The Ylang Ylang of Comoros

Off the coast of southern Africa, the Comoros archipelago stretches its high reliefs above the warm waters of the Indian Ocean. Its tropical islands host an exceptional fauna and flora on which reigns a flower with a golden color. It is called ylang ylang, meaning the flower of flowers. She has had the pride of place in perfumes for a long time. Once distilled, its fragrance is found in more than 300 bottles from the most prestigious workshops on the planet. It is one of the most widely used raw materials in luxury perfumery.

Yet, this precious essence is in trouble. Inherited from the colonial past, production techniques are now outdated and difficult to renew. In this country, ranked among the poorest in the world, international perfumers and local NGOs are working together to rebuild an exceptional sector that benefits all; with creators from the north and producers from the south.

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Meet with Marie Aoun

Ten years in fashion and a strong interest in plants and gardening lead Marie to naturally turn to perfumery. Trained in Italy, she is passionate about natural perfumery and particularly for the aromatic ingredients that are native to her country: South Africa.

Back in Johannesburg, she has created Saint d’Ici, a collection of natural perfumes exclusively produced in limited editions, without the fear of upsetting the traditional way of operating in the fragrance industry. She decided to only work with independent perfumers located all around the world, and to source her ingredients directly from small African producers ensuring the ability to promote fair trade and to minimize their impact on the environment.

This month, Marie unveils the very first collection of Saint d’Ici via a crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo. A way to start the production, while offering her products on pre-order to enthusiasts around the world. Meet a daring and deeply passionate woman.

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The valley of roses with Ulili

Discovering the Roses Valley in Morocco was one of those trips that I had dreamed about for a long time… The Moroccan rose is a star ingredient in perfumery, so when Omar, the founder of Ulili, invited me to accompany him in this Moroccan High Atlas region, I literally jumped for joy!

Ulili Moroccan Scents is one of those small artisan brands that I am particularly fond of.  Manufactured entirely in Morocco, this candle collection translates with accuracy and affection, all the diversity of Moroccan scents. Each candle is inspired by a place, a raw material or a legend typical to Morocco, as a true declaration of his admiration and homage to this magnificent land of perfumes.

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Your scented travel memories: Zanzibar

“‘That evening we called in at Zanzibar where the air was filled with the amazing spicy-sweet scent of cloves, and I stood by the rail gazing at the old Arab town and thinking what a lucky young fellow I was to be seeing all these marvellous places.’

This quote by Roland Dahl sums up my feelings during my three week trip to Zanzibar, a magical island where the fusion of Arab, African and European cultures has created a fascinating blend of architecture, cuisine and a buzzing mix of people that cannot be found anywhere else in the world.

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