Tawaf is the final fragrance in the La Via del Profumo Arabian series of perfumes. Dominique Dubrana, La Via del Profumo’s perfumer, describes the fragrance as an “aromatic ‘melody’ of the scents that surround those performing the Tawaf” — pilgrims circling the sacred Kaaba in Mecca during the Hajj or Umrah. Pilgrims, stone floors and the Kaaba itself are perfumed with the likes of Jasminum sambac (Arabian jasmine), opopanax and rose water.
Tawaf is composed of beautiful, strong aromas*: a vibrant floral accord of jasmine and rose (sweet, syrupy and possessing an indolic punch); a note that reminds me of musky, honey-drenched hay (no, I’ve never encountered honey-drenched hay in person, just in my imagination); warm opopanax; and buzzing, floral amber — clear and pungent, but not too “clean” (is that a bit of patchouli I smell?) Tawaf’s opening comes close to duplicating one of the most mesmerizing floral scents: the powerhouse perfume of blossoming Cestrum nocturnum (gardeners: if you love flowers that can scent an entire block, investigate this plant). As Tawaf dries down, it becomes sheer with hints of honeycomb, myrrh and residual floral notes.
I try to avoid hyperbole in describing my attraction to perfumes (how can I ‘LOVE’ a non-living thing?); let’s say I ‘adore’ Tawaf. Though I’ve enjoyed all La Via del Profumo Arabian series perfumes, Tawaf is my favorite. One spritz of Tawaf goes a long way…for a short time (two hours); if you’d like the fragrance to extend to three or four hours, apply more perfume in the first place but expect to scent a HUGE space with your sillage. On the masculine-feminine “scale,” Tawaf veers more towards feminine perfume territory, but if you’re the type of man who has no problem with heady florals, go for it.
La Via del Profumo’s Arabian series (Mecca Balsam, Oud Caravan Nos. 1, 2 and 3, and Sharif) is worth sampling in its entirety because the collection presents, to my nose anyway, a more natural and “authentic” take on Middle Eastern perfumery than most Western perfume companies accomplish (brands such as Van Cleef & Arpels, By Kilian, Estée Lauder, even Montale).
La Via del Profumo Tawaf is available directly from La Via del Profumo in 15.5, 32 or 50 ml (€47-148), concentration unknown. There is also a Tawaf Custom Blending Kit, with a 15.5 ml spray bottle of Tawaf and 6 ml dropper bottles of the jasmine and opopanax accords (€95).
*Tawaf’s listed notes: jasmine sambac, rose water, narcissus, myrrh, opopanax.