Six fragrances ranging from leather wrapped in incense and vetiver, to chocolate lava cake, amber roses, incense laced with green herbs and powdered roses, and green white florals splattered with chunks of juicy fruits — these are some of the bouquets represented by six creations from La Via del Profumo and AbdesSalaam Attar. Each fragrance caught my attention or stood out for some reason or another during the recent perfume seminar I attended in Italy. They are: Amber Rose, Amber Chocolate, Acqua di Angelica, Grezzo d’Eleganza, Tasneem/Tasnim, and Oasis. I’ll look at each one in turn, and provide comparative reviews whenever possible.
Amber Rose is an eau de parfum that is described as having a “Turkish Ottoman spirit.” AbdesSalaam tends to give mere nutshell synopses for note lists, so Amber Rose is merely said to include rose, castoreum tincture, and a blend of ambers.
Amber Rose opens on my skin with a boozy, spiced, woody rose layered with amber and lightly smudges at the corners by a slightly leathery castoreum. The rose is sweet, deeply velvety, lightly honeyed, and fruity with the faintest traces of lemon, berries, and something almost apple-like. The underlying facets change on my skin each time I wear Amber Rose, depending on the quantity and, sometimes, the arm to which I apply the scent. Sometimes, the rose and ambers combine to create a liqueured woodiness that reminds me of sweet Bourbon in oak caskets. On other occasions, the woody tonality is weak, and the rose skews more to the fruity or honeyed side instead.
In all cases, the amber generally feels dry and semi-sweetened. There are none of the musky, salty, caramel nuances that ambergris can sometimes have, nor the toffee’d aromas of labdanum. Instead, the sweetness seems to emanate purely from the rose. Underlying it in the opening hour are slivers of leatheriness from the castoreum, but it never feels strongly animalic on my skin. As a whole, Amber Rose is a significantly drier scent than the gooey, syrupy concoctions that you find in typical ambers or roses in commercial perfumery.
Amber Rose’s core elements are always the same, but the fragrance is a bit of a shape-shifter on my skin in terms of which ones dominate. In half my tests, it takes roughly 30 minutes for the rose to retreat to the sidelines, and for the liqueured booziness to fade significantly. What’s left on my skin is a semi-dry amber laced with very thin layers of a dark, fruity rose, small twinges of woodiness, and a delicate but rather amorphous darkness that is vaguely suggestive of castoreum leatheriness. The latter bears hints of something animalic, but it’s more akin to a quiet, smoky darkness than anything truly “skanky,” and it never smells urinous, fecal, or raunchy. It’s merely a sort of pulsating, musky, barely smoky darkness with a touch of raw leather. For much of Amber Rose’s first six hours, this darker side takes over from the rose as the amber’s dance partner. The rose looks on quietly from the sidelines, losing its honeyed tonality and some of its sweetness. In a few tests, it occasionally wafts a bit of sourness, perhaps because of its underlying lemoniness, though it’s a faint thing amidst the amber and leathery castoreum.
In most of my tests, things change when Amber Rose’s drydown begins, which is typically around the middle of the 7th hour. At that point, the rose returns to share center stage with the amber and the abstract, hazy darkness. Slowly, over time, it pushes aside the castoreum, and the fragrance becomes a duet between the two titular notes. In its final hour, all that is left is a blur of an ambered rose.
It’s a slightly different balance of notes in a few of my other tests. There, the rose is fully intertwined with the amber from start to finish, and it is the castoreum’s abstract, quietly smoky darkness that plays second fiddle. This Amber Rose is sweeter, more liqueured, and much less woody, leathery, and dry.
In general, Amber Rose has very good longevity and initially moderate projection that soon turns soft. The fragrance lasts between 10.25 to 12 hours on my skin, depending on whether I apply the equivalent of 2 sprays from a bottle or 3. The projection typically starts at about 3 inches, then drops down to between 1.5 and 1 inch after an hour. The scent doesn’t usually carry in the air around me, so I would describe the sillage as very soft. Amber Rose usually turns into a skin scent on me at the start of the 4th hour, but it is easy to detect up close for a while to come.
Amber Rose has no Fragrantica entry, and I haven’t found any reviews for the scent. My classmates in the perfume course all loved it, though. I think it is a scent that would appeal to people who prefer a drier, more unisex, non-syrupy, gooey treatment of either roses or amber, and who like woody or quietly leathery facets to their ambered roses.
Amber Chocolate is an eau de parfum that AbdesSalaam describes primarily in terms of perfume psycho-aromatherapy, but the discussion of notes is, in part, as follows:
“Chocolate Amber” blends Chocolate and Vanilla with Tonka. Tonka is the archetype of amber fragrances. The combination gives a deliciously gourmand and sensual perfume. […][¶] Vanilla is most important in a chocolate note. Without it Cocoa would be dry and bitter. Vanilla provokes a feeling of well-being and of relaxation [….]
I’m a huge, huge fan of chocolate notes in perfumery, more so than vanilla, so I liked Chocolate Amber right from the start. In essence, it’s a drier take on gourmands without any of the gooey, saccharine excess that marks most gourmands and that often makes me feel as though I were about to enter into a diabetic coma. I have a low threshold for excessive sweetness, so I’m amazed by how AbdesSalaam has created a scent that feels, depending on test, like either a barely sweetened Mars bar, or a boozy chocolate lava cake drizzled with vanilla — but neither one ever makes me feel as though I were drenched in sugar.
