Agarwood / Aloeswood (Aquilaria spp.) or Oud as it is known in the Perfume Industry has captured our noses and hearts for centuries! The costliest wood in the world has been deemed the king of perfumery for good reason, with its highly-controlled harvesting and production only coming from trees that have fallen due to old age. Supply is limited due to the endangered status of the trees.
With documented use from centuries ago, Oud has been used for many reasons in society, always being one of the most valuable substances in existence. As early as 1400 B.C.E., agarwood was described as a fragrant product in Sanskrit texts and known as the Wood of the Gods. Arabian perfumery has frequented Agarwood in formulations known as Attars, often pure extracts of oud wood oil and floral (rose, jasmine, lotus etc..) and spice (saffron, frankincense, cardamon etc..) oils blended into a delightful blend that transports the experiencer into another world of scent.
Perfumes used to be more like this in the continental renaissance of the late 1800s in Britan and France, where natural oils were still predominantly being used, and synthetic aroma-chemicals were making their first ripples in the industry, sparking a.. renaissance!
Oud is commonly used as a note in the perfume industry, but the pure oil is rarely used due to the cost.
Its scent profile varies depending on the species of tree harvested from, the harvesting and processing techniques as well as the soil and other factors impacting growth. Basically meaning every tree comes with its own unique 'stamp of scent character, which is why natural oud is hard to work with at first. Scent ranges from sweet and balmy, resinous smells, to musky, animalic and spice ridden tones...It all depends on the oud!
Oud & It's Origins
We have a personal favourite to Cambodian oud, due to its ultra-sweet cinnamon and dried fruits aroma, which makes it universal in its welcoming and pleasant demeanour.
Thai oud is known for its heady aroma with musky undertones. A potent and specific category of oud used to wow in perfumery.
Vietnamese oud is delicately herby and spicey and is the favourite 'Aloeswood' used in Japanese artisan incense crafting.
Indonesian oud is described as creamy, flowery and with a sweet but contrastingly sour undertone, a great feminine perfume oud!
Malaysian oud is rich, sweet, earthy and grassy, and is one of the hardest to obtain ouds, thus one of the more expensive ones. Just a single dried gram of wood can set you back over £100!
Agarwood oil often runs into the excess of £10000 per kilogram!
Agarwood has been touted to have benefits on mental and physical health too! Just one drop of oud daily works wonders due to its anti-anxiety / depression properties. Further to this, the consumption of oud is known to benefit the body internally to name a few: digestive, bronchial complaints, illness during and after childbirth, spasms in the digestive and respiratory systems, fevers, abdominal pain, asthma, nausea, shortness of breath & even chills.
Due to the expense of oud, this is a luxury few can even imagine. Needless to say, just a few drops can make all the difference for both inside and out in!
Very useful for meditation and spiritual practices it is added to all manner of incense and perfumes to help the user reach that transcendental state through the bliss of the aromas smelled. It creates a harmony that the nose transmits internally and thus brightens the outlook of the ordinary.
The dark resinous centre or 'heart' of the tree is where the valuable oud is obtained!
Extracted by gentle hydro and steam distillation collecting the oud oil from the richest part of the wood, known as the heart, the best oil is known to come out in the first 1-3 days.. This method of extracting the agarwood oil means its scent profile lasts for centuries, with the smell becoming more complex and developed over time.
So how can we be using this?
To really notice oud in a fragrance you only need to use a few drops. This is because of the extremely potent smell that can become very animalic if used in excess.
This is why even with the expense, we at Maison de Parfum can still combine really 100% oud into all our niche line fragrances where the oud is listed as a tag. Hence the slight price difference, due to the higher amount of natural ingredients. So you can be sure to also obtain some of the wonderful benefits when using oud containing perfumes.
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