Oud is one of the most expensive and desireable perfume ingredients in the world. It has an intoxicating musky scent that can be quite potent and has been used for centuries in India, Southeast Asia, and the Middle East. Today, many perfumers in the West are using it as a base to create some amazing fragrances for men and women.
What is Oudh ?
Oud comes from the wood of the tropical Agar (Aquilaria) tree, a genus that includes 15 different species. The tree is believed to have originated in the Assam region of India, from there spreading to populate Bangladesh and much of Southeast Asia. Wood chips off the trees are often burned as an incense, and it’s common for them to be used during religious ceremonies and various celebrations throughout Southeast Asia and the Middle East, including China, Japan, and India.
When the wood of this tree gets infected with a parasitic mold called Phialophora parasitica, it reacts by producing a precious, dark, and fragrant resin. This is the perfume ingredient oud, which is also called agarwood, oudh, agalocha, aloeswood, or eaglewood. Agarwood is a rarity on many fronts. Because the resin is only triggered by the mold, it’s estimated that a total of 2 percent of these trees produce it. Not only does this raise the price of the oil, the wood is also one of the most expensive on the market. Additionally, many of these trees are now threatened species.