What comes to mind when you see someone sell a bottle of oud for $500, while another sells one for $400? Or, if you see one bottle for $500, and another for less than $200?
Some are under the impression that the only difference between the two offers is the $100 you'll save by going with the cheaper option. When it comes to greater price differences - $500 vs $200 - some feel they're getting played by a over-charging merchant, asking unduly high prices for the same product you can get for far cheaper elsewhere.
So, when compared to a $100 bottle of oud, why might one costing you $500 actually be worth that much more?
The one bottle might contain oud oil distilled many years ago, from wild agarwood no longer available, in tailored artisanal fashion, commissioned, supervised and collected in person by an experienced pioneer of the craft. The other was distilled a month ago, by a nameless person, from prematurely harvested low-grade wood, which was then shipped to a seller who's never even seen a distillation unit, nor an actual agarwood tree for that matter.
But aside from the quality, there are two highly significant factors everyone investing in oud should consider: (i) the way products are advertised, and (ii) how much oud oil you're actually getting.
First, every online vendor pushing '100% pure oud' does so in much the same way: posting a picture of the standard 'oud bottles' on their website, with a price tag attached to it. Presenting the same bottle images leads you to believe that all oud dealers are offering pretty much the same product - or the same amount of it, at least. This is not the case.
Second, instead of grams, they use millilitres as an indication of how much you're getting. So you'll see a bottle being filled with 'x ml' of oil.
The approach most people use when filling bottles by millilitre is that they buy bottles supposed to be able to contain 3ml of liquid, and the thinking is that if they fill these bottles, they will contain that much.
In practice, a rough estimate is that 3ml equals 3g of oil, so pouring 3g worth of oil into a 3ml bottle should just about fill it up. However, as a rule, we pour our oils only by weight. This means that we're able to precisely gage exactly how much oil goes into each bottle, and time and time again we've been faced with the dilemma of these so-called '3ml' bottles not being able to contain 3g. In fact, there's often a disparity of up to 0.5g worth of oil. This means that although the bottles are supposed to be able to hold 3ml, they very often don't. The point here is that there's really no way to tell whether the one you bought counts as one of these.
Next time you consider a bottle oud, carefully study the amount of oil stipulated in the deal. That's if it's even stipulated, for very often it's not. Often the only information you have is that you're getting a 'full' bottle (like the one shown in the picture).
Suppose you're about to invest in a bottle of oud at, say, $600. All you know at this stage is that there's a picture of a bottle, and it's going to cost you $600. Next thing you'd want to know is how much you'll be getting. 'Well, the seller says I'll get 3ml'. Let's suppose you're getting a '3ml' bottle of oil. This means you're paying $200 per millilitre; $50 for 0.25ml. Is this really what you're getting?
Well, with most dealers it's not. Or, at least, there's no way of knowing. If your bottle happened to be one of the dozens not accurately able to contain 3ml (instead only 2.7ml or 2.5ml), then you're not just 'getting a little less'. The difference is considerable – the difference costing you $50, $70, $90, $130, or even more.
At Ensar Oud™, you're getting a bottle poured by weight. This means that when we say you're buying a 3 grams of oud, that's exactly how much you're getting. Maybe a little more, but never less. We use sensitive measuring equipment for this purpose. No droppers, no eyeing the '3ml' bottle to see if it looks filled up.
The main problem then with [first:] advertising images comparable to all others in the market is the impression it creates, and the frequently unfair comparisons which ensue. For instance, say we're selling a bottle for $500, while another dealer sells one for $350. Who charges more?
At this stage, all you need to do is ask yourself: how much am I getting? What you'll find is that, nine out of ten times, the bottle you get from us contains 3 grams, while the other one contains 2.5ml, 2.7ml, 2.8ml - a measurement that to us means little, because the main problem with [secondly:] filling bottles according to millilitres is that there's no way of knowing if that's how much you actually filled it with, regardless whether you say '2.5ml' or '2.8ml'. No matter how well-intentioned the seller may be, they cannot know for sure. At Ensar Oud™, we're not taking $500 from you and only giving you $400's worth, intentionally or otherwise. Every drop is accounted for.
With Ensar Oud™ you can rest assured that you're seeing through a legitimate transaction, where you know exactly what you're getting in return for what you're giving, and that the little price difference there might be is completely accounted for by the difference in quality.