Oud - What’s Fuss All About And Why Is It So Expensive?

Oud also known as Agar oil, Agarwood oil, Oud oil, Oudh or even Ood, has claimed the throne as one of the most expensive and sought-after ingredients in the perfume industry. With a warm sweetness, mixed with woody, musky, animalic and balsamic notes, what’s not to love about this aromatic scent?

Oud is an age-old ingredient that has been popular in Asia and the Middle East for centuries and has now taken the west by storm.

Oud is an essential oil that comes from the wood of the Southeast Asian Agar tree, but it’s a little more complicated than that! What makes this essential oil so interesting and expensive is that the wood of this specific tree has to be infected by a specific parasitic mould called Phialophora parasitica, the tree then naturally reacts to this parasite by producing a dark, aromatic resin to protect itself. It is the heartwood of this diseased, resin-filled Agarwood tree that is distilled to create the complex, rich and expensive OUD oil that you see in the fragrance world today. What makes Oud even more rare and therefore expensive is that only 2% of Agarwood trees become infected with this mould and it can take up to 40 years for those trees to become saturated with the resin. It is only then that the tree is ready to be felled and turned into precious Oud Oil. So, it should come as no surprise that it is one of the most expensive perfume ingredients in the world. The price can range anywhere between R80 000 – R240 000 per kg, depending on the purity and quality of the oil. Due to the high value of Oud and therefore the exploitation of the trees, the Agarwood Tree was declared as endangered species in the early the 2000’s.

Oud is a complex and powerful scent, invoking warm, woody, smoky notes with hints of damp wood, (some varieties even have Parmesan cheese undertones!). As the scent develops the prominent animalic note comes through, creating a sense of opulence.

Here are a few of our favourite Oud perfumes:

A scent similar to Icon by Alfred Dunhill
This fresh and clean fragrance is natural and refined. Incredibly masculine and sophisticated. ideal for the modern man this autumn and winter. This composition opens with fresh notes of bergamot and neroli. The heart is warm and spicy with notes of sage, black pepper, lavender and juniper berries and a woody base with aromatic notes such as Oud, vetiver, leather and oakmoss.

A Scent similar to M7 by Yves Saint Laurent
This fragrance represents male sensuality. It is provocative and sexy with warm and woodsy notes. The formulation of this fragrance emphasises of raw ingredients, trees and aromatic plants. It opens with citrus notes of bergamot, mandarin orange and a hint of rosemary. The heart is warm with notes of Oud and vetiver. The perfume settles down with base notes of amber and musk.

A scent similar to Oud Wood by Tom Ford Private Collection
This regal and full-bodied fragrance evokes the scent of ancient Empires, giving the wearer an aristocratic air. It is warm and powerful which will be ideal for day and night this autumn and winter. It’s a blend of warm and spicy notes, it is balsamic, aromatic and dies down with scent of Oud lingering.

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