La Via del Profumo & A Summer Perfume Course in Italy

Italy in summertime! High above Rimini on the Adriatic coast, the hills are alive with the sound of perfume vials clinking, fragrance essences being blended in beakers, and the teachings of AbdesSalaam Attar (Dominique Dubrana) of La Via del Profumo. That is the essence of a press release that I thought I would share with you, as it’s a great opportunity to learn from one of the masters of natural perfumery. Plus, did I mention Italy in summertime?

Monte Columbo, Rimini, Italy. Source:

Monte Colombo, Rimini, Italy. Source:

For those of you unfamiliar with the name, AbdesSalaam Attar is an Italian and a Sufi convert whose all-natural creations are some of Luca Turin‘s favorites, several of which have received Five Star reviews. The New York Times calls him “a genius of sorts” and “a Saracen Willy Wonka” in an article that also talks briefly about his “wonderful olfactorium.”

That is what you can experience, if you take his mini perfume course over a six-day period this June. It will take place in Monte Colombo, which seems to be the hillside or more countryside part of the ancient Roman town of Rimini, located in the gorgeous Emilia-Romagna region of Italy on the Adriatic coast.

Dominque Dubrana or AbdesSalaam Attar via the NYT. Photo by Domingo Milella.

Dominique Dubrana or AbdesSalaam Attar via the NYT. Photo by Domingo Milella.

Here are the full details from the press release:

After 6 years, I am returning to teaching with a summer seminar in the hills of Rimini, Italy in June 2015. There will be 6 days of daily classes and workshops [starting on June 10th and going through to the 15th] to teach 12 students both my philosophy of perfumery and my method of making fragrances.

The classes will cover a range of issues. One key point will be natural raw materials, including animal scents and rare essences, several of which can be smelled only with me. I will explain the crucial issue of how to understand and evaluate the quality of natural raw materials.

Every day, there will be blending workshops of different methods and approaches. I will teach students how to custom blend fragrances to benefit those who may wish to expand into perfume creation for private clients, customers, or friends. I will also explain how to approach concept blending for companies. In addition, I will discuss where to source the best essences, so that those who have learned how to make perfumes with me can carry on as a perfumer.

Other topics will include perfume descriptive language, olfactory psychology, philosophy and the ethics of natural perfumery. These are fundamentally important because the nose is only secondary to the mind in making perfumes, which is before all a mental attitude.

Rimini dates back to Roman times and is located in the Emilia-Romagna region on Italy’s Adriatic coast. It is famous for its beaches, but we will be in the nearby hills of Monte Colombo where I live. In June, the lavender will be full bloom, so there might also be a distillation course on one of the days.

All of this will be covered by an accommodation package that includes hotel stay, workshop materials, a kit of value 400 euros and raw essences.

Source: La Via del Profumo press release.

Hotel accommodations at Il Germano Reale. Source: La Via del Profumo press release.

Source: La Via del Profumo press release.

Il Germano Reale. Source: La Via del Profumo press release.

Source: La Via del Profumo press release.

Il Germano Reale. Source: La Via del Profumo press release.

Our accommodation is the same location of the course, it has a beautiful swimming pool, and an eagle’s view on the Adriatic sea and the coast. Breakfast and lunch are included. Dinner can be ordered at a nearby reputed restaurant.

There are 12 places available.

Please write to with questions or for further information

Germano Reale via their website.

Germano Reale via their website.

It sounds wonderful, doesn’t it? The Emilia-Romagna region is famous for its food (among other things), and the Germano Reale is a 700 year-old farmhouse that looks lovely on the website. For those of you who want to make a proper summer holiday of it after the course is done, you should check out Rimini‘s famous sandy beaches, the nearby wine-country of Verrucchio, and the elegant Palazzo Viviani Castello di Montegridolfo hotel in the medieval hamlet of Montegridolfo.

