Different types grades, quality, properties and smell of Agarwood oil from Laos. Article by Trygve Harris.
Lao Sompat — rich ripe fruity top, with underlying dirty, earthy balsamic, teeth tingling mouth watering characteristic so indicative of lao oud, followed by an ethereal subtly sumptuous, ecstasy fomenting bliss. As this oil evolves, a rooted, deep dark forest sense enters, with an almost vetiver-like (almost) sense of roots, mud and water, further along peppery notes come out, with the sharpness almost immediately ceding to the warm black pepper tones, and a bit of barnyard behind it. By this point, the oudh makes a nest in the back of the throat, creating an entire vibrating orgasmic world between the throat and the top of the head. After this a tobacco note begins to show, and with the road now open, this oudh just opens and flows, like the highway as you drive through the desert at dawn.
Lao Keo — fruity, fecal, lots of higher, top notes, with a fertile, ripe, fermenting edge, rounding out with the deeper notes in more of a mid level, black cherry aspect. As this oil evolves, we come across a grim sweetness, not really sweet, but like a slightly overbearing yet happy drunk. Further along, a liquor fueled, rolling sense creeps in, with the deep earthy notes being hijacked by this alluring, siren song. There is a rich rotten underlying note, which is exciting in a way things are not supposed to be, according to society’s structure, so it’s a hidden kind of excitement, a forbidden kind of excitement.
Lao Super — smooth, subtle, sophistication with all the deep harmonies present in a multi-layered symphony. There’s barn and there’s pepper, but these notes play like oboes and cellos, with the violin-like tobacco flower. Something of a musty unused attic plays the timpani. And deep rich loamy earth presents the bass, a fertile breeding ground for the strong bright and true unfolding of honeyed melodies. This oil can easily go into obsession when you bury your face in him. You might not want to come up for air! As I immerse myself in this most dominant of oudhs, my teeth tingle, and it’s almost impossible to take. The notes don’t easily unravel themselves; they play in a tight and taut formation but with a steady underscore of earth and roots, fertility and fecundity.
Lao Boyah — This is the one we have called “cultivated” in the past. Boyah is agarwood distilled from uninfected, or white, wood. If your agarwood is solid at room temperature, then it’s boyah. While Boyah is not technically Oudh, it is agarwood. Boyah can be any quality, and this Lao Boyah is really a nice one. He smells like oudh, except a little more spastic and wilder, with the notes going crazy, all dirt, mud, fecal and pepper screaming over each other but it makes that throat-top-of-the-head connection. The body is bright and all aspects become integrated. As he wears in and on, this agarwood unfolds very tightly, revealing many if not all of the same notes found in Sompat.