Earlier this year, I was in Bangladesh and discovered a hitherto unknown source selling the highest grade of organic wood available. Bangladeshi farmers are blessed with meagre commercial resources that forces them into default organic cultivation methods as they cannot afford to employ what are perceived as the superior chemical inoculation methods of agarwood farms in other countries. The agarwood orchards were quite a trek, but I had been assured that it would be worth the journey.
On arrival, I was greeted and welcomed into a room full of piles of freshly harvested agarwood chips of varying grades. We got down to business and I asked for the finest chips available and was amazed at the dark chips that appeared after a box was pushed in front of me, while I desperately tried to contain my excitement in front of the farmer, lest the price tripled due to my smile. The dark streaks of black resin wrapped across each piece looked alluring, but I asked him if he could light a piece for me to check. Good news. It smelled just as good as it looked. All I could smell was a heady mix of organic coffee beans, cocoa powder and Fairtrade dark chocolate and for a moment I was transported back to my local artisanal coffee shop in London. I giddily made him an offer with the promise to return for more. These chips represent the finest organic agarwood farming can offer and at a price that will have both of us returning for more.