Traditionally, people use agarwood for oud chips, heating them as incenses. In modern days, agarwood (oud) gains interest in cosmetics and medicine manufacturing. Due to over-exploited, this precious wood is depleting. Human is planting hundred of agarwood plantation sites to save this valuable commodity in multiple locations to cope with its high demand.
Not everyone knows that it takes years for the Aquilaria tree to produce agarwood. 8 years for the tree to mature and another of 2 years of wounding during which many may die immaturely. It is fair to say, on average, it takes ten years to produce decent agarwood quality.
With commercial distilling technique, it takes1000 kg of wood to produce 1 litre of oil (this number varies). Directly from plantation site or growers, the price of cultivated Agarwood (oud) oil is from $10,000 USD to $14,000 USD or even higher if purchased from dealers.
Cosmetic manufacturers would like "Oud" to be one of their product lines because as long as "Oud" is one of the ingredients, it could be sold at a better price. The question is: " Can they afford it?" or " Are they buying genuine quality Oud?"
If you were a consumer, you would probably hear of the term "Cambodian Oud Oil". This term is prevalent as in the past, Cambodia is one of the leading agarwood suppliers destinations.
No offence, there may be some agarwood plantations site right now (invested by foreigners). Decades ago, there were not any; wild agarwood was abundant back then.
The Middle East region (8,804,395 km², one of the primary consumers of agarwood, is 49 times larger than Cambodia (181,035 km²). Most people in this region know what Oud is because this is part of their culture. An interesting question for you: How large are Cambodia's forest must be to supply for this region? Admittedly, pure oud is not for everyone because of the affordability. What about in commercial production?
What about in commercial production? Professional distillers know that for wild agarwood, it is tough to get the same scent profile for different batches. On top of that, only 10% of Aquilaria trees in the wild contains agarwood. Inconsistency is the main issue for large production. Besides, wild oil is double the cultivated one at least and extremely limited in quantity. If you are a consumer, you expect the same quality all the time if you buy the same product, which makes wild oud is not an ideal ingredient.
So how skincare or cosmetic producers contain "Oud" in their products? One of the answers will be using synthetic, which is understandable as long as it is not harmful to the human being. The untrained nose will not notice the difference.
The other may be deceived by the unscrupulous sellers or has no idea what Oud is. Please see the label from one of the skincare brands:
On the left-hand side, Aquilaria Agallocha is an agarwood creation species, which sounds legit. However, when looking at "Aetocxylon Sympetalum", you know that is not agarwood oil as this species does produce oil but NOT agarwood oil. It is known as "buaya agarwood" locally in Indonesia. Which are abundant and quite low cost to make.
Quite often, people discussed Arabian Oud, and when asked what it is, surprisingly, the answer is Oud from Arab Saudi. Please note, agarwood mainly harvested in South East Asia and India (totally different quality and scent profile), NOT in the Middle East or the Arab world. Surely there many Arabian distillers/ investors who come to Indonesia, Cambodia or Thailand to invest or obtain agarwood but it does not mean that the Oud comes from there.
Believe it or not, we have this request multiple times and surely as many Oud distillers.
Surely we can offer it but not much as it is expensive to produce. Have you ever tried to ask for a ketchup sachet in any fast-food chain to see if you can get it for free? To us, it is unlikely.
There are occasions where branded cosmetic producers asked free samples. They thought that by giving their brand, we are under the impression that " This brand is popular, let's give them free stuff and maybe they place a big order later?".
The short answer is NO, although for courtesy we sometimes do. It is also about the attitude, big buyers (or should we say tyre kickers) asked for FREE samples, when not given, they ask for a wholesale price for the $31 sample below. Really? Yes really! Unbelievable.
As the heading suggests, we love to work with our local clients who are either perfumeries or simply just an Oud lover. We are human after all, and do offer discount to small cosmetic producers who are easy to communicate and work with. We have no pressure from the landlord (none, fortunately, we own the plantation forest) and able to pass the saving back to you.