Amber Chocolate opens with a heavy booziness. It smells like some sort of drink that I can’t pinpoint precisely, one which is somewhat in the same style as Drambuie, except not quite. On Fragrantica, two people found the note to be identical to “43.” Apparently, that’s a Spanish liqueur called Licor 43 which has a bouquet of caramel, vanilla, and honey. Whatever the precise alcohol, it is followed by wave upon wave of chocolate that is, simultaneously, semi-sweet, semi-dry, dark, and a bit nutty. The amber trails behind it, mixing with the chocolate to create something that reminds me of a mix of dark Godiva truffles, a caramel-ish Mars bar, and a flourless, chocolate lava cake. At first, there is no overt, clearly delineated vanilla or tonka, though I think both are working indirectly to keep the chocolate from being bitter. In its raw form, cocoa pods are completely unsweetened, even sometimes verging on the unpleasant. Here, the vanilla and tonka create that real “chocolate” aroma that we’re familiar with from sweets and pastries.
Amber Chocolate shifts after 5 minutes. The powerful booziness recedes fractionally, while the chocolate deepens. The scent takes on a noticeable nuttiness, like toasted almonds and hazelnuts. The amber grows stronger in a clearly delineated way, wafting small ripples of caramel-ish sweetness. The tonka and vanilla stir in the background, but they’re the quietest whisper for the first 45 minutes. There is not much that stands in the way of the chocolate in this scent; everything else is a mere accompaniment designed to work around it. At the end of the first hour and the start of the second, the booziness retreats to the background, where it waxes and wanes alongside the vanilla/tonka accord. From that point forth until the very end, all that’s left is a lightly sweetened, photorealistic chocolate lava cake, though the fragrance does take on a slight creaminess at the start of the 4th hour.
Amber Chocolate is a very soft, light scent on my skin, which is surprising given the richness of the notes at the beginning. It is not opaque, chewy, thick, or dense — either in feel or in body. Using 2 large smears equal to 2 sprays from an actual bottle, Amber Chocolate opened with about 2 inches of projection. That dropped to an inch after 45 minutes. The sillage or scent trail was incredibly discreet. By the start of the 3rd hour, I had to bring my nose to my arm to detect the fragrance which generally becomes a skin scent at the 3.25 hour mark. It always felt as though Amber Chocolate were about to disappear by the time the 5th hour rolled around, but the faint traces of it lingered until just after the 7th hour. At that point, it truly died away.
In a nutshell, Amber Chocolate is a simple, uncomplicated, linear “Death by Chocolate” fragrance. It has no ambition other than that, but it is one of the loveliest chocolate soliflores I’ve ever tried. As a chocolate lover who struggles with sweetness, I find it to be a perfect “cozy comfort” bedtime scent, and far better than Montale‘s Chocolate Greedy. On Fragrantica, Amber Chocolate receives some rave reviews, though one person found the opening too, too boozy for her tastes. Two commentators said they got about 6 hours out of the scent, but one person said the fragrance died after an hour. It’s the same story on Basenotes where all 5 reviews for Amber Chocolate are very positive about the actual scent, but handful of people had issues with longevity. It’s obviously going to depend on your individual skin chemistry, but if you’re looking for a chocolate bomb that isn’t painfully sweet or sugared, you should try Amber Chocolate. Absolutely delicious!
ACQUA DI ANGELICA/ANGELICA WATER:
Angelica Water or Acqua di Angelica is described merely in terms of its namesake note, the angelica herb, but little else is provided in terms of the notes. My guess would be that it also includes frankincense, neroli, and rose, at the very least.
Angelica opens on my skin with herbal greenness that is light woody. Quiet dabs of a juicy, tangy neroli smudge its edges, along with a brisk lemon and something aromatic. The neroli occasionally smells like a very pulpy, green orange, but usually feels more like a very sparkling, citrusy greenness that merely amplifies the angelica. After a few minutes, a sweet powderiness descends like a veil, smelling like soft herbs have been blended with powder that is vaguely rosy and sweetened.
The merest hint of incense hovers at the furthest edges, then unfurls a few moments later into something solid. It wafts a dusty, woody churchiness, evoking images of the quietest chapel where supplicants pray. It takes a mere 10 minutes for Angelica to turn into a very serene, High Church incense fragrance, laced with herbal greenness, quiet woodiness, a touch of citrus, and a whisper of dried, powdered roses. It feels incredibly ethereal. The first times I tried it during the perfume seminar, I had the constant image of something angelic, and of diaphanous, silvery gauze billowing in the air.
It is a scent that is a bit of a shape-shifter on me in its first hour. A few times, its opening bouquet smells from afar like an angelica-laced confection, dusted by sweet vanilla powder and decorated with a few petals of dried roses. Up close, however, Angelica smells woodier, greener, crisper, and even a bit resinous at times. On other occasions, the liturgical “High Mass” incense takes center stage more rapidly after a start that is primarily citrusy and herbal. In those cases, the powder doesn’t bear the suggestion of vanilla, though the ripples of dried roses is always a constant to some degree or another when I wear Angelica.
