My Agarwood journey began many a year back (unbeknown to myself at the time), through a generous gift, a simple gift from a traveling guest to a host that would ignite the passion that most agarwood connoisseurs have become somewhat addicted to. This journey would mature over the years as did my love and appreciation for this heavenly gift. But the real pivot point for Agaroots would only really kickstart some 10 years later, during my travels to Malaysia.
Here in KL a dear friend & gracious host kindly took me around for an oud replenishment tour. This tour resulted in many acquisitions; Cambodi, Kelantan, Pahang, Hindi but it would be the Thai oil that would shape the beginning of Agaroots. This oil elegant in its simplicity and unusually well priced would be the first oil that would commence the Agaroots journey. But more so than the scent and affordability of this oil, was the sincerity of the intentions of both parties that would really enable the business to flourish. It was the uniting of these intentions to not only help one another but to give back to the land, its peoples and the industry. It was with this humble and sincere partnership that would end us both up traveling through Phomn Penh, Koh Kong, Trat, Bangkok and KL.
Our journey begins in Phomn Penh, Cambodia with little preparation and no solid plans on the ground, we fly in and trust that He who has facilitated the journey thus far will continue to do so.
With our first official meeting not scheduled till tomorrow we decide to take a casual stroll into Phomn Penh market place, with hopes of finding retail fronts eagerly displaying and marketing Agarwood products quickly dashed we begin to realise this may require a little more ingenuity. We ask around at a few stalls with blank faces aplenty, finally we bump into a sweet mum and daughter running a jewellery store who actually knew what we were talking about or maybe could at least understand our beyond poor Khmer. Under the counter a small batch of low grade Agarwood chips is presented and being quick to write it off we asked ‘do you have anything of a higher grade?’ With the response in the negative we proceed to make our very first purchase of our 2017 Oud hunt. With a few grams in possession and no further promise on our freestyle search we head back to the hotel room for a quick burn test. With very low and pessimistic expectations we light the first coal and prepare a piece of the wood for burn. Soon after the first chip is placed on the coal I recall smelling the sweetest of scents traveling across the room and lingering ever so gently. Somewhat surprised I proceed for a closer inspection and although our initial assessment of the grade and oil density still stands, the scent was amazing. This elevated our hopes and would set the tone for the next 10 days.
The real appreciation would come every time we would re-enter the hotel room for the coming days and be greeted by the most sweetest of aromas. The soul slept well that evening ☺
more to come....