Saturday, June 30, 2007

Banana Sheera


Banana Sheera, originally uploaded by Ayala Moriel.

Before reviewing Sira des Indes, I figured I should try the dessert it was inspired by. So I searched for a few recipes online and found this one. I think now I can see the connection, as well as the choice of banana, cardamom and indolic notes combined in the perfume. Bananas cooked in milk and semolina and spiced with cardamom has a flavour that is like no other - rich, warm, full bodied, exotic. The saffron garnish though is what adds the extra floral/medicinal/indolic/animalic touch. Now I can smell the connection... Plus it was a fabulous way to start the day - with a rich and fruity semolina dessert!

Banana Sheera Recipe*
Ingredients
1 cup Semoline (Cream of Wheat)
¾ Cup Golden Sugar
½ Cup Ghee or melted unsalted butter
1-1/4 Cup Milk, warmed
2 Bananas, mashed
½-1 tsp freshly rushed green cardamom
Salt to taste
1 handful of raisings, soaked for 10 mintues in boiling water (or soaked in room temperature for 2 hours)
2-3 Tbsp. Sliced almonds or cashews (keep some for garnishing)
Pinch of Saffron for garnish

Method
1. Melt the ghee in a small sauce pan, heat for about 5minutes
2. Add the semolina and fry until golden brown and fragrant
3. Add sliced nuts
4. Add 1 cup of warm milk (keep the rest for the mashed bananas)
5. Stir to avoid chunks from forming in the semolina.
6. Once the pudding becomes thicker, add the sugar and
7. Mash the bananas and mix with the remaining warm milk
8. Pour banans and milk to the pudding.
9. Drain the raisins and add them to the pudding.
9. Let cook for about 6-8 minutes over medium heat.
9. Serve hot in small dessert bowls, and garnish with saffron, crushed cardamom and sliced nuts.

*Adopted from Chimbori.com

Here are links to other recipes (larger quantities) for banana sheera:
Napa Valley
Recipe Bazaar

BBC Food Recipes
IslandFlave.com

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Sira des Indes


Pear, originally uploaded by Abbey Wuthrich.

The latest from Patou, Sira des Indes, signifies the hope of the return of classic perfumery in at least some of its glory. Despite the rundown of notes for Sira des Indes, which seems quite conformist and girly in an “I’ve Smelled This Fruity Floral Before” way, it is not.

Well, let me back off a little by saying that there is something familiar about it; familiar in a good way. First of all there is the familiarity of cooked fruit – primarily banana and pear. I can’t say I am noticing any berries and the bergamot is very muted as well. The cardamom, on the other hand, is there to complement the banana in a warm, seductive way, much as it does so in the dessert that inspired this perfume.

Than, there is also something classic about it. Perhaps I am reminded of the indolic jasmine of Joy, of seductively cloying narcissus as in Narcisse Noir and Vol de Nuit. There is also some champaca, and in this context it is a continuation of the banana-semolina pudding: fruity, warm, sensual and soft, with rare glimpse of magnolia peachiness. As I mentioned earlier, champaca is a very rare note to find in Western perfumery, and especially a French perfume. There is not a lot of it here (not as much as in Aftelier’s Tango or Ormonde Jayne’s Champaca), but there is enough to notice and make this stand apart.

Perhaps the familiarity and the feeling of return of classic perfumery is due to the well cushioned structure – no-nonesense base notes, creamy, rich and full-bodied of powdery yet sweet amber and musk, with sandalwood and vanilla in quantities that won’t embarrass Guerlain’s Samsara. The final drydown, by the way, is very similar on my skin to a cross between Samsara and Shalimar.


Meped, originally uploaded by Farl.

Like most “Orientals” made by Westerners, Sira des Indes brings a hint of the flavours to us in the West rather than abduct us on the Orient Express to the source (only very few “Western” perfumes do it in my opinion, such as some of Serge Lutens and Montale’s). Nevertheless, it’s a fresh, reviving scent that gestures to the past, winks at the Orient, and looks forward with a promise of dignity.

Top notes: Bergamot, Banana, Pear, Pink Berries, Cardamom
Heart notes: Red Champaca, Jasmine, Narcissus, Ylang-ylang
Base notes: Musk, Amber, Vanilla, Sandalwood.

If you are interested in reading other reviews of the same fragrance, visit:
Legerdenez
Bois de Jasmine
Now Smell This
Victoria's Own

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The Psychadellic Earthiness of Fairchild


Chihuly Pond of Glass, originally uploaded by tomalu.

Inspired by the Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden in Florida, Anya’s Garden perfume by the same name from presents the most unusual array of notes in the line. Full of exotic tropical aromas from both land and sea, it is a boisterous earthy explosion of hot and moist notes. I have never been to Florida, but after experiencing Fairchild I can imagine how intoxicating the humid tropical air must be, hosting such intense polarities.

Fairchild perfume is exotic and disturbing – you will smell here scents that you probably never smelled before: opening with the heady, unusual peppery-floral-horseradish notes of pandanus (kewda) and the bright, more familiar hesperidious notes of pink grapefruit and sweet clementine, Fairchild’s pungent opening will wake you up immediately and grab your attention with intrigue and puzzlement. Than notes champaca, magnolia and various jasmines rein the heart; though I personally feel the pandanus notes lingers longer than all and overshadows the presence of these glorious flowers. From the tree tops bearing tropical flowers and fruit, Fairchild goes deeper, and explores the moist soil and the luscious vegetation, with air-exposed roots intertwining amongst moss and seashells and ponds. The notes of beach-harvested ambergris and the toasted seashells are very muted and barely noticeable (the latter were also used in Tango by Aftelier in a larger amount), adding complexity to the base that is at times overbearingly earthy. Fairchild smells wet, hot and tropical and the contrast between the pungent and unusual kewda jutaxposed with moss and roots creates a peculiarly psychedelic earthy feel.

According to Anya’s Garden website, Fairchild includes notes of pandanus, champaca (gold and white), a few different types of jasmine, citrus notes (grapefruit, clementine), ylang ylang, and base notes of ambergris, oakmoss, seaweed, toasted seashells, hedychium roots and spicy galangal.

Anya McCoy is one of the pioneers of Natural Perfumery, and being a Landscape Architect, she has appropriately chosen to dedicate each perfume in her line to famous botanical gardens around the world such as Fairchild and Riverside (a citrus-ambery perfume which was recently discontinued) as well as imaginary/mythical ones, like her goat-haired fougere fragrance, Pan. Anya is also the queen of tincturing rare tropical flowers that she grows in her garden, and which do not submit their essences to any form of distillation. The tinctures give a certain depth and complexity as well as a vivid aura – as if the perfume is breathing with life.

Fairchild can be had via Anya's Garden webstore, in parfum Extrait (3.5ml for $40), Eau de Parfum (15ml for $80) or in sample spray size (2ml for $20). A smaller size sample, for one or two application is also available for $5.

To read other opinions of Fairchild, visit:
The Perfume Bee
Perfume Shrine
Noteworthy Fragrances

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Friday, June 29, 2007

Tango


Tango Shadow, originally uploaded by sk8rsherman.

