What do we feel about cost of Oud oils?

Discussion in 'General' started by Mr.P, Aug 3, 2016.

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What do we feel about cost of Oud oil?

  1. Way Overpriced

    27 vote(s)
    36.5%
  2. High

    29 vote(s)
    39.2%
  3. Unreasonable

    3 vote(s)
    4.1%
  4. Fair

    15 vote(s)
    20.3%
  5. Cheap

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  6. Way too cheap

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  1. Kesiro

    Kesiro Oudmeister

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    As a dumb bone doctor, all this neuroscience stuff is WAY over my head. I do however think that this has been an informative discussion. It exemplifies that there is a lot of passion regarding oud, and all that involves around it. That is mostly a good thing.
    What my field has however seared in my brain, is 2 fundamental laws: 1)assume nothing and 2) trust no one. Therefore, I smell, see, assess, listen, experience and make my own judgements.
     
  2. Abdullah

    Abdullah Junior Member

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    @Ammar that is very interesting point of view. i would also like to see this. maybe have a few test subjects lol. someone well versed in oud, someone who has never smelled oud before, someone who hasn't smelled good quality oud before, etc the results would be very interesting. great post.
     
  3. jensz

    jensz Administrator Staff Member

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    Great discussion. I'm just catching up on it as I wasn't able to follow/participate in real time over the last few days due to work obligations. I definitely have some thoughts about this but maybe someone has already covered them. Can't wait to read it all.
     
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2016
  4. Ouddict

    Ouddict Technical Support

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    I'm not upset... just biologically illiterate o_O
     
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  5. Oudamberlove

    Oudamberlove Member

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    There are some oils that I have purchased for under $150/3g, I would gladly trade 5 or 6 of those bottles for a single bottle of an oil that I really like. I consider a purchase based on the region first, distillation style second, quality and reviews third (age is included in this category), then cost is the last consideration. If it goes for four figures a bottle, then it's a sample size or pass. This applies to my present state of ouducation, experience, and income. If someone is new to oud, I would advise that person to try all varieties as their wallet will allow, then fine-tune their buying decisions as they gain more experience.
     
  6. bhanny

    bhanny Guest

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    Now that WOULD be interesting.
     
  7. jensz

    jensz Administrator Staff Member

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    Very interesting topic. It may be late to add my 2cents, but for what it's worth.... I mean this mostly as an academic discussion of how to approach "fairness", whether the concept applies, and what role competition has, using concepts from antitrust law.

    Personally, I have a hard time applying the concept of fairness or unfairness to pricing for anything but the necessities. Yet broadly, it seems that "fairness" in pricing really refers to whether the seller's profit seems excessive. But "excessive" by what standard? To even begin to assess in an objective non-arbitrary way, you have to know the seller's cost for obtaining/distilling the oil (including unseen costs like distillations gone wrong, losses to customs, etc.), from which you can determine the seller's profit. Then, you have to see if there is competition, and compare the prices and profit margins of reasonably interchangeable oils. What if no one else is offering the same/similar item? What if, unless this seller did it at this price, you would never have the opportunity to purchase the item? What price would be fair?

    Well, even assuming competition, it's hard to apply the concept of fair or unfair, which seems more to do with honesty than the functioning of a market; either the buyer wants and can afford the item, or he doesn't and can't. No seller is morally/ethically/otherwise obliged to sell for a price that he doesn't want to accept, and similarly no buyer has to buy an oil he can't afford or doesn't believe is worth it. Of course, oud oil serves a special purpose for many of us and we view it as a great aid to mental/spiritual wellbeing, so it may seem harsh to say (as I say to myself every day) "if you can't afford it don't buy it." But interestingly, new vendors have appeared to meet the demand for lower-priced, good-to-excellent quality, pure oud oil, that well-serve these mental/spiritual purposes, and all the vendors have at least one lower-priced offering, so there is pure, very nice oil to meet every taste and pocketbook. The new entrants routinely offering less pricey oils is a positive development that may serve as a check on pricing to the extent it is too high. (Some vendors seem to be motivated mostly by genuine love for fellow oud lovers more than out of profit motive. But rather than consider the others unfair, it seems more correct to refer to these oud-love vendors as particularly altruistic . . . and thank them for it! Whether it is sustainable is a different question. I hope it is! I also note that some of the higher-end vendors occasionally sell oils for less than they probably could, too.) So there are quite a few very nice oils at lower price points. Alternatively, one can buy smaller amounts of the more expensive ones from Adam and Imperial (thanks to these guys for that option); or one can arrange a split of the expensive ones. As for "excessive" profit, that can really only be judged in comparison with competition . . .

