Saturday, October 31, 2009

Night of Hallows

Halloween Special, originally uploaded by em`lia.

"Halloween is a time that reconfirms the social bond of a neighborhood (particularly the bond between strangers of different generations) by a ritual act of trade. Children go to lengths to dress up and overcome their fear of strangers in exchange for candy. And adults buy the candy and overcome their distrust of strange children in exchange for the pleasure of seeing their wild outfits and vicariously reliving their own adventures as children". (Richard Seltzer, "Why Bother to Save Halloween")

It took me no less than 11 years to start to slightly enjoy or even remotely appreciate Halloween. The notion of celebrating death is very foreign to me and how I grew up, and the scary and gruesome imagery of the modern incarnation of the holidays are off-putting to say the least. The Real Origins of Halloween make more sense of this special holiday and shed some light on the issues surrounding this holiday and how it is celebrated today. Perhaps we all need a little scare to bring us back to full life.

Death is really part of life. And because we live in such a sterile, generational-segregated society, death seems a lot more foreign and unknown and therefore even more frightening than it ever was before. Halloween seems to be an exceptional occasion where we can deal with our fears. But what is death is not scary at all? What if it is really part of life? What if we can communicate with the dead, our dearly departed ones who seemingly left our lives forever?

According to various pagan traditions around the world, it is possible to communicate and connect with the dead. For example, most people in Japan do this every day, burning incense in home shrines for the ancestors. And they are not the only ones. It is interesting that incense smoke or perfume is incorporated into different techniques of inviting the dead and the spirits to communicate.

Halloween is the best time of the year to do so, as the barriers between the world of the living and the world of the dead are thin and it is easier to travel in both directions. Spirits of the dead can visit our world and vice verse.

"And the clothes you left, they lie on the floor
And they smell just like you (...)" (Avril Lavigne, "When You're Gone")

We become greatly attached to the scent of our family members, friends and lovers. When we smell their favourite food or perfume or cologne, we immediately think of them or can even sense their presence. This is because the sense of smell has a direct connection to the part of the brain that processes emotions. Our smelling organ (the olfactory bulbs) are in fact part of the brain. And when a person leaves our life - because of death or other reason - it is usually their smell that we miss the most. With the absence of the person, their unique smell dissipates and there's no way to bring it back. Or is there?

People who were visited by the spirit or soul of a loved one have witnessed a familiar scent - a perfume or aroma that the person loved in their life in this world. The Mexicans, for example, burn copal resin as incense to attract the spirits of the dead, and also for protection. Rituals from around the world designed to invoke spirits of the dead often include burning incense. Incense has a powerful impact on the psyche - incense and agarwood, for example, both bring a person into a meditative state of mind. And also, the thick smoke from the incense served as a stage for the shaman/witches' imagination. Burnt incense, similarly to their essential oils, are mostly heavy "base notes". Resins and gums such as frankincense, galbanum, myrrh, opoponax and more. And since theyr contain a high percentage of essential oils, they really come out clearly over the embers or charcoal, even more so than the precious woods (sandalwood, agarwood). Considering that in ancient times, the alchemists believed essential oils to be the spirit of the plant, it is not surprising that these very same resins are to this day used for increasing spiritual awareness, and perhaps even communicates with other spirits than our own.


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Friday, October 30, 2009

Eden Botanicals New Website

Pure essential oils supplier Eden Botanicals has just launched their new website. Besides looking so inviting and being organized and user-friendly, there are some additions to the content.

On the essential oil pages you can find some of the ad copy that your humble self has contributed to the site with introductions to each portion of the aromatic alphabet. Hopefully, having more educational and informative content on this website will contribute to the understanding and preservation of the arts of natural perfumery and aromatherapy.

It's been a very interesting project and there is still more to come, including several articles about the art of perfumery, detailed descriptions of the oils how to use them in perfumery and aromatherapy, and last but not least - formulas for using these precious essences for creating your own personal perfumes, scented body and home products and aromatherapy synergies and remedies.

Eden currently carries around 170 different oils, and completing the project of writing descriptions for all of the oils will take a while longer. Be sure to check the website for more updates in the future. They really are one of the finest suppliers of natural raw materials and are an excellent resource for smaller-scale independent businesses that want to incorporate pure, high quality natural raw aromatics to their product lines.

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Monday, October 26, 2009

Pois de Senteur

Sweet Pea, originally uploaded by Jennie Anderson.

Pois de Senteur de Chez Moi (1927) has the attitude of a bygone era, when perfumers tried to capture the scents of impossible-to-extract bouquets of flowers. There is nothing light or cheerful about these sweet peas: they are so self-absorbed in their seriousness that they literally smell like they’ve been rotting in their own green leaves for a while once first inhaled.

Green hay note is dominant at first, alongside powdery and sweet-cloying notes that bring to mind old scented lipsticks and face powders from the 40’s, and flowery linden and lilac milled soaps. Like most Caron’s perfumes, it takes some time to unravel the density of what smells like an aldehyde boosted sweet pea absolute (if such thing was to be found). A spicy cinnamon-and-bay-rum note attempts to rise above the bouquet without much success, and only once the hay and aldehydes subside, the almond-and-vanilla of heliotropin nearly take over with very little floral bouquet or greens left. It is similar to Farnesiana but not at all a comfort scent, but a rather uncomfortable and complicated floral bouquet past its prime. Hours later, the orange blossom is revealed, but more as an aspect of heliotrope flower rather than on its own.

Notes include: Sweet pea, rose, hyacinth, bay rum, jasmine, orange blossom, linden, lilac, hay, vanilla, heliotropin, musk.

