It was the month of March last year when I stopped by in Arabia on my way back from Oman and went to Mecca.
Silk produces strange optical effects according to the way it is woven. One afternoon I discovered the Ka’aba in a colour I had never seen it before. Instead of a dark black on wich the oven calligraphies were nearly invisible, the particular sunlight of that afternoon made it light grey, enhancing the calligraphies.
I was told that this is a very rare evenience and the people in Mecca say that the Ka'ba is white, opposite to the dark black it usually wears.
The rite of the 7 circumambulations around the Ka’ba is called Tawaf. The Tawaf is the first and the last thing you do arriving and leaving Mecca. The Tawaf is done only in Mecca and only for the Ka’ba.
After a bath of purification and lavish use of perfume we start the rite.
The fragrance that most stroked me during Tawaf is a special kind of Jasmine loved by Arabs. They call it Foul. It is the Jasmine Sambac.
When the call for prayer starts everything comes to a halt around the Ka’aba and some workers reinforce the silken Qiswat where it is damaged by the crowd while some others spread perfume with their hands on the stones of the ka’aba. A very special natural perfume with the strangest of names, Oppoponax.
The dignified sacredness of the Oppoponax aroma united with Jasmine, "scent of paradise" are the foundament on wich is built this new fragrance of the "Arabian series". I called it by the name that inspired it, Tawaf.
This fragrance is VEGAN.
I shall launch Tawaf in the next weeks, this anticipated presentation and pictures are for Basenotes friends, I wwould like very much to have some impartial reviews made by group members before launching the fragrance and before publishing the text that will illustrate it. I shall therefore think of a special "sampling group project" here on the group or try to invent for us a new sort of project for this occasion...
Ideas are welcome.
This one will be interesting to try. It's nice to hear your inspiration for it and how such an unthought of combination suggested itself.
Did your experience of the calligraphies, and the light and the silk that day also inform the design of this perfume?
Oh, this sounds very interesting! A jasmine-based scent, I wonder if it will be more feminine because of the jasmine? Anyway, I am looking forward to try it!
Ciao Renegade, the Arabian series exists because of a request from these lands, for this reason the themes and the ingredients come from my travels and experience there. I travelled 3 full years in middle east in the early eighties and I regularly visited Arabia later on. My committent advised me to call my perfumes with exotic names, such as "notte in Florence" or "Gardens of Venice", but I cannot bring myself to make an Arabian series inspired to Italian and French cultural heritage. I should then make an "Italian series" made for the Gulf market.
The Arabian series will have just one more perfume after this one, inspired to Oman and my experiences in Salalah, the land of Frankincense.
Five fragrances will be enough for this series, Mecca Balsam, Sharif, Oud Caravan N° 3, Tawaf and the last Omani Salali fragrance.
Hoschhti, Tawaf is the scent of an experience, like most of my perfumes it tells a story that exists and that is archetypal more than it is personal. For this reason these fragrances often cannot be categorised as being "for men" or "for women".
This is a way of seeing things that is valid when perfume is meant exclusively to have a seducing effect. What is sensual and erotic on a lady will be out of place for a man.
Perfumes should not have only an erotic function, they should give pleasure to the soul, first of all to who wears them.
They should sometimes make us rise over the search of material pleasures and give us the taste of what is spiritual and what is real and important in life. They can certainly heal our hearts when they need it and fill them with joy and happiness. They can "reset" us in some way when we are walking totally besides our own shoes (French expression).
Love for perfumes springs from a quality of the soul, we are victims of those marketers who use leverage on our lower selves to sell us sexual perfumes that are supposed to attract others while in truth they most often act as a repellent to others.
Perfume makers should take into consideration that we are animals only in part, and that scent is food for the hearts, not only for passions.
marketers should think sometimes that leadership resides not in giving the people what they "want" but rather what they "need".
Selling people what they "want" you have a thousand competitors already doing it, Selling people what they "need" there is no competitors otherwise they would need it no more.
Marketers use this simple fact by twisting it to their interest with lies and persuasion, they convince people that they need something which they do not really need, then they sell that thing to them.
This is why the needs of our souls remain unansweared while we follow false needs that never fill our soul with anything else than frustration and delusion.
This is the life of the Omo Economicus, a machine to make money.
Yes, it is true that your perfumes tell stories that exist, they are very "realistic", not the kind of 1001-Night-Amouage-Orientals (which I sometimes quite like to be honest). For example your perfume "Mecca Balsam": I have never been to Mecca, but I have been in Rabat, the capital city of Morocco. There is this mausoleum of Mohammed V. and I was totally surprised that the smell inside the mausoleum was almost exactly like your perfume "Mecca Balsam". I said to myself: "Wow, this is a really realistic perfume!" Maybe you have also been there, and if yes, can you confirm the similarity to "Mecca Balsam"?
Being a frequentator of the mausoleum of saints and not of kings, I never visited the tomb of the Maroccan king. But sometimes kings are also holy men and their tomb smells like the gardens of paradise.
I'm not quite sure what ideas you may be looking for, but maybe to sample it upon some porous stone like marble if this echoes the way it is being rubbed upon the stone in the ceremony, or perhaps sampled upon some silk and again on the skin to see what differences it makes to the fragrance. It will be interesting to see which one evokes the smells you get there.
The perfume sounds like a good mixture of the two key scents. It would be interesting to smell the jasmine sambac to see what intensity the 'catty' part of it was. I quite like that indolic quality in a sambac.
Profumo, is your question meant HOW to sample your new perfume or more WHO should sample it? I think mumsy's idea with the silk is nice.