What Are the Different Grades of Oud?

Known for it’s rich, complex, and captivating fragrance, oud has been treasured for centuries in various cultures for it’s medicinal, spiritual, and olfactory properties. However, not all oud is created equal, and the quality or grade of oud greatly impacts it’s value and desirability. Understanding the different grades of oud is essential for both enthusiasts and connoisseurs, as it provides insights into the authenticity, rarity, and overall quality of this captivating substance. From the highly coveted pure oud oils to the more economical oud blends, exploring the diverse range of oud grades offers a fascinating journey into the world of fragrant treasures.

What Are the Forms of Oud?

One of the most sought-after and prestigious musical instruments in the world, oud is an ancient string instrument that holds great significance in Arabic, Turkish, and Persian cultures. When it comes to the different grades of oud, there are various factors to consider, including the forms of oud and the types of oud available.

First and foremost, it’s important to understand the forms of oud. The most traditional forms include the Arabian oud, Turkish oud, and Persian barbat. Each of these forms has it’s own unique characteristics and sound profiles. The Arabian oud, for example, is known for it’s deep and resonant tone, while the Turkish oud is prized for it’s bright and vibrant sound. On the other hand, the Persian barbat is often considered the precursor to the oud and boasts a rich and melodic sound.

Another aspect to consider is the tuning of the oud. The most common tuning for the oud is C, F, A, D, G, C, with the highest string being the lowest in pitch. However, there are variations in tuning depending on the regional style and personal preference of the musician. It’s not uncommon to find ouds tuned in D, G, A, D, G, C or other variations.

In addition to the traditional forms and tuning, there are also unique variations of the oud. One such variation is the Zenne oud, which is a smaller and more compact version of the instrument, ideal for traveling musicians. The Zenne oud still retains the distinct oud sound but is more portable and convenient.

Other notable variations include the oud arbi and oud ramal, both of which have a similar shape to the traditional oud but differ slightly in design and construction. The oud kumethra, on the other hand, is a larger and deeper-bodied oud that produces a rich and powerful sound.

Lastly, it’s worth mentioning the electric oud, a modern adaptation of the traditional instrument. The electric oud incorporates pickups and electronic components, allowing for amplified sound and increased versatility. It’s particularly popular among contemporary oud players who blend traditional and modern styles.

The original name of oud, also known as agarwood, is derived from the Arabic word “ʿūd.” However, it’s also referred to by various regional terms such as eaglewood, aloeswood, qaharu, gaharu, and more. It belongs to the aquilaria and gyrinops genera of the Thymelaeaceae family, which are exclusive to specific regions in India and the Far East.

What Is the Original Name of Oud?

The original name of oud is derived from the Arabic word “ʿūd,” which translates to “wood.”. It’s commonly referred to as agarwood or oudh, although it’s known by various regional terms such as eaglewood, aloeswood, qaharu, and gaharu. This fragrant dark resinous wood is highly sought after for it’s distinct aroma and is used in the production of incense, perfume, and small carvings.

One of the primary sources of oud comes from the aquilaria and gyrinops genera of the Thymelaeaceae family of trees. These trees are only found in specific regions of India and the Far East, making oud a rare and precious commodity. The process of obtaining oud involves the infection of these trees by a specific type of mold, which triggers the production of resin within the wood. It’s this resin that’s highly valued for it’s fragrance and is extracted to create different grades of oud.

The different grades of oud are determined by various factors such as the age of the tree, the region in which it grows, and the method of extraction. The highest quality oud is known as “sinking grade,” which refers to the resin that’s naturally sunk to the bottom of the agarwood tree trunk. This grade of oud is highly prized for it’s rich aroma and is considered the crème de la crème of oud varieties.

Each grade of oud possesses it’s own unique scent profile and intensity, making them suitable for different purposes and personal preferences.

Regional Varieties: Discuss the Different Regional Variations of Oud, Including Their Unique Characteristics and Fragrance Profiles.

  • 1.Local Wood: Each region has it’s own variety of wood used to make oud, resulting in subtle differences in scent and overall character.
  • 2.Distillation Techniques: Various techniques are employed in different regions to extract the aromatic compounds from the wood, leading to distinct fragrance profiles.
  • 3.Soil and Climate: The soil composition and climate of a particular region greatly influence the growth of agarwood trees and subsequently affect the aroma of the oud produced.
  • 4.Traditional Blends: Some regions have developed specific blends of oud by combining it with other natural ingredients, such as spices or floral extracts.
  • 5.Cultural Influence: The cultural traditions, customs, and rituals of a region also play a role in shaping the regional variations of oud.
  • 6.Aging Process: The duration and method of aging the oud can greatly impact it’s scent and overall quality, resulting in variations among different regions.
  • 7.Usage and Application: Oud may be used differently in various regions, with some preferring it as a standalone fragrance while others incorporate it into perfumes or incense.
  • 8.Scent Profiles: Regional oud variations may have woody, smoky, sweet, floral, or leathery notes, among others, creating a diverse range of olfactory experiences.

Source: Oud: A Detailed Guide – Ensar Oud


In conclusion, it’s evident that oud, a highly prized and sought-after aromatic resin, comes in various grades that determine it’s quality, authenticity, and market value. From the luxurious and rare high-grade ouds, such as Royal and Super, to the more affordable commercial and synthetic versions, the market offers a wide range of options for oud enthusiasts and collectors alike. Understanding the differences between these grades is essential for making informed decisions when purchasing oud products, ensuring that one obtains an authentic and satisfying olfactory experience. Moreover, as the demand for oud continues to rise, the importance of sustainable sourcing and ethical practices in the industry becomes increasingly crucial. Overall, exploring the world of oud can be a fascinating journey into a realm of history, culture, and sensory delight, where the diverse grades of the resin contribute to it’s allure and allure for countless individuals around the globe. So, as you delve into the world of oud, may you discover the perfect grade that resonates with your preferences and uncovers the enchanting beauty of this exceptional aromatic treasure.

  • Gillian Page

    Gillian Page, perfume enthusiast and the creative mind behind our blog, is a captivating storyteller who has devoted her life to exploring the enchanting world of fragrances.

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