Oud and its impact on the perfume industry, especially in the Arabian Gulf

Oud and its impact on the perfume industry, especially in the Arabian Gulf


Oud has been used and entered in the perfume industry for more than two centuries of continuous use, this year the authorities in the United Arab Emirates announced that traditional oud and concentrated oils will not be sold using the historical measurement system “Tula” and instead will move to the measurement “g/ml”.

The move, which came into effect at the end of last month, marks an important shift for oud in the UAE. It also indicates an increasing demand for agarwood in the Middle East and around the world.

Oud in the Emirates

Oud, known as “liquid gold,” is the most expensive oil in perfumery. However, its importance in the Middle East exceeds its monetary value. Agarwood oil has been used as a body fragrance and wood chips as an antiseptic smoke since it was first introduced to Gulf traders in the Indian state of Assam.

Since then, the bark from the agar or aquilaria tree, native to Southeast Asia, has become more valuable. The dark, sticky resin secreted by Aquilaria is used to protect itself from parasitic mold. Less than 2% of wild trees produce it and it takes at least 40 years before a tree accumulates a good amount of agarwood to harvest.

Most importantly, the oud has a special cultural significance. The sweet, rich scent has become synonymous with bays as it is infused into everyday life – from the scent of burning wood in the home to the scent of breath as a cheek-to-cheek greeting. It is an important indicator of prestige and wealth as the cost of the oil increases with the complexity of the aroma and the scarcity of the source.

The changing market for oud

Globally, there is strong evidence that consumer tastes are shifting towards fragrances derived from essential oils including agarwood, amber and sandalwood. The mysterious nature of agarwood, which can be spicy, woody, balsamic and amber all at the same time, makes it an even more attractive fragrance than the classic floral and citrus notes of Asia and Europe.

The growing demand for agarwood in the perfume industry

The sharp rise in the popularity of oud was associated with Tom Ford, who first began incorporating oud into his own blends and exposing Western markets to its complex properties. A number of French and Italian brands followed suit. This has resulted in the emergence of oud firmly in the mainstream.

 Contemporary perfumers often seek to create fresher blends that include bergamot, green neroli, ginger and citruses. This has helped establish the scent in a wider market, reaching consumers who might not normally be attracted to darker aromas.

Tom Ford Oud Wood Intense perfume

The rising trend of ouds outside the Middle East has also been linked to the global movement of people. Western expats working in the Middle East may recognize the fragrance. Which encourages its introduction and acceptance in the West. With more and more people exposed to the scent of life in the Gulf, they seek to re-create the intoxicating sensory experience back home.

In turn, more brands have started incorporating oud into their fragrances, from Versace Oud Noir to Ormond Jean's Elixir Collection, to reinterpret the brand's most famous scents with a touch of oud. In 2020, some of the market leading oud fragrances are the other side of oud from Atkinsons, Royal Creed Oud and Acqua di Parma Cologne. In response to this upward global trend, agarwood prices have continued to rise sharply thanks to increased demand and scarcity, cementing its position as a luxury product.

Why is measurement important

In Dubai, the raw materials for oud are brought in and sold on a large scale. As one of the most important Oud trading centers in the world, measurement is important to the United Arab Emirates. The Tula system has been used to trade agarwood and essential oils in the country since 1833, when Indian traders began trading on a larger scale. This historical use has remained unchanged until this year, but globalization has made it increasingly problematic. Crucially, the tola system is incompatible with the metric system - 1 tola equals 12 milliliters. Difficult conversion for any consumer.

The latest standardization step by the Emirate of Standardization and Metrology (ESMA), which changes overnight from tola measurement to gram/milliliter measurement, aims to facilitate the export of local products. By removing barriers of unity, the UAE hopes to improve the competitiveness of agarwood products globally, by ensuring that agarwood can move unimpeded across its borders.

The global standardized measurement of fragrances ensures that buyers and sellers are transparent, with no conversions required. To help merchants, suppliers and retailers in the UAE adapt to the change, ESMA has set up a consumer education website, as well as workshops for merchants. Overall, the change was welcomed with the hope that it would foster the continued growth of the oud trade in the future.

Oud in 2023.

Oud was brought from Southeast Asia to the Middle East by traders, and agarwood has become an integral part of Middle Eastern culture. It is so lingering on skin and mind, that one almost longs for the woody warmth of the scent after periods of absence.

Now oud is spreading beyond its historical borders once again to become the new favorite of international perfumes. With a market estimated to be worth around £5 billion annually, the lasting impact of this impenetrable scent doesn't seem to be waning anytime soon.

More and more people are looking to Vietnam to buy high quality agarwood oil for perfume production in Arab countries.

With 3 large agarwood forests in Vietnam and 3 factories that have been put into operation, we currently have more than 200 modern oud cooking machines and are leading the Vietnamese market in terms of output and quality of oud oil.

Being distilled from pure oud without fragrance or toxic chemicals, oud oil grade K is the best choice for you. Vietnamese oud oil grade S is the very high quality oud oil product manufactured by Binh Nghia Agarwood Co., Ltd, ranking only after grade "Super K". 

Vietnamese oud oil grade K, S, V contains pure oil extracted from the oud inside Vietnamese aquilaria crassna trees. No fragrance is mixed with this pure oil, so its scent seems to be natural, earthy, warm and very sweet. The oud oil after being applied to the skin lasts for up to 10 hours,  if being applied to the clothes lasts for up to 15 days.

Binh Nghia oud oil grade K, S, V is made from pure oud. No toxic chemicals or fragrance is added to the oil. All is pure and natural.

All Binh Nghia oud oil products are certified with CITES, COA, MSDS and C/O.

Binh Nghia Agarwood (Oud) Oil

Vietnam Oud Oil of Binh Nghia Agarwood is extracted from high quality cultivated and wild Agarwood trees (Agarwood dust) will be a great choice for you in achieving the above benefits. Our Oud Oil is extracted without any chemicals (100% organic) and is safe to use.

Our Agarwood Oil contains pure oil extracted from the Aquilaria Crassna throughout Vietnam, mostly from plantation from trees of above 10 to 20 years old age. No fragrance is mixed in the oil, so it’s warm and sweet scent smells naturally. The oud oil after being applied to the skin lasts for up to 10 hours, being heated or applied on clothes lasts for long.

Binh Nghia Agarwood oil isn’t just used for its beautifully irresistible fragrance, but it is famous for its tremendous health benefits as well. 

We are proud to be the leading manufacturer and supplier of Agarwood / Oud Oil, Chips, Incense, Resin, Sanai, Powder and Accessories. Our Agarwood has been on the worldwide market since 1980s and we have brought much more Scent of Vietnam to every corner beyond the Middle East. It is our great honor to be part of your precious culture in every moment of life, and your precious health benefits as well.

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