What is ‘oud fragrance?’

What is ‘oud fragrance?’

In this video I lay out the facts of what exactly is oud fragrance and exhibit the differences between designer and niche oud perfumes, natural oud, and artisanal oud oil. Video index:

0:03 Introduction
2:51 Availability
5:50 Formation and Development
6:44 Pure and Natural Oud | Defined
9:15 Oud the note
11:47 Artisanal oud
12:58 The Pioneer and founder of Artisanal Oud
13:55 Raw oud materials
20:03 Commercial categories of oud
22:35 Conclusion

As the agarwood oud oil industry continues to grow, there is ever more misleading information produced by the big conglomerates that own the majority of mainstream Perfume Houses, and their pseudo niche companies. The agarwood oil industry giants have recognized long ago the growing trend and have brought a number of brands to the market to peddle their agarwood oud oil.

There are major differences in the quality of mass produced ‘organic agarwood oil’ with ‘sustainable’ labels hiding the hectares of diverse jungle that was cleared to make way for their monoculture plantations, and ‘artisanal oud oil’ produced from small batches of the highest quality agarwood remaining on the planet. Wild sources are mostly depleted with a few areas remaining protected and under governmental control, but some the founder and pioneer of the Artisanal Oud niche, Ensar Oud is long established in his oud journey, and began his collection over 15 years ago, and counting. The agarwood material he has access to is not available on the market, but moves from the hands of big time agarwood ‘China bosses’ with vintage collections, harvested before the threat of extinction and government regulations.

Artisanal Oud Oil exhibit incredible aromatic profiles, beyond the refined degree of Niche Fragrances, perfect for those who are ready to level up from their niche collection, and journey into what I consider God’s perfume, something so beautiful and satisfying it’s beyond anything of this world, hence people referring to it as ‘scent from heaven’ in both meanings =)

Oud fragrances vary in quality. There is the top of the line artisanal oud oils, then there are ‘natural oud oils’ and regional plantation oud oils like ‘oud from Laos’ or ‘Thai Oud.’ These are a faint echo of the once great regions, when wild agarwood was still growing, and allowed to naturally mature in its terroir for decades before being found and harvested. The older the oud resin development the better. Yet ‘natural oud’ oils usually have about 5 years of oud resin development, 10 at the very most.

Even worse than ‘natural oud’ and part of the reason why the plantation industry is growing so rapidly, is the ‘oud note.’ Oud can be called ‘oudh’ or ‘aoud’ or sometimes even ‘ood’ yet it should refer to the essential oil produced by the resinous agarwood, but most mainstream ‘oud fragrances’ actually possess synthetic ‘oud’ molecules which completely fail to exhibit the depth and complexity of even ‘natural oud oil’ so designers and perfumers who actually want to exhibit a portion of the complexity of the natural aromatic rather than just cash in on the ‘oud’ buzz, use plantation grade agarwood oil, ‘natural oud’ which is still a far cry from vintage artisanal oud oil, produced by Ensar Oud.

There are a lot of spin-offs of Ensar Oud, and many ‘vendors’ claim to be ‘artisanal oud producers’ while simply buying the agarwood oud oil on Facebook and reselling it as ‘artisanal.’ Thing is Artisanal Oud oil is incredibly complex and because it is so rare, it’s very expensive, a luxury fragrance for the connoisseurs of the world that enjoy the subtle facets and nuances of a fragrance, listening closely to how it develops and the story that it tells. Artisanal oud oil, like perfume can exhibit scent evolution, can evolve through many phases with potent opening notes upon application, to regal heart notes and deep soul stirring base notes unlike any other single aromatic on this earth.

Artisanal oud oil is for those with the time to enjoy, so sit back, swipe an oud, and listen to the story it has to tell…