Oud, What Exactly is it?

Oud, real or fake, scent or fragrance, natural or man-made? All very confusing, but not for long...

Oud, What Exactly is it?

Oud, Oudh, Aloeswood, Agarwood and Gaharu are known by different names depending on their geographic origin, but all refer to the same thing, a tar-like resinous heartwood that forms in the Aquilaria and some Gyrinops species of trees native to South East Asia. It is then transformed into an essential oil whose scent is mainly distinguished by a combination of ‘oriental-woody’ with ‘very soft, fruity-floral’ notes.

The heartwood produces a dark aromatic resin as part of its natural defense mechanism when infected with fungus (Phialophora Parasitica).

As well as occurring naturally in the wild, this fungus is today often replicated artificially in farm-like forests. The infection of the tree results in the heartwood of the trees bearing a dense, dark resinous wood that would otherwise be light and pale-coloured if uninfected. This infected wood is often burned as incense. It is the skill and knowledge of the artisan mimicking this scent that differentiates the essential oil and shows the skill, talent of the individual quality of the oils from the various Oud- producing houses.

In the wild, 1 in 10 infected trees produce heartwood and forested trees infected do not fare much better. Hence this explains its rarity and expense.

Today, as Oud gains in popularity, it is promoted and sold by many large perfume houses, leading the consumer to believe that the product contains real Oud. However, this is a laboratory made fragrance, which keeps the cost down for the manufacturer yet maintains the perfume’s popularity up.

Does it matter to you if you buy real Oud or a synthetic imitation?
If it does, we at PÜRE only use 100% real Oud.

Just as the vintner plays a major role in the making of wine, so does the artisan in the making of Oud, producing an essential oil that smells exactly like the scent the wood gives off when put on heated charcoal.

The production process is complex. Genuine Oud is not only dependent on the raw material and its natural environment, but factors such as the water used during its distillation, the material the pot is made of, the length of the soak, the drums in which it is soaked, the ducts inside the boilers and the condenser also playing their essential roles.

Our Oud is artisan-made, sourced directly from Thailand, and is found in our Private Blend Beard Oil.