Theft, Leonard Payne, & The AbdesSalaam Attar Book

An interesting thing happened to me yesterday: a very kind reader of the blog informed me that roughly 190 pages of a 254 page-length book that he recently purchased was taken from my writings on this free site. Not sentences, not paragraphs, but practically everything I’ve ever written on AbdesSalaam Attar was presented in its entirety. And the thief —Leonard Payne— actually confessed to all of it in his introduction!

Leonard Payne’s book, Perfumes: The World of AbdesSalaam, the front cover. Source: Amazon.

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Scent, Pandemics, Escape, Dogs, Baking, and Surviving 2020

There is not a person alive who has been unaffected by the wretchedness of 2020 and the pandemic that has dominated the list of traumas. I won’t even start to talk about the issues of this year because they are many and all hideous. But what about the escape methods for many of us during the best of times: scent? How much is perfumery still a big escape in the midst of one of the worst years in the 21st century?

Fourreau Noir Serge Lutens

Fourreau Noir. Now vtg Bell Jar. Photo: my own.

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Six from La Via Del Profumo

Today, we’ll look at six fragrances from AbdesSalaam Attar of La Via del Profumo in styles ranging from ambered oud to a green fougère, incensey-woody florals, a boozy, chocolate leather oriental, and a salty, vetiver-laden, woody, spicy oriental. They are: Amber Oud, Lake Blossom, African Night, Sensemilla, Cuoio dei Dolci, and Sea Wood. I’ll look at each one in turn, trying to keep things as short and succinct as I can.

AbdesSalaam's logo, based on his own calligraphy. Photo: my own.

AbdesSalaam’s logo, based on his own calligraphy. Photo: my own.

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2015 in Review: Best New Releases & Personal Favourites

Source: World in a Bottle Facebook page. Photographer unknown.

Source: World in a Bottle Facebook page. Photographer unknown.

As another year draws to a close, it’s time to look back at the best of 2015. For me, this was an iffy year for brand new releases because there weren’t a huge number of fragrances that stood out from start to finish. The exceptions to the rule were impressive or lovely but, when I went back over all the fragrances that I covered, I found the vast majority fell woefully short.

One reason stems from the hot new trends of the year. Leather was a major compositional note in 2015 or, to be more precise, the tarry, woody, forest-fire smokiness that purports to recreate the sense of “leather.” Another hot trend seemed to be a deluge of black pepper. Neither one is appealing to me, particularly since their chemical nature was usually so intrusive as to be front-and-center. Yet, that sort of excessive darkness was, in and of itself, the most common stylistic approach, one that was frequently juxtaposed next to shapeless white florals, amorphous spiciness, or some sort of limp “freshness.” The end result was that a lot of new releases smelt far too similar for me to find them distinctive, interesting, or compelling. In addition, many of them lacked the quality to warrant the higher prices that we’ve been seeing across the board.

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