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September 11, 2019 4 min read

Agarwood distribution

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

The four 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 (leading island group)); Philippine

  • Aquilaria Rugosa, found in Thailand; Viet Nam

So IUCN has a sum up a 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 areas, 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.

Besides, with Wild Agarwood, there would be some limited quantity you can get because of strict regulations. There will be much paperwork involved with multiple parties. Import and export documents from the manufacturers to your countries, and if the courier and the manufacturer handled poorly, it might 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 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 for 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 mentioned it was confidential and did not want to disclose which is understandable. However, some revealed that they had no idea if the oud they are getting was genuine. The experienced oud scent profile changed all the time, not small changes but a big one. Some even mentioned custom asked for an import and export permit which the importer did not apply for. As a result, the custom confiscated the parcel. The supplier claimed that it was the perfumer's responsibility, but the truth is: the supplier must provide this documentation to custom or border agent.

Cultivated agarwood is the way for a sustainable future, with the Aquilaria species 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 ones.  Is it true? Shall we do some analysis:

  1. Yes, oud lovers usually perceive wild agarwood as better quality. This belief is true when the tree is old as well as the age of infection. In contrast, Wild, healthy Aquilaria without any disease, will have little to no value to the market, although it plays a vital 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 ones who do not have access to cultivated agarwood. They 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 nature, one was created by human by mimicking nature.

There is another reason for the essential oil buyers who want to purchase cultivated agarwood in large quantity. They will do some due diligence, including few lab tests, observing the distilling units and facilities.

One of the required tests is the Gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS),

If the suppliers only supply wild oud oil,

It will be likely they will tell you it is not feasible to perfume the test. With wild agarwood oil, each batch will be different. With unscrupulous sellers, they will likely to mix some unknown substances to make up the volume. The supply is inconsistent; the scent profile is irregular; also, the production is erratic.

With cultivated oud oil, you can verify the source; you can do a test to check 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

 **** A EXTRA BONUS FOR ANY PERFUMER IN EUROPE (especially in the UK): YOU WILL NOT PAY ANY VAT TAX IF YOU ORDER OUD WITH US, ANY YES IT IS LEGAL, HOW? CONTACT US :) ****


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