Uunsi, is the traditional Somali Incense used by every Somali woman around the world. No matter which country you are in, you can always identify a Somali woman by the heavenly Amber aura that surrounds her. This is Uunsi.
$14.00 - $106.00
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This listing is for some especially nice Uunsi I brought back from a Somali grandmother in Marsabit Kenya. Somali grandmothers are known as the keepers of Uunsi recipes. Each with her own variations that she will only pass down to her daughters.
Uunsi is both incense and perfume. Not a harsh synthetic scent that you smell from a mile away and stays with you for hours, but a fragrance more like the natural smell of spring or fall that we wish we could capture. Uunsii is applied to the body and clothes through the smoke released when it is burned on charcoal. It is the secondary perfume lent by the smoke of burning Uunsi that is the true perfume. This is different, deeper and softer than the aroma of fresh Uunsi.
The origin of the word perfume is "Per-fume", translated as, by or through the smoke. The word refers to perfuming oneself with the smoke of burning aromatic materials and incense.
Also written as Cunsi, is an aromatic secret that distinguishes Somali women from all others. Its preparation and use is passed down from generation to generation through women. I doubt if a Somali man can list the ingredients and prepare a batch of Uunsi.
In Hamilton, Ontario we are blessed with a rich multicultural mosaic representative of ethnic groups from across the globe. Many display their heritage with their clothes, physical features or hairstyles, their language or habits. Though Somali women do have their distinct beauty, bearing and attire, it is their fragrance that gives them away.
Somali culture dictates that women burn Uunsi after cooking a meal to freshen the house, but more importantly, using a special burner, clothing and body are regularly impregnated with its delightful soft scent. The true fragrance of Uunsi is only revealed after it is burned.
A partial list of Uunsi ingredients may include, but is not limited to, Frankincense Frereana (Maydi), Myrrh, Onycha, Sugar, Oud, or Agarwood shavings, Sandalwood and Frankincense wood, Musk and essential oils.
Uunsi is a special gift the Somali women have brought to us in the West. It would be a shame to miss it.
Though once upon a time, Uunsi was made exclusively with natural materials, synthetics do find their way into most modern Uunsi formulas. That being said, this batch is the most pleasant and natural-smelling Uunsi I have yet to burn.
This is a collection of aromatic materials mentioned in the Old & New Testaments and in ancient Egyptian texts. I often get asked to translate biblical plant names and source the materials they mention. They are all here in this collection.