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Cultivated and Wild Agarwood, a personal comparision


Cultivated Agarwood

Wild Agarwood

Method of creation and collection

Drill, Cut, nail with special agarwood agent (yeast or chemical which both would be washed away by rain and decomposed naturally). This method varies depending on the technique of growers hence the quality of resin and the period of creation also varies. Easy to collect direct from plantation site


Insects, thunder bolt, fungi. Collected by agarwood hunters. Unstable as these species now are protected and prohibited to collect by government in an attempt to save them. It is risky for hunters for facing robbery sometimes. Several reports that the whole groups had been killed for ransom when they found these valuable trees.



This is a debatable area


Ensar Oud (ensaroud.com) is an Oud artisan with advanced distill technique  which can equalise or even surpass the Wild Oud in term of Oud quality.


The Agarwood oil is distilled from Agarwood chips . The more oil the better. This again depends on the age of infection

Early infection


Before going on please look at the below image from gaharujnkou  agarwood grower:

(image: https://gaharujinkou.wordpress.com/)

 This is a seven years of infection, almost all of the whitewood are infected, turn into immaculately beautiful agarwood

If this wood is used to make incense or distilled with the right technique, there is no doubt of its quality would surpass the wild one.



Depend on the age of infection

The below pictures are natural agarwood log

Natural wood log with more age of infection


The more resin, the  better the quality, the higher the price.

Please note, if the tree was collect prematurely , in terms of agarwood quality it would be a waste of time and resource, damaging the environment.

There is one thing currently technology was not able to do: the formation of Kyara or Ki nam

(it takes century)


For one who is interested in Kyara vs agarwood please check here



If you do an online search, there are many claims suggested it was unsafe to consume cultivated agarwood  due to the use of chemical.

It might be true but please consider:

  1. Currently there is no record of any incidents
  2. Cultivated agarwood mainly created in rainy seasons, depend on technique, most of the chemical will be washed away. Please note chemical itself is not able to create agarwood. The tree MUST BE WOUNDED to do so, chemical itself act as a catalysts or a “speed up” agent.  Previously  farmer just  purely hurt the tree to create agarwood but it takes decades to form resulting a loss in profit
  3. Most of agarwood growers could provide CITES, often agarwood products are tested in lab to ensure it is safe to consume

Generally it is safe to consume. However, for its ever rising price, people have been tried to deceive others by adding other substances and spice, even iron nail to increase agarwood weight.

Psychologically, to burn the wild wood chip one would feel like burning money (incense grade is around $10,000 USD to $55,000 USD per kg, some over $200,000 per kg)


Supply and price

Supply: With hundreds of plantation site, there are plenty of suppliers.

Reasonable, negotiable depends on quality and quantity.

To grow the trees strong enough NOT to die before inoculated:  7 years

Time to harvest after inoculation: 2 to 3 years usually

Rarer and rarer to almost extinct.

Price is more and more expensive.


Agarwood beads

Again, it totally depends on the infected wood which would come back to the age of infection plus the growing method. A single bracelet or 108-mala beads would emit a light fragrance at room temperature.  Agarwood beads are mainly for keep-sake, or lucky charm. Suitable for entry level. The wood pattern is usually consistant


Clearly, you could observe black (agarwood) and white spot in the log which used to make agarwood beads as below:

 Please note that not all cultivated beads will have this pattern. With the development of agarwood farming technology, the pattern will start looking similar to wild one. Be low is cultivated 108 mala beads contain honey sweet scent, a hint of spice.

Unique, usually available in small quantity as each wild agarwood log is different. The wood pattern is different as the infected area is random and distinct in different tree

Suitable for collectors

Appearance in Woodchips Please see below


Agarwood chip a

Agarwood chip b

From the above wood chips (raw photo without any editing), by looking directly with our very own eyes, they are identical to me. Unless someone with years of experiences, often is not able to tell. Even if burn it,  the complexity in scent could be very similar. So would you still be interested in wild agarwood chip? Please note the price difference is in extreme (from triple to 10 folds or more). Certainly for collectors it is worth it but for daily enjoyment, this price will hurt your bank. Food for thoughts?

For your own interest 

Wood chip a is Wild from Nha Trang Vietnam

Wood chip b is Cultivated from our plantation site

Once  Agarwood farming technique is advanced, a closer step from cultivated to wild, quality and quantity wise 


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