A fantastic analysis of Oud and how much of it in contemporary perfumes is actually a synthetic molecule. Obviously, that impacts the nuances and smell. To quote one part of the fascinating post: “Nowadays, natural oud is rarely used in perfumery. Due to over-harvesting and the labourious process collecting the raw material, it is not feasible to use natural oud for mass market perfumery. Most fragrances on the market contain synthetic materials to replicate the natural oud scent. Vir Sanghvi (virsangvi.com) says that Firmenich’s Oud Synthetic 10760E is used in most oud fragrances on the mass market. Givaudan also has its own version of an oud synthetic. Elena Vosnaki (perfumeshrine.blogspot.ca) says that Oud Wood by Tom Ford is made with Givaudan’s Agarwood Arpur. Bond No. 9 New York Oud also contains the same synthetic.”
If you’re interested in Oud, make sure to read the whole thing. You can learn a lot, as I did. From Creed’s Royal Oud to others, there may be a market and commercial reason for why synthetic oud may be preferable for perfumers. Apart from the low(er) cost, naturally.
In the last several years oud has become very popular in mass market and niche fragrances. I did some research on oud and how it is used in perfumes nowadays and here is what I found out:
Sourcing Natural Oud
Oud (a.k.a. agarwood, oudh, aoud) is formed when the heartwood of Aquilaria and Gyrinops trees get infected with a dark-walled fungus (Phaeoacremonium parasitica). The infected tree releases a resin in the process of protecting itself from the fungus. This resin emits a very complex and distinctive smell, which we call today oud or agarwood.
Agarwood can be produced only from eight of the fifteen species of Aquilaria. Those 8 species are traditionally found in India, the Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Malaysia and Papua New Guinea. Naturally, under 10% of the trees in a Aquilaria forest would get infected with the fungus and produce oud. A common method to get higher…
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