Friday, April 02, 2010

Song of Songs + Giveaway

Book of Love, originally uploaded by Thorne Enterprises.

The book of Canticles (aka Song of Solomon or Song of Songs) is traditionally read on the morning of the Sabbath during Passover. Hence, my perfume bearing that name is particularly appropriate for this time of year and I thought it would be a great start for talking about how to use oud in perfumery, revealing the different facets of its complex beauty.

I created Song of Songs perfume using the ancient perfumes mentioned in this book, including agarwood, spikenard root, oils of myrrh and frankincense oils, and labdanum absolute, which together form a resinous and woody base; a bouquet of roses (from Morocco, Turkey and Bulgaria) for the heart, and saffron absolute at the top, which makes it very exotic and unusual. At some point I had some hyacinth absolute in my organ, which I used for the heart as well, but this is long gone. The hyacinths stand for the lilies mentioned in the poem, and which according to my research were what the Song of Songs refers to as "Lily of the Valley" (convillarias do not grow in Israel or anywhere in the Middle East). Hyacinth absolute is very sweet (almost candy sweet) and with some green-herbaceous aspect. But like I said - it rarely turns out in the market. I also had an idea of having cedar in it at certain point in the design process, but that was more of a story-telling idea, rather than perfumed idea (the book mentions cedar of Lebanon, which was used to build the temple of Solomon; however I don't know that cedar was necessarily a biblical perfume material so I abandoned that idea early on).

Song of Songs is honeyed, resinous and exotic and has a very profound impact on my mind when I wear it. It makes me feel connected to the ancient civilizations where my ancestors came from. There. the Orient and the Occident unite through veins of caravans transporting spices, medicine and wisdom. Like the poem it was inspired by, the perfume sits comfortably between the sacred and the profane (despite the fact that the poetry in the book of Canticles is very erotic and more than just suggestive, it is considered by the Jews to be the holiest one in the bible).

Although I created it before knowing anything about Arabian perfumery or smelling any Arabian or Indian attars (Song of Songs was created in 2002, just about a year after I started my journey in the art of perfumery) - it is a very "Middle Eastern" perfume, similar in some ways to the Arabian attars I smelled at the perfume bazzar at the souk years later, but far more pure and intense with its true attar of rose, spikenard and agarwood and all the rest. The spikenard really brings out the mustiness and earthy animalic aspect of agarwood, and the saffron brings it up another notch with its almost leathery dryness. Along with the ambery labdanum and the precious woodsy notes of olibanum and myrrh, these elements really make the roses sing and stand out during the heart phase. It becomes woodier and dryer as it dries on the skin.

Interestingly, Song of Songs is really popular with my local clientele - those who pick it by smelling it rather than reading the history and notes on the website. But those who do pick it from the virtual boutique end up being long time devotees. I can see why: there is something really soothing about it. I worn it yesterday and I will be wearing it for the rest of the Passover week.

Comment on this post and get entered into a draw to win a preview-vial (15ml) of Song of Songs anointing body oil, with nourishing and fast-absorbing oils of jojoba, coconut, avocado and vitamin E.

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At April 02, 2010 10:31 PM, Blogger Laura said...

This is one of my favorites and I am indeed a local client. I feel very exotic wearing it. I also love the narrative around the scent as much as I love the feeling of history when I wear it.

At April 03, 2010 6:17 PM, Blogger Ayala Moriel said...

Thank you, Laura!
I'm so glad you feel that way about Song of Songs. It feels really special when someone else "gets" what I intended to communicate with a perfume. I'm sure you feel that way about your artwork.

At April 03, 2010 6:49 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love the history/meaning behind your blend. I love the idea of re-creating parts of history and even myth through perfume blends . . . It's so much more than just something that smells pretty. You can read about history and see paintings and hear stories, but how often do you get to smell history? It's so cool, what you are doing. :-)

At April 05, 2010 3:17 PM, Blogger Mama G said...

This is one of the feelings that made me start working with Real ingredient perfumes =)

The realization that these substances, have been used throughout history by so many, just thrills my Capricornian self to the bone!

Thanks for posting your thought process, it really helps me clarify my own process.

Blessed Be!

At April 08, 2010 6:43 AM, Anonymous Olfacta said...

Sounds wonderful. I have a little perfumer's kit and have tried making a desert perfume like this, but my ingredients were limited. I wore L'air du desert Marocain to a seder this year but would have worn yours if I had it! The essence of perfumery, at least to me, is that you can walk in myth, or history or another time.

At April 09, 2010 5:39 PM, Blogger Ayala Moriel said...

You are the winner of the Song of Songs body oil!
I will send you a bottle next week, or you can come and pick it up from the studio :-)


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