Bait Al Arab

Bait Al Arab is my first experience with bakhoors, several of which can be found on this page (the bakhoor in question is at the bottom). Bakhoors are generally oil-scented chips or bricks that usually originate from the Middle East; Bait Al Arab is made by the Swiss Arabian company in UAE. While they’re made for heating or burning on charcoal, they’re slightly similar to several Japanese companies that use perfumery art in incense and like those sticks, the aroma of Bait Al Arab is noticeable without burning or heating.

These “bricks” are about the same size as a self-burning piece of charcoal and can easily be broken down or crumbled, in fact I recommend doing so as Bait Al Arab is heavily fragranced. But what an incredible fragrance it is. I haven’t burned anything on charcoal since I got my Shoyeido heater, but Bait Al Arab, broken into quarters for this use, is absolutely gorgeous on the heater. As the description states, Bait al Arab has “perfume oil rich in rose, amber, saffron, agarwood and cardamom in the middle, with notes of agarwood, amber and musk at the base.”

It’s the floral perfume note that comes out first, like an intense bouquet of rose and carnation. The scent is exquisite and about the time you’re used to it, many of the other ingredients come in. The agarwood is generally buried in this mix but it does seem to provide the amber and cardamom notes that give the scent such a sweetness a little depth. With this incense, I tend to leave the top off the heater as the perfume oil is so rich and tends to condense and get the inside of the lid messy.

And almost as a little bonus, if you leave the crumbled bakhoor heating for a while, the incense forms crystalline structures on the top as if it was the end product of some alchemic experiment.

Exquisite is an understatement with this one.

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14 Comments

  1. Aliyah said,

    July 11, 2012 at 7:12 pm

    I know this is quite an old post but I thought I could add something on the point of burning bakhoor with ceramic burners. I simply raised the height of the tea light. I use a ceramic disc that is normally used for incense sticks but I’ve also used another small tealight underneath. I find this raises the tealight enough to heat the bakhoor at a higher temperature to release the scent. If you leave it long enough it will thoroughly dry out enough that the ‘crystals’ mentioned above form on top.

    I’m more interested in Gulf fragrances, but I find reading about other types of incense not only very interesting, but also educational as it helps me to know more about incense buring in general.

    • clairsight said,

      July 13, 2012 at 4:41 pm

      Thanks for dropping by Aliyah!

  2. Maharani said,

    December 22, 2009 at 11:00 pm

    I just received my order of Bait al Arab bakhoor and a heater and have been trying it out. At first I tried burning an entire tablet-it generates crystals around the edge but doesnt burn very long and I suspect the center of the brick remains unconsumed. Then it occurred to me to try crumbling it, and this is the way to go. The scent is rich and fruity-when I heated the crumbled bakhoor (at ~35 on my adjustable heater), the scent was a very rich almost raspberry perfume. The bakhoor is very differently nuanced from Indian incense-at first I was not sure I liked it, but it is starting to grow on me and I really enjoy the slight sensuality of crumbling and heating the incense and breathing in the exquisite scent. I will need to develop familiarity with it in order to distinguish the various notes. My one criticism is that each bakhoor tablet does not last that long compared to a good stick, but again, this is my first experience of this style and I may not be doing it “right”.

    • Anne said,

      January 12, 2010 at 8:44 pm

      Maharani,

      When it comes to tablet bakhoors like this version of Bait al Arab (there are other versions, some of which are loose mixtures), the best way to go is indeed to crumble up a tablet on to the heater’s little metal plate (which should be lined with the heater foil, of course). Also, in order to make the tablet last longer, I would recommend that you turn down the heat level. I don’t know how other’s people’s heaters work, but I find my heater from Mermade to be quite potent, and even at relatively low levels 10 to 15, the temperature is quite hot! Anyhow, think of the tablet as if it was an egg in a frying pan. The higher your heat level, the likelier the egg gets burnt and/or cooks faster. Same principle here, really. I personally find that I like my bakhoors on the heater and not as much as when I’m burning them on charcoal. I like the ability to control the heat level, and find that my bakhoors work better with lower heat settings – but that’s just personal preferance.

