Oud Sultani 1990

Book a ticket to Tokyo or Shanghai. Run yourself into a maze through the mighty Emirati malls. Scour eBay, AliBaba and Facebook until you’re seeing double. That’s what people do to find oud like this. Go through lists of distillers sponsored by fellow vendors. Do whatever you need to do… and let me know how it goes.

For all the hunting, the back-forum PM-ing, WhatsApping and marketing campaigns to bring back the golden days of oud, the results have been miserable. The 150 year-old Cambodis turn out to be force-oxidized plantation oils, and those old Malaysis make you wonder who let the wet dog in. Show me just one actual high grade Maroke muattaq.

Let’s face it, most of the old ouds out there just smell old. Dusty, sunned to death, all the tasty twang sucked out of ’em. That’s if you even find ’em. You’ve heard of the Thaqeels and Kalakassis, but name a couple of realoldies?

For all the talk about ancestral vaults, secret distillation textbooks and ancient traditions that my grandfather was never privy to, I have yet to see another Oud Sultani 1990 emerge from these vaults. For all the ‘artisanal’ oud (for cheap!) said to be so widely available, I have yet to lay my nostrils on one of these bargains.

Collectors reminisce about the old days, how they wish they’d stocked up when the golden oldies were still going for $550, ten years ago. Ahem. If you came to oud through the Oriscent arch, this vintage Sultani is a one-way ticket back in time, price and all.

There’s a reason Oud Royale 1 was a Maroke. It’s the same reason Arabs are crazy about Maroke wood. That inimitable note of resinous agarwoody decadence simply cannot be coaxed out of other strains of Aquilaria. Even the China Market capos know the notes of my oils, and they refer to it as the ‘Sultani tone’. If a piece of wood has the scent characteristics of Oud Royale 1, they immediately jack up the price, saying ‘This one has the Sultani tone.’

I’ll be the first to admit I can’t make this oud today. You can’t replicate 27 years of natural aging. You can’t breathe life back into the G-gen trees two meters down in the mud. You can’t un-carve all the beads and trinkets.

Here is regal, vintage agarwood liqueur that’s dry as vermouth and red as rooibos. Oud that was cooked not in copper or steel but crafted by antiquity, and aged three decades for good measure.

1990 has got that mellow medicinal profile only ooold aged ouds throw at you – that tingling of heavy resin that lets you know, before anything else, that you’re smelling the best oud from back in the day. You’re also paying no more than what you would have for a bottle 10 years ago.

Don’t be surprised if you mistake this for a vintage 1970s Pursat. You’d never expect the piercing deep red note in what ought to be a darker jungly shade of Marokean blue. And the penetrating red keeps firing right down to the drydown, which in the most uncanny whiff pinpoints the spot where Oud Royale 1 once stood.

Oud Royale 1985 sold out in a whiplash, and we don’t predict this oil will be around very long. To ensure you don’t miss out, we recommend you order yours today.

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