The note du jour, Oud has taken the fragrance world by storm. Used for centuries in Middle Eastern scents, YSL brought Oud to the forefront in 2002 with the creation of ‘M7’, and almost every major perfume house is now bringing it to the mainstream thanks to its intoxicating, incense-like smell.
But if you don’t know your Oud oils from your Agarwood chips and your pure perfumes, Savoir Flair’s got you covered. We tapped the Oud expert from luxe scent store Ghawali to find out all there is to know about perfumery’s most in-demand and on-trend ingredient. From how to pick the perfect one to how to preserve it, read on to get in the mood for Oud.
What is oud and what are the different kinds?
Oud is one of the most precious and sought-after ingredients in perfumery. It is a natural ingredient, extracted from the beautiful Aquilaria trees of Asia. When the tree becomes infected, it releases a special resin to fight the infection, and that extracted resin is the Oud, which is present in several forms. Agarwood chips are parts taken directly from the trunk of the trees that have oil within them. When burning them, some bubbles form and the beautiful scent of Oud is emanated. At Ghawali, we have Agarwood chips from three different origins: India, Cambodia, and Malaysia. Each type has a specific scent and note to it.
These Agarwood chips can also be macerated with other fragrances, so that the fragrance is mixed with the natural oud scent when burning. You can find them in Oud Mouattar (chips that are soaked in fragrance) or Dokhoun (oud powder soaked into fragrance and molded into small “cakes”). Then there’s the precious Dehn al Oud, a pure Oud oil extracted from the wood of the tree. This is the most expensive form of Oud as it is the strongest in terms of scent and has the longest extracting process. Ghawali offers five different types of Dehn al Oud to cater to every taste: Indian, Cambodian, Malaysian, Safi, and Moattaq.
What are your top tips for someone choosing an Oud for the first time?
When smelling Oud for the first time, the scent can be quite strong and overwhelming, but don’t judge the scent from the first impression! It is best to try a drop of the Dehn al Oud or a spritz of the Oud perfume on your skin first, and then wait for a bit for the scent to settle and transform on your skin. Always ask to test the Oud and let it settle. Or, at our stores, we have a beautiful Bokhour room where you can experience the Agarwood, Oud Mouattar, and Dokhoun in the comfort of a majlis-like room and immerse yourself in the different scents.
How do you take care of oud perfumes and preserve them?
When it comes to Dehn al Oud, which is the pure Oud-oil format, the scent matures with age – so you can keep it for a long time and use it on these special occasions. Some people even keep their most precious Oud locked away in a special safe! You just need to take care when using your Dehn al Oud not to have any other ingredients or fragrance enter the bottle as it will alter the natural component of the Oud. However, you can layer the fragrances directly on your skin.
For the perfumes with Oud, these are like any other perfumes and best used within the year of their purchase. Oud Mouattar and Dokhoun are also best to used within the first year of purchase as the fragrance mixed with the oud chips can dry down.
What is the correct way to wear Oud perfumes?
When using Dehn al Oud, it is best to apply it to your pulse points (wrists, neck, and even the nose for the gentlemen). When it comes to the perfume, you can use it like any other fragrance as Oud scents are quite strong – they are perfect for special occasions and “colder” months.
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