Angelica always turns into an incense-dominated, churchy scent on my skin, but the timing seems to depend on how much I apply and if I spray the scent or dab it. When sprayed, the angelica, herbal, sweet, and floral accords seem to last longer, and it can take up to an hour for the incense to take over. When dabbed, I noticed the citrusy and woody notes are initially more noticeable. The lemon itself fades rather quickly, but there are occasional whispers of something like a petitgrain bigarade to go along with the greener, fruitier, pulpy quality of the neroli. By the end of the first hour and the start of the second, the frankincense plays a sort of relay race with the herbal angelica, the mixed citrus accords, and that amorphous woodiness. Sometimes, they feel fully fused together; in other wearings, however, each note seems to take turns leading the pack. Only the rose plays a minimal part, hanging back on the sidelines or retreating completely to the background later on.
It’s never the same story twice on my skin until Angelica’s drydown which is almost entirely frankincense with only the faintest whisper of neroli greenness. The drydown typically begins around the start of the 4th hour, and the scent is purely dusty, woody, powdery, and churchy. Up close, however, I can often detect traces of the neroli clinging on tenaciously. In general, Angelica lasts between 10 and 12 hours on me, depending on whether I apply the equivalent of 1 spray or 2. That said, it turns into a skin scent at the 3.75 hour mark and often feels as though it were about to die out completely after the 8th hour. It’s extremely difficult to detect after that point, because it clings extremely closely to the skin.
Acqua di Angelica has no reviews on its Fragrantica page, but there are two comments on Basenotes. Both are positive, but both also express some issue with the scent, like insufficient angelica or overly short longevity. I can’t find any blog review to share with you. In general, I think you have to like both angelica (herbal greenness) and Churchy incense to enjoy the fragrance. I’ve seen a few passing comments about the fragrance here or there, and its admirers always seem to be people who also love La Via del Profumo’s Holy Water, the brand’s ultimate incense, liturgical, churchy scent. So, if you love frankincense in all its facets, don’t mind powderiness, and enjoy a twist of herbs in the mix, then Acqua di Angelica is one for you to try.
Grezzo d’Eleganza (hereinafter just “Grezzo”) is an eau de parfum commissioned by an Italian designer, and awarded Four Stars by Luca Turin. AbdesSalaam describes the scent and its notes as follows:
a perfume for a man who in society does not like to pass unnoticed. [¶] It is a dry and masculine fragrance for a man who wants to be both distinguished and determined. The base of precious woods and aromatic herbs, assertive and a a bit wild (castoreum), is tamed is tamed by the underlayed sweet sensuality of vaniglia and neroli, while a subliminal touch of incense and rose confers to who wears it a spiritual dimention that still does not overcome the elegance of the aura that emanates from him. [¶] Grezzo d’eleganza is comparable to a steel fist in a velvet glove.
The succinct list of notes seems to be:
woods, aromatic herbs, castoreum, neroli, incense, rose, and vanilla.
Judging by what appeared on my skin, I would personally add birch tar, vetiver, rosemary, pine, and perhaps light touches of patchouli and eucalyptus to that list as well.
Grezzo opens on my skin with dark, musky leather that feels a bit raw and lightly smoked with birch tar. Rosemary is sprinkled on top, along with a few drops of an amorphous citrusy freshness and a dab of eucalyptus. Underneath stirs something very balsamic, sticky, and almost earthy, with a hint of something resembling black licorice. In a few tests, I thought I detected the spicy, woody, tobacco-ish sides of patchouli in there as well, but they’re too fleeting for me to pin down.
As a whole, the overall bouquet is very darkly leathered, herbal, balsamic, woody, and a wee bit musky. It feels very much like a man’s cologne with something almost ’80s about its classical profile mixed with something more modern. Perhaps it’s the leatheriness of the scent in conjunction with the fresher aspects and the woods. Something about it evokes images of mahogany-paneled libraries, men wearing ascots or formal dress, and classical leather armchairs.
For the first two hours, Grezzo follows the same path with few changes. While the birch leather (dabbed with musky castoreum) leads the race, it is accompanied by occasional whispers of vetiver and something plushly mossy. Once in a while, the rose creeps out from hiding, though Grezzo doesn’t have much of a floral component on my skin. Most of the time, the rosemary pulsates strongly, but it is gradually tempered by the sappy, cool aromatic aspect of pine needles. More and more, I have the image of walking into a darkened forest where my feet crunch on pine and release their sticky essence. Ahead of me lies embankments of vetiver, that slowly unfurl to show a woody and earthy side.
