It’s wonderful traveling with a switched on nose. All senses primed, you are ready to adventure and to take in all the new, sometimes weird, often wonderful aromas that the environment (both natural and built) have to offer.

This was no less a goal for us in setting up a new office in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

As someone who had not traveled the region, it was everything I expected and much more. To know the Middle East culture and way of life is amongst other things, to fall in love with fragrance as a custom, a tradition and a religious rite.

The love affair between these two transcend time and religion.

As I transcended deeper down this rabbit hole of olfactory delight I discovered through the smoke the spirit of the Middle East: Bukhoor (or Bakhoor).

“Bukhoor” is the Arabic name given to scented bricks or a blend of natural traditional ingredients, mainly woodchips (Oud, Agarwood or Aloeswood) soaked in fragrant oils and mixed with other natural ingredients (Resin, Musk, Ambergris, Sandalwood , flower oils and others). These scented chips/bricks are burned in charcoal burners to perfume the house and clothing with the fragrant rich smoke.

Ceremonial and utilitarian in use, It is traditional in many Arab countries to pass Bukhoor among guests as a gesture of hospitality, some say even more important than dates or tea!

I am proud that we have added a Bukhoor making workshop to our retail and events space, Oo La Lab, based in the heart of Alserkal Avenue, Al Quoz. To know a culture is to observe, to immerse and to embrace it.

If you would like to find out more about this workshop experience, you can check it out here https://oola-lab.com/products/bukhoor-design-mixology-group-session

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