The aromatic fragrance of wood chips soaked in fragrant Oud oils is a centuries-old tradition that defines the essence of Bakhoor. This infectious aroma that wafts through the house due to the delectable ingredients like Oud, Starwood, aloe woodchips, musk, resin, and flower oils soaked in fragrant Oils is a treat for the senses. These scented wood chips when ultimately burned on charcoal, surround the house with heavenly aroma as the wonderful aromatic molecules are released into the air.
Bakhoor is one of the greatest fragrances to be introduced in households over centuries. It is especially important for such memorable occasions such as welcoming guests, wedding celebrations, and other traditional expressions of joy and festivities. It is also great for neutralizing any smells that might be lingering in your house. Stale smells, tobacco smoke, and the persistent smell of freshly cooked meats and fish can very easily be banished by walking around the house with a Bakhoor burner to spread the aromatic fragrance in every room. Any guests will ultimately be amazed by the beautiful scent emanating from inside your house. Bakhoors are also used as body perfumes by women through scenting themselves and their hair. This process is very common in Arab homes on all special occasions like family gatherings, weddings, and other celebrations.
Bakhoor is made mainly of natural ingredients and every maker that cooks the Bakhoor has their own secret recipe that distinguishes her/him from others. Some of these makers inherited the art of making Bakhoor from their great ancestors and pass on the secret recipes from generation to generation. In Yemen, Oman, and other Arab countries, it is called Bakhoor while others in the Gulf countries refer to it as Bukhoor. They are the same but in Yemen and some Arab countries Bakhoor is hand-made using “cooking method” (on fire) while other countries use the “baking method” where resins are made by baking (similar to clay where the direct fire is not used). The longer the Bakhoor is kept on a closed glass jar, the more fragrant the scent becomes.
Various natural ingredients are used sometimes to get the best mix as the burning of purely oud chips are beyond the reach of many. Mastery of bakhoor making may take years and sometimes the skills are brought down for one generation to the next.
Bakhoor also has special significance in Islamic history as well. It is believed that different Prophets also used it while another commonly held belief is that this is the first fragrance that a person will experience while entering Paradise.
In the traditional Arabian culture especially in Bedouin culture, it was common to burn agarwood or Bakhoor when guests visited and to offer the scented smoke to each guest so that they could scent their hair, clothing, and hands as an integral mark of hospitality while serving them light bites and beverages. Given that this tradition is such a mainstay of Middle Eastern culture it leaves no doubt that since Christianity and Judaism were also born in the Middle East that they would have their own uses for these materials too, as it’s not just limited to Muslims. In the Middle East, men and women burn Bakhoor to fragrance their houses and also their clothes so that the lasting scent will permeate their clothes.
Bakhoor must be burned to release its woody sweet-smelling aroma. The burning or heating is normally done by using a charcoal placed in a Mabkhera, an Arabic word, meaning "the fumer" referring to the incense burner. Mabkheras come in different designs; they are made from either wood, metal, or ceramics. In today's modern world, there are also other ways to burn incense, such as using the electric incense burner. Although that may be an option, many prefer the original and coal-burning Mabkharas as they are able to produce the best fragrances for the house.
Bakhoor is often associated with its ability to bring about calmness in the nervous system, and its ability to cultivate focus and alertness when used. After a deep breathing session with bakhoor, you will open your eyes and be ready to take on the world, no matter how difficult the task ahead may be.