Claire Ryan, Ireland
Founder of The Informal Florist & DIG – Apothecary of Scent
When I discovered La Via Del Profumo it was like finding the correct key to unlock the mysteries of natural perfumery. Having emerged from a year that threw many personal challenges in my path, I’d decided to pursue my dream to become a perfumer. However, after many months of home study and work, I was hungry for more guidance. So when I found Salaam’s website and read his teachings, I was determined to do the course. Booking the week-long program in Italy was not without sacrifice. There was the significant financial aspect and also the fact that I had to leave three young kids for my husband to juggle alongside work. However, having returned from the course, with the house still standing and the children all accounted for, I can honestly say it was the best decision I’d made in a while!
Stepping out into the Italian sunshine on that first morning with the scent of languid jasmine hanging in the air, I closed my eyes and felt so grateful for this magical introduction to a very special week.
One of the first things you realize about Salaam is that he lives the life he extols – that being the life of a “ninja “perfumer. His stories and experiences show him to be a man of great depth, intellect, talent, mischief and craftiness. Scent reaches into all areas of his life and he showed us how it can add another dimension to every aspect including taste. From the gorgeous ginger tea and rose tea we sipped, to the basil and rosemary essence we drizzled on lunch, fragrance was ever present.
We were taught how to smell, appreciate and evaluate botanical essences and had access to the most beautiful and expensive extracts available. He is very generous and wants to share his knowledge and material, as long as you appreciate the importance, sanctity and ultimately the power of what he is sharing.
In many ways Salaam’s teachings elevate natural fragrance to that of the old world perfumer/physician. He spoke of healing and the remedies we have at hand in the botanical world. He reminded us to think about the needs of the person who will buy our perfume and how we can help. Think about them. Not about our egos.
As we mixed our perfumes, Salaam was on hand to guide, make suggestions, push and encourage us to do better and to make better perfumes. When our chatter was a little too much he gently reminded us what we were there to do and that he required our full attention. He wanted us to become “ninja” perfumers, who focus on the target and move swiftly and confidently towards it. He took that responsibility very seriously.
Each day in class he was assisted by his wonderful daughter Fatima, who was always at hand and helped to bottle our perfumes when thing got a little busy. By the end of the week we were all moving with greater prowess and knowledge. We began to approach briefs and execute our formulas like actual, real-life perfumers.
The course was held in a beautiful retreat called “Il Podere del Germano Reale” in the Coriano countryside a few km outside Rimini. It is a stunning setting with immense charm and warmth. They grow their own vegetables so each day we were treated to a gorgeous array of produce in the lunch buffet. I have to mention Marco, who went above and beyond every day to make sure our every need was met. He has incredible energy! Upon learning that my suitcase was broken in transit, he went shopping for me and arrived back to the accommodation with a brand new perfectly chosen suitcase. My own personal shopper! So big thanks to Marco. And to Lorella for collecting us and dropping us hither and thither, as well as all of the wonderful team at Germano Reale with whom we shared good times and much laughter.
I feel immense gratitude and happiness to have had the opportunity to learn from Salaam. He shared so much of himself, his wisdom and his perfuming experience with us. It is impossible to not feel honoured and enriched by this knowledge and as a result I feel ready to take the next step within the world of natural perfumery.
I shared a truly wonderful week of learning with new friends from around the world who brought talents, experience and fun to the table. I have so many happy memories to treasure.
I cannot recommend this course highly enough.