BACKSTORY

Agarwood, ingrained in the human story for well over a millennium, has enjoyed a rarefied status in many major civilizations and religions across the world. The complexities involved in assessing the quality of this wood in terms of place of origin, botanical species, and grade have continued to envelop agarwood in an enticingly enigmatic air of mystery, while the challenge of separating fact from fantasy has kept many from exploring more deeply the magical world of agarwood.

Like many of today’s enthusiasts, the founder of Emma Agarwood was drawn into this rarefied realm after experiencing the intensely rich and unique aromas produced in its incense smoke.

For over two decades, they have traveled deep into the world’s sixteen major agarwood areas,distinguishing the subtle depths of agarwood aromatics; This long-running, highly labor-intensive effort of Emma Agarwood has created a high-resolution “aromatic map” of  agarwood that definitively breaches the veil to reveal a truly fascinating, untold story of agarwood that is authentic and evidence-based.

ALL ABOUT AGARWOOD

What is Agarwood?

Agarwood, known as chen-xiang in Mandarin and agaru in Sanskrit, is a byproduct of the natural defensive response of several tree species in the aquilaria genus to mold infestation. When under attack from this mold, which enters through lesions on tree surfaces, these trees produce phytoncides and other antimicrobial agents to fight the infection. The repeated process of attack and response infuses tree sap with a potent admixture of phytoncides and mold structures, known as agar resin - the forerunner of agarwood. This resin solidifies and alkylates over time. Resin inside of aquilaria trees, as well as resin remaining on or in the ground after a tree has been felled or that is trapped in mud or in water, gradually alkylates over time. Weather, climate, soil, and other variables greatly affect the process of alkylation, creating location-specific peculiarities that open the door on a virtually limitless range of qualitative potentialities. However, time is the one requisite variable essential to creating all fineagarwood.

Main Source Areas

Aquilaria, with nearly 20 fragrant-wood deciduous evergreen species, is the genus that contains the world’s largest number of fragrant-wood trees.

For the convenience of categorization, many distinguish agarwood as either “Hui’an” or “Xingzhou”. Hui’an denotes the commercial agarwood that is handled primarily through the Vietnamese city of Hội An. Hui’an agarwood has a distinctively complex aroma with hints of sweetness. The most sought-after Hui’an agarwood is Nha Trang and Red Qi Nan (Red Earth) from Vietnam and Pursat from Cambodia.

Xingzhou denotes the commercial agarwood that is handled primarily through Singapore. Xingzhou agarwood most frequently exhibits distinctively menthol aromatics. Moreover, as it is often available in relatively large slabs ofsturdy wood, Xingzhou agarwood is frequently used to fashion agarwood beads and artistic curios. The widely varied geographical, geological, and climatic characteristics of the source areas for Xingzhou agarwood result in a wide range of qualities. In general, the most sought-after Xingzhou agarwood is sourced from Kalimantan and Tarakan Island in Indonesia and from Brunei.

Agarwood Grades

Agarwood is enmeshed in a bewildering tangle of grading and naming practices that is due largely to the lack of a unified grading standard, with source area, shape, maturity, and harvesting method all potentially applied in classification schema.


The most common current grading method uses the buoyancy of samples in water as a direct measure of quality. “Sinkage” identifies the best grade, “half-sinkage” is the second-best grade, and “full-floating” is the third and lowest grade. Agarwoods are not created equally. The resin content of agarwood that sinks to the bottom accounts for at least a quarter of the total weight of the piece. “Sinkage” agarwood accounts for less than one-fifth of agarwood production, making this grade the most prized and valuable.



EMMA AGARWOOD INCENSE PRODUCTS

All Emma Agarwood incense products use only agarwood that is sourced directly from production areas and are handmade in selected workshops. Its carefully monitored processes use no oxidizing agents or synthetic aromatics. While items may use agarwood of differing grades and sources, all of Emma Agarwood products carryaguaranteeofnaturalagarwoodpurityandquality.

Stick Incense, Coil Incense, Powder Incense, and Agarwood Art Collectibles

In our most popular stick incense product category, Vietnamese agarwood, with its light, elegant fragrance, is our perennial bestseller. The pleasant aroma of Vietnamese agarwood perfectly and subtly accentuates any setting, time, or mood.

Itsfull-bodied,stable,long-lastingfragrancemakestheMalaOKseriesparticularly well suited for use in Buddhist ceremonies and in relatively large indoor spaces.

