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.
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.
Words are no substitute for actual experience. I’ve tried to give you a small glimpse into the wide range of topics and olfactory experiences involved in AbdesSalaam Attar’s Italian perfume seminar but they are, ultimately, mere words and abstractions. It’s not even the whole picture. I’ve omitted several subjects, partially by request in order to maintain the impact for anyone who decides to take the course for themselves, and partially out of my own concern of boring those who are not interested.
There are two topics, however, that I’d like to briefly cover before concluding with some thoughts on the class as a whole and information on the upcoming sessions: 1) psycho-aromatherapy and the neurological impact of scent; and 2) distillation.
Bring on the animals! In perfumery, “lions and tigers and bears, oh my” turns into “deer and beavers and furry rodents,” with a strong whiff of goats and horses as well. It’s quite another world, one where the materials in their concentrated or raw state smell very different from how they end up in a fragrance bottle on the store shelves. This is Mother Nature in her stinkiest, most feral, most natural form, though the skank sometimes feels like Mother Nature is on steroids.
What was so special about AbdesSalaam’s perfume course was the opportunity to smell some truly rare materials, to actually hold them in our hands, smear them on our skin or, in one rather disconcerting incident, even taste them on our tongue. From fossilized African hyraceum to Ethiopian civet anal sac paste and muskrat genital glands, each bore a scent that was truly like nothing that I’ve ever encountered in perfumery. Their aroma was so alien from my every day existence that I lack the olfactory vocabulary to convey the full extent of their aroma, but I shall try to do my best. Ultimately, like everything else in AbdesSalaam’s perfume course that I’ve written about so far, there is no substitute for personal experience and my posts can only convey one-tenth of what it was like. The animalics are just one part of why his perfume course is so unique, as well as why it’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that you should experience for yourself if you have the time, means, and opportunity.