Commiphora Erthraea, sustainable harvest, Somalia-Hagar. Bisabol Myrrh
Commiphora Erythraea is often confused with Commiphora Guidotti, known as Opoponax in the West. Though they are closely related trees, their scent profile is quite different and each stands out as a unique resin with a signature scent of its own.
While Commiphora Guidotti lends a fresh, vibrant top note to aromatic blends, C. Erythrea has a deep, sensuous, nature that has no corners or sharp edges to it. It is darker in colour than its sister both visually and aromatically. Though all Commiphora or Myrrh species are ruled by the Moon astrologically, the fragrance of C. Erythraea reminds me of the ocean and Aphrodite, whose name means “Risen from the froth of the sea”. I call this Myrrh the Goddess resin and Aphrodite’s Myrrh.
On the coal it draws one in to inhale it over and over again, finding new nuances that reveal themselves to the nose. It has a sweet Myrrh-like heart wrapped in soft green notes. Devoid of Myrrh’s usual bitterness, Hagar reveals layers of herbs, honey, ancient souks and mosques. It delivers sweet woods draped with licorice, notes of caramel perfumed Artemesia and the ocean. This is an exotic and bewitching incense resin on different levels.
Even when spent on the coal and down to black burning gum, this resin surprisingly does not deliver the harsh charred odour that most types of Frankincense and Myrrh give us with their last gasps. Commiphora Erythrea is a joy till the very end and compels me to compulsively burn more and more of it.
Currently, there are conflicting theories in the Botanical community about the names of 3 Commiphora trees.
While British botanist Gillet catalogues Commiphora Erythrea, C. Holziana and C. Kataf as distinct species, others claim they are one and the same plant showing minor variations in leaf, flower and fruit due to different growing regions and not distinct species.
However, from an aromatic perspective, one discovers a consistent and marked difference in the aroma of the resin from each of these 3 trees. From a fragrance perspective, there is no room for confusion.
I plan to distill the essential oil of this rare resin and anticipate a rich multilayered profile and a unique perfume ingredient.
Locally called Hagar, C. Erythrea is used in Somali culture as incense, to treat fungal infections and afflictions of the skin. Recent studies show it contains many powerful antifungal compounds.
Commiphora Erythrea is ruled Astrologically by the Moon as are its sisters C. Myrrha and C. Guidotti, C. Kataf and C. Holziana. While Myrrh has an affinity with the sign of Cancer, I have a feeling deep mysterious and erotic Scorpio may have a resonance with this fragrant one.
To clarify terminology, in olden times, Myrrh was referred to as Heerabol Myrrh and C. Erythraea, C. Kataf, C. Guidotti, C. Kua and C. Holziana were referred to as Bisabol Myrrh. Bisabol Myrrh is also called Sweet Myrrh and Scented Myrrh.