… ‘we know there’s no more wild oud. There hasn’t been any in Cambodia for a long time. And here in Malaysia and Indonesia, it’s all injection agarwood. Even the ‘wild’ ones. And a lot of cheating. The worst cheating happens in Indonesia.’
‘It’s better for you to sell to the big markets,’ he went on to say. ‘You can buy cheap and sell more. Most people can’t tell the difference anyway. If you let them smell the good oil and tell them the price, they won’t buy. If you show them the mixed one, they think it’s good enough and end up buying lots of it.’
I bought 3ml / USD38 from Kuala Lumpur, none of my friends feel comfortable with the smell. Precisely, it is not the pure one.
Cheating is found at all levels: the wood supplier, the distiller, the wholesaler, and the retailer. Here is some of the common techniques below in cheating of Oudh Oils.
1. Mixing oudh oils from different origins
It is common practice to add oils from less popular regions to oils from regions that are highly sought after, like India or Cambodia. The resulting oil is then sold as ‘Indian oudh’ or ‘Cambodian oudh’ to the uninformed buyer.
2. Mixing oudh oils of different qualities
A higher quality agarwood oil will also be mixed with a lower quality oil to decrease the total cost, and will then be sold as as high quality oil.
3. Mixing oudh oils with adulterants
This is the most common of all cheating techniques, and occurs in 99% of cases. Extremely foul-smelling low grade oudh oils are spiked and tamed with essential oils like vetiver or fennel oil. The use of synthetic perfumes is not uncommon. Almond oil, DPG and glycerin are used to stretch the oudh oil, and some distillers even use a certain type of synthetic glycerin which is harder to detect, to stretch the oil. Certain powders are used in the distillation process itself to make the oil thicker, which a lot of people incorrectly think is an indication of quality.