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Agarwood (Oudh) – The Most Expensive Ingredient in Perfumery

Agarwood (Oudh) – The Most Expensive Ingredient in Perfumery

You think you own an expensive fragrance?

Is it $50,000 expensive?

We thought so.

Introducing Agarwood:

a

Agarwood is reputed to be the most expensive wood in the world. There are many names for the resinous &  fragrant heartwood produced primarily by trees in the genus Aquilaria. Most commonly, the resin is known as agarwood, aloeswood, eaglewood, gaharu, agalocha or oudh (In Arabic).

 

Agarwood is resinous heartwood that occurs in trees belonging to the species of Aquilaria, Aetoxylon (A.symeatalum) and Gonystylus genus of Thymelaeceae family.

Enough with the jargon; ever wonder what the most hypnotic essence of the forest would smell like? A dense Amazonian rain forest whose trees are so tall there’s never any sunlight coming in. The trees are laden with moss, the undergrowth is so dense you wouldn’t be able to see your own feet. The alive, the dead and the meta-physical all exist in harmony here..

Ever wonder what that would smell like? The fragrance of Oudh invokes exactly that.

b

 

Agarwood or oudh forms as a reaction to fungal or bacterial attack. Trees occasionally become infected with a parasite mould that secretes a fragrant, protective oil into wounded areas (roots, branches or sections of the trunk), which gradually become harder and dark brown to black. The heartwood (central part of a tree, which is darker in color than the sapwood) is relatively light and pale in color before infection. Normally harvesters would cut only the infected parts in the hope that the tree would produce more of this resinous wood.

Over the years the availability of high quality agarwood trees has been drastically depleted. This increased rarity of the trees has driven up agarwood prices. High quality agarwood, for example, can cost more than $30,000 per kilogram (~2.2 pounds). That’s almost as much as gold!

c

 

Agarwood trees have become so valuable that a 250-year old agarwood tree close to the border of Cambodia is protected by a full-fledged military checkpoint! It’s been said that an amount of $23million has been offered by some Japanese investors for the tree, possibly making it the “single most expensive tree in the world.”

d

Known for a spectrum of aromas, oudh is more like an enigma. Ranging from fecal to woody-oriental, depending on the age of the tree and the region in which it grows, the aroma will be different. Oudh users have often described wearing oudh as more of an experience than a fragrance.

Dense booming clouds enveloped me and the restaurant to where I wore it as the sillage (scent trail) from just one swipe of the oil was so overpowering that all my senses felt like they hit a home run! A week later and 3 different perfumes later when I woke up in the morning, the only thing I could smell over the other perfumes was this magical elixir we call Oudh.

e

f

Its legendary status made it one of the most coveted items in the early 21st century as it rose to fame. Designers & Niche perfumers rode in the wave of oudh to create some of the most exclusive and magical aromas modern perfumery has ever witnessed:

 

  1. Yves Saint Laurent: M7

1

 

M7 opens up with a slightly herbal and aromatic accord of rosemary with fresh bergamot & mandarin. What starts to come through very soon though.. is the Oud. Oud, or Agarwood, is the sap from an infected tropical tree. It can smell medicinal, it can smell sweet, animalic, and can often be cloying. Here that isn’t the case. In M7 the oud is perfectly balanced with the other notes, the amber and the musk. There is also an earthy vetiver note which stops this from being overtly sweet. The drydown is a smooth, powdery amber & musk combination. Alluring & magical at the same time!

 

Since this has been discontinued and has achieved cult status due to it being the first western designer to use oud; its prices range from $400+

 

  1. Tom Ford: Oud Wood

 2

 

Exotic rose wood and cardamom blended with exuberant Chinese pepper, envelop the wearer in warmth. Eventually, the center exposes a smoky blend of rare oud wood, sandalwood and vetiver. Finally, the creamy scents of tonka bean, vanilla and amber are revealed. The true scent of lush forest in all its glory!

 

Tom ford offers this beauty in 50, 100 & 250 ml flacons ranging up to $600

 

  1. Frederic Malle: The Night

3

 

This little treasure starts off like a full blooded oud should, rather offensive for most people, but then, in the next hours the magic happens! Rose and amber spread their wings and take off on a journey that lasts for almost 24 hours. Fragrances on this level touch you deeply and keep changing every time you wear them. Oud is definitely an acquired taste, but when done the Frederic Malle style, you’ll be hooked for sure!

 

You can own this masterpiece, which is no less than liquid gold, for $1200

 

 

  1. ASAQ: King’s Blend

4

 

An Outstanding fragrance presented by ASAQ, invoke the smell and flavor of aged Aoud with a thin flick of wild flowers. It summarizes the tale of lovers to sail with you to worldly affliction. Produced by the coveted brand, Abdul Samad Al Qurashi, this rare and outrageously priced blend will have you sell your kidney to buy it!

 

A tola of the King’s blend will cost you $1500

 

  1. Lao One

5

 

The opening of this has pasteural and equine-leather notes of Indian oud, together with the warmed spices and rich creamy woods that emerge as Indian oud develops on the skin. What’s truly marvelous though is how the scent evolves from there. It glides across Burma, picking up a serpentine-leather aroma during the scent evolution, and then dries down to the most amazing Sinesis aroma: bitter wood with a tinge of musky sweetness, But unlike Indian and Burmese ouds, there are no hints of fruits or honey. It’s an austere, solemn scent, quite ‘Temple-like’. Makes you think of frankincense without the citrus and zest, or Umumburi resin without the overly-bitter and burnt plastic scent, but naturally in an oud packaging. You have to smell genuine Sinesis agarwood to know what we’re talking about. An epiphany personified.

 

If you’re ever lucky enough to purchase a trusted seller for this pure grade oil, expect to pay anywhere around $50,000 for an ounce!

 

Using Agarwood isn’t just using perfume, it’s availing a magical experience. For those connoisseurs who’re looking to upgrade their perfumery game, right up there with billionaires, this is how you do it.

 

To all of you out there, what’s your favorite perfume? Does it create a world of experience the way Agarwood does? Comment down below, we’d love to know!

 

 

 

 

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