Saturday, August 26, 2006

August 25th: The Little Girl and the Big Apple

OK, it’s a shame to say it, but I will just say it: This was my first time in Manhattan, and it’s mind boggling huge!

It’s one thing to see it in Woody Allan movies nodding my head in an embarrassing amount of approval for the city life, as opposed to actually visiting here; When I saw the hundreds of stories building towering over my head, even the highest of heels seemed belittled…

Walking the Upper East Side, I did everything a city girl would do when visiting a larger-than-life metropolitan. I walked up the 5th, Park and Madison Avenues and was trying to swallow as much mileage out of my only-two-more days in the Big Apple, feeling like a figure stripped out of a fashion magazine walking between pages of high-end ads…

I walked tirelessly, as there was so much to see, and stopped on the way only for a snack from the smoky pretzel-stands, or to smell the “roses” in Bendel’s, Bergdorf Goodman, Saks and Takashimaya.

At Saks, I got a sniff-a-boo at the Bond No. 9 scents, but tried not to get too attached, as I already had my mind set on Chinatown. This line is a lot more interesting than I had expected, and I am looking forward to try more when I get the opportunity.

I also smelled Eau de Reglisse for the first time, and marveled at the Caron Urns, falling in love all over again with the mysterious and dark scents that this house manages to release into the air so reliably. I was swept off by the pepper, nutmeg, musk and vetiver ordeal of Poivre, intrigued by the dark, WWII sentimentality of N’Aimez Que Moi – dusky yet dewy roses and violets; but my real surprise hit me when I reached Bendel’s, and fell head over heels with Farensiana: instead of the light, cheerful green note of cassie, I found there a deep mimosa and tuberose, underlined with vanilla and heliotrope. I think I will have to dedicate a whole trip just to the Caron Urns next time when I am in New York. There is nothing not to love there.

At Bendel’s I also smelled the dark George Sand for the first time, and instantly liked Kisu: a musky-clean vetiver scent with modest doses of white florals and rosewood – very similar to the concept of Narciso Rodriguez. Bendel’s also had the nicest l’Artisan Parfumeur counter, and Brandon was most enthusiastic to show off as many as 10 scents per minute (so after 3.5 minutes the entire line was covered…). I sampled many, but the ones that I will be wearing in the dog days of my trip to Israel are sure to be Bois Farine, Ananas Fizz and Premier Figuier Extreme.

I did not expect to find the Guerlain’s boutique scents at the bottom of Bergdorf Goodman, but I did, carelessly. As soon as I got in I was offered a spritz of Insolence (which I had to deny gracefully, by sniffing the salesperson’s hand repeatedly). It smelled gorgeous on him, but awful and obtrusive on the scented ribbon. I asked for a sample to get out of the situation, and he lead me right into a Guerlain heaven (which turned to be somewhat of a torture, since I was already covered with Caron scents, so I had no room to try anything really) – Rose Barbare, Cuir Beluga and Angelique Noir had to remain on golden satin ribbons. Rose Barbare was beautiful, and I gave up and tried it on one of my fingers (!), which I have never done before. I also had a bit of room for Jicky parfum on the back of my hand, which is one of the loveliest lavenders I ever smelled. They also had Vega, Liu, Derby and another beautiful scent which I can’t remember it’s name at all, but seemed like one of those perfect Chypres… It started with N I believe, but that’s all I can remember…

They also had three of the Ineke scents, which smell exactly the way there were described. My favourite was the lilac scent - After My Own Heart.

Takashimaya was already dark as a secretive tea house when I got there. I sniffed a few unknown-to-me scents, and than walked until I reached Central Park and stopped to eat an apple and an orange, while the scent of carriage-horse manure permeated the air to no end; it was already dusk, and the ducks were floating in the pond in search for left over crumbs of salty pretzels. A sound of old-fashioned Jazz music from a courtyard drew me to peak into a strange looking courtyard: a large King-Kong was surrounded by floating Japanese lanterns. I peaked in and than set off to the other corner of the park, to find a Broadway night…

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Brooklyn, August 24th 2006

It was a new moon, and this sign was displayed on the elevator at 770 Eastern Parkway at Kingston, otherwise known simply as “770”. The history of the place can be googled without further instruction, and if you can see through the flowers, you can even read about it on this blog.

