Friday, September 24, 2010

Fall Escapism: Champaca, Kyphi, Hiking and Chai

I'm burning Kyphi incense tonight, and it seems particularly befitting for the season. I've been "getting back to my roots" so to speak this week as I was teaching my intensive, week-long perfumery course focusing on the Oriental fragrance family. Kyphi is the most ancient perfume in the form of incense pellets - it combines about 16 different resins, spices and herbs, which are bound together with honey, raisins and wine. I made this incense three years ago (in September, actually...). It was burnt in ancient Egyptian temple in the evening, to "banish the worries of the day". And it does just that!

Now that my busiest season has began, I'm already finding it essential to keep my life balanced. Fall's transitions into the school year are exciting but also taxing. And with the market season beginning, I must take good care for not falling into stress-mode because this is going to last nearly 4 months and I am hardly going to have a single weekend off in the coming weeks!

I began making perfumes 9 years ago, when I was a full-time student in an intensive program, and also a very new single-mother. Stress was inevitable, and just as inevitable was me waking up at 5am every morning so that I can get a few moments to myself to burn incense and meditate. It seems like things are coming full circle now and I will be needing to go a similar route: wake up early and make sure my day does not begin with answering emails, or even making breakfast... But with thanking for and paying attention to my breathing. And what better way than burning incense to become aware of one's breath and deepen it?

Hiking or simple long walks in the neighborhood (the West End is surrounded by water in 3 directions, as well as a nearly-natural rainforest of Stanley Park). Morning visits to Coal Harbour always make my day seem promising and exciting, and the water always pops new ideas into my head! And in the evening, a long stroll along the seawall all the way to Lost Lagoon, Beaver Lake or the Rose Garden are a good finale to a day - usually with a companion that can share the beauty of the scenery and reflect on the day that just gone by.

And than, of course, there is tea to warm my hands on that early morning stroll, or lift up my spirits just before the workday is over. Chai tea is special in that it has to be actually cooked in a pot with all the spices and milk - something I hardly ever do on a week day, but reserve for weekends and guests... Or when I decide to go to the Indian restaurant to get lunch instead of cook it myself... Fortunately, there is a really good one right next door and it feels like home there (sort of, except for the giant Bollywood marathon on their big-screen TV).

Champaca Chai, originally uploaded by Ayala Moriel.

And last but not least - here's a one-of-a-kind perfume that is especially appropriate for today: Champaca Chai. The fantasy of this perfume encompasses both the hiking, chai and smoky components that seem to save my mundane life from total disaster... It speaks to my fantasy of an outdoorsy tea ritual, preferably after a long hike on the mountains, and has a soothing milkiness to go with its rustic smoky surroundings. I also find the essence of champaca flower, with its complexity and fruitiness, to be reminiscent of Kyphi.

Top notes:
Ginger, Nutmeg, Mace, Cardamom, Fennel, Caraway

Heart notes:
Champaca, Jasmine, Coconut, Honey

Base notes:
Black Tea, Budhawood, Clove bud, Tonka bean

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At September 25, 2010 6:14 AM, Blogger odysseusm said...

A lovely window into your world. Thanks for this.

At September 25, 2010 9:29 AM, Blogger Dionne said...

I'm de-lurking to say thanks for this post. I'm a night-owl who's trying to change her ways and rise earlier in the day - you've reminded me to take a moment and enjoy the early morning instead of just leaping into action.


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