Oud comes from the wood of the tropical Agar (Aquilaria) tree, believed to have originated in the Assam region of India, and from there spread throughout Southeast Asia. When the wood of this tree gets infected with a certain mould variety (Phialophora parasitica), it reacts by producing a precious, dark and fragrant resin, which is the perfume ingredient oud (also called agarwood).
What It Smells Like
Oud (in Arabian ‘oudh’) is highly valued by perfumers for its sweet, woody, aromatic and complex scent. It is used in forms of oud oil (dehn al oud) or raisin (oud mubakhar). The oil of oud, whether extracted by distillation from wood, or by melting the raisin, is non-irritating and can be applied directly on the skin, or added in a perfume composition, most often as a base note.
Due to its rarity, high demand, and the difficulty of harvesting it, oud oil is perhaps the most expensive oil in the world. Its value is estimated as 1.5 times of the value of gold, and it is sometimes referred to as 'liquid gold'.
Oud Perfumes to Try
Long prized as a perfume ingredient in the Middle East and Europe, oud has recently made great gains in popularity in the West. Oud plays a starring role in several North American perfumes for women, including Pure Oud Eau by Killian, Oud Intense by Comptoir Sud Pacifique, Midnight Oud Eau de Parfum by Juliette Has a Gun, and Bond No. 9 New York Oud. It is also used in Sensuous by Estee Lauder, Twilight Woods by Bath & Body Works, Amouage Epic Woman by Amouage, and Daphne by Comme de Garcons.