Removing the plate at the back to open the statue, they found some items inside the figure. They were the mother of pearl, lapis lazuli, rock crystals, two strips of silk and four wedge-shaped pieces of fragrant wood inside the interior cavities.
When they brought it into the lab, the test result revealed that one of the wood fragments is Agarwood.
Does it make you wonder why fragment fragrant woods were placed inside the statue?
In China, around the fifth century, people worship Buddhas, and they use incense as offering to Him when praying and chanting. In this period Agarwood was used in incense making for the noble and royal families. Agarwood was also used as a consecrated item for worshipping.
Why do they like this wood so much?
When burnt, this wood emits a pleasant fragrance intermittently. It is intermittent because of the wood structure. When you pick this wood up and look closely, you would see its texture. Some parts were highly resinous, and some were decent while others are ordinary. When the flame hit the resinous parts, you will feel extremely delighted because of the woody scent. A few minutes later, you will experience the quietness because the flame hit the ordinary part, and then you feel good again. A customer of ours was so excited about this strange wood. He examined it under a microscopic. Zooming in and out, he found that there were brown and black grains distributed with great density all over the piece of wood. He also learnt that it takes many decades for these brown and textures to form.
And my friend
These brown and black grains (or textures) are the source of the fragrance—they are Agarwood.
Fragrant Agarwood chips
In the past, only the wealthy, noble or royal families have access to Agarwood because it was expensive.
Wild agarwood wood is rare, and it takes decades to form. In nature, only one in a hundred Aquilaria tree may have Agarwood. Back then, no one knew how to "grow Agarwood", so they relied on hunters. These hunters who risk their lives, spent weeks or even months in the jungle to get these woods.
But that is not the end.
They need to bring the wood back, and "fillet" them out, only keep the resin and remove as the white wood as much as they can.
This process alone is very laborious. A worker uses a sharp chisel to scrape the ordinary white wood out, one bit by one bit until there was no wood log left to do. The challenge is you need to know which part of scraping out, and it varies between wood logs. Even today, this process has to be done manually, and it has not yet been replaced by a machine or AI (Artificial Intelligence).
At Grandawood, we have a small team doing this. Our team ensure only resinous wood remained so you can experience this aroma fully. Here are what genuine agarwood chips look like
You are looking at some genuine agarwood chips. Genuineness is a big deal because there are many counterfeit products on the market. Many people claim they have Agarwood, but send you an oil-scented wood once you pay them up. On the surface, this fake wood looks like a real deal, but when you heat them, you will find it was not pleasant at all. As a result, you will have a wrong impression of this heavenly aroma.
Life is short, I urge you to try the genuAgarwood yourself, and you will not regret it.
Do you know there are three ways to enjoy Agarwood?
Here is the first one:
Heating agarwood woodchips (or oud chip)
This method is simple, but it will require three things.
Some oud chips (of course)
A charcoal briquette
A charcoal container (or an incense censer)
To set up
Use the tweezer to pick a charcoal briquette.
Light the charcoal up while holding the charcoal with the tweezer
Place the lit charcoal inside the incense censer.
Wait for 3 minutes. When you see a thin layer of ash formed around the charcoal, place the agarwood chips on top of the charcoal. Be careful; the charcoal is HOT.
"Wait, Trent, it looks and sounds too complicated. All I want is to smell the agarwood chip".
Lighting charcoal sounds simple, but it takes time and effort. If you don't like doing it, I understand. That is why I give you another an easy option. All you need is a lighter, and something to hold the incense.
Unlike most other incense in the market, Grandawood only uses REAL pulverised agarwood chips to make our incense.
You may not know, but one thing we have more than our competitor: Aquilaria trees, the sourceAgarwood. We have access to 953,344 Aquilaria trees, enough to use many decades WITHOUT planning them (but for a sustainable future, we ALWAYS re-plan our trees).
So we have no reason to use any Agarwood in our incense because it will cost us more if we don't use our own genuine Agarwood. We say this so you can have peace of mind.
Is it worth the money?
Over the past decades, we have been sending thousands, and thousands kg of our best three signature incenses to our customers. Our all-time best selling is Awakening. For the price of $50 (+ GST), it is certainly not the cheapest in the market.
But if you compare with a well-known designer brand, you will see how much value you are getting from this.
First, the designer brand uses fragrance oil or a blend of essential oil to create their incense aromas. The scent is from the fragrance oil, not from the incense.
Ours use the old-school way: pulveriAgarwood and some post-distilled agarwood powder. The scent is from burnAgarwood, not from burning oil.
When burnt, the designer incense smells strong and intense. Ours one is subtle but pleasant. At one time, it is so woody, while other times, it was quiet. And just like you listen to instrumental music, you will experience high and low, which makes it more interesting to enjoy.
The designer brand has fancy packages, with a price tag from $30 to $100 with no real agarwood. The cost of having a fancy box is similar to the cost of producing incense, sometimes even more. I don't know about you, but I believe it is the inside that count. Ours have genuAgarwood the best selling one is $50 (+GST). One second best selling one is $30 (+GST), the cost is lower because cultivaAgarwood is lower than the wild one. After all, if you are after a fancy looking package, then our incense is probably not for you. But if you are after some quality incense, I urge you to try because I know you will enjoy it just like many of our customers.
But "Trent If I don't like smoke, and still want to try agarwood aromas, do you have anything for me?"
Don't worry; I also got you covered. There are some reasons that burning incenses and woodchips are not for you. Maybe you live in an apartment equipped with Smoke Alarms, or perhaps you have small children in your house, it is a risk when fire involved.
I have one Agarwood product that may interest you.
Introduce Agarwood oil
The Middle East people love it; they grow up with it. Let me introduce to you, the most concentrated Agarwood product: Agarwood oil, made from many kgs of Agarwood chips.
This is a controversial product because for the same product you may read total opposite opinions about it. You may even read in some online forum or group discussions about it.
Some people say it smells like a dead rat or decomposed body while others say it is so great.
That type of Oud they are referring to is fermented Oud, and I am not talking about that today because I do not want you to get the wrong impression about this heavenly aroma.
If you had a bad experience about agarwood oil before, then smelling these four agarwood oud oil will change your mind.
If you have not tried Agarwood oil before, these four Agarwood oils are the excellent starting point.
I will only show you the four that almost all perfumers love because they are easy to work with, and they smell great.
These four smells different, but each of them has their unique character.
Click the link of each oil to learn more because each of them has their own stories.