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If you’re a fan of fragrances, you’ll know that oud oil is a valuable and  much sought-after cologne and perfume ingredient. Valued by most of the world’s most celebrated perfume houses, it’s an exclusive, immediately recognisable scent – and the ideal aroma if you want to smell like an A-list celebrity or Wall Street Exec. 

But what exactly even is it, and why do the designer perfume-makers love it so much???

Here are all your questions answered: 


Oud essential oil comes from the Aquilaria tree, which can be found in Asia and the Middle-East. Aquilaria trees (sometimes also called Agar) have been used in countries like India and China for thousands of years. However it can now only be found very occasionally in the wilds of Vietnam, Laos, Burma and Cambodia,.  It is no longer found in India, Bangladesh, Thailand or China. The fragrant wood-chips from these tree's used to be burned during religious rituals, thanks to their almost intoxicating effect.

Aquilaria tree

However, it’s not the wood that makes the oud oil used in cologne and perfume. It’s actually created by a parasitic mould (yes, really you read that right, MOLD!). Although that doesn’t sound very pleasant, it results in one of the most decadent scents known to man.

How it works is that the mould actually attacks the Aquilaria tree, which then protects itself with a dark, sticky resin throughout. Over time, this resin hardens, and becomes an oil that we come to call oud. It’s also sometimes called agar wood or oudh. However, The parasitic mould doesn't attack all Aquilaria tree's, in fact it only attacks a few trees, which means there is only a limited amount of our that can be produced. This is why it’s such an expensive, desirable ingredient in fragrances. 

Oud also has a rich history. It wasn’t just used in perfumes; it was also prized as a medicine for many health reasons! Oud was traded as a much-prized item, and worn by royalty and wealthy merchants for thousands of years. 

Agar Wood or Oud.


Several of the world’s finest fragrances today use oud as a key ingredient. It’s not surprising, given how opulent its aroma is, you’ll often find oud as a base note, complemented by other rich ingredients like amber, ambergris or cedarwood.

  • Colonia Intensa Oud. Fierce Oud inspired by the fantastic original. Colonia Intensa Oud captures the atmosphere of the Middle-East, with a rich, spicy scent. Lighter citrus notes lift the oud slightly, which makes this suitable for either daytime or night-time wear. 
  • Agar Gold. Looking for something that is ultra-masculine and highly sensual? Inspired by Oud Wood, Agar Gold is the perfect choice. It lets the oud take centre stage, whilst taking the scent even deeper with tonka bean and amber. This enigmatic fragrance is ideal for going out in the evenings, or for wearing to a special event.


Generally speaking, oud is reserved for special occasions and after-hours events in the evening. It smells luxurious, indolent and exotic, which might not be so suitable for the office! Many of our customer reviews will mention the fact that Oud Wood smells like U.S Mint! (Dolla bills!) 

However, if you’re going on a first date and want to make a good impression, this is the perfect choice to show your partner that you enjoy the finer things in life. Likewise, if it’s your wedding day, an anniversary or you’re heading out on the town with friends, you’ll certainly make an impression if you wear an oud-based scent.

Executives getting onto a private jet.

We’ve covered the question of ‘what is oud oil’? But ultimately, that doesn’t help if you’ve never sampled the fragrance or have no idea what it even smells like! If you’re new to the world of oud, it makes good sense to test it out, to check that it’s the right aroma for you.

ALT. Fragrances offers a range of sample-sized 5ml oud fragrances inspired by some of the most expensive fragrances in the world. These 5ml samples will provide enough enough for anywhere between 5-10 applications, allowing you to test out the fragrance in a variety of situations and events. 

To browse our complete range of cologne and perfume for men and women, simply visit our website today at altfragrances.com! 


Disclaimer: all products mentioned above, along with their labelling, are a guide and should not be confused with the actual fragrance brand. Any name trademarks and copyrights are the property of their respective designers or makers. Please note, these perfumes and candles are not to be confused with the originals, and we have no affiliation with any companies mentioned. Our interpretations of the fragrances and candles were created through chemical analysis and personal development, and their description is solely to give the customer an idea of the nature of the scent. It is not designed to mislead or confuse the customer in any way, and does not infringe on the manufacturer's or designer's name or trademark.