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Thursday, October 22, 2009

News from the Nose: Aromatic Autumn And Flavourful Fall

Dear Fragrant Friends,

Fall set the city on fire with leaves the colour of gold, burnt orange, crimson and wine. And although it is not exactly quite cold yet in Vancouver, we know very well that soon enough we’ll all find ourselves locked up indoors for longer than we’d care for… My response to that? Let’s Par-TEA!
Fall is a time of transition and change, and also a time to celebrate the abundance and accomplishments of summer. My harvest happens to come in the shape of a champaca flower: The Purple Dress. And that is a reason to celebrate - with you, of course!

In this newsletter:
  1. The Purple Dress: Blurring the Boundaries Between Scent and Sound

  2. Trick or Sniff: Halloween Tea Party October 31
  3. Autumn Aromas: Harvest, Chypre and Burning Leaves

  4. Fall Flavours: Pumpkin Pie with Lavender-Orange Shortbread Crust

  5. Fragrance DIY – Scented Workshops at the Studio

  6. Portobello West Sunday, October 25th

  7. The Purple Dress Launch Party December 17

  8. Join Ayala’s Social Network Twitter, Facebook and Ning and Win!

  9. Customer Appreciation Week: Gift with Purchase

1. The Purple Dress Perfume: Blurring the Boundaries Between Scent and Sound

On 12.12.2009 Ayala Moriel will release The Purple Dress, a chromatic champaca perfume that blurs the lines between soliflore and oriental.

A salute to Sasha Argov's famous song, The Purple Dress is just as romantic in a chromatic, nocturnal, off-beat way. Champaca flowers from India are the main theme of this spicy, floral tea-like composition, supported only by hints of white magnolia and star anise, and a foundation of black tea and smoky woods.

Top Notes: Star Anise, Nutmeg, Mace, Orange Juice & Peel
Heart Notes: Red Champaca, Golden Champaca, White Magnolia, Tea Rose, Orange Blossom, Henna
Base Notes: Agarwood, Sandalwood, Guiacwood, Black Tea
Fragrance Family: Soliflore (Champaca), Floral-Spicy

Official launch date & party:12.12.2009

Offered in Parfum Extrait 9ml flacon ($160) and Crème Parfum in Ayala Moriel’s Signature Peprfumed Pendant ($150). This is a Limited Edition perfume of 12 bottles and 4 pendants.
Samples and pre-orders via

2.Trick or Sniff: Halloween Tea Party October 31

Trick or Sniff!

Join us for a spooky tea party on Halloween, October 31st. Enjoy some deadly treats handcrafted by Ayala and her witches, such as the infamously addictive Blood Truffles (dark chocolate with chili and rose), lavender-crusted pumpkin pie, licorice cupcakes, tarragon tea sandwiches, our exquisite perfumed teas.
Visit our haunted perfume lounge and experience Ayala Moriel's concoctions, brews, potions and unique collection of vintage poison rings.
Nosh, sip, sniff and explore while meeting other passionate perfumistas in Vancouver!

Potions and Poisons

The feature presentation at 2:00pm will discuss and demonstrate scents that can bring the dead to life and other fascinating ghostly perfume traditions.

And as if this and all the treats and good company is not enough reason to come - you will also be getting goodie bags and door prizes, and a lucky draw to win a bottle of Black Licorice perfume!

SPOOKY MENU will include:


Fennel & Tarragon Tea Sandwiches
Wasabi & Cucumber Tea Sandwiches
Ginger & Carrot Tea Sandwiches
Deviled Eggs

Mushroom Mini-Quiches


Coronation Grapes & Blue Cheese Scones
Wild jams and jellies made by local artisans
Devonshire Cream


Blood Truffles (75% cocoa with rose, chili, saffron and Kahluah)
Pumpkin Tarts with Lavender Shortbread Crust
Pomegranate & White Chocolate Tarts
Licorice Cupcakes
Anise Biscotti
Black Forest Cupcakes


Witches’ brew will be bubbling in our cauldron – this traditional winter-time recipe from the mountains of the Galilee is a steeping of flamboyant roots and spices.
And of course - we'll serve top quality teas, including:
Roses et Chocolat (Ayala Moriel Parfums)
Chartreuse Eau de Vie - digestif tonic/tisane with tarragon, fennel and flowers (Inner Alchemy Tea Co.)
Little Star – an earthy Pu Erh with rare, licorice-sweet chrysanthemum flowers (Inner Alchemy Tea Co.)
Earl Gray Cream (Herbal Republic)
Lapsang Suchong (Artfarm)
* Costumes are welcome - you can also continue on for trick or treating in the neighborhood afterwards :-)

3. Autumn Aromas: Harvest, Chypre and Burning Leaves

Apples ripening in the orchard (Naramata, BC)

There is a reason why the Chypre family is so strongly associated with the fall: the combination of oakmoss, labdanum and bergamot brings to mind foliage, undergrowth, the damp forest floor and the sweetness of burning leaves.

The West Coast is not nearly as fragrant in comparison to the region where I grew up in (the Western Galilee hills kissing the Mediterranean sea). When I first came here 11 years ago, I missed the scent of the first rain in autumn, falling on the thirsty dry earth. It’s a scent one can’t describe… But the closest I was ever able to explain it is that it is wet, musty, dusty and fresh. The scent of spikenard essential oil comes very close to this (although the whole sensation of the clean air and the wetness is lacking from the experience of sniffing an oil from a bottle, instead of the air on your porch!). In 2001 I tried to capture that scent, and the result smelled ironically of the Pacific rainforest after the rain instead. So I decided to name it Rainforest.

