Oudh Benchmark

As a perfumer I have benchmark samples for most my ingredients, these are the samples that I compare every new batch to, it is like ground zero. These samples are what I consider to be the best of that particular ingredient based on my individual experience and in most cases the collective experience of a close group of colleagues in the industry whose noses I consider reliable. Every year the patchouli is different, even though my supplier is the same company and same crops. Every the rose is different, every year the Jasmine is different and i could continue listing one natural ingredient after another.

The reason why every seasons produce is different is because no two seasons are the same, the level of nutrient in the ground varies, the amount of rain varies, the number of sun shining days and intensity of it varies. Therefore by definition nature will produce natural goods and they will vary. So how does one keep some level of consistency in their products and build on such constant changing dynamics. Bench marking becomes of utmost important. It is very easy to drift with the different smells from the different ingredients and an ingredient that smells like A few years later will start smelling like Z, when it is not suppose to smell like Z at all. How does one not get lost in that drift, bench marking, having a bench mark that you can return to and check your new purchase and ensure your olfactory library is aligned with your olfactory memories.

With this in mind I have done something that I would not otherwise do. I am aware that in the oudh world the scent of oudh is drifting away from what oudh used to be at a very fast rate. Some of the oudhs I smell today is nothing like the oudhs of yesterday. I don’t say this is a good or bad thing, i am simply pointing out the drift and for the purpose of understanding and being able to identify the shit one needs to have a set of benchmarks. Here i have developed a benchmark sample set that incorporates oudh oils of different regions artisanally distilled in house by Al Shareef. The Signature Sample set does not only include oudhs form different regions, but also oudhs distilled employing different techniques and methods. The Signature Sample Set also includes samples of wild and organic oudhs, providing you a wide cross section (8 samples) to have as a benchmark for artisanal oudhs.

It is very important to have such a benchmark as a beginner or even an advanced oudh connoisseur, this will assist you in your development and growth in both identifying scent drift and varying types of profiles based on distillation methods.

Oudh Knowledge

Oudh, Oud or technically Agarwood is regarded as the product of a natural reaction to a fungal disease that infects the Aquilaria, Aetoxylon, and Gonystylus genus of species from the family of Thymelaeaceae. From these the best known for its resinous heart wood is the Aquilaria species. There are different accounts regarding how many of the Aquilaria species produce this valuable resin, Ng, Chang and Kadir mention over 22 different species from this genus group.

If you have never experienced pure oudh oils, they are a thing to behold and Al Shareef Oudh has a wonderful selection of oudh oils available to buy at our online store. Read on to find out more about the cultivation of this timeless fragrance, and find out why Oudh oil is such a natural perfume revered and respected scent.

Oudh Oil

The fungal infection can infect the tree in many ways; through natural wounds, insect borings, floods, and human intervention. Once the tree is infected it stimulates a natural immune response within the tree in an effort to kill off the fungus. This reaction is the production of the oleoresin, or Oudh as it commonly known, which forms in the form of irregular patches of dark saturation in the wood. It begins as a light colour secretion and over time developing into a thicker and darker resin. This highly prized wood is most commonly found in the interior of ancient trees that can vary in age from a couple of decades to many hundreds of years – the highest quality agarwood oil coming from the oldest trees.

Quality Oudh Oil

The quality of the Oudh is not only determined by the age of the tree but also the age of the infection. A mature tree with a matured infection will produce a higher quality Oudh. It is important to note that different species within a genus produce varying ‘scent profiles’ of Oudh essential oil, as for which one is the best that is subject to taste and much discussion.

The above species of Aquilaria are spread across much of Asia; from the Indian Subcontinent to the Islands of Indonesia and Philippines.

Due to unethical logging and the greedy exploits of mankind natural wild Oudh is in danger of extinction. More Oudh has been illegally poached in the last 10 years than the past 100 years and what was once available in reasonable supply with fair prices is difficult to come by and often sold at extortionate and ridiculous prices.

Found in a Wide Variety of Sources

Today Oudh is found on the market in many forms, origins and qualities. Ranging from logs, chips to pulverised dust to incense sticks and oils. Unlike other fragrant woods and materials the scent of Oudh cannot be replicated chemically – a piece of Oudh is like a hidden jewel. It does not express evident blooms of fragrance before burning or distillation but when gently heated, placed on a whitened coal or distilled by traditional artisan its secrets unravel enlightening the beholder with its many intricacies of olfactory bliss…

No two pieces of Oudh can be the same in fragrance. A multitude of factors affects the scent of Oudh; from the age of the tree and resin to the location of the tree, the soil type and environment to the amount of sunlight and moisture received all leaving their own imprint on the final scent. It doesn’t stop there, when applying the Oudh Oil or burning the wood, the weather, your body and surroundings all have an impact on the fragrance experienced. This living element that allows the Oudh to alter its behaviour so dynamically and metamorphose is what makes this beautiful fragrance to be known as the “Scent of Life”