Tango is one of my favourites from the Aftelier line. And one of the newest addition to it (it was launched this winter along with Orchid – which is my absolute favourite perfume by Mandy Aftel). Tango is a subtle and sexy perfume that leaves you with a taste for more, and is an example for the complexity and versatility of the champaca flower.

Tango starts smoky and rubbery with notes of myrrh and Choya Nakh (an essence of toasted seashells from India). Like asphalt heating in the scorching sun, it may feel overbearing but at the same time casts its magic upon the pedestrians as long as they don’t get burnt...

Than it softens into a soft, almost buttery floral perfume dominated by the rich, full-bodied and slightly fruity spiciness of red champaca and the creamy powderiness of tuberose. The dry down is complex and interesting, mostly a continuation of the tropical floral accord, but much softer, and well blended into the skin. A note of tonka bean helps balance the headiness of the florals and bring sweetness to the initial burnt impression. This olfactory dance lasts for a very long time, in a soft, muted manner –calculated like the controlled passion of the Tango steps, and never overpowering. The Tango dancer here really knows how to restrain her feelings and maintain her dignity through a brutally painful romance.

Tango is available via Aftelier's website, and retailers that carry the line. 1/4oz Parfum Extrait is $140, a miniature of 2ml is $40, and samples of about 1/2ml can be had for $5 each (sold in threes for a total of $15).

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Thursday, June 28, 2007

First Solid Perfume Workshop


Ceramic Casseroles, originally uploaded by Ayala Moriel.

My first ever solid perfume workshop happened tonight and was plenty of fun! Everybody just loved the perfume they've created for themselves. I had a great time too, as there is nothing more pleasant for me than to share my passion and knowledge with like minded people who love and appreciate scent, and are eager to learn.

I was also happy that we had just enough time and didn't need to rush anything at all. We started with tea and than smelled all the essences that I had picked for us to use. We than planed our perfumes and went step by step through the process of fragrance creation, drop by drop until each one was happy with the result. The


Solid Perfume Workshop 28.06.2007, originally uploaded by Ayala Moriel.

Above are the results of the first solid perfume workshop:

Keona's Green Queen - with notes of Peru balsam, Rose Absolute, Lime, Ginger, Myrrh and Labdanum

Marcia's Fiesta - with notes of Cocoa Absolute, Lavender Concrete, Rose Absolute, Fresh Ginger Essential Oil and Lime Essential Oil. Marcia picked a lovely vintage pillbox for her perfume (the label is on the bottom) with a yellow-rose decoration on the porcelain lid.

Ty's Middle Earth Essence - with notes of Peru Balsam, Copaiba Balsam, Clary Sage, Violet Leaf Floral Wax and Juniper Berry Essential Oil.

The next Solid Perfume workshop is scheduled for July 12th. There will be another one on July 31st, and at least one more in August. For more information about the workshops, click on the Workshop Calendar button on the right.

P.s. It's quite uncommon for things to go smoothly and arrive on time, so you can imagine my thrill today when I discovered the ceramic casseroles I've ordered online have arrived just on time for my first solid perfume workshop! I've ordered 10 of them, since the two I have and use in my studio would not be enough for a workshop that is open for up to 6 participants. It certainly made things a lot easier...

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Dim Sum with Champaca


zong zi (粽子)., originally uploaded by theshanghaieye.

The exotic, tea-like champaca notes of champaca flowers are at the heart of this unconventional soliflore by Linda Pilkington. Accompanied by basmati rice and tea notes, this accord is prominent throughout the fragrance evolution.

Champaca opens with a hint of fruity citrus freshness that offers a temporary distraction from the champaca concept is backed up strongly by the champaca and basmati notes. These are warm, enveloping and comforting, like steaming dim-sum of tea flavoured rice dumplings.

Champaca is quite gourmand due to the prominent basmati and green tea notes; yet in a sophisticated way which makes it smell actually woody. It sheds a different light on the otherwise rather mundane, simple and subtle. Served in a stylized dish, even the most basic nourishing meals can seem sophisticated…

As for the drydown - as in most Ormonde Jayne's fragrances, it boils down to her signature musk base, which is clean and warm and vanilla-sweet.

Top notes: Neroli, Pink Pepper, Bamboo
Heart notes: Champaca, Freesia absolute, Basmati Rice
Base notes: Myrrh, Green Tea, Musk

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Champaca Flowers vs. Nag Champa Incense


Michelia champaca details, originally uploaded by Amethist.

There is often confusion betweenchampaca flowers and the Nag Champa incense. A current project that involves the champaca as a note engouraged me to both look into the matter, as well as sample a few different champaca essences, and further deepened my intrigue by champaca. I hope you’ll find the following information useful.

Michelia Champaca, also known as “golden champaca” or “red champaca” is a flowering tree from the Magnoliceae family (magnolia alba is another species used for its essential oils in perfumery – from both the flowers and the leaves). It is native to India, Java and the Phillipines. Traditionally, Indian women would wear the buds behind their ears until the bud will open up and release its own scent.

Champaca is also related to Star Anise, and its scent in a way shares the spicy characteristics of star anise as well as the floral-fruitiness of magnolia. Unlike white magnolia, which is peach-like and very light, champaca has a penetrating, smooth and rich aroma that is reminiscent of tea, spices, and a floral note that is often compared to orange blossom. I personally think it is so unique it cannot truly be compared to orange blossom at all. Stephen Arctander describes champaca as similar to guiacwood (a waxy, smoky, tea-rose like wood from South America), yet at the same time mentniones that it is also used to adulterate champaca and therefore is not a very good way to describe champaca… I feel that until champaca is experienced, it is really difficult to describe it or imagine it.

I have experienced various champaca essences, including Champaca CO2, Champaca Absolute and Champaca Concrete. The champaca absolutes I have sampled varied a bit, one being more fruity and reminiscent of magnolia, and the other being more full-bodied, spicy and wine-like. In both cases they were intensely warm and rich but not in overpowering way. There is something really soothing and exoticly elegant about champaca in my opinion. Champaca CO2 is similar to the absolute, but with a less complex presence, and it feels a bit flatter, thin in comparison to the other essences. The lasting power and intensity was not to my satisfaction, but if combined with white magnolia and champaca concrete it creates a lovely champaca profile. The champaca concrete is by far my favourite, having a rich, complex tea-like undertones, a sweet body note, and minty-herbal-spicy overtones.

Those who are familiar with the Nag Champa incense may find champaca scent to be somewhat similar. The reason being that Nag Champa incense incorporates halmaddi, a grey, semi-liquid resin taken from the Alianthus tree, which smells very similar to champaca flower.

The champaca flowers may have been used in the traditional recipes for Nag Champa, but I doubt that any champaca flowers would be found in the myriads of champaca joss sticks that are sold at a very low price across the world. Considering that the going price for champaca absolute is between 3,000-5,000 a kilo, it seems very unlikely. The price is predicted to go only higher, as development in India is booming due to the growth of the high-tech industry there, making land more and more precious. Farmers of exotic oils in India are going to be asking for a much higher price for their fragrant goods to justify not selling their lands.

