Afghanistan Orange Blossom by The 7 Virtues 2010

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Post by FeralJasmine

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Lately I have been trying out The 7 Virtues. I do not mean by this that I have been leading a balanced and philosophical life. Far from it, in fact. But I have been thinking about the perfume habit that we all share and the effect that it has on the larger community. First, of course, there is the personal benefit: we are harmlessly occupied sniffing our own and each others’ wrists rather than other mischief that we could get into, and none of us is likely to get into a more dangerous addiction problem because, after buying perfume, we couldn’t possibly afford street drugs. If lovely scents lighten our moods at dark times and make us kinder to those around us, that certainly serves the greater good. Many Islamic cultures consider the wearing of scent to be a gift to others, and our sillage may lighten a moment for somebody else. And then there is the larger community, our nations and our planet. Do perfumes serve a purpose there?

Afghanistan Orange Blossom by The 7 Virtues 2010

Afghanistan Orange Blossom The7VirtuesPhoto Stolen The 7 Virtues

Definitely, in my view, and in all kinds of ways. Some are easy to define and some are more ephemeral. Lately I’ve become interested in a Canadian Company, The 7 Virtues, that wants perfume to serve a very specific and practical purpose. Their mission is to create perfumes that use raw materials sourced from communities in Afganistan and other war-torn areas that are trying to rebuild themselves. CEO Barb Stegemann wants to offer farmers a financially viable alternative to the poppy crops that create such hazards both in their communities and in our own. You can read more about their mission at http://www.the7virtues.com/about.html

So okay, this is a noble mission that we can all appreciate, but how’s the juice? The one I chose to try first is their original scent, Afganistan Orange Blossom. Their website tempted me toward this one: “This precious organic oil is made from delicate orange blossoms harvested by Afghan farmers who bravely choose to tend these ancient groves instead of the poppy crop. We buy this excellent oil at fair market value from our supplier who is rebuilding his community. Poetry festivals are held during the harvest in Jalalabad to celebrate the historic orange blossom groves. If you look closely, you can see tiny flecks of orange blossom petals in your bottle of perfume!”

Afghanistan Orange blossom National GeographicPhoto Stolen National Geographic

The idea of reading poetry under blooming ancient Afghanistan Orange Blossom trees is irresistible, hypnotic, ironically narcotic. The fragrance itself goes on in a cloud of orange blossoms, but rather than hypnotic they are light, ethereal, and purely pretty. There is a slight touch of soap, enough for freshness but not enough to be annoying. The scent is not prim, but it is modest, entirely befitting a philosopher queen. Some jasmine joins the orange blossom as it develops but it is light, fresh jasmine with nothing of the narcotic or indolic about it. Freesia notes do appear as promised. This is a clean scent in the best possible sense: not some awful fabric-softener knockoff, but a sunlit natural smell that makes me happy for the moment that is given to me.

Afghanistan Orange Blossom MorgueFilePhoto Stolen MorgueFile

Afghanistan Orange Blossom is an EDP but seems more like EDC strength to me. Longevity is a few hours on skin for me, and I like to spray a scarf or put some on my blouse to continue the pleasure (no stains so far.) It has become my favorite work scent, and I can’t imagine anybody being offended by it. Do take into account that I live in a desert climate, and in damper air it may be stronger than I describe. You can feel good about buying this fragrance, and it will return the compliment.

Further reading: Perfume Posse and BoTO
The Perfumed Court starts at $5/ml

Check out The 7 Virtues Website for buying in North America & Europe

FeralJasmine x

24 thoughts on “Afghanistan Orange Blossom by The 7 Virtues 2010

  1. That’s an admirable mission for the company. I like buying things that contribute to a greater good somehow.
    Orange blossom is a favorite of mine. Something about it just seems to cheer me up. The light, airy quality of this might make it a nice choice for a bedtime scent.

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    • It would probably be great at bedtime, and I love it as a weekend-morning scent, a dose of bright sunshine for a few hours before I commit to the rest of the day. Coffee in bed, the NY Times on our IPads, and wafts of orange blossom…it sets a good tone.

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    • Thanks for stopping by, Jordan! I don’t mind reapplying, either, and since I have scent-eating skin I may wear a chain of up to four perfumes in the course of a day. It’s fun, and how else will I ever use up all this perfume?
      I’m very interested in the company’s mission, too. There is no point in telling farmers not to grow poppies unless they have a market for some other crop. This is the first serious attempt that I know of to preserve forms of Afghanistan agricultural traditions in a way that provides an alternative to poppies. I hope there will be many more perfume companies out there trying to do some good in the world.

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  2. I love my bottle of AOB, and although it’s been fun in the past to throw in a sample of this in with my swaps because I knew few other perfumistas had tried it, I’m thrilled to see this company expand into the States and other countries. (Which reminds me, I still need to mail off your bottle, Portia. Whoops!)

    Always cool to get a pingback for one of my reviews, so thanks, FJ.

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