March 18, 2014
Nettie's Letters to her sister Celie from the Movie The Color Purple
One of my favorite things about perfume is its ability to transport you somewhere you have never been but that is strangely familiar. African Aromatics perfumes take me somewhere I have always dreamed of visiting. As I opened and smelled each scent, I was instantly reminded of the letters Celie received, in Alice Walker’s novel The Color Purple, from her long-lost sister Nettie who she believed was dead for years. She was actually a missionary in Africa. Her letters to her sister spoke of exotic plants, other cultures and their ways. These perfumes do the same.
Sophia-Suzette Shuttleworth, Natural Perfumer from South Africa
I learned about Natural Perfumer Sophia Suzette Shuttleworth, while reading David Falsberg’s Perfume Workshop on Enfleurage and that was the impetus to want to experience her fragrances. All of African Aromatics products are crafted naturally from African raw materials, and when other materials are used they are certified and sourced to reflect policies of fair trade, artisan craftsmanship and reverence for Nature. Sophia-Suzette Shuttleworth, the nose and heart behind African Aromatics, is not only a member of the Natural Perfumer’s Guild, she is also quite an author and her website is a wealth of information in itself. Each and every product lists all ingredients, and their sources.
When I wore African Dawn I was transported to a savannah as the sun rises and the grass shimmer in the heat. The dry stalks sway as they release their aromas. Radiant and grassy this scent develops into a veritable cloak of flowers and spiciness. Savory herbs fill the air as meals are cooked, blending with the blossoms. As the day warms even more, the trees seep sweet resins in the heat. As this finishes its trek across the grasslands it settles close to skin. Warm and balmy with resins used by natives to perfume themselves for centuries, this captures both feelings of the exotic and the familiar. The use of hyrax here is perfect, adding a subtle dark muskiness tinged with leather, without occluding its piquant floral heart. SIllage: average to good. Longevity: very good.
Notes: blue grass, cape may, ylang ylang, jasmine, rose, coriander, clove, cinnamon, buchu, omumbiri, muhuhu, vanilla, frankincense and hyrax.
I prefer my coffee dark, both in my fragrances and my mug. Ethiopia grows some of the strongest most full-bodied coffee in the world and Ms. Shuttleworth has paid it homage in a beauty of a fragrance Yirgacheffe. The slightly citric opening tinged with coconut captures both the acidity and the creamy flavor in the beans. A very dense aroma filled with earthy and floral notes arises during grinding, as native coffee and cocoa add texture, with a sprinkle of mysterious tuberose. To call this scent a gourmand would not do it justice, it is inspired by coffee yet shows us more than a steaming cup of java. This encapsulates the rich earth with mitti attar, the warm wood of the tree and captured the musky aroma of dark roasted Arabica, weaving a perfume with the same glow and energy drinking the brewed bean would make one feel. Sillage: above average. Longevity: good.
Notes: Citruses, coconut, rose, jasmine, tuberose, ylang ylang, coffee, cocoa absolute, muhuhu, rooibos tea, hyrax, ambergris & mitti attar.
Celie (Whoopi Goldberg) reads Nettie's letters to Shug (Margaret Avery) from the movie The Color Purple
As I sat with my remaining perfumed letters from Africa, I truly felt like Celie when she remarked “Oh they’s so many. Where us gone start, Shug?” From their recycled biodegradable packaging to the handmade wonders inside, these scented letters warm the heart. I will read each and every remaining one carefully, and then go back and reread them all again, losing myself each time.
Disclosure: Reviews based on samples sent to me by African Aromatics.
First Edition Book by Alice Walker (1982) and Movie Poster for The Color Purple (starring Whoopi Goldberg, Oprah Winfrey and directed by Steven Spielberg, 1985)
Thanks to Sophia-Suzette and African Aromatics, a 12 ml bottle of either perfume reviewed to give away to one WORLDWIDE reader. To be eligible please leave a comment on which perfume you would choose and if you read the Book The Color Purple or saw the Movie. If you like African Aromatics Facebook page, your entry counts twice. Draw will end March 22nd 2014.
We announce the winners only on site and on our Facebook page, so Like Cafleurebon and use our RSS option…or your dream prize will be just spilled perfume.