Because of its price, champaca is rarely used in mainstream perfumery. I have seen it mentioned as a note sporadically, i.e. in Calvin Klein’s Euphoria (can’t say I’ve noticed it though…), and in Patou most recent Sira des Indes. It is also found in a couple of niche fragrances, such as Commes de Garcons Guerilla 1, and of course the infamous Champaca by Ormonde Jayne. But it is most dear to natural perfumers, and I believe it is there where you will find the most intriguing use of champaca, as in the smoky Tango by Aftelier, or the sultry exotic beach scent Fairchild by Anya’s Garden. Over the course of the next few days I will do my best to review these perfumes.

*Many thanks to Christopher MacMahon of White Lotus Aromatics who shared with me his knowledge about Champaca and its current position in India.

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Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Sticky and Stuck


candy lane, originally uploaded by Carol Esther.

You won’t ever hear me complaining about my work as a perfumer. I have the most creative freedom possible on this earth and I enjoy every bit of the process from concept to getting dirty and messing up with the scents. It is also very rare that I find myself “stuck” and in a sort of an awkward situation when it comes to fragrance development.

But now I am. I am feeling quite frustrated with a particular composition I was commissioned to create for a client. There are a few technical issues at hand, one being that the medium is a solid perfume (rather than the alcohol I usually prefer to work in). The second is that the scent itself is an ambery fragrance, and is meant to be mostly amber. The issue is not so much with the scent itself as it is with the medium it’s in. You see, most of the essences used to create an amber accord are stickier than molasses. Benzoin, Peru balsam, labdanum… These are all thick and sticky materials that without the helping hand of alcohol are really difficult to work with. I feel like I hit that spot in Candyland and I am just not seeing the way out… I already missed 8 turns, and that's more than I'm used to...

The other problem I am finding myself in is that originally, this was meant to be an amber/incense scent. I am feeling a lack of direction, even though these two seemingly have no conflict with one another whatsoever. When it comes to a scent that is rather simple, they seem to just not get to where I’d like them to be. Amber and incense should be rich, deep, penetrating and sweet. Instead, I am getting a gooey mess that smells more like rancid resins than anything else. Plus you get that sticky feeling when you finally get to smear it on your skin. Not fun at all, I’m telling you. And with the amber pulling one direction and incense pulling the other, I am feeling totally stuck in the middle from an olfactory design point of view.

Last night, what I did was blend together a new amber base. I already developed 5 different ambers which I love. But for this client I think they deserve to get something new. It is mostly based on Peru balsam with hints of other balsams, vanilla, benzoin and styrax. What makes this interesting is the added note of helicrysum absolute. And this is what I am hoping would set this apart from other ambers (meaning: keep it from being lame…). To that amber base I would like to add a tad of smoky-resinous notes of Choya Loban (the distractive distillation of benzoin, meaning it is left ot burn and scortch a little in the process, to produce a wonderfully smoky burnt caramel scent). Aside from that, a bit orange for sweetness and a lift, guiacwood for additional smokiness and finally a bit of cedar to thin out the consistency and add a smooth woodsy touch.

Cross your fingers for me... I am hoping in the morning, after I melt these all together into a solid perfume, I will finally get what I want: A stunning smoky amber.

Update: I spent most of the day struggling with the amber. I made additional 3 mods and melted them down to make a creme parfum. In all instances, the resins sink to the bottom after melting and even after re-melting. Changing the order of melting didn't help much either (i.e.: melting the essences together with the beeswax, or alternatively heating them up gently inside in oil base). I am getting scorched caramel lining on all of my pots and am feeling almost helpless... But wait, there is hope. One of the ambers seems to smell right after becoming a solid. It's a sweet, sugary amber and my friends who came over for dinner tonight tried it on and loved it. They even thought it is very girly and fashionable, which is the last thing I would have thought about it... Which is a good thing, because this amber is suppose to be very approachable, even if a bit off-beat and interesting. Is it possible that I am over-criticizing my amber?

A few hours later, my amber on my arm has warmed into a truly caramely, sugary layer glimpsing at me from my skin. I am starting to think that it might be it. Or at least very close to where I want to get. Forget about the woods and smoke. Let's just do a caramely amber and enjoy the dessert...

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Monday, June 25, 2007

Ayala Moriel @ Portobello West

Here is a glimpse of my table at Portobello West. I had very little time to take photos (snapped only two shots of my own table, and none of the market itself). It was plenty of fun and a busy, busy day at the market, even though it was raining cats and dogs outside.

It was fun meeting fashion-savvy Vancouverites who love to support local art and feed them my scented chocolate truffles... My Blood Truffles (dark chocolate, rose otto and chilli) were a hit. The Charisma truffles (matcha & jasmine white chocolate with hints of osmanthus, spearmint and litsea cubeba) were admired too... Of course you have to love matcha to truly appreciate them. I will be definitely bringing truffles to the next market - with flavours you won't even imagine... This time they will be for sale.

The next market is July 29th, 2007. Hope to see you there!

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Sunday, June 24, 2007

The Devil Wears Prada Contest

A little game/contest to make up for the lack of posts in the past few days (I've been terribly busy getting ready for Portobello West):
Find the most perfume references in the movie "The Devil Wears Prada" and win a fashionably smelly surprise gift package... This clip from the opening has some, but if you have the entire movie you may find more perfumes visually mentioned...

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Thursday, June 21, 2007

Summer Herb Walk

My friend, plant folklorist and tea master Dawna Ehman is guiding these herb walks in UBC Botanical Garden this summer along with medical herbalist Rowan Hamilton. If I wasn't in Portobello West all day, I would have joined them myself. It's going to be a tough decision for Vancouverties this weekend - but the market is going on from 12-7, so perhaps you will be able to dance in both weddings so to speak!

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Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Cognac and the "Mesique"


Olives, originally uploaded by chany14.

The name of the latest perfume from Aftelier, Cognac, might be deceiving. This is more of an olive scent than a cognac scent. Cognac is one of the most original fragrances Mandy Aftel, who is infamous for her use of hard to find, cutting edge natural essence. Cognac uses green olive fruit absolute along with a base of the fruity green cognac absolute (from residues of grapes in the wine-making process) and refreshing citrus top notes, to create a perfume that evokes the exquisite simplicity of life along the Mediterranean.

When wearing Cognac, I am instantly reminded of the "Mesique" (AKA olive fruit harvest), the breezy autumn days, chilly in the mornings but warmer around noon, when me and my little brothers would not go to school in order to help our parents harvest the olives before the first rains spoils them. After hours of olive picking, our fingers will diffusive of green fragrant fresh olive juice. When it was time for the ten o'clock break, we'd peel the first tangerines of the season, still mostly green on the outside but already sweet in the inside... But our olive-juice-anointed fingers will turn them as bitter as bittrex!

The texture of this fragrance, by the way, is quite oily - even though it is in an alcohol base. This must be again because of the olive fruit absolute.

