Why 4 Of The World’s Priciest Scents Are So Expensive | So Expensive | Business Insider

Why 4 Of The World’s Priciest Scents Are So Expensive | So Expensive | Business Insider

Show Video

while searching for the world's most expensive items we uncovered some of the priciest smells that are prized across the globe from frankincense and myrrh to a garwood jasmine oil to sandalwood join us as we revisit what makes these scents so expensive first we're heading to the rainforest of southeast asia to see why infected agarwood can sell for as much as one hundred thousand dollars per kilogram [Music] for thousands of years agarwood has been known as the wood of the gods first grader garwood can cost as much as a hundred thousand dollars per kilogram making it one of the most expensive raw materials in the world but for this tree to produce any agarwood it must first become infected with mold so how does this infection process work what is agarwood used for and what makes it so valuable aquilaria malacensis is a tree native to the rainforests of southeast asia prior to infection the healthy heartwood inside aquilaria trees is pale odorless and worthless however in the wild damage to the tree by external forces such as grazing animals sporadically results in the growth of a specific type of fungal infection inside the tree called phylophora parasitica the aquilaria's defense to this attack is to produce a stress-induced aromatic resin called aloes which is dark and moist over the course of several years the aloes slowly embed into the heartwood to create agarwood look at is harvested it needs to be separated from the healthy aquilaria wood around it in a painstaking task that often takes hours resin infused chips also known as ood are carved out by hand ood chips are commonly used as incense particularly in the middle east where they're burnt both as tokens of hospitality and infused into clothes and garments as a perfume he don't land food is also distilled into an essential oil and in its purest form aged ood oil can cost up to eighty thousand dollars per liter earning the nickname amongst traders of liquid gold as its popularity continues to grow in the west food has become a common ingredient in several high-value fragrances adding a warm musky aroma but due to unsustainable production and poaching all varieties of aquilaria trees are now classified as critically endangered with experts estimating the global population has declined by 80 percent over the last 150 years even for those surviving aquilaria trees the frequency of natural fungal infection is extremely low some estimates say only two percent of wild aquilaria trees are adequately infected to produce a garwood naturally meaning the hunt to find natural agarwood is extremely arduous foreign with natural agarwood now bordering on extinction in some forestries like this one managed by truong in vietnam trees are artificially inoculated with a microbial compound to induce the all-important foreign agarwood was described as a fragrant product of wealth and luxury in one of the world's oldest written texts the sanskrit vaders dating back as early as 1400 bc the aroma produced from agarwood has been highly valued by many cultures and religions throughout history in the nirvana sutra aloes is mentioned as a heavenly wood used in the cremation of buddha in the new testament jesus body was anointed with a mixture of myrrh and aloes following his crucifixion and in the sahih al-bukhari hadith the description of paradise by alice messenger includes the burning of agarwood as incense the global market for agarwood is estimated to be worth a staggering 32 billion dollars but where ood was once so common high demand has not only increased the price but also the rate of harvesting and artificial production by the end of 2029 the market is expected to double to 64 billion dollars [Music] frankincense and myrrh are perhaps best known for their biblical connotations but this tree sap has been prized across the world for over 6 000 years these fragrant incense pieces come from the berseracei family of trees and are found across the horn of africa and the arabian peninsula but despite recent attempts to protect these trees they could soon be headed for extinction so what makes frankincense and myrrh so expensive there are roughly 550 species of bursaraceae a collection of trees often referred to as the incense tree family recognizable for their flaking aromatic bark and fragrant sap but true frankincense comes from only a small fraction of those species [Music] frankincense is a milky white resin derived from boswellia trees which are remarkable for their ability to grow in unforgiving conditions in fact these trees have been known to grow out of solid rock myrrh on the other hand is a reddish resin extracted from comafora trees the process of extracting sap from boswellia and comiphora trees is virtually identical incisions or taps are made in the bark of the tree which create injury the trees produce a gummy resin like a scab as a protection against the injury the resin then hardens into teardrop pieces more incisions are made at important intervals to continue the production of resin exudates the resin granules collected from the trees must be separated into different grades first grade a frankincense is clear white and without impurities smaller pieces of the same high quality granules are separated within a sieve and classified as first grade b frankincense the grades