Wild Oud Oil: An Ultra-Rare, or Over-Priced Commodity?


Its no secret: oud oil prices have been going up like crazy over the past 5 years. When you look at the price of agarwood in the market, even at the wholesale level, each grade of wood today is approximately 3-10 times the price it was back in 2003 (and the highest grades over 40 times more than they were in 1995)!
So it makes sense that as the price of wild agarwood continues to rise, the price of oils should go up as well, right?
Not quite…

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Al-Syed Byakudan No.1

Agar Aura’s Byakudan No. 1 is our first ever hands-on non-oud distillation.

Although it was meant to be part of the private ‘Syed Series‘ collection of oils which I distill for myself and only share with a very small number of people due to the insane costs and limited availablity of certain batches of raw materials, in the case of Byakudan No. 1 the cost-per-gram turned out to be close enough to being ‘sane’ so I decided to share it with a larger circle of lovers of high grade artisanal oils.

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Case Study: Betonamu Jinkoh, Sumatora Jinkoh, & Rakoku Jinkoh

My previous blog post (here) covering the behind-the-scenes of Manaka Jinkoh and Sasora Jinkoh was received with a ton of interest and enthusiasm (congratulations, you’re all officially Oud NERDS!), so I’m going to go ahead and do an exegesis of our other three Rikkoku-Gomi inspired oils as well.
I hope you’ll find it enlightening, and enjoy reading about some of what goes into designing these super-customized distillations.

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Terengganu project – YOU design the Oud!

When it comes to RAW agarwood, the state of Terengganu boasts the most beautiful scent profile in all of Malaysia. When it comes to oils, its a neck-to-neck competition between Terengganu (far north-east) and far-west states (Perak, Malacca, Selangor, etc). Keep in mind, I’m ONLY referring to ‘prettiness’ right now. Other states are great too of course, each in their own way (e.g. Johor = explosive, Kelantan = grounding, and so on).

We’ve already completed the trial distillation for the next Malaysian project: our first Terengganu oil. But before I finalize the distillation parameters, I want to ask YOU what you want, so that the distillation can be tweaked accordingly.

Take the poll!
See poll results

How do you like them apples?

How Do You Like Them Apples?

So recently, I realized that a lot of folks are not aware of what it is that makes ‘barnyard’ type ouds smell like… well, a barnyard. So I decided its time to talk a little bit about cheeses and wines. And of course apples.

If you don’t have a cup of hot cocoa at hand and the time to read the whole post, the short version is: its due to either rot or fermentation of the agarwood prior to distillation.

But if you’re an oud nerd and want to learn more about the intricacies of the process, read on…

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Case Study: Sasora Jinkoh & Manaka Jinkoh

Agar Aura is very excited to roll out our very own ‘Jinkoh Series’ oud oils of 4 (almost 5) out of the 6 types of agarwood found in Japanese Rikkoku-Gomi sets.

Of course every single oil we produce is unique in its own way, but for this particular series we decided to seek direction from the scent profiles of Rikkoku-Gomi agarwood specimens.

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Agar Aura @Vietnam Chapter 2


I will start Chapter 2 with another confession: I’m too much of a perfectionist for my own good. My mother often laughingly remarks to others that when I was a kid I obsessed about every little thing being just right, and she loves giving a particular example: the tissue peaking out of the tissue box on the living room side table had to be sticking out just the right amount, at the right angle, and with weighted aesthetic symmetry.
Why this is relevant will be touched upon further below. Continue reading