Wood is often thought to be affordable, so learning that some varieties may cost hundreds of dollars is shocking. One sort of wood that costs a lot is agarwood. See the remaining sections of this page for the answers if you’re wondering what makes this wood so expensive.
What Is Agarwood?
Agarwood is known by many other names in different civilizations, as oudwood, eagleswood, and aloeswood. The scientific name for agarwood is Aquilaria spp. Aquilaria trees, which naturally occur in Southeast Asia’s tropical jungles, are used to make agarwood. The Thymelaeceae family of trees includes roughly 17 species of Aquilaria trees.
In the naturally occurring tropical climates of Southeast Asia, aquilaria trees thrive in soil that is either red basalt or gravel-based. The uncommon and endangered Aquilaria malaccensis species of the Aquilaria tree is prized for its aromatic agarwood. Acrolaria malaccensis, one of the main sources of agarwood, is odourless unless it is first infected with a certain kind of Phialophora mould.
When P. parasitica, a mould, infects the heartwood of Aquilaria trees, agarwood forms. The trees secrete a resin to protect themselves once they become diseased. The potent, perfume-like scent of agarwood is attributed to this resin. Agarwood can take up to twenty years to produce this pricey scent.
How Much Does Agarwood Cost?
It’s common knowledge that agarwood is the priciest kind of wood available worldwide. Typically, the price of this wood is an astounding $45,000 per pound or $100,000 per kilogramme. This is the going rate for premium agarwood, which is among the priciest raw materials available anywhere in the world. Agarwood of lower quality and its oils can fetch considerably less money—up to $45 per pound or $100 per kilogramme.
Why So Expensive?
Agarwood is becoming more and more expensive due to its great demand, but there are fewer Aquilaria trees producing it. The IUCN Red List classifies A. malaccensis, the primary source of agarwood, as critically endangered. Unrestricted harvesting of the tree for its pricey aromatic agarwood is one of its primary dangers. In addition, habitat loss for A. malaccensis is a result of mining and fires.
This tree cannot grow and reproduce quickly due to its poor germination rate, which is not helpful. Agarwood harvesting is very labor-intensive, and experts must spend a lot of time looking for it.
What Is Agarwood Used For?
Agarwood finds extensive use in the fields of traditional medicine, incense, and perfumery. Its moniker “the wood of gods” comes from the fact that it has also been utilised for religious rites. Agarwood is thought to heal a number of skin conditions as well as thyroid cancer in traditional medicine.
The distinct aroma of wood is incomparable when it comes to scented oils, perfumes, and soaps. Agarwood has a complex scent that not everyone finds appealing, but it is quite distinctive and challenging to duplicate. Its aroma is frequently characterised as woodsy, musky, and slightly tobacco and vanilla flavoured. Because agarwood is thought to have a relaxing effect, it is often utilised in aromatherapy.
When an aquilaria tree becomes infested with a particular type of mould, the damaged trees release a substance that gives the wood its distinctive perfume. This produces fragrant agarwood. Agarwood of the highest calibre should sell for several thousand dollars. Although traditional medicine has long used it, the incense and perfume businesses are the ones who typically harvest it.