Top notes: Blood orange, Fresh ginger
Heart notes: Oleander, Olive Fruit
Base notes: Cognac

P.s. On another note, I have to share another olive memory. My classmate Carmel, a constant seeker of strange sensory experiences, and with the talent of dragging anyone else into her obsession-du-jour, loved to smear herself with the black, ripe olives, and lead us to do the same. We would rub the soft black fruit all over our legs and they will become strangely moisturized and dry at the same time. And of course, we would return home covered in black juice with a bitter taste on our fingers that would last for the rest of the day. Thinking about now, it's surprising she has become a lawyer and not a cosmetic inventor. I can't imagine her being able to satisfy those sensory cravings in the courtroom!

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CALDENDAR of Olfactory & Culinary Workshops

OLFACTORY & CULINARY WORKSHOPS

Raw Materials 02, originally uploaded by Ayala Moriel.

The following are the classes and workshops offered at Ayala Moriel Parfums studio during the next few months. There are no pre-requisites for attending these workshops, but we do recommend you register for the class as early as possible, as the number of spots is very limited (we only take 6 students for the practical workshops, and up to 10 for "theoretical" workshops such as lectures and olfactory presentations).
Thursday, August 9th

Calendar of Workshops and Olfactory Events at Ayala Moriel Parfums Studio

The following is our workshop calender. You may also book a workshop just for you and a small group of friends (up to 10). More details on available workshops can be found below.

Sunday, November 11th, 1:00-3:00pm

Rememberance Day - No Classes

Thursday, November 15, 6:00-9:00pm

AROMATIC COOKING with FRESH HERBS, SPICES & FLORAL ESSENCES

Sunday, November 18th, 1:00-3:00pm

Candle Making Workshop


Wednesday, November 21st, 6:30-8:30pm

CHOCOLATE TRUFFLES WORKSHOP


Thursday, November 22, 6:00-9:00pm

INNER WISDOM OUTER BEAUTY: BEAUTIFICATION AND BODY CARE WITH NATURAL AROMATICS

Sunday, November 26th, 11:30-6:00pm

Portobello West - No workshops

Thursday, November 29th, 6:30-8:30pm

Stunning Stationary: Scented paper and Greeting Cards

Sunday, December 2nd, 12:00-3:00pm

Crème Parfum workshop

Sunday, December 2nd, 3:00-6:00pm

The Art of Incense


Thursday, December 6th, 6:30-8:30pm

Stunning Stationary: Scented paper and Greeting Cards



Sunday, December 9th, 1:00-3:00pm

Crème Parfum workshop

Thursday, December 13th, 6:30-8:30pm

CHOCOLATE TRUFFLES WORKSHOP - for last minute gift-making!!!

Sunday, December 16th, 11:30-6:00pm

Portobello West - No workshops -last minute holiday shopping ;)

Thursday, December 20th

CHOCOLATE TRUFFLES WORKSHOP - for last minute gift-making!!!


Workshops Details

CHOCOLATE TRUFFLES WORKSHOP

Learn how to make scented chocolate truffles with fine chocolate base and precious floral essences. We will be making two types of truffles (white or milk based, and dark chocolate base), and you will be taking them home with you to share with loved ones (or not…).
How much: $40 per person including materials (limited to 6 people)

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Scent Stripes, originally uploaded by Ayala Moriel.

Crème Parfum workshop

Learn how to design and create your own personal perfume from precious botanical essences. By the end of the workshop, you will have made a perfume to take with you. We will provide simple jars as basic packaging, but fancy silver compacts or porcelain pillboxes from the perfumer’s collection will be available for purchasing, for those who wish to add an extra visual and tactile touch to their first olfactory creation!
How much: $75 per person incudling materials (limited to 6 people)

THE ART OF PERFUMED CANDLEMAKING

Join our guest instructor Nikki Sheritt, an artisan candle maker of Seattle-based Gabriel's Aunt, for an afternoon of candle-making. You will learn how to make beautifully fragrant soy candles using essential oils and natural vegetable waxes. You'll be guided step-by-step in the process of blending the essences, moulding and crafting a high-quality, clean-burning candle. By the end of the class, you will take with you a specially scented candle, beautifully packaged and gift wrapped - ready to go under the tree!
Date: Sunday, November 18th, 1:00-3:00pm
How much: $45 including materials

THE ART OF INCENSE

Learn about the origins of incense and create your own incense blend using precious resins, gums, woods, spices and herbs. We will pulverize, grind and mix together raw materials that were used in incense makig since antiquity. After experiencing first hand the sensual aromatic process of incense making you may never look at incense the same way again...
How much: $35 per person incudling materials (limited to 6 people)

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ICE CREAM WITH FLORAL WATERS

Learn how to make ice cream from scratch, using top quality fresh ingredients and original, all-natural flavourings such as hydrosols and resins traditionally used in Middle Eastern desserts.
This class is also open to children ages 4 and up, when accompanied with a parent.

How Much: $25/adult, $5/child

Chocolate Truffles with Kids

Learn how to make scented chocolate truffles with fine chocolate base and delicious botanical essences. We will be making two types of children's favourite truffles (white and milk), and you will be taking them home with you to share with siblings and friends (or not…).

How much: $25/adult $5/child
*This class is also open to children ages 3 and up, when accompanied with a parent.

LIP BALMS with Kids

Create your own delicious lip balm for soft glossy lips! Making lip balm is fun and easy, and a great way to engage young children in the process.

How much: $25/adult $5/child
*This class is also open to children ages 3 and up, when accompanied with a parent.

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SCENTED BODY PRODUCTS PART I: BATH SALTS & MASSAGE OILS

Making your own bath and body products is fun and easy. You’ll be using high quality, readily available ingredients to make your own, custom-scented bath salts and massage oils.

How much: $45 person including materials (limited to 6 people)

SCENTED BODY PRODUCTS PART II: SUGAR SCRUBS

Making your own bath and body products is fun and easy. You’ll be using high quality, readily available ingredients to make your own, custom-scented sugar scrubs.

How much: $45 per person incudling materials (limited to 6 people)

SCENTED BODY PRODUCTS PART III: BODY BUTTERS

Making your own bath and body products is fun and easy. You’ll be using high quality, readily available ingredients to make your own, custom-scented body butters.

How much: $45 per person incudling materials (limited to 6 people)

Introduction to Natural Perfumery

This class is an interactive introduction to the art of natural perfumery. You will learn about how perfume is constructed, and will get exposed to the thinking process of a perfumer. You will learn how to sniff like a “Nose” and evaluate beautiful and strange essences from around the world, and smell how they were incorporated in some of Ayala Moriel’s perfume creations.

How much: $25 per person

DIY Booze

Learn how to make your own fine liquors from readily available aromatics and spirits.
In this class we will make homemade Limoncello, a classic for the summer!

How much: $25 per person (Including materials)

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Powders and Sachets

Create all-natural sachets, scented powders and potpourri based on vintage recipes from the turn of the century. The finished products make a perfect gift and will inspire you to do more at home.

How much: $45 per person (Including materials)

Stunning Stationary: Scented paper and Greeting Cards

Make your own beautifuly scented stationary and greeting cards. We will be using handcrafted paper and blank greeting cards and botanical elements to create stunning stationary - both visually and olfactory-wise. The stationary can be used as holiday greeting cards, or as a gift with a personal touch.

