Oud (agarwood), a dictionary definition: a dark resinous heartwood that forms in Aquilaria and Gyrinops trees (large evergreens native to southeast Asia) when they become infected with a specific type of mold.

In wealthy Middle Eastern families, the scent of oud is traditionally used to fragrance both home and person, with each family commissioning a specially created signature perfume. Its popularity in the Gulf remains but a new swathe of new scents from Western perfumers is introducing the sweet, woody, aromatic and complex scent to new regions. As demand increases and its supply fades (the New York Times reported in April 2011 of depleting reserves), the price of oud has soared: it currently trades at $500 per kilogram, which is enough to produce between 1 and 1.2 millilitres of oud oil. It is, as industry insiders refer to it, liquid gold.

Parisian perfumer Kilian Hennessey was one of the first of the new wave to use oud with his By Kilian fragrance Pure Oud. So popular was his initial foray into oud that he now has a whole collection of oud-based perfumes under the title Arabian Nights. But it was the influential Tom Ford who can take credit for filling the air at fashionable restaurants around the world with oud. After being given a comprehensive introduction to the scent by none other than Sheikh Majed al-Sabah (the ‘Sheikh of Chic’ who founded the Villa Moda luxury department stores), Ford’s bottled Oud Wood became a sensation in the fragrance world, selling well in all markets, not only the Middle East. Armani, Dior and Guerlain, as well as a number of niche perfume houses, have all followed with similarly intense and earthy oud-based scents. Oud you? From the heady to the subtle, consult our guide to the best of oud.

Oud Wood by Tom Ford
Exotic rose wood and cardamom, blended with exuberant Chinese pepper eventually exposes a smokey blend of rare oud wood, sandalwood and vetiver. Finally, the creamy scents of tonka bean, vanilla and amber are revealed.

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So Oud
This entire brand of perfumes is based on oud. Perfumer Stéphane Humbert Lucas has concocted several fragrances that mix the base scent with rose, saffron, sage and sandalwood, among other notes, to great effect.

Oud27 by Le Labo
Cult New York perfume house created this fragrance in 2009 in collaboration with Vincent Schaller. More subtle than a lot of the oud-based scents on the market, it is therefore easier to wear.

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at http://storeinternational.lelabofragrances.com/en/C76/oud_27.html

Oud & Bergamot Cologne by Jo Malone
The intense, smoky oud in this cologne is refined with the addition of clean, crisp bergamot – a modern take on the traditional way the scent is worn.

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Habit Rouge by Guerlain
This was the first fragrance from Guerlain targeted at men in the oriental market and is a composition which encompasses lime, orange, bergamot, neroli, cinnamon, cedar, leather, vanilla, oud, patchouli and amber.

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Leather Oud by Dior
The oud wood used in this scent is cited specifically as from Indonesia. Master ‘ nose’ François Demachy created an intensely masculine fragrance with leather notes that intertwine with those of gaiac wood, cedar and sandalwood.

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Oud Immortel by Byredo
Niche Swedish fragrance house Byredo has two oud-based fragrances. Oud Immortel is a woody fragrance where patchouli and papyrus are blended to bring smokiness. The tobacco leaves and moss add depth and complexity while the incense and rosewood bring an elegant, ambery sillage.

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Incense Oud, By Kilian
Young Parisian perfumer By Kilian has an entire range of oud-based scents under the name Arabian Nights. Incense Oud and is based on incense layered with oud, rose, cardamom and labdanum, creating a fragrance that is warm and modern.

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Al Oudh by L'Artisan Parfumeur
This perfume is a heady blend of leather, spices and smoke, softened with dried fruits and delicate background arrangements of orange blossom and rose. Musks, patchouli and narcotic tonka bean are other notes that combine with the intense oud.

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Oud Royal by Armani Prive
Giorgio Armani’s blend of oud is one of the most traditional and intense on the market with a composition amplified by an amber and notes of spices, myrrh and incense.

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