- A place where one cannot even recognize his own brother, yet feels among family;

a place where the chill of Jerusalemite catacombs and the happiness of poverty reigns;

a place that resides somewhere between the Ghettos of yesteryear and Agnus Day of tomorrow;

A place that giveth and taketh away;

A place that magnetizes as much as it repels;

A place of light and of great darkness, where myriads of bagels vanish in a cloud of horseradish and Talmud lessons.

A place that is about the people not as much as it’s about the place; or maybe it’s just another place.

Love, Truth and Knowledge...?

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Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Traveling by Air

I am on my way to the airport - to NYC and from there to Tel Aviv on the 27th. Unless I run out of Wi-Fi connection NYC you will be able to read soon about all my airport adventrues and my more interesting NYC adventrues - some of which are suppose to smell real good. If I don't manage to connect to the net in NYC, I will post all my attempted NYC blog entries when I get to Tel Aviv.
See you all soon in the Big Apple!

Photo: "Have a Safe Trip *Lili*" courtesy of Seattle Roll

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Monday, August 21, 2006

Blind Scents Revealed on Scentzilla

Visit Scentzilla to read the reviews by Marlen and myself to the 4 mystery scents Katie have sent me, all christened by unusual names based on the titles of songs: Sleep by the Light of the Moon, Brand New Cadillac, Hermit McDermitt and The Sould of a Man. All were scents I never worn before (and I am embarassed to say I have never even heard about them before, what a shame! But also somewhat of a relief) . So more than just being an excercise and an experiment to see how much perfume advertising affects our perception of fragrance - it was also an opportunity to discover some unusual scents. Katie reveals their identity and adds her own comments about these four quirky scents. My favourite is Hermit McDermitt, of course... How could one resist an ice tea of lemongrass and galbanum?

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Saturday, August 19, 2006

Culture of Life / Culture of Death: The Scent of Fear article in the new Adbusters issue

For perfumers and perfume-lovers alike, the fear-driven regulations that arise regarding using perfumes is a true threat to their freedom and self-expression (and also, theoretically still, a threat to the viability of the perfume business in the future).

This new issue of Adbusters Magazine features an article title "The Scent of Fear" by the magazine's senior editor Clayton Dach. The article debates the topic of allergens, perfumes, some of the motives/interests of the perfume industry and other organizations, and sheds light on the issue of how much can one expect from the environment (both nature and the people around them) to change itself for one's own convenience and comfort, and also tackle some issues of natural and synthetic materials.

I was extremely impressed with the objectivity of the article - that is what journalism is all about! It is an intelligent, in-depth look at those issues, and is non-biased and thought-provoking and genuine.

The issue is available in selected newstands and bookstores world wide, and unfortunately there is no online version of this article (though you can preview another article online on this page).

This issue is titles Culture of Life / Culture of Death and is double sided... It is visually startling and very well made in the Adbusters tradition. It is well worth getting a print of this issue, if you can. If you can't find it in your country, you can subscribe or purchase the magazines online. For more information about Adbusters visit

p.s. I have a soft spot for Adbusters for their critical thinking and powerfully designed projects and media/educational campaigns, and also because I know personally quite a few people that worked with them, including my devoted graphic designer (who also is the brain behind the angel-devil businessman logo for The Corporation).

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Tabu has a dry edge of spices and carnation with a heart of gold – rose, orange blossom and jasmine - sweetened with resinous honey note over a sultry foundation of patchouli, amber, oakmoss, civet and musk. Although the top notes seem dry and somewhat severe at first, they quickly evolve into voluptuous and seductive curves that whisper a lustful invitation.

