Oman produces what many consider to be the best quality Frankincense resin in the entire world. Often known as Hojari Frankincense, the resin appears in various shades of white, yellow, brown, orange-ish pink, green and extremely rarely blue. Frankincense resin is one of Oman's main sources of wealth since antiquity. Due to its prestigious quality and excessive harvesting, many populations showing signs of decline. Often in Muslim folk culture, wide birth is given to groves of Boswellia and other species as they are considered the home of the jinn and other dangerous spirits. All species of Boswellia are considered to shelter various harmful animals such as poisonous snakes, and care should be taken when approaching any of them. The resin is burned throughout palaces, at celebrations and commonly in public places throughout the cities of Oman.
All forms of Omani Hojari smoldered quite nicely when used in the traditional charcoal style. The aroma is even better when using an indirect heat source. Though all of the various forms produce a similar aromatic smoke, there are some subtle differences. Mughsayl (aka. Black Frankincense) often appears in dark shades of brown. Our research has shown a few different sources for the resin. First is that this form is produced by the initial first cut of the season, which is often considered inferior in local customs. Another source reports that the trees that produce the darkest resin when farthest from the ocean and at a highly mountainous altitude. We are still digging into this, so please bear with us. Mughsayl is one of our personal favorites as this resin has a more resinous depth with strong pine and somewhat citrus orange notes. It was be interesting to seeing if this resin may hold some of the alchemical properties of Air and Jupiter.
The Golden Hojari (aka. Honey Hojari) has properties that appear to be somewhere in between the dark Mughsayl form and the white Fusoos form. Golden Hojari has the somewhat heavier and more resinous feel of Mughsayl, but it is also has a brighter, more citrusy feel containing the power of the sun. In someways it reminds us of premium pieces of Somalian Beyo (Boswellia carter). It is sometimes known as Honey Hojari due to is beautiful golden appearance.
White Hojari is one of the most common forms of Omani Frankincense. It is in itself divided into various grade, which are lost upon us a the moment. Mainly, there is the standard grade that is only used for incense purposes, and the Superior Fusoos grade that is the premium incense form and also used in medicinal and aromatheraputic applications. The piece that are of the most value are in the shape of tears. Often appearing an opaque off white (sometimes referred to as bone white), the resin may be more translucent after being washed. The aroma produced by Fusoos Hojari has a light feel, but is quite rich with lemon and pine note. This is the scent that most associate with high quality Frankincense.
The term Royal Green "Fosos" is quite generically used for various forms of exceptional specimens of Superior Hojari resin. This green hue is mainly produced by incisions being made at the top of the Frankincense trees. Do to uncertain climate conditions, this grade is not necessarily harvested every year, making it the most prized frankincense in all the world. Apparently, 2016 may be one of the years without a proper harvest. Being that many of the individuals of Boswellia sacra prefer to grown in precarious terrains and sometimes off rock faces, collecting resin in this manner can be very dangerous. It is not so uncommon for people to die while collecting Frankincense. The coastal mountain mist is said to help contribute to the formation of this green resin. We have personally seen pieces in the shades of yellow-green, light green and some form of aqua-green. The blue-green resin is the most prized and is exported extremely rarely, often at an exceptional cost. This incense smolders very cleanly, leaving very little of the "char-coaled marshmallow" as most other Frankincense. The smoke produced by Royal Green is the brightest and cleanest aroma with quite pronounced lemon & lime notes when compared to other forms within the same species.
The fabled Hasiki Fussus Hojari is by far the rarest of the Omani Frankincenses. Some contest that it is superior in quality to the Royal Green forms, though this is for sure a matter of personal preference. The resin is collected in the Hasiki region of Oman and has a quite deceiving appearance. Seeming to be small orange-ish pieces, one may mistake it for a form of African Boswellia carteri, or even the Aden Frankincense. Many note that the color as a subtle pink hue, most often seen in the shadowed parts of the resin. When smoldered upon charcoal, the resin produces a slightly more husky aroma that the clearer forms of white and green Hojari. However... when place upon an electric incense heater, the true special qualities of this Frankincense present themselves. The aroma is definitely sweeter, and a smooth blend of the best Hojari qualities. Some note that there is a floral characteristic often associated with a very subtle rose aroma. It was thought that the original source of the Hasiki Hojari was lost some years ago. We has since found what appears to be a new source, though we must still validate its authenticity. Whether it will be allowed to leave Oman and to be shipped to the United States is also in question. If enough parties are interested in this rare and exquisite Omani Hojari, we will make a direct order exclusively for this Frankincense. Please let us know if you would like to invest in helping us import this by contacting us through our ETSY shop.
Lab tests of extracts from the leaves have been shown to be useful for their insect repellent properties. The presence of Germacrene-D along with other organic hydrocarbons in the leaves is thought to contribute to the insecticidal properties of various members of the Burseraceae family, including Bursera copallifera, B. excelsa, B. fagaroides, B. graveolens, Boswellia sacra, Commiphora holtziana and C. myrrha. In recent studies, this chemical has been found to be repellent to not only herbivores (beetles), but also mosquitoes, aphids and ticks.
For more information of traditional folk customs surrounding the use of Frankincense in Arabia, please see: Boswellia socotrana. For more information on use throughout Africa, please see: Boswellia carteri.
Kingdom: Group: Family: Genus: Species:
Plantae Angiosperms Burseraceae Boswellia sacra
Boswellia bhaw-dajiana var. serrulata Boswellia carteri Boswellia carteri var. subintegra Boswellia carteri var. undulatocrenata Boswellia carterii Boswellia undulatocrenata
What we consider to be the traditional Boswellia sacra is found primarily in Dhofar, Oman, but it's range streches throughout the greater coastal area and into Yemen.
Common English Arabian Frankincense, Bible frankincense, Frankincense, Hojari, Hojary, Hougary, Incense, Olibanum, Omani Frankincense
NOTE: The research on Boswellia sacra is ongoing. We do our best to provide accurate and up to date information on our products. Please expect the above information to be revised as more information becomes available. If you have further information about this species or if you wish to submit a correction to this page, please feel free to contact us here
As of 2016, we have decided to majorly simplify the taxonomic structures of the species collection. Due to the numerous systems available, and many species being disputed and in a state of flux, we feel that most of our audience will be better served with a easier to understand condensed listing.
Print sources: • Gibson, Ruby. My Body, My Earth: The Practice of Somatic Archaeology. Bloomington:iUniverse, 2008. • Miller, A. G., & Miranda Morris. Ethnoflora of the Soqotra Archipelago. Edinburgh: Royal Botanic Gardens, 2004.