Agarwood is a form of incense, made from the tissue created when aquilaria trees become infected with a fungus. The infected, dark coloured material is harvested by excising it from the tree, cutting back to pale, healthy wood and then dried. The wood may then be burned as-is, or extracted by distillation to give a concentrated version of the fragrance called oud oil, often used in perfumes or medicinally as a pain killer.
Production of agarwood is largely concentrated in south-western China - it was this trade that gave Hong Kong its name ("Fragrant Harbour" in Cantonese) and is fairly restricted, with large scale plantation farming only just starting to come online and natural sources close to extinction. For the time being, high demand and limited supply do wonders for the value of the material, with the wood selling at about £6k/kilo and the oil closer to £32k/kilo.
Game and Story Use
- Obviously, treasure - and wood chips are a form of treasure likely to be left behind.
- Also, clear opportunities for fantasy expies - imagine a similar substance from some kind of magic tree…
- Possibly as an "evil incense" thematically…