How much: $40 per person (including materials)

Aromatic Cooking with Fresh Herbs, Spices & Floral Essences

"We cook and complain that it's a waste of time, when we should be pouring our love into making that food" (Paulo Coelho, "The Witch of Portobello")

Join Ayala for a fabulous evening of aromatic cooking- using fresh herbs, freshly ground spices, floral waters and essential oils - in both savory and sweet dishes. Your will be given a collection of recipes to try at home, and receive guidelines for aromatic cooking. As an inspiration, we will be preparing a seasonal feast together (which we will enjoy at the end of the class, of course!) including an appetizer, a main course, a dessert and beverages to accompany the meal. I hope that by the end of the class you will feel inspired to use your own aromatic culinary creations at home and feel encouraged to express your creativity in the kitchen, using the best quality aromatics you can source.

In each cooking workshop, no matter the season, will give some basic guidelines and recipes for:

Preparing from scratch your own ground spice mixtures and pastes (such as curries, garam masalas, etc.).

Using fresh herbs in savory dishes, dips, condiments and pickles.

Preparing your own salad dressings and marinades using essential oils and/or fresh herbs.

Using exotic spices and/or essential oils in desserts and baked goods.

Concocting specialty teas and beverages - chilled or warm, depending on the seasons.

How much: $55 including materials (space limited to 6 students).

Dolomates Dinner
Learn how to make Stuffed Grapevine Leaves and than join the feast of Dolomates and other delicious appetizers from the Mediterranean region!
How much: $45 per person

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Monday, June 18, 2007

SmellyBlog Logo Poll Contest Winner Announcement


Draw Logo Contest, originally uploaded by Ayala Moriel.

It's time to announce the results of the last few contests I run here on SmellyBlog.

First of all, I'd like to thank all of you who participated in the poll for choosing SmellyBlog's new logo. As you can see, I have completely disregarded your advice, and went for my own favourite... I'm kidding, of course. You can probably imagine that there were other factors for my decision making besides your opinion (which matters to me a lot). I asked many people in person, besides on the blog, and consulted with friends and family. The logo with the little "cartoony" nose seems to be the best choice - my decision committee (lead by myself and my devoted graphic designer) felt that this was the most original, and we liked how it was humorous and a bit of a parody on my company's logo. Instead of the graceful and dreamy fairy, we now have a snotty nose with a similar line qualities (and the same font, by the way) and an amused expression of scent enjoyment smeared all over that minimalistic face.

After I have got my graphic designer, the talented Terry Sunderland, to perfect it and clean it up (the lines and the angles are a bit different - you'll need to have an eye for detail to really notice the difference between what I posted originally here as part of the poll, and what you can see above as the header for this humbly stinky blog). It's been up for a while, with no frilly introductions. Now is the time to announce its presence, as well as who won a full bottle of Opium Fleur Imperiale!

SAMANTHA, you are the winner - so please contact me with your mailing address (your bogger profile is secret, so I have no way of contacting you other than through this announcement). Once I hear from you, Fleur Imperiale will be shipped to you immediately!

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Flora Linden Ingredients Contest Winners

msiagirl and divina are the two winners of the Flora Linden guess-the-ingredients contest, because you are the only two who guessed a correct ingredient - the green tea (msiagirl) and the spearmint (divina)!

The complete list of ingredients is as follows:
Premium Organic Japanese Sencha Tea
Premium Osmanthus Blossoms
Lemon Verbena Leaf
Linden Blossom & Leaf
Organic Orange Peel
Organic Lemon Peel
Oranic Spearmint Leaf

Please email me with your mailing addresses so I can send you the sample of Tirzah parfum and Flora Linden tea blend from Inner Alchemy Tea Co!

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New Tree Mini Chocolate Boxes


New Tree Chocolate, originally uploaded by Ayala Moriel.

I spotted these miniature chocolate packages at Capers yesterday, and couldn't resist getting a couple to try (they were placed right before the checkout, of course, the oldest trick in the book and they still manage to get me!). As you can see, they are $3.79 for a little sample package for a chocaholic on-the-go of three little chocolate tablets weighing 9gr each. These made-in-Belgium chocolates (for the US based company New Tree) are not organic, and rather pricey in my humble opinion.

I picked two to try:

Tranquility (milk chocolate with lavender) and Renew (dark 73% chocolate with cassis). I wouldn't have picked the lavender one unless it was for one of my chocolate truffle workshop students who raved about a lavender infused hot chocolate, and the lavender infused steam milk that she now drinks before bed time. I had to try it just for her!

The list of ingredients on the Tranquility mentioned natural lavender flavour and lime blossoms extracts. The term "natural lavender flavour" seems quite suspicious, especially after tasting it. It was quite awful and I have a feeling that rather than just putting in some lavender extract or essential oil, there is a lot more to it, and it ruins the flavour. It tastes artificial, somehow.

Renew, the blackccurant one, lists "blackcurrant with other natural flavour" and "grape extract". Maybe there is real blackcurrant there, maybe not. It's hard to tell with this kind of labeling. But what I am sure about is that it tasted marvellous.

I am not too keen to try the other flavours, because most of them did not make sense to me so to speak. I absolutlely don't dig their "Forgiveness" - dark chocolate with lemon, which sounds quite unforgivable to me. Ginger in chocolate does not appeal to me either as a flavour, and the other more agreeable and sensible choices were simply non-original (bitter orange with milk chocolate; coffee with dark chocolate or cinnamon and milk chocolate). But the cassis one was quite something, so I may come back for more.

Otherwise, the marriage between aromatherapy and chocolate craving seems quite scary to me...

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Sunday, June 17, 2007

Happy Father's Day!


A Father's Love...., originally uploaded by cowgirlrightup.

Happy Father's Day to all of the dads, pappas, abbas and babbas etc. reading SmellyBlog!
And also to those who don't. Hope this day is amazing for you all that your kids got to spend some fabulous time with you.

Here is a song dedicated to a father that was wroth listening to. And below is a post about what makes a scent masculine, especially for today.

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What Makes a Fragrance Masculine?


Model, originally uploaded by fiumeazzurro.

The topic of what makes a fragrance masculine comes up very often in the natural perfumery forum I belong to: which notes re “masculine”? How to construct a “masculine” fragrance? Can flowers be used in masculine fragrances?

Today being father’s day, I figured I’ll take advantage of the situation and talk about the entire concept of masculine scents. Not so much from the wearer’s point of view, but from that of the perfumer, when designing a scent in such a way that it will appeal to men and will not scare them off chased by flowers…

So let’s break a few myths on the topic:

Myth: no. 1: “If a man will wear a perfume for woman he will smell feminine”.
Reality: A perfumer who thinks that way is forgetting the last yet most important component that is added to a perfume, and on which the perfumer has no control over: the wearer’s skin odour. Each skin has a completely different scent, affected by the diet and metaolism of the person for one thing – and their own gender’s pheromonal makeup. Men and women do not have the same scent. Therefore, what truly makes a fragrance “masculine” or “feminine” smelling is the person who is wearing it.

