a Borneo in its unique Cambodian style, which makes it for me absolutely irresistible.
Smelling ahead to its full maturation a year or two down the line, I find myself with an oil I cherish every bit as much as Borneo 3000, and one that I apply more cravingly than any other. Four to five applications a day are the norm at the time of writing this.
What makes Oud Yusuf even more special is that it was distilled from 100% organic agarwood trees, that are harvested and maintained in the most ethical way possible.
Our artisan owns a small patch of forest with just 2,000 agarwood trees which he never cuts down. Each morning, you see him walking down the forest path with his dog behind him, chisel in hand, looking for the most infected trunks.
With a big smile on his face, you see him patiently picking at each trunk, chiseling out only brown shavings of resinated heartwood, mindful as he spares the uninfected portions so the tree can continue to grow and yield more agarwood.
The maximum amount of raw oud wood he can harvest in one day is ten kilograms. The maximum amount of oil he can produce in one month is twenty tolas. But his twenty tolas are dearer to me than twenty kilos of thoughtlessly harvested oud oil.
Because of the care he puts in every step of the distillation process, from the precise selection of the most infected heartwood, to the grinding, soaking and cooking of his oud oil, he is able to achieve a level of quality, beauty and sheer perfection in his oud no other distiller can match. And the lilacs and the lilies, the honeydew and the apricot notes in his oud all attest to his mastery and love of this craft.
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