The story of Ninu

January 13, 2021

Once upon a time, in an era of stone palaces and spicy sand, lived two women. Today, the world would call them scientists or chemists, but back then they were known by other names. They were Tapputi and Ninu, and their art was combining scents into perfumes to serve the royals of Mesopotamia.

Tapputi was a woman held in the highest esteem; historical records speak of her authority and position as an official overseer of perfumery in the royal palace. 

Tapputi (Photo: History daily)

“…their art was combining scents into perfumes to serve the royals of Mesopotamia.”

One of her surviving recipes proves her skill, detailing the making of a scented salve for a Babylonian king. What fascinates the historian is that Tapputi mentions refining the ingredients in a ‘still’ – a chemical apparatus still used today to distil and filter liquids. The perfume master’s recipe is the oldest mention of such a tool in history, marking her as one of the earliest chemical engineers.

Tapputi used other revolutionary techniques, including distillation, cold enfleurage, tincture, and scent extraction. She also developed a method of using solvents (distilled water, alcohol) to alter the scents, making them lighter and longer-lasting than traditional perfume oils. 

Perfumed cones in Egypt- Pharaoh Tutankhamen’s tomb (Photo: Perfumefuzion)

Ninu, whose full name is lost to history, would today be called a researcher, likely a member of Tapputi’s household and working alongside her. For their creations, the two women used flowers, oil, calamus, cyperus, myrth, and balsam. 

To celebrate the rich history of perfume-making and to pay homage to early masters of the art, we’ve named our product after one of them. Ninu transports such ideas from the ancient palaces of Mesopotamia to a modern world, which is again learning to discover the beauty and power of fragrances. Back then, she was crucial to Tapputi’s efforts in perfecting the art of scent and, today, she can help you do the same.

Step into the shoes of Tapputi. Become your own perfumer, guided by Ninu. Are you ready to begin your journey?