During my first visit to Sacré Coeur, a monumental Basilica in the most touristy Parisienne neighborhood of Montmartre, I encountered this mysterious scent that made me nostalgic for the time my mother burnt frankincense to purify the air in the house after her morning prayers. I saw her practising it less over the years, but this peculiar smell and the dense, curly fumes remain etched in my memory.
A few years later, I again encountered this scent at the Dubai Souk at a spice store selling these precious creamy off-white crystals at an exorbitant price. Although UAE is famous for bakhoor and oud, some households, especially those from Oman and Morocco, burn frankincense in their homes and offices. Some of my friends from Tunisia also chew on frankincense crystals to strengthen their gums and improve digestion.