This time, our adventurous nomad is following the traces of oud. From India to Japan, passing through South East Asia, she invites us to discover what is the people’s fascination with this wood of many names: Aquilaria, Kyara, Agarwood, or “Eaglewood”.

But Oud is not only famous in Middle Eastern countries: distilled for its oil in Asia, burnt to welcome a guest in the Middle East, or simply mildly heated on a mica plate in Japan, it is present in many cultures!

Discover our nomad’s journey around Thailand where oud is harvested.

Let the travel begin!


Cruising around the mystic river Mekong Delta and crossing the stream of wild landscapes, I recall all those legendary stories that I’ve heard about this material. From time immemorial this tree has seduced with its mysterious perfume.

Oud wood has a dark woody odor with a lush, heavy base. The fragrance can vary depending on the species, maturity and cultivation area. In Thailand, the fragrance has a rich woody note with a spicy-sweet accord and fresh character.

“Oud wood is etched in our deepest memories” is what the locals told me. They all remember a relative or a ceremony they attended after just one sniff.

You must remember that the Aquilaria itself doesn't have a smell as characteristic as the Oud we know... so where does this smell come from?

A formation of Agarwood occurs in the trunk and roots of trees that have been previously infected. The natural development of agarwood takes 20–30 years, but artificial infection methods allow to speed up the process.

Those processes are controlled under strict regulation. A tree less than 8 years can´t be infected. Infection usually occurs through chemical methods (injecting certain chemicals) or biological methods (introducing fungi or bacteria in tree trunks). As the infection progresses, the tree produces the very dense and dark resin in response to the disease: it is the famous Agarwood also known as Gaharu, Jinko or Oud.

An Oud collector can make his/her own “Oud library” as you can’t find two samples with the same scent, and right there is where the magic of oud lays, its uniqueness enables it to carve into memory a precious moment forever.

Poachers know Oud’s value and are even prepared to kill to have it smuggled via the Mekong.

In Thailand, people told me that “there is a famous 200-year-old Aquilaria wood located in a Buddhist temple. It attracts everyone’s attention, instilling such a profound impression to bystanders that it has to be guarded by soldiers when displayed to the public.”

The resin embedded wood is valued in many cultures for its distinctive smell, and thus is used for burning incense and perfumes in Islamic, Buddhist and Hindu ceremonies.
In the Middle East, Agarwood chips are the most popular, used for burning on a piece of hot charcoal. This tradition of burning Agarwood has been practiced since the 1970s, where oud is burnt on special occasions and Oud oil is applied on skin and clothes.

Oud has many medicinal properties and is widely used in China for pharmaceutical products to treat coughs, acroparalysis and asthma. It has analgesic, anti-inflammatory, and antidepressant properties. In Ayurveda, Oud is believed to have aromatherapy effects.