The Luxurious Fragrance of Oud
Oud is a fragrant essential oil distilled from agarwood (also called “aloeswood”) using steam. Agarwood and the resulting oud oil are some of the most valued and treasured raw natural materials in the world. As we’ll see below, oud has a long history of use in spiritual traditions, and continues to grow in popularity within the incense and perfumery world for its complex and euphoric scent. It forms the base of many of the most popular perfumes, colognes, and other fragrances on the market .
Tradition, History and Lore
Oud has been valued by Indian and eastern culture for thousands of years, having been used heavily in incense and perfumes for its distinct fragrance. Agarwood and it’s essential oil (oud) thus have a long history of spiritual significance in religions around the world. The Sanskrit Vedas from India praised the fragrance as early as 1400 BCE. The fragrance is also alluded to several times in the Bible, with a perfume composed of agarwood, myrrh, and cassia being described in Psalms 45. Oud and agarwood continue to be highly revered in Hinduism, Chinese Religion, and Islam.
The Scent Itself
The scent of different ouds can vary widely. This is because the aromatic qualities of agarwood are influenced by so many factors: the species, geographic location, its branch, trunk and root origin, length of time since infection, and methods of harvesting and processing. All of these variables have an effect on the fragrance that the oud will ultimately produce.
Overall, the scent of oud is often described as complex and pleasing. Often the scent is distinguished by a combination of "oriental-woody" and "very soft fruity-floral" notes. Perfumes with oud often feature floral notes such as rose as well. When burned, the incense smoke is also characterized by a slightly sweet note, with shades of vanilla, musk, and amber.
Because it’s a natural source of such complex and pleasing fragrances, oud is wildly popular in the scenting and perfumery world, often serving as a base to many of the most popular fragrances on the market.
Oud and Agarwood Today
Today, high quality agarwood is one of the most expensive raw materials in the natural world. In 2010, the prices for pure material ranged as high as USD $100,000/kg. Adulteration of the wood and oil is common however. Thus the overall quality of agarwood products on the market vary widely. The oud and agarwood market as a whole, however, continues to grow rapidly, and is currently estimated at USD $6-8 billion.
The reason for such high prices comes from the complexity of the process in which oud is formed. It is formed exclusively in the heartwood of aquilaria trees when they become infected with a specific type of mold (Phialophora parasitica). Prior to this infection, the wood is odorless and thus far less valuable.
Because agarwood was such a valuable resource in spiritual traditions and religions in times past, the wood has been sourced and used heavily for thousands of years, despite it being a scarce and very slow-forming resource. Growing demand for such a scarce product continues to drive prices up.
How to Start Scenting with Oud
Because the quality of oud products vary so widely across the market, it’s important to get your first oud scent from a source you can trust. At AromaTech, our oils are sourced from the highest quality of raw and natural ingredients. We combine our aroma oils with pure essential oils that are certified Non-GMO, Vegan, and contain no parabens, DPG, glycols, petrochemicals, phthalate, artificial additives, synthetic colors, or harmful chemicals. All of our diffuser oil blends and essential oils are created to be 100% safe for your home, family, and pets.
Two of our finest Oud-based fragrances include:
Oud Saphir - Sophisticated and sensual, this lovely fragrance opens with notes of bergamot, fresh lemon zest, red raspberry, and cassis followed by hints of white lily, jasmine and a heart of red rose, entwined with sweet vanilla, amber sandalwood, then finished with a touch of black pepper and musk.
Dubai - Rose, Oudh, Patchouli, Incense, and Musk come together in an homage to this state of the art, extravagant and exotic city; preserving distinctive traditions while welcoming the new. Oud effectively captures the spirit of Dubai in this artisanal blend.
Simply add these oils to any cold-air nebulizing diffuser, and prepare to be mesmerized by the legendary scent of oud!