And you better listen to those whispers, as Tabu is the definition of a good buy – a high quality, original perfume with class and lasting power (remarkable for an Eau de Cologne!) which any great name perfume house would be proud of, for prices as low as $8-$15 depending on the size. It’s also very reliable: it’s been around since 1932 and hasn’t been altered as far as I know. In fact, it is written in the history of perfumes as the trendsetter for perfumes such as the patchouli drenched Youth Dew (1952), the spicy carnation & incense Opium (1977) and the ambery-mossy Obsession (1985) that tried their hand at this Oriental greatness only decades later, and in my opinion owe much for their greatness to the taboo breaking Tabu.

Tabu truly fits its name and image (as in the famous painting in the original advertisement): a forbidden, sensually provocative scent – just like the forbidden love between Anita and Holger in the unforgettable film “Intermezzo”.

The opening is dry and spicy with some orange notes; the heart is a well rounded floral; and the base is a sweet, animalic amber with powdery characteristics. It’s a seductive scent and I love wearing it in the winter or for bedtime, as it is rather comforting.

Top notes: Orange, Allspice, Carnation
Heart notes: Orange blossom, Rose, Jasmine
Base notes: Amber, Civet, Patchouli, Civet, Musk

Photo from Intermezzo from

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Wednesday, August 16, 2006

News from the Nose: Interview on Basenotes, Refills and More

Visit Basenotes to see me interviewed by Basenotes' founder Grant Osborne.

Ayala Moriel Parfums are listed and reviewed on Basenotes on this page.
If you are a Basenotes member, you can add your own reviews on the Basenotes Directory and let the world know what you think about your favourite perfumes!
Basenotes Directory is one of the best fragrance resources on the web (and otherwise!).

More news:

New from Ayala Moriel Parfums - refills for for your parfum extrait flacon!

These 15ml refill bottles can accompany your next purchase to ensure you won’t run out of your favourite scent.

These are attractively priced at only $180 for a package of one 8ml Parfum Extrait flacon and one 15ml refill bottle. The parfum flacons are $90 when sold on their own.

Fall Sneak Previews:

Razala - An innovative Oriental, Woody, Spicy fragrance.

Whether if you are a Harem Queen or a Beduine Shepard at heart, Razala is a passionate, modern love poem to thorny hills and desert mountains. Razala pulsates with vibrant, colourful spices, seductive flower petals, and precious resins and woods of Arabia. This is also my first perfume to include the scarcest building block: beach-harvested ambergris, adding smoothness and an underlining raw animalic energy. Razala is also my very own Arab nickname.

Top notes: Blood Orange, Pink Pepper, Saffron Crocuses
Heart notes: Rose, Jasmine, Orange Blossom, Magnolia
Base notes: Ambergris, Myrrh, Patchouli, Oud

I will be traveling to the world's most dangerous destinations next week: New York City and Tel Aviv, so wish me luck on surviving an 18 hours trip with no water. I will post as much as I can (depending on internet connection availability) about my olfactory (and airport security) adventures in the Big Apple and in the Small Prickly Pear.

Warmest regards,


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Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Le Grandiose Révéler

I am back from the desert (paradise) Galiano Island, enjoying the serene scent of yellow freesias at my tabale, and am ready for the The Grand Reveal for the Blind Scent Reviews:

Youth Dew Bath Oil (Vintage)

Tabu Eau de Cologne

Opium Fleur Imperiale (Limited Edition Summer 2006)

Thanks to Victoria and The Scented Salamander - you are both the winners of the Spicy Sample Pack!

Please contact me at with your mailing address so I can send you the prize!

Thanks for participating!

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Saturday, August 12, 2006

Blind Scent Reviewing & Guessing Contest!

End War NOW, originally uploaded by Lali°.

