Material Love Story: Oud

From a bacteria infected tree to the world
of Royalty, oud is pure gold for perfumistas

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There are few raw materials that don’t come from living, healthy sources. Along with ambergris (whale vomit), oud is one of those few.

It is expressed from the core of the agar tree, though the specific trees that yield oud are in fact decaying and infected with a mold known as Phialophora parasitica. As a natural defense mechanism, the tree produces a thick, dark amber colored, boldy redolent resin to protect itself. The resin remains inside the tree until it is tapped and extracted by highly specialized harvesters. The trees are grown throughout south-east Asia and oud is one of the most expensive of all natural raw ingredients, reaching a price tag of up to $30,000/kilo.

The scent itself, from warm and woody to smoky and animalic, varies considerably depending on a multitude of factors, but one thing is certain: it is beautiful and potent so it is not for the faint of heart. Too get a sense of its beauty, try Kyara Clove or Imperial Oud.

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