Patchouli of Rwanda

Flower Power: The 7 Virtue’s Patchouli of Rwanda Perfume

Patchouli of Rwanda, the newest fragrance from The 7 Virtues,  officially launches today – the UN International Day of Peace. With The 7 Virtues mission of Make Perfume Not War creating perfumes using essential oils from countries rebuilding after strife, it’s certainly an auspicious day. Rwanda joins the roll call that currently includes Afghanistan (rose and neroli), Haiti (vetiver) and the Middle East (sweeti grapefruit, lime and basil).

I went along to the launch event at Fenwick to learn a little bit more about this special perfume.

 High Commissioner of the Republic of Rwanda to the United Kingdom, His Excellency Williams Nkurunziza  and Barb Stegemann, CEO, The 7 Virtues

High Commissioner of the Republic of Rwanda to the United Kingdom, His Excellency Williams Nkurunziza and Barb Stegemann, CEO, The 7 Virtues at the Patchouli of Rwanda launch

The High Commissioner of the Republic of Rwanda expressed great pride at seeing the first product with Rwanda in its name on sale in the UK. The message that Rwanda is open for fragrance business rang loud and clear.

After the genocide in 1994, when females made up 70% of the population, women played a vital role in rebuilding Rwanda. Now Rwanda is the only country in the world with a female majority in government and equal numbers in the judiciary and at school. The 7 Virtues believes that women in the West can flex our purse power to contribute to the rebuilding efforts, which ultimately affects us all.  Woman power in action.

Most of the world’s patchouli is grown in Indonesia. However Rwanda has emerged as a new source market. Post-war initiatives have focussed on developing the economy via commercial farming of higher value crops to produce top quality essential oils.

The 7 Virtues buys its patchouli oil from Ikirezi, a Rwandan co-operative representing over 500 farmers, with the vast majority of its workforce widows and orphans.  The company is committed to organic plant cultivation leading to 100% organic essential oils, certified by ECOCERT.  The aim is for more companies to follow The 7 Virtues lead and buy these high-grade products. Creating stability through fair trade rather than charity. You know it makes sense.

Barb Stegemann, CEO, The 7 Virtues:

“Meeting our farmers in Rwanda and being welcomed into homes they built with their income from harvesting patchouli showed us the direct benefits of harnessing our buying power in the beauty industry for positive change”

Patchouli of Rwanda

Patchouli of Rwanda
Patchouli of Rwanda

To be completely honest, I was slightly dreading sniffing Patchouli of Rwanda. Let’s just say I’m a terrible Poker player. Seeing the word “patchouli” does not typically fill me with joy. I think of it as too  heavy, incensey, tie-dye-y, old fashioned, overbearing. Or so I thought. Patchouli of Rwanda has made me rethink everything I thought I thought about patchouli! This was elegantly blended – sexy, fresh yet earthy. On my skin, the top citrus notes flirted then fizzled away before the grand seduction by the woody base notes.  I wanted to nuzzle and nibble the wrist I had sprayed Patchouli of Rwanda on all day. This really is a gorgeous scent.

Patchouli of Rwanda composition:

Top note: Bergamot, Lemon, Red Grapefruit

Middle note: Tea Leaves, Cyclamen, green hibiscus, Jasmine, Juniper berry, Freesia,

Base note: Sheer Musk, Patchouli, Cardamom, Sandalwood, Cedar Flower

Patchouli of Rwanda, 50ml, £54 available in-store in the UK at Fenwick 63 New Bond St, London W1A 1RQ, Selfridges 400 Oxford Street, London W1A 1AB and online at

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: