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Aloeswood (also Agallocum, Agarwood or Aquilaria)

In its normal state it is a boring tree of light, white wood with no fragrance. After attacks by insects or birds or branches broken by wind or rain, sometimes it starts to segregate a resin to cauterize the wounds. This resin spreads through the whole tree in an alquimic process that lasts decades until the wood becomes dark and so heavy that it doesn't float on water. That is why in Japan it is called "jinkoh": wood that sinks. The aloe's fragrance is deep, rich and earthy. A bit spicy and, at the same time, with a balsamic touch. Its fragrance echoes in the soul's depths. It is more expensive than gold and it's much more precious. It is also called calambac. Japanese call it "jinkoh" or "kyara" and in the Islamic world is known as "oud".  It's the most expensive and appreciated aromatic wood. It's produced by various tree species from the Aquilaria family. Grow in the middle of Laos, Burma, Cambodia, Malaysia, Filipinas and Borneo’s' jungles. Owes it's scientific name to the Portuguese that recovered it's commerce when they arrived to India in 1502 and called it eagle's wood (Aquila), although already in the Old Testament aloe is cited as an incense offering.


Doesn't have anything to do with the orange colored fossilized resin of the same name. The amber used in perfumery comes from a kind of whale, the sperm whale. Sperm whales have a highly developed breathing system that lets them dive into the sea depths to hunt giant squids that swallow whole. Those squids have a peak similar to the parrot's one and, so that it doesn't harm it's digestive system, sperm whales segregate a substance that covers it during digestion and that they later expel trough the mouth. This substance is the grey amber. It is not well knows when it started to be used but the first news we have come from the Middle East in the VI century. It s also cited by Marco Polo. Arabs used it mixed with coffee and to aromatize refreshing drinks. In the XVI century there was a Chinese empress that loved amber. At that time the Chinese started using it but did not know its origin. Also at that time the Portuguese had arrived at China to evangelize and trade. They proposed uncover the amber’s origin secret to the emperor  if they were allowed to settle in Macao. And this is the story of how the Portuguese got rights over that port.