Wild Aquilaria Sinensis of Hong Kong is sadly almost extinct, the trees are under guard and there is a shoot to kill order in place! For us it would not make sense to tap into such a threatened and rare resource so we decided to look around the area. Luckily we managed to track down a plantation in the Guangdong region which took many saplings from around the Hong Kong region when it became clear that logging would destroy everything. The Plantation owners were very meticulous with regards to the cultivation methodology, only drill holes and infection from naturally occurring fungus, grubs/ ants etc. Many trees are now 12 year+ and the oldest of these have been harvested for incense wood and oil production.
When we started discussions we realised some of the techniques and understanding they had was not according to our principles. Mainly soaking was excessive, this was rectified down to 12 days; also some of the collection apparatus was upgraded.
The resultant oil is now much cleaner and brighter. The opening of vibrant orange tanginess is followed by the bitter-sweet aroma sinensis is so famous for. Any barn type off notes have been ironed out leaving a truly special oil. You have the most alluring bitter almond buzzing around and as the oil warms on your skin the bitter citrus fruit peels away leaving the sweeter inner flesh. The dry-down is where this oil really turns on the charm, gentle notes of musky powder as if one is opening up an old antique drawer; the aroma trapped within comes tumbling out.
I’m sure we’ll be corrected if wrong but this maybe a first again from IO…?