Naturally, men have a body odour that is more musky and sharp, and women have a body odour that is more ambery and soft. If the perfumer will try to compare these into specific notes, I’d say that the closest notes to a man’s body odour might combine notes such as sandalwood, costus, cumin, hay, patchouli, vetiver, oakmoss and ambrette. A woman’s body odour can be best described olfactorily by notes such as labdanum, vanilla, benzoin and honey absolute (with labdanum being the closest I suppose).

So, don’t forget the base upon which the perfume will be worn, and how this surface smells like. It will all boil down to this…

Myth no. 2: “floral notes are feminine and are best avoided when composing a masculine fragrance”.
Reality: Attributing floral notes (or any notes, for that matter), to one gender or another is completely culturally based and once presented to a different culture, may completely lose its meaning. I like to bring the examples of how fond the Arab men were of roses, and how jasmine is traditionally considered a masculine perfume in India. If Arab men felt comfortable enough with their masculinity when wearing soft and voluptuous roses, I can’t see why avoiding this note (or any other floral note, for that matter), in fragrances designed to be worn by a man.

The following are just a few examples of how I like to use floral notes in perfumes that I consider very “masculine” in character.

Rose Geranium - the floral fruity rosy and herbal qualities make this
note perfect for masculine perfumes. It can be added for its sweetness as well as adding a herbal, slightly green aspect to the overall impression.

Orange Flower Absolute - Great for colognes and citruses of all types, but it can also be used for a more surprising, even a cutting edge oriental masculine fragrance - i.e.: using labdanum, vetiver, sandalwood, and spicy top notes for interest and depth. Orange blossom is also great as a heart note in tobacco based scents, to add a bit of indolic
sweetness, fruitiness and a sparkle to the dry leather notes.

Jasmine Grandiflorum - sweet and well rounded, this can be confidently used in masculine perfumes to bridge between sharp top notes and musky or mossy base notes. Try mixing it with lime, basil, lemongrass, lemon verbena, cloves absolute, tarragon, hay, oakmoss, vetiver, patchouli, fir absolute, and more. You’ll be surprised at how jasmine can transform these notes (and they definitely transform the jasmine too!).

Jasmine Sambac – this variety is more fruity and a tad more green (but in a very
delicate way) than the grandiflorum, Sambac is an interesting addition to a men's scent. Also great with tobacco, sandalwood, and green or herbal notes (i.e.: lemongrass, galbanum, rosemary, juniper)

Champaca - this spicy and heady tea-like and somewhat fruity exotic floral blends seamlessly into masculine compositions. Works great with spices, other fruity floral notes (geranium bourbon, rose, chamomile, etc.) and if you use a bold base with a definite statement, champaca will become masculine in an off-beat, daring way.

Rose – as I mentioned earlier, rose can be somewhat of a challenge for the Western perfumer, particularly if trying to use it as a main note. To overcome our prejudice of rose being feminine and soft, I learned how to mix roses with unusual bases and curious top notes to make it loosen up and reveal it's more aggressive side. For example: roses with cade and other leather notes will become a tough motorcyclist in leather jacket. Patchouli and Cocoa absolute darkens it as well... And than there is rose as a moderator of the composition - adding some sweetness and harmony to an otherwise unbalanced, harsh, sharp or overly spicy-medicinal presence.

Myth no. 3: “some notes are masculine, and some notes are feminine”.
Reality: As you’ve seen in the previous myth-crushing segment, context is everything. More than individual notes having specific gender, I would say the manner in which they interact with one another and the mood and personality they create is what truly matters. One thing that is true though, is that if thinking of the philosophical terms of what “masculine” and “feminine” mean, we could, perhaps, make the distYet, inction between notes that are “projective” as opposed to notes that are “receptive”. Notes that approach you as opposed to notes that draw you in. This might explain why notes such as citrus, herbs and spices are often considered more masculine and are used in abundance in masculine fragrances (they simply “come and get you”), while other notes – more round and “receptive” so to speak, such as the floral and ambery notes, can be more readily perceived as “feminine”. Still, don’t let yourself forget that what really matters is how all these notes interact with one another. The question you should ask yourself is if the perfume itself “projective” or “receptive”. If you are intrigued by this idea, I suggest you read the article by Octavian Sever Coifan: The "Amber" Concept vs. The "Musk" Concept.

When you add a base of amber or oakmoss to citrus notes, you will get an oriental or chypre accords which both strikes me as a very feminine scents, reminiscent of a woman's own skin.

When you add herbs and citrus to a musky base of sandalwood, hay and ambrette for example, you will get a masculine citrusy - fresh perfume.

The same with flowers - add jasmine to hay, sandalwood and lemongrass, the result will not be all that flowery and "feminine".
Add jasmine to vanilla, labdanum and sweet orange, this will be quite soft and what we may refer to as "feminine".

To close this discussion, I would like to end with a few examples of breaking out the traditions of what “masculine” or “feminine” scents are.

A few years ago, I made a bespoke perfume for my friend Yasmin. Her name means Jasmine, and her house was always surrounded by Jasmine Grandiflorum in full bloom. She loves jasmine, but I didn't want to make the perfume too literal for her. Also, she doesn't like sweets very much. She loves sour citrus fruit and would eat half-lemons with their peels if she could, covered with salt rather than sugar! So I created a perfume for her composed of Jasmine Grandiflorum concrete at the heart, a head note of lime and ginger, and a base that has some vanilla sweetness tempered by the powdery bitterness of tonka bean and the astringency of frankincense. The result was quite an unusual jasmine scent. One that I would think men will actually love to wear too! My friend wore it for her wedding, and had to order a large refill for her signature scent shortly after.

On another note, a perfume that was planned to be "masculine" but ended up soft, complex and suitable for both men and women is a perfume called Rebellius - a melange of xantoxylum, champaca, cumin, tobacco, vetiver, rhododendron and juniper. Surprisingly, there were more women than men who bought this fragrance, and I am not under the impression that their femininity is in the least compromoised by doing so.

There were three occasions when the intense nonsense of gendered perfume hit me the hardest. One was when my friend Justin pulled up a sample of one of my Christmas scents I made in 2002 and told me how much he enjoyed it. To my surprise, it wasn’t “Fete d’Hiver pour Homme” (now known as Bois d’Hiver) – but rather, the gardenia and rose laden Fete d’Hiver. I smelled it on his skin and was in awe as to how masculine it smelled on his wrists. On another occasion, I was at a party wearing my perfume Tamya, and a man has insisted I let him try some on. I was surprised at his daring approach to a scent made up mostly of white flowers – jasmine, ylang ylang and a gardenia accord again. It smelled utterly delicious on him but did not make him smell any less masculine than wearing a tie. Than there was my own partner seducing me with his stolen spritzes of “L” from my elaborate perfume collection… I haven’t looked back on the matter of perfume gender ever since.

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Friday, June 15, 2007

Intro to Natural Perfumery: Raw Materials


Raw Materials 03, originally uploaded by Ayala Moriel.

Yesterday night was the first "Intro to Natural Perfumery" presentation at my studio. We went through the materials used in natural perfumery, how they are in their raw state (with some samples as pictured above), how their essences are extracted, and how the essences are than being put together to make a perfume.

