How To Detect Fake Agarwood For Both Wood And Oil?

“This time  is we would like to share you how to detect agarwood forgery, this apply for both  agarwood wood chips and agarwood oil.”

Hello Oud Lovers  Greetings from Indonesia, after we are dormant for at least a year, we are back again. This time  is we would like to share you how to detect forgery  or fake agarwood , this apply for both  agarwood wood chips  and agarwood oil.super king agarwood

 On the left picture is the Super King wood block that we owned years back. As you can see, this super king wood is not having an equal distribution of resin, it still have that brown patch, which indicates it is real, Also the resin deposit were extruded from the wood piece. Another sign is the pattern of the streak, all agarwood will have this sign of streak except for Papuan, which pre dominantly brown, but this is not always. Another sign of real agarwood is the aroma, all woods can have this pattern but they aroma cannot lie. Real agarwood will have sweet slight vanillic  and a powdery musky at their notes especially at their basenotes. If you find a seller selling this kind of wood  then he is trusted.

agarwood comparission
Left to right. Super grade agarwood, Oil Grade agarwood, Black Magic Wood. Photo by Rozy Mohamed & Shiou Yih Lee

 

But If you find this kind of wood  on the right photo do not purchase it! It is 100% fake agarwood.

You can compare it to the Super King above, moreover this kind of wood is poisonous due the fact it was injected with resin and how do they inject the resin inside?  by using Methanol and pressure. Methanol is is dangerous because it’s  carcinogenic, and it will ruin your nerves system, using methanol is allowed as long as it wasn’t use for ingestion or inhalation, such as dissolving cells in the lab. So stay away from this type. There also upgraded woods, they are real agarwood chips but being upgraded by impregnating resin inside, so it is also forged, To detect it is simple firstly it will have resin stain due heating also unusal weight for such chips, Bigger chips usually hollow and light, if they are heavy in all points this must be fake agarwood except if it is Super King.

And now how to detect fake agarwood or oud oil?

First of all it is not an easy task.  Especially if you are new to oud, because oud has many interpretation of smell, Indian oud will smell different with Indonesia, Cambodia and other countries. So I want to talk about adulterant first, the usual adulterant for oud oil are Patchouli Oil, White Oil, Vetiver Oil, Factory made musk ( White musk to be exact), Soa-soa or Buaya Oil from Gonystylus Spp and so on.

Actually nose alone cannot be your only tools, GC MS the  correct tool to check  is oil genuine. Other things you can do is you see the whole distillation process. And real oud have notes like man made perfume, it has top notes, middle notes and basenotes not just single dimension ” wood” notes. Even for low quality which is burnt they will have this marker character.

But what if you are a laymen ? A newbie in oud?

To do simple test that oud is adulterated or not, especially with white oil is to swipe it behind you neck,  if it is warm it  is adulterated with white oil.  Because real oud oil will not giving you a warm sensation at all.

Fake oud usually have quite strong alcoholic smell in which real ones do not possess.

Another sign of fake oil is it is usually very very greasy if the oil is being watered down.

I hope this can be useful information about fake agawood or  oud wood and agarwood or oud oil detection, Thank you and have a nice day.

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One Comment

  1. Hi, thanks for your article.
    I am new to agarwood though have a wide knowledge of trees and wood.
    I’ve recently purchased some hollow agarwood pieces and trying to understand more about these type of pieces ( gaharu ? ) are these injection or drill areas ? Interesting hollow configurations.
    Would like to send pictures if you could tell me more about this.
    I do enjoy the fragrance of these more than other types I’ve tried. I’ve only tried a few variations.
    Thank you for any help you could give
    Chuck

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