Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Tincturing Matcha

Matcha being my favourite tea, I decided to try to tincture it and see if it will smell as good as the tea itself... The results so far are positively Matcha like. And it's completely different than Green Tea absolute. That roasted leaf aroma comes through very well. I haven't used this in a perfume yet, and am waiting for the right opportunity. My results with tincturing has been very futile and discouraging in the past, but I haven't given up completely - and now with some tips from skilled tincture-mavens, my interest is piqued. Some of the tinctures turned out quite nicely 0 including the Kaffir Lime Tincture (more about that another time). My interest in green notes is being renewed, and exploring the realm of tincturing opens a whole new world of possibilities that are quite exciting. The most pleasurable part of tincturing is, perhaps, the sensual connection with the tinctured materials. Preparing the materials for tincturing involved rinsing, drying, rubbing, crushing, grinding, and viewing the beautiful colours that the plants naturally possess and so generously release into the alcohol along with their aroma. When I made the Kaffir Lime Tincture, I wiped every single leaf with a damp cotton towel, to make sure they are free of dust - yet not dripping water into the tincture. I tried to share some of the sensual process with you by showing the step by step of mixing the matcha powder with the alcohol... Japanese Ceremonial Tea taken up to a totally different level... Next time it will be sake!

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Monday, January 29, 2007

No. 19: A Review in Three Acts

One of the things that I noticed when summarizing 2006, was that I can change my opinion and perception about a fragrance over time. I learned that I should keep an open mind and never give up completely on a perfume. It might hold a surprise for me in the future.

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ACT I: The Transformation of No. 19

I am known for my adverse reactions to green notes. While I can admire a well-made green perfume for its originality and the ability to invoke the charms of nature in spring or a well-watered garden, it is very rare that I find a green scent that I personally love (as opposed to intellectual admiration from a professional point of view of a perfumer). My relationship with No. 19 has been always ambivalent. When I started exploring the fragrances by Chanel, the first one that I fell for was none other than Cristalle. The sparkle of sweet citrus and bright greens is set against the sweetness of magnolia and other florals at the heart, and the base is again equally mossy and ambery-sweet. A perfect balance. At the time, I had my mind set on purchasing only pure parfum, and having quickly found out that Cristalle exists in none such form – I had to turn to something else from the line. The ultimate alternative was No. 19. With the abundance of nature notes, this should be anything I can dream of – at the time I was completely smitten with anything that bore the slightest resemblance to Chypre. By all standards, No. 19 should have been my favourite Chanel. And so I tried it on, and every single time I worn it I felt immediately a sense of sadness, as if my heart just missed a beat and twitched in pain and longing for something unknown; my throat became tense with the anticipation of crying; my eyes were just about to cry yet the pain seemed too grave to allow the tears from flowing.

I could never find the answer to this intense emotional reaction. I don’t recall knowing anybody in my early life that was wearing No. 19. Nor did I recall a particular memory when wearing No. 19 (I usually get visual images of places and experiences of when I first smell a certain perfume or a note when I smell it again). With No. 19 all I had was an emotional reaction.

I refrained from wearing it for the most part, and needless to say I did not own any form or size of this perfume in my ever-growing collection of perfume classics. What got me back to No. 19 was a lover. A French lover to be precise. A comical young man who spent most of his life traveling around on a little bicycles that wouldn’t even fit a 3 year old. There was nothing serious about this relationship, and it wasn’t meant to last very long (especially not since a few weeks later I actually met with my True Love). But he did appreciate perfumes, growing in a country that prides itself for making the best perfumes in the world. No. 19 happened to be one of his favourites, and so I decided to give it a try and wear it for him. Guess what happens? The guy decides to be really late, and so a self-fulfilling prophecy is once again proved. And No. 19 just intensifies its melancholy, heart-twitching properties.

Just a month or two later, I use No. 19 as a litmus paper. I smell a phantom scent of it when I fall in love. I put it on, and all I experience is this heart-breaking sensation of longing and loss and beauty. Ok, I may be in love, but I can’t wear No. 19!
Once I realized and accepted that, white a couple of reviews to substaintiate my theory (see below), I passed the bottle on and swapped it for Parfum Sacre. I will be avoiding No. 19 for about 3 years. Until a couple of weeks ago, for no apparent reason. I decide to try it again. I do so cautiously: first, a scented strip. I keep it in my pocket for a couple of days and I can’t stop noticing how much I like it! Even though it’s definitely the recogniziable No. 19, it does not trigger those dramatic feelings. I just smell it for what it is. I am now driven to go and try it on my skin! I try the EDT, than the EDP. They are too different and I can’t make up my mind which one is better. The EDT seems thin and very cool (mostly iris and vetiver). The EDP is gorgeous, but I was fearing it’s not quite as authentic as the pure parfum might be, so I settle on the parfum again, and delight in it for a full week, wearing nothing else – and feeling utterly happy about my perfume choice every time I do. I finally find in it the aromatic delights and the elegance of nature: the astringent qualities of lemon; the crunchy greenness of galbanum; the smooth coolness of orris root; the cucumber-like glide of violet leaves; the ever-unfolding beauty of rose petals and jasmine blossoms; the distant undergrowth of oakmoss; and above all, the tart sweetness of vetiver. Vetiver, violet leaf, orris and galbanum make a stellar performance in this classic green-chypre-powdery-woody perfume. The overall feeling is equally elegant and composed, and at the same time, free-spirited, wild and grassy. I find myself utterly compelled to enjoy a new world that I could not enter before.

Top notes: Lemon, Galbanum
Heart notes: Violet Leaf, Rose de Mai & Jasmine Grandiflorum from Grasse, Orris Root, Lily of the Valley (most apparent in EDT)
Base notes: Vetiver, Leather, Sandalwood, Oakmoss

A few notes about the different concentrations:
The Eau de Toilette comes in a variety of sizes and shapes, but none look like the classic Chanel flacon, so it’s really easty to recognize it. It comes in either a refillable metallic-cased spray bottle (brushed aluminum look), tall rectangular glass bottle with either a black or a silver capy as a refill, or a flat sharp-edged rectangle spray bottle with a rectangular black cap, amongst other shapes that you may find otehrwise. The EDT is very light and sheer. I found it to be amost aquatic. It opens very lemony and citrusy, along with the galbanum of course. The cucumberness of the violet leaf really stands out here, and there is a most apparent presence of lily of the valley accord. The sheerness of the EDT makes the contrasting elements of woody vetiver, powdery orris and cool violet leaf almost startling. But it’s all very smooth and apprehensive. I have a suspicion this was reformulated recently and that’s why it smells so aquatic. I can barely notice the jasmine and rose form Grasse, which really make No. 19 quite unique (these two essences are becoming very scarce). But knowing how widely No. 19 is distributed, I would not be surprised if these rare essences are saved for the higher concentrations. I personally prefer the EDP and the pure parfum over the EDT, but I know many will disagree with me and will say that the EDT is superiour to the EDP. I tried the EDT from testers in two different retailers, and I could almost swear they did not smell the same. This just substantiates my suspicions about reformulations. I am willing to go back and put it to the test again, and when I do so you will read about it here.