    For many goods, price (and therefore profit margin) will be tested and limited by competition in the marketplace. I can imagine that competition could effectively regulate pricing in the lower- to mid-priced oud oils, because there is significant competition there (many oils to choose from), consumers who buy them are more likely cost-sensitive, and consumers can more readily determine which they prefer (there is more/better information, specifically, there will be more reviews, it may be easier to tell whether the cheaper oils are reasonably interchangeable with costlier ones, the risk of testing is lower, etc.). I am not sure the same market/competition mechanisms can operate effectively to regulate prices for the high-end oils. And actually, I may be wrong but know of only one online vendor who routinely sells very high end oils (say, $1,500+/3gr), so come to think of it, I don't see true competition in that sphere. As such, that vendor has great freedom in setting prices. I don't see that as fair or unfair, it's just how a market works. All I can say is that if there's little or no competition at that level, there is little reason for the prices to decrease . . . unless demand drops as a result of consumers deciding these oils are not worth their price, which doesn't have much to do with fairness but is instead an assessment of value, which, when it comes to artworks like oud oil, is subjective, and I note that the premium value of those oils seems to have been reinforced over time.

    I hope this post isn't taken as a slight against anyone. I mean just to talk about pricing in a dispassionate almost academic way, so maybe this post is not only long, but ultimately rather boring. :confused::rolleyes:
     
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2016
  8. Kesiro

    Kesiro Oudmeister

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    Jensz- I think your post should be a sticky. Could not have been said any better. Very well done!
     
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  9. bhanny

    bhanny Guest

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    Agreed. Well written.
     
  10. Ouddict

    Ouddict Technical Support

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    There is no way to make this post sticky I believe - I tried - but it is a really well balanced and thought out contribution to the discussion from Jensz as always.
     
  11. Al Shareef Oudh

    Al Shareef Oudh Resident Artisan

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    Thanks for taking my question.

    There is no doubt that we all have preferences pretty much in everything we do. Those preferences will lead/guide us to our ultimate decision to engage, the engagement can be a purchase, a meal, or a new uniform. There is no question that when we can afford it we will pay for those preferences, based on what we think it is worth.

    The sense of smell like any of our other faculties develops over time, as we build our olfactory library of association, our senses become more acute to picking those smells. If a certain scent does not have an association in our olfactory library, we may pick up the smell but not be able to describe it or if we do attempt to describe it, then it will be limited by what is in the olfactory library. From that perspective we can continue to grow the library.

    As with regards to brands, brands can have a cult following because when we make association with a brand we also subconsciously assume that it is a part of ones 'attire' or 'look'. You can view some of the rage that goes on in Iphone and Samsung forums, however I agree with you that it does not happen because of an overdeveloped limbic system caused by oudh.

    Your two next theories are very real, sometimes as consumers we deal with a vendor not because they have the best product but because of the service they provide. Recently our business went through a IT upgrade, and Microsoft provided such an amazing remote service, that whilst there are niche custom tools for what we do, we continue to take our business to Microsoft for the service they provide us. This is true across all commodities and consumables, service to the consumer, conduct with the consumer and making the customer feel valued will be the pivotal elements that retain or drain customers.

    As with regards to your comment on post # 73 "And Al Shareef, what concerns me much much more than the impact of oud on the CNS (which I suspect has much more good than bad), is group mentality theory and how one or two people can lead others to think and believe in a common way, often against what they normally would on their own."

    You have definitely missed the worst part of group mentality in the online oudh scene, some of the old timers will tell you, apparently the group mentality was really bad in the earlier days. It again raises it's head every now and then, causes some damage such as the recent closure of BN, then it cools down for a while, then it flares up again.

    In the football league full year membership with all the main games is only a few hundred dollars, maybe a couple grand with some favours, and you can see how passionate fans get in those games, here in the oudh scene the values at stake are much higher because of how personal oudh is, or any scent for that matter.

    I am vehemently against group and fanboy mentality, because it is one of the key obstacles in the way of our online oudh community to progress forward. In our tradition when we visit friends, oudh is always on the offering. It brings people together and whilst every family has their favourite supplier they are more than happy to try someone else oudh and discuss into the early hours of the morning.

