This year my Forest Bride come forth and bloomed in all her fragrant glory. I have been waiting patiently and diligently carried buckets of water to keep it watered in the Summer’s heat. As it naturally grows in Summer rainfall area, I knew that if I wanted it to bloom abundantly, I had to keep it well watered, since here in the Cape it is the driest time of the year. [Read more…]
Calodendrum literally means a beautiful tree – kalos means beautiful, and dendron tree in Greek. I am reminded of the famous discourse between Diotima, a seeress and midwife from Mantinea in the Peloponessus, and Socrates; tes genneseos kai tou tokou en to kalo – Eros (love) is an easthetic desire, the passion for engendering and expressing the Beautiful. Perhaps one can say that the Cape Chestnut was created to remind us [Read more…]
Ambergris is the stuff that a perfumers dreams are made of. I have been getting all kind of odd pieces to evaluate as ambergris but up till now none have been ambergris, just sea sponges, soap and odd pieces of petroleum by-product.
Of course I knew that Africa has been trading in ambergris since ancient times but I have never came across any from Africa. [Read more…]
Autumn has finally arrived in the Southern Hemisphere. It has been a long hot Summer at the Southern point of Africa. Although we have been wilting in the heat, the fragrance of the flowers have been the best I have smelled in years. I have been busy this Summer extracting the scents through enfleurage. I have been using enfleurage for five years now, but this Summer, I had a goal of recharging 30 times and I did! [Read more…]
There are some plants that make an indelible impression on you. Kukumakrankas are one of them, and not only because of its unique folk name, which comes from the Koina language, an extinct Khoi tongue. In the Cape Kukumakrankas have an almost fabled reputation, partly because its rarerity, its mysterious growing faces and of course the highly perfumed flowers and fruits. [Read more…]
I grew up in the heart of the fynbos area and was lucky as child to be able to spend a lot of time exploring the mountains of Paarl. I must admit though, having grown up with the fynbos, I took their beauty for granted. What’s more in those days, Protea was considered to be a kitsch flower – only for tourists. I never even thought of smelling them, since there were just so many other obviously fragrant flowers and plants to explore. [Read more…]
Dabney Rose’s post about the potent scent of her Moonflowers on Facebook, jolted back to my mind my youthful memories of Moonflowers. My mother was wise in teaching me early which plants were edible and which ones were poisonous. When she introduced me to Moonflowers, I was enthralled. That it was also poisonous only added to its mystery to me. To me it was like a femme fatale; mysterious and seductive, with the deadly [Read more…]
On Sunday 9 July 2011, South Sudan seceded from Sudan and became the world’s youngest country. The conflict in Sudan has been well documented, but little attention has been paid to the crafts and arts of Sudan. Few people realize what a rich reservoir to the aromatic past Sudan is, and that Sudan once played a vital role in history of Perfumery and the trade of aromatics. [Read more…]
I have always loved the mesembryanthemaceae family which forms a major and unique component of southern Africa’s arid land flora. In spring, after the rains, they bring a riot of almost neon-like colour to what previously appeared to be a barren landscape. I particularly loved the Bokbaai vygies (Dorotheanthus bellidiformis) as a child. They vary in colour from white to pink and shades of orange and yellow. [Read more…]
The Cederberg has always drawn me with an inner call, as if profound mysteries were hidden in its ancient soil. To my delight my dear friend Kimber invited me to come along for a trip to see the San rock paintings. Besides seeing the San rockpaintings, my heart leaped knowing that I will also be able to see Hyraceum in situ as well as the Cederberg’s legendary flora. [Read more…]
The first African Aromatic related product I am featuring is glass artist Ingrid de Haast’s beautiful glass perfume pendants. Ingrid works from her studio in Somerset West. She is as passionate about her glass work as I am about perfumes and African Aromatics. Each time I visit her studio she bubbles with enthusiasm about new techniques she is experimenting with to expand her skills. [Read more…]
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.