Thursday, 1 December 2016

Move Over, Henry Jacques! You Have Some Shoes To Fill: This Is Sylheti Oud of Bangladesh: Holioud

So, after a short while of not posting – here I am! Whilst being away busy working on some forthcoming books I am writing, about which I will be posting soon, I was pleasantly surprised on receiving some samples of some Sylheti Oud of Bangladesh – literally across the border from the region of India, which is so famous for its oud, in Assam. Indian oud is known to be ‘barnyardi’ in character, amongst its other characteristics and this sample which I got from Ahmed at Holioud, does not fail to disappoint. From the 2 samples that I received, the sample I tried at first, referred as ‘HS24’ screamed bitterness on opening and the expected barnyard. This stuff is strong – just like pure unadulterated oud should be! Holioud – a name made up of ‘Holi’ and ‘Oud’, giving it connotations of a holy product – related to the heavens and spirituality. I discussed this in my book, which can be found here, but generally speaking, it is not the first time that oud has its heavenly associations. I mean, we know that the stinking oud on first whiff is not something that would automatically make you feel or think you’re in paradise – quite the opposite in fact. How can such a stingingly barnyard scent that some may say smells like cow dung, be heavenly? But this isn’t what is referred to as heavenly. Being in the state of having acquired the scent and even possibly blending it with other notes that are also said to be heavenly, such as the saffrons and roses, is what brings it to become something which is described as heavenly. But you do not get into that state, without the inclusion of oud, and this is the vital point in what makes this fragrance note unique. And it is here, where producers like Holioud comes in.

Holioud is a Bangladesh based oud manufacturing base, with

their own plantation of agarwood trees, producing high quality distilled oud, and of course not only oud oils, but oud chips which are burnt for their Bakhoor.

The sharpness of the barnyard notes in the HS24 sample lasted quite a long while, before it hit the middle notes of intense berries and hardcore medicinal amber types notes on my skin. This is all before the notes of even stronger red amber and myrrh start to appear and suddenly I was transported to a time, when I had the privilege of sampling an exclusive Harrod’s Henry Jacques oud oil, notably and specifically Onction. I would say that I am 99% adamant and certain that the oud used in Onction, was of this variety, and most possibly even coming from the same distillation and plant! The similarities of the dry down were that close. My impression of the Onction dry down was certainly an experience that I will not forget easily. The strong myrrh notes and possibly the frankincense notes that came through made me feel like I was sat in an ancient church, in the middle of a Jesus-era Bethlehem! Although churches never existed during Jesus’ time on earth of course ;) this is certainly what it felt like, or at least during the eras immediately following Jesus’ era. Or I could have been sitting alongside the Queen of Sheba in a private carriage, with her camels in front of us piled high with myrrh and frankincense. We caught the wafting notes lingering towards us, in the still midnight air as we travelled on the cross roads of the silk trade routes somewhere in the Arabian desert on our way to the Levant from Yemen in order to furnish the lands of King Soloman, with heavenly scents. What a situation to be in! The dry down of this oud is reminiscent to these stories. And surely the stuff distilled by Holioud has got to be the real deal, making us come out smelling more than Amazing! The specific sample I tried, is worth a whopping £250.00-£300.00 for a 12ml bottle – and we can see that Henry Jacques has some intense competition ;)

Want some? Email me at to be put in touch with Holioud

Happy Sniffing!

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