Agarwood is formed when the tree becomes infected with a type of mold, which causes it to produce a fragrant resin to protect itself. This resin is called oud or agarwood, and it has been used in perfumery for centuries. The scent of oud is often described as warm, woody, spicy, and animalic. When distilled into an essential oil, oud takes on notes of tobacco, damp earth, leather, dried fruit, and wood. It has a deep, slightly medicinal aroma that is both mysterious and sensual.
Oud oil is extremely rare and expensive, as only a small percentage of agarwood trees produce oud resin.
The trees must be at least 30-50 years old before they become infected and start to produce the coveted resin. For this reason, oud is sometimes referred to as “liquid gold.” The quality and scent profiles of oud can vary greatly depending on the geographical region the tree is from. Top oud-producing countries include Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, oud perfume Indonesia, India, and Thailand. Cambodian oud is prized for its complex, layered accords, while oud from Laos is valued for its strong medicinal aroma.
In perfumery, oud is often paired with rose, which helps balance its potent aroma.
When blended with notes like saffron, amber, sandalwood, and musk, oud takes on an oriental, almost mystical character. Many niche and high-end perfume brands feature oud accords, but they usually contain oud fragrance compounds rather than real oud oil due to the high cost. Well-known oud perfumes for women include Tom Ford Oud Wood, Christian Dior Oud Ispahan, Memo Paris Italian Leather, and Guerlain Oud Essentiel. Men’s oud fragrances include Versace Oud Noir, Yves Saint Laurent M7 Oud Absolu, Armani Privé Oud Royal, and Calvin Klein Obsessed for Men.
The complexity of oud makes it one of the most coveted ingredients in perfumery.
It has an unmistakable aroma that is simultaneously dark yet smooth, with evolving layers that keep the senses enthralled. The rarity and exclusivity of real oud oil adds to its mystery and appeal. For perfume aficionados, oud fragrances are the epitome of luxury and sophistication. With its sensuous undertones and addictive aroma profile, oud is truly one of the most fascinating olfactory experiences in the fragrance world.