Dear all, You can read a detailed story of how i got into artisan oud (rebirth) and how my first 6-8 months played out, rituals, why's, how's, etc. here: https://gaharu.com/index.php?threads/a-recap-of-my-journey-in-oud-first-6-months.592/ Much has changed since. most of it I had anticipated, as I have had similar growth trajectory when i picked up coffee, tea, wine, spirits, cheese, tomato and apples as a serious study... But like always, some of the changes in my preferences came as a surprise. Ditto, some of my beloved oud origins have now found themselves way back in the cupboard and oils that I was indifferent to are now creeping closer and closer to the front row. Sri Lanka as a whole is out. when I still go for it, but rarely is either a minimal, green, blue, salty oceanic one like ceylon royale or surirankah senkoh, or a rich, incense-heavy, major drydown oil like ORSL and the context is often daytime activity or intense exercise. honorable mention to sri pada. High toned terpy ouds are less appealing. think for the most part fresh distillations and for the most part cambodi oils. oils like EO pursat, kampot and pretty much any of AA cambodis. Again i dont fully refrain from them, but they are less worn and frequency and appreciation is down. when i do wear them is for physical exercise. maroke remains a scent i enjoy studying but not wearing. i don't find hedonistic joys in it, only great mental pleasure from how different filaria wood is. when maroke goes too wet and the petrified, diesel, crude oil note goes up in strength, i immediately run way gyrinops from New Guinea is very special. I find myself gravitating to quieter oils. oils that have their heart and base notes yanked up to the opening. oils that are well aged. oils that were distilled to not wow right off the bat, but rather tickle and gently pull one in. Oils that have that suer vaporous quality, varnishy, estery, high toned note like wallas are not all that exciting anymore. Malinau remains an exception ditto some other borneo oils like midori, kinamantan... i am really valuing proper curing and long aging of oils before release. as a general rule of thumb that is. there are always exceptions. i paid too much attention and thought too much of disttilation setup early on. i now realize the equally important steps after when it comes to curing and aging. Hindi is IN, but a sub category of it. oils that dont have the cheese, fecal or that fermented sour twang. think bahadur, hindustan 1, shah jahan, most bhutans. basically, scent of Hay and countryside drive, open meadows with 4 legged friends grazing away is great, fermented, cheesy and fecal notes not. Brunei microcarpa was once my most revered spot. not so much anymore. it lacks any sweetness and overall in the humid, cold, rainy vancouver, it further makes my bones feel the chill. in the summer months though i do crave it here and there. Vietnam remains king. my deserted island region. something very special. malinau is the holly grail in borneo. royal malinau is easily in my all time top 5 and some days top 3 oils ever. Assam, real Assam, is god like and so different (imho superior) to all other hindi. Bhutan seen thru ensar oud lense is mystical. laos pusong thru taha's lense is ecstatic. mokokchung was a super awesome discovery via hindustan 1. sultan oils by ensar are nuts. they are a unique beast and are exhilarating. they are soul stirring. mustapha, suleyman, ahmet. wow wow wow. gen 4 is preferred over gen 3 when it comes to agar aura and generally speaking. gen 3s feel isolated and worked to be minimal. they have their place and i certainly do love them, but when the same quality comes with more of the wood character itself, it becomes even more complete. Muana note is lovely and highly undervalued, misunderstood or otherwise not experienced. the calm and serinity it projects is absolutely lovely. aside from the many bhutan offerings from EO, the royal imphal and ayoub also carry this note. haven't picked up this note, subtle or obvious, in any other distiller's offering. wonder why? how? granted i obviously haven't tried everything. overall, my oil infatuation and consumption is down, incense and heating agarwood is up. The joys (from ritual, to the actual scent, to that gentle heat from the burner warming one's hands and face) of scent of the wood is beyond words. like the best of the oils, a great old heartwood piece can be shaved and even 1 gram can last years. i can easily get 50-60+ sessions from a single gram of a wood like ensar's maluku 1996, KZ brunei heartwood, nha trang, hainan skins, HK skins, IO sulaweisi, shah jahan chips... as for incense, ill do a separate post at some point, but to generalize the sticks from WSG out of China is the holly grail. far more what i in my head associate with japanese aesthetic than almost all the japanese incense houses themselves! From their hainan, to 9 life times, as is, and bayun. holly molly. WSG rocks. KZ sticks are all beautiful but only a few truly reach the heights of WSG for me. ditto the kyara based sticks from likes of seijudo, gyokoshudo, baeido, ... wishlist for 2019 and beyond... Hoping for quieter mature Chinese like FHI, and more hindis like Assam 3000, hindustan 1, shah jahan and likes. hoping to see a philipina distillation oil from other distillers than taha hoping to see a bhutan and muana rich distillation from other distillers than ensar hoping to discover old oils like sultani 1990, TWR, oud ahmad, lushai hills... peace to all.