This is the deeply aromatic and concentrated Resin Absolute of Commiphora Erythraea, Scented Myrrh from Somalia.
I call Erythraea Myrrh “The Goddess’s Myrrh” or “The Goddess’s thighs” because I find its fragrance deep, smooth, feminine, seductive and enticing.
This is an artisan-created, small-batch production. Mainstream Absolutes are produced in vast quantities in factories that often span city blocks. I can only prepare a small amount of each extract in my little studio. I like to think the quality of my products outshines that of the commercial extracts.
All Myrrh types are under the rulership of the Moon in Astrology and are associated with the feminine principle. Yin energy. Myrrh is rooted in the Semitic word “Mar,” meaning bitter. This is the source of the name Mary, Maria and Miriam all come from the root Mar-Yam which means the bitterness or salt of the sea. Our words Marine, Maritime, Mer and Mar all refer to bodies of water, while the name “Aphrodite means “She that is risen from the froth of the sea”. Lots of beautiful feminine energy in the Myrrh family of resins.
Erythraea Myrrh absolute has a sweet Myrrh-like heart wrapped in soft green notes. Devoid of Myrrh’s usual bitterness, it reveals layers of herbs, honey, ancient souks and mosques. It delivers sweet woods draped with licorice, notes of caramel, perfumed Artemisia and the ocean. This is an exotic and bewitching extract on different levels.
Also called a resin absolute, this extract was created by macerating the fresh resin in food-grade alcohol for 6 weeks, then filtering to remove all the non-aromatic and water-soluble gum. I then distilled/removed the alcohol in a vacuum at a very low temperature to produce a thick, aromatically concentrated essence of Commiphora Erythraea. It is ideal for perfume-making, formulating and incense-making, where it acts as a fixative in blends and delivers the full spectrum of the aroma of the resin and the essential oil.
The material is collected sustainably in Somalia from natural exudates, and the trees are not tapped or harmed in any way. These trees do not respond to tapping, which makes the resin naturally sustainable.
Also called Hagar and 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.
Since all water-soluble gum has been removed from this product, it burns cleanly on the charcoal without any of the secondary Charred aromas that raw frankincense and myrrh deliver.
Being a semi-liquid, it can be used as a binder in incense blends. It also acts as an aromatic fixative that extends the life of more volatile aromatic materials in the blend.
A drop placed directly on the coal or incense heater draws one in to inhale it repeatedly, finding new nuances that reveal themselves to the nose.
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.
Locally called Hagar, C. Erythrea is used in Somali culture as incense to treat fungal infections and other 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 that 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, Perfumed Myrrh and Scented Myrrh.