At the start of the 3rd hour, things change. Frankincense joins the mix, wrapping itself around the tarry birch leather and castoreum. The rose and an increasingly woody vetiver follow suit. Grezzo is now a leather scent layered with rose, vetiver, and incense, then sprinkled with pine needles, a handful of rosemary, and a drop of green neroli. The vetiver grows increasingly strong on my skin and, at the start of the 4th hour, I suddenly understood what AbdesSalaam meant when he called the scent a “steel fist in a velvet glove.” It feels as though the leather, incense, and rose are wrapped up in a thick glove of vetiver. There is no vanilla on my skin, but there are occasional streaks of a new, textural creaminess that stir under the leather around the same time. When the drydown begins, the rose fades away, followed slowly by the herbs and pine-y woods. What’s left is a smoky, woody vetiver and incense fragrance, lightly streaked by the thinnest wisps of something leathery. Grezzo remains that way until it finally dies away as a blur of something vaguely vetiver-ish and smoky.
Grezzo typically lasts quite a while on me. Using 2 large smears equal to 2 good sprays from a bottle, I usually get around 11 hours longevity. The fragrance opens with about 4-5 inches of projection at first, and has much larger sillage than what I usually get from both AbdesSalaam’s fragrances or other naturals. That said, the scent trail is only moderate by the standards of mixed, semi-synthetic fragrances. Typically, the projection hovers at about 1 inch above the skin at the 3 hour mark. Grezzo turns into a skin scent after 4.25 hours, but is still easy to detect up close. However, there are a few things you may want to keep in mind. First, my skin tends to hold onto frankincense essential oils for a very long time. Second, it also tends to amplify vetiver quite a bit, often above all other elements in a scent, and also holds onto that for ages, too.
There are no comments on Grezzo’s Fragrantica page, but the fragrance has 6 reviews on Basenotes, all positive. “Diamondflame” writes:
A classical blend of dry aromatic resins and citrus-herbs with just the right touch of sweetness in the base. Any listed animalics (castoreum?) probably project within the subliminal plane of existence for it melds with my natural skin scent into one helluva suave ‘player’. GREZZO may not be very original in terms of composition but in execution, it surpasses most. I think my search for Mediterranean styled classic eau de colognes has finally ended with this quintessential embodiment of Italian flair and virility. Guys, hold on to your ladies for they cannot help but swoon!
Another poster calls it his new signature scent, while a third describes it as “Intoxicating, masculine, and powerful [… and] one of the most pleasant, evocative, and unusual accords I have ever smelled.” One Basenoter, “Darvant,” has a wonderfully detailed review that reads, in part, as follows:
Grezzo d’Eleganza is not for the faint of heart. Immediately I’m smitten by a terrific testosteronic resinous animalic opening with a quite compelling spicy-herbal animalic welcome that on the skin is fierce. Warm, luxurious, incensey and carnal, overall with a strong musky presence and a yummy (literally edible) and wasting combination of orange/lemon, vanilla, tasty spices, incensey smoke, honey and castoreum. […] The combination of yummy and carnal ingredients does not hamper the fragrance to “sound” elegant, aromatic, fresh, versatile and subtle since the spicy incense, a touch of patchouli, aromatic grass, light woods, a royal bergamot and a Victorian rose provide the aroma with a stout classical (somewhat decadent and gloriously rosey-orangy-hesperidic-vanillic a la Habit Rouge) temperament preserving the lion to jump over the fences. I recommend this great juice to all those perfume addicted aiming to smell modern, brash and dangerous without to lose a classic sterotype of mystic-virile elegance.
I think that’s a good summation for both the feel and the layers in Grezzo. I also agree with all the Basenoters that it is a very elegant, sophisticated scent. However, I don’t think it skews purely masculine. A woman who loves vetiver, woods, incense, resins, herbs, and leather could easily enjoy Grezzo as well.
Tasneem (or Tasnim) is an eau de parfum centered around ylang-ylang. Again, AbdesSalaam describes it primarily in terms of aromatherapy but the discussion of notes reads, in part, as follows:
The base of this composition is Ylang Ylang, a flower found in the Indian Ocean whose name means “Flower of flowers”. […][¶] In the composition of Tasneem, the almondy background of the second part of the distillation of the flower (Ylang n° 2) has been reinforced with the amberoid aroma of Tonka bean and made even more deliciously sensual with the absolute of Vanilla. […][¶] The addition … of … essences (such as Sage and Cypress) has the double effect of completing it’s equilibrating action … and of tempering it’s extreme sweetness. The final touch of the precious Egyptian Jasmine crowns this perfume with a rich, opulent and luxurious “heart note” transforming it into an olfactory apotheosis.
I’ve already described Tasneem and my immediate reaction to it in Part III of my series on AbdesSalaam’s perfume course, but I’ll briefly summarise parts of it here and add some further detail.
Tasneem opens on my skin with quick burst of cognac booziness that is immediately followed by waves of lush, sensuous, and heavy ylang-ylang, rapturously heady in its golden richness. Floral sweetness vies with balsamic spiciness and custardy smoothness, while vanilla run through its base like a thick river, underscoring the ylang-ylang’s innate custardy aromas. Drops of spicy, resinously sweet Peru Balsam are drizzled on top, next to slivers of fresh almonds. For a brief moment, the black tang of very indolic jasmine danced at the edges next to something vaguely woody, but both disappeared quickly. For the most part, Tasneem is precisely what it’s meant to be: a ylang-ylang soliflore whose other elements merely amplify the main note.
