Adventure country: Roads’ newest scents bottle the excitement and energy of Africa

Selection of Roads perfume
The niche perfume label Roads has unveiled a quartet of fragrances inspired by Africa, each accompanied with a specially commissioned piece of art that decorates its packaging to boot
(Image credit: TBC)

There are clearly few limits to the creative juices of Roads’ founder Danielle Ryan. The niche perfume label, which also counts a book-publishing arm and documentary film production house under its umbrella, recently unveiled a quartet of fragrances inspired by Africa, each accompanied with a specially commissioned piece of art that decorates its packaging to boot.

Aroma-wise, Roads’ African Edition fragrances each incorporate naturally derived ingredients from the continent. For Big Sky, an ode to the expansive canopy over the continent’s dense landmass, zesty citrus, lemon and orange flower dry down to an earthy mix of patchouli, papyrus, oud and myrrh. It’s art work, a graphic photographic piece by Dylan Culhane, who’s based in Cape Town, is equally dynamic and stepped in realism.

On another front, I Am Dance evokes the symbolism and expressiveness of dance (specifically a type of street-dance called Pantsula) in African cultures, with sparkling hits of mandarin, pineapple and lavadin that also boasts a woody heart. The Tanzanian illustrator Lynnie Zulu is behind it visual counterpart – a colourful and graphic portrait in shades of blue, pink and yellow.

The third fragrance, Past|Present takes a more serious note. It was inspired by the strength and conviction present in Nigeria’s literary scene, as best exemplified by writers such as Chinua Achebe and Wole Soyinka. In fragrance form, these qualities are translated as bergamot, smoked black tea and jasmine, with brooding tonka bean in its base. A detailed art piece by Yaw Tony, the illustrator/designer/artist based between Toronto and the UK, uses a motif reminiscent of graphic Ankara fabrics.

The collection’s last piece is a tribute to modern Africa. Named Afropolis, the perfume is an unabashed muddling of gin, spearmint and oakmoss, iris, ebony woods and amber. Its accompanying design is created by the Parisian artist Elise Hannebicuqe, who has created bodies of work dedicated to Africa and Nelson Mandela in the past.

4 Roads perfume

The quartet is the latest project from the label, whose other enterprises include a book-publishing arm and documentary film production house

(Image credit: TBC)

Big Sky, an ode to the expansive canopy over the continent’s dense landmass,

Big Sky, an ode to the expansive canopy over the continent’s dense landmass, opens with zesty citrus, lemon and orange flower with an earthy mix of patchouli, papyrus, oud and myrrh. Dylan Culhane, a photographer from Cape Town, is behind its graphic art piece

(Image credit: Dylan Culhane)

Visual illustration by Lynnie Zulu

I Am Dance evokes the symbolism and expressiveness of dance, specifically a type of street-dance called Pantsula. The Tanzanian illustrator Lynnie Zulu is behind it visual counterpart

(Image credit: Lynnie Zulu)

Illustration design by Elise Hannebicuqe

The perfume Afropolis conjures up a modern picture of Africa with its unabashed muddling of gin, spearmint and oakmoss, iris, ebony woods and amber. The Parisian artist Elise Hannebicuqe is behind its accompanying design

(Image credit: Elise Hannebicuqe)

Artwork by Yaw Tony

Past|Present is inspired by the strength and conviction present in Nigeria’s literary scene. The concept comes to life with notes of  bergamot, smoked black tea and jasmine and an art work by Yaw Tony

(Image credit: Yaw Tony)

INFORMATIONWebsite

$155 for 1.7oz, available from Barneys

Pei-Ru Keh is the US Editor at Wallpaper*. Born and raised in Singapore, she has been a New Yorker since 2013. Pei-Ru has held various titles at Wallpaper* since she joined in 2007. She currently reports on design, art, architecture, fashion, beauty and lifestyle happenings in the United States, both in print and digitally. Pei-Ru has taken a key role in championing diversity and representation within Wallpaper's content pillars and actively seeks out stories that reflect a wide range of perspectives. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband and two children, and is currently learning how to drive.