gradually deteriorate based on the size and the amount of impurities such as bark infused into the resin low quality frankincense is mainly sold for local market consumption whereas grades one two three and four are exported to that means that at wholesale this sack of first grade a ethiopian frankincense is worth about 430 frankincense and myrrh have been burnt as incense for thousands of years and both are deeply ingrained in religious ceremonial burnings in fact it's estimated that the roman catholic church alone still uses an estimated 50 metric tons of frankincense a year frankincense and myrrh was some of the most highly prized commodities in ancient civilizations and became the driving force behind the creation of the incense trade routes a vast network of major land and sea passageways dating back to 300 bc that linked the mediterranean to luxury goods from the south at the height of their use these roots allowed the transport of approximately 3 000 tons of incense every year hauled by camels today alongside its medicinal and cosmetic uses frankincense has found a surge in popularity as an essential oil which in its purest form can be sold for as much as six thousand dollars per liter frankincense essential oil alone generated more than 190 million dollars in 2018 and that's expected to exceed 406 million by 2028 but with so much money to be made from damaging a tree the tapping process which should happen only two or three times a year is under threat not only from environmental dangers such as wildfires but also from local untrained tappers it can sometimes take decades for these trees to start producing resin so the sustainability of the species relies on injuring the tree without killing it unfortunately the harvesting process of frankincense is very damaging to the tree so every time people go there and make wounds and then collect the sap that doesn't give enough time to trust for the tree and heal itself so one of our findings is this tree is really under a threat the international union for conservation of nature categorised the boswellia sacra species as near threatened over 20 years ago and the lack of over-harvesting laws in some countries means that protecting boswellia trees in such remote areas is virtually impossible experts who surveyed aging boswellia paparifea trees in north africa suggested that most hadn't produced a young tree in half a century this is one of the most expensive woods in the world but it's really one portion of a sandalwood log that makes it so valuable to get to it these men tirelessly chop away the lighter outer layer of sapwood until they're left with this the dark inner core that makes a kilogram of indian sandalwood cost 200 today this is where sandalwood's unique fragrance comes from and when it's distilled it's used in all kinds of products from bath soaps to luxury brand perfumes so what makes sandalwood's aroma so special and is that why the wood is so expensive native to south india centalum album or indian sandalwood was used for hundreds of years before becoming a go-to scent for expensive perfumes it's also been used for wood carvings and medicine and it's even considered a sacred tree in several religions once distilled sandalwood's sweet woodsy aroma retains its scent for decades this is the crude oil portion this we take separately and it is weighed and it is handed over to stores department after harvesting the forestry department sells sandalwood at auction to factories like this one in mysore this is a jet pocal class of sandalwood we have received from marayur in kerala this we are going to process in next week hollow heartwood logs are classified as judge pocal one of the 18 classes of indian sandalwood factories can purchase pure heartwood like judge pocal or raw sandalwood logs but if they buy the raw wood they'll need to break down each log themselves although a machine helps split sandalwood into more manageable pieces stripping the logs down to their hardwood core requires the effort of several employees it is totally manual process and a very skilled process in a physically demanding process these men chop each log to remove the sapwood the non-fragrant portion of sandalwood you can see the brown person this is heartwood the outer portion is called sapwood and the exterior portion is barker pure heartwood is the most valuable class of sandalwood in some trees pure heartwood is easier to extract because it forms in one circle at the center in other trees the heartwood mixes together with sapwood which impacts the final value of the oil this brown portion is altered and this white portion is sapphood sapwood so it is mix of both artwood and sapwood that's why it is called mixed wood so it is a little bit inferior quality as regard to sandalwood contents after employees have gathered all they can a machine breaks down the strips of wood into chips employees do a sift through these chips to grab any leftover pieces of usable heartwood then a separate machine turns those chips into powder now distillation can begin the process is long and it starts with injecting steam into distillation stills after the oil is extracted all that's left are these giant mounds of powder but even with most of the oil gone some of the scent still lingers rather than going to waste it's used to make incense sticks and dupe a common form of incense in india used during religious rituals during the final stages workers separate the oil from water and purify it