The Frangrance of Royalty

Having spent several years of my life living in the UAE and Kuwait, I became very inured, and in love with the amazingly attractive scent of “Oud”, the traditional, resin oil-based scent that you’ll come across virtually everywhere you go. Whether you are out at a fancy restaurant or in the gym, it seems like the scent of Oud has found itself applications for special occasions as well as routine daily life. For those of you who don’t know what I’m talking about, think strong, woodsy and sweet-smelling aroma which has found its way into many designers’ colognes and perfumes.

That’s right, Oud is no longer only purview of the world of Arabian scents, but can be found in designer scents such as Gucci Intense Oud, Versace Oud Noir and Acqua di Parma Colonia Oud. And if you haven’t experienced this scent yet, I highly suggest that you give it sniff!

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Despite being identified as a Middle Eastern product, Oud actually has its orgins in south-east Asia and the Indian sub-continent. The scent is extracted from several species of exotic trees as far back as the third century C.E. The species of these trees is in fact so rare and valuable that they have become protected in the countries where Oud is extracted. Apart from its use in colognes and perfumes, Oud “chips” are also sold widely in Middle Eastern countries, where they are used as incense as they are slowly burned on a hot coal releasing the most incredible of aromas. This type of Oud doesn’t come cheap, with a few hundred grams costing anywhere from several hundred dollars up to $5,000 depending on the type and the scent it secretes!

Is it sustainable?

More recently, the countries that source the Oud have put in place strict protection laws to harvest limited quantities of Oud, and to ensure that poachers and illegal operations are kept far away from these naturally occurring wonders of nature. The Oud actually comes from Agar trees infected by a parasitic mold named Phialophora parasitica which causes the tree to react by creating a dark, fragrant resin to entrap the parasite within! This hardened resin is what creates Oud which is then harvested. Truly an incredible gift of nature!

Where can I find it?

You can find Oud scents in many different designer colognes I mentioned earlier. If the Oud chips are what you’re after though, these are a lot harder to find depending on which part of the world you’re in. In the countries of the Arabian Gulf such as Qatar, Kuwait and the UAE, you’d find Oud stores quite easily whereas in Europe or North America you’d probably find it in more traditional Middle-Eastern stores. Happy hunting!
Categories: Fashion