Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Recalling Loquats, Discovering Lychee


Walking by Stanley Park's Pitch & Putt the other day, I stumbled upon a blooming bush from the Fabaceae family.
And like I do with most flowers I’ve never seen before, I usually give them a little shake with my nose and say hello – just to learn if they have a scent or not. As it turns out, these nice yellow clusters, the size of lilac’s own blooming clusters, had a very familiar scent.

Many people can recognize a scent right away if they smelled it before. They may not be able to describe it or identify it, but it’s as if the molecules of the scent attach themselves to some part of our brain that they’ve stirred before, and zoom straight in there like magnets. Most people, however, will experience the olfactory equivalence of “a the tip of the tongue” phenomenon: the know it, but can’t name it. A perfumer, however, will most likely be able to recognize the scent right away or within seconds.

While I can’t identify the botanical name of this flower for you right this second, I could tell you instantly that they smelled of ripe, sweet, juicy, fragrant, organically-grown and not-over watered loquats! And to be perfectly precise, ones that were picked and peeled on a cooler spring day (perhaps early morning), rather than warmed-up by a hot April sun (which would have bring their sweetness into a jam-like density).

For a girl who grew up spending most of her spring break stapling brown paper-bags around loquat clusters (to hide them from the greedy birds!), I can tell you that nothing can be more disappointing the market or store bought loquats. They just won’t cut it.

And what’s the lychee got to do with that, you may ask? Well, It will only serve you right to share you this little odd piece of information that I just discovered last weekend: I discovered lychee in one of my perfumes!

One of the things I like the most about interacting with customers directly in events and markets is, that I can gain some of their insights into my scents and get another perspective in a most spontaneous and honest manner. Jenny, one of the two talented fashion designers of Two of Hearts, was visiting me last Sunday at Porotbello West and as she was browsing the perfume collection, she tried Cabaret. Her immediate reaction was “lychee!”. And when I smelled it again, with that notion, I could not for the life of me understand how come I did not make that connection earlier.

That being said, the power of suggestion should not be underestimated. For example, beginner perfumers are warned of an effect called “tunneling” when they create a perfume to match an existing one (a task equivalent to requesting a musician to play a tune “by ear”). The danger in doing so is that tunneling gives one the impression that the two resemble each other more than they actually do.

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2 Comments:

At June 10, 2010 9:37 PM, Blogger Galamb_borong said...

I believe the mystery plant you've had a run-in with is pineapple broom. :)

It's delightful. I love its smell. nature knows how to do a fruity-floral right!

 
At June 14, 2010 11:34 PM, Blogger Ayala Moriel said...

Galamb borong,
Thanks so much for solving this botanical mystery!
Come to think about it now: a good loquat has a certain pineappleness to it...Yum!

 

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