Friday, May 26, 2006

Zohar: The Birth of a Perfume

At last, my orange blossom soliflore is ready to be launched, and it’s name is Zohar!

My orignal idea was creating two soliflores as a tribute to my childhood friends, Yasmin and Zohar. We grew up together and they have been sisters to me for almost as long as I can remember myself. Now, even with miles of oceans and languages and cultures separating between us, the distance seems non-existent. One lives in London. The other is in Jerusalem. Yasmin is the Hebrew name for jasmine, and sure enough, my friend's house was always surrounded by luscious blooming jasmine bushes. Zohar means enlightenment, brilliance and glamour. “Zohar Water” (pronounced “May Zohar” in Hebrew) is the name for orange flower water, the brilliantly scented water used in traditional Middle Eastern pastry as well as East Indian sweets. They have a distinguished, delicate yet fierce aroma that is fresh, floral, watery and citrusy all at once. Besides the name connection, I associated the pure white orange blossom and its aroma with the brilliance, elegance, precision and perfectionis of my friend which shows in everything she touches, which has a distinct beauty – gardens, flower arrangements, potted plants, and her unique style of clothing and colour matching. My orange blossom soliflore had to be stunning, simple and elegant.

For the past three years, I have been exploring the orange blossom themes – evaluating different oils and essences of orange blossom, and orange blossom centred perfumes. My curiosity was first peaked when I tried Nocturnes pure parfum. I than started with exploring the aldehydic-vetiver-orange blossom accord. This inspiration lead me to several studies of orange blossom, neroli and vetiver accords, which was unsatisfactory, as the results were too fresh and clean and also lacked the sweet sensuality of the orange blossoms that I was seeking. I explored more green interpretations such as in Vert Vert.; the dark nuances of Narcisse Noir; the sweet honeyed amber of Obsession and Fleurs d’Oranger; and even the transparent artificial orange blossom in Narciso Rodriguez. But really, it wasn’t until I found the right essences that I arrived at a refined solution for what seem to be the impossible: condense the sensuality of an orchard and pack it, nice and tight, in a bottle. Pack it so that when the flacon is opened, a whole orchard will bloom.

You see, for all those years I made a repeated mistake: I used too much neroli in my attempts to capture that orchard and cage it in my butterfly net. While neroli is gorgeous on its own, and highly resembles the scent of the fresh orange blossoms – when it is blended with other notes, it has the tendency to give a clean, somewhat flat, citrusy presence. And that is not what I was seeking. I was seeking the sweet, sensual scent of an orchard in full bloom.

My Spring trip to Israel helped to fine tune the vision of this scent. And sometime a clear vision is all you need to perfect a perfume. As I was admiring the scents of the orchards in full bloom, I noticed that there were a few golden fruit remaining on the trees from the Winter. These fruit, awaiting to be picked, or else come back to the ground and make the soil even more fertile – are the sweetest you could ever taste. I guess we really eat only almost-ripe citrus fruit, which leaves quite a bit of the tartness intact. The scecnts of the orachards in full bloom is uplifting and intoxicating at once. It awakens vivid happiness like the thousands of humming bees who swarm the flowers to make light citrus honey.

The final result, which I humbly present to you today – combines three types of orange blossoms: Neroli, which is made from the steam distilled orange flowers; Orange Blossom Absolute, which is a solvent extraction of the blossoms; and Orange Flower Water Absolute – the solvent extraction from the water remaining after the steam distillation to make Neroli. These waters are fragrant, and are used in both cosmetic preparation and as a flavouring essence in fine and traditional cuisines. The result of blending these three is the most complete orange blossom and the closest to the true flower that I can achieve at the moment. To this orange blossom theme I added top notes of yuzu and bitter orange to portray the sweet golden fruit hanging from the branches as a backdrop for the flowers, and a hint of tuberose and jasmine absolutes at the heart, to accentuate the floral sensuality of the theme. At the base is an amber compound I have concocted quite recently, which is honeyed and sensual, slightly earthy and sultry, yet not at all overpowering. The final touch is absolute of broom – as a memory for the blooming brooms at the same time of the year, which also highly complement the orange blossom with their sweet-pea like aroma.

Finally, I would like to express my very special thanks to my new sister-in-law, Sivan, who gave me the last push to make this perfume, and was the first one to try it. I asked her about her favourite notes before my visit, so that I can pick for her a perfume from my collection. She said she liked citrus blossoms, narcissi and fresh laundry. Since I had no perfume in my collection with either of these notes as a main theme or dominant note (narcissus absolute is a very far cry from the fresh flower, and there is no laundry accord that does not use synthetics), I had no choice but to give my orange blossom dream one more shot. And this time it worked to my satisfaction. Not only that, Sivan loves it and till this moment she is probably showing off with it, waving her wrists in front of friends and relatives’ noses, which now have an extra reason to enjoy her presence, besides her captivating cheerful personality and lovely smiles.

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At May 26, 2006 11:07 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

That sounds just about perfect! I can just imagine those wonderful orange groves in flower.

At August 11, 2010 12:18 AM, Anonymous said...

It sounds tempting, I want to walk in an orange grove!


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