Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 12 July 2020

Singing oud’s praises

Oud resin is one of the world's most expensive raw materials because of its popularity in fragrances.
Oud incense at Marina Mall. Nicole Hill / The National
Oud incense at Marina Mall. Nicole Hill / The National

At first blush, mouldy wood might seem an unlikely choice for the perfume industry. But when the tree is Agarwood and its reaction to being infected with mould is to create a rich dark resin, you have all the ingredients for oud: an oil that can cost up to 200 times more than gold by weight and is the basis for some of the world’s most coveted fragrances.

Oud’s ethereal appeal has not just maintained its popularity in the $30 billion (Dh110bn) global perfume industry but is increasing its share, being included in more than one in 10 of new fragrances. But as The National reported yesterday, the Middle East has gone from being the centre of the world scent industry to mostly importing these fragrances from the West. This ranges from Tom Ford Oud Wood, which retails at Dh790 for 50ml, through to brands like Kindus that are launched for this market.

Given this region’s renown fondness for perfumes for both genders, this poses the question of why aren’t more fragrances manufactured here? And especially when local perfume afficionados sometimes deride some of these imported scents as failing to truly take advantage of the earthy and long-lasting characteristics of oud-based perfumes.

The perfume industry can trace its roots to Arabia. The expertise and appreciation exists here to make it one of the centres once more.

Updated: August 19, 2014 04:00 AM

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