The history of wood perfume

History of the oud, wood

The oud has been used for centuries for medicinal and spiritual purposes. It appears in one of the oldest texts of humanity but also in the Bible.

Several religions, notably Buddhism, burn the oud to aid in meditation. A new woody olfactory note in the organ of the perfumer, the oud has been considered for several years in Muslim culture as one of the fundamental ingredients of perfumery. But not only that, it is so different from the others that the perfume for men and for women based on oud now even attracts a European and Asian clientele.

Description and origin of the oud

A rich, fragrant and woody ingredient, oud is produced by a tropical tree of the genus Aquilaria when it is infected with a certain type of fungus called Phialophora parasitica. The infected tree responds by producing a rare and valuable resin, oud wood, also known as agarwood, agar oud, or aloe wood. It comes mainly from Thailand, Laos, Burma, Vietnam and India, it gives a woody, dark and intense note.

Only one in a hundred specimens contains the precious oud resin, a defense mechanism secreted by the tree when it is infected by certain fungi, but since it is impossible to guess which one, a considerable number must be cut down. These Aquilarias are now protected in many countries. In some trees, this fungus is now artificially inoculated.

wood today

I met it for the first time in Japan during the perfume ceremony, the kodo where the swirls of wood and burnt resins are associated with poems, and I quite appreciated them. Then, this omnipresent smell, I smelled it again in the Middle East and there in a more aggressive way, because there it is total oud, the shopping malls, the hotels are all perfumed with oud.

Almost all perfumes on this market, perfume for men and perfume for women, are more or less mixed with oud. Oud can be found in a perfume, an eau de parfum, an eau de toilette but more rarely in an eau de cologne. The oud has oriental scents considered very sensual.

In the tradition, the real oud is cut into shavings and is mixed with other resins that are burned, it is the bakhoor which perfumes the hair and the clothes.

This scent lasts and diffuses all day, which does not prevent men and women from layering over different fragrances, often European brands.

In most niche, confidential, or exclusive perfumes from major brands, there is not a drop of real oud because of its price which exceeds that of gold. They are often reconstitutions or chords composed with other natural or synthetic woody notes: cedar, sandalwood, vetiver, patchouli, incense, often associated with cypriol, another very aromatic and powerful woody note, often added with leathery and animal notes to the opposite of fresh fragrances that have top notes such as citrus or citrus, mandarin, bergamot or even fruity and floral in the middle notes to add femininity with orange blossom. The oud note has the particularity of crossing the fragrance from the top notes to the base notes. It is an effective product because fake ouds, even more than real ouds, have incredible power and leave a beautiful trail.

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