Suzanne's Perfume Journal

La Via del Profumo Tawaf is an all-natural perfume with notes of jasmine sambac, rose, oppoponax, narcissus and myrrh.  It can be be purchased from the perfumer's website, where it is available in three sizes: 15.5 ml for € 47;

32 ml for € 95; and 50 ml for € 148 (prices are in euros).

Photo of Tawaf perfume bottles is from the perfumer's website.

Photos of journals are my own. I was attempting to draw the rustic wood vase that you see on the table in the bottom photo, which now holds a daffodil but at the time I was drawing it, held bearded barley that I took from the fields on my walks.

A Week of Wearing What I Like: Day Three

As a cure for writer’s block, this week I’m going to do something different here at my perfume journal. I’m simply going to write one small post a day about whatever perfume I’m wearing, whether it’s something new or an old favorite, with a short description about the perfume itself, along with some random thoughts about whatever is going through my mind ... either free associations about the perfume, or maybe just a survey of what I’m doing that day which might have nothing to do with perfume (I haven’t decided yet). I’ll state right off the bat that this style of writing doesn’t feel satisfying to me; anyone who has read me regularly knows that I prefer to write a weekly essay that is more meaningful or more entertaining than what you’ll see here over the next five days (five days constitutes a week, doesn’t it?). But sometimes it’s better to write anything at all than to sit on one’s thumbs and hope that inspiration is going to strike, so with that in mind, here’s the first of these small exercises. (I'll be posting these at night, by the way.)

What I’m Wearing, Day Three:

La Via del Profumo Tawaf.
Created by perfumer Abdes Salaam in 2012, Tawaf is a jasmine-dominant perfume that takes its inspiration and its name from one of the Islamic rituals of pilgrimage—the ritual that is the first thing one does on arriving in Mecca and the last thing one does on leaving that holy city. In performing Tawaf, the Islamic pilgrim makes seven circumambulations around the Ka’ba, the cube-shaped building in Mecca adorned with black silk and considered the most sacred site in Islam. During the Tawaf, the air is filled with the scent of the jasmine sambac perfume favored by the Arab worshippers, and as this ritual comes to a halt, when the call to prayer is made, some of the worshippers spread a perfume made with oppoponax on the stones of the Ka’ba. For this reason, Abdes Salaam created his Tawaf perfume around these two main accords, Jasmine Sambac and Oppoponax (also known as “Sweet Myrrh” for its resemblance to myrrh).

Abdes Salaam sent me a decant of this perfume some months ago, and I’ve been wearing it off and on all winter. In fact, between Tawaf and another perfume (April Aromatics Jasmina), this has been the winter of jasmine for me, whereas before, I could have counted the jasmine-heavy perfumes I liked on one hand. It’s hard to explain why a certain aroma can get on one’s nerves, but I used to feel that jasmine’s syrupy effusiveness attached itself to my every brain cell, like burdock. Well, no longer: I don’t know what changed for me, but I’m a full-on jasmine lover now, and I’ve wanted to write a review of Tawaf for ages. What’s held me back from doing so is that, despite it being a relatively simple and linear perfume, Tawaf presents a number of challenges, the main one being the way the jasmine presents itself on any given day. The overall composition is that of a jasmine solifore; to my nose, the oppoponax accord is barely detectable. Even so, this full, rich, throaty jasmine has a habit of changing faces. Some days when I’m wearing Tawaf, it smells so indolic that I fear any review I write of it will be full of lusty descriptions that might be seen as sacrilegious and cause injury to the noble concept behind the perfume. Perhaps proving that considerate hesitation can be a good thing, there are other days when Tawaf’s jasmine smells mostly like a close-up of a flower: it’s all green leaves, starchy pollen and honeyed nectar, without an indole in sight.

What I’ve come to know about Tawaf over time is simply that it is a very full expression of jasmine—it’s carnal, it’s richly sweet, it’s every bit as green as it is syrupy, it’s every bit as golden as it is green. The only range which this jasmine doesn’t cover is that range I call “high” (like the high notes in music) and floaty. Tawaf doesn’t float up to the high-octave range or make one think of sunshine. It’s a deep thrum of jasmine, and very stilling to the mind on most days. Wearing it today, I found myself hauling out the handmade journals my husband once made for me, which I used to fill not only with words but often with collages in which I would practice my drawing skills, and then paste favorite pictures and phrases that I’d ripped from magazines over the drawing. It wasn’t what anyone else would call art, but it was artistic to me: it was a meditation of sorts—a way of reminding myself of everything I felt grateful for, everything I wanted to achieve.I haven’t made one of those collages in years. Wearing and writing about Tawaf today reminds me that I should.


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March 27, 2013: