36 bottles of Bint el Sudan

By Alison Bate

A well-worn package arrived today from northern Nigeria.

The Fedex package looked lumpy, heavily inspected, with yellow and blue stickers and tape splashed with orange type declaring “Inspected by Canada Customs”.

The sender: W.J. Bush & Co. of Kano, Nigeria. The original company of W.J.Bush & Co. may no longer exist in East London, but perfume production is still going strong in Kano, northern Nigeria.

Several readers of my article “The Bint Factor”, published in Reader’s Digest Canada, had asked if they could buy Bint el Sudan in Canada.

The short answer is no, as it’s not made in North America, but an email to IFF’s Nick Evans worked wonders. Nick is International Flavors and Fragrances’s sales manager for Africa, and he arranged for 36 little bottles of the non-alcoholic perfume to be sent to me in Canada.

When I opened the package, three cardboard boxes appeared, surrounded by crunched-up transparent plastic. Looking for all the world like boxes at the hardware store holding screws or nails.

Each box bore the company label based on a photo taken by my grandfather E.E. Burgess in 1919. And inside the boxes are little bottles steeped in history.

I’ve just pulled out one of the little bottles, green in color, and can smell the distinctive scent on my fingers: strong, lingering and surprisingly pleasant. My grandfather always said the fragrance was too strong for European noses, but it seems pretty neat to me.

Now I just have to figure the best way to get some of the bottles to Nelson, Kamloops and Toronto…

* Surprise in the Souk
* Memories of Bint el Sudan
* Brownbook article on Bint el Sudan

13 thoughts on “36 bottles of Bint el Sudan

  1. I have Alot if any one want

    my names lubna ali am from sudan i sell a lot of sudanese perfume bit alsudan on of my coolectin any one awnt please contact me every things well be in by web soon
    my company called Bitmakaly Enterprise
    my contact : home 1 604 421 0653
    cell:778 229 0863
    I live in Vancouver BC, Canada

    1. Raj

      hi Lubna, i am interested in Bint El Sudan non-alcoholic version. how do i place an order. shipping will be to california, USA.

      1. alisonbate Post author

        Hi Raj and thanks for the comment. I’ve forwarded your email to Lubna to see if she can help you. Cheers, Ali

  2. Clinton

    Hi! Please I have been looking for the original bint el sudan. The one I bought in Kano Nigeria isn’t the original. Please link me with the right location here in Nigeria or anywhere I can get it. Even if it is in Canada, so long as it is the original one, I will make arrangements for the transportation. Please I am awaiting your reply.

    1. admin Post author

      Hi Clinton

      Greetings from Canada. I’m not sure what you mean by the original Bint el Sudan? The perfume has changed since it was first produced in the 1920s to make it easier to produce, and there are now two versions: non-alcoholic and alcoholic. I’m guessing you mean the non-alcoholic Bint, which is oil-based, and is closer to the original. This one is in a long, thin bottle (see first picture below). The alcohol-based version is in a broader, fatter bottle (see second picture below).

      The shipping costs from Canada to Nigeria are very high: it could cost around $100 to courier you the perfume, so I’m reluctant to do that.

      Hope this helps.


    Dear Sir,
    I am curently interested to import this BINT EL SUDAN Original small bottle to the South pacific.
    Could you please give me the best Export price for each bottle ? I would like to try 100 box of 12x tiny bottles.
    reply asap.

    1. admin Post author

      Hiya Michel

      I don’t sell the perfume myself (I’m a journalist, not a trader!). But I will forward your request to a couple of people and get back to you. Which country do you live in. Is it Fiji?

  4. Motaz Ali

    I need to buy 2 bottle of Bint El Sudan Perfume Could tell me where could I buy the this perfume in The UK and if not can you tell me who sells it and from which country?

    your help is highly appreciated?

    thanks in advance

    1. admin Post author


      I know someone in Canada who sells Bint el Sudan, but the shipping costs for two bottles to the UK would be very high.

      Can anyone in the UK help Motaz?

      Cheers, Ali

  5. Christopher

    Hello Mrs Alison,

    I´m highly interested in Bint El Sudan. I would like to buy 5 bottles. Could you tell me how much it would cost me including shipment to Germany.

    What makes me wonder is that they are available in Canada. Could you tell me where the original is produced. I´m living in Germany.

  6. Pingback: Bint el Sudan, my grandfather. . .and me | Alison Bate

  7. Pingback: My Bint el Sudan story in Brownbook | Alison Bate

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