      Since you are not bothered by smokey incenses, you may want to consider burning some of your Bait al Arab on a charcoal. It releases more scent more quickly that way.

      BTW, what do you think of the Duggat Al Oud Wardh Taifi? I believe that purchased some, yes?

      • Maharani said,

        January 12, 2010 at 9:10 pm

        Anne, thanks for your feedback. I contacted Altaf Khanzada of Paradise Perfumes for some general recommendations on burning bakhoors. He had several suggestions, the first being crumbling the bakhoor. He recommended lower temps too, so I tried progressively lowering the temp and now generally set my heater between 10-15, which, as you point out, works nicely both for the Beit al Arab (which by the way means “Arab House” according to Altaf) and the Duggat al oudh ma wardh Taifi.

        His second suggestion was unusual. It was to crumble the bakhoor in about a tbsp of water and heat it over a candle burner. I dont possess one but tried it in a small glass votive holder set on my Mermade heater. This didnt work so well for me-the scent was too faint and the bakhoor turned into mush, but it might work better with a candle heater. I also added too much water-a teaspoon might be more appropriate than a tbsp.

        As for the Duggat al oudh ma wardh Taifi, I think it is wonderful-a wonderfully delicate rose scent with, as you point out, the green scent of the stems and leaves. I think it is very fine and I also think it would be a good choice for those upset by smoke or for entertaining. I have noticed that bakhoors last a surprisingly long time when heated gently-a couple of days in fact. I am getting through the Duggat rather fast and need to slow down awhile as it is quite expensive.

        Having a lot of fun trying all these things out.

        • Anne said,

          January 12, 2010 at 9:49 pm

          Hmm. It sounds to me like Altaf is suggesting making a potpourri with the Bait al Arab tablet. I have an old ceramic potpourri heater, and that’s the basic concept, add the scented potpourri into the little pot at the top, add some water, and then light the candle below and start simmering away. A bonus of using this method is that there is no smoke, so for those that are sensitive to smoke, they can enjoy the scent of the incense this way.

  3. Anne said,

    July 29, 2009 at 2:40 pm

    Just got my box of Swiss Arabian Bait Al-Arab today. I’m going to burn some tonight, and will report back with a review when possible (currently my home computer is out of commission). I hope my computer can be salvaged. I had a lot of incense links bookmarked, and would hate to lose all that info!

  4. Borkan said,

    May 27, 2009 at 4:51 am

    you can also find excellent Arabian Bukhoor or Bakhoor here:
    BakhoorShop.com

    • Mike said,

      May 27, 2009 at 8:50 am

      Borkan, I hesitated to let your messages through as business spam isn’t generally a good idea anywhere, but I decided to let this one through as you seem to carry a dozen or two bakhoors I’ve never seen for sale and thought I’d give anyone the chance who has made an order from you to say something about your operation. – Mike

      • Borkan said,

        May 27, 2009 at 9:31 am

        Thank you Mike for your understanding. I don’t like to spam this wonderful blog, but when I saw what Nancy has recommended Mohammed hassan in this post , I though I have something different to provide here as it’s mostly the incense from Yemen which is maybe the oldest incense (maybe oldest than Egyptian incense) but not too information about it. I have also created a site for people to learn more about Bakhoor/Bukhoor, it’s listed somewhere in this blog, I don’t know if it will be considered spam if mentioned again here.
        Peace 🙂

        • Mike said,

          May 27, 2009 at 9:56 am

          Hey, I’d definitely be happy to have you join in conversation and help inform us about bakhoors for sure, definitely on topic and appreciate you adding a personal touch to your original note. Feel free to post that info site on bakhoors again in this thread and I’ll add it to our info links. Best, – Mike

  5. Mohammad hassan said,

    December 28, 2008 at 4:40 am

    Hello.
    please send your price list for us incense and telephone,address.
    THankyou.


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