During my time on Mahe in the Seychelles, my natural perfumery teacher, Isabelle Gelle, took us to visit a distillery called Globarom.
The distiller is Mustafa Harum Bristol. He has a fantastic distillery and I was really inspired by his work. He is the only essential oil distiller in the Seychelles. He built his own stills and has a beautiful plot of land where he is growing aromatic plants, vegetables and fruits—all organic.
Back in 2003, patchouli could be found alongside roads and paths everywhere in the Seychelles. Until the early 1980's, the Seychelles was a major exporter of patchouli dried leaves. The Seychelles patchouli used to be considered one of the best in the world.
Mustafa has started an exciting patchuli project! He's planning to bring the plant and essential oil back to the Seychelles, where it used to grow in abundance but now barely exists. He started in January 2014 with 10 plants 'rescued' from the forest, and his nursery now boasts 100 plants and counting!
Watch a 2 minute video of Mustafa and Isabelle at his distillery in the Seychelles.
The patchouli revival project involves more than just regrowing the disappearing patchouli in the Seychelles. It is also meant to create new jobs and a more diversified economy, placing an emphasis on agriculture rather than on tourism only. Private individuals will be encouraged to grow patchouli in their gardens too.
He is initially planning to work with 100 Seychelles families/farmers. Each farmer will receive 10 plants. Our time frame to secure a regular production for the essential oil distillation is 1 - 2 years depending on how soon the nursery is ready.
I will be writing more about Mustafa's work with patchouli as the project grows and the Patchouli plants become ready to distill. I am excited to say we are going to have a new, excellent source for patchouli in the coming years!
If you're interested in contacting Mustafa, you can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.