Oh, this is a highly interesting topic, and a lot can be said about this. Thanks for opening this discussion.
The oud hype is of course a fashion trend, and if you look closely, you see that the whole thing is based on a lie.
At first, by buying one of the numerous oud perfumes, nobody has to feel guilty about the alleged extinction of aloeswood trees in the rain forests - simply because there is no oud in the so-called oud perfumes at all. What we smell and identify as an oud note is a synthetic base, i.e. Black Agar Givco 215 by Givaudan, the aloeswood blend by Firmenich and possibly others. Ironically, the synthetic oud notes do not smell like oud. Instead, they smell reminiscent to - and, BTW, much better than - the synthetic substitutes that the Arab brands use in their less expensive "oud" fragrances. These substitutes, however, do not have too much in common with what I got to know as the smell of natural oud oil.
The synthetic oud blends with their characteristic mustiness provide a certain romantic "Arab" image: the 1001night smell of harems, djinns that appear in a smelly must from the magic lantern, and the must of the orient in general. This is why we have the oud hype.
Natural oud oils are also musty, but not in the first place. At first, they are warm woody notes the sort that could remind you of antique furniture. Depending on the origin and the production process, natural oud oils can differ a lot. The most complexity can be found at the beginning - in the head notes, if you want to see it like that. There are animalic, and even fecal notes. Especially Indian agarwood oil can have notes of Swiss Appenzeller or Gruyere cheese, also a biting acidity, and dark, earthy chocolate-like notes. In a Borneo oud oil, I discovered coniferous notes which most people would not link to Arabia. Another oil which seemed to be a bit bland gave me impressions of hemp and sisal.
There is only one Western perfume where I found a discernible natural oud note so far: "Zafar" by Xejoff seems to contain a little bit of it. However, the price tag of well above 300 € makes clear why we do not find natural oud in the oud perfumes.
If it comes to natural oud, there is no hype at all, and there will never be any. I did a sample giveaway of my "Dahn Oudh Al Shams" perfume spray which seems to contain only natural oud oil as the only fragrant ingredient. Nobody wrote a positive or even enthusiastic review. They more ore less disliked it, due to the fecal aroma, and only some found it interesting but stated that they would never wear it.
It seems I am the only one here who likes natural oud oil!
Back to the synthetic oud bases - very slowly, there are releases where the synthetic oud note is not placed into the centre but treated with discreetness as any other note. A very good example where this oud contributes something important without dominating the fragrance is Divine's new "L'Homme Infini"
For details on natural oud oils, red my reviews under the brand oudh.co.uk
For a sample package of natural oud oils, have a look at www.ensaroud.com/