Bakhoor is an incense made of wood chips and deeply infused with essential oils and fragrance oils. The wood chips are oude in the more expensive sorts of bakhoor, and a mixture of cedar or varietal hardwoods and some oude in the less expensive sorts of bakhoor. Yes, that is very expensive and so plan to pay a lot of money for first class bakhoor.
Most of the good bakhoor will come to you in a nice box and you get a lot of it. You only need to burn a very small amount of it because it smokes fabulously and the scent is extremely heavy. Proceed with caution and start with a small burn and then work up or else you will be setting off smoke detectors and have your neighbors hating you.
The scent of bakhoor is very obviously not Western. In the West, for all our love of foodies and florals, we are pretty bitter compared to the perfumes of the East which I could characterize as more emollient and sweet. Once you smell bakhoor, you will know what I mean.
Rose, patchouli, jasmine, and black musk are all common ingredients in a good bakhoor. The rose essential oils really vary a lot and a good Arabian perfumer will play with them like an accomplished cellist plays his instrument. I have smelled sweet rose, sweaty rose, lemony rose, and black rose bakhoor. Each of them give the middle note a good twist and keeps the fragrance interesting.
Next, what is the proper way to burn bakhoor, there is a trick or two to it.
Fabienne Christenson has visited Dubai and the perfume market in Dubai. She has collected bakhoor, burned it, had long conversations with Emirates about it, and has a few interesting asides about it. This blog will probably amuse you highly. Also, the series The Elements of Scent will continue as well. In the meantime, take a look at the main Possets site where there is plenty of Eastern (Oriental) inspired perfume as well as those of the West. Http://www.possets.com