EO No 2: Kashmir

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“The musk deer is coy, nocturnal, and lives in rough mountain terrain—high up there in the Afghan, Himalayan mountains. They’re so difficult to study that there was still confusion about the seven species well into the mid-2000s. Setting up cameras at twilight on steep, remote rock faces is no easy task, and takes more than a meager grant—and then to actually capture it all. Imagine the challenge to perfumery…

Through our EO Parfums, you’ve had the chance to explore Siberian and Tibetan musk in some detail, and even got a sneak whiff at the effects of Mongolian musk in Chypre Sultan.

But the Kashmiri musk on show in this rendition of EO2: Kashmir explores the least known kind of musk and one of the last ones identified. Like “Hoi An” in the oud world, ‘Kashmiri’ musk in the open market could mean any of the chrysogasters in the surrounding regions, and not specifically proper Kashmiri, i.e. moschus cupreus.

If you’re new to the world of musk, these differences may make us much sense as comparing Terengganu oud to Adam’s Peak walla does. But to anyone who has smelled Oud Sultani and Suriranka…………

Instead of following the mainstream commercial trail where musc means anything, you’re thrown off the beaten track with Kashmiri musk drinking black tea under a canopy of cedar.

Our royal patron’s rare rose otto, opened for the first time in our atelier after what could be decades, and coriander waltz onto the floor with subtle wafts of rare grandiflorum on top in a primal, peppery scent of steaming bedroom sweat, spent.

Where Tibetan musk is creamy and Mongolian musk chocolaty, Kashmiri musk’s almost black tone adds animalic bite to the husky heart bulging with civet and spice. EO2: Kashmir entrances your nose like Paul Nicklen’s lens does the eye. From the colored slopes of Namaqualand to remote shrubs lining surfing coasts and riwoches galloping through Kashmir’s breathtaking mountain routes.

As I flip through the discarded compositions I’ve noted down over the years, I’m thinking of my man Vincent who said that “great things are not done by impulse, but a series of small things brought together.”

It took me more than a decade to step onto this stage. I’m an Oud Man, so roughing it with leather and tobacco has always been my thing. Maybe that’s why No 1 came more naturally to me. But with EO2, a 15-year-long obsession with musk brings me to the feet of the very olfactory savants who have inspired me. That’s been a tremendous honor—and an even greater challenge!

I’m not going to be intimidated by the fact that today ‘musc’ means to perfume what ketchup does to hotdogs. I understand why to Kruger most perfumes smell like cheap hotel soap, and to Coburn like detergent or cotton candy. It’s not because they’re biased, but rather because the soaps and shampoos literally share the same ingredients with most perfumes, even the ‘expensive’ ones.

But before it became a commercial (synthetic) staple, the sensual funk of this tiny pod had baffled and bewildered perfumers for centuries. They toyed and tried, and eventually mastered musk’s alchemy. And that’s when the party started… and how the Ravageurs were born.

No 1 was a humble addition to the mighty cuir tradition. EO2: Kashmir, a tribute to the cornerstone of all things fragrant: musc. And this edition comes clutched in rare Kashmiri musk’s noir embrace.” —Ensar Oud

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