Tasneem doesn’t vary significantly throughout its lifetime, but there are some minor changes. The ylang’s almond undertones vanishes after 10 minutes, followed quickly by the woods and Peru balsam. The jasmine grows more noticeable by the end of the 2nd hour, but it is the creamy vanillic softness which is the ylang’s greatest companion from start to finish. In the opening minutes, it smells a little like French Bean ice-cream before turning into something softer and more abstract that is almost textural in nature. Tasneem typically becomes a skin scent on me at the 3.5 hour mark with 2 sprays from a small atomizer, or 4 hours with a larger quantity. However, it is still easy to detect up close until the end of the 6th hour. Typically, Tasneem lasts between 9-11 hours on me, depending on how much I apply.
Tasneem has rapidly become one of my favorite AbdesSalaam creations, and I also think it is one of the best ylang soliflores I have ever smelt. For me, it is like falling into a bath of golden, buttery, spicy, floral custard that oozes narcotic indolence and snuggly, sweet comfort through every pore. But it is not a complicated or complex scent. Soliflores rarely are, in my opinion. As I’ve mentioned before, I see it as the floral equivalent of a “comfort scent,” those simple, easy, frequently sweet (and for most people, usually gourmand) fragrances that feel like your favorite cashmere sweater. Don’t try Tasneem if you don’t love ylang-ylang. This is a scent for those who love the lushest, most buttery florals, preferably when mixed with vanilla and sweetness. If that is you, then you should definitely get a sample.
Oasis is an eau de parfum that is described as the “scent of enveloping femininity”:
This composition is a rhapsody of flowers that combine in an evening fragrance the most classical and precious floral aromas of high perfumery (rose, tuberose, jasmine, orange flowers…)
Oasis opens on my skin with tangy, tart neroli, and juicy oranges. They are immediately followed by delicate, non-indolic orange blossoms, hanging green and fresh right on the tree. Tiny whispers of a green woodiness are all around, as though the twigs, leaves, and sap of the citrus tree had been crushed into the mix as well. It really feels as though AbdesSalaam has squashed the whole tree into a bottle, albeit in rather concentrated form. The depth of the citrusy and green floral notes stands in sharp contrast to the fragrance’s sheer and airy nature. It’s a scent that is, at once, both diaphanous and delicate, but rich at the same time.
Oasis quickly changes. Minutes later, a fruity, non-indolic, fresh and sweet jasmine (Egyptian jasmine grandiflora?) unfurls at edges, wrapping itself around the delicately green, fruity-floral bouquet. There is an occasional whisper of something that vaguely seems like tuberose echoing around the furthest periphery, but it is so faint and fleeting on my skin, it’s hard to be certain. In any event, the note rapidly vanishes, replaced by a clear note of rose 10 minutes into Oasis’ development. It is initially a shy, demure rose that is never heady but more akin to a dewy bud surrounded by greenness. For the most part, Oasis’ opening bouquet smells like an orchard of orange, neroli, and fresh orange blossoms, all of which that have been given a bit of a green woody backbone, then drizzled with a few drops of neroli petitgrain before being wrapped up with tiny ribbons of fresh, sweet jasmine.
The rose and jasmine grow in strength as the perfume develops. Yet, despite that, Oasis never stops feeling green, or that it has been splattered by thick, juicy chunks of tangy fruit pulp. It is an incredibly naturalistic floral bouquet that always skews to the green and refreshing side. What is a bit of a surprise given the depth of some of the notes is how airy and sheer the fragrance is in body. It almost feels diaphanous at times, and yet it is so bright and rich as well. On occasion, Oasis’ opening reminds me of that of Pichola, Neela Vermeire‘s intensely fresh, juicy, neroli and orange blossom scent, only this is much less sweet, more crisp, and includes a growing hint of rose.
Oasis doesn’t change dramatically for quite a while. At the start of the 4th hour, the notes have become blurrier and hazier, resulting in a scent that is largely a soft, fresh, green white floral. However, by the end of the 5th hour, Oasis shifts its focus. The jasmine becomes a key player, pulsating out the sweeter, slightly more indolic facets of Jasmine Sambac. Slowly, the jasmine overtakes the orange blossom as the lead note, while the rose fades away entirely. In its final hours, all that is left is a jasmine scent infused with orange blossom and lightly smudged with a few dabs of green neroli.
Oasis had moderate longevity and soft sillage on my skin. Using 2 very wide, large smears equal to 2 sprays from a bottle, the fragrance opened with about 4 inches of projection and about the same amount of sillage. Yet, the projection dropped to about an inch after 45 minutes, and the scent hovered just above the skin at the end of 2 hours. Oasis became a skin scent on me after 3 hours, though it wasn’t hard to detect until the 6th hour. All in all, it lasted just under 8 hours. With a larger quantity, I’ve managed to get up to 10 hours, but I had to apply almost double the amount. In general, my skin eats up pure florals quite rapidly, so you may want to keep that in mind.
