Agarwood Species - Don't Overpay!

The talk of agarwood species and adding an exotic level of complexity to the oil or the wood justifying a multiplication of the price.


We see it often lately that's some companies and new makers are trying to promote their oil or wood as it's a from a specific and rare kind of subspecies of Aquilaria, given the fact that there are about 20 species of Aquilaria in the world and about 15 of those are in current use.


But in reality about 5 Aquilaria species only makes 90% of all wood and oil in the world commercially and those are, Aquilaria crassna, Aquilaria sinensis, Aquilaria malaccensis, Aquilaria acuminata, and arguably Aquilaria beccariana or Aquilaria filaria. To put it in a short and non complex way Aquilaria crassna found in Cambodia, Malaysia, Thailand, Laos and Vietnam. Aquilaria cumingiana, found in Indonesia and Malaysia. Aquilaria filaria, found in New Guinea, the Moluccas, and Philippines (with small amounts in China), Aquilaria grandiflora, and Aquilaria sinensis found in China, and the last two makes the majority of the commercials production agarwood.


Here is an important thing to remember for example Aquilaria filaria is Native to the eastern Philippines, the Maluku Islands, and Small parts of Western New Guinea. still it can exist in China, and so is the case with the majority of other species or subspecies that exist in other parts of the world such as Thailand, Philippines, India..


Aquilaria grandiflora is a different name of Aquilaria sinensis, In agarwood it is used interchangeably, and in distillation and oil wise considered exactly the same. In batony it is a sub species of Sinensis. Distillation Wise it won't make any difference as when the oil is made or distilled the settle volatiles will not be recognizable, it really boils down to how old and high quality it is, the method of distillation and the experience of the distiller.


On the other hand genus Gyrinops is very closely related to Aquilaria and in the past all species were considered to belong to Aquilaria under the main category, but again scent and oil wise the differences are unrecognizable, different distillation methods may bring forth some volatile aroms that can possibly be distinguishable by an expert nose. In the market and the business of distillation it is still considered Aquilaria, only in science, research and botany it is distinguished by very small and Minor differences, which now is not the place to explain in-depth.


In the agarwood business, in production and distillation it is still considered identical. It has been for the last 2,000 years, and it suddenly changed after somw companies and supposedly artisan distillers, started using different varieties of species and subspecies to make it complicated, exotic or to justify the multiplication of price they add and charge for oils.


A simple Google search will show the different species of Aquilaria, and it's categorization from fully extinct to engaged and least engaged (or non- endangered) the main few differences in the level of endangerments are between the species that grow in, Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam, China and India. Using or distilling from an endangered species or highly endangered usually add an exotic level and price to the oil, but the truth is it's almost impossible to know if that is the true or real species after distillation and even with a lab test the test is in many cases non conclusive.


This is simply because even wild species in different places have a slightly different structure and scent because of the difference of the nature, the soil, he weather, the age and usually the ways of distillation.


If someone promoting a specific oil, or wood with a very high price tag claiming it is coming from a specific sub species or unique species without a clear lab test or certification, and explaining why this oil or wood is better, processed with caution!


Unfortunately there are many people, companies and forums nowadays making themselves an authority and figures in oud or other materials in this business simply to be able to sell and charge more from people who are unaware or uninformed.