This topic came up in the SOTD thread and I thought it would be more appropriate to have a thread of its own. Rather than discussing the fine particulars of vetiver EOs and ruh khus where it would get lost in thousands of SOTDs, I wanted to just extract my last post and put it here to jump start a conversation about vetiver oils and where to get them. This may sound a bit in media res but I think my last post makes a good starting point:
From what I understand, khus is simply vetiver, and yes, khus oils are ubiquitous. Ruh, however, means something like 'spirit,' and ruh khus is also called 'oil of tranquility.' Thus, like many of the incense sticks I've seen that have an extra word denoting a higher quality, ruh khus would be a higher grade of vetiver oil. Whether that means it's hydro distilled in copper kettles, I don't know. I've read that ruh khus is also supposed to be distilled in the wild so that there is nothing lost of the 'spirit' between harvesting and distillation. But I haven't spent much time digging around. Ultimately, to answer your question, I think, Yes.
Also, I have no idea where these samples of ruh khus came from. Sorry, they are just some random samples that got passed along to me. However, there are myriad ruh khus sources online. I just don't have any feel for what's good and what's not. Perhaps an authority on these will come up. Perhaps we should start a new thread specifically to discuss grades of vetiver and sources for good quality oils?
EDIT: A bit of internet exploration turned up "ruh" to mean "wild," in that ruh khus is cultivated and distilled in the wild. Ruh also means spirit, but I don't know if they're related - that would be conjecture on my part although it sound pretty good. There is a very good read on it at the Perfume Shrine.
Edit #2: According to this extremely informative read from Chris McMahon of White Lotus Aromatics in WA, there is a difference not only in the cultivation of vetivers by region, but also distillation processes. Khus refers not only to wild harvested vetiver in India but also to the process in which it is captured. Ruh denotes a higher quality, the distillation process being a little more involved, and can be taken to mean something along the lines of "pure" if you compare it to the standard process used for khus. Both Khus and Ruh Khus are hydro-distilled (as opposed to steam distillation or other methods). So, Ruh = 'pure' = 'spirit' = higher quality. If you look at the prices for the various vetiver EOs from White Lotus, you'll see there are several in the $10-$20/ounce range while the price of Ruh Khus jumps to nearly $80/ounce.