Wow, Wazamba!!! – Review: Parfum d’Empire Wazamba

I wanted to wait with the review of Wazamba until fall, when its incense and spice glory would be more season-appropriate, but I cannot hold back, I’ll remind you in October, okay?

Wazamba, a 2009 release by Parfum d’Empire founder and perfumer Marc-Antoine Corticchiato looks to Africa for inspiration and returns with a wonderfully dirty and spicy hot incense that is – I suspect – a love it or hate it perfume. Those polarizing creations are usually among the best.

I was wary of Wazamba due to the inclusion of cumin, but here the dreaded spice is in such good company, tamed and made to show its best sides, but able to shine as well.

Including notes of Somalian incense, Kenyan myrrh, Ethiopian opoponax, Indian sandalwood, Moroccan cypress, labdanum, apple and fir balsam, Wazamba is no shy creature, but a well-behaved one. It is not going to keel you over with its sillage, but it is powerful and long lasting.

According to Parfum d’Empire a wazamba is “a musical instrument often used in initiation ceremonies in Western Africa.” For me the name sounds like a war cry or a lusty cry of “Here we come!” In my mind and when I speak about it, it is always “Waaazamabaaa!!!”

Wazamba reminds me of Tauer Incense Extreme, but where the Tauer is cool and calm serenity, the Parfum d’Empire is hot-blooded zest for life. Wazamba smells like smoke of a camp fire, pine resin oozing freshly from the bark of the tree, a spicy apple peeking through now and then. Wazamba gets never boring, it keeps you on your toes, it lasts forever and a day and it is a good-natured incense.

It is not all holy and hallowed, distant and dignified, it is lively and laughing, intense and interesting, an incense having a good time. And so will you, wearing it.

Come on, Fumies, let’s say it together: Waaazambaaa!!!

Image source:, Campfire Courtesy of

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21 Responses to Wow, Wazamba!!! – Review: Parfum d’Empire Wazamba

  1. I also don’t find the cumin in Wazamba to be disturbing, there are SO few perfumes I can say that about. I do smell it, but it’s like the funkiness that traditionally comes along with cumin is canceled out by the other notes, and what’s left is just how it adds to the spiciness. I think it’s very pretty.

    Oh, by the way, against my gut-feeling, Equistrius did not work out for me. I’m so bummed! Neither did L’Artisan Bois Farine, I find them rather similar. I’m not exactly sure why they didn’t work for me, I’ll have to put more thought into it. 🙂

    • Olfactoria says:

      I am glad there is at least one perfume where cumin is possible for me. It is great that you see it it similarly!

      Too bad about Equistrius, I don’t find it similar to Bois Farine at all, how interesting! But not everything can work for everyone, but i understand your feelings. I was so put out that I didn’t love (or even tolerated) Absolue pour le Soir.

  2. annemariec says:

    Oh that sounds nice. Tauer’s Incense Extreme is too cold church for me. (Marocain, now, I adore … ) So perhaps I should Wazamba a go. Cumin is no bother to me. Love the thought of the apple too.

    • Olfactoria says:

      Did you order the sample kit yet?Wazamba is definitely more Marocain than Incense Extreme.

      • annemariec says:

        That’s good to know. No, the sample kit is queued up behind a whole lot of other stuff! Sigh. Although, now I think again, it was very cheap, so maybe it could be bumped up the queue a bit.

        • annemariec says:

          And thinking again again, I am very interested in the African inspiration for Wazamba (and Marocain), because ideas about the ‘exotic’ in perfume have traditionally been drawn from the Middle East, India and parts of Asia, rather than Africa. Hmmm … I’m convincing myself that a sample order could be counted as ‘cultural research’ …

  3. Marla says:

    I really like this one on a hot day, the labdanum is not too strong, and the cumin is so light you’d almost have to know it’s there already to smell it. Great stuff!

  4. Tara says:


    Well I must admit I was rather (OK very) prejudiced against this one without trying it because of the words cumin and pine but, your review shows – yet again – I should be more open-minded and give it a go. Outdoorsy “good time” incense sounds very nice and it certainly sounds very unique. You are so right about polarizing fragrances often being some of the best.

    • Olfactoria says:

      Ha, thanks for the warcry! 🙂

      I was wary of this as well, but I fearlessly go where no one (well, not exactly) has gone before and it often turns out fine. 😉 Aziyadė and Fougere Bengale did not turn out so well, but it would be almost creepy if the entire line would work for me.

  5. deeHowe says:


    I think I need the sample kit 😉

  6. I love the sound of this warm spiced incense- will try and sample it..

    what a great name – Waazambaa!!!

  7. Undina says:

    I’m a little shy when it comes to yelling… so I’ll just whisper “Waaaazaaambaaaa…”
    I also need that sample kit (let’s see if Google Translate can help me through the check-out…)

  8. elizabeth says:

    Mmm, this review, combined with Elisa’s latest On the Scent column ( has me desperate to try Wazamba! Cumin doesn’t scare me (I love it in Fleur d’Oranger), and I love your notion of incense having a good time. I don’t know if I can wait until October; I hope it’s good on a hot day as Marla suggests above!

    • Olfactoria says:

      Hi Elizabeth,
      I have been wearing Wazamba a lot these past weeks and it has been very hot. I love it! 🙂
      Let us know how you like it!

    • Elisa says:

      Ah, thanks for the link! I love Wazamba and don’t even notice the cumin it. To me it’s a fruity, fun incense. And I just scored a decant in a swap. Mm mmm good.

  9. Pingback: My Kingdom For This Horse! – Review: Parfum d’Empire Equistrius | Olfactoria's Travels

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