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What Is Oud (Oudh) Perfume? And Why Is It Expensive?

What Is Oud (Oudh) Perfume? And Why Is It Expensive?

November 08, 2021 6 min read

Ever heard of the scent that's pricier than gold? That would be oud, also known as wood resin or Agarwood. This remarkable fragrance has been used for thousands of years across various cultures. It quickly made a popular addition to perfume products. 

It is also a highly valued and luxurious scent, which is considered a delight for many. That’s why there are hundreds of rich oud perfumes out there. But, what is oud, and what makes it so special? Here you can get a quick look at this most fantastic scent du jour, including everything it has to offer. So, let’s jump right in! 

What Is Oud, Exactly?

Both Agarwood and its resin extracts are known as oud. In Western countries, many perfumers use agarwood essential oil under the name "oudh" or "oud." Oud is by far one of the priciest raw fragrance ingredients on the globe. This precious ingredient comes from the tropical agar tree known to thrive in the Middle East. 

When mould (phialophora parasitica) infects the agar tree, that's when the tree creates a dense, dark, and fragrant resin—all in an effort to protect itself. The resin is then embedded in the very tree, becoming the source of Oudh. 

Ancient Egyptians are thought to be the first users of Agarwood. They applied it in death rituals over 3,000 years ago. They also included it in perfume products, cosmetic products, and medicine. The agarwood chip could be carved to assume an artistic shape or be used in incense, which is currently in high demand. But, there is nothing more popular than oud perfume. 


How Much Does Oud Cost?

According to research, Agarwood is without a doubt the most precious essential oil. With prices often reaching $50,000 to $80,000 (£36,000 to £58,000) a litre. The majority of agarwood international trade is in the perfume production industry. 

The yearly oud market is estimated to be worth a staggering $6 billion (over £4 billion). That’s about 1 ½ times the value of gold. That’s exactly why some people call it the “liquid gold”. Per pound, oud can cost $5,000 (£3,600). While some oud retailers tend to sell roughly a 3g bottle for $300 (£200) or over. 

What Is So Special About Oud?

It’s estimated that 1 in 10 trees in the wild become infected withphialophora parasitica. That’s about 2% of trees, which makes oud a very expensive commodity. Experienced perfumers seek out these trees to create the final product. Of course, these are just rough estimates but can show you exactly what makes oud so special. 

Steam is then used to distil oud oil from the Agarwood. For 70 kg of wood, the total yield won’t reach over 20 ml. Plus, agarwood oil is packed with over 150 complex chemical compounds. Their exact balance varies based on the species and age of the tree. 

What Does Oud Perfume Smell Like?

Oud perfume smell is made from resinous heartwood, a.k.a Agarwood, the dark or gaharu of a big evergreen tropical tree. This tree goes by the name Aquilaria and comes in 15 unique species. Since oud comes from trees, the smell itself will vary based on the tree. It's typically described as a sweet and woody scent that's a bit smoky. 

Oud is a peculiar fragrance with an intense and seductive aroma. Its olfactory profile is bound to get you noticed, while its woody smell is rich with nuances, ranging from leather, earthy, sweet, to spicy fragrances. The oud smell depends on the tree species it comes from and the method of extraction. 

Some experts view oud perfume as the ultimate seduction tool. Not only does it make the wearer feel more appealing, but it also acts as a carnal catalyst. The intoxicating fragrance is quite alluring and fancy, believed to have arousing properties. 

Those who've tried the oud perfume scent claim that the richness of the aroma gives quite the mysterious allure. It is, without a doubt, full of character while at the same time maintaining some faint floral notes. This is what we call pure exclusiveness and luxury. 

Because of how rare it is, oud fragrance quickly became a success in the perfumery industry. One of its key features is its longevity, elegant, and mystical connotations. With one simple whiff, you can enjoy this Middle Eastern gem. 

Is Oud a Feminine Smell?

Do you find the oud perfume quite masculine? Do you want something more natural yet feminine? Countless buyers are looking to try oud perfume at least once in their life. Although it adds a masculine touch to any perfume (a lot of mens aftershaves have oud notes), when mixed with soft notes and roses, it can make quite the product for a feminine audience. 

It’s true that a huge chunk of oud products are tailored towards the male population, but it can be a unisex fragrance. For example, some oud perfumes are mixed with berries, which are usually feminine. So, if you have a knack for oriental fragrances, then this makes for a perfect scent to try. 

How Do You Wear Oud Perfume?

Oud scents are very potent, which makes them a great choice for colder seasons and any special occasions. They go especially well with formal attire. When using oud fragrance, the application method is very important. 

You don’t want to spray it on the palm of your hand since it will be touching everything and you can stain some clothes. Instead, you should apply it to your pulse points. This includes the neck, wrist, and behind the ears. These areas tend to remain warm and activate the scent, making it last for a very long time. 

If you are using a stick, feel free to swipe it across the desired spot by making a straight line. Or, use your index finger to rub it in. To make the most of the product you bought, be sure to spray the oud perfume right before the event. For the scent to linger, you can also spray some more before you leave.  

Real or Fake Oud – Which One Should I Pick?

Pure oud is more expensive and smells the best. Of course, not everyone has the means to cover such a pricy product. Even synthetic oud fragrances still crank up the oud perfume price. That’s why you can’t find a cheap scent that uses real oud. With that in mind, you can still find an affordable oud perfume that smells good. 

The idea is to try a couple of different products and see which one suits your taste and budget. To save up on oud costs, you can get inexpensive 6 mil oud fragrances (about the size of a lipstick) that feature a unisex scent. But, the best scents are known to come from big perfume houses like Yves Saint Laurent (YSL) and Chanel. 

Oud Versus Sandalwood – Which One Is Better?

Many people want to know whether sandalwood is the new oud. For the last couple of years, consumers have been obsessed with the intoxicating musky scent of oud. But, sandalwood is also gaining momentum. Oud is known for its potent fragrance, while sandalwood is quite classy, warm, and has a woody smell. 

Compared to other aromatic woods, sandalwood can keep its fragrance for decades. But, its durability will vary based on the storage space. The fact is sandalwood and Agarwood are very different. Oud can be a lot more strident. For some, oud is more complex and deep. It can also have fruity notes depending on the products you buy. 

Whereas sandalwood gives off creamy, almost milky notes. Both have their own unique flare. Then again, the smell is very subjective. What works for others may not work for you. It will also depend on the season and mood. Many consumers like the denseness of oud. But, others are more fans of the way sandalwood makes them feel. It doesn’t add as much depth, but it can feel warm and natural. 

Whether you decide on oud vs sandalwood, be sure to try out the smell yourself. Some smells could irritate you, and others can make you feel at ease. The goal of such expensive perfumes is to make you smell classy. They feature a high oud perfume price tag due to their rarity and quality. However, everyone has a different taste. So, you would need to try it to know exactly which would make for a fine product. 

Final Thoughts

So, is oud smell any good? Oud is all about depth, luxury, and spiciness. It may seem a bit overpowering, yet it can invoke warmth and smoky notes. People find it simultaneously pungent. When mixed with fruity or floral notes, it can be very sensual and seductive. Due to the growing demand, rarity, and effort it takes for harvesting it; the oud prices make it one of the most expensive oils on the globe. 

The truth is, there are a plethora of oud options for you to try. But, unless you smell the product, you won’t know whether it will be to your liking. Now that you know everything about oud scents, you can use this knowledge to pick out your favourite fragrance.