ULILI Moroccan Scents as seen on Vogue.com...
...and available online at Beautyhabit.com
ULILI Moroccan Scents: These Made-in-Casablanca Soaps and Diffusers Offer an Olfactory Escape to Morocco
Omar Benjelloun can still recall the smell of the earth after a rainstorm in the Atlas Mountains, where he spent holidays as a child; the heady orange blossom water that his grandfather would sprinkle on his palms; the wild oleander flowers of the ancient Berber city Volubilis. “I wanted to play with these memories,” muses Benjelloun, who set out to capture his native country’s signature aromas six years ago with the launch of his label, Ulili Moroccan Scents; now, the collection boasts an olfactory feast of candles, bar soaps, and a trio of diffusers, which are finally available for sale in the U.S. “The objective—the challenge—is to source more and more from Morocco,” adds Benjelloun, who enlisted the help of Marianne Nawrocki, a perfumer in Grasse, France, to blend the likes of local artemisia, rose, Atlas cedar root, and pennyroyal mint.
In fact, the products are a veritable celebration of Morocco’s heritage from start to finish. The Hand of Fatima-decorated diffusers arrive in ceramic jars produced in Tangier, just as the candles, which are equipped with wooden lids crafted in Essaouira, are printed with characters from Ronda, a card game that has been played by several generations of Moroccans. Containing vitamin A-rich beeswax, exfoliating prickly pear seeds, and olive oil harvested from a family field, the cold-processed soaps, meanwhile, are adorned with Arabic calligraphy inspired by classic Maghrebian coins by Ayoub, a young illustrator from Casablanca. Wrapped in recycled paper that was once used in school notebooks and to carry sugar loaves, they are sure to strike a chord with anyone who grew up in Morocco—not to mention those who are eager to explore its vast terrain. “I try to remind people about our forgotten traditions,” says Benjelloun, who is currently working on a new range of perfumes. With international summer travel suspended, rest assured: Morocco is just a sniff away.
The trio of diffusers feature Hand of Fatima designs drawn by Benjelloun’s sister.