QANDAHAAR – The Oil, When crafting a fragrance it is imperative for the composer to have an image in mind - A picture that will form a canvas for the subsequent art to beautify and adorn. The crafting of this Oudh Oil was unique. The imagery in mind was of recounting a tale of striking contrasts: rough but gentle, raw yet beautiful, familiar but mysterious and so it was named QANDAHAAR - an Ode to the city and its people.

Just a few months ago, the online Oudh market was abuzz with the compilation of various Chinese Oils. Ranging from the light & bright florals to the funky fecal – all possible avenues were exhausted by vendors and it was wonderful to see the variety and creativity embraced and appreciated by the consumer. Presently, its clear that there is a similar buzz around Hindi Oils.

We are confident there is always fundamental teachings to be learnt from the past, pearls of wisdom to be garnered, advices to be accepted and lessons to be learnt. With this in mind we journeyed back a few generations and adopted some of the more traditional methods used by our grandfathers and replicated them with modern means to produce an inspiring Hindi Oil that is very much true to al-Hind; true to her many languages, colours, spices and scents.

Whilst ‘Hindi’ oils are known for their ruggedness, barn and funk our purpose was to unveil the beauty of the Hindi oil that typically manifests itself after one or two hours. Our vision was to fast-forward to the beauty beyond the ruggedness; raw magnificence, complexity and a million differing tracks of olfactory delights to traverse…

Back in the day one of the key styles of distillations that took place in the subcontinent was where a hammer-beaten copper pot (Degh) would be assembled in the middle of the fields with mud tanks erected next to them and tents to provide shade. The mud tank would be filled with water (this was the cooling tank) that was running through the fields. What was interesting was how these cooling tanks functioned. 

The degh would be assembled on higher ground in the Sun connected to the cooling tank with bamboo and copper plumbing that were joint together with dough, mud and string. The degh would be buried in a mud pile, with wood fire and the heat of the sun aiding the distillation process.  The steam pipe would run from the top of the degh through the cooling tank and into a collecting vessel that was made from baked clay -the hydrosol would be collected in this clay vessel and it would be large enough to take the full volume of the cooking deghs’ water. This meant that the deghs were loaded and sealed once - and when the water finished that was the end of the run. The hydrosol would then be left overnight allowing all of the precious oils to rise to the top ready for collection in the coolness of the early morning.

We recreated a modern version of this fragment of history capturing the beauty of fundamentals and simplicity in all their glory. Instead of copper and bamboo we employed stainless steel, replaced the mud cooling tank with a food grade plastic tank & filled the pot and tank with unspoilt pristine water from a deep well.

The outcome? Atrisanship Oudh Perfumery. Oudh art, call it what you may. This is not about non-barn or barn this is about fragrance - a deep rich, vintage, luxurious and classical fragrance, that sings the songs of India.

When opening the bottle, you are greeted with a cloud of crushed pine kernels, deliciously lingering around the stems of dry fleeing mint…a gust of cool camphor and mint begin to mingle with the pine and then shyly move into the background allowing the tingling clove and cardamom resting on the petals of dried blood-red roses to brashly come forward and debut their presence. Wafts of clove which is amazingly fresh and vivid, brisk and intriguing. The rose petals rise to a crescendo swirling to become more prominent and then - verrry gently comes through the most tantalising barn. A barn that is green, mossy, slightly musky, flirting in the finest rose wood, cedar with  a hint of sandalwoodiness butter. Then that proud and haughty hindi drydown -   ecstasy.

To provide a complete experience and to give our clients clear view of the quality of wood used we are also offering the wood that QANDAHAAR was distilled from QANDAHAAR – The Wood.

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