We went through some representative building blocks from most groups (i.e.: citrus, herbal, floral, earthy, animalic, woody, spicy, etc.) and also talked about the fragrance pyramid (top notes, heart notes and base notes).

We concluded the presentation with a breakdown of one of my perfumes, ArbitRary. I pulled apart the notes that make it, and we smelled them together on blotter stripes, pulling apart the horizontal accords and vertical accords, and than smelling them all together and comparing them to the finished perfume.

We had a full house of 6 participants, which gives everybody just enough time to sniff the essences and ask questions and so on. I try to make my presentations as "hands-on" and interacntive as possible. I think it's more interesting this way than just listen to someone talk for two hours :)
It was fun for both myself and the participants, and I am looking forward to more presentations like this one in the future!

Next Thursday (June 21st) will be a Limoncello making workshop (an Italian lemon liquor), and the last workshop this month will be a solid perfume making workshop. We only have space for 6 people in each workshop, and spaces are filling up fast - so make sure you reserve your spot now if you'd like to participate!

A full calendar of workshops will be posted here (as well as on my website) shortly. Also, starting July, I will be offering the Foundations of Natural Perfumery course - a basic course of 8 sessions for all those who want to learn how to make perfumes on their own. In the fall, I will be also offering more courses on the topic, starting with beginner level and working up to intermediate level Natural Perfumery. Classes will be offered on Mondays and Thursdays, with some one-on-one sessions and possibly weekend sessions as well.

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Web Updates & Upcoming Workshops

I've just updated my homepage to include information about upcoming workshops open to the public in my studio this coming month, and also - some information about the upcoming 6-session Foundations of Natural Perfumer course. If you need any further information about the curriculum or pricing, please let me know.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

New Summer Collage

This summer, I am re-discovering Vancouver. Scent-wise. More often than never, you’ll find me complaining about the lack of olfactory phenomenon in the city. About how it is so scentless, being constantly washed out by the rain.

Well, global warming seems to have a positive effect on the most-of-the-year-it’s-raining city of Vancouver. That is not to say that I am not concerned about the negative side effects. But I am going to allow my hedonistic self enjoy it while it can.

I am discovering new scents. I am pinching myself as I am saying it. “you must be dreaming, you’re in Vancouver, after all!”. But no, it’s true, and I even have proof in photos. I will just show you the proof, and add my little olfactory comments as we go. I am going to leave the rhododendrons out, but you know I have a big, soft, warm spot for them.

I hope I will find many more surprises here before the flood comes…

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Peonies


Peony, originally uploaded by Ayala Moriel.

I’ve been wondering about the scent of peonies for a while. You see them mentioned so often as a note in mainstream perfumes. Yet, I couldn’t say I’ve smelled enough of them to recall the scent from memory. This summer, as if on demand, Vancouver’s gardens and nurseries seduce with me with peonies wherever I go. I even spotted them on reception desks by day and hair salons by night. I had encountered so many that I even managed to find a few adjective to describe them. To me, they smell like a combination of a subtly luscious rose, fresh carnation, and a hint of green. There is also a bit of a marigold element but it’s very subtle. There is nothing particularly original about peonies, they just smell like a lovely bouquet of these flowers. I guess it’s their voluptuous appearance, reminiscent of both of rose and an oversized carnation, sparks the imagination. It is hard not to notice it’s resemblance to many patterns in Chinese art, and perhaps this is what makes them seem so mysterious and vaguely oriental.

Thinking about it, it might just be possible to recreate it from naturals alone...


Phantom Peony, originally uploaded by Ayala Moriel.

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THE Rose Bush


Luscious Rose, originally uploaded by Ayala Moriel.

I have passed by this rose bush a million times, but perhaps it is only now, after 9 summers in the city, that I am starting to associate it with itself and with here and now – as opposed to the roses of my childhood (a rare and precious encounter, but nevertheless, it belonged only there for the longest time and seemed to have hard time moving on). These roses are just… perfect. Rosier than any other rose, with honeyed, full-bodied, wine-like presence. I’ve stopped by this rose bush so many times, ignoring the embarrassingly pitiful glances from by passers. Ignoring the laughter of those observing how difficult it is for me to move on, as my nose pulls me back into the deep velvety petals, my arms heavy with grocery bags and begging me to just move on and go straight home, but I can’t… In case you didn’t get it the first time – these roses smell perfect. Sigh…


Voluptious Rose, originally uploaded by Ayala Moriel.

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Tree of Mystery


Tree of Mystery, originally uploaded by Ayala Moriel.

The first time I encountered this tree was in east Vancouver, near Grandview elementary school. I was amazed at how closely it resembled orange blossom, though it has nothing to do with orange. It looks as if it belongs to the fabacea (or legumes) family, just like Spanish Broom, mimosa and Sweet Pea.

And indeed, it shares quite a bit of similarity to sweet pea as well – which I haven’t noticed before. Overall, it smells like a mélange of orange blossom, sweet pea, and a very indolic jasmine, to the point that you’d think there is some civet thrown in… only that this isn’t perfume! It’s a flower and there couldn’t possibly be any civet in there even if you tried hard to find it. Maybe in coffee, but not here…



Mysterious White Blossoms 01, originally uploaded by Ayala Moriel.

P.s. Thanks to my reader, Veronica, I now know the identity of the mystery tree: Robinia pseuodoacacia, aka Black Locust or Witte Acacia. Veronica, please email me so I can thank you properly with a mini of my mimosa perfume, Les Nuages de Joie Jaune.



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Lilac


Lilac, originally uploaded by Ayala Moriel.

There are so many different lilacs here. Different colours, different sizes of clusters. Maybe this particular one isn’t exactly lilac either. But it sure smells like one. And against the pale blue sky, it is starting to become a symbol of summer for me. In a cheerful way, and without all the misty, dewy and a bit melancholy aspects that lilac can sometimes have on me.

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Bleeding Hearts


Bleeding Hearts 03, originally uploaded by Ayala Moriel.

These strangely shaped flowers haven’t got a particularly special scent to them, at all. But their shape and their appearance every summer is something I am starting to look forward to. The wild ones are not as shapely, and they have a far more prominent spear than the heart itself (which is not as round as the cultivated variety). But they can be found deep in the forest, and there is something just downright romantic about their existence. I want to make a perfume named after them for a long time. In fact I did, at certain point. But it’s not the right one. Yet.

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Forest in the Summer

Besides the stench of skink cabbage and the rotting leaves in the murky, thickening ponds, I can’t help notice the sweet earthy Chypre scent that comes out of the forest floor when it’s hot out. The dried coniferous (and other) leaves on the floor must release their scent better in the heat than in the cold, damp winter. It smells sweet, warm, intoxicating but subtle. Like labdanum, but earthier (rather than resinous). I first noticed this scent in the early fall, when it wasn’t quite cold yet. Than I smelled it again this summer, and I am delighter to find another beautiful scent to look forward to for my strolls in the park.

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Seaweed and Seasalt


Raccoon Ocean 03, originally uploaded by Ayala Moriel.

