A Journey Through Anatolia With ADAM Black Sea
It may sound obvious, but to understand Turkish barbering, you need to understand the rich and
vibrant history of Turkish barbershops. Though today they appear all over the world — ADAM has
Ateliers everywhere from London to New York — most have their roots in a region of Turkey
It was here, during the time of the Ottoman Empire, that a sharp haircut was seen as a sign of wealth
and sophistication. As a result, one of the most important relationships a man could have was the
one with the person who cut his hair and shaped his beard. In the 18th century, the sultan himself
even appointed a chief barber who tended to him daily.
Such discerning clients needed to know they were in good hands. So to become a barber, a man
would have to pass a series of tough practical exams before being allowed to set up shop. One of the
most important was a test of composure. Understandably, those who folded under pressure or were
quick to anger were not allowed to wield a cut-throat razor.
As well as mastering the practical skills of removing unwanted hair, a young apprentice also had to
learn the various ingredients that separated Turkish barbering and those in the Western world, from
the botanicals of the Ottoman spice routes to essential oils like myrtle and wild pine.
At ADAM, this was the starting point for creating our own grooming collection, one that reflects the
cultures and rituals that have made Turkish barbering the art form it is today. And nowhere are the
results of this more prevalent than in our line of fragrances, or as we call them in Turkey, Kologna.
Take Black Sea. Inspired by ADAM Ateliers, this woody fragrance is designed to take your senses
on a journey through the barbershops of old Istanbul. Warming leather, a nod to the famed tanneries
found along the Turkish coast, mingles with rich tobacco, musk and cedarwood. Underneath this,
amber – which is highly-prized in Anatolian culture for its purported healing qualities – gives the
fragrance a velvety finish that’s as smooth as freshly shaved skin.
A fragrance's ability to transport us to another place, even another time, is part science, part art. It
was perfected within the famous marble interiors of the Hammams and remains in use to this day.
So, while you may not be able to book your ticket just yet, you can still take a trip to Anatolia the
old-fashioned way—mentally, that is.