By Alison Bate
My feature about my grandfather’s role in creating the perfume Bint el Sudan was published in Reader’s Digest Canada a while ago.
However, there wasn’t room to include all the info I collected during research and interviews.
Here then are more details from users of the perfume, family members, former perfumers at Bush Boake Allen, original makers of Bint El Sudan, and several others.
The view from Khartoum
Alawiyya Jamal, a Khartoum-based humanitarian officer, told me that no Sudanese wedding perfume is complete without Bint.
She adds: “While preparing for my nephew’s wedding, I found it also comes as an atomizer for everyday use. Personally it is one of my favorite smells, not only as in the perfume mix but also a daily freshener.
“The other use is that it is sprayed on broken down sandalwood for the bride and married women. It is also used on the pieces of the acacia seyal wood with white powered musk as scent. The wood makes the perfume last longer and improves its smell.
“When used with the Acacia wood, it is used to scent the house, bed covers, and for those who can not afford the sandalwood, they use it as an alternative to perfume the tobes (the brightly-colored sari-like clothes worn by many Sudanese women), dresses and cloth.”