Autumn leaves fallen to the Pacific Ocean (Stanley Park seawall, Vancouver BC)
Later on, after living in Vancouver for a while, I noticed that the forest has an intensely sweet scent during late summer and early fall. On those beautiful autumn days, sunshine brings the most out of the forest floor: the decaying leaves that piled up all summer but didn’t get quite so wet and cold emit a sweet scent that is nothing short than magic. It’s hard to say where exactly it comes from, as it is everywhere. You’ll notice it the most as you enter the forest (for example, in Stanley Park I smell it the strongest in the area just off 2nd Beach outdoors pool, where I discovered it first, and also South Creek trail just by the Rose Garden). That Chypre in the forest air smells like sweet maple, dry cedar wood and balsam fir needles with a hint of rockrose (although the latter is a plant native to the Mediterranean and does not grow in the rainforest…). Although I don’t have one perfume that was created as a tribute to this unique aroma, a similar accord is at the base of several of my perfumes – namely Ayalitta, which although starts up a little sharp and green becomes a most earthly, sensual and sweet upon drydown.

Dry, desert-like hills in the Okanagan Valley (British Columbia)
Fruity Chypres are big and luscious, and nothing like the myriads of canned fruit-salad florals that flock the department stores these days. The first fruity Chypres were invented by Jacques Guerlain (Mitsouko, 1919) and Edmond Roudnitska (Rochas Femme, 1944). The addition of fruity notes such as peach, apricot, melon and plum to the basic Chypre accord creates an impression of dried fruit and red wine, sometimes even mulled wine if there are spices added.
I created Autumn in fall 2001, long before my first (and hopefully not last!) visit to the Okanagan (it took me 11 years to make it there, can you believe it?). Autumn perfume recalls the harvest and the overripe fruit, almost fermented and fallen to the ground. It recalls the special light in the season – golden, soft yet warm, diffused through myriads of golden leaves.

4. Fall Flavours: Pumpkin Pie with Lavender-Orange Shortbread Crust

And of course no harvest season is complete without a good home-made pie. My favourite and easiest to make is this pumpkin pie with a twist – adding orange and lavender buds to the dough, creating and unforgettabley flavourful shortbread crust. These flavours really complement the pumpkin and the spices.

For the Orange-Lavender Shortbread Crust:

100gr (1 stick) butter
1 cup + 1 Tbs Whole Wheat Flour
2 Tbs Orange Juice
Rind from 1 orange
1 tsp fresh or dry lavender buds

2 Tbs Sugar

1/2 tsp. Vanilla Extract (Or use vanilla sugar instead of the sugar above)
- Using your fingers or a manual dough blender, mix together butter and flour inside the pie pan. Add the rest of the ingredients and knead just until a dough forms (avoid overworking the dough, as it would take away from its flakiness).
- Press the dough firmly onto the pan to spread it evenly and line the pie pan (including the sides of course!).

Pumpkin Custard Filling:

3 eggs
1-1/2 cup Cooked and pureed pumpkin (if you have fresh - all the better; if not - canned pumpkin is good too)
1 cup cream or hald&half (I prefer full cream)

2 Tbs Orange Juice
3/4 Cup Brown Sugar

2 Tbs grated fresh Ginger (I freeze my ginger and than it is really easy to grate it; the taste is incomparable to the dried ginger!)
1 tsp Cinnamon
1/4 tsp Cloves
1/4 tsp Allspice

1/4 tsp Nutmeg or Mace

Bake in 350 F (170-180 c) degrees for 40-60 minutes, until the filling is set.
Serve warm or cooled down to room temperature.

Serving suggestions: I like it best on it's own with milky cinnamon or chai tea on the side. But of course you can’t go wrong with the traditional a-la-mode (be sure to use real vanilla bean ice cream) or a dollop of freshly whipped cream or crème fraiche.

5. Fragrance DIY – Scented Workshops at the Studio

Students rolling incense cones at the The Art of Incense workshop

It's getting cold outside... so let’s get crafty! This series of fragrant fireside workshops offered this fall and winter 2009/2010 will not only keep your hands and noses pleasantly busy – it will also help you get ready for the holidays nice and early with gifts that look professional but feel personal. I've decided to share my creative space on a weekly basis with fragrant
workshops on Tuesday nights. I can’t think of anything else that would
make this time of year more cozy and fun. Additional workshops (private or small groups) can be arranged as well. Visit our website for more information available workshops.
All the workshops are hands-on and you will take home with you the finished product. These make excellent gifts and also will improve your home for the cold months, creating a feeling of well-being and cozy cleanliness with the extra therapeutic benefits of the natural essences used.

Tuesday, November 3th, 6:30-8:30pm

PotPourri and Sachets

Create all-natural sachets, scented powders and potpourri based on vintage recipes from the turn of the century.

Tuesday, November 10th, 6:30-8:30pm


Make handrolled, scented chocolate truffles with fine chocolate base and precious floral essences. A sensual experience through and through!
Students immersed in chocolate at the chocolate truffles workshop

Tuesday, November 17th, 5:30-8:30pm

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.

Tuesday, November 24th, 6:00-8:00pm

Stunning Stationary: Scented Holiday Cards

Add a personal touch to your holiday greeting cards by scenting them with your own unique blend of natural essences.

Tuesday, December 1st, 5:30-8:30pm

The Art of Perfumed Candlemaking

Join our guest instructor Nikki Sheritt, an artisan candle maker from Seattle, for an afternoon of candle-making using natural botanical essences, soywax and cotton whicks (Nikki handcrafts our fine candle line).
Nikki pouring melted, scented soywax into tins for travel-candles

Tuesday, December 8th, 6:00-8:00pm

The Art of Incense

Learn about the origins of incense and create your own incense blend using precious resins, gums, woods, spices and herbs.

Burning chai incense cones at The Art of Incense workshop

Tuesday, December 15th, 5:00-8:30pm

Aromatic Cooking with Fresh Herbs, Spices & Floral Essences

Join Ayala for a fabulous evening of aromatic cooking- using fresh herbs,freshly ground spices, floral waters and essential oils - in both savory dishes and luxurious desserts.

