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March 21, 2021 4 min read

DP has been getting the “same” agarwood chips every time, but he has a different experience each time. Although he is happy overall, he wonders why he cannot have the same aroma every time?

DP loves the sweet, vanillic woody scent. One day, he broke down a large piece of agarwood chip into five smaller pieces. After that, he heated a small charcoal brisque and waited patiently for the ash to form on the top. He then placed a mica plate on top of the charcoal and started to experience agarwood chips’ fragrance.

He expected to have similar experiences in heating these five wood chips because they derived from the same wood piece.

He found that it was a pleasant feeling every time, but the fragrance was not the same; the difference is subtle but noticeable.

Was the seller dishonest in selling low-quality stuff? Did the seller play trick on him?

Hard to tell. Rather than saying yes or no, I would like to show you what happened.

The growers will supply agarwood chips in bulk from their agarwood plantations to the sellers.

Some large growers will grade their chips and separate them before distributing them to their sellers. If you get these graded wood chips from these sellers, you will get a consistent scent profile overall.

However, there are some smaller growers or hunters who have limited resources. They will distribute to sellers whatever wood they have on hand at an “average” price. These woods are a mixture of different grade. 

If the sellers grade these wood and separate them, you will get a consistent aroma when you get wood from them. 

Otherwise, one moment you would feel like heaven and the next moment, you would wonder what you were burning.

Let’s dive a little deeper.

Agarwood is from Aquilaria wood.

This wood is white and nearly odourless. When you heat this Aquilaria wood or even burn it, you may have a similar experience to firewood.

When ants and other insects decide to attack an Aquilaria tree, something magically but slowly happens. The wood starts forming resin to harden itself. In several years, the tree body will form agarwood

From the below image, you can see brown and white parts. The white is odourless, and the brown is agarwood.

The white parts are removed so only resinous wood chip remained

Look closely

You would see the distribution of resin. Some areas are denser than others.

Resin is the source of the aroma. And it will evaporate or turn into gas when heated or burnt.

When the heat reaches an area containing a lot of resin, you will be overjoyed by the wood’s fragrance intensity. 

Sometimes, you will experience the “quietness” (odourless) when heating woodchips. It happens because the heat reaches the resin-less area. Without resin, there is no scent.   

The resin also forms differently in different parts of the tree: barks, different branches, heartwood, and sometimes even root. Just like when you eat broccoli, the “flowers” have different tastes from the stems, the leaves and the stalk. Besides, broccoli from different growers, different seasons, different regions, different methods of growing, different fertilisers used will have different tastes.

The above analogy also explains the reason for different aroma in woodchip although they are all agarwood chips

And my friend, different aroma makes heating woodchips excited and unique so you don’t get bored.

At Grandawood, we are growers. For those who do not know, our main plantation is in Dong Xoai Binh, Phuoc, Vietnam. We also partner with many growers in South East Asia.

We always sort agarwood chips before distributing them to our stockists. The resin of our agarwood chip will cover most areas of the wood itself. When you try our agarwood chips, you will always feel the agarwood aroma; I define that as consistent.

However, some areas of our agarwood chips contain more resin than others. When heating these chips, you will feel pleasant at a minimum, and the pleasure gets higher when the heat reaches more resinous parts. At some time, during the wood heating process, you will feel good. Other time, you will feel great. And I define that as intermittent.

Intermittent consistent experience: Let me share with you a story of a wholesale buyer

Many years ago (before the COVID), a wholesale buyer came to our place to get around 125 kg of wood chips. He shared his feelings when he tried our agarwood chip.  

“The intermit­tent fragrance makes me feel like riding a roller coaster. Get super excited at one point, calming at some other points. And expecting another peak points next”. He felt that way because of the uneven agarwood resin distribution in an agarwood chip. And my friend, heating agarwood chips will give you this pleasant feeling.

Want to feel it? Click here to select your agarwood chips


Have you tried intermittent consistent agarwood chips before? Share with me your experience.

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