The Eau de Parfum comes in a bottle that resembles the classic Chanel flacon, only larger and with a spray apparatus. It is richer in the floral notes, and I found it very interesting and rounded. The roses really shine here and are more apparent than in either the EDT or the parfum extrait. It was the EDP that converted me to No. 19 after years of abstinence.... I would have bought it in this formulation, if only the price wasn’t so close to the pure parfum. To top it off, I am an avid parfum extrait collector.

The Parfum may have a slightly less emphasis on the florals than than the EDP, and the greenness reigns here, with the violet leaves and vetiver and orris being the stars of the show. I am very happy with this form, but than – I am known for my bias for parfum extraits: I think this is simply the most elegant and sensual way to apply perfume. You may just choose the pure parfum because perhaps, like me, it’s less likely that the ones in stock in stores are yet reformulated (because of the ever tightening IFRA guildeines and EU regulations regarding oakmoss). The extrait simply doesn’t fly off the shelves as fast as the other forms.

Below are my “love it/hate it” reviews of No. 19 from three years ago. It’s interesting to note how the notes that were dominant for me back than have changed. I now notice the vetiver while back than I didn’t precieve even a trace of it… It’s quite interesting to see how my perceptions – both emotional and olfactory – have changed so greatly over time.
If these is any moral to my No. 19 story – it is the endless possibilities that awaits us in the world of aromatics. If you open your mind and open your heart, you might be able to surprise yourself too.

Images of EDT from, and
Image of EDP from

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ACT II: The Distant Admiration of the Artistry of No. 19

No. 19, released in August 19th, 1970, only after Coco Chanel’s death, was known to be her very own personal signature perfume. It was named after her birth date, on the same launching date…

I feel it is the most refined and sophisticated of all the Chanel fragrances, perhaps the one that truly stands for its own sake as a perfume, separately from fashion, and can be compatible with perfume from other great houses (that is not to say that her other fragrances are not good – I simply feel that this one is uniquely different and original).
No. 19 is equally natural and urbane, simple and sophisticated.
It derives its materials primarily from nature, yet radiates certain elegant and distant melancholy that perhaps suggests something about Chanel’s deepest emotions…

No. 19 Starts off with sharp, green galbanum note, backed up with bergamot and some of the top notes of jasmine and orange blossom absolute “lifted up” from the heart...
Soon enough, No. 19 mellows down and reveals its heart – an interesting rose accord appears: first it is green and fresh Rose de Mai, somewhat powdery as it is backed up with precious Florentian orris root and violet leaf absolute. It will soon reveal a sophisticated, more complex phase, as a powdery, woody-leather note emerges – it is reminiscent of cedarwood and dry burnished leather, and surprisingly creates a very soft and somewhat warm accord together with the rose.
This note surprisingly reminds me of other great French perfumes, which I believe No. 19 can proudly stand hand-in-hand with – Ivoire, Tocade and Nahema. The rose accord in all three possesses a similar almost-smoky quality that is interesting and complicated…

The drydown will bring forward more of the woody notes – distant and quite dry oakmoss, subtle cedar and sandalwood, and primarily the balsamic, somewhat fresh notes of frankincense oil. It still is possessed by the green notes of the former phases, but is not as sharp and is somewhat rounder, more powdery…

No. 19 is the most mysterious and enigmatic of all Chanel’s perfume, and I feel it requires a lot of effort to wear with the right spirit of class and refinement and certain elegant distance...

Top notes: Green, mainly galbanum
Heart notes: violet leaf, orris root, rose, jasmine
Base notes: Moss, Sandalwood, Leather

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ACT III: The Heart Twitching Longing of No. 19

A slight distance whiff of this perfume will effortlessly bring tears to my eyes…
I find No. 19 to be the most melancholic perfume of all times… It is the odour of uncertainty, the smell of lost love and of fruitless longing…
I find myself wearing it only to intensify the feeling of a lonely abandonee in the midst of a big cruel world…
The sharp green notes at the beginning are strong enough to press on my tear-glands, and what comes after is a rush of stingy green olfactory particles, sharp and transparent as glass fragments…
No. 19 is deceivingly perceived by some as a warm chypre fragrance. In fact, it is icy-cold cruelty to my heart.
Than comes my favourite part – when the rose emerges, and there is a moment of grace, with its warm powderiness supported by orris and leather notes…
But when it finally dries down, it is again a heartless woody, stingy-powdery scent of orris, smoky cedar wood and bitterly dry oak moss that is not enough to console me at all...(Supported with some skin-burning fresh frankincense…) this all will make me regret wearing it, and yet longing for something that never appears to come, though promised…

Without doubting its superb quality and artistic balance, using a rightfully generous ratio of natural essences from the best sources skillfully crafted - I find it very hard and almost impossible to wear No. 19 without shedding a tear.

If you share the same feeling towards No. 19, I suggest you wear it only when you are absolutely sure that your lover (yes, that unserious guy that you started to have feelings for) will never show up…
Image of refillable EDT from

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Sunday, January 28, 2007

Dates Added to

I added the year of release for each of the perfumes on
For more detailed time line of my line's development, you can visit the historiography page on this blog.

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Saturday, January 27, 2007


Aphrodisiacs are named after Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love and passion, and are by definition substances that cause sexual arousal and desire. Many herbs, plants and fruits that are considered aphrodisiacs in the Western traditions, are also alluded to Venus or Aphrodite (both the goddess and the planet), i.e.: fig, myrtle, rose, violet, etc.