Private workshops can be booked for individuals or small groups of up to 6 people. We offer additional workshops, including workshops for creating your own scented body products (i.e.: bath and massage oils, bath salts, body butter and sugar scrubs). for children (i.e.: lip balm workshop, ice cream workshop, milk chocolate truffle workshops, etc.). For a full list of our curriculum visit our workshops page.

6. Portobello West Sunday, October 25th

This Sunday, October 25th is Portobello West Art + Fashion Market.

Rocky Mountaineer Station (Cottrel & Terminal Ave.). Click here to learn how to get there.

Sunday, October 25th, 12-6pm

Canadian fashion designers, artists, artisans and crafters showcase their creations. Check out the latest fashion trends, find that special accessory that will make your outfit stand out, find unique art pieces and designs to make your home a better place - while supporting local economy and independent designers and artists!
Ayala Moriel Parfums will be there with my entire perfume line (atleast I’ll try!) and for the first time this year – bewitching chocolate truffles in seasonal flavours - Blood Truffles for the vampires among you, Black Licorice Truffles and a few other surprises...
If there is a particular or special product that you know you want to get at Portobello, please email me to make sure I bring the right size/quantity/fragrance etc. so that I can have it ready and put aside for you. Please let me know by Friday. Thank you!

7. The Purple Dress Launch Party December 17

On December 17th, Ayala Moriel will be revealing to you her newest creation: THE PURPLE DRESS
Join us to light the 7th candle of Hanukkah and revealing The Purple Dress perfume.
What: Fragrant cocktails, perfumed teas and handmade goods and refreshments will be served in abundance, there will be door prizes, lucky draw for a The Purple Dress perfume, and a presentation about the inspiration, creation and construction of The Purple Dress and the connection between music and perfume.


When: December 17th 2009
6:30-11:00pm; presentation at 7:30

Where: #314-1230 Haro Street, Buzz #295,Vancouver, BC

RSVP: Tel. (778) 863-0806 or email or Facebook.
* Space is limited to 30 people, so guests are encouraged to RSVP early in advance.
** Please wear something PURPLE!

8. Join Ayala’s Social Network Twitter, Facebook and Ning and Win!

Back-lit guests at the Tropical Tea Party(July 19th, 2009)

Those who are too far away to visit the studio and attend our tea parties can join Ayala Moriel Parfums virtual community on or Facebook
and meet other fragrance enthusiast and natural perfume fans. The Ning
group has many interactive options, including discussion forum, videos
and photos uploads, polls, an event calendar and more.

Follow us on Twitter and if you tweet about #ayalamoriel you'll be entered to win a weekly draw of travel size perfume roll-on!

9. Customer Appreciation Week: Gift with Purchase

Online fall event at Ayala Moriel: All orders over $50 receive a free 1oz tin of perfumed tea. When checking out, please mention in the comment box which tea you'd like. Choose from: Charisma, Immortelle l'Amour, Roses et Chocolat.
Offer valid till October 31st, or until quantities last. All purchases qualify for GWP, excpet sample orders.
Have a wonderful fall season!

Warm & fragrant regards,


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Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Sweet Peas

Sweet Peas, originally uploaded by judy stalus.

If you ever grown sweet peas in your garden, you know how cheerful their smell is. It is sweet as the name suggests, and has spicy and green elements, make is why it also feels very balanced – not cloying or heady or indolic like lilies, for example.

Both Arctander and Poucher mention orange blossom, hyacinth and rose to describe the scent of sweet pea flowers.

Arctander writes that the scent of sweet pea (aka lathyrus) flowers “(...)recall that of freesia, certain roses (e.g. the wild rosa canina, also called hip-rose or hedge-rose) with a very delicate touch of orange blossom or hyacinth. However, the most typical feature of the fragrance of lathyrus is its suave lightness, almost balsamic (like the non-aldehydic part of hyacinth), sweet (like rose-freesia) and yet honeylike sweet, subdued floral (like orange flower) with
a light bouquet and top of mild greenness” (Stephen Arctander, Perfume and Flavor Materials of Natural Origin, p. 605).

Unfortunately, although the flowers yield themselves to extraction with solvent, an absolute is not produced commercially at the moment, so whenever you see sweet pea mentioned in a perfume, it is actually a sweet pea base, not the absolute or essential oil. A base is a harmony of notes created by the perfumer to reproduce the impression of the flower.

Poucher's compounding instructions for a sweet pea base stress the importance of methyl anthranilate in the heart. This molecule is the characteristic in orange blossom note, present in neroli, orange blossom absolute and petitgrain - as well as tuberose, ylang ylang and even in jasmine absolute). He offers the following guidelines for compounding a sweet pea base, which include the following :

Green top notes: Linalol, Petitgrain, Benzyl acetate

Orange-Blossom heart notes: Neroli, Methyl anthranilate (fruity orange flower), Broom absolute, Ylang Ylang

Base notes (sweet, warm and spicy): Methyl naphthyl ketone (sweet and powdery orange blossom), hydroxylcitronellal (sweet orange blossom/lily), Penyl acetic aldehyde (for the hyacinth and clover effect), Styrax, Tolu balsam, Vanillin

I'm quite curious to see if it would be possible to create a match to a floral without its actual essence (i.e.: essential oil or absolute), using just floral absolutes and essential oils. It's very challenging to create the illusion of a flower with only naturals, unless there is actually an essence from the flower itself (i.e.: essential oil or absolute). I also feel that heliotropin is really important in this one, yet is not to be found in any essential oil or absolute that I'm aware of (and heliotrope absolute is not available either). I will need to start by creating a heliotrope base before creating the sweet pea.

