We have this SINGLE question asked thousands of times:
"Why do agarwood beads have no smell? "
Well, the truth is: the smell is always present; it is just us who are unable to detect it. Suppose you have a chance to sniff some agarwood chip at room temperature; you would find it is challenging to smell it. Reason: the scent molecules of agarwood chips are not so volatile at room temperature. Only a few people with trained noses could smell it, and it takes years to obtain this skill. Unlike the divine aroma of agarwood oil, which is distilled using kilos of wood (for 1 kg of wood, 0ml to 25ml produced depending on raw material and technique), agarwood chips offer minimum or subtle scent. Similarly, agarwood beads have the exact trait. It is costly because to "round" the beads, many materials will be used and only the most resin content.
Agarwood beads' pattern is from the infected area. This area will provide a sweet vanilic aroma when heated. In summer when the temperature rise, you have a good chance to feel the smell that you do not have in winter.
Please note Agarwood is from infected Aquilaria tree. Wood from healthy Aquilaria trees do not have aroma.
Some people may ask: what about sandalwood?
Sandalwood is very different, and its heartwood offers a strong aroma, sweet, warm, creamy and woody. You could smell it directly, even from the wood log.
Once the beads are polished, you can smell them at room temperature, and it smells very similar when heated. This is a clear distinction between agarwood and sandalwood beads. If you are after some natural strong scented beads at room temperature, sandalwood beads are what you are looking for.
The above beads smell very close to Mysore Sandalwood incense or powder.