What is Oud?
Why is Oud so expensive?
How is Oud Oil produced?
How different are Ouds from
What is the difference between
Oud and “Mukhallats”?
Can Oud be mixed with other
Will Oud itself be over
Which oud has the best scent?
Is Oud gender specific?
How long will the scent last?
When should we use oud oil?
How to apply Oud Oil?
Gift Selections from Pods &
What is Oud?
Oud oil is little known in the West, but it has a
high commercial value in Japan, other countries in
Asia and in the Arab world. It is the aloes or
aloewood mentioned in the Bible and Quran,
and both the oil and the wood from the trees of the
Aquilaria species of tree, which have been
used for millennia in religious and cultural
ceremonies, in medicine and an aphrodisiac.
There are few natural aromatics that have as complex
a scent spectrum as Oud. Natural ambergris, musk and
rose 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, specimens from
different regions also seem to have an effect on a
person’s emotions. Indonesian oils induce joy and
frivolity, while Indian oils have a deeply pacifying
quality which makes them popular for use with
Why is Oud
It used to take three hundred years to obtain oud
oil from the agarwood trees as the trees have to be
infected by a fungus, Phaeoacremonium parasitica to
produce the resinous substance from which the
oil is made. The trees resist the attack in their
heartwood an d produce a dark aromatic resin which
is the base for the oil. Although, the oil can be
produced using sustainable methods, thanks to the
University of Minnesota’s Professor Robert
Blanchette, the efforts to create a synthetic
agarwood oil have proven even more difficult and
expensive than harvesting the real thing.
It is said that pure Oud
experience is only for the person who has
everything. Good quality pure oud oils sell for
more than US$60,000 a kg, many times more than
gold and silvers. It’s so potent that a
miniscule drop of the oil will release its fragrance
for around 8 hours and its scent can be felt even
for months in a secluded space.
How is Oud
After the highest grades of wood have been put aside
to be sold as incense chips, the remaining agarwood
is used for distilling oud oil. But there's more to
it than just boiling heaps of wood.
The wood is chopped up into small pieces for
distillation, and the dust produced from polishing
and finishing the incense grade chips is also
collected. The wood is commonly soaked in barrels
of water for some time to make it easier for the
oil to come out when heated.
After the soaking process is over, the wood
is placed in large stills and has to be cooked
at just the right temperature/pressure.
Using the traditional Indian hydro-distillation
method, the wood is cooked for several days. The
best quality oil comes out first, usually in the
first 1-3 days of cooking. This is often referred to
as the 'first distillation'. After this, the
wood is cooked further and the second grade of oud
Since hydro-distillation is more time and resource
consuming, some distillers prefer to use steam
Steam distillation entails cooking the oil
under gauged pressure using steam instead of boiling
water. Oil can be extracted using this technique in
as little as one day. However, setting too high a
pressure can result in the precious top notes of the
oil's scent acquiring a burnt tar note, so this too
takes practice and experience.
While the traditional hydro-distillation method is
commonly used in India, Thailand and Cambodia,
steam-distillation is most common in Indonesia, but
is also used in Thailand and elsewhere.
After the oil has been distilled, it is filtered,
sunned, and aged for a while. The more the oil is
aged, the better it will smell.
different are Ouds from different region?
Including Brunei, parts of Malaysia, and Indonesia,
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 ouds
are generally uplifting and elating, light and
pleasing to most.
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 characterized by a pronounced
sweet leather opening note, which evolves into a
rich, spicy, and sweet woody smell. Oud oils of
Indian origin have a grounding effect, and are
soothing and calming.
Indochinese ouds are primarily of the Aquilaria
Crassna species. Its typical scent spectrum includes
notes like fruity, tobacco, pine, smoky and woody.
However, there is no 'classical' Indochinese oud
smell, as the Crassna species includes fragrances
that are tranquilizing much like the Indian variety,
but also those that are sharp and zesty. High
quality specimens are rather rare.
What is the
difference between Oud and “Mukhallats”?
A Mukhallat is usually
a mixture of pure oils such as Dehn Al Oudh, Rose,
Musk, Sandalwood, Amber, and other natural flower
oils that are combined to create a perfume oil. In
contrast to the above, with regard to its
composition, pure oud oil is itself the fragrance,
not being blended with any other ingredients.
While many good quality Mukhallats can be just as
heavenly, oud is more than just a scent as it
engages the one wearing it on many different levels.
Can Oud be
mixed with other fragrances?
If one is new to Oud, one might find that it is
better blended with a cologne or Mukhallat because
oud itself has a very powerful smell. Mixing it with
another oils will tone down the sometimes over
bearing oud scents.
However, once a new user gets more and more
accustomed and addicted to the fragrance of pure oud,
one might become more reluctant to mix it with
anything else. And that is, in fact, giving oud its
itself be over bearing?
It's true that oud has one of, if not, the most
powerful smell in the world of perfumery. But it
is usually the initial hit after application and
smelling it right out of the bottle that can be
overwhelming for the unexperienced nose. That is
why, we strongly recommend starting off by applying
very tiny amounts, and not smelling the oils
Over time, as our nose gets used to the smell, we
will find the smell of oud an absolute delight in
its entirety, from application to the dry down.
has the best scent?
The climates the trees were grown in, the
age of the trees, the distillation and aging
techniques all have an effect on the smell of
different ouds. Oud from different regions
has distinctly different scents too.
Many people absolutely love the earthy, barnyard and
slightly fecal quality of Hindi (Indian) ouds, while
others are all for the sweeter, more ethereal
Ultimately, one may find that one like ouds from all
the regions since they all have something unique to
offer, even if they all vastly differ in their
characters and scent profiles.
In the Gulf countries of the Middle East, where oud
oil is most celebrated and used, men use oud for
special occasions, parties and things of that sort.
In Yemen, a gift of oud is an expected part of the
dowry that the bride receives from the groom.
Oud is more than just a 'scent', which could be
classified as masculine and feminine.
Rather, it has so much more to offer, and gender
requisite is not a condition to be able to enjoy the
offerings of this precious gift of nature.
will the scent last?
Different oud oils have different scent lives on the
skin. Sometimes, ouds that are of very high quality
whose smell will fade before that of much lower
grade specimens. The same oil, however, might be
incredibly long-lasting if applied to clothes,
bracelets, beads etc.
In general, every oud oils, if applied, should be
discernable to our nose for a good 2 - 3 hours.
After that, our nose may get used to the scent, but
those around us will still be able to smell it for
hours to come.
we use oud oil?
We may initially find that we just want to use oud
for special occasions.
However, as is usually the case, we may find
ourselves loving oud so much that we will want to
use it daily. In fact, some people even use it
several times a day because they can't get enough of
How to apply
There 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 can be fun 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
It is important that you do not rub too hard.
There should be a sheen remaining on your arm, after
applying to the neck. Your skin is highly absorbent,
so rubbing will make the oil (and the scent)
disappear much faster. It can also damage the
Moisturizing your skin will also ensure that
the smell lasts longer.
For the ultimate ‘broadcasting’ effect, there
are two ways to use the oil:
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 of
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 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 around you.
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’t detect too strong a
smell. Remember that one’s own nose gets quickly
accustomed to the scent due to olfactory
fatigue. It’s usually a good idea after applying
oud that you wait about 15 minutes before meeting
from Pods & Petals Giftlab
We hope we have answered some of your basic
questions regarding oud oil. May you have a pleasant
informative oud journey as Pods & Petals Giftlab
embarks on offering more Oud Gift choices