Make Perfume NOT War – The 7 Virtues Beauty Inc

Hey there Perfume Junkies,

Following on from FeralJasmine’s story this week about Afghanistan Orange Blossom my friend and APJ contributor Jordan River, from The Fragrant Man, has put together a story about The Noble Rose: another of The 7 Virtues Beauty Inc fragrances aimed at giving farmers in Afghanistan something else as a cash crop than poppies. This is world changing economics in action and all through fragrance. AH MAY ZING!!
Portia xx

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Guest Post by Jordan River

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Pashtun People, Afghanistan

Pashtun People, Afghanistan 2007, Oil on canvas.
Artist: Durar Bacri, Palestine.

Make Perfume NOT War

The Story of The Noble Rose

Fields of rose bushes have replaced some opium growing areas in Afghanistan. The petals are handpicked and distilled into rose oils and absolutes for the world markets.

imageJalalabad, Nangarhar, Aghanistan. Photo: Sandra Calligaro

There is one fragrance company that has placed the Afghan Rose on the new ingredient shelf – The 7 Virtues Beauty Inc – and so far, only one perfume has been released from this rose source.

Noble Rose of Afghanistan was signed by Canadian perfumer Susanne Langmuir in 2010. This company is owned by Barb Stegemann, the same person who dreamt up the concept of an export path for the harvest conversion. Stegemann was considering the consequences of war and peace, and her considerations became reality after investment through the TV program Dragons’ Den where she found her investor and business partner, W. Brett Wilson.

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Stegemann sources her rose oil from Abdullah Arsala who owns Gulestan Essential Oils based in Jalalabad, Afghanistan. Abdullah also grows orange blossoms and distills them into essential oils for The 7 Virtues Afghanistan Orange Blossom Eau de Parfum.

Abdullah Arsala, Jalalabad, Afghanistan.

Abdullah Arsala, Jalalabad, Afghanistan.

These essential oils travel to market on what Stegemann says is the most dangerous highway in the world.

Barb Stegemann

Barb Stegemann

The 7 Virtues pays $10,000 USD per litre of rose oil to the Afghan supplier, Abdullah Arsala and the farmers.

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There are 178 hand picked rose petals in every bottle of The 7 Virtues Noble Rose of Afghanistan. Viewers of Name This – a show on History TV – chose the name of the fragrance, naming it Noble Rose to honour soldiers, and to reference the rose farmers who no longer grow poppies.

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Photo: Abdullah Arsala

Photos: Abdullah Arsala

Notes
Afghan Rose, Carnation, Clove, Peppercorn

This spicy rose, Noble Rose of Afghanistan is available from The 7 Virtues.
International shipping rates are available via email.

Samples from The Perfumed Court start at $US4.95 / 1 ml to $US36.95 / 8ml.

Pushtan People, Afghanistan   via The Pushtan Forum

Pushtan People, Afghanistan
via The Pushtan Forum

Pushtan People, Afghanistan   via The Pushtan Forum

Pushtan People, Afghanistan
via The Pushtan Forum

Pushtan People, Afghanistan   via The Pushtan Forum

Pushtan People, Afghanistan
via The Pushtan Forum

Pushtan People, Afghanistan   via The Pushtan Forum

Pushtan People, Afghanistan
via The Pushtan Forum

Tribal people, Pakistan / Afghanistan

Tribal people, Pakistan / Afghanistan

Further Reading & Viewing
Afghanistan Orange Blossom – APJ review by FeralJasmine
Gathering the Ingredients for a Love Story
Elements New York
Barb Stegemann on Dragons’ Den
Naming the Fragrance
The 7 Virtues Review at Cafleurebon
Oil on Canvas $3,600 – Alhoush, House of Arab Art and Design

36 comments on “Make Perfume NOT War – The 7 Virtues Beauty Inc

  1. Nancy Knows says:

    I had to comment on this for obvious reasons, but this is truly an extraordinary story– thanks for sharing it!

    • Jordan River says:

      Yes, it is great to have Good News from Afghanistan. (In case others do not know Nancy runs the site called Make Perfume, Not War.) Thank you for zoomin’ in Nancy. I see you are coming to terms or truce with Anima Dulcis. I love it’s warmth.

  2. Excellent carry on piece Jordan. The pictures are lovely too.
    Portia xx

  3. What an inspiring story about a fantastic alternative to poppy growing.

    Thanks for this!

  4. Tatiana says:

    Excellent story! Thanks for posting, as this is the only information I’ve read on this. I wonder if galbanum can be grown in Afghanistan? You always hear how Chanel No.19 doesn’t smell the same because the high grade galbanum from pre-revolution Iran is no longer available. I wonder if it would be used if another source of high grade galbanum were available?
    Going to check out The 7 Virtues!

