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.

Continue reading

Holiday Gift Ideas 2014

Source: Pinterest. Original source unknown.

Source: Pinterest. Original source unknown.

The holiday season is upon us and many of you have already started shopping for gifts. I thought I’d present a few ideas, whether it’s for the fragrance lover in your life, or merely an office coworker for whom you have to get a “secret Santa” gift. A few of my suggestions are suited for those who don’t even have a serious interest in perfume. For example, a book of poetry by 100 contemporary American poets who were each sent a different vial of unnamed perfume (ranging from Jo Malone to Tom Ford, Creed, Kilian or others), and then wrote a poem in response to the unknown scent.

As you will see, very few of my ideas have to do with buying actual perfume. I think it’s a truly terrible idea to gift someone fragrance unless you know them and their tastes extremely well or, ideally, have a precise shopping list of the exact perfumes that they want. Otherwise, it’s a potential disaster and, quite possibly, a huge waste of money. Given the vagaries of skin chemistry, you simply can’t know how a perfume bought blindly will actually turn out on their skin and if they’ll like it.

So, it’s far better to leave the choice up to them. For example, you can send an e-card, even on the day of Christmas if you’re a procrastinator who is truly behind schedule. Some people may see gift certificates as a sign of laziness or lack of thought but, for a perfumista, they’re the best thing ever! Even small amounts give one the freedom to sample new things, each a potential passage to olfactory Nirvana. Non-perfumistas might also enjoy certificates to places that sell luxury candles, men’s beauty products, or home fragrances. Or, you can go another route, and opt for fragrance-related things like books, foodie essences, or perfume-making kits. Here are a few suggestions.

Continue reading