We played a game amongst us, Scentbloggers, where we sent each other unnamed samples of mystery scents. Each of us had at least 6 mystery scents to review, and the sender is suppose to reveal them on their blog after posting the reviews made by their blind bloggy-friends…

I sent three samples of mystery scents to Victoria and Patty, simple labeled as One, Two and Three. These were all oriental scents of different types: One was a dark (visually almost black in colour), oil based spicy oriental, in fact a vintage one; the second was a cheap drugstore ambery-spicy oriental that can be found anywhere on the planet for less than $20, and was amber in colour; The last one was the most transparent in colour, pale yellow, and is a limited edition oriental, a light interpretation of a very famous perfume, spicy still, but much lighter than the other two.

Here is what Victoria and Patty thought about the scents:


Victoria says:
"#1 is a nice amber oil. Maybe a hint of something else, like myrrh. Sweet and warm. My guess is maybe something by Kuumba Made. I like it".

Patty says:
"Wow! Deep and oudish, this is a great. Really strong and dark at the beginning, but the drydown is just spectacular. I'm really loving this, can I get some, please? I just wish it stuck around a little longer and -- oh, no, when it's almost gone, all the good stuff goes away and leaves a kind of musty rubber sheets note that I'm not liking at all".


Victoria says:
"#2 is a soft oriental. Vintage, with a nice sweet amber drydown. Powdery. I think I have smelled this before. It reminds me of Lou Lou, it has that feel, that era. It is light and soft with not much punch, I can't tell if that is because of age or composition. If it is composition, then it might be something like Windsong, or some older Avons come to mind, like Occur! or Topaz. If it has faded due to age, it may be a more classic house like Guerlain. Whatever it is, I like it. The vintage appeal, gives it a romantic, nostalgic feel".

Patty says:
"This went on a little meh, a note in there was bothering me. Vintage? It's drying down with a note in it that I personally don't care for. It just smells vintage to me, old fashioned, a little powdery".


Victoria says:
"#3 is modern, a fruity floral? I can't name the fruit, but it doesn't smell straight floral. I like this one very much too. Powdery with a coolness to it, maybe a touch of anice, do I smell tobacco, violets, ozone? A light medicinal note,benzene? Not a clue. Strangely compelling".

Patty says:
"Some white flower in this, a little sharp too, pretty, but not a smell that I'm going to keep in the memory banks as groundbreaking. Definitely pretty and wearable, though! It's just not lasting either".

I hope you could use Victoria and Patty’s blind reviews, and my clues above to reveal the scents yourself. I am just extending the game here, not really following the rules as we originally set, but I just thought it would be a fun summer game! Be the first to guess the scents, and win a sample pack of Ayala Moriel Parfums most spicy concoctions – Palas Atena, Fete d’Hiver, Epice Sauvage, Finjan and Rebellius!

You are also invited to visit the other participating blogs in the bling scent reviewing game:
Perfume Posse
Perfume-Smellin' Things
Victoria's Own
Perfume Critic.Com and Scentzilla! (my own blind reviews will be posted on there very soon)

The Big Reveal of both the names of the perfumes and the name of the winner for this blind contest will be announced on Tuesday night!

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Monday, August 07, 2006

Memorial Wreaths and Mille by Patou

Memorial metal garland on tomb, originally uploaded by Monceau.

1000 is such a strange bird, and I have postponed trying it for a long time, expecting a floral explosion in the manners of Joy. Since it was mentioned as an exemplary osmanthus scent, I had to try it seriously this time. It uses top notes that are quite medicinal, but surprisingly, they all manage to go through some mysterious transformation, get rid of the white gowns and change into classy, lady-like vintage outfits instead. The opening is aldehydic and at the same time campohoreous, green and spicy, emanating from a prescription of eucalyptus and angelica and some stray coriander seeds for a good measure of ambivalent pleasure.

As I walk away from the eucalyptus forest and the dry vaporous leaves crushing under my feet are fewer, dirty, dark florals start to emerge, like the scent of a memorial wreaths of roses lying in the sun long after the memorial ceremony is over.