  5. FeralJasmine says:

    Jordan, thanks so much for this very interesting piece. I am fascinated by the mission of this company, and feel that helping to heal even little pieces of Afghanistan is a genuine contribution to overall stability and peace. As you know, I loved the Afghanistan Orange Blossom scent, and I am eagerly waiting for my decant of Noble Rose. Tatiana’s comment above is also of considerable interest. I would think that great resins could be grown in that climate. You are so good at getting the background material that helps the rest of us have a better understanding of the scents that we love.

  6. Azar says:

    It’s too bad that the small villages that produce rose water and rose oil in Iran cannot benefit from a program like this. These people have been growing and distilling roses for over 2000 years. It would be very sad if this wonderful tradition was lost forever.

    • FeralJasmine says:

      Good point, Azar. When war, famine, revolution, etc. occur, we need to remember that besides the obvious visible costs, there is a large cost in loss of knowledge and skills that don’t get passed on to the next generation unless conditions are reasonably stable.

    • Jordan River says:

      Azar, which country are you in or where are your people from? Rose is very special to Persian culture for many reasons. I have a lot of readers in Iran who while being banned from Facebook manage to find The Fragrant Man on Facebook via Iraqi servers. Lots of the men feature rose in their photos.

      • Azar says:

        I am an American of very mixed decent living in the United States. I lived in Iran for most of the 1970s but moved back to the States just before the revolution. As you know roses have been growing in Iran forever and are the subject of the most beautiful ancient and modern persian poetry and visual art.

      • Jordan River says:

        Especially if you can read Farsi!

    • Dear Azar, thank you for this. We do indeed source natural essential oils of lime and basil from Iran. Our supplier Mohammad is a dear friend now. It’s in our Middle East Peace fragrance. Visit http://www.the7virtues.com Peace!
      Barb

      • Azar says:

        That is so wonderful, Barb! I’m excited to try your perfumes. Perhaps, at some point, you will be able to source rose oil, galbanum, saffron etc. from Iran as well. Best wishes for continued success and peace.

      • FeralJasmine says:

        It’s very exciting to have you drop by our discussion. I watched your Dragon’s Den segment last night, and strongly agree with you that giving people a way to build their local economy is the way to improve their lives and their community. I’m glad to get a chance to tell you directly how much I admire your sense of purpose. And even so, I wouldn’t review the perfume if I didn’t love it! The only one I’ve had a chance to try so far is the Orange Blossom, which I reviewed last week. Might you ever offer sample sets, so that people can try all your scents before they invest in full bottles? Thanks so much for joining us.

  7. laniersmith says:

    I am so moved and thrilled by this story Jordan. In my book perfume, roses and Peace trump drug poppies and War. Bravo for bringing this to my attention. I am off to get a sample!

    • Jordan River says:

      A sample! Well, that means a review on Scents Memory. A tale will be told I am sure. You have many ways with words Lanier. In fact I can see the story outline in your comment above.

  8. Ellen Covey says:

    Great story. I can’t help noticing, though, that all of the “people” in Afghanistan, with the exception of two little girls, are male.

    • Jordan River says:

      Now good Dr, that is a good pithy point. I was thrilled to find the picture of the girl and the dog as well as the little girls with the elders but I did have to look hard as I wanted to make sure that there were women in these pictures. I was also glad to find a gunless photo of the men. Most photos like that include guns. I will try and source a photo of the female adults who pick the orange blossoms and roses for the next story. Thank you dear.

  9. Tora says:

    I can’t say enough good things about Barbara’s project with 7 Virtues empowering a culture to change their focus of financial gain to a product that is for personal care not for personal destruction. I always get choked up when I see a single woman or man put their time and effort into actually changing the world we live in, by their hard work. So many of us wish for change, hope for change, and rage against the status quo. I hold in the highest regard my friends and people like Barb, who just ‘get it done’.. Brava Barbara!! I will be putting my money where my mouth is.

    • Jordan River says:

      Sometimes people make comments about the indulgence of perfume compared to say hunger but we can all change the world one perfume bottle at a time. Here’s to more happy places Tora.

  10. […] this week about Afghanistan Orange Blossom and the Jordan River, from The Fragrant Man, story about The Noble Rose: another of The 7 Virtues Beauty Inc. World changing economics in action through fragrance. Portia […]

  11. […] In response to Dr Ellen Covey’s comment on Make Perfume not War… […]

  12. Wow Jordan I’m learning so much from you thankyou x

  13. poodle says:

    This is really an interesting idea. I hope it continues and grows and that much good can come from it. I’ll have to try these perfumes.

  14. […] The Fragrant Man on Valentines Day this year. As well as writing for Olfactoria’s Travels and Australian Perfume Junkies he is a Basenotes contributor for whom he recently covered the first Australian album sandalwood […]

  15. […] remember we have done some stories on the incredible Barb Stegemann (Olfactoria’s Travels), Noble Rose of Afghanistan (APJ), Afghanistan Orange Blossom (APJ) and her world changing idea of creating perfumes from ingredients […]

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