Oasis has 2 reviews on Basenotes, both favorable. The posters differ on whether Oasis has a fruity side, but both really seem to like the scent. “Purplebird7” says she actually doesn’t like floral fragrances, but Oasis is an exception. She writes:
This is my favorite floral perfume. A deep floral that smells as real as it actually is — no artificial ingredients here. First, a cool, lemony, serious, dark red rose and then some warm, indolic jasmine and fleshlike tuberose, and also a touch of animalic real orange blossom. Development is nice; it shifts from flower to flower. I’m not a floral wearer, yet I love this. What does that say? Most synthetic florals are too screechy and one-dimensional for me. This one captures the essence of the real flowers and presents them in a dramatic way, yet one that is close to the skin and dark, like dreaming of flowers while smelling the roses blooming outside the window, or like a garden full of flowers in the sun, their aroma rising in the warmth while he insects buzz in the lazy afternoon. Try this one if you want to know how a real floral, a good floral, a really good real floral, and (most of all) good real floral perfume smells!
The second poster, “Flathorn,” calls Oasis a “cool, soft pretty floral from beginning to end” and “an easy-to-wear fragrance.” She had problems with the longevity, but she enjoyed other aspects, like its “green magnolia-like scent”:
It has a voluptuous green/white floral air, innocent yet sensual. I can see this being worn by a wide variety of women.
Oasis was a surprise as it smells like the most fragrant wild flower in Alaska, the little known Silverberry bush blossom. When it’s masses of blooms heat up in the sun on river bars the air is intoxicating with a green magnolia-like scent. This is the only commercial fragrance I’ve smelled which has reminded me of it. So this resonates on several levels for me. [¶] Longevity is its one issue on me, with the sillage lasting about one and a half hours. It becomes a skin scent for another hour. I wish it were longer, but it’s still acceptable.
If you’re looking for a very photorealistic, white floral bouquet that skews very green and fresh in profile, Oasis may be one for you to consider trying. I’ve liked it the more I’ve worn it, and I think it’s a lovely scent.
ALL IN ALL:
I’ve tried to present you with a variety of different fragrance styles here, but all these scents share a common theme: they are a very good representation of their genre. While they vary in terms of complexity, all of them feel seamless in their notes and high-quality in nature.
Some of them are more my taste than others, but that comes down to individual note preferences. I found all of them had something that caught my attention right from the start. For me personally though, over time, I’ve grown to like Oasis far more than Amber Rose (I’m not a rose lover), and Grezzo becomes more intriguing the more I wear it. I’m not a fan of the angelica herb or churchy incense, so Angelica isn’t really my cup of tea, but it’s definitely a unique, highly unusual bouquet. My classmate, Manuel, who adores incense fragrances was blown away by it, if that helps. My big favorites continue to be Tasneem and Amber Chocolate, though I wish the latter weren’t so soft on my skin.
As a reminder, regardless of fragrance or genre, the longevity and sillage won’t be the same as what you will find with semi-synthetic, mixed fragrances. Purely natural scents will always be softer, quieter, and cling closely to the skin, so don’t expect a billowing scent trail. Individual skin chemistry will impact how long they last on your skin, but a few of them may surprise you.
So, that’s it for today. I hope I’ve covered a few scents that piqued your interest. If you try any of them, do let me know what you think.
Disclosure: My samples were provided courtesy of AbdesSalaam Attar. That did not impact this review. I do not do paid reviews, and my opinions are my own.
Cost & Samples: All the fragrances are eau de parfums, and are available in 5.5 ml Mignon minis. Larger bottles start at 15,5 ml in size and their pricing is as follows: Amber Chocolate starts at €38; Amber Rose at €95; Tasneem/Tasnim at €38; Acqua di Angelica at €38; Grezzo at €47; and Oasis at €48. The Mignon Discovery Coffret is available for any five fragrances, each in a glass 5.5 ml bottle. The price depends on which perfumes you pick, as the choice is up to you. For example, Amber Chocolate and Tasneem are each €15, while Grezzo is €18. As a side note, the Tasneem, Oasis, and Angelica 5.5 ml Mignon minis are listed on the Mignon page linked above, but you will find the Amber Chocolate and Amber Rose minis on The Private Collection page because they are not part of the “Scents of the Soul” line. For American readers, Surrender to Chance sells 1 ml samples of all these fragrances with prices generally starting at around $7 or $8 a vial: Amber Rose, Amber Chocolate, Tasneem, Angelica Water, Grezzo, and Oasis.
A wonderful companion to the seminar series! Thanks for sharing, I am most intrigued. Grezzo, Angelica and Tasneen are of most interest to me for sampling based on your descriptions, but I’m also keen to try Milano Cafe and Tabac (so a coffret may be in order!). I think Rome is also upcoming on the list for his Italian Series? I’m excited to see what he does for the eternal city, so may wait before ordering 🙂
Did AbdesSalaam give you his scent ‘story’ for any of the perfumes you’ve reviewed here? I loved reading about his process in your posts; he seems to have such an affinity for creating a sensory ‘picture’.
I don’t know how soon the Roma scent will be coming out, so you should order the coffret if you’ve found 6 that intrigue you already. Tabac is definitely worth trying! A super tobacco fragrance that is rare in skewing away from the usual fruity pipe tobacco and towards the aroma of the the leaves drying in the sun. One reader who had searched in vain for the smell of the tobacco plantations near where she grew up in the Carolinas was so happy to find Tabac, because it was the first time she’d found something that replicated that childhood scent. So, if you’re looking for a gingerbread-ish, drier, non-syrupy tobacco, you may want to give it a sniff.