    The topic Ammar raised is of specific interest to me, as in our tradition our scholars, for example the great scholar of Madeenah Malik ibn Anas ibn Malik ibn `Amr, al-Imam, Abu `Abd Allah al-Humyari al-Asbahi always had oudh burning in his gatherings 'as it clears the mind and assists learning and retention. There is a lot of study going on currently on the Nonconscious effects of scent on cognition and behavior, here is an abstract from one of the studies, and it is very impressive, because many members feel they can meditate better with Oudh, and I remember Shabby saying that certain Hindi oils assist him when he is studying religious text;

    "Three studies explored whether odor can influence people's cognition and behavior without their being consciously aware of the influence. In two studies, we tested and confirmed that when participants were unobtrusively exposed to citrus-scented all-purpose cleaner, the mental accessibility of the behavior concept of cleaning was enhanced, as was indicated by faster identification of cleaning-related words in a lexical decision task and higher frequency of listing cleaning-related activities when describing expected behavior during the day. Finally, a third study established that the mere exposure to the scent of all-purpose cleaner caused participants to keep their direct environment more clean during an eating task. Awareness checks showed that participants were unaware of this influence. The present studies reveal the nonconscious influence that olfactory cues can have on thinking and doing."

    One other aspect that I think should be added to this discussion is combined affect of the oudh with the associated story or narrative that vendors put out with the oils.
    the impact when a combination of our senses are engaged.

     
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  12. Ammar

    Ammar Oud Fan

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    This also should be a sticky.
     
  13. bhanny

    bhanny Guest

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    Hey there, I appreciate the rest of your post and do find the science of olfaction on emotion, perception, memory, etc, fascinating. But I really would like to comment on the group/fanboy thing. Maybe we have different definitions, so I am going to use myself as an example.

    I am, as I'm sure many of you know, an unabashed Ensar fanboy. I love his ouds top to bottom. In most situations I prefer his oils. But just as you said, each family has their favorite supplier, they are more than happy to try other vendors oud and discuss it. So do I, that was the very reason I came here. Al Shareef, I have 5 full bottles of yours I believe, 3 or 4 Imperial Oud full bottles and samples on the way, 6 Feel Oud full bottles, 5 Agar Aura full bottles, and 2 Rising Phoenix full bottles. Even though I happen to have many more from Ensar, I wear all of them at times. I wear Ensars oils more, its not that I find the others bad, I just prefer his, they are more my personal style.

    So how does that make me bad or an obstacle to growth? I'm not trying to argue or flame, I'm truly asking. Don't I do exactly what you and your friends do in your tradition when visiting friends? I mean I've sampled and purchased oils based on each one of those vendors direct recommendations alone.
     
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  14. Mr.P

    Mr.P Oud Fan

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    Maybe don't take the posts personally, Bhanny, unless for some reason you feel it pertains or is directed especially at you
     
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  15. bhanny

    bhanny Guest

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    Hmm. His response WAS to me.
     
  16. Mr.P

    Mr.P Oud Fan

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    I'm sorry - I missed the part where he said you personally were an obstacle to growth, etc. I will re-read the post more carefully.
     
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  17. Al Shareef Oudh

    Al Shareef Oudh Resident Artisan

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    @bhanny

    I have read that post a few times and I can tell you as Mr.P has, that my post was not aimed at you. Actually, I think in your own little way you are working for growth, i.e posting on multiple forums and experimenting with multiple oils.
     
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  18. bhanny

    bhanny Guest

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    Hey guys! Mr. P, Al Shareef, I actually didn't take it as a direct post at me, just to me in a the sense it was as a response to a post of mine. I know at times it may appear I take things personally, that generally is not the case, I just approach some things in life rather passionately, especially when things challenge my own particular sense of right and wrong.

    In terms of the fanboy thing. I only illustrated my own experience to show that casting someone as fanboy based on a few reviews can be totally or partially inaccurate at best, and quite harmful both individually and to this Oud community as a whole.

    I guess my plea is for a little more tolerance across the board, and I most assuredly include myself in this. Let's drop our weapons, take a swipe or two or three of our favorite oils (I've actually had 4 vendors oils on at the same time before), and realize there is a place here for all of us, vendors and patrons alike. I don't know, it just seems crazy to have such contention, anger and controversy over such a beautiful thing.
     
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  19. RisingPhoenix

    RisingPhoenix Resident Artisan

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    So back to the original question about pricing...

    Thought I'd share an article that covers some of the expenses outside of the cost of the wood, itself.

    I've said this before (and unfortunately - usually get attacked for it, despite simply trying to educate ) - there are many costs associated with running a business that factor into how products are priced.

    It's a good article - and most of it applies to Oud Vendors, while also overlooking some costs specific to this line of work a general perfume operation might not have to worry about.

    Enjoy!

    https://sonomascent.wordpress.com/2016/12/03/what-goes-into-running-an-artisan-perfume-business/
     
  20. Al Shareef Oudh

    Al Shareef Oudh Resident Artisan

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    hey bhanny, sometimes people get incorrect information that impacts their views, and it mixes in with the passion we all have for this wonderful gift of God. I think a fact check (for everyone on all information )is very important in such an environment.
     
    jalil likes this.

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