Oud oil is derived from the heartwood of a tropical evergreen known as the Agar tree. While this tree is believed to have originated from Assam, India, the 15 different species of this tree are now native to the rainforests of southeast Asia. Today, the agar tree can be found in Indonesia, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, Malaysia, Northeast India, the Philippines, Borneo and New Guinea. The importance of this tree is seen in the holistic medicine and perfume industries as the oil derived from the Agar tree is highly sought after for its luxurious fragrance and wide range of healing properties.
When the Agar tree is attacked by a specific combination of fungi, it releases a resin to defend itself. This resin is what is used to create oud oil, one of the rarest essential oils in the world. Oud oil has been called alluring and intoxicating, and so complex that describing its aroma can be challenging. At first smell, you will notice a woody, vanilla fragrance which quickly becomes balsamic, bitter and spicy.
History Of Oud Oil
Oud oil has been traded throughout Asia since prehistoric times and it is mentioned in history as far back as 350 CE in ancient Kamarupa by Chinese pilgrim. We can see evidence of the distillation of oud oil during thirteenth century in ancient Assam, from which it was then exported to the Middle East through Kamarupa via the Silk Route.
Oud oil was also carried by pilgrims to the western Indian city of Multan, which is now in Pakistan. From the early 1900’s, agar extraction has grown in Upper Assam and the oud oil is sent to Kolkata and Mumbai where it is then shipped throughout the world to Arabia, Persia, Turkey, Europe and the US.
Oud Oil Uses
Oud oil has been used as incense for centuries throughout China, Japan, India, and many other Asian countries. It is used to celebrate birth and to mourn death and has become a part of everyday life in many Asian cultures. It is also used as a medicinal remedy for a wide range of ailments and, most recently, as a designer fragrance from some of the top fashion design houses.
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