The Lure of Oud in the Middle East

Any connoisseur of oud will tell you that what’s important when purchasing oud products is the smell, and the quality. As plantation managers, we know the importance of protecting the agarwood species, and at The Real Oud Factory in Dubai, we pride ourselves on selling excellent products, grown with a focus on sustainability. To fully understand the extent of the demand for agarwood and oud products, let’s explore the market trade and commercial activity in the Middle East.

Over 95% of the world’s oud is traded in the Middle East due to the transport and business infrastructure. The ports and airports of Abu Dhabi and Sharjah see fewer imports and exports of agarwood, however, these ports don’t feature as points of entry for CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species) permitted cargoes. This means that CITES hasn’t approved these locations as certified points of entry and have issued guidelines on transporting plants and animals that are endangered. The desirability of oud has meant that attempts to cultivate agarwood in the wild and transport across the globe have surged due to the high value associated and the prestige of owning or gifting oud.

Gifting and Personalisation

Religious occasions in the Middle East, such as Ramadan, are known for gifting oud. Sales of oud during Ramadan are expected to reach over 300 million riyals (over $79 million), as incense and wood chips are burnt to mark the religious occasions. Gifts include processed powdered incense (bakhoor) and blended perfumes containing agarwood fragrance. At The Real Oud Factory in Dubai, small disks are formed from balls of distilled oud oil and personalised stamps can be imprinted. Consumers who have a strong passion for oud often request to have company logos stamped into the disks as a sign of prestige.

Gift-giving continues into July when Edi al-Adha takes place and occurs at the end of the Hajj pilgrimage in Mecca, Saudi Arabia. Latest figures on the numbers permitted for Hajj has increased from 10,000 last year to 60,000 this year, with fewer Covid restrictions. In contrast, 2019 saw an attendance of 2.5 million pilgrims gathering. Those unable to attend can still take part via virtual reality on an app created by a Pakistani startup named the Labbaik, allowing the rites and rituals of Hajj to take place in a respectful manner without attending in person.

Influencer Highlights

Over the last few months, The Real Oud Factory has been collaborating with influencers, TV personalities, and journalists in the fragrance industry.

Take a look at what the influencers experienced at The Real Oud Factory in Dubai:

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