Certain foods and beverages that enhance our overall well being (i.e.: supplementing certain vitamins, proteins and minerals that are essential for the reproductive system). Drugs and supplements can also intervene with the hormonal cycles that promote sexual desire. And last but not least – scents can trigger the feelings and mood of desire and attraction.

Foods, plants, herbs and animal-parts that were considered aphrodisiacs were often chosen because of their shape – i.e.: the phallic shape of bananas, cucumbers and rhinoceros horns; the vulva shape of figs and oysters. But there is sometimes also a biochemical reason behind it, when the food in question has certain minerals or vitamins that are particularly beneficial for the reproductive system.

Chocolate, for instance, is a valuable aphrodisiac as it activates endorphins in the nervous system, creating a good feeling that is similar to that we feel when we fall in love. Chocolates paired with chili peppers a stimulating love potion and also tastes magnificently good! Try to make your own hot-chocolate, spiked with black chili peppers, and prove me wrong. This is one of my favourite drinks ever (a recipe will follow).

When we look at the aromatics that are considered aphrodisiacs in aromatherapy practice, and have been used for centuries by ancient traditions as well as in perfumery – they seem to be divided into four major categories:

Here is where you will find most of the spice oils. Creating the sensation of heat, the increase blood pressure and circulation – which is not unlike sexual arousal. Spice oils have a definite character of their own, and spice up any perfume composition, quite literally. These include essential oils, CO2 extractions, and absolutes extracted form the familiar spices in our kitchen, such as (when you click on the links, it will lead you to the building block database on my website, including all the perfumes from my collection that significantly features that note):Some herbs also have a lively, spicy, pungent aroma with a similar effect, and these oils can be used similarly to spice-up and add a vibrant passion to a scent. These herbs are also known as anti-depressants and stimulants, which might explain a lot about their effect as aphrodisiacs:
Sedative, Erogenous Scents
While the previous category was mostly of pungent, lively spices and herbs – oftentimes eroticism and sexual arousal needs a relaxing environment for the mind and the body for the passionate feeling to be awakened. Deep, sensual aromas such as resins, balsams and woods provide that type of stimulation. Also, animal secretion (often used by the animal itself to attract the other sex), have a similar effect. Some of these notes have a certain affiliation with the natural sexual scent of men or women.
  • Patchouli
  • Ambrette Seed
  • Ambergris
  • Civet
  • Musk
  • Costus
  • Sandalwood - this oil is unique for its chemical make up that is quite similar to certain molecules found in men’s sweat.
  • Labdanum - a mild aphrodisiac of a sweet, balsamic nature which is slightly reminiscent of feminine sexual secretions.
  • Atals Cedarwood
  • Frankincense and Myrrh - more traditionally considered as a sedative in aromatherapy, which aso might explain their traditional religious uses – as they both calm the mind.
  • Cumin - one of the notes that is the most similar to human sweat than any other that I know of.
Floral and Narcotic Notes
Most floral notes are rich with indole, a chemical that is found in human feces. It’s interesting how this note has both the power to repel and compel. An overdose of indole is definitely off-putting; but it is the note that makes jasmine smell so attractive and sensual. Synthetic jasmine compounds that lack this element were found to be completely useless…
And lastly, there are notes that either stimulates or imitate a sexual hormone and are often used in aromatherapy to balance these hormones. The most famous of these is Clary Sage, which acts as an estrogen balancer for women. But Aniseed has a similar effect and has a mysterious aroma that can be very valuable in scented love potion. Licorice, which has a similar scent, is said to stimulate both estrogen and testosterone.

Of course, there are also personal differences – you may be more prone to react to certain aphrodisiacs than others. A scent that a former lover had worn may increase (or decrease, it all depends) desire when smelled again out of context…

The following is a list of aromatic aphrodisiacs and perfumes that use a respectable amount of them:

Ambrette Seed - Ce Soir ou Jamais, Timepe Passate, Ambrette 9
Aniseed - l'Heure Bleue, Apres l'Ondee, Lolita Lempicka
Basil - Eau Sauvage, Le Parfum de Therese, Diorella
Black Pepper - Poivre, Parfum Sacre, Let Me Play the Lion, Poivre Samarkand
Borneol - Shiso (Aftelier)
Cardamom - Vintage Gardenia, Ormonde, Citron Citron
Cassie - Un Fleur de Cassie, Farnesiana
Cedarwood Atlas - Feminite du Bois
Cinnamon - Musc Ravageur, L de Lolita Lempicka, Noir Epices
Clove - Asja, Fleur de Shanghai, Opium, Aqaba
Coriander - Coriandre
Cumin - Femme (the reformulated EDT and EDP)
Galbanum - No. 19, Incensei (Lorenzo Villorsei), Private Collection, Vent Vert, Chamade, Yohji
Gardenia - Vintage Gardenia, Gardenia Passion, Chanel's Gardenia
Ginger - Ginger Essence (Origins)
Jasmine - Samsara, Le Jasmin
Juniper - Coriolan, Terre de Bois, Democracry
Labdanum - Incensi (Lorenzo Villoresi)
Mint & Peppermint - Herba Fresca, Un Air de Samsara
Myrtle - Gem (Van Cleef & Arpels), Emporio Armani Night for Her
Narcissus - Vol de Nuit, Narcisse Noir
Neroli - 4711, Guerlain's Eau de Coq, Eau de Cologne Imperiale, Vetiver
Nutmeg - Caron's Poivre, Piper Nigrum & Spezie (Villoresi)
Orange Blossom - Fleurs d'Oranger, Orange Blossom Cologne, Orchid
Patchouli - Youth Dew, Borneo 1834, Patchouli Antique (Les Nereides), Patchouli Patch
Sage - Miss Dior, Aromatics Elixir, Vol de Nuit, Vent Vert
Rose - Parfum Sacre, Lipstick Rose, Bvlgari pour Femme, N'aimez Que Mois, Nuit de Noel
Rosewood - Jicky, Hiris
Rosemary - Grapefruit Cologne
Clary Sage - Pour Un Homme, Antaeus, Parfum de Luxe, Ma Griffe
Sandalwood - Samsara, Tam Dao
Ylang Ylang - Mahora, Ylang & Vanille, Chamade

*Image of figs courtesy of lemon_farmer

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Thursday, January 25, 2007

Sign The Petition! Save Perfume!

