Into the Ouds: Discovering This Mysterious Fragrance

Sable Yong

Whenever some sort of seasonal equinox passes, one of the many beauty conundrums to consider has to do with fragrance. After all, what better way to switch over to a seasonal mood (or any, for that matter) than a new scent to tell you “Hi, it’s spring—put the cinnamon and peppermint stuff away now, please.”

Those of us with allergies, however, will appreciate that just because it’s spring doesn’t mean florals are the only botanical option for perfuming yourself. If you appreciate scents a bit more on the mysteriously deeper and complex side, perhaps ouds are for you.

Typically found in woodsy scents, oud comes from the Agarwood tree. Specifically the substance occurs when a particular mold fungus attacks the tree and the wood produces a dark aromatic resin to protect itself. It’s this resin, the oud, that has been so prized for centuries by many cultures for its distinctly unique scent, so much so that over time harvesting of it has nearly depleted the natural resource of Agarwood trees. Oud resin is pretty much the liquid gold of fragrance, understandably making it very expensive. Don’t feel like you aren’t able to experience it though if you aren’t stacking cash—oud is found in a lot more fragrances than you may suspect. Here are a few of our favorites.

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