A perfumer explains: What is oud and how can it enhance your fragrances?

Sensual and exotic, oud is one of the world’s best-known fragrance ingredients. But what exactly goes into obtaining this precious material? María Ángeles Santiago, Senior Perfumer at Iberchem, provides her insight

Oud is extracted from the heartwood of Aquilaria trees that have been infected by a specific mould, causing the trees to produce a dark, scented resin

Oud is one of the best-known and best-loved fragrance ingredients among consumers across the globe. Its rich scent and exotic associations have made it synonymous with oriental fragrances for centuries. But how many of us can say we are familiar with the process involved in obtaining oud, or how best to use it in fragrance creation?

María Ángeles Santiago, Senior Perfumer at Iberchem, reveals how we get our hands on this precious material and how beauty companies can benefit.

Over to the expert…

María Ángeles Santiago

Oud is one of the most expensive raw materials used in modern perfumery, costing up to €27,000 per kilo. The current global market for agarwood is estimated to be worth over €5.5bn and is growing rapidly.

The main reason why it is so expensive is its scarcity. Not only has the International Union for Conservation of Nature classified the Aquilaria tree species as critically endangered (its population has declined by more than 80% over the past 150 years), estimates also suggest that agarwood production occurs naturally to only 10% of the trees.

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Iberchem (more information, website)