Saudi Arabian Oud: Is it Incense or it is Perfume?

Oud incense                   Oud perfume

Anyone spending time in the Kingdom will likely at some point be exposed to the scent of Oud.  Oud actually comes from trees found in India, Cambodia, Burma, Vietnam and elsewhere in the South Asia region.  As I understand these trees will usually have some type of a fungal infection and the chips from pieces of those trees are ultimately made into Oud. 


Oud chips



Oud is available in chips which are lit and burned as an incense or made into a liquid form and sold as bottled perfume oil.

  Oud has a very strong and unique scent of its own.  It is an acquired scent.  Individuals usually love it or hate it. 


 When Oud is burned as an incense it is typical in the Kingdom for the oud burner to be passed around from person to person.  Smaughs, hijabs, thobes and abayas will be saturated with the scent of the oud.  When a Saudi is having a special guest or special function, oud will likely be burned throughout the evening.  It is considered very special and honorable to arrive at a home as a guest and find the oud burning.  During Ramadan and Eid Saudis will spend SAR600m on oud products alone.


Oud is also available in an oil form as a perfume which women will wear.  In my view, it has a very heavy scent and will last the entire day. I have also found that in the local grocery stores one can even purchase Oud scented air freshener too! 


There are many shops throughout the malls and in “stand-alone” stores which specialize in selling oud, either as chips or in the oil form.  The oud perfumes will be sold in display cases making it a very special and treasured gift.  Oud burners where one uses the wood chips are also sold in various styles and colors.  Oud burners may be convential where one lights the oud with a match or some are electric where one places the oud chips on the burner and then plug the burner into an electrical outlet. For a better understanding of oud and what the oud oil or oud burner looks like, please check out the following links:

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