The salty air is what I miss the most about the ocean in my home country. It is so cold during most of the year, and there is no saltiness reflecting from the water. If you didn’t have a map, you’d think it was a river or a lake, not the Pacific ocean. The water is not even all that salty here to being with (it does not burn your eyes so much if you manage to get pass the freezing temperature and jump in). Heat makes the water warmer and their scent changes. Particularly so with ocean water. The seaweed and the salt lend their fragrance to the rays of the glowing sun. It takes just a little bit more sun, and than the scent of seaweed and salt is unleashed form its oceanic prison. Even the raccoons seem to like it!

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Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Tea with Dawna


Flora Linden Tea, originally uploaded by Ayala Moriel.

I had tea with Dawna Ehman this afternoon. Not just any other tea, but a custom-blended tea, made by Dawna especially for the launch of Tirzah this weekend. Dawna Ehman is a folkloric herbalist, and creates extraordinary pleasure teas for her line Inner Alchemy Tea Co. The teas are all made from premium quality tea leaves (organic when possible), blended with organic and wild crafted herbs, fruit, berries and flowers. Dawna harvests some of these herself in the wild in the provinces of Albert and British Columbia.

For the party on Saturday (which would be a shame if we can’t have you join in!), I will be serving Flora Linden, the custom tea Dawna made especially for our celebration. It is made with linden blossom in abundance, as well as other flowers and herbs, which I would rather keep as a surprise. It’s beautiful and I enjoyed two cups of it this afternoon, needing to stop myself to avoid submitting myself to an embarrassing situation in the party… Note to self: must keep enough for the party, must not drink too much tea… Seriously, this can happen to me only with Dawna’s teas, which I am going to tell you about more in the future, as it unfolds…

To order Inner Alchemy Tea Co. fabulous teas or get your own custom tea blended for you, you can email Dawna Ehman or call her at (604) 731-1529.

And for now: a little game. There is a photo below of the tea itself. Guess what’s in it… At least three ingredients is mandatory (not including linden, which I've already disclosed), and you’ll enter to win a sample of both Tirzah and Flora Linden tea!


Flora Linden CU, originally uploaded by Ayala Moriel.

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Monday, June 11, 2007

Interview on PunMiris.com

I had to honour to be interviewed for PunMiris.com, an online perfume magazine and perfume community in Croatian, Serbian and Bosnian. PunMiris means "Full Scent" in English.
If you are fortunate enough to know these languages, click here for the interview. If you can't understand, email me and I'll send you the translation.

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Yasmin Reviewed on Perfume Shrine

Visit Perfume Shrine to read Elena's review of Yasmin, my jasmine soliflore, as part of her jasmine series.

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Sunday, June 10, 2007

Razala Reviewed by The Perfume Bee

Visit The Perfume Bee to read a review of Razala by Christine Pierce, the author of the E-Book "The Perfume-Lover's Guide to Paris".

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Saturday, June 09, 2007

Guild's Anniversary and New Logo

This month, the Natural Perfumers Guild is celebrating one year to its re-opening. The Guild was originally founded by natural perfumery pioneer and author Mandy Aftel and was called "Artisan Natural Perfumers Guild". In June 2006, the Guild was passed on to natural perfumer Anya McCoy, also a pioneer in the field who initiated and run an educational natural perfumery discussion group for 5 years now. In celebration of the Guild's re-opening anniversary, the name was shortened to Natural Perfumers Guild and the new logo was launched, to reflect the spirit of the members of the organization - bringing together ancient traditions into modern times.
Tune here next week, for an interview with the Natural Perfumers Guild director, Anya McCoy.

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First Chocolate Truffle Workshop Report

My first chocolate truffle workshop was extremely successful! We had a full house, and we made two types of truffles:
Blood Truffles - dark chocolate with Turkish rose otto, saffron and chilli pepper (ouch!)
Charisma Truffles - inspired by my perfume by the same name, with matcha green tea powder, jasmine sambac, litsea cubeba and spearmint. These were covered with a mixture of matcha and powdered coconut.
We made two batches of each - one for the students to take home, and one to serve on my upcoming Perfume Party - launching Tirzah. I think the matcha truffles will be a perfect complement to the linden blossom fragrance. We'll also have a linden blossom tea made by a local tea artisan.
If you live in Vancouver, you should not miss the party (Saturday, June 16, 7-11pm) or the upcoming workshops here every Thursday at 6:30pm.
Next Thursday, June 14: Interactive presentation about how to think (and sniff!) like a nose and an introduction to natural perfumery.

I am really looking forward to meet more of you, and hope you could come and join me at one point or the other... Spaces are limited so book yourself well in advance: we have room for up to 20 people for the presentation on June 14th, and all of the "hands-on" workshops are for 6 people max. It's really important to keep the forum small so each student can get the guidance and close attention they need during the learning process.

P.s. I will post photos of the fabulous truffles tomorrow when there is daylight...

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Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Ayala Moriel at Portobello West!


I am very excited and proud to announce that Ayala Moriel is will be participating at Portobello West Fashion + Art Market in Vancouver for the next 6 months, June through November 2007.

Portobello West is Sunday market (a-la-London) featuring fashion and art curated by Carlie Smith. The market represents the community of independant local artists, fashion designers and artisans, showing off their creativity and connecting with conscious fashionistas who like to invest in well-made, original products that are ethically made and support local art and fashion.

The market is open every last Sunday of the month, at the Rocky Mountaineer Station. Admission is free , and so is the shuttle that will take pedestrians from Main Street SkyTrain station straight to the market!

Here is all the when and where details:

WHERE:
Rocky Mountaineer Station ( 1755 Cottrell Street at Terminal Avenue)

TIME:
12 noon - 7pm

DATES:
Portobello West is open year round on the last Sunday* of every month from 12pm to 7pm.

Mark your calendar for the following dates for a fashion and art extravaganza:

June 24th
July 29th
August 26th
September 30th
October 28th
November 25th

HOW MUCH:
Admission is FREE!

HOW TO GET THERE:
How to get there...

By Skytrain

Get off at Main and Terminal (Science World), walk East along Terminal Avenue to Cottrell Street (on the South side behind Home Depot). Turn right and walk about 70 meters to the station OR we offer a free shuttle to the Station from the corner of Station St and Terminal Ave right in front of Cloverdale Paints. It runs from 12:00 to 19:00 every 20 minutes. Just wait by the sandwich board and we’ll come and pick you up!

By Car

  • Going North on Main Street – Take a right on Terminal Avenue and continue East towards the Home Depot or Clarke Avenue. Stay in the far right lane and take a right on Cottrell Street. Continue straight to the end of the road and you will see the Rocky Mountaineer Station on your right.
  • Going South on Main Street - Take a left on Terminal Avenue and continue East towards the Home Depot or Clarke Avenue. Stay in the far right lane and take a right on Cottrell Street. Continue straight to the end of the road and you will see the Rocky Mountaineer Station on your right.
  • There is plenty of free parking available in front of the Station but if the lot is full Home Depot offers additional parking spaces.

Hope to see you there! Pass the word along, and if you're interested, you can also sign up for the mailing list, and receive the Portobello West Newsletter.

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