Leather and oud go together like king and crown, and there’s no sweeter spot between the rustic allure of Ensar’s artisanal—often mad—oud world and popular perfumery than this oudilicious addition to the cuir tradition. A rugged aroma that makes you wonder if Hemingway just lit up a Cuban, or if Churchill’s in town.
After 15 fragrant years, I finally took off my jungle jacket for a tie to dive headfirst into my debut spray parfum and create No 1. Since its first release, each iteration has had a unique flavor—still retaining the No 1 profile but showing off a different dimension—as we literally poured all we had of our precious distillations into the perfume.
I approach perfume the way I do oud distillation. That’s why No 1 is composed of the rarest, most expensive ingredients in all of perfumery, including copious amounts of prized ouds.
Not only is this among the highest quality oud fragrances that have ever been produced in spray-format (along with the likes of Oud Yusuf and Oud Royale), the entire composition is infused into a high-concentration, genuine raw ambergris tincture instead of just plain ethanol. Similar tinctures of this kind sell for around £400 for 30ml… here, it’s already included. But not just any ambergris…
I’ve literally been called stupid for insisting to use such olfactory gems in a perfume. In fact, most critics and ‘professionally trained’ perfumers advocate using synthetics exclusively. And I see their point. Why sacrifice rare rose and oud instead of synthetics that are 1000 times cheaper? Not to mention—and this is a staple argument—you never have to worry about reproducing the scent! (i.e. it’s scalable, so you can sell a lot more.)
I insist on these insanities because to me, and people like me, there IS a difference. You smell low-grade or lab-made oud (a.k.a. the ‘oud note’) and all you can do is laugh at how it’s being compared to real high-caliber oud. Most can’t even tell, but to any oud novice the difference is red and blue.
No 1 lets you exude wafts of a tobacco-heavy, old-school leather jacket aroma with an unmistakable Don Corleone kiss-my-hand-compagno esteem. Subtle, but not soft, with a base that’s all oud and vintage horse-saddle leather.
This edition is the closest to the original. In fact, it’s an improvement and the most classic No 1 to date thanks to the addition of traditional Assamese oud, aged for nine years, steeped in the late Sultan Qaboos’ own vintage ambergris – the same stones that went into Oud Royale.
I soaked up all the feedback we received since No 1 first launched and improved where folks felt it could be better, rounded off some edges some felt were a bit rough, and introduced a couple of new ingredients to the ensemble that add tenacity and longevity. Plus a few tweaks to this new Pure Parfum edition make it even headier. The result is a stronger composition that lingers longer… but doesn’t overstay; louder sillage, with a gentleman’s discretion.
Sultan Qaboos’ Ambergris
Lavender, Rosewood, Siam Wood, Nutmeg
Indian, Turkish, and Austrian Roses, Juhi Jasmine, Tolu Balsam, Civet
- Base notes:
Vintage Assam Oud, Vintage Timor Sandalwood, Tobacco, Vanilla, Oakmoss
Ethiopian and Hojari Frankincense
No doubt, No 1 is not your typical Extrait de Parfum. It’s not supposed to be. I wouldn’t dream of topping the master cuirs that came before, nor do I subscribe to modern ‘industry standards’ of how long, how loud, and how far.
This is an indie cuir that’s limited and rare, where I simply wanted to add an OUD-inspired rendition to the legacy of Cuir de Russie et al., and offer perfume lovers the chance to experience just how amazing and exalting a fixative Artisanal Oud can be. In EO No 1, you pass third base to smell Oud & Leather drunk and in love, in a parfum that’s a first in a vibrant cuir heritage that’s been turning top hats and making hearts melt for decades.
The delicious pulse of the jungle hits you like an ancient narcotic. Although it teases you almost from the start, the buttery heart of the fragrance waltzes in full apparel only after a while. It’s at this point you find yourself amidst the sweet citrus Tasmanian lush, gazing upon a lily pond, adrift the smoke of green vibrant incense.
It’s not like many perfumes where it smells like the ‘perfumer’ just blended a bunch of random ingredients together, without the (years worth of) expertise to know what moves with what, and where to… kind of like jazz, just done wrong. Kayara Koko’s ingredients dance in an impeccable, wonderful, and exquisite manner whilst delivering a tenacious unforgettable aura.
This is a breathtaking citrusy, jungly, incensy, and an earthy bottle of bliss made for him and her. Absolutely elegant and uplifting, and wearable anywhere and anytime.