Origin of Oud and arabic perfumes

Oud as a scent ingredient has a long history. The Chinese mentioned its being extracted for incense in central Vietnam in the third century AD. By the late 16th century Vietnamese traders were exporting it to China and Japan, where it has been burned as incense for centuries. In the Islamic world, though, it became prized as an oil and as a personal perfume. But perfumer Frédéric Malle says oud is difficult for Westerners to appreciate and expensive for Middle Easterners, so many of the ouds out there are diluted with patchouli and amyris, a wood considered by many to be the poor man’s sandalwood. “It’s a bit like the oriental fragrances from a century ago,” he says. “People are asking for oud, and they’re given a fragrance named oud, but it’s yet another illusion. It has nothing to do with real oud, much as ‘oriental’ fragrances had nothing to do with the real Orient.”

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