The following is a message from Tony Burfield of Cropwatch. I urge you to sign this petition, and contribute to a better chances that small perfume houses - namely those who use strictly natural essences - as well as the entire natural aromatics industry (farmers and distillers across the world) will remain sustainable.

At this cross-roads in the history of perfume-related legislation, it is of utmost importance that the consumers and the professionals in the field will be heard. It is your right to be able to choose which products you want to use. We are now facing the danger of eliminating materials (i.e. essential oils) that were used traditionally for many generations and caused no harm when used properly. These essences are beneficial to our health as well as our emotional well-being. Just imagine your life without your favourite perfume... Mitsouko, Miss Dior, No. 19 with no oakmoss (or very little)... Citrus colognes with no citrus... This is what IFRA is leading us to.

Here is the message from Tony himself, so you can get an idea of the urgency of the matter and why you MUST sign on the petition if you want to ensure the pleasure of natural aromatics in our lives for years to come, without needing miles of paperwork for every single drop.

"Hi all,

At last (!) we have a
petition up - protesting against the 40th IFRA amendment and its implications for all natural aromatics/essential oil users at

This isn't really just about Cropwatch, its about taking a stand against one of the prime movers (IFRA) in a regulatory process, which (intentionally or otherwise), is slowly phasing out the use of natural materials in favour of synthetics in cosmetics/fragrances. We can see a similar process going on - the phasing out of natural aromatic materials - in many other areas - biocides, over-the-counter medicines, household products etc. etc.

Please, please, please .... help us by signing this petition.

A good showing here in particular can help us enormously by proving that David (us) can triumph over Goliath (the Corporates). A bad showing means that we can be dismissed by the authorities as insignificant.

Please help us by spreading the word on this petition to as many groups and individuals as possible.



Did I mention the petition yet?
If you haven't signed yet, do it now!
Stand up to your Fragrant Rights for quality perfumes and the freedom of choice!

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Attar de Resistance

For some reason, all my romantic Valentine’s Day posts and perfume reviews are getting pushed aside because of more “political” agendas related to perfume.

To take off thr edge of the heavy topic ahead of us, let’s start with a little rhetorical question. What do the two images above have in common?

Is it control? Is it curiosity? Perfume?
Perhaps all of the above...

This new perfume was launched in Lebanon as an homage to the success of Hisballah’s assault on Israel in Summer 2006.
I am all for using perfumes for self-expression, and think this is a very interesting reaction to what happened last summer. A very interesting cultural phenomenon. In a way, one cannot help it but be very curious about how it smells.

The natural reaction for an Israeli and a Westerner would be that of shock and disgust. However, I have to report that I am feeling mostly curious about it than anything else. The selection of notes is of utmost interest, as it is said to contain Tea Rose (apparently, Nasrallah’s favourite) and in fact has connection to Muslim culture As a side note, Muslim culture contributed to perfumery a lot more than the French would like to admit. Perfumery truly originated in Alchemy. The word “Alchemy” is from the Arabic word “Al-Chimia”, and the Arabs were some of the most esteemed alchemists. Roses have been always considered a masculine scent in the Arab world, and were used exclusively by Arab rulers. They used to retain the freshness of roses by burying them in clay jars under the earth to keep them cool, and when the roses were not in season anymore, dig them out and sprinkle water on them to bring the scent back to life. It is said that the prophet Mohammed had a body odor of roses and musk. Such was his holiness and purity of heart that he did not stink lime most of us do.

One cannot help it but notice the resemblance of Attar de Resistance to the widely popular “Celebrity Perfumes” of the US. While in the US actors and singers release perfumes to represent their charming personalities and make big bucks, in Lebanon, fans of the political-religious movement make a perfume as a gesture of admiration for the leader and sell it for just $1. The perfume is packaged in a sample vial in a little propaganda folder.

I am not going to turn this into a political discussion (so please refrain from political comments unless you want to express opinions or suggestions about achieving PEACE in he region). I grew up in the region that got thousands of Hisballah rockets this summer (2006), and a kid from my brothers’ school – the high-school I myself have graduated from - was kidnapped as well during the violet events of summer 2006. Yet, this is not going to stop me from wanting peace and working towards peace in whatever way I can. In fact, I spent the better part of last year working practically for free on a publicity campaign for a peace summer camp, that had 10 Israeli, 10 Palestinian and 10 Canadian youth staying for 3 weeks in a film school in Galiano Island and making films about their experience of the conflict and meeting each other I will do everything I can to promote peace. Making a perfume to fundraise for peace education programs in Israel and Palestine is not a bad idea...


Angel: A Genius Perfume or Pesticide in a Fancy Bottle?

Angel, the ground-breaker and trend-setter from 1992, was revolutionary for the unusual synthetics notes it used (no natural ingredients at all are needed to produce this blue juice), and for the use of no floral notes whatsoever. The perfume was a culinary dream for many, with its notes of chocolate, caramel, dewberry, honey, patchouli and helonial – only one that required no calorie count. It quickly became one of the most popular perfumes in the world, admired by many women and men alike (a masculine version, A*MEN was launched 4 years later in 1996).

Howver, as popular as it is (in many countires it surpasses Chanel’s No. 5, which held the no. 1 bestseller for generations), Angel always caused an adverse reaction: it’s strong sillage and definite statement secured its place as a “Love It or Hate It” perfume.

Recently, a petition was submitted by the National Toxic Encephalopathy Foundation (NTEF)
to the FDA against Clarins (the distributor of Angel in the US), claiming that the labeling of Angel demonstrates “Deception by Omission” – meaning the information on the labeling is not complete and does not reflect certain risks that this products poses to the consumer. According to the NTEF, Angel perfume contains many chemicals that are used in pesticides, and that are a health hazard that can affect the eyes, respoirative, nervous and reproductory systems.

I may not be a fan of Angel (in fact, as much as I admire its bold character and array of unusual notes - it does cause me a headache and nausea and I can never wear it); however, I am not a fan of scare tactics either. Assessing the current developments in Europe (with the tightening regulations set by RIFM – which are adopted from the IFRA guidelines), I think it is time to re-think the relationships between manufacturers, consumers and government regulatory agencies.

In the past few years, perfumes have developed an increasingly negative reputation. The increase in allergic reactions to pollutant and foods and many mysterious causes that cannot be identified is changing the way people think about perfume. It is no longer mentioned as a revered, beautiful experience attached to fond memories and emotions – the reaction I usually see in response to the word perfume is curling of the lips and wrinkling of the nose, taking a step back to avoid contact with a horrible unpleasant thing!
- And this is just when talking about perfume, not even presenting a person with a perfume they can smell!

