Almost 2.5 hours out of Phnom Penh along the highway into KaohKong, sat very uncomfortably in the back of a pick-up we arrived at a small village. Only dirt tracks with paddy fields all around, houses on stilts, we knew we had found true rural Cambodia.
Our friend and distiller had explained that he was now distilling wild Cambodian trees (younger ones of less than 20 years of age) and he had a fairly mature plantation from 12 to 18 year old trees. What really excited us was the organic nature of the plantation trees, now we cannot obviously give away trade secrets however the ‘agitator’ used to promote resin production was actually edible! Yes it didnt taste very nice but it was perfectly safe for human consumption. This method allowed him to take maximum usage out of a tree as slices of resin laden wood could be taken off leaving the tree alive to produce more resin within a year or two.
The distillation setup was very traditional with fire-wood used as the fuel source, however the collection vessels were cleaned regularly and soaking was kept to a maximum of 10 days, preventing fungal growth.
Now to the oil, this has traditional Crassna written all over it, a ripe fruity rich opening perhaps even a little “raw”? Beautiful juicy plums, red forest berries, a true reflection of the red clay rich soil that surrounded us. The fruit gently disappearing into a freshly opened bag of rolling tobacco, an oil with great longevity and truly classic to its core.