African Aromatics (Ross)

This is a blog about resins and such used in African incenses and perfumes. I have had a chance to sample some of these and can say that they are quite good. Somewhat along the lines of frankincense and myrrh , but also different. I have a feeling after reading this blog that you can expect to see them showing up soon as notes in some higher end perfumes. The search for new scents is never ending and right now there is a big push on for the use of more natural ingredients by a lot of perfumer companies. New things are always sought after. It would be nice if the people of these tribes benefited from all this.    Enjoy -Ross



  1. glennjf said,

    January 15, 2011 at 4:50 pm

    Sophia now has her own website up and running. People wishing to purchase Omumbiri, Omumbungu & Omumgorwa, her perfumes and more online can now do so. I’d like to wish Sophia every success.

  2. Kevin Kraus said,

    June 17, 2010 at 10:15 pm

    Hello to all of you who burn resins. Could you give me some idea as to how you are burning your resins? I am seriously looking into start burning resins such as Frankincense and Myrrh. Is the best way with the rice ash and charcoal in the ceramic bowl? Please advise! Thanks Kevin

    • glennjf said,

      June 17, 2010 at 11:28 pm

      Hi Kevin,

      Tried a couple of lit charcoal tablets but didn’t find the process very enjoyable.

      I’m now using an Electric Incense Heater and it’s proven to be simply splendid at doing what it does. I figured it was well worth the outlay for it after reading other folks comments about these heaters right here at OFS.

      It warms more things than you can point a stick at as I’m learning with trying it with this and that, old incense stubs, shavings and chips of woods and so on. If you read the comments at the Incense Heater thread you’ll soon realise it’s a mighty little beast !

      I’ve added a photo I’ve taken of mine into my June 13, 2010 comment.

      • Kevin Kraus said,

        June 18, 2010 at 5:57 am

        Thanks for the info glennjf, I have seen those warmers on EOTA site and was wondering if anyone had used them. I am definitely going to be purchasing one within the next couple of weeks. I appreciate your input on these!! Kevin

    • clairsight said,

      June 18, 2010 at 2:04 am

      Hello Kevin I think an electric incense heater is generaly the best way to go. -Ross

      • Kevin Kraus said,

        June 18, 2010 at 6:03 am

        Thanks for the info Ross!! I think i’m going to get one of these wamers in the coming weeks, I have been seriously been wanting to get into resins to burn but was really not to keen on lighting those charcoal tabs to use them. I am glad that these warmers are the better way to use resins then having to use those charcoals. Kevin

        • Mike said,

          June 21, 2010 at 8:49 am

          I’d agree the heater is the only way to go. I think unless you’re a real expert at setting up an ash bowl with the charcoal, you’ll end up finding the aromatics burn off way too fast. On the other hand with a heater, you’ll often be wondering just how long one tiny fragment of resin or wood can last, at the right setting you can end up releasing fragrances for hours. Which means even a small bag of frankincense or aloeswood could last you years.

          • glennjf said,

            June 21, 2010 at 9:40 am

            I’ve found that aspect simply amazing Mike. That a tiny amount of Australian Sandalwood chip for example, gentle warmed by the heater just kept delivering for hours and hours. These heaters are an excellent investment.

            • Mike said,

              June 21, 2010 at 10:46 am

              I remember forgetting about a tiny chip of Baieido Ogurayama
              aloeswood on my heater for about four hours once only to perk up
              and wonder what smelled so good. While it had faded a little, the aroma was definitely still active. I’ve found it a good idea to set the temperature
              nice and low, although that often means you won’t get an aroma going for a little while, but once you do it’s pretty breathtaking.

  3. verewig said,

    June 14, 2010 at 2:19 am

    Hi Ross, The Omumbiri project is indeed helping the Himba maintain their nomadic lifestyle. The money they earn – they get paid cash on the spot – goes directly to basic needs. The harvesting occurs during the hot dry summer months when there is very little income for them. All the intellectual rights belong to them.

    I have also received 3 other Commiphoras of which only one is good for incense – Omumbungu – C. krauselliana – Tree of the Hyena due to its anamalistic scent. The other two are wonderful for perfumes. I am aging it to see if it will burn better when it is drier. The batch I have of Omumbara and Omumgorwa is still very fresh, oily and sticky.


    • Ross Urrere said,

      June 15, 2010 at 9:41 am

      Hello Sophia

      If people wanted to buy some of the resins, can they? Where???

      🙂 Ross

      • glennjf said,

        June 15, 2010 at 1:40 pm

        More and more intriguing. I’d be one of the people who would be interested to know where to buy a little of the Omumbungu – Commiphora krauselliana.


        African Aromatics (facebook), and you don’t need to have a facebook account to be able to visit this one.

        Omumbiri – Updates 14, June 2010 (from the African Aromatics Blog).

        Macro images of four of the Commiphora resins can be seen
        here. Click on each image to see the larger version. The page contains a link to the African Aromatics Blog, also a link to the current Commiphora page at (Wikipedia).

        A note for any visitors:
        Using this blogs RSS links means you’ll be automatically kept updated for any new Entries or New Comments as they’re added to the blog.

        The RSS activating links are located bottom of the Menu listing ie the lower left corner of this page.

      • verewig said,

        June 15, 2010 at 10:56 pm

        You can get the resins from me. You can email me.


        • glennjf said,

          June 16, 2010 at 1:17 am

          Thanks and you should probably have email now Sophia 🙂

          Here’s some wonderful video…

          This 3:47min video from the World Wildlife Federation shows Himba women in Namibia harvesting omumbiri and making perfume.

          The world just got a bit larger 🙂

          • glennjf said,

            July 5, 2010 at 3:53 am

            I had the electric incense heater out late this afternoon with some Omumbiri under appreciation. Heated gently Omumbiri started releasing it’s fragrance and then it just continued on and on delivering. Omumbiri is light and lovely, citrus and fresh, sweet and something else, don’t know what. I know why the Himba woman use it daily though!

            The Omumbungu is a darker beast, it’s meaty that one. Unfortunately I don’t have a wide enough grasp or understanding of scents or resins to say much more but I do think they’re both amazing, thank you for sending them both Sophia. To think they’re both natural resins from plants growing in the wild just makes my head spin.

  4. Marla said,

    June 13, 2010 at 1:17 am

    Fascinating, thank you! I’d love to have a chance to try some of these someday.

  5. glennjf said,

    June 12, 2010 at 9:39 pm

    Thank you for the alert Ross. Enjoy? I did! For sure not a story I’d have come into contact with prior to finding this place.

    “I have had a chance to sample some of these”

    You certainly are a lucky bloke.

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