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Ingredient Spotlight: 7 things you didn’t know about Oud

oud chips, oud chips in hands, raw oud

Oud is often assimilated with wealth and power, and its popularity has risen exponentially in the Western world and as a result it is at the forefront of current fragrance compositions. Oud is one of those notes that you either love or hate: to some it is a seductive elixir that sedates anyone in its proximity, and to others, it… stinks. It is deeply ingrained in my childhood memories because my best friend’s house always embraced me with an overpowering and sensual aroma. I would smile to myself whenever I was at her house and she would ask me why but I could not explain what I was experiencing. Little did I know that this was one of the olfactory experiences I would carry with me to this day. Oud has a deep and profound history that stems from Middle Eastern culture where it was burned as incense and “shared” amongst loved ones. Below, I relay a few interesting facts about oud that you probably didn’t know.

  1.  Aoud, Oud and Oudh are equivalent spellings that can be used interchangeably but if you’re feeling super technical, Agarwood is the formal name which describes the resinous heartwood from which it is derived.
  1. Oud is typically used as a base note to provide underlying depth to a fragrance and is best combined with notes that can accentuate its complexity. Common pairings include: vetiver, jasmine and amber which are renowned for their utter ferocity and pure sex appeal. We pair oud with notes of frankincense, tuberose, and green cognac in our New Orleans Datura scent.  Only the daring would wear such killer combos. If you would prefer a tamer scent try fragrances that pair oud with softer notes such as vanilla, rose or citrusy accords. Regardless, oud is a versatile note that creates unique smells which subliminally imprint on those in your midst.
  1. Agarwood belongs to the genus Aquilaria, which is native to Southeast Asia, making this region the primary source of the fragrant wood despite its Middle Eastern popularity. Agarwood is naturally unscented but once the tree contracts a fungal infection that is facilitated by insects and chemical contamination a dark heartwood embedded with aromatic aromas is produced to combat this.


oud farm, agarwood


  1. The oud industry has experienced a fragrant boom since 2002 after the introduction of Yves SaintLaurent’s M7 – the first oud fragrance acknowledged in the Western world – and is reported to waft in $3 billion annually.


ysl m7 oud ad


  1. A distinct black market for oud has arisen as a result of its scarcity. Private dealers typically exchange high-quality agarwood for Gold and more often than not it is a fierce competition between Middle Eastern Sheikh’s and Chinese clients. Who wouldn’t want to fight over 2 kg of wood worth over $500,000?
  1. The oil extracted from agarwood contains approximately 132 chemical constituents. Different species of the Aquilaria plant will have varied chemical compositions giving rise to distinct varieties of oud.
  1. Modern fragrances typically use synthetic accords which have a smoky warmth but tend to lack the earthy balsamicity of natural agarwood. Once you’ve experienced the sheer richness of pure oud, there is simply no. going. back. Our fragrance  New Orleans Datura uses only the finest agarwood whose bittersweet facets will tantalize your olfactive tastebuds.


nomaterra new orleans oud perfume


What is your impression of oud fragrances? 

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