Nowadays, people are forced to not use their favourite scents in their work environment or in public in many countries. To me, this is a violation of our freedom.

On the other hand – mislabeling products and giving false information about products (i.e.: claiming they are all natural when they are not) – compromises our freedom as well. By eliminating important information, our ability to make informed decision and truly act out of our own free will is violated!

My own suspicion is though, that what causes the myriads of allergic reactions to scent and fragrance is not the actual product that is labeled as “perfume” – but rather the “fragrance” that is added to almost any product we come in contact with. Fabrics, leathers, detergents, skin care products, tires, toys, furniture, you name it!
When we use a product to clean and purify our environment, we really are just replacing germs/organic matters with manmade chemicals. We might even be better off becoming friendly with germs and other less delightful biological substances if we want to avoid contact with so many chemicals.

To me, from both a consumer and a manufacturer’s point of view – the best solution for it all is in labeling. If we label our products in such a way as to provide truthful information about its origins, benefits and health risks – our consumers will be more knowledgeable about what they are buying. They will also be a lot more careful about how they use it and more considerate of other i.e.: perhaps they will switch to dabbing Angel or other strong perfumes, as opposed to spraying them; this way they will affect other people less with their perfume, yet still will be able to enjoy it.
Images of Angel perfume ads from LuxuryChina and from Fragrance UK.

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Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Cropwatch Launches a Campaign to Boycott IFRA's 40th Amendment

As a response to IFRA's 40th Ammendment, Tony Burfield of Cropwatch is now leading a boycott and a petition. Click here to read a letter of IFRA as a response to Tony Burfield's letter. The first time in history that IFRA needs to defend itself.

I urge you to cast your vote for Cropwatch vs. IFRA in the poll run by Perfumer & Flavorist Magazine (it appears on the bottom left corner of the homepage). The results will be published in the February 7th issue of the magazine. Wouldn't it be fantastic if consumers will once and for all have an impact about these regulatory decisions instead of those being made for them?

It seems we have reached a point where taking action is in place.

More updates later, as the campaign proceeds, as well as more explanations about IFRA, the 40th amendment, saftey, and what it has to do with us - perfumers, perfume connoisseurs and consumers.

For now, here is a quote from Tony Burfield:
"The Pro-Synthetics Stance of the EU Cosmetics Sector.
The ongoing policy direction of the Cosmetics section of the EU Commission then, is effectively condemning EU cosmetic/fragrance consumers to a synthetic chemical future, via the progressive & continuous assaults, often on dubious toxicological grounds, on the freedom to use, formulate with, & to buy, products which contain natural aromatic ingredients. These regulations against natural ingredients are biting deeper & deeper, such that incoming new perfumers do not have the skills to create fragrances with natural materials any more, as they are only expert in synthetic (Corporate) perfumery.
Cropwatch believes the right for EU fragrance consumers to choose natural perfumes composed entirely of natural ingredients, is a basic human right, and this principle should be tested in law. The current demand for 100% natural perfumes - and now even a demand for 100% organic perfumes - is high in the EU marketplace. However perfumery companies cannot legally place many traditional natural perfume types on the marketplace (e.g. citrus colognes, fougeres etc.) because of existing regulations and red tape which work against formulation with natural ingredients. But fragrance consumers don’t want 100% synthetic perfumes – they have noticed that they smell unfinished, ‘chemical’ & disgusting - they want perfumes composed either of both natural & synthetic ingredients, or of 100% natural ingredients, and Cropwatch can’t see why EU fragrance consumers shouldn’t have them."

Another interest read: I also recommend you read this article.

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Fragranace for the 3rd World

Visit The Onion for an amusing satire of a new launch perfume for an unusual market segment that is rarely considered as a target for consumption of luxury goods (or any goods besides food and water).

Theoretically speaking, this perfume deserves to be popular in the most blunt meaning of the word.


Monday, January 22, 2007

Roses et Chocolat Update: 5 Bottles Left

Only 5 more bottles left in stock for Roses et Chocolat!
If you love roses, and love chocolate - order it now while it is still available. Roses et Chocolat is a Limited Edition for Valentine's Day.

Top notes: Pink Pepper, Nutmeg, Mace
Heart notes: Turkish Rose Otto, Moroccan Rose Absolute, French Rose
Base notes: Cocoa Absolute, Amber, Vanilla

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Wearing Aqaba brings a feeling of freedom and an open horizon. Discovering a large body of water in the middle of the desert... Coming across an abundant loot from a Spice Caravan… Finding a city like Aqaba and conquering it… Like Lawrence of Arabia, it’s a Westerner conquered by the East; or the East bottled by the West, if you will.

Aqaba is enjoying the golden rays of a mercifully quiet desert sun upon yellow sand, covered with a large azure blanket of skies and finding the open sea to ahead, with refreshing unknown possibiliites. It is seductive and warm yet that does not mean it should restrict itself for being worn only indoors on cold winter days...

Although it is heavy and luscious, rich with spices, resins, balsams and flowers – it radiates certain lightness that is warm and soothing - creating the imaginary sensation of lying on a warm, fine, yellow sand, enveloped by sunlight and warmth that is comforting, almost healing… It radiates a golden expanded feeling of abundance, reminiscent of amber jewels, copper and golden frankincense tears.

The perfume opens with fruity peachy notes, as well as pencil-like, smoky-dry cedwarood notes, spices (primarily clove buds), it has a generously rich, golden heart Egyptian jasmine, orange blossom and roses, and base notes of olibanum, myrrh, and sandalwood.

Aqaba has the beautiful, dark oriental notes of frankincese and myhrr, the traditionla Biblical seducers, as well as rose and spices. Most of the ingnredients smell like they’ve been just lifted off a passing Spice Caravan. However, despite this array of heavy notes, Aqaba gives a luscious, bright impression that is evocative of the contrast between the dry yellow desert sands and the jewel-like, rich blue hues of the tropical Red Sea.

Aqaba is reminiscent of Asja in its combination of cloves, fruit and resins and the modern rendition of the classic Oriental theme– yet it is a much more complex oriental (albeit not particularly original). It is almost as heavy and rich as Opium, Youth Dew and Cinnabar (and in that sense evokes the old times...) but is so light-hearted, luscious and fruity that you simply cannot think of it as old and passe...

