Balsamo della Mecca/ Mecca Balsam 
AbdesSalaam Attar Profumo (2010)

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Balsamo della Mecca/ Mecca Balsam by AbdesSalaam Attar Profumo

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About Balsamo della Mecca/ Mecca Balsam by AbdesSalaam Attar Profumo

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My travel to Mecca was the inspiration for composing this fragrance of the scents of the soul, “Mecca Balsam”.

Fragrance notes.

Reviews of Balsamo della Mecca/ Mecca Balsam by AbdesSalaam Attar Profumo

There are 19 reviews of Balsamo della Mecca/ Mecca Balsam by AbdesSalaam Attar Profumo.

A mysterious oriental dream,a life lived to the full,of warmth,oriental nights, flaming red and deep ocre shades.the smell of burning incense floats in the air,the smoke curling toward the sky in sensuous curves.deliciously addictive sticky resinious amber is the sort of spicy, warm scent that dries down to something that could be mistaken for having a great natural smell rather than an obvious perfume smell.smoky,dense, deep,spicy and balsamic effects. perfectly unisex very unique.

You most certainly can detect this has incence in it,you get it from the start, and the olibanum& tobacco play's it's role giving it a deeper smokier appeal.i also pick up the benzoin which adds just enough sweetness to it and makes it slightly feels like all the notes are dancing with each other in harmony.the fragrance slowly and very surreptitiously evolves on your has a warmth so inviting,it is smoky amber goodness.the performance is really good.

This is a real scent of the soul. From the first time on you smell it, it changes your world of scents. It warms your body and your heart immediately. Not only yours, everyone is coming nearer to you will be in a situation of comfortability and security. It is a holy scent of spices, bakhoor and wood. Thank you Abdessalam, for this gift. Elhamdoullah I found it.

I absolutely love this stuff! I get a very strong smoky note that fades quickly-- followed by what smells like a superconcentrate of cinnamon and brown sugar dusted graham crackers. Lasts a long while. I love the small spray bottle I got, perfect to carry in my pocket and use every 15 minutes as I can't get enough of this.

Wore this for 3 hours with a vague feeling that I've smelled it before. Finally dawned on me that this is Messe de Minuit by Etro with less projection.
A nice rich Frankincense skin scent. Feels sacred and comfortable. Main gripe is that even applied generously, it keeps its cards a little too close to the vest (vestments?).

The intent here of the perfumer was clearly to imply devotional pilgrimage. The very name of the perfume (Mecca Balsam) suggests that this is an ancient salve to weary pilgrims on a religious mission. Somewhere, I read that Dominique Dubrana, or Abdes Salaam Attar as he is better known, wanted Balsamo della Mecca to capture the scent roiling in the wake of the hundreds of thousands of dusty pilgrims circling the sacred Ka'aba on their hajj in Mecca, chief among them the smell of frankincense, labdanum resin, and tobacco.

And yes, it does capture those smells. In fact, Balsamo della Mecca is a veritable monolith of ancient resins, balsams, smoke, and incense, swallowing up any trace of delicate florals (tuberose) or vanilla in its composition. But, although there is frankincense here, it is not the type of frankincense that makes me think of High Mass. The genius of Dubrana's treatment of the note here is that Balsamo della Mecca sidesteps any references to liturgical worship and goes directly to a warmer, quieter, more human-scaled place.

So, despite the devotional connotations attached to this perfume (both professed and implied), Balsamo della Mecca does not strike me as a straight-ahead, literal rendition of worship (and it is all the better for it, in my opinion). This perfume is about the type of human warmth that transcends cultural, religious, and language barriers.

The opening of the perfume, with its hoarse roar of smoky, dirty/tarry labdanum and hot, woody cinnamon or cloves, represents the overwhelming swell of noise and humanity in the procession. Once the initial onslaught dies down, frankincense and precious woods come to the fore. Abundantly spiced, it is warm, woody, and inviting. The frankincense presents a different face here than it usually does – there are no lemony, astringent, or herbal qualities at all, instead it is the pleasantly stale, sourish air of a place where frankincense is burned all the time, just not right now. Joining this is a dry, smoky smell of oud wood chips, ancient books, resins kept in ornate little tins, and the pipe tobacco in a leather pouch. It is austere, dry, and smoky, but at the same time, filled with warmth (tonka, amber, resins) simmering just underneath the surface.

The hajj begins with a dry, warm cinnamon-nutmeg blitz and a boozy wallop of alcohol. The first few moments of the experience can actually smell like cinnamon schnapps, from some vantage points. Counterintuitively (given the title), a lot of sniffers are going to be reminded of Christmastime libations. Messa Balsam is like many of Dubrana's all-natural creations in the sense that its longevity is not immense. However, it rewards the nose with an almost cinematic pageant of olfactory imagery that unfolds at a measured pace, like a flower in a time-lapse photograph. The spice and alcohol that dominate at first quickly yield to a more complex accord that juxtaposes cinnamon, labdanum, galbanum, and oud with a camphorous rush of aromatic woods, rose, and resins. Notes of cedar and wood smoke wreath around an ostinato base of rosin and frankincense. This is a big, complex oriental; smelling Mecca Balsam is a bit like plunging one's face into a cedar chest and inhaling the polyphonic smells still clinging, ghostly, to last season's sweaters. If the scent has a fault, it's that this middle phase can feel a little too complex in an undifferentiated, unbalanced way. It's as though Dubrana threw the contents of the wood pile plus the spice drawer at our nose at once: the result can be chaotic, and can verge on overwhelming. However, in the dry down phase this olfactory tumult gives way to a more restrained, linear experience of cedar, incense and resins, tinged with a hint of wintergreen. This last accord remains constant, fading gently over the course of several hours. The scent is a trip, in more senses than one.

November 14, 2014

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