The floral heart of dark dry roses has also a green powderiness from violet and osmanthus and the indole characteristics of jasmine are swallowed in the dirty and earthy base of civet, patchouli, oakmoss and vetiver, like the decaying floor of the eucalyptus-grove. The osmanthus presence is there only as a suggestion for leathery, animalistic, peach-skin texture of suede … Osmanthus adds a fuzzy softness to 1000, which is otherwise a ladylike, aldehidic chypre floral. But it is truly the eucalyptus that maintains the character of this perfume as its presence floras as an ethereal spirit above all things.

Top notes: Bergamot, Coriander, Eucalyptus, Angelica
Heart notes: Osmanthus, Rose, Jasmine, Violet

Base notes: Sandal, Patchouli, Vetiver, Civet, Oakmoss

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Sunday, August 06, 2006

Osmanthus Rising from the Ashes: Femme Parfum

Femme in pure parfum is a rare beauty that has become almost extinct. It is a different formulation than the more in-your-face sexuality of the modern reformulation of 1989 by Oliver Cresp – of both eau de parfum and eau de toilette, which still possesses the extreme individuality and general impression of the original woman, but has a significantly different (slightly plasticy) ambery base and daring top notes of cumin.

In 1943, Femme was created in the ruins of Paris during World War II. As the lotus flower stems out of death and putrefaction, Femme is a bright, warm-coloured coral found in the depth of a dark cold ocean amidst the ruins of steel ships and dead submarines.

Originally uploaded by titanium22.

And this happens also on the olfactory level: from the interaction between mundane notes of common spices (cinnamon, cloves), the dirty earthiness of patchouli, labdanum and moss, a few floral staples (rose, jasmine, ylang ylang, orris) and a few oily-fruity aldehydes which could have been discovered as a by-product of weapon development, a beautiful, golden flower rises:
It is modest and unusual, with a quiet presence that is warm, powdery and leathery all at once, yet it is a flower. The ghost of osmanthus. A flower that did not lend its essence to the composition of Feem, but nevertheless is the fruit of the lovemaking that occurs between strange essences in the privacy of the test tube.

Top notes: Peach, Plum, Peach, Bergamot, Lemon, Rosewood
Heart notes: Ylang-ylang, Jasmine, May rose, Clove, Orris

Base notes: Musk, Amber, Oakmoss, Vanilla, Patchouli, Benzoin, Leather

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Dear Blog,

I don't like to sound apologetic, and I will not apologize. The truth to be told - I have been very neglectful of you, my beloved blog, in the past couple of weeks. This will end very soon, in fact in a few moments when I publish my next entry, and I hope this will mark my return at my usual capacity of posting. I can't reveal what has stopped me from blogging in the past few weeks; All I can say is these were important things, and very positive at that, however - they are absolutley not related to perfumery wahtsoever and therefore completely irrelevant to this blog until I find a connection that is obvious enough to share in this forum.

I missed you just as you do, but I will be back shortly.



P.s for my devoted readers - those of you who have commented on my soliflore name searching post, please contact me with your mailing address so I can send you a sample of Les Nuages de Joie Jaune. I ended up choosing my own names, but your suggestions sure helped me in the process - and this is the least I can do to thank you all!


Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Drifting in Yellow Clouds of Happiness

Acacia baileyana, originally uploaded by jam343.

Drifting in yellow clouds of happiness. My new mimosa perfume. A soliflore.
Mimosa – such a fleeting scent. The absolute smells like cucumber and water and wood more than a flower. A bare dusting of pollen shaken from a broken branch. Les Nuages de Joie Jaune.

Who would have imagined that such an innocent scent would be so difficult to crack? Mimosa is a fleeting mystery…

Mimosa opens along with the watery-wood of caberuve and the pale greenness of frangipani. A heart of violet and jasmine is like a leaf between airy blue sky and fuzzy yellow blossoms. A base of cassie flowers and vanilla creates a delicate and lasting impression of this ethereal desert flower.

Les Nuages de Joie Jaune launches today and is a salute to all mimosa lovers to whom the scent of mimosa brings happiness and joy!

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