For sweet pea I would start by using the following notes:

Top notes: Rosewood or ho wood (because of the high linalol content), Bergamot, Narcissus Absolute, Sweet Orange, Petitgrain

Heart notes: Guiacwood, Styrax oil, Broom absolute, Jonquille absolute, Rosa rugosa (hedge rose) essential oil, Ylang ylang absolute, Orange flower absolute, Jasmine absolute, Tuberose absolute, Neroli, Heliotrope Base

Base notes: Benzoin, Ambrette seed, Styrax resin, Tolu balsam, Vanilla CO2

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Monday, October 19, 2009

Si Lolita

Is it possible for a perfume to be simultaneously floral, fresh, warm, spicy and woody? Apparently yes. Si Lolita succeeds in being all of the above without any clashing of the elements. It is all at once pretty, happy, girly fragrance and a surprisingly spicy. Beginning with a dry peppery freshness of pink peppercorns, cedar and the lemon-and-pepper balsamic pungency of elemi resin. Si Lolita glows softly on the skin, revealing its almondy tonka and heliotrope foundation with hints of patchouli that smells musky-animalic in this context rather than earthy (that’s the magic of perfume: blending tonka and patchouli together creates something new altogether). At its core lays a sweet pea accord, a flower that hasn’t been exactly popular since, perhaps, Caron’s Pois de Senteur (1927). After searching high and low for a sweet pea scent on Basenotes, I found only four that either have mention of this in their name, or as a note.

If you ever grown sweet peas in your garden, you know how cheerful their smell is. It is sweet as the name suggests, and has spicy and green elements, make is why it also feels very balanced – not cloying or heady or indolic like lilies, for example. Both Arctander and Poucher describe sweet pea flowers to have a scent of hyacinth and orange blossom with a little bit of rose. Unfortunately, although the flowers yield themselves to extraction with solvent, an absolute is not produced commercially at the moment, so whatever is in Si Lolita must be a sweet pea floral base (created by the perfumer to reproduce the impression of the flower).

But I digress. (update: I decided to move the portion about composing sweet pea accord into another post). I got a sample from Holt Renfrew on Saturday afternoon, and by Sunday night my grocery list already included a bottle of the juice (as I’m writing this, I am still waiting for my daughter to return from school so I can do my “groceries”). This is not to say that Si Lolita smells like a grocery item, but it has captured my nose immediately, that I am feeling deprived since yesterday night – so you see, it is a necessity!

Si Lolita is mischievous, pretty, chic and easy and fun to wear. While it has enough warmth in it to make a fall day feel cozy, it is a rather light scent, even at the EDP concentration (which explains why I run out of the sample in less than two days – I had to reapply a lot). It’s not nearly as potent as its big sisters Lolita Lempicka and L, but it would be a bit much if the entire line was heavy orientals, wouldn’t it?

The bottle and packaging is whimsical in a non-chalant, effortless Parisian style. It’s romantic without being nostalgic, the design feels as effortless as a non-committal sketch in water colour, yet it works. It’s easy on the eyes and easy to handle and apply (something I can’t say about either L or Lolita Lempicka’s bottles). The flow of design is thankfully not reserved for the visual alone but also the fragrance. And the most surprising part – it’s interesting and even original in its choice of notes and comosition.
It’s refreshing to see a scent that is pretty and perhaps even “cute” by some standards, easy to wear without being pretentious, and even has a spark of originality in it. It really shimmers as a result. And I think it is even going to sell well with that lucky four leaf clover.

Top notes: Bergamot, Mandarin, Pink Pepper
Heart notes: Sweet Pea, Giroflée (Wallflower), Heliotrope
Base notes: Tonka Bean, Elemi Resin, Patchouli, Amber

P.s. I really recommend you read Octavian Coifan's commentary on this unusual perfume.

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Trick or Sniff Halloween Party

Trick or Sniff!

Join us for a spooky tea party on Halloween, October 31st. Enjoy some deadly treats handcrafted by Ayala, such as the infamously addictive Blood Truffles (with chilli and rose) chocolate truffles, lavender-crusted pumpkin pie, licorice cupcakes, tarragon tea sandwiches, our exquisite perfumed teas - and last but not least: Ayala Moriel's perfume line guests are invited to sniff and explore while meeting other passionate perfumistas in Vancouver!

At 2pm there will be a presentation about scents that can bring the dead to life, and the less-known connections between witchcraft and perfumery.

And as if this and and all the treats and good company is not enough reason to come - you will also be getting goodie bags and door prizes, and a lucky draw to win a bottle of Black Licorice perfume!

The spooky menu for this wild tea party will include:

Fennel & Tarragon Tea Sandwiches
Wasabi & Cucumber Tea Sandwiches
Ginger & Carrot Tea Sandwiches
Deviled Eggs
Mushroom Mini-Quiches

Coronation Grapes & Blue Cheese Scones
Locally made jams and jellies
Devonshire Cream

Blood Truffles (75% cocoa with rose, chili, saffron and Kahluah)
Pumpkin Tarts with Lavender Shortbread Crust
Licorice Cupcakes
Anise Biscotti
Black Forest Cupcakes

Top quality teas, including:
Roses et Chocolat (Ayala Moriel Parfums)
Chartreuse Eau de Vie - digestif tonic/tisane with tarragon, fennel and flowers (Inner Alchemy Tea Co.)
Little Star - Pu Erh with rare chrysanthemum flowers (Inner Alchemy Tea Co.)
Earl Gray Cream (Herbal Republic)

Costumes are welcome - you can also continue on for trick or treating in the neighborhood afterwards :-)

RSVP on Facebook

P.s. The photo, which looks a bit Hieronymus Bosch like, is from last Halloween: the young woman who lives upstairs wanted to participate in Trick or Treating even though her suit has no access to the street. Being the creative person she is (which shows on her costume) - she used this umbrella to send the treats down to the kids on the street. It was so unique to see and so heartwarming that she went through all this effort sitting on the porch that cold night just to give West End kids a good Halloween experience!

