Michel Mane contacted me to give me the good news. The French “persistence and stubbornness” has paid off and Mane has distilled the Commiphora wildii resin to produce the beautiful oil.
Most of you know by now the wonderful story about the Himba and the Omumbiri from my previous articles. Karen Knott has tirelessly been working to ensure that the Himba derives an income from the harvesting of the Omumbiri resin. I do not know of any other aromatic project that was born out of the desire to help the indigenous people and then to make it commercially viable. Most aromatics that we see on the market today were first exploited for commercial reasons and then were forced to look at sustainability and fair trade. The whole Omumbiri project is perhaps the best example to the world of how commercialization of a green resource should be done.
Yet, the years of work to co-ordinate and make the project successful depended on getting the oil distilled on large scale. It has indeed been a long and hard road to finally see the oil in production since it is not an easy resin to distill. Believe me it is very sticky stuff which proved too daunting to most. Quite frankly, I was beginning to worry that I would never see that precious beauty of Africa in a vial, so for me to sit here with a bottle of the oil is a dream come true.
For those of you who have had the privilege to smell the resin, the oil smells exactly like the fresh resin. Mane has indeed managed to produce a beautiful oil. The oil is a pale yellow – almost colourless. It is smooth and round with no sharp notes, yet delightfully fresh and uplifting. If you compare it to Commiphora myrrha, or what is known as the true myrrh oil, it has none of the spicey sharpness that is so characteristicof myrrh. It has rather more in common with the citrusness that one finds in Frankincense. To my nose it also has a beautiful earthy smokiness to it, which is a characteristic of Omumbiri that I have come to really love. I done many experiments with Omumbiri and have not yet found anything that it does not blend well with. In fact it seems to uplift and exalt any other aroma. Since I discovered Omumbiri I have used it in every new blend I have made; when I leave it out or reduce the quantity, something just seem to be missing. Uptill now my only problem was that the tincture was too sticky to use it in higher proportions, which was a source frustration for me. You can imagine how delightful I am to at last have access to the oil that contains all of the characteristics I loved about Omumbiri but none of the stickiness.
In terms of Aromachology Omumbiri has an uplifting yet relaxing effect. It is wonderful for meditation.
How often can you truly say that a product that you love is actually directly benifiting those who needs it most, and is not just a marketing campaign? My congratulations to Mane for their persistence to produce this beautiful addition to the perfumer’s palette.
Don’t you just love stories with happy endings!
The Commiphora wildii oil is available from Mane.
The Composition of the microdistilled volatiles of Commiphora resin – from IRDNC (The National Botanical Research Institute – Namibia)
|1929||2-Methyl butyl benzoate||t|
|1931||3-Methyl butyl benzoate||t|
RRI Relative retention indices calculated against n-alkanes % calculated from FID data t Trace (< 0.1 %)