Agarwood (Gaharu) Quality
Expert agarwood processing companies like in Arab countries and Japan who are interested in high quality agarwood, prefer to process the raw material themselves. This also avoids the mixing of authentic high grade agarwood with wood of lower quality or even wood or sawdust that is added to make up the weight that is usually not visible to the human eye in powder form. Experienced and expert users usually do not buy powdered form of agarwood but in chips form.
Aquilaria Crassna Agarwood (Vietnam) Physical Properties and Quality Grades (General Classification):
- High Quality: Black Wood – Heavier than water
- Medium Quality: Brownish wood streaked with black resin
- Low Quality: Light yellow wood with brownish wood
Agarwood does not have any standard grading system and usually done by sellers in a fuzzy notion without any scientific basis. This is often misleading as each has its own standards. According to Aquilaria Crassna agarwood experts and professionals, the area of black part (high quality resinous part) of agarwood chip is a way of gauging the quality of the Aquilaria Crassna agarwood. But it needs to be seen under a microscope as some fake agarwood can be coloured and coated.
Pure agarwood resin can be seen to exude a bubble-like appearance when the wood is burnt, which is evidence of the high ‘oil’ or resin content.
Misconceptions about Agarwood Quality
Most people grade agarwood by black area/part, it is not an unique or correct way to identify good agarwood, for example, several genuine Kynam (‘Qi Nam’ ‘奇楠’) pieces (the highest quality of Agarwood) have no black area (its major colour is yellow and brown). Aquilaria Malaccensis woodchips are more black in colour than Aquilaria Crassna woodchips but Aquilaria Crassna Agarwood is more valuable than Aquilaria Malaccensis Agarwood .
Price of agarwood species varies across countries and traders. It usually ranges from USD 500/Kg to greater than USD 10,000 /Kg for agarwood chips.
Low Quality Aquilaria Filaria/Aetoxylon Agarwood, often sold as Vietnam’s Aquilaria Crassna Agarwood – ‘Hui An’
at high prices by unprofessional sellers and cheats.
Agarwood Types and Comparisons
Aquilaria Filaria Agarwood also called 黄土沉 is commonly used in Fengshui in place of higher quality Aquilaria Crassna. This type of Aquilaria Filaria agarwood can be found more easily in Indonesia and lower in price. This type of agarwood is actually found from agarwood trees buried in the ground for many years which gives its chinese name – ‘Yellow Earth’, some called ‘Red Earth’ 红土 due to the different soils it is buried in.
Aquilaria Malaccensis (Malaysia, above) also called 虎斑沉 or 虎纹沉. Aquilaria Malaccensis also exist in Indonesia, Kalimantan, and the scent varies with the specie from Malaysia. The colour and physical pattern is quite the same for both country of origin.
Aquilaria Malaccensis and Aquilaria Crassna appears to look the same to a normal person. But careful physical evaluation shows the difference and burning will differentiate the scent of the 2 species. Many unprofessional sellers/cheats sell cheaper Aquilaria Malaccensis as Aquilaria Crassna to customers.
Sinking Agarwood Aquilaria Malaccensis from Indonesia (Kalimantan). Physical colour is dark brown to black. Feels heavy on hand like metal pieces. Sinks in water. 100% natural, non-impregnated. We also sell this type of sinking agarwood.