A Journey into The World of Oud

Part Nine

Oud from Aromatherapy Companies

A growing number of companies that sell aromatherapy oils have started to carry Oud as part of their offerings.

These agarwood oils come in two forms: steam distilled and CO2 extracts.

The CO2 extracts for the most part have the scent of completely unrefined Oud, and as such are both psychically potent and very crude and pungent in their odor.

Unfortunately, the steam-distilled Ouds from the essential oil purveyors completely lack finesse. While in some cases they have a bit of psychic effect, most do not, and since none of them are properly aged, and all are young plantation-grown and distilled without any craftsmanship, their scents have only one very basic note and don't develop or unfold at all. "To add insult to injury" they are almost always overpriced, and some are even priced as high as true artisan Ouds.

So the lesson here is to get your agarwood oils from companies that know Oud, and have a great deal of experience in creating the best oils.


Fine Plantation Ouds

Just because aromatherapy companies sell agarwood oils distilled from plantation-grown trees does not mean that farmed Ouds are always mediocre.

The problem mentioned above is not specifically that these companies purvey Ouds grown on plantations, but that such products are produced from very young trees, distilled without skill, and not aged at all (see below).

But I've gotten incredibly high quality Ouds that were grown on plantations, as fine a quality as any wild Oud, in fact.

In reality, wild Ouds will soon become completely unavailable as over-harvesting and black market dealers destroy all of the wild trees.

So the future of Oud lies in the artisan distillation of farmed agarwood.

P.s. A superlative example of this is one of the latest agarwood oils that I just purchased.

Made from the nearly extinct Aquillaria Hirta species from a farm that has been growing the trees for 15 years (instead of the 3 -6 years commonly harvested for low grade oils), and expertly distilled, it is very fine and incredibly inexpensive.

(In fact, if it were distilled from the same type of wood harvested from wild trees, it would be priced at at least eight times it's price.)

It is called Bio Hirta, and is the first Oud sold by Feel Oud that they haven't distilled themselves (in recognition of its amazing quality). Sadly, it is no longer available.


The Importance of Aging Agarwood Oil

As I mentioned above, essential oil companies sell agarwood oils that have not been aged. They don't understand the importance of aging Oud (and, in fact, don't age any of their oils).

When agarwood oil first comes off of the still, it can both have raw notes and a scent that is not yet developed. It can take from six months to many years before the complexities of the scent fully emerge.

Some companies, like Ensar Oud, routinely age all of their oils for years before releasing them. That's why Ensar Oud has such a renowned reputation for quality.

Imagine if you will a wine, let's say a Cabernet Sauvignon, which is raw and almost undrinkable when it's first bottled. But after a few years, it becomes a wonder to behold.

The same is true of Oud.

And therefore, one of the reasons that I'm recommending the companies listed below is because they understand not just the necessity of all of the steps in creating the best agarwood oil: using the best wood possible, the quality of the water used for the presoak, not over-soaking the wood, using pristinely clean distillation vessels, carefully monitoring the temperature and duration of the distillation process, but once the Oud is distilled, it is carefully and lovingly stored and aged until it is ready for market.


Where to get the best Oud

Over the years that I've been buying agarwood oils, I find myself continuing to revisit the Ouds from three companies:

Ensar Oud

and also

Imperial Oud

and also

Rising Phoenix Perfumery

Each of these companies have a true diversity of artisan-quality offerings, and allow you to purchase sample sizes in order to evaluate what you like best.

They are completely dedicated to both creating and sharing the best Ouds in the world.

I invite you to explore my descriptions of their products throughout this blog.


End of Part Nine


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