until they're left with a totally clean tank of sandalwood oil it takes mahadeva's team about a week to distill one metric ton of oil tanks of the purified oil are sent to a lab in bengaluru here researchers test each batch for quality they smell samples of the oil to confirm the aroma is consistent across batches sandalwood's unique and long-lasting scent makes it compatible with a wide range of other fragrances which is why it's an ideal base for perfume so sandlot oil is a woody compound it is a base compound it longers around more than 24 hours it is not like that that orange oil or jasmine lake after the oil is tested it heads to another factory where it will be used to make soap for karnataka soap and detergents limited or ksdl okay this is the final finished oil it's the color of the oil that finished product perfume what we are using for measures and also fragrance ksdl is one of the biggest producers of sandalwood oil products globally although its primary focus is soap the company sells bottles of just sandalwood oil too one 10 gram bottle of sandalwood oil costs 5 500 rupees or about 74 dollars it is very expensive for common people like me and you cannot afford to pay a 3000 rupees for a 5 gram of sand line in every auction there used to be increase in the price of sand load maybe by 10 20 percent uh increase compared to previous prices so when the sand would price increases definitely oil prices will also be increased compared to 2017 a kilogram of indian sandalwood oil can cost double today and demand isn't slowing down with the market expected to reach over 165 million dollars by 2027. out of roughly 10 sandalwood species indian sandalwood and australian sandalwood have the largest commercial value the difference is the indian species has higher levels of alpha and beta-santelolol the components in sandalwood responsible for its lasting scent and believed health benefits india used to dominate the market for sandalwood oil and oil-based products but in recent years australia which grows both the indian and australian sandalwood species has gained significant ground in the market although this might look like a lot of sandalwood india is actually facing a supply shortage in fact the supply is so limited that this sandalwood distillery only operated for about four months in 2021 and up until 2002 it was illegal for private growers to plant sandalwood trees in the southern states of karnataka tamil nadu and kerala with only a small amount of government-sanctioned replanting alongside the over-harvesting india's supplies suffered and since 2018 the species has been considered vulnerable one level above endangered another factor that limits supply and increases the price is inherent to the way the tree grows older trees tend to yield more oil which makes them preferable for oil production growers will typically wait around 20 years for a tree to mature this waiting period doesn't only limit the quantity of sandalwood it also puts the trees at risk it's not the seasonal crop it is a long lasting crop it needs very patience to grow and you need to protect till its maturity that is the one issue you have to bear in mind today every tree has to be registered with the government and can't be harvested or transported without permission but even these strict regulations aren't enough to prevent theft according to hinduism today roughly 2 000 tons of smuggled sandalwood passed through the black market in 2018 to successfully grow the trees for decades farmers must pay the cost to protect them here in the city of mysore some trees are wrapped in barbed wire on top of this threat harvesting these trees isn't simple when a farmer has approval a government official must come in person to uproot the entire tree none of the tree should be wasted particularly heartwood in the trunk and roots since it holds the highest oil content in the end the tree's total oil output isn't much so you may get around 60 grams of sandalwood out of 1 kg of a root portion sandalwood in case of stem you may get around 40 grams to 50 grams in branches about 30 grams to 40 grams to replenish some of its trees the karnataka state government created the grow more sandalwood program around 360 farmers are enrolled with our grow more sandal project and we're encouraging farmers to grow more grow more and more sandalwood and after minimum 14 years of age we can buy back but growing trees comes with the cost of protecting them for decades at a time something that likely will still deter farmers there are also the permissions growers need from the government which slow down the process it's uncertain if programs like this can return india to its old production levels but at a minimum the effort might help restore some of the country's lost sandalwood supply right now these jasmine buds don't smell like anything but once they bloom producers in india process their coveted aroma into one of the priciest oils in the world just one kilogram of jasmine oil can cost over five thousand dollars it's a key ingredient in luxury perfumes but to get one kilogram of some jasmine oil these women need to pluck over 5000 buds so what does jasmine smell like and why is the oil so expensive for hundreds of years jasmine has been used in india to make garlands and headpieces for special occasions its scent is sweet fruity and floral blending well with other fragrances and while india grows over 80 varieties of jasmine jasmine grandiflorum and sambac are two of