HAMMS meaning whisper in Arabic is a deliciously smooth and meditative Malaysian Oudh. A celebration of Malaysias finest – thick and velvety in texture, vintage in feel, and a glorious dark red-brown colour. At first swipe the name Hamms seems at odds with the vivaciousness of the Oil – afterall there is nothing remotely whisperish about it, so why then the name ‘Hamms’? Fast forward a few hours and you will realise Hams is a whisper, caresser and fortifier of the soul.
The last time I spoke about our Kelantan facility was when the lethal floods of 2015 swept through damaging our distillation plant. Floods are one of the many challenges of operating a distillation plant in the middle of dense jungles in the wilderness. Whilst being in such remote locations has its challenges – the wisdom of the old is paying off -in today’s Oudh market the closer one is to the source of the wood the more pitfalls they avoid and having access to some of the most ancient forests in the world and the Oudh they provide is priceless.
What did these ancient jungles have to offer this time? A majestic tree so tall and magnificent that it was a true sight to behold. A tree so large that three people hand in hand could not loop around it. An Oudh tree that old should always remain a permanent feature in those jungles and never be cut down for they are eco systems in themselves. Many would have seen it as a trophy catch but for Al Shareef sustainability has always been a part of our ethos and how our forefathers operated. Today, that very tree stands more healthy and green than before we got there. There were enough infected branches and dead trunk that we were able to shave off and trim for what we planned to do.
Power is scarce where we operate – the generator is only switched on when absolutely necessary. The cleaning, chopping, and grounding of the wood all happens by hand. Water is drawn from pristine deep wells complete with natural minerals and then poured into drums where the wood soaks before being transferred into our stainless steel pots.
When there are no lights for comfort and the only light is sunlight, the term ‘burning the oil’ becomes a reality as night turns into day and day into night – when the only light glowing is the fire under the pots. Jungles have their own ambient buzz and if you are not used to it it can be unsettling. The ambient noise fades away to the sound of the burner and bubbling of the pot. The thick night air becomes filled with the blissful vibe of the Oudh cooking some feet away. Close your eyes and the wonderful aroma would have you forget the setting around you.
The soothing warmth of Almond cases wrapped in dark cherry essence, a touch of oriental herbs and spices embrace you with firm arms of green date palm and aged amber. Present in front of you is a basket of juicy ripe dates, prunes, sultanas and raisins. A little in the distance is a mabkhara with a piece of royal Malaysian oudh from Kelantan simmering away.
The nights and days pass and the oil is collected cured and left to age. Time elapses and the Oil is ready to be sampled. At first scent the Hamms narrates its secrets, telling of its days and nights, murmurs of the wood and tree, of noises in the jungle and the workers in the plant, it whispers memories of the tree where it spent most its life, the weather changes, insects, rain and sunshine.
This is Hamms, enchanting in all of her facets, allow her to spin her tale.
The fragrance of middle eastern royalty, natural, niche and luxury.
When used in a perfume composition, Oud is most often a base note, which tends to remain on the skin long after the others dissipate. Since they form the perfume’s foundation, base notes are very rich, heavy and long-lasting (up to six hours and more). They serve to enhance the scent of other ingredients; and, in some cases, they impart a fragrance all their own. While most wood notes are known for their earthy qualities, Oud provides a pleasant sweet scent and is often featured in a synthetic version because it is so costly to harvest.