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More than a golden opportunity: Agarwood/Oudh

August 23, 2010Article by Ray Withers

Agarwood is such a precious commodity that its value is pegged at 1.5 time that of gold! It is not yet a household name in Western countries, but it has been highly prized for many centuries across Asia.  In the Arab world, it is known as Oud (or Oudh) and is the basis for the most luxurious perfume and soap products – as well as a byword for wealth and exclusivity.  The Gulf States market alone is worth $3.2 billion.

Recently, the ‘perfumes of Arabia’ have moved westwards as Yves St Laurent and other top brands have become aware of its quality and value.  They now insist on Agar oil for many of their most prestigious products.  This is but the latest stage in Agar’s journey across cultures.  In Japan, for instance, Samurai warriors scented their armour with Agarwood smoke for good luck in battle.  There, it is known as Jinko which means the ‘wood that sinks in water’.  There is a legend that it was washed ashore in the 7th century, then buried in the ground, from which the aroma eventually captivated the Emperor.

Agarwood is linked equally with material opulence and spiritual aspirations.  It is known as ’the wood of the gods’ because it is used as incense by many of the world’s great religions, including Buddhism, Hinduism, the mystical Sufi schools of Islam and the ancient Shinto faith of Japan.  The Buddha described the smell of Agarwood as ‘the scent of Nirvana’.  Agarwood therefore satisfies two of the deepest human needs – material comfort and status, at one level, but also the need for something higher than the self.

So what is this enigmatic product?  Agarwood is the dark resin produced by the rare Aquilaria tree that grows all over South-East Asia and parts of the Indian Subcontinent.  In the wild, this resin is secreted by around 1% of the trees because of a fungal infection.  During the process of resisting the fungus, a precious oil is generated at the core of the tree.  This is surely one of nature’s little-known wonders.   The healing properties of Agar are widely known and have become staples of Tibetan and Chinese medicine, especially for treating anxiety and stress.  They are used in the Indian healing techniques of Ayurveda and the traditional Islamic medical system of Unani. Interest in these holistic techniques is rising in the West, another reason why Agar’s time has come.

Aquliaria trees are now in danger of extinction, just as demand for their products is on the rise.  Now, EcoInvestments – a division of Property Frontiers – has teamed up with a plantation company with more than 20 years track record as the sole agent for a new Agarwood investment package.  Crucially, our growers have the exclusive patent for an organic process that ensures 100% production of resin by the Aquliaria Crassna tree. This ensures 100% production of Agar – and also ensures that the trees are protected and conserved.

You can invest from as little as $8,310 and expect a return of $25,088 in 7 years, the length of the investment term.  At 19.5%, Agarwood has the highest IRR (Internal Rate of Return, i.e. Client Return) of any of our alternative investments.

This is a really special product with a distinguished history that is fast emerging onto the world market.  Literally, it is more than a golden opportunity for investors.

Written by: Aidan Rankin


Ray Withers

Ray has over 17 years’ experience in the international property market and bought his own first international property investment back in 2002. Aside from running Property Frontiers, Ray has been involved in residential, hotel, student and commercial property investment and development in both the UK and overseas and co-wrote "Where to Buy Property Abroad - An Investor's Guide". As Founder and Trustee of the Frontiers Foundation, Ray is directly involved with many of its projects to ensure they have a direct and tangible impact in individual communities across the globe. He is passionate about property, travelling, scouting out new opportunities and finding time to spend with his young family.
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