Mecca Balsam by AbdesSalaam Attar for La Via del Profumo

Hello folks,

I was lucky while in Vienna to catch up with one a the scentbloggospheres most loved bloggers, Birgit from Olfactoria’sTravels. Sitting pretty at breakfast with the gorgeous Sandra they both plied me with samples and Birgit handed me the most fabulous bottle ever. I wish I had known that gift giving was a traditional perfumistas handshake, so embarrassed, but the girls are so wonderful that they didn’t even bat an eyelid at my gaucherie, for which I will be forever grateful.

Photo Stolen La Via del Profumo

Fragrantica gives these featured accords in one line:
Labdanum, tonka bean, Arabic frankincense, raw tobacco, Indian tuberose, damask rose, incense, agarwood, benzoin

From the AbdesSalaam’s blog: In Mecca, the scents of Labdanum resin, of Benzoin, frankincense and of the precious Agar wood invade the streets together with the 4 million pilgrims who pour to the streets 5 times every day, walking to the great mosque like river. The trail of a million scents in the wake of the pilgrims at Mecca raptures the nose of the visitor and make this travel an unforgettable experience for a westerner little used to such a profusion of olfactory stimulus.

Mecca 22h22Photo Stolen 22h22

AbdesSalaam Attar is the name that perfumer Dominique Dubrana goes under to create his all natural, astounding fragrances. I have a little sample set of them on my desktop that I’ve almost used entirely and one of my favourites has always been the Mecca Balsam. The bottle Birgit gave me had the name Balsamo della Mecca on the base, in our excitement I did not put 2 and 2 together and realise that these two names could be one and the same. Oh joyous rapture, oh bliss eternal!! They are the same and I now have this extraordinary bottle on my desk.

Straight out of the atomiser and onto skin it is resinous and sweetly balsamic, bitter, herbal, dark and still light. Tobacco notes both sweet and burnt, burning, smoky. Oudh adding its cow poo/medicinal/acrid/beautiful voice and the whole is so complex and happening at once and big, brash, shouty. It picks you up by the hair and shakes you till your teeth clack like castanets, then it throws you to the ground a laughs at your incapacity. OK it doesn’t really do that but this is certainly experiential perfumery of a class that you will never find in department stores. This is the real thing and I love it. Loving it SICK!!

After an hour or so it calms to a dull roar, the size is considerable less but the fragrance is pretty linear, at this stage though there’s enough air between the notes that it’s not the bombardment of before. Now you have time and the ability to savour the resins and the flowers make a very quiet and pretty descant over the base notes of everything else. It softens and softens till gone, hours into the dry down.

Mecca Pilgrims abcPhoto Stolen ABC

Further reading PerfumeShrine and TheNonBlonde
La Via Del Profumo starts at €13.22/5.5ml up to €396.69/10gr of Attar
SurrenderToChance starts at $7/ml

Have you seen the website and do you have favourite names? They are all so evocative for me. Maybe you tried these fragrant masterpieces? What were your impressions?

Till tomorrow, take care of yourself and those in your orbit,
Portia xx

36 comments on “Mecca Balsam by AbdesSalaam Attar for La Via del Profumo

  1. cookie queen says:

    Surely that stuff has my name on it??
    Going into search mode.

  2. Dubaiscents says:

    Great, another line I must try 🙂 These sound right up my alley since I love a lot of the traditional arabic attars. Thanks for the review!

  3. Sounds lovely and what a beautiful bottle!

  4. Scott Steward says:

    You just keep finding things I want to try.
    I will never be able to keep up!

  5. Tama says:

    I bought a decant of this blind and didn’t really care for it much (not sure what happened) and passed it along. Somehow I have some again! I guess it wants me to love it, so I will give it another chance. I do have a bottle of Oasis from this line, which is a lovely rich, green, earthy foral.

  6. tomatefarcie says:

    I’m joining the cookie queen in search mode. This sounds terrific!

    • Hey TomateFarcie,
      It was great meeting you at the Scentsation event in LA! Now I have a face to the name. Are you well?
      Portia xx

      • tomatefarcie says:

        Great to meet you too, hope you had a good time in LA and a safe journey home! Thanks for creating a wonderful community!

      • “BLUSH”
        Wasn’t Scentsation fun? Best afternoon, laughed till my tummy hurt.
        Travels were fast and safe, QANTAS excelled themselves. I was happy and comfortable both flights even though I went economy, unheard of!
        I created the space, you all created the community, you ARE the community. The APJ Family
        Portia xx

  7. audrina1759 says:

    Nice. I just feel like heading out right this minute to buy it. 🙂

  8. Jordan River says:

    Took your advice for last year. I am traveling with the Oud caravan from this house. I keep hopping off my camel to go between Caravan 1, 2 and 3.

  9. Tara says:

    I have a decant of this scent and really enjoy it. It’s opening is a bit rough but the drydown is lovely.

  10. FeralJasmine says:

    I haven’t tried Mecca Balsam yet. It’s part of my upcoming STC order. I looove Tawaf from this line, a deep and very feral jasmine. It’s lovely and wearable in my view (although not to work) but you have to be up to it. Night Blossom attar is dense and hypnotic but somehow, to my nose, not especially alluring. I wear it sometimes in the evening but I sniff at it with more fascination than pleasure.

    • He He HE! Abdes Salaam certainly puts your fragrance nose on its side, doesn’t he FeralJasmine. He works with the naturals so differently to anyone else.
      Yummy, but sometimes disconcerting.
      Portia xx

  11. laniersmith says:

    I need to dive into the truly Middle Eastern pool and this sounds like paradise.

  12. Dionne says:

    I’ve got a list of houses that I want to explore this year – Heeley, Miller Harris, HdP, Divine – and Via del Profumo is right near the top. I’ve heard amazing things about this line for years, I’m just the perfumista turtle that takes her time. (In more ways than one. I’m finally caught up on my blog reading.)

    • Hey Dionne,
      Does that mean your month of abstinence is over? If so, welcome back. When I get back from India I have a little gem pack I need to send to you, I’ll include a couple of the Via del Profumi’s.
      Portia xx

      • Dionne says:

        Actually, we moved it back a bit. We try to time it so it finishes about the same time as my teenager’s finals – they appreciate the quiet for that last push – and Archimedes isn’t done until almost the end of June. So I’ve got just a bit longer to go internet-crazy before we all go dark-side. (I’ve already started planning July’s post – I think I’ll do Skye Botanical’s Strawberry Passion Green. So yummy!)

        Have a FANTASTIC time in India.

      • I promise to enjoy India and I’m bringing back some of the Indian Oils from a perfumer whose family has been making the same recipes for generations.
        Enjoy your last spurt of online time.
        Portia xx

  13. Amer says:

    I knew I shouldn’t go back and read posts I’ve missed. Now I wouldn’t be green with envy!

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