Personally, I think Sharif is one of the under-appreciated fragrances in the line. Milano Caffe is great on the right skin.
In terms of “scent stories” behind the ones reviewed here today, several were originally bespoke fragrances. Amber Rose was made for an Arab friend and seems to have been inspired by the Turkish-Ottoman thing that I quoted. I don’t really know more than what is said and posted, with the exception of Angelica Water/Acqua di Angelica. That one was also a commissioned scent, and it was apparently made for a memorial service, so it was meant to be very pure, spiritual, and angelic in feel. 🙂
Wow! Great reviews, Kafka. Helps to put some perspective on, and tie up any thoughts I had about your fantastic re-telling of your adventure!
I ordered and received a coffret with 6 mini’s that come in a cunning little wooden box (couldn’t resist the box, but then I’m someone who will gladly fork over $100.00 just to get $5.95 free shipping!)
Next week is my “La Vie Del Profumo” week, testing one a day for six days. I’m starting with Oasis and ending with Tasneem.
I’ve already given Oasis a test drive, and really liked it. It grew on me throughout the day. Cannot wait to see what the others bring. The others I chose are Acqua Santa, Cuore Di Rosa, Notte Africana, and Tawaf. Woo hoo! Can’t wait!
The little wooden box is adorable! I can’t wait to hear what you think of Tasneem and Tawaf. I hope so much that they work as well on your skin as they do on mine. As for Oasis, I definitely think it grows on one the more one wears it, in part because of the shifts in the drydown and in part because the flowers have such a naturalistic, fresh coolness to them.
Acqua Santa or Holy Water is one of the big hits in the line with those who love very churchy, pure incense fragrances. Is that your style? I always associate you with the florals. I’ll be curious to see what you think of that one.
Yup florals are my first love, but I thought if ANYONE could make an incense that works for me, it would be La Via. So we shall see, hope springs eternal. I’ll let you know.
The chocolate and rose scents sound divine. Must try!
The chocolate is such a “cozy comfort” scent for me! I like to wear it at bedtime when I don’t have to worry about its softness quite so much. It’s definitely not a sugary, gooey chocolate, but more like a cacao and semi-dry lava cake, with occasional layers of caramel and vanilla. Mmmm. 😉
I’m wearing Angelica this very morning on my way to New York. The moment I put it on it takes me back to our amazing time together in Italy.
Thank you for such a concise review of the noted scents…. I’m sorry I didn’t douse myself with Grezzo during class breaks! Sounds like I need to add it to the collection.
Ha, I always think of you when I think of Angelica, though I know Jackie was very taken with it as well. BTW, I still think Sharif smelt amazing on you, a bit of a virile, sexy edge, instead of Angelica’s purer style. So if you ever get some Mignons from AbdesSalaam, I hope you’ll put Sharif on of the list. Have a safe flight, my dear, and know I’m keeping my fingers crossed for the Miami thing.
Tasneem, Angelica and Grezzo are calling Me…thanks K!!! What struck me is that most if not all the scents are shape shifters. Each time you got something a little different. Kaleidoscopes. And I wonder if that is the nature of more natural oils? On another topic: awaiting a call from Mr. Chowdhury over at Arabian Oud UK to finalize my order of Kalemat Amber oil. I followed the instructions on your post and he has been great. Thank you for creating that link for your readers.
Angelica is a shape-shifter on me only in its opening, but Amber Rose definitely seems to depend and vary in terms of which note comes to the foreground. Grezzo is a complex scent with more notes than some of the AbdesSalaam’s, imo, so it does have glimmers of different things at different times, but I think its core is pretty constant. Tasneem and Amber Chocolate are definitely very linear and simple.
As for Arabian Oud, I’m more than glad to help and I hope you enjoy your Kalemat Amber! 🙂
I keep eyeing Grezzo whenever I am on La Via del Profumo as well as Tabac and Sharif. I keep reminding myself not all *chocolate* fragrances are going to be overly sweet/saccharine-y, so I should give Amber Chocolate a try. I miss driving by those tobacco plantations in N. Carolina. It’s been about 10 years since I’ve seen them. Bittersweet nostalgia for me.
P.S. I keep spraying Calligraphy Rose hoping it will morph into something wonderful. lol 🙂
P.P.S. I was on Luckyscent’s site to see what damage I could do and was thrilled to see Salomé; I ordered (2) samples although I know I will eventually buy full bottle. Decided to smell Halfeti by Penhaligon’s, Blacks 3&4 by AJ Arabia and Oriente by Mazzolari.
I enjoyed this post very much. I had already decided to try Tasneem when you mentioned it previously. Now I’ve added Oasis and Amber Rose. I love roses! BTW part of the fun in your reviews of rose-centric perfumes is that you don’t like roses. It makes everything you say about them even more interesting. 🙂
Heh, you’re right, it must be very amusing to see how I describe rose notes given that I don’t actually like the note in perfumery. 😀 *grin* I hope you get a ton of roses from Amber Rose on your skin, Maya, and I hope the other two appeal to you as well!
