The composition of the upper mantle bounded by the Canaries, Eastern Anatolia, Libya and Poland is indirectly investigated by means of the chemical composition of igneous rocks with ‘anorogenic’ geochemical characteristics emplaced during the Cenozoic. The relatively homogeneous composition of these products in terms of incompatible trace-element content and Sr–Nd–Pb isotopic composition is unexpected, considering the variable lithospheric structure of this large area and the different tectono-thermal histories of the various districts. In order to reconcile the geochemical characteristics with a statistical sampling model, it would be necessary to propose volumes of the enriched regions much lower than the sampling volumes for each volcano (that is, less than 10 cubic metres), or alternatively, efficient magma blending from larger areas. The data are consistent with a relatively well-stirred and mixed sub-lithospheric upper mantle, in the solid state, which is also hard to understand. This contrasts with the situation under oceans where magma blending from diverse sources and sampling theory can explain the compositional statistics.