When people think about interior design, they usually think first of furniture, colors and home accessories. But Arab culture shows us that a house without a scent will always be incomplete. From scented candles to incense burners, flavourful oils to European perfumes, no Arabic home is without its own layered aroma.
The powerhouse entrepreneur Mona Kattan was so inspired by this facet of Arabic culture to create her own line of perfumes right here in the UAE. Creating the right scent for your home will not only enhance your interior design style, it conveys a sense of stature and grandeur that sets your house apart. It can also be a fantastic way to create an environment as warm and welcoming as Arabic culture itself.
A history of scents
For centuries flavourful fragrances have been a central part of Arabic heritage, including in the tales of Bilqis, the Queen of Sheba, gifting Arabian oils like myrrh and frankincense to ancient kings. In fact, as you can discover at the newly opened Perfume House at the Shindagha Museum in Dubai, incense, spice and perfume trading was pivotal in highlighting Arabia’s position between East and West. As Shatha Al-Mulla, head of the research and studies unit at the Architectural Heritage Department of Dubai Municipality, says “Perfume is an important part of Khaleeji and Arab culture. Every home has its own collection of perfumes and incense.” Visitors to the museum can discover the secrets and techniques behind traditional Arabic scent making and influences, such as the trend of including basil mashmoom inside pillows to produce a calming scent.
Creating your Scent
In Arabic culture home fragrances were traditionally built around a bakhoor, a layered incense combination that families would gather to make together. They would mix a variety of items such as amber, musk, sugar, tobacco, saffron and others into a ‘paste’ that would then dry in the hot desert sun. Once the block had solidified, it could be divided up into pieces and then burned in individual rooms spreading a delicious aroma throughout the room. Brands that specialise in home fragrances and aromatic candles or incense burners have developed modern versions of this bakhoors so that you can still create a signature scent for your family’s home.
One of our newest collections comes from scent experts Locherber Milano, whose expertise and Italian craftsmanship have resulted in some of the finest fragrances available and make truly special gifts. Here are some of our top picks for enriching flavours and intoxicating aromas that you can use to craft the right atmosphere for you