Palazzo Viviani Castello di Montegridolfo. Source:

Palazzo Viviani Castello di Montegridolfo. Source:

Of course, the biggest draw is the rare opportunity to learn from Abdes Salaam Attar himself on a wide range of issues. How cool would it be to try your hand at distillation?! Personally, I would prefer something other than lavender, given my deep-seated issues about the plant, but I would still love to learn the process and methodology. (I have to admit, the thought of endless hillsides blooming with lavender as far as the eye can see rather makes me shiver. I hope it’s not quite as I visualise.) On a happier note, Abdes Salaam has some great essences and tinctures, including unusual things like hyraceum or really aged materials. I hear his various ambergris oils are wonderful, rich, and multi-faceted. And I know from personal experience that some of his floral essences are superb. Think of the fragrances you could create with those!  [UPDATED TO ADD:  Right now, the dates in question are June 10-15th. That comes to 6 days, with the distillation occurring on the last day if events (and the lavender) go as planned.]

In short, if you’re interested in a different sort of European getaway or summer holiday, write to La Via del Profumo for pricing and further details.

19 thoughts on “La Via del Profumo & A Summer Perfume Course in Italy

  1. Oh, how I wish I could go!! Alas, I am sure there will be no scholarships. . .this artist may not be starving, but it’ll be out of my financial league. Anyone who can afford to go, well, I’m envious, but also, “Have a great time!!!”

    • It’s outside my financial league, too, but I’m going to see if there is any way I could pull it off since this is the year for my holiday back to Europe anyway. Perhaps His Royal Teutonic Highness will have to give up some of his expensive lifestyle choices. heh.

      • Angela is very curious to know what his Teutonic Highness’s lifestyle choices are, in case she is missing out on something.

        • Heh, the German Prince has expensive health insurance (that is actually better than my own!), a vast amount of organic fruits and vegetables (celery, apples, pears, oranges, fennel, carrots) on a daily basis, very expensive vegan hard food (prescribed to try to counter his skin allergies), organic vegetable broth, expensive shampoo, and a bad habit of constantly disemboweling or destroying new toys in under 5 minutes. He’s a rather costly Teutonic Overlord, so the slave might have to downgrade his fruits and vegetables to non-organic, and to go easy on his toy collection. 😉 I kid, I kid — His Highness comes before all else in life, including cool perfume classes in Italy.

  2. What an awesome idea! I would even enjoy the Bastard Lavender part ; )
    Mais, Ca coute cher, non?

    • ROFL at “Bastard Lavender” — you remembered, James! 😉

      Alas, yes, it isn’t cheap. At least, *I* don’t think it is, but it obviously comes down to one’s personal situation and finances. Let’s just say that it is in-line with what you’d expect from a short but *nice* European vacation which includes hotel, a good number of your meals, and supplies. Apparently, a number of people are jumping at the idea and don’t think it’s too costly, so it really depends.

  3. This sounds wonderful! Methinks that despite the relaxing, peaceful and bucolic views, the experience will be anything but! I have vacation funds that I can reallocate if it has to come down to a choice 😉 between this and a cruise in August. Thanks for the info my dear.

    • You’re very welcome. If you’re actually tempted, then I think you should consider just how rare this opportunity is as compared to something like a cruise. Places like Alaska, Argentina, Greece or wherever else you may have in mind will always be there. A chance to have a perfume class in Italy over 6 days during the best part of the summer and with AbdesSalaam Attar is not something that comes around every day. So, if you’re really tempted, you may want to think about it in that light. 🙂 It’s one of the things that I’m pondering myself, as an old friend of mine wants to go, is quite serious about it thus far, and wants me to go with him as well. I’m pondering it. 🙂

  4. Not wanting to put a downer on it, but consideration must be taken as to how you actually get there. The nearest airport is Bologna, which is a good 100km away from Rimini, less alone Monte Colombo

    • 100 km? And then a bit further to Monte Colombo? Oh dear. So, if 100 km is roughly 60 miles, then the airport is perhaps about 90 minutes away from the farmhouse…. Hm. Transportation is a definite point to consider. Thank you, Michael, for stopping by to provide the details. I appreciate it, as will others, I am sure.

      The thing may be for people to organise small groups to go together from the airport in a rented car whose expense will be split. That brings up other logistical issues, not to mention the sharing of email addresses so that fellow students could arrange matters between each other, but it could be handled with a bit of effort. Still, it does add a whole other layer of planning to the matter.

  5. Oh, my heart! This looks like such an incredible opportunity. I hope that 15 deserving individuals fill those slots and then use what they learn to fill the world with still more wonderful scent!

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