the most commercially valuable it's been considered very divine and samba especially even amongst other flowers is considered one not superior it's the most preferred flower jasmine sambar has this ease this friendliness this happiness it is a joyful scent jasmine sambac thrives in materay the jasmine capital of india like any flower jasmine produces a strong scent only after it blooms but local sellers don't want jasmine flowers they want the buds that's because once the flower blooms the scent only lasts a few days the buds last longer so they're easier to transport whether it be for garlands or oil extraction raja runs a jasmine oil company but before raja can produce the oil he'll need to wait for the day's harvest [Music] jasmine is a night blooming flower to maximize the harvest and ensure the buds make it to the markets in time harvesters head to the fields early rati is one of a handful of women tasked with plucking the buds [Music] it's not as simple as grabbing each bud she sees only the right bud blooms that day otherwise it's not going to bloom so if it doesn't bloom no fragrance deciphering which buds to harvest requires a keen eye one that roti has trained over the last 10 years in these foreign goes to each bush one by one plucking thousands of buds before she collects a kilogram of jasmine gathering that much takes her about an hour the work must be done gently by hand so as not to damage the buds damage or wilted buds mean more work for atti jasmine is a very laborious picking process a kilo of jasmine just to give you a perspective will have about five thousand to six thousand independent flowers so to pick one kilo they have to move five thousand times you know the hand moves back and forth five thousand times to pick just one kilo of flowers but that's still a tiny fraction of the buds needed to produce a kilogram of oil for one kilogram of jasmine oil raja needs one metric ton or one thousand kilograms of flowers as she works rati collects the buds in her sari to protect them and preserve their fragrance [Music] show harvest for about five hours straight it's tedious and tiring but it's critical for her to keep moving before it gets too hot then the buds head to the local market [Music] [Music] he's been sourcing jasmine for oil production for 18 years practically all corners of the market are full of buyers bags of jasmine buds and scales to determine the proper quantity for sale [Music] the rate today is 500 rupees per kilogram before buying he assesses the buds closely to determine if the size will be worth the price it is [Music] when foreign sun has set raja's employees begin unloading bags full of jasmine buds back at the factory the first step is to spread them out with rakes and then again with their hands and feet spreading out the buds is crucial to preserving them leaving them in a big pile would generate heat which would again cause them to wilt then raja's team waits until the flowers begin to bloom the minute it starts blooming it starts emitting the fragrance and then after some time you can see emits a bad fragrance so you know there's a constant chemical reaction that's happening in the flower for us it's so important to capture the fragrance at the right moment which is soon after it blooms which is the best in terms of yield and the span like several other white flowers jasmine is rich in indole ironically indole is found in feces too in the case of feces there's too much indole so it produces an unpleasant smell but in limited amounts it creates an appealing aroma as it does with jasmine when the jasmine has bloomed rasha's team loads the flowers into four 5000 liter extractors the flowers then soak in a solvent once the solvent absorbs the smell of the flowers they remove all of the liquid they're left with this waxy hard substance called concrete it's what raja uses to finally extract the oil you add alcohol into the concrete and then the concrete is separated off the waxes it's filtered and then we get the absolute jasmine sambac is the most coveted of all jasmine flowers hence the high price at its peak jasmine sambac flowers can cost 10 times more than other types of jasmine and when it comes to the final price of the oil the majority of it depends on the cost of the flour itself about sixty percent the bulk of the cost is attributed towards the flower cost itself so it varies depending on the price of the flowers every year the cost of one kilo of concrete is around two thousand seven fifty to three thousand dollars and the absolute is almost a double like 5 500 plus per kilo of absolute but jasmine sambac oil wasn't always this valuable in fact raja says it was rarely harvested before the launch of dior's jadore fragrance that was when the sambac became the in thick before that sambac was grown in india but it was not really extracted today jasmine oil extracts travel from india all the way to paris where they will be used in many high-end fragrances particularly at garland garland sources jasmine sambac oil directly from raja the signature of the house is made with jasmine and five other ingredients so jasmine is almost everywhere the company produces all of its fragrance blends in-house including monkey land jasmine sambac is the star of mongala you have the top note of lavender blend then in the jasmine sambac florals he enjoy then comes the sandalwood and the vanilla this is such a soft and beautiful fragrance you

2022-08-23 02:27

Show Video

Other news