May 10, 2017

Just like any other market, we have been offered to purchase these "high quality", "double super king" agarwood at a good price from local and oversea sellers/ hunters. First and foremost important question, Is it really agarwood? Please see the below three "prospective sellers" :

 a) From Papua New Guine

 b) Local Malaysian Hunters

 

 c) Another Papua New Guine "agarwood"

Before determine whether the above wood is agarwood (Oud), let's examine its

taxonomy via science textbook against a sample of genuine agarwood

 

 Text book: Agarwood, Science Behind the Fragrance:

Source Agarwood, Science Behind the Fragrance (2017)

Actual image under magnifier (approximately 30 times)

This match with the image b

 

high quality agarwood magnifier microscope

Due to the limit of types of equipment, as we do not process lab microscope, we would not be able to match agarwood taxanomy mentioned in the textbook.

If in doubt, ask for a small piece from the sample and heat it, the distinctive smell of agarwood is unmistakable. If smell odd, trust your gut, do not buy.

Alright, ladies and gentlemen, after judging and heating, here is the answer

a) Not agarwood

b) Not agarwood: this looks like a real piece of high-grade agarwood. Unfortunately, after heating and physically feeling, it is NOT agarwood either

c) Not agarwood, similar but NO.

It is not easy to find this precious wood in the jungle and hewing down tree without knowledge is extremely devastating because it is a bad practice because it is bad for the environment

So what do we learn?

  1. It is a painstaking task to identify, collect, select genuine agarwood. Especially in agarwood bead making, many sellers could tell you they are selling genuine stuff. It is important to know if the sellers are passionate and knowledgeable about what they are doing (apart from making profit, well, even charitable organisations need to make a profit). Agarwood beads are extremely difficult to test without breaking it and classified as HIGH-RISK item due to its value. Just like buying a diamond, you should buy from reputable sellers.
  2. Agarwood is costly to produce and therefore it is not cheap. If the price is too good to be true, it probably is. Ask the sellers how it was produced?
  3. If you want to identify the fake one, first learn the real one, smell it first to know what to look for. Heating Agarwood chip is a good start as you will know the "core" and the basic smell of it which could be very beneficial in detecting Oud note in perfume and incense.

Bonus

The bark of Aquilaria tree (which creates agarwood when wounded) is "peelable" without break. This is one of the wild tree within our forest.

 

 

 


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