Artisanal Oud, what it is and what it isn't: an introduction.

~A Coburn

Well-Known Member
I'm re-hashing this thread for the sake of clarity because there is a serious misconception about what is and what is not 'artisanal' oud.

It seems there is a widespread belief that anyone who mans the pots and distills oud oil is an 'artisan,' however that is really not the case, and here's why:

Most distillers on the ground are not in it for quality, they're not there sweating over the pots because it's their life-long passion, but rather because it's their source of money... and how does one make more money when there is a finite source of raw material? How can you meet the demands from buyers requesting 10 tolas when you only have enough for 5 knowing they will just go elsewhere if you can't produce the volume needed?

Here's a hint: It's not by raising your standards of quality control... The End of Organic Oud paints a pretty clear picture of the direction plantation owners, let alone distillers, are forced to take to meet the demands of the conglomerates swooping in on the industry; and for those who don't understand the allegorical meaning of the title of the article, it's referring to a particular standard of organic oud production, not that organic oud is literally running out... there's plenty of that generic mono-t0ned oud out there for you, vendors pick it up from Facebook and Insta distillers all the time, then frame it and call it art...

Sorry friends, but that's not artisanal oud, sometimes it's easier to understand what something is, by determining what it isn't, so let's continue on what it's not...

Artisanal oud is not just anything that comes out of a small distillation facility, or made by the hands of a do-it-yourself-er on etsy.

Yes, there are many distillers alive today that do it themselves, and no they didn't 'forget' how to distill, but what does seem to be forgotten are ethical standards which is why 'Artisanal Oud' Producers only collaborate and train a select few distillers.

Most distillers 'skim off the top' reselling an oil even though the producer already paid for it... Or stockpiles of wood suddenly going missing, and the money that paid for it? Well that's gone too...

So the answer to how to make 5 tolas 10 is pretty simple to these guys in fact it's just one word: buaya.

The next level of this 'art' are the con'artists' ...the individuals that take selfies during their visits to distilleries and frame themselves as artisans...

So who is a genuine oud artisan? And what is artisanal oud?

Artisanal oud is produced by certain kind of individual, an individual who couldn't care less about money and that simply finds gratification, satisfaction and pleasure in producing and owning something of exceptional beauty, beyond the ordinary, which no one else has anything exactly like. A complete aesthete that lives to create art, be it artisanal oud oil, parfum, calligraphy or prayer beads... Let alone conversation, kombucha and tea...

Genuine artisanal distillers like most artisans of history were essentially sponsored by passionate eccentric individuals, in this case the producer of whom I speak, that dedicated over a decade to designing and honing the parameters for distillation, intimate involvement driving the distillers mad with unprecedented 'crazy' requests... these select few individuals endured the 'crazy white man' and were pushed to new heights of greatness in their work establishing a niche that only a few were able to follow with its new degree of quality, this 'artisanal oud' that changed the industry forever.

The rest of the distillers just follow the money with the bottom line being first and foremost... When the conglomerates say more, they say buaya!

Although in truth, crocodile wood - buaya, isn't even needed so much anymore by mass producers as advancements in growth hormones allow for resin to develop in shorter and shorter periods of time, it's just the backyard distillers that continue to utilize buaya and pretty much anything that yields oil... But you've got to give them credit right, it takes creativity to mix in adulterates to oud, so they're artisans too!
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Wonderful share adam.

Do you feel artisanal oud also comes from a keen sense of olfactory imagination and respect? Meaning the ability to see within Certain raw material potential that only fine tuned observations, tweaks and adjustments can craft from the wood? Of course all aligned in ethic respect and once in a life time legendary batches?


~A Coburn

Well-Known Member
Thanks @Heartistry ,

And yes, that's exactly it.

Artisanal oud is designed with purpose, with intention.

Based on the producers intimate involvement with the raw materials he knows the nuanced characteristics of the wood and how they perform, and is thus able to design the parameters needed to elicit the profile he envisioned.

For those who have followed Ensar's works from the beginning in the early 2000's they know he has also shared a few different 'experiments' over the years, and have seen as he's honed his craft.

The current line of Oriscent oils exhibits that as does Oud Ertugrul, and Betonamu Senkoh. These oils exhibit a refined aesthetic of scent appreciation, surpassing most niche perfumes with their seamless transitions and nuanced evolution.

There does seem to be a misconception that an olfactory 'imagination' is how the oils exhibit such characteristics, which I believe is why the vendors think it's ok to frame just any oud as artisanal, they believe Ensar's just making this stuff up, when in reality it's not imagination, but vision, or in this case a keen perception and nuanced discernment.

Here's another snapshot of the personality of an authentic Artisanal Oud Producer:

The kind of gentleman that will allow an elder to take him by the hand, lead him to his home and spend half the day in conversation and pleasantry out of respect, while having a million other things to do. As with any artist, their works reflect their personality and character.