Hymba by Enrico Buccella for Sigilli 2012

Hey there Posse! In 2013 Jin & I were in Venice, Italy and coincidentally it happened to be Carnivale. We couldn’t have timed it better and it was a wonderful time. The holiday was all about walking everywhere, laughing, eating, seeing famous historical places, museums and art galleries. We did take a moment to try some of the Italian fragrances and the Sigilli line was one that I liked a few of but bought only one bottle: Pyrgos. The bag was already quite frag laden and we still hadn’t reached Paris. We did not try Hymba at that time but I’m glad because the choice would have been made doubly hard. Especially now I know the back story….

Hymba Sigilli Himba-Hirten WikipediaPhoto Stolen Wikipedia

From Wikipedia: The Himba (Hymba) are indigenous peoples with an estimated population of about 50,000 people living in northern Namibia, in the Kunene region (formerly Kaokoland) and on the other side of the Kunene River in Angola.
From Fragrantica: The Hymba WOMEN extract a particular resin called Omumbiri from a plant which originates in that area (like Boswellia, where incense comes from). Other than selling it, they use it for a very particular purpose: they mix it with butter and red soil and make a compound which they rub on their bodies, thereby becoming real human sculptures with a bronze colour and a heady resin-milky scent. “I was so fascinated by it that I wanted to create a perfume inspired by the Himba women. I buy Omumbiri and in my laboratories I transform it into a resinoid to give life to this fragrance.” – Enrico Buccella.

Hymba by Enrico Buccella for Sigilli 2012

Hymba Sigilli FragranticaPhoto Stolen Fragrantica

Fragrantica gives these featured accords:
Top: Myrtle, citrus
Heart: Vanilla, Omumbiri resin (Commiphora wildii)
Base: Sandalwood, cedar, birch, amber

Ahhh, the citrus/myrtle opening is almost eucalyptus and extremely invigorating and refreshing. Hymba opens like a walk through the Australian bush just after rain. There is something delightfully wet and crisp about it. A tingling, zesty sparkle.

The heart of Hymba is resinous, obviously, but this Omumbiri is a sharpish resin, lightly green yet still smooth and elegant. Imagine if galbanum was at half strength with unsweetened vanilla and dry raspy vetiver woven through and you’ll get a hint of what the heart of Hymba is like on me. I can imagine the Hymbra women smelling incredible covered in this and sweating in the hot sun.

Hymba Sigilli Himbam Woman_and_Family WikiCommonsPhoto Stolen WikiCommons

Dry down is a soft bitter wood curled lovingly around a creamy amber. Very appealing and lasting power is excellent. Add to this the extremely reasonable price for 100ml and its suitability to wear almost anywhere and I am completely surprised that Hymba is not a hot favourite fragrance of perfumistas everywhere.

Further reading: Scent for Thought
First In Fragrance has €95/100ml
Surrender to Chance has samples starting at $3.50/ml

Do you love the stories of fragrance? Can they push you over the edge to a purchase if the fragrance is also good?

If you liked this then drop on over to Australian Perfume Junkies and continue the fragrant conversation there, we love visitors.
Portia xx

11 Comments
Kate C September 17, 2015

OMG that sounds amazing! I am heading straight over to STC!

Heidi September 17, 2015

As a writer, I'm a sucker for perfumes with a story. In fact, sometimes I love the story so much that I really want to love the scent, and am devastated when I don't. I love some of the Guerlain backstories -- Vol de Nuit and L'Heure Bleue in particular -- and Seville a L'Aube. I haven't smelled anything from this line, but it sounds intriguing!

Ann September 17, 2015

Oh, Portia -- you have done it again :) -- put a very interesting scent with a fascinating back-story on my radar and have me lemming for a sample. Must try this ASAP. But I have to laugh and agree with Tammy above; no way on earth would the Himba treatment work on my chubby body -- it would drive folks away in droves, ha!

Tara September 17, 2015

Fascinating stuff, Portia. It's nice to come across such an incredibly unique inspiration/back story. With my vivid imagination, it definitely adds to a perfume's appeal. Love the way you come up with your own concoction to help us envision what this smells like. I hadn't heard of this brand before so thanks for the introduction. I won't forget Hymba any time soon!

tammy September 17, 2015

Welp, all I can say is, the butter in northern Namibia must have different properties than the butter in southeastern America, because I can just about imagine what I'd smell like if I coated myself in butter and red Georgia clay, and sat for hours in the hot Georgia sun. No one would want to bottle the result, I can assure you of that, and all the resin in Namibia could not fix that hot mess! Having said that, you and Tom can talk me into trying just about anything. (I have yet to forgive Our Thomas for Smell Bent #8 Untitled) The drydown sounds a treat, though the raspy vetiver gives me pause....