What is Oud / Agarwood?
known as agarwood, aloeswood
and aquilaria, oud
is nature’s most exquisite fragrant offering.
Deep in a Far Eastern jungle, an evergreen tree is
attacked by fungus-carrying insects that bore into the
tree. Much like our bodies’ immune system produces white
blood cells, the tree starts producing a substance to
combat the infection.
Over the years, the infection grows – as does the
substance the tree produces. This is oud, or agarwood.
When it is distilled, oud oil is derived.
There are few natural aromatics that have as complex a
scent spectrum as oud. Natural ambergris, musk and
sandalwood also rank as some of the most valuable natural
fragrances, but none come close to oud in the sheer
transcendence and sublimity its fragrance boasts.
More than just a scent, oud can be mentally and
spiritually engaging. In fact, ouds from different regions
also seem to have different effects on a person’s
emotions. Indonesian oils induce joy and frivolity, while
Indian oils have a deeply pacifying quality which makes
them popular for using when meditating.
Check out our products,
and begin your own oud journey!
Oud Oils by Region
Including Brunei, parts of Malaysia, Indonesia, and New
Guinea, this is the oud lover's paradise.
Far Eastern ouds of the Aquilaria Malaccensis
species are predominantly resinous-woody in nature, with
hints of fruity or floral notes.
However, other species have very different characters
including deep woody, incense-y and herbal.
Far Eastern oud oils are generally uplifting and elating,
pleasing and easy to wear.
India is the home of the classic oud, Aquilaria
Agallocha. Famed from Biblical times, Indian oud
has not only been used for its scenting quality, but also
in traditional medicine.
Indian oud oils are typically characterized by a
pronounced sweet leather and often animalic or "barnyard"
opening note, which evolves into a rich, spicy, and sweet
woody smell. The infamous barnyard however is not a
natural part of the aroma of Indian agarwood, but rather
oils acquire it due to how oils are typically distilled in
India. As with all our other oud oils, we prefer to
capture the true aroma of Indian agarwood and
believe animalic and fecal smells should be left where
they belong: farms.
Oud oils of Indian origin have a grounding effect, and are
soothing and calming.
Indochinese ouds are primarily of the Aquilaria
Crassna species. The Indochinese oud scent spectrum
includes fruit and tobacco notes.
However, there is no 'classical' Indochinese oud smell, as
the Indochinese species include aromas that are spicy much
like the Indian variety, but also those that are fruity,
and others that are have hefty doses of tobacco and smoke.
High quality specimens are very rare.
Oud: Where do I Start?
While many people have the incorrect notion that oud is
supposed to have a funky, leathery, woody smell, you will
soon discover that this is gross misinformation -
especially in the case of oud oils that were distilled in
a way to capture the true aroma of oud wood, like our oud
We suggest you look at the different oils' descriptions in
our product catalog.
You will realize from the product descriptions just how
much the smells can vary from region to region. We try to
keep our descriptions are accurate as possible.
The best place to start if you are new to oud is to
purchase 0.15g samples of our oud oils. You will realize
that each oil is unique in scent and character, and will
learn which region/species you enjoy the most.
How to Use Oud Oil
are two main reasons for wearing oud: for one’s personal
enjoyment, and for others.
It is an absolute delight studying the evolution of the
complex smell of oud on your skin for hours, for your own
enjoyment. Many varieties of oud evoke olfactory memories,
and it is a fascinating experience identifying them as the
oil develops on your skin..
For one’s personal enjoyment, it is recommended to apply
the oil to one’s outer forearm, 2 – 3 inches above the
wrist. Even the tiniest amount will be sufficient. This is
then gently dabbed below the jaw line.
Needless to say, oud oil is so potent that even this tiny
amount you apply can scent the entire room you are in.
It is important that you do not rub. Rather, you should
dab gently until a sheen remains on your arm, after
applying to your jaw/neck. Your skin is highly absorbent,
so rubbing will make the oil (and the scent) disappear
much faster. It can also damage the scent molecules and
hence the aroma of the oud.
Moisturizing your skin before applying oud oil will also
ensure that the aroma lasts longer.
For the ultimate ‘broadcasting’ effect, there are two ways
to use oud oil:
1) Applying to your clothes, bracelet, or other item: This
will give you the longest lasting smell as the oil will
not be absorbed by the skin. For clothes, it is best to
apply a bit to the shoulders, and some to the chest and
back areas of your shirt.
2) Applying to the skin: while this will not last nearly
as long, in most cases the smell will be much more
appealing due to the unique chemistry between the skin and
oud. Apply the oil just below your outer wrist, then dab
(not rub) it onto your jaw/neck. Once again, remember to
keep a sheen remaining so don’t rub too hard!
About 1 – 2 light swipes of the dip stick should be used
if you want to share the beautiful smell of oud with those
Don’t forget that others might not be accustomed to the
smell of oud like you! So do not over apply, even if you
yourself can not detect too strong a smell. Remember that
one’s own nose gets quickly accustomed to the scent due to
Different ouds have different scent lives, and different
chemistries with the skin. You may find, for example, that
you like your Indian oud best applied to the skin, while
you like to have your Malaysian oud scenting your clothes.
It’s all a matter of taste, and a matter of testing to see
which end results you like the most. Go to our
product catalog now to start your
Oud: the Dark Side
Oud or agarwood is a very rare natural fragrance that is
diminishing rapidly from forests that once used to have
abudant agarwood trees, and their rarity has driven people
to come up with various cheating techniques.
Cheating is found at all levels: the hunter, wood
supplier, distiller, wholesaler, and the retailer. We will
go over some of the common techniques below.
1. Mixing oud oils from different
It is common practice to add oils from 'less popular'
regions to oud oils from regions that are highly sought
after, like India or Cambodia. The resulting oil is then
sold as 'Indian oud' or 'Cambodian oud' to the uninformed
2. Mixing oud oils of different qualities
A higher quality oud oil will be mixed with a lower
quality oil to decrease the total cost, and will then be
sold as a 'high quality' oil.
3. Mixing oud oils with adulterants
This is the most common of all cheating techniques, and
sadly occurs in 99% of cases. Extremely foul-smelling low
grade oud oils are spiked and 'tamed' with essential oils
like vetiver or fennel oil. The use of synthetic perfumes
is even more common. DPG, DOP and glycerin are used
to stretch oud oils, and some distillers deliberately use
a certain types of synthetic compounds which are harder to
detect in lab tests. Sometimes adulterants are used in the
distillation process itself to make the oil thicker, which
a lot of people incorrectly think is an indication of
quality - another common misconception.
Take the guesswork out of buying oud. Check out our oud
oils, and rest assured that you get what you
Creating the Agar Aura
There are few things in life as exquisite and uplifting as
the intoxicating ambiance that envelopes your very being,
when you create the 'Agar Aura'.
For this, you will need oud chips, a fine oud oil, and
First moisturize those parts of your body which you will
scent with the oud smoke. Arab women customarily
moisturize their necks, faces, and the nape area, and we
advise the same.
Start by burning the oud chips, and let the scent of the
oud smoke absorb into your skin and hair, and beard. Hold
the mabkhar, or the incense holder, above your clothes to
waft it with the fragrance which will scent it for days.
After you have sufficiently scented yourself and your
clothes with the oud smoke, proceed to applying the oud
As the smokiness recedes, the rich smell of the oud
oleoresin left on you from the smoke will emerge, and will
delight your senses for hours (even days!) to come. The
combination of the radiating scent from the oud chips with
the intoxicating smell of the oud oil will give your
senses a treat they seldom receive.
Enjoy the Agar Aura, the olfactory work of art!