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Sunday, October 18, 2009

Mermaid's Heart

137.365 - And Only for Love, originally uploaded by nikilynn.

“The little mermaid drew back the crimson curtain of the tent, and beheld the fair bride with her head resting on the prince’s breast. She bent down and kissed his fair brow, then looked at the sky on which the rosy dawn grew brighter and brighter; then she glanced at the sharp knife, and again fixed her eyes on the prince, who whispered the name of his bride in his dreams. She was in his thoughts, and the knife trembled in the hand of the little mermaid: then she flung it far away from her into the waves; the water turned red where it fell, and the drops that spurted up looked like blood. She cast one more lingering, half-fainting glance at the prince, and then threw herself from the ship into the sea, and thought her body was dissolving into foam. The sun rose above the waves, and his warm rays fell on the cold foam of the little mermaid (...)”
(The Little Mermaid, Hans Christian Anderson)

Mermaid of Stanley Park, originally uploaded by janusz l.

Shaped like a mermaid’s heart and adorned with corals, starfish and other treasures from the sea, L smells nothing like the ocean. Yet just like the waves licking warm sands, it soothes a wounded human heart with its vapours of cinnamon buns immersed in vanilla milk and musk. Immortelle gives it the barest hint of saltiness, mostly in the extrait version. The array of notes is simple, perhaps so much as to be considered bold. If the potent as the (similar) Musc Ravageur (also by Maurice Roucel) is a lustful hug, L is a soft caress on the face.

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Friday, October 16, 2009

Falling In Love - Scents And Treats For Fall

Fall is time of change, odysseys and internal journeys. Perfumes for fall must be either warm or innovative.

Bois des Îles goes well with wine tasting and September Song.

sums up the season's introspective, melancholy mood, and with the violin in Strauss' Beim Schlafengehen (poem by Herman Hesse) it's pure perfection.

Just like a cup of good chai, Tea for Two is the perfect accompaniment for a journey in far away land, or just to keep my ears warm on the windy seawall at English Bay. It also goes well with a pumpkin pie and a romantic afternoon tea...

And speaking of pies, my favourite apple pie is served a-la-mod, with a generous scoop of the vanilla and sprinkled with cinnamon as in L de Lolita Lempicka. Also a good antidote for the mood of the song below...

Warm spices and an autumn sun call for a splash of Eau d'Hermes. With its expansive notes of lemon, cumin and immortelle it feels like sunshine on the skin.

Apples and the harvest season makes me think of the weekly equestrian adventures with my daughter. The horses love fresh apples more than any treat. For those beautiful autumn days in Southlands, Tabac Blond smells like the tack with a bit of raw animalics underneath. Best paired with the scents of horse maneur, cedar chips and the scorched horse hoofs as the farrier puts new horseshoes on.

If saffron robes can inspire spiritual growth, than perhaps the spice would too. Saffron perfume by Artemisia is my favourite from the line. If it won't open your third eye at least it will make you smell beautiful.

The pleasure of raking the leaves or crushing them with my sneakers when walking on the fall-leaf-cluttered sidewalks in the West End intensifies when wearing the now defunct Yohji by Yohji Yamamoto.

Burning leaves brings me to incense: the most gorgeous incense for the season must be pure Amber (Labdanum) botanical incense wands. Labdanum resin has a sweetness not unlike that of the fermenting autumn leaves at this time of year. The package I received from my aunt has only 3 wands left, and I was never able to find it anywhere online. Your help in locating more of this incense is much appreciated.

And speaking of burning and fermentation: what can be sweater than smelling some pipe tobacco while the other fall scents are around? If you don't have a pipe (or cigar) smoking neighbour, a dab or Vetiver Tonka or Tobacco Vanille might do the trick.

Tricking ghosts into your haunted house might become just a tad easier a task with a mist of the Gothic-church perfume Avignon. It smells as realistic as a church incense perfume could ever hope: smoky, raspy, and full of frankincense.

Thank you for Helg of Perfume Shrine for initiating this fall project for 2009 and for Gaia of The Non Blond for contributing the title and image. The other participating blogs are:
Ars Aromatica
I smell therefore I am
Mais que perfume
Mossy Loomings
Notes from the Ledge
Perfume Shrine
Savvy Thinker
Tea Sympathy and Perfume
The Non Blonde
Under the Cupola

Photo credit: "Autumn in Sepia" by Rick Lundh (via

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Thursday, October 15, 2009

Tincturing Etrog

My Etrog odyssey took a sharp turn last year, when I knocked into a Hassidic Rabbi with a mobile Sukkah set on the back of a truck, and a set of lulav and etrog from blessing. All just across from the Vancouver Art Gallery and it's famous Olympic clock that is still ticking.

By this time, I was dreaming and hoping of making an Etrog perfume for quite some time. There are not too many citron orchards, not to mention citron essential oil to be found on the market (if there is any, it was certainly bought up by a larger company than mine). But I didn't know it would be possible to find enough fruit to make a tincture. It is a rare fruit and just one can cost dearly, and is only available throughout the holiday of Sukkot. And even than, one is not allowed to use the fruit at all during the holiday, but rather - guard it so that it does not get damaged.

Last year was a "Shnat Shmitah", meaning that even after the holiday, these fruit, which were grown in the land of Israel, were not to be used. A "Shnat Shmitah" is a "sabbatical year" for all the plants and trees in Israel and one is not allowed to eat any fruit from the trees or use them for their enjoyment! The Rabbi has kindly offered to look for a citron grown in Calabria, Italy. But to no avail. I were to wait another year before I could get any citron for tincturing myself.

