Few perfume oils have the mystique of Oud. Made from the fragrant resin found in Aquilaria trees, Oud is also referred to as Agarwood, Aloeswood and Eaglewood. This is the Aloe spoken of in the Bible. It has been loved and treasured for thousands of years, by mystics and romantics alike. Oud is proclaimed as a aid to spiritual meditation. Lovers use it as an aphrodisiac.
Indeed, the hunger for Oud is so great that in most parts of the world Agarwood trees are nearing extinction. Most of the Agarwood on the market is now obtained through poaching. Agarwood is believed to have originated in the Assam region of India, and from there spread throughout southeast Asia. Oud now comes from India, Vietnam, China, Cambodia, Indonesia and the Philippines… and while trees dwindle, the demand keeps growing. The cost of Agarwood oil now exceeds $27,000 per pound!
There is good news, though, for Oud lovers:
Several decades ago, enterprising farmers in Assam began a major replanting of Agarwood trees throughout the region. Agarwood nurseries have produced tens of thousands of healthy seedlings for Agarwood plantations, and everyone is being encouraged to once again plant these beautiful trees in their yards.
Practicing organic, sustainable harvesting methods, these Agarwood plantations and extraction centers are providing good livings for honest families, and insure that these amazing trees will survive for generations to come. The Agarwood Oil they produce is extremely high quality. All the work is done by hand, with sincere respect and dedication for the trees and the land.
Another recent development to conserve the precious Aloeswood is the use of CO2 extraction instead of distillation. CO2 extraction does not use any solvent chemicals, making it environmentally-friendly. Instead, it uses the same carbon dioxide that is in soda pop. CO2 extraction is so powerful that it requires less wood than steam distillation to obtain the same amount of Oud. And because it doesn’t use any heat, Aloeswood CO2 extract has a much more vibrant fragrance that is truer to life.
Aloeswood oil from CO2 extraction smells earthy, woody and sweetly balsamic. It is rich and complex, not burned or musty-smelling like some heat-distilled Ouds. A good perfume house will provide affordable samples of their Oud.
So as you shop for Oud, remember to find out how it was obtained, and how it was extracted. Support the people who truly love the Agarwood tree, not those who merely exploit it. Buy from a supplier with a good reputation who makes samples available.