As much as Aqaba is an old fashioned Oriental spicy perfume, I find it refreshing in the modern market that is overflown with new perfumes that are mostly unoriginal, fake, overly synthetics, watered down, and lacking character. Though Aqaba is a tad too sweet and juicy for my taste nowadays, it is a wonderful scent to wear when the weather is still cold - to remind me of desert lands and exotic spices. For the oriental lovers amongst us, Aqaba is a perfume you must try.

Aqaba can be obtained directly from its creator, via Miriam Mirani's webstore. According to the website, the notes are:

Top notes: Peach, White Cedarwood, Cloves, Cinnamon, Cardamom
Heart notes: Damask Rose, Egyptian Jasmine, Bulgarian Rose
Base notes: Myrrh, Frankincense, Oakmoss, Tea Leaves

Gulf of Aqaba Bay from
Lawrence of Arabia from

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Saturday, January 20, 2007

"Baladi" Video Clip

Just got off the phone with my brother Noam who referred me to stupid video clip:

Well, this is not at all a great song, the lyrics are stupid, but it was shot in my home village, and my brother Yotam and his friends are acting as extras (they are the hard working men in the field). I thought I would just post it so you guys can see how the beautiful village I grew up in looks in the spring-time (though the people there don't look anything like this weird combination of Amish, Cowboys, Druze and Hippie-semi-religious Jews (the latter is the closest to reality to describe the population of the village). Have fun watching!

P.s. this is where my custom jewelry comes from.

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Friday, January 19, 2007

Terry Sunderland

Terry Sunderland graduated from Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design in 1994. He was art director for Adubsters from August 1994 to April 1997 – at that time a record for Adbuster art-director endurance. As well as art direction, responsibilities included all layout, typesetting and production.

Terry’s career is characterized by working with environmental and social marketing organizations. He worked as a chief graphic designer for companies such as Emerald City, Working Design, and Good Company Communications - providing graphic and visual clarity and with his innovative approach to design. Amongst the project Terry worked on were the identity for Options for Sexual Health and the branding and publicity campaign for The Corporation.
With his wit and originality, Terry brings clarity and excitement to visions of a better world.

In 2006, Terry collaborated with Ayala Moriel Parfums in designing the packaging solutions, from labels to the boxes, and including the new look for our website coming up in 2007. Working with Terry was just as fun as seeing the results: sleek packaging and a look that is consistent with my perfumes, personality and philosophy.

Talking about personality, Terry's favourite perfume is Black Licorice. Which I am going to pack especially for him this weekend to celebrate the arrival of the boxes. We waited for that moment for a long time!

Thank you, Terry!

P.s. A couple of years later (June 19th, 2009), I'm updating Terry's portrait here. Since he loves Anime so much I thought it was only appropriate to publish his character sketch rather than a photograph. As you can see his beard has grown recently.

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The new boxes have arrived!
They are custom made with my little fairies all over them, and with a smooth finish that makes them a pleasure to handle as they are to look at.

Thank you so much for Terry Sunderland for the fabulous design, and for Bonnie and the team from Printing Ink for making them real!

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Wednesday, January 17, 2007

News from the Nose: Get Cozy with Roses et Chocolat

Dear Fragrant Friends,

In this newsletter:
* New Packaging
* New Perfume Launches – Roses et Chocolat
* Romantic Gift Sets for Valentine’s Day
* Limited Editions & Discontinued Fragrances - announcement/update
* Liquidation Sale Reminder and Update
* New Packaging (Boxes)
* New Gemstone Colours for Pendants!

This winter has been extremely fruitful, thus extremely busy, dedicating my time to launching 4 new perfumes this fall and winter, maintaining an active blog and enjoying the wind and snow storms in Vancouver. So I am very pleased to announce that in the dead of winter, we have yet some more goodies in store for you for the upcoming romantic occasion of Valentine’s Day. This time it's a limited edition, so you better get it in your loving hands before everybody else does - the quantities are extremely limited!

Our new perfume has the best of all worlds – Romance, pleasure and chocolate. Though I firmly believe that those blissful treats should be enjoyed all year around (by yourself or with your honey-bunny) I have decided to join all these forces and create a perfume that is particularly suitable for the occasion.

We are going to have new packaging as of January 18th. The bottles are the same – but the boxes are custom made, with a lovely and subtle pattern of our logo, and designed by renowned graphic designer Terry Sunderland (who also did an amazing job on all the packaging solutions and re-branding of Ayala Moriel and has been the in-house designer at AdBusters and The Corporation). You’ll be able to see it when you order next from us – or tune in to SmellyBlog to view it when it comes in! They are classy and pretty and exactly what we needed to move on to the next level in customizing our packaging to represent what we truly are.

Next week, we are expecting to have 6 new exciting drop-shaped gemstones:
- Carnelian (deep orange)
- Labradorite (from Canada - brown with blue light)
- Opalite (a synthetic yet lovely milky-opalescent stone)
- Moon Stone (pale white with some rainbow-like reflections)
- White Opal (with hues of orange, pink and yellow - see image to the left)
- Mother of Pearl

We are producing only two pendants of each colour, so these are very limited quantities. We highly recommend placing an order in advance, as we may not be able to get these gemstone again in the future. I'll post photos here when they arrive...

I would like to present to you ROSES et CHOCOLAT – a perfume that delivers three pleasures in one elegant bottle:



And…. Perfume!

ROSES et CHOCOLAT is a bouquet of plush, velvety dark red roses (yet unlike most stem-cut roses, possessing a voluptuous scent); set against a melt-in-your-mouth chocolate truffles. The perfume part is what ties everything together, yet without taking away from either experience: my handcrafted, complex amber accord, made of rich resins and balsams, and a sparkling dusting of sexy spices: the fruitiness of pink peppercorns and the sublime aphrodisiac dry warmth of nutmeg and mace, creating an overall impression of a full-bodied red wine.
Kisses not included, so you’ll need to get your own...

ROSES et CHOCOLAT is offered as a limited edition. We only made 7 bottles, and a small number of samples - and will be happy to hold one for you, which can be shipped to you and arrive in time for Valentine’s Day. See image of the perfume and packaging in an earlier post here on SmellyBlog.
- And it is also available as a solid parfum in our signature Perfumed Pendant.

