WHAT IS ATTAR?
Attar (Arabic: عطر) also known as ittar is a natural perfume oil derived from botanical sources, such as flowers (jasmine, rose, sandalwood and more), herbs, spices, or barks. Oils can also be expressed by chemical means but generally natural perfumes which qualify as Attars are distilled naturally. Once obtained, these oils are generally distilled into a wood base such as sandalwood and then aged. The aging period can last from one to ten years depending on the botanicals used and the results desired.
These all-natural perfumes are highly concentrated and therefore are usually offered for sale in small quantities and have traditionally been offered in decorated crystal cut type bottles or small jewelled decanters. Attars are popular throughout the Middle East, South Asia (Far East of India, Bangladesh and Pakistan) and parts of Africa. Attars have been used in Eastern world for thousands of years. These 100% pure and natural perfumes are free of alcohol and chemicals and so the problems faced in the West by perfume lovers are irrelevant to most Eastern perfume lovers. Natural perfumes are affordable because they are so concentrated that a small bottle will last the user several weeks, if not months. Due to the purity and the nature of oils, there is very little chance of spoilage unless a food based carrier oil is used to cut the concentrated pure oil.
The word 'attar', 'ittar' or 'othr' is basically an Arabic word which means 'scent'; this in turn is believed to have been derived from the Persian word Atr, meaning 'fragrance'.
HOW TO APPLY ATTAR
The recommended way to experience the fragrance of attar is to apply it to the inside of each wrist and dab a little behind each earlobe with the inside of your wrists before it dries.A few drops of attar can be added to water and used with aromatic vapour lamps. It can also be used to fragrance the pot-pourri. Most synthetic perfumes have alcohol as common solvents which cause the perfume to evaporate as much as 10 - 15 times faster. This intially gives overwhelming first impression to human senses but it soon evaporates and loses power. Attar on the other hand lasts a long time due to its natural derivation.
WHAT IS OUDH ?
oudh also known as oodh, oud or agar, is a dark resinous heartwood that forms in Aquilaria and Gyrinops trees (large evergreens native to southeast Asia) when they become infected with a type of mould. Prior to infection, the heartwood is relatively light and pale coloured; however, as the infection progresses, the tree produces a dark aromatic resin in response to the attack, which results in a very dense, dark, resin embedded heartwood. The resin embedded wood is commonly called gaharu, jinko, aloeswood, agar-wood, or oud (not to be confused with 'Bakhoor') and is valued in many cultures for its distinctive fragrance, and thus is used for incense and perfumes.
WHAT IS BAKHOOR?
Bakhoor (Arabic: بخور) are tablets made of powdered agarwood chips and other ingredients. These already have a little smell but are soaked in fragrant oils such as oudh, musk, rose, jasmine, sandalwood and other essential oils. They are burnt using charcoal incense burner or an electric incense burner which releases an exotic fragrance upon being burned.
WHAT IS MABSOOS?
Mabsoos/Mabthooth are shavings of agarwood chips. They already have a little smell but again, soaked in essential oils mentioned above. They can also be mixed with agarwood powder. These can be burnt using charcoal incense burner or an electric incense burner
WHAT IS MUATTAR?
Muattar are chips of agarwood, after the oil has been extracted. However, there is still a small amount of fragrance left in them. These are then soaked in essential oils. Again, these can be burnt using charcoal incense burner or an electric incense burner.
HOW TO BURN BAKHOOR?
1- Bakhoor or Bukhoor (incense) is not a self-lit substance as Incense sticks. So you will need to use an electrical Incense burner to fast start and safely burn Bakhoor. These burners must very hot for the Bakhoor to burn properly.
2- Some people find it better to use charcoal to better burn the Bakhoor slowly emitting the smoke of fragrance. In this method, burn a charcoal disc till it glows on a pottery (Mabkhara), special metal or ceramic incense burner or maybe on a pot or safe anti-burn container/plate. We use either a traditional incense burner or a modern charcoal (non electrical / manual) incense burners (here-under). There is also some manufactured fast-ignite charcoals that can be bought from markets, and many online stores.
3- Put a small piece(s) of Bakhoor on the lit glowing charcoal or on the hot plate of the electric incense burner.
4- Let the smoke of fragrance fill the air of the place but not too much since this can take much oxygen from the room. The fragrance stays there after the smoke goes away. Don't open the windows till the room is saturated with the fragrance carried by the smoke of Bakhoor.
5- To perfume the clothes with Bakhoor, just expose the cloth directly to the smoke of Bakhoor for 3 minutes.
Please be careful not to make fire when using charcoal and incense burners at home also it is safe not to burn Bakhoor while there is somebody sleeping in place since this can take some oxygen from the room (open windows after the room is saturated with the fragrance smoke). Please keep charcoals and burners out of reach of children and don't forget to unplug the electric burners right after use.