The fields are on fire and it smells A-mazing. Wafts of agar incense puffing from khus in the most uncanny way. Is this crassna or grass?
Every now and then you smell an aromatic so out of place it becomes the only scent you wanna smell. How many oudheads have lost the plot thanks to Aroha Kyaku? They smelled it… and could never go back. All other Thai ouds became pale skeletons compared to Aroha’s bombastic smoke bombarding your nose.
And now this. Aged African vetiver that smells like the most agarliscious liqueur sweetened by this guava-green, inimitable herbaceous heart that makes khus, khus. Except, there’s no agarwood in here. No guava, no fruit, no nothing but straight vetiver.
Aroha d’Afrique teaches you two things:
1. How badly vetiver imitations have missed the mark. It’s almost embarrassing to compare scents like this to synthetics trying to be this.
2. Age does to vetiver what it did to Tigerwood Royale.
When you smell a scent brimming with such life, a scent so rich, layered and luscious (it actually whets your appetite), you wonder why they’ve become so rare — and why masses of supposed fragrance lovers don’t mind smelling the bad lab attempts that are meant to smell like this. But doesn’t. AT ALL.
It opens with a distinct sweet-root aroma. It is vetiver, after all. But at the same time, your nose goes “Whaaat?” because it’s never smelled vetiver so noir, so resinous, so… not patchouli or oakmoss or some balsam earthiness, but pure khus that smells so… oudy.
Vetiver’s been called “the poor man’s oud”. I don’t like hearing this. Aroha d’Afriques’ intense taste and flavor is on par with many an oud. Only, it’s not oud, and just so happens to be a lot cheaper.
It’s addictive like crazy. Confusion laced with wonder laced with some real umami going on here. The smokiness acts like sugar and after one, two, three wears you can’t get enough. I certainly can’t.
Oud is known and praised for its scent development. Vetiver… not so much.
Different kinds of vetiver can be fantastically unique and the scent itself can be rich like triple layer cheesecake, but scent progression isn’t a strong feature of khus — just like it isn’t in practically all aromatics except for agarwood. But Aroha d’Afrqiue is 100% vetiver that goes from incense bomb to cooling green to a petitgrain, pine-earthy, not citrus-but-almost sweetness, all in tune to its grass-roots core.
“...Aroha D'Afrique... outclasses all vetivers I have encountered and relegates them to the MOTHBALL league!” — Erhard, Austria