Oud, bukhoor and the concept of smelling nice

The concept of smelling 'nice' is an important part of Arabian Gulf society. Visitors notice it at once, from both men and women passing by and as an aroma wafting through shopping malls.

Also popular is frankincense, the resin extracted from the boswellia tree which is found in Oman, Yemen and Somalia.  Eric Larfforgue/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images
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The concept of smelling nice is an important part of Arabian Gulf society. Visitors notice it at once, from both men and women passing by and as an aroma wafting through shopping malls.

This unmistakable scent comes in two types: oud and bukhoor. Oud may look like pieces of wood, but the moment you heat it, magic fills the air as the blend of perfumes is released.

It is customary to burn oud on Fridays, the holiest day of the week. Bukhoor is the sister of oud. It is a compressed powder of sawdust and is round shaped. When burning, only a small portion is needed. There are various types of oud and bukhoor depending on individual taste.

Also popular is frankincense, the resin extracted from the boswellia tree which is found in Oman, Yemen and Somalia. Balqees, the Queen of Sheba was the first person to elevate its value.

Oud wood originated from India and spread across the globe through trade. Various types of wood now use the generic name oud. Emiratis and Khaleejis are the biggest consumers of oud and bukhoor, which is used by men and women of all ages.

* Asmaa Al Hameli