* Like all of our limited edition fragrances, the fragrance is available until quantities last, but can be also made on-request when special-ordered. If the demand will exceed our expectations, we may add it to our permanent collection. All of our limited edition scents are located on this page of our website.

Like a box of chocolates of the finest qualities and varieties, we would like to suggest two unique gift sets of love and passion for Valentine’s Day, both of which can be purchased for the 45% OFF rate that we offer on all our Perfume Wardrobes:

A collection of all our 3 chocolate perfumes:

ROSES et CHOCOLAT – the most romantic gift of passion – chocolate, roses and perfumes. Best served with a kiss and a bottle of red wine…

FILM NOIR – our heatless and topless perfume, composed of the richest base notes of chocolate, patchouli and myrrh.

GUILT– our all-time favourite chocolate perfume, balanced by ornage blossom, orange peel, amber and mimosa.

This set includes three of our love potions:

RAZALA – a passionate love poem for the desert and the veiled women who dwell in it. With notes of ambergris, oudh, roses, saffron and myrrh.

WHITE POTION – intoxicating and night-blooming white florals on a backdrop of creamy sandalwood and tonka bean

ROSES et CHOCOLAT – our newest, limited edition love potion

* You may also order a combination of 4 fragrances as a Miniature Wardrobe

We have created a new category on our website for scents that were not so popular, yet are a favourite of selected special customers.

We don't want to truly discontinue any fragrance if we can help it (a terrible habit of too many perfume houses!). So, as long as we have the building blocks available for constructing the fragrance and retain its original characteristics, we will be offering these rarities on our special webpage.

So what's the difference between the "discontinued" or "Ltd. Editions" and the rest of our collection?
Only two things, really:
1) We may not be able to offer samples of these in the near future (we'll offer them only as long as supplies last).
2) If you want to order these, you will have to order a full bottle, and there may be a waiting time of up to six (6) weeks, to allow for the perfume to mature.

Don't miss this opportunity to buy larger amount of your favourite scent at a significantly discounted price! This packaging is being discontinued, as it was replaced by 8ml French Flacon with ground glass stopper. All of our perfumes are now sold only in pure parfum or parfum oil concentrations, for $100 a piece regular price.

Another clearance item is a silver compact (not the pendant, but they look the same except for the chain, with our signature logo of fairy and a drop, and a matching gemstone masquerading as a drop). Regular price is $150, but they are now on special for only $100. The two scents we have are:
White Potion

All of the spray and roll-on bottles are hand painted with our signature Fairy and the Drop logo, and the name of the perfume.

Visit my “BLOWOUT SALE” page on SmellyBlog for the most updated list of perfumes and sizes available

Scented regards from snowy Vancouver,

Ayala Sender, Perfumer
Ayala Moriel Parfums
Signature Perfumes ~ Perfumed Jewelery ~ Fragrance Consultant On-Line

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Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Hearty Valentine's Fragrances

Valentine’s Day is just a month away, so I decided to put together a little “anothology” of 10 of the most obviously V-Day perfumes of all: they are other full of aphrodisiac notes, declare romance and passion with their names, or wear their heart on their sleeves so to speak – with heart-shaped bottles and packaging.

Caron introduced N’Aimez Que Moi in 1916 ”To keep up morale among the troops and their lady friends”. The names means “Love Me Only”, and meant to nurture faithfulness. So pour some of this extrait from an ancient Urn and imagine yourself as a soldier in the trenches smelling a letter from your fiancé back home smelling of a delicate, heart-twiching perfume among the roaring of gun fire and battle-dust. N’Aimez Que Moi is not just roses and violets – the base is soaring with longing in the finest Caron tradition. The parfum is available from the Caron boutiques in Paris and New York. To contact the New York boutique email the friendly and knowledgeable Cathy and Diane or call 1-877-882-2766

The name means “Infatuation with Love”. This modern classic from the late 1980’s is romantic though quite linear – maintaining a floral, powdery musky-clan accord of bergamot, rose, magnolia, vanilla and musk. What else there is to ask?

L de Lolita Lempicka is another fabulous fragrance from Maurice Roucel, who also created Tocade and Musc Ravageur. The main notes here are orange, cinnamon, immortelle and vanilla. But mostly vanilla. The bottle is heart shaped and decorated with sea motives and charms, and as we all know – men react irrationally to vanilla!

100% LOVE
The name says it all, but Sophia Grojsman says it with perfume. The main element is the seductive, deep amber note of rockrose (labdanum), adorned with roses and cocoa. 100% Love is sensual and earthy and feels surprisingly natural. It is also available in a more concentrated format, named 100% Love MORE (pictured to the left).

This natural perfume is the newest from Mandy Aftel’s perfume house. Tango is as passionate as the Argentinian dance it’s inspired by, yet, like the dancer feet in the stilettos - it is classy and elegantly restrained.
Tango opens with the mysterious, rubbery, smoky notes of toasted seashells and myrrh, and gradually smoothes into a creamy floral bouquet of champaca and tuberose.
To make it even more Valentine-ish, wear it in the heart shaped pendants that are offered for a limited time via

A heart shaped bottle for a perfume with a heartbeat. Chamade is the drumroll of surrender – and in this perfume it is surrender to love. The bottle is shaped as a heart, and the stopper is a spear of an arrow. Chamade pulsates with cassis and greenery (galbanum, hyacinth) and heady florals (ylang ylang, jasmine) that are tamed and surrendered by earthy, ambery base notes (oakmoss and the most effortless aphrodisiac of all that Guerlain uses so well – vanilla).

This was the first perfume I ever picked “blind”. I ordered it from the Yves Rocher mail-order catalogue when I was quite a novice in interpreting ad copies and lists of unotes that I never heard of. I was intrigued by this offering of Mirabelle plum, cassis, grapefruit and amber and was determined to try it. When the smooth pink bottle that resembles an abstract conch arrived - I was thrilled to discover that I like it and found it similar to how I imagined it to be (quite a revelation for the time, actually). It was equally sweet and refreshing, youthful and sensual and I wore a lot of it back in the day.
You can now get it in crème parfum for only $2.95 or as a heart shaped candle for $3.00. Other body and bath products are available, including an iridescent body lotion.

An erogenous mix of rose, magnolia and jasmine, paired with citrus top notes and a woody base of cedar, benzoin and vetiver. Nick Jennings, the nose of Sharini Parfums, is a French natural perfumer, and uses only organic essences and alcohol in his perfumes.

