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September 11, 2019 4 min read

Agarwood distribution

Aquilaria trees thrive in a hot and humid climate, distributed around South East Asia region

The 4 most common Aquilaria species

  • Aquilaria Malaccensis, found in Bangladesh; Bhutan; India (Assam,Tripura, Sikkim, Nagaland, Mizoram, Meghalaya, Manipur, Arunachal Pradesh); Indonesia (Kalimantan, Sumatera); Malaysia (Peninsular Malaysia, Sabah); Myanmar (Myanmar (mainland)); Philippines; Singapore; Thailand
    distribution map per below

  • Aquilaria Crassna, found in  Cambodia; Lao People's Democratic Republic; Thailand; Viet Nam

  • Aquilaria sinensis, found in China (Hainan, Guangdong, Guangxi, Fujian); Hong Kong, distribution map per below

  • Aquilaria filaria, found in Indonesia; Papua New Guinea (Papua New Guinea (main island group)); Philippine

  • Aquilaria Rugosa, found in Thailand; Viet Nam

So IUCN has a sum up page about the Aquilaria species and its decreasing population in the wild, not some of them but all of them

Source: IUCN Red List

In Australia, there is no report about the wild Aquilaria species but Aquilaria Crassna is planted in the North Queensland Region by Westcorp

From the above, the wild species are listed as "Vulnerable" and  the number of Aquilaria trees in the wild is decreasing

Have you noticed that Aquilaria trees (agarwood) mainly grown in South East Asia? And have you wondered why?

In the past, there are multiple attempts to grow in different regions and only a handful survive but die immaturely. Dr Page , mentioned that Aquilaria trees only grow in hot and humid regions, tropical weather, warm climate.

So, why is it important?

First, the wild species are decreasing, are protected under CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora), so if you are a perfumery, skincare or cosmetic manufacturer, you would want consistent quality and quantity. Being wild Aquilaria species (Wild Agarwood), the supply will be limited which hinder your production.

In addition, with Wild Agarwood, there would be very limited quantity you can get because of strict regulations. There will be multiple paperwork involved with import and export from your countries, the couriers and if it was not done correctly, it may cost you thousands of thousands of $$$$. Why would it be the case you may ask?

Wild agarwood oil is strictly limited, and to some countries, it is totally illegal. If the quantity is large enough (for example 200ml )Your order may be stopped and held by custom. It could be one day, it also could be many days. You will be charged for storage. You will be charged for every day until you have the correct documentation before your goods could be released. Before you knew it, the bill could be a thousand-dollar extra compared to the original invoice. A sticky situ

So, the golden question to ask your supplier: "do you supply CITES permit?" If they asked you what it was, chances are they have been sending incorrectly and they did not even know about that.

So many perfumers claimed that they have oud in their perfume. When asked where they got their oud from, they simply mentioned it was confidential and did not want to disclose which is understandable. However, some disclosed that they had no idea if the oud they are getting was genuine because the scent profile changed all the time, not small changes but a big one. Some even mentioned custom asked for an import permit which they did not have and as a result, the parcel was confiscated. The supplier claimed that it was the perfumer's responsibility but the truth is: it is the supplier's duty to provide this documentation to custom.

Cultivated agarwood is the way for a sustainable future, the Aquilaria species are planted NOT hunted. Why is it important? It means we can scale, and we can be your partner, we will work with you to scale your production.

Why cultivated agarwood?

There will be some debates about wild agarwood is better than the cultivated one.  Is it true? Shall we do some analysis:

  1. Yes, wild agarwood is usually perceived as better quality. This is true when the tree is old as well as the age of infection. Wild healthy Aquilaria without any infection, will have little to no value to the market although it plays an important role in our earth (provide oxygen). The longer the age of infection, the higher the quality, the higher the price. Unfortunately, due to high demand, these trees are decreasing in number dramatically. If the age of infection is short, the quality of the wild may not even as good as the cultivated ones.
  2. If you look at the source of the argument, it is usually the one who do not have access to cultivated agarwood will bring this debate up: wild agarwood is more superior than cultivated one. They also argue that it is cruel to drill to the plant, to wound the Aquilaria tree and to infect them with fungi. It is inhuman and unethical because the Aquilaria tree is a living thing, a living organism. Well, we do not bite into that because the wild agarwood is also created through the wounding process either by boring insects or thunderbolt, then infected by fungi. The difference is: one was created by chances, one was created by human by mimicking nature.

There is another reason for the essential buyers who want to purchase in large quantity to choose cultivated agarwood: You only need a few tests and your due diligence is minimal. "What do you mean?"  Well, feel free to ask any oud artisans about the Gas chromatography–mass spectrometry (GC-MS) test, it will be likely they will tell you it is not feasible to do so because, with wild agarwood oil, each batch will be different and with unscrupulous sellers, they will likely to mix some unknown substances to make up the volume. The supply is inconsistent, the scent profile is inconsistent, also the production is inconsistent.

With cultivated oud oil, you can verify the source, you can do a test to verify what you need.

If you wanted to create a phenomenon Oud perfume, with your skills and our superior quality, your dream could become a reality. Contact us today: info@grandawood.com.au


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