Although deeply embedded into the history and culture of the Arabians and Indians, the captivating scent of Oud only recently came to the West, and it didn’t take long for it to take the world of Western perfumery by storm! As the wonders of Oud unraveled, world-class perfumeries began fondly using it as a fixative and integrating it into their highly prized, best-grade perfume recipes.
From the likes of Creed, Christian Dior, Kilian, Dolce &Gabbana, Armani, and even Tom Ford, who personally describes the scent as: “one of the most endlessly fascinating ingredients in a perfumer’s palette”, it is safe to say that Oud is truly irresistible!
A rare aroma that distinctively stands out from anything else you may have smelt on earth. An olfactory diamond, a diverse and complex scent, multifaceted in nature, with different mesmerizing accords. From deep, warm animalic notes, to faint touches of floralcy and vanilla, to then the heavier woody facets, with continuously evolving, tantalizing aromas of the aromatic spices and herbs, deeply intertwined with bitter balsamic and leather. It’s an ingredient that discloses different olfactory pleasures, an empire for the senses, that transports you to an ancient world of scents.
Deemed one of the most expensive perfume ingredients in the world, the price of Oud is justified by its greatly unique birth...
Formed in a tropical evergreen tree, the Agar tree, native to southeast Asia, grows specifically within the rainforests of Indonesia, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, Malaysia, Northeast India, the Philippines, Borneo, and New Guinea. In short, when the tree becomes infected by a certain fungus, the Phialophora parasitica, it reacts to the attack by producing a dense, dark, and super-fragrant resin as a form of protection. This is precisely what gives the source and formation of the resinous heartwood, or as we otherwise know it, Oud.
Now for those who are intrigued to dig a little bit deeper…
The fungus enters the plant through the vertical, hollow, and sometimes even zigzag tunnel within the stem, which serves as the initial sites of infection. Slowly and gradually, the infections spread infecting a larger volume and resulting in the accumulation of oleoresins, which later develop into odoriferous substances.
Whilst initially the infections appear as brown streaks in the tissue of the tree, the accretion of oleoresins, the infection rate, and process of ageing, all increase the colour intensity, causing it to darken into finally a black resin due to the escalation in concentration.
In case your head is already going around in circles, hold on, there is more… In a natural population, only circa 25 to 30% of the agar trees are able to be naturally infected and thus are productive.
Moreover, as a highly selective process, the fungal infection does take a long time to mature, with specifically the marvel of this scarce oil, to be the older trees. From the ages of 50 and above, they are considered most efficient in producing the highest concentration: approximately 2.5 to 5.0 kg per tree.
Thus, conclusively, the production of Oud is a wonder of nature. The fatal attack of the organisms, which results in the death of a giant tree, in reality, transmutes and gives life to an extraordinary, treasured wood oozing resin…impressive and enchanting!
Although a newbie on the block for the West, Oud oil is one of the oldest perfume materials used in especially the Middle East, as well as Asia. Not only is it highly desired in perfumery, yet for centuries, it was also burnt as incense in homes and royal palaces, such as in India, China, and Japan.
Moreover, the aroma of the oil was indulgently used in places of worship and gathering of friends and family, as well as for celebrations of a newborn and for the mourning of a dead one. Additionally, the Chinese, Indians, and Arabs also use the oil as medicine, and for its therapeutic benefits, including as even an aphrodisiac!
In pursuance of pandering our noses with the scent of Oud, the oil must be extracted from the wood!
The initial stage, prior to the distillation, is the grounding of the wood into very small pieces of powder, to be then immersed in water and left to ferment over time. There are two common distillations that are applied with Oud which differ not only in method, yet also in how they impact the smell of the oil produced. One, forced steam distillation, a process commonly used in Indonesia; and two, hydro-distillation, which is more prominent in India, Cambodia, and Thailand.
Returning to the process, the fermented wood is then transferred to distillation kettles, where they are steamed. After heating, the water is left to evaporate, which thus captures the oil as it floats on top of the water. Finally, the pure Oud oil is separated from the water and taken into a different vessel.
With Oud growing in popularity, especially with a boom in 2020, it isn’t late for you to grab this ingredient for your custom perfume recipe!
Our first recommended mix would be our OUD OUTSHINE and LAVENDER LEGEND fragrance. A contrasting aroma, bringing you a clean and sexy feel throughout your day. You’ll surely be surprised how the warm, suave, aromatic woody notes coincide with the timelessly fresh, mint-like, yet sweet floral-herbaceous odour!
For the ladies, we recommend the mix of OUD OUTSHINE with the scent of RASPBERRY REDEMPTION. These ingredients together, fuse a young, bursting berry, chypre structured fragrance. Powerful in its strength when worn, it develops on your skin as the new, modern take on Coco Mademoiselle by Chanel! A spray on your neck, and you’ll have people asking, ‘WTF (what the fruit)?!’, as you leave a fragrant trace anywhere you go.
Finally, an elixir that is truly the ultimate love potion, and your go-to accessory for your evenings: OUD OUTSHINE and our VANILLA VENUS fragrance. A duo that creates a voluptuous scent, full of character. Additively sweet, with smoky, animalic, and woody facets all intertwined into one, this combination will be your perfect protagonist for your romantic tale. You can thank us later!