A journey through the fragrant melodies of perfumes and natural oils !
Attending the ninja perfumers course with AbdesSalam Attar was a beautiful event in my life, that took my life in an entirely unexpected turn.
What happened? It was Ramadan 2017 when I decided to start focusing on something that I am passionate about. Perfumes were and still continue to be a part of my living memory, right from my childhood and throughout all my life stages, where I used to watch my mother gather with her friends, surrounded with perfume bottles which they mostly had bought during their latest journey to India. I used to hear different oil names and be taken by the names but never could accept or take in some of the fragrances like the musk for instance, but i used to get astonished by the end result of their beautiful perfumes, and actually be happy to see them filled with joy and accomplishment.
So from recalling all the memories I took a step looking for a course that can be the first step for me in perfumery, so I discovered the Ninja perfumers course that AbdesSalam Attar offers in Italy. I felt that briefly I found the course that was designed for me at this stage .There were only two vacant seats available. I registered and had to write to Salam why I wanted to attend the course. A couple of days later, I received the reply from him; that I still have the chance to pay the fees and join the course, I felt the rush of staring something new, it was a mixture of joy and excitement and little bit of worry.
A few days later, AbdesSalam Attar started a new Whatsap group thats all participants in the course were in it. The anxiety has already started for me ,as I asked myself how I would interact with people whom I don’t know ,but eventually there was a pleasant energy that merged us ,hence we started sharing information which we were discussing following Salam’s requests to read some articles that he had placed on his blog. Several days later, he sent us a box which I looked at as a new treasure. I opened the box and started reading the instructions. He asked us to start using these oils. On my side, I was using these oils in very tiny quantities as I was concerned and had no experience in using natural oils, but this preparatory activity was a basic step to build confidence, that the trainer would try to instils in us during a week’s time of training. Indeed this was absolutely true.
Days have passed and it was the time to start the training. We arrived in Bologna airport where we were received by Jennifer, who was the daughter of the owners of the farm where our hotel was located. We greeted her and stepped into the car, heading to the farm. It was a short and light trip. At the hotel, we were accommodated to our rooms, which had no numbers, but rather, names of flowers, My room’s board read: ‘Violet’.
I entered the room which had a chair, a wall-mounted TV set and a double-bed with a red bedspread that reminded me of my dad’s room in the farm. My room overlooked the backyard of the farm followed by the city scene. I organized my belongings in the drawers, and I found a message from the girls who had arrived before us asking us to join them in the hotel’s restaurant. Hesitantly I changed and joined them, knowing that it was inevitable to get to know the colleagues whom I would work with during the training. We greeted one another and it was very interesting that we come from different countries. It was a group that consisted of eight pupil, namely from the Netherlands, Germany ,Hawaii ,Singapore, Japan, South Africa, France and myself being from the United Arab Emirates. We were in deep discussions when Salam entered with his thick stick and distinguished costume that denoted his astonishing travels. His daughter Fatima was accompanying him, he came and greeted us in a smooth and friendly manner .Only then we felt that the forthcoming days would bring about a lot of adventures with this exceptional and deep individual.
The first night has passed, and we were to start our first class the next morning at nine. I woke up at seven, as if I was in a race to catch-up with my prayer and have breakfast before we start. We had our breakfast and our we were in a hurry to go to the cottage that was located on the farm to attend the first day of perfumery class. We waited Salam who arrived with his daughter, who was introduced to us as his secretary and assistant, and the second ‘nose’ that he trusts!
I will not spoil your eagerness for the details that you will discover for yourselves in many places on his blog , written by him personally or by his students, but the practical experience is definitely different, and every time the content will vary to benefit each and every student in a unique way. Actually, he said that every group would have its own peculiarity. We started right from the first day familiarizing ourselves with perfumes and different scents. We were taken with this small heaven of different aromas.
With Salam we learned to free ourselves, to allow ourselves to believe in what we were doing, to increasingly follow our intuition, to have faith in what was happening to us and around us, and not to give up hope in anything, as everything has its unique way to complement in the best way. We created our first perfume, not totally convinced, and this was followed by our second and third perfumes. We were wholly overwhelmed, as if there was no need for him to tell us that everything was possible. As if we were anticipating this day to sail for ever. It would not be easy now to return to the chemical perfumes or the composites that we had no idea about their contents.
Right from the first day I stopped using the only perfume that I brought with me from Dubai ,for how I dare wearing it before Salam .This feeling was in the beginning ,but on the third day I discovered that I was no more desirous of smelling or coming close to these perfumes .My nose and mind sent me the message not to opt for perfumes which had no reality or name in nature.So,I apologized to that purple bottle ,and started thinking for long about my full of perfumes cupboard , and I started developing a sense of fear from returning without a plan. I tried to share my concerns with my mates, and we all tried to come up with possible solutions with many alternatives ,but Salam has inspired us once again .He asked us to take risk and to sail in new waters to explore and discover our own peculiar ways in everything and to shun imitation.
I came to know that some of perfumes and scents were deeply rooted in our far history and that we have a tendency towards the smell of forests and their plants, and towards fire smell and burnt wood .We were totally engrossed in that pleasantly scented cloud of thousands of brilliant aromas ,and once we finished our class in the morning we headed to have our lunch which was specially cooked for us .The lunch consisted wholly of vegetables. We had salads made with the farm’s harvest of fresh green leaves. The freshness of food and the joyous chats refreshed our souls, and many a times we went into laughter while sharing information and questions. The dinner was indeed a gift for us after a long day of activities, and after the meal we would return for hours to our endless rich and joyful discussions.
What have I learnt? In fact many things ,but definitely I cannot put them all on paper ,since it was a deep experience ,and every day, and from time to time, I recall an incident or a conversation took place in that training, prompting me to take a halt to rethink again about my choices in life. The training was rich in content, and its duration was sufficient ,though sometimes we felt it should last for a month ,but on the sixth day we felt that we did good to ourselves in terms of learning ,or let’s say ,now we had the fishing rod ,and all we had to do now was to start fishing and to start the adventure by indulging in this huge world ,which is discoverable once we have the internal desire to do so.
Salam asked on the first day if we had the desire to be perfumers, a perfume composers .We were hesitant, and most of us said that it was a journey that would eventually enable us to discover whether or not we found this desire, but I can tell you confidently now that I have what it takes to be a perfumer; that is, the infinite passion for perfumes and the ability to create new perfumes in no time. The whole thing is simple, possible and doable and easy.
Fatma S. L
Fatimah’s review in arabic