Modern Oud, Modern Love

By Jo Phillips

“What is this coming up from the wilderness like columns of smoke, perfumed with myrrh and frankincense, with all scented powders of the merchant” In the Old testament book the Song of Songs these few lines describes King Solomon as “coming up from the desert like a column of smoke, perfumed with myrrh and incense” Thre are multiple associations of Biblical texts with “every kind of incense tree” which popular belief denotes to be Oud. Not just in the three Abrahamic faiths, Oud is also mentioned in the Buddhist tradition, the most precious ‘string of beads’ numbering 108 is made of agarwood. Early records in central Vietnam dating back to the third century A.D. mentions the extraction of agarwood. There are texts mentioning the export of Oud to China and Japan where it was burned for centuries as incense. In later years in Europe as the use of Oud spread, the royalty of France, particularly Louis The XIV (known as the perfumed prince as well as The Sun King) was known for his outrageous indulgences, as he loved the fragrance so much that he washed his clothes in Oud. In Arabic culture, it is more than a fragrance but a cultural way of life. But what is the majestic ingredient and how do we use it now; Find out more in Modern Oud, Modern Love. Image Alexander Baxter.co

Oud, this mystic ingredient is one the most expensive in the world (estimated to be one-and-a-half times the value of gold ) and one that comes not just with a heavy price tag a pungent smell but a multi-layered history of use.

Oud or Oudh, also known as agarwood, is an essential oil extracted from the fungus-infected resinous heartwood of the agar tree.   The dark, resinous heartwood of a large tropical evergreen tree called also called The Aquilaria. Tree

Only approximately one in every ten trees is said to have an infected heartwood, which is where the precious resin for the scent is taken. The inside of the tree becomes infected, usually by insects, where fungus or mould develops and bores into the tree.

The under attack tree attempts to defend itself by creating agarwood, a resinous heartwood; this slows down the infection and makes the surviving wood more durable. The process is called tylosis. The infected tree can carry on this life-and-death struggle for a very long time, sometimes decades. This means that the older the infection the older the tree the more prized is the resinous oil.

These trees are primarily found in the dense forests of Southeast Asia, India and Bangladesh, with

This sort-after resin has an unparalleled complexity and richness of aroma. Its scent is pungent, yet very pleasing, invoking warm, smoky notes with tinges of dampened wood. Think of smoky, woody, and slightly animalistic notes. Also, find subtle hints of fruity or floral notes laying between its muskiness. Ultimately it is seen as a sensual opulent, comforting yet luxurious scent.

Perfumes Moresque’s latest fragrance: Modern Oud Eau de Parfum, launched exclusively at Harvey Nichols this July 2021. A ode and celebration to this most mysterious character Oud, and here in this scent radiates with the sparkling clarity of Bergamot and Lemon and the freshness of Aquatic Accents, emphasized by a green heart of Juniper Berries and Tomato  Leaves, enhanced by the elegance of  Hinoki Wood and Cypress notes.

On the base, its charisma becomes enveloping with the softness of Cashmere Wood and the depth of Nagarmotha. Modern Oud is a modern spirit, rich in tradition. A warm and refi woody trail, which vibrates on the skin with a unique and inimitable elegance.

The brand says of this new scent:- 

“On the border between the sand and sky there is an increasingly vertical horizon, beyond the clouds. The dunes, which for centuries were crossed by caravans, today conceal new mirages, where the amber reflection of the most elusive place in the world is mixed with the glass and metal of dizzyingly high architectures. Here, Oud is everywhere:  in the sunny heat of the earth and in the liquid blue of the star-studded skies. An ode to Dubai, to its modern spirit, projected upwards and into the future, and its elegant and unique essence, with a heart a thousand years old. A vibrant and luminous fragrance, which encloses the appeal of tradition and the enthusiasm for innovation”.

So what notes have they used to express this ancient Godly aroma

Well at the top of the fragrance find bursting freshness of Bergamot, Lemon, Water Accents, whilst the heart offers up  Juniper Berries, Tomato Leaves, Cypress held together in a base of wood facets from soft Cashmere Wood, via Nagarmotha, the unique Japanese Hinoki Wood, and of course precious, precious saintly Oud 

This exquisite oil has many applications that range from spiritual to therapeutic and medicinal. It is often associated with harmony, serenity of spirit and when applied regularly, the removal of destructive and negative energies in the home. A highly effective aid for meditation, it is also known to enhance mental clarity and ease neurotic and obsessive behaviour. 

In the Middle East, both men and women burn Oud wood chips to scent their houses and their clothes. Many religious folk believe that their prayers rise with the scented smoke of agarwood and are carried straight to the Creator.

So for a perfume with a touch more gravitas than just a divine scent how about a divine ingredient too?

Exclusively Available at Harvey Nichols, June 2021 

If you enjoyed Modern Oud; Modern Love then why not read Knit and Twist here