It wasn’t until I watched Inside Man in the theatre that I finally understood the Indian connection of this perfume. The film opens with the most smooth-voiced Indian pop song, and I couldn’t help think of Shalimar and of Indian sweets – full of butter, vanilla and rosewater. Shalimar, however, is more than just a vanilla scent. It’s a complex love potion that was inspired by a tragic (aren’t they all?) love story of an Indian king and hi wife, to whom he planted the gardens of Shalimar – and after her death, raised the monument of Taj Mahal. Shalimar in pure parfum is something that is to be experiences at least once in a life time. While the base is the smoothest, richest and best quality vanilla (or at least it used to be) – there are other elements involved, such as birch tar and castoerum and bergamot, and of course – rose, jasmine and iris. The flacon itself is a beautiful gem all on its own.

Natural perfumer Lesle Faye’s The Kiss captures the agony and the ecstasy of passion’s fiery embrace. With notes of Mimosa, Oak Moss, and Frangipani. The Kiss is available in three sizes and forms:
Roll on $45
Atomizer $75Crystal Flacon $125

Tune in to SmellyBlog in the next couple of weeks to get more ideas for what to do and wear, smell and give to your sweetheart(s) on Valentine's Day.

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Friday, January 12, 2007

Comments & Contests

Dear SmellyBlog Readers,

It was brought to my attention that some readers had difficulties posting their comments on my blog. It seems to be an occasional technical glitch that must have been amplified since I have switched to Bloggoer Beta. The Beta is now gone, and all Blogger has new features as it underwent a major makeover. I think this will explain why. Since Blogger have been very reliable in fixing their problems, I am confident that these problems will diminish in the near future.

So here is my temporary solution for the problem:
If a comment doesn't seem to go through, please email it to me, and I will post it under your name. This way you can ensure your name is entered into the Smells Don't Lie Contest to win a miniature of Roses et Chocolat, our delish Ltd. Edition for V-Day.

I apologies for the inconvenience and appreciate your patience.

Warm regards,


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SmellyBlog Nominated for Basenotes Best Blog Award in 2006

Good News!
SmellyBlog was voted by Basenotes as one of the top ten best fragrance blogs for 2006, and is nominated for the Best Blog Award.

Thank you for your participation in the nominations, and for reading SmellyBlog!

The final winners will be announced February 2007.

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Tuesday, January 09, 2007

New Perfume: Roses et Chocolat

I would like to present to you Roses et Chocolat – a perfume that delivers three pleasures in one elegant bottle:

and… Perfume!

Roses et Chocolate is a bouquet of plush, velvety dark red roses (yet unlike most stem-cut roses, possessing a voluptuous scent); set against a melt-in-your-mouth chocolate truffles. The perfume is what ties everything together, yet without taking away from either experience: a complex amber compound of rich resins and balsams, and a sparkling dusting of sexy spices:
the fruitiness of pink peppercorns and the sublime dry warmth of nutmeg and mace, creating an overall impression of a full-bodied red wine.

Roses et Chocolat was conceived last February, around Valentine’s Day, when I felt inspired to create a series of love potions – on the occasions of the famous lovers’ date. After many trials, I finally arrived at the desired effect in my latest version, dated July 7th. This must have been my lucky day without me knowing it. Like the former tirals, it didn’t seem right at first: the roses tend to either swallow the chocolate, or disappear in it. I just let it sit, without expecting much, and discovered only a month later that I did manage to pare down the composition and achieve the desired effect – a passionate and playful declaration of love with the most romantic gift. Kisses not included, so you’ll need to get your own...

Roses et Chocolat is offered as a limited edition. We only made 7 bottles, packaged in heart-decorated boxes (see image), and will be happy to save one for you, which can be shipped to you at the end of January, to arrive in time for Valentine’s Day.

* Like all of our Limited Edition fragrances, the fragrance is available until quantities last, but can be also made on-request when special-ordered. If the demand will exceed our expectations, we may add it to our permanent collection.

Image: lOve iS by Mirage

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Smells Don't Lie

Growing up vegetarian from birth, I was quite alarmed when one day, fish was brought to the house by none other than my mother, and was pan-fried for a feast as if to advertise the alarming fact by amplifying the scent. There was a good reason for the fish – my baby brother was extremely anemic and needed that extra nutritional boost to get him back on track. I had no intentions of standing in his way of growing up, but to me it seemed like an excuse for frequent fish-feasts throughout that summer and onwards. My distaste for the aroma of frying fish was not something I tried to hide. It was well advertised just like the scent itself, elevated from a frying pan by the gas flames and filling out the tiny hut in the heat of the summer. And like any good mother, mine tried to hide the fact by covering it up with white lies. I’d come back from school, to find the frying pan cleaner than ever or in the sink, and the house filled with a scent that would not embarrass a fisherman’s house. There is only one thing that can explain her embarrassed surprise when hearing my loud cry: “you fried fish again?!”. My mom has acquired anosmia sometime in her later adulthood.

While the fried fish is something anyone (except anosmiacs, of course), even without an acute sense of smell, would be able to pick up on immediately, I was able to tell when food went bad way before anyone else in the family did. Living without refrigerator (and with an anosmiac mother) made this skill particularly handy. But while most of my family could enjoy a day-old dish, even after I made it very clear the food is already deteriorating, I just sat there and watched them, puzzled…

To this day, I go through my day heavily relying on my sense of smell to assess my environment, and I can often guess what my partner had done in the house before I came in just by the smell in the house. My favourite thing ever though was guessing which shampoo he used by sniffing his head… The scent of the shampoo changes on the skin and hair, so that makes the game a bit challenging sometimes.

I get particularly excited whenever the sense of smell is acknowledged by people in a surprising way. So I was particularly excited when last night, when I watched an episode of Monk with David, the murder mystery was solved as the detective’s assistant Natalie recognized an after-taste of Aqua-Velva in her wine. The body of the victim (well, to be precise, the almost victim as he really died of a heart-attack before the murderer had a chance to get him) was hidden in a barrel. He doused himself with the aftershave the night before.

Did you ever find out something a person wanted to hide from you thanks to your sense of smell? Which mysteries did your nose solve for you? Share your stores and enter to win a miniature of Roses et Chocolat, my new limited edition for Valentine’s Day!

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