Another year gone by, and this time I got an Etrog and Lulav for my family. I waited the whole week, and finally, yesterday afternoon, I finally started tincturing the etrog fruit from Succot with my 1st term students. I had only one fruit from my own household, and were suppose to get three others from the Rabbi and his family. But meanwhile, they were blessed with a baby girl, and so I had to wait until the baby and mother got back home. So the other three fruit were only tinctured today (I got them from the Rabbi later in the evening. So this tincturing event of today, even if for just three citrus fruit, was long anticipated!

The first etrog was not so different than a lemon in aroma. The second smelled like a perfume, almost floral. The third was again just like a lemon; and the last was so fragrant and green, it smelled like an herb, perhaps marjoram. Interesting. My hands smelled marvelous by the end of the zesting session.

Now the zests will rest covered in grain alcohol. They will give up on their aroma in about a week's time, at which point I will filter the alcohol and discard the peels. The tincture will be used along with two other citrus tinctures in my Etrog perfume (which I started working on in mid January 2009). But I will tell you more about that in about a week!

Tomorrow morning I will be cooking the remaining peels into an Etrog marmalade, based on Sherry Ansky's recipe.

Ingredients and tools: Etrog (citron) fruit, grain alcohol (about 94-97%), vegetable peeler

Peel the etrog as thinly as possible, taking care to remove only the colourful zest, and none (or just little) of the white peel. The essential oils are only in the zest.

Place the peels in the bottle

Pour alcohol into a bottle or a jar. Make sure the peels are just covered (to prevent them from drying, rotting and spoiling your tincture). At the same time, you don't want too much alcohol, or else your tincture will be too weak.

Mature for 7 days (or up to 10 days if you live in a very cool climate). Strain through paper filter and use as desired (in perfumes, colognes, etc.).

For making an Etrog liquor the process is similar, but requires the addition of sugar syrup in the end (to reduce alcohol content and sweeten the liquor). Use the peels of about 4-6 fruit (depending on their size) and mature for one week in 3 cups of pure grain alcohol OR 200 proof, aka 50% vodka (i.e.: Smirnoff Blue Label).
Now add the sugar syrup. To make the sugar syrup, cook 1 cup of sugar and 2 cups of water until the sugar dissolves. Cool down and add to the alcohol and Etrog peels. Shake well.
Mature for another 36 hours, and than filter. Citrus liquors are best served very cold - preferably frozen.

All the photos in this blog post were taken by my talented and generous brother Noam.

Etrog Citron on FoodistaEtrog Citron

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Skiing, Scent and Confidence

Read the inspiring story of Michelle Roark, the 2009 U.S. freestyle skiing champion, in "Can Perfume Make You A Winner" on the Wall Street Journal. Faced with financial challenges since her young beginning as a figure skater, Roark never gave in and found creative ways for supporting her passion and making her dreams come true. Now she's working on a line of fragrances to inspire emotions - Confidence, Focus, Balance, Adventure and Imagination. Confidence was created especially for her competitions, and includes natural essential oils of rose and grapefruit.
"I had no idea what it smelled like to ski well," she said.

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Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Tea for Two

The smokiness of Lapsang Suchong makes Tea for Two a little quirkier than the name suggests, and not in the least dreamy Doris-Day-like but a little tongue-in-your-cheek instead. If this was an Earl Gray I'm sure it would be easy to find a partner to sip that concoction with. But this is a smoky tea, and as such it is more reminiscent of leather and the marvelous, gamey Dzing! than to what normal people expect from a cup of tea.

If it wasn't for the addition of sugar and milk – which in the perfume universe comes from sweet notes of honey and vanilla and the warmth from spices such cinnamon and ginger - it would be as difficult to put on as a leather jumpsuit. But these notes, and the barest hint of floral jasmine and rose help to round it off and accentuate the tea leaf while taking away some of the smoke. In fact, there is the barest hint of green leaf or honeysuckle once it settles on the skin. That is not to say that Tea for Two becomes floral or green, but these aspects certainly help give this perfume roundness and dimension without risk of straying off the tea-theme. The tea backdrop becomes more woody and subdued as it evolves on the skin, and the anise grows a little bolder with time.

Having elements of both spice and the leather genre, I find Tea for Two to be perfect for fall. It’s warm and cozy as a sweater and has a personality of its own too, in case you are in the mood for getting a new one for the season.

Notes: Smoked Black Tea (Lapsang Suchong), Ginger, Cinnamon, Anise, Honey, Vanilla

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Monday, October 12, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

Pumpkins, originally uploaded by Ayala Moriel.

Happy Thanksgiving to all my fellow Canadian perfume lovers and readers.
We have so much to be grateful about - abundance of food, health care system to take care of the sick and old, free education and wonderful nation of warm people who can endure cold winters and help each other survive that dark season coming upon us!
And lest we forget the brisk aroma of our evergreen forests, mineral lakes and salty ocean breezes, skunk cabages, waterlilies and the damp mossy forest floors that smells like a Chypre perfume. We may not produce too many interesting essential oils, but the ones we do are the best of their kind (fir and spruce absolutes, anyone?) and our air is (relatively) clean.

And I'm thankful that despite the fact that Ottawa is the 1st city in the world to have anti-perfume regulations, I have many Canadians who enjoy my perfumes and support my business. Thanks to you I can put food on the table , have a roof over my head and keep my family healthy and happy. What more can one ask for?