The aromas of coil and stick incense products are similar, with both maintaining a slow, steady burn for 2~4 hours. These items are ideal for ceremonial use and are easy to apply. The public is increasingly choosing natural-wood incense over chemically enhanced incense products.

Emma Agarwood’s decades-long relationship with agarwood producers and production regions have also helped them amass a sizeable collection of agarwood collectable art pieces, including carved art, bead bracelets, rosaries, and other agarwoodart.

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  • 沉香珠子也可以「Bespoke」?

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    沉香珠子也可以「Bespoke」?當然!
    現在市面上的沉香實在假貨太多,找信得過的商家當然是較穩妥,益瑪沉香還更進一步推出「買料訂製」的服務:
    選自己喜歡的原材,自己決定珠子的大小、樣式,代加工的過程全部都有紀錄可查,剩料帶回去比對香氣,還可以當品香材料,絲毫沒有浪費。
    益瑪沉香總有你想買,也買得起的沉香。

  • 沉香蟲漏

    蟲漏.png

    有沉香分類除了生結、熟結、倒架,另外一個就是「蟲漏」或稱「蟻穴」。
    蟲漏沉香是怎麼形成的呢?
    沉香的樹汁甜美,木質鬆軟,很自然的吸引螞蟻或昆蟲的咬嚙或築巢,而樹木在被蟲蟻蛀蝕過後,在創口附近結出的沉香就是蟲漏。
    由於蟲蟻不規則的啃食,所以蟲漏沉香的外觀與一般塊狀的沉香不同,造型特殊,變化多端,可當奇木觀賞。
    蟲漏沉香的香味也非常獨特,是最受人歡迎的甘涼味,濃厚的甜味,香韻極富變化性,尾段常帶有奶香味。有一種說法是受傷的白香木分泌出汁液,與蟲蟻的分泌物混合,因而產生這樣特別的香氣,若屬實,則原理近似白毫烏龍因小綠葉蟬叮咬而產生「著涎」特殊的甜香。

  • 沉香倒架

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    沉香的分類除了常見的生結和熟結之外,另一類較特別的是「倒架」。
    顧名思義,倒架就是沉香樹結香後,因種種原因而傾頹林中,經長時間的風吹雨打,木質腐化殆盡,留下了醇化的沉香。
    與熟結不同的是,倒架沉香並不是埋在土裡被保護著,所以在未被開採之前的漫長歲月中極容易遭到種種外力的破壞,只有懸崖天險或原始深山、人跡罕至之處才有可能尋得,稀有不下奇楠,但迷人的焦糖香味則更讓人心生溫暖。

  • 沉香「生結」?「熟結」?

    生熟結.jpg

    一接觸到沉香,最常聽到的術語就是「生結」和「熟結」,
    而且直覺的認為熟節比生結好,是這樣嗎?
    我們首先來了解什麼是「生結」什麼叫「熟結」:
    生結就是沉香是在母樹仍在生長時被採收下來的,顏色紋理黑亮,最特別的是生聞就有一股清香味。
    熟結是從已枯死的樹上採收的,因為大多長年埋在土裡並經過歲月的陳化,所以紋理細緻,並且要透過燃燒才有香氣產生,但味道濃郁。
    因為這兩種沉香被採收的狀態不同,表現的風格也不同,但是「不同」,不代表「好壞」,沉香本身的品質才是價格高低的關鍵。

  • 佛珠也有假貨?

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    中國人都喜愛佛珠,沉香佛珠尤其受到追捧,稀少、加上昂貴,也因此假貨特別多。
    常見的做假有煮油、碎料高壓成型或甚至釘金屬增重(附圖)等等。除了透過X光機來檢測重量是否有問題,另外就是以燒熱的針探灼沉香珠的孔,以味道判斷真假。
    當然,最簡單可靠的方法是找有信譽的商家,不要貪便宜因小失大。
    在益瑪沉香你也可以挑選自己喜歡的沉香原材,益瑪為你代為加工,每個工序都可以拍照檢驗,完成後成品連剩料一併交還,以對比香味,確保原材實料。

Store Location

106台北市大安區建國南路一段319號1樓
1F. No.319 Section 1 Jianguo South Road Taipei 106 Taiwan
T.886-2-2700-1765  F.886-2-2325-0907
Business hour:Mon. to Sat. 11:00-19:00
emma_agarwood@yahoo.com.tw