Power of scent. Grandpa. And Ottoman Barbers. March 25 2014

    It is said that scent is one of the strongest memory triggers in the world. Like when you catch even the faintest hint of your first love's perfume on a gentle breeze, your mind takes you back to that sunny summer day as you lay next to her on the warm sand.

   And that's what happened to me my friends, when I was searching for a new aftershave at Pasteur Pharmacy on 34th and Park in New York City.

   No, my mind did not pulled me back to my first love, but it did take me to a sunny summer day. A sunny summer day when I was helping my grandfather fill hundreds of glass cologne bottles inside his little shop in the Historic Kemeralti Bazaar of Izmir.

   When he was a young man, my grandfather had founded a hole in the wall fragrance shop in the historic bazaar, and through a series of surreal events made that shop a mecca for everyone who desired a bottle of his famous colognes. 

   As I was smelling every single bottle of fine aftershaves at Pasteur, my mind raced to put together this beautiful and strangely familiar scent of Alcohol, Water and Fragrance.  And right there it hit me. 

   I started researching, starting with my own grandfather, about the history of colognes, fragrances and aftershaves in Turkey. And I found out that there is a rich history of Ottoman Cologne tradition.  A history of imitation, innovation, and of course Barber ingenuity. 

   I discovered that there's such a rich and untapped treasure of scents and tradition that the men of the Western Hemisphere had never had the chance to experience. Scents like the "White Lily"; native only to Aegean Region. Or scents like "Nights of Izmir" and "Veiled Flower"; a potpourri of exotic aroma that has no likeness on the shelves. Finally, "Lemon" and "Tobacco"; so familiar but different. Tobacco of Izmir is one of the finest and most aromatic of tobacco leaves. And the lemon... Well when smelled by a barber in New York and asked if he liked it, this is what he had to say; "Like it? I want to drink it!" 

   That's when I decided to take my grandfather's recipes, prepare five truly special men's aftershaves and share them with you; my wetshaving brethren who view shaving not as a daily chore, but a ritual exclusive only to us men. 

   So here I am. Proudly presenting you a line of unique aftershaves made with traditional recipes; handed down from Ottoman Barbers of the Aegean Coast. Handmade in New York with oils that come directly from the same place Ottoman Fragrance makers had procured them for centuries. 

   I hope you enjoy using them as much as I enjoyed making them.

 

   Sincerely,

   A. G. Altalef

   Founder