I want to try Amber Chocolate to see if a non-gourmand gourmand gives me the coziness I’m always looking for, that loving protective embrace, you know? True gourmand story: yesterday I was wearing Tihota and one of my students asked me if I was wearing Aquolina which she was also wearing 🙁 This is what I do to gourmands, apparently! Sad days.
Oasis sounds interesting.
Oh dear, Tihota turned to Aquolina. That’s an unfortunate twist of skin chemistry, especially given the price of Tihota! Well, as long as YOU don’t think you smell like Pink Sugar, that’s all that matters, right?
Do you think a sweet phobe like me might appreciate Tasneem?
I don’t know, James. My first instinctive response was that you would enjoy it, given how much you love rich floral scents and things like Tawaf. I think you’d find the vanilla to be the same sort of accompanying note that you enjoy in vintage Shalimar. But, as I thought about it, the ylang here may be sweeter than the floral notes you find in Shalimar, and I don’t know if your skin chemistry would turn it too syrupy for your personal tastes or if you’d feel the overall scent was too custardy in feel. On the other hand, if you had no problems with the richness in something like Opus 1144, you’ll be fine here.
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First of all thank you very much for sharing your reviews about La Via Del Profumo whose perfumes I always wanted to try. They seem very intriguing especially amber series. I have read that you like Opium 🙂 I am also fond of oriental perfumes such as Opium, Coco, Shalimar, Coromandel. You have tried several La Via Del Profumo perfumes. Which ones would you recommend me? (ones that do not lean to masculine side) 🙂
Do you have any favourite notes and any that you dislike? If you can give me a better idea of your specific tastes and note preferences, I will be able to tailor the suggestions better. I’ve tried and written about more than 20 fragrances from the brand, so narrowing them down beyond “oriental” or “floral oriental” is difficult without more information and specifics. 🙂 For example, do you like pure orientals without florals? Which florals are your favourite? How do you feel about patchouli or vetiver? Do you like animalic, skanky notes, or any gourmand notes? Do you prefer your white florals to be more on the fresh, clean side or indolic? Do you like purely resinous, balsamic ambers?
I love amber, vanilla, resins (but they shouldn’t remind catholic church incense), sandalwood and soft spices. My favourite flowers are jasmine (all the kinds), narcissus, red rose, carnation, hyacinth, heliotrope and lilac. I do prefer indolic flowers. I do not like leathery, and skanky notes. I love musk when it does not smell too much animalic. For patchouli and vetiver I prefer them in Chanelish style but I hate Sycomore. I also hate pine notes. I do not like gourmands and fruits. I like balsamic ambers. I am very inspired by the orient (sunshine on golden deserts, Scheherazade …) 🙂
This was a big help, so thank you for taking the time, Alchemist. I definitely recommend Tawaf to start with. It’s a magnificent Jasmine scent. Profumo/AbdesSalaam also made two pretty jasmine for the American site, Surrender to Chance, and they’re called Surrender and Cold Water Canyon. I can’t recall if he sells them in mignon form on his personal site, though. Surrender is a lovely bridal jasmine bouquet, Cold Water is more multi-faceted, with green, herbal, and some woody notes. They’re not as exceptional as Tawaf, in my opinion, but they’re pretty. Not as good sillage, though.
I love Tasneem, but it is largely a simple ylang-ylang soliflore, and I don’t know how much you love ylang. You must really LOVE it for Tasneem, I think.
I would recommend trying his Venezia Gardini Secreti, Oasis, Amber Rose, and Amber Jasmine. You can find the first two in his Scents for the Soul section, while the two Ambers are located in his Private Collection section of his site.
If you like Neroli, Morning Blossom may be one for you to consider. But it’s neroli, not orange blossom, to be clear.
As for lilac, hyacinth, and heliotrope, they’re some of my favourite floral notes, too, but he doesn’t have anything with them. One reason why is that hyacinth and lilac are generally not flowers that can be easily distilled into essential oils. Most people use synthetics. For Heliotrope as well, I think. I don’t recall a narcissus fragrance amongst his line-up but I can recommend a non-natural, mixed-blend one to you from another brand, if you want. You may want to read my review of Masque Milano’s new Romanza for a narcissus fragrance (with orange blossom, absinthe, and other stuff) to see if it sounds interesting. I don’t know if you’d like the absinthe part, though.
In terms of patchouli like that in Coromandel or Coco, he doesn’t really have anything quite like that. There is one fragrance that I haven’t tried called Bazaar that is patchouli with spices, but I don’t know if the spices would be too strong for your tastes. I also don’t know if you’d like the expresso, black chocolate, patchouli & vetiver fragrance called Cafe Milano, but I suspect the answer would be no.
I think you might enjoy his ambered Mecca Balsam, though. Balsamic amber, definitely.
As a side note, if you like vetiver done in a very sunny, warm, chypre-ish style, you may want to consider Tarzan/Oakmoss.
So, those are some suggestions. You can look up my reviews for almost all the ones that I’ve mentioned here to help give you a better idea of the notes, what the fragrances are like, etc. The details will guide you or help to narrow down your choices. 🙂
Thank you very much Kafkaesque for your kind recommendations 🙂
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