So everyone, enjoy the stuffed turkey and don't forget to cut it down with a lot of cranberries and Okanagan wine; being a vegetarian, I'm just going to stick to my pumpkin pie ;-)


Sunday, October 11, 2009

One Of A Kind Show in Vancouver

It's the last day today for the One Of A Kind Show in Vancouver at the Vancouver Convention Centre (the Canada Place building - under the "sails"). I've been there yesterday and it was overwhelmingly good. Lots of talented artists, designers and artisans from across BC, Canada and the USA. It's only the 2nd year in Vancouver but it was running on the East Coast (i.e.: Montreal, Toronto and New York) for 37 years now, which means it is older than I am...
Don't miss it since it's not going to be here till next fall!
It's open today from 10am to 5pm.


Thursday, October 08, 2009

Chai Spice

masala chai spices, originally uploaded by chocolate&jasmine.

Strolling down to Coal Harbour equipped with a cup of chai, I suddenly had the illusion of smelling rose petals inside. Which instantly turned into a perfume AND a tea blend idea. I watched an aquaplane take off and came back to the studio to start fleshing out this idea.

There are probably as many chai spice blends and recipes as there are people in India. Some are so simple - just a little grated fresh ginger and cardamom pods; others also include cinnamon and black pepper. And the most elaborate ones include many other spices - nutmeg, mace, cloves, allspice, star anise and sweet fennel seeds. Traveling to the west, it even took on some mulled wine and potpourri nuances, with the addition of orange peel or even vanilla beans.

I tried two versions, and my conclusion is that for a perfume accord to remind me of chai spice, the more complex the better. One version is with dominant cardamom and more ginger; the other is a little more balanced and has more star anise and fennel, which I find quite crucial for the mix: it smells like tea even without any tea absolute added. Now all I need is to figure out how to add the tea and the rose. And so tomorrow morning I will brew myself a cup of chai with a dried rosebud.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Apple Harvest

Voila: an apple orchard that kisses the horizon of the Okanagan lake. Apples are such a basic fruit because of its long shelf life and its power to keep doctors away, we sometimes take them for granted. But I tell you: there's nothing like a fresh ripe apple that was just picked that morning, which is precisely what I had for breakfast today. Fragrant. Crisp. Delicious.

And being not so perfect for wine they are so much more nutritious and also in some danger of becoming extinct. Does that mean that Canadians will l have to import stale fruit from California in 10-20 years? I hope not...

But agriculture, health and political issues aside, don't you think this fruit is simply glorious? It is not surprising to me anymore that it was for so long considered the fruit with which the snake seduced Eve. Coming from a warm county, orchard fruit such as apples, pears, peaches and cherries seem unusually exotic to me.

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Sunday, October 04, 2009

Bacchus and Pan

This beautiful view is from a vineyard and a winery in the Okanagan valley in British Columbia. I've heard so much about this area but it took me 11 years to actually make it up there, and learn that the "valley" really is a large and long lake, and along its shores, sliding from the slopes of the dry mountaies are scattered orchards, vineyards and ever-growing little towns and and wineries. Orchards are fast being uprooted and replaced by vineyards; apparently Canadians prefer their fruit fermented and boozed up rather than fresh... Personally I'd rather have the fresh fruit: cherries, peaches, pears and apples make the majority - but it is also possible to grow kiwis there! The area is considered to be the northern most desert in the world, although the desert is kind of scattered around... With extreme climate (very cold at night and in the wintertime; very hot and dry in the summer), little rainfall (about 30cm annually) and relatively sparse vegetation.

Turns out I came to the area just in time for the grape and apple harvest as well as the wine festival in the region. I was originally invited to teach a workshop up in Vernon, which unfortunately got canceled (but hopefully postponed to another time). The softness of a full autumn sunshine was magical, as if the sun was kissing goodbye all the orchards and people before taking a little nap for the winter. And the atmosphere was festive, with all the ripe apples on the trees like bright red ornaments, and the odour of fermented grapes like after some kind of ancient fertility ritual for Dionysus.

I've experienced my first wine-tasting there (and the second, certainly too much for one day!) and learned the difference between red and white wines is more than just the colour of the grapes, but also how it is processed. I also learned the winery jargon is something that no matter how great is my olfactory imagination, I will never get it. With due respect to this tradition which is highly connected to the development of perfume (after all, without alcohol and distillation techniques, perfumes would not be very interesting at all) - perfumery is so much interesting. I find the whole notion of describing fermented (and often sour) grape juice as "floral" or with hints of this or that unrelated fruit or spice is a little silly. At least in perfume we use more than one plant and don't need to try to find other things in it that aren't there...

And one of the most fantastic things was discovering Carmelis goat cheese artisan at the very end of Kelowna towards Chute Lake and Naramata - which turns out to be owned by an Israeli woman. They make the best Labaneh (strained yogurt cheese) I've tasted out of the Western Galilee. They also serve ice cream by the scoop (their pistachio was amazing) and their variety of cheeses is more than impressive - soft ripened cheeses, brie, blue cheese, gruyere and even parmesan type but all made from goat cheese. My love for goats has grown even stronger seeing how much variety of cheeses can be made from their milk. Plus, in case you didn't know already, I just love how they smell...

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Friday, October 02, 2009

Happy Sukkot!

Etrog, originally uploaded by Ayala Moriel.

Dear SmellyBlog Readers,
Wishing you a happy Sukkot and harvest season.
This year I have bought my own citron fruit for the first time and I'm very excited! I will be posting pics and tell you more about my citron odyssey, as I'm on a journey for the 2nd year now to create an etrog perfume. This year it has an even more special meaning than ever and I hope by the end of the holiday I will have enough essence to actually make it.
The fruit cannot be used until after Sukkot is over, so I must pray for patience first and foremost!
Hag Samecah,

P.s. the above photo is from last year. Now I'm off to assemble my Etrog and Lulav et al and to dinner with my daughter and brother who's just arrived last week and is already cooking for us!

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