What Is An Oud Perfume Scent?

We may receive a commission on purchases made from links.

Revered in the Middle East as "black gold" and "the five thousand per pound scent," oud is one of the most luxurious scents on the market (via Alpha Aromatics). With a smell reminiscent of musk but as precious as amber, it can be found in luxury brand fragrances like Cartier, Gucci, and Versace. Its trance-like smell extends from intense wood to sensually sweet and spicy. Historically used as incense across the Middle East and Japan, oud has been cherished for hundreds of years and is prized as the pillar of Emirati perfume identity (via Google Arts and Culture). 


Oud is produced from a tropical tree called Aquilaria, which forms a dark resin at its trunks when infected by a fungus. The oozing dark heartwood fragrance is, therefore, a product of the tree's attempt to defend itself. According to The Zayed Species Conservation Fund, these trees are some of the rarest in the world, forcing many countries to implement protection laws in order to regulate harvesting. With such an entrancing smell and precious manufacturing process, it's one of the most sought-after perfume fragrances on the market.

Pure oud costs thousands of dollars

According to Euro News reports, in order to produce just one milliliter of oud, you would need an entire kilo of Agarwood. This makes the price of a 12-milliliter bottle of pure oud nearly $3,000. Because of the elevated price, French perfumer and fragrance expert Sylvaine Delacourte says that many brands use a synthetic oud fragrance or blend a mixture of other wood oils to create a "false oud." However, when used in its pure form, it has an undeniably intoxicating aroma that pairs well with cedarwood, vetiver, sandalwood, rose, geranium, and even light citruses like bergamot (via Scentertainer). 


Oud has a special magic that allows it to cross between both base and top notes, giving it the flexibility to work with leathery, woodsy, and animal scents but also bright, floral, and citrusy aromas as well. Delacourte also asserts that when working with oud, even the false ones have the mysterious ability to leave a long-lasting and beautifully complex trail on the skin.

Real oud is rare is most perfume brands

Oud is one of the most culturally rich perfume fragrances that also tells a fascinating story of botanical death, rebirth, and protection. It represents one of the sensual magics of the Earth and holds its weight in gold. Perfumers lucky enough to get their hands on the exquisite resin understand both culturally and economically its importance. 


Founded in the French perfume capital of Grasse, Martine Micallef and Geoffrey Nejman were some of the first western perfumers to begin integrating oud into their formulas. Their Vanilla Oud fragrance pairs together perfectly sweet and spicy, blending together oud, vanilla, ylang-ylang, bergamot, and prune to create a unisex fragrance that is bold but not overwhelming. Perhaps their most well-known and highly replicated fragrance is the Rose Oud for women. Parisian brand and oud purist Montale is also known for their luxurious line of scents using the highest-quality grade form of the gold resin.