Thursday, July 28, 2011

Smells of Summer, or Something Like That... + GIVEAWAY

Linden & Rain by Ayala Moriel
Linden & Rain, a photo by Ayala Moriel on Flickr.

It's been a lousy summer in Vancouver. There, I said it. Please don't hate me. July is almost over and we barely had a week and a half of descent weather. It's been rainy, cold, and even felt like October at times.

On the bright side, the linden blossoms are having an extra long blooming season. There are linden trees all around Vancouver, and usually they bloom in mid to late June. This year, they bloom from mid to late July, and probably will keep scenting the air well into August... Linden blossoms and rain... Mmm... And I'm now feeling inspired to work with the Linden Blossom CO2 that I got from Mandy Aftel when I visited her studio in Berkeley in late June. Wait - that was exactly a month from today!

So, no beach pictures to illustrate what should have been a cheerful "Best of Summer" type of article here on SmellyBlog. You'll just have to tough it out with this strange collage of linden blossom branch that I found on a wet newspaper stand last Saturday, as I was getting ready for my Orcas tea party. I brought the branch home to decorate the place, which turned out to be an innocent act of luring ants into my house... They simply love linden trees, and they love everything about my house. I should add "ant killer" (as well as "cacti killer") to my resume.

Even the rhubarb had a super short season (hardly even three weeks...!) so my new love of last summer is all forgotten, in hopes that it will return next year stronger and brighter, with its fabulous calone smell.

Today was the first day I actually sat in my porch and write while burning incense and drinking iced match latter that I fixed for myself instead of lunch. I've avoided my porch for months now, due to the horrific weather AND the roofers constantly scouring the area. There was one roofer peeking through my porch at one point, but I think I managed to scare him away, simply by taking him by surprise...

Thankfully, there were still lilacs (for a very short time) and the peonies this year were as pretty as ever. The roses, on the other hand, don't seem to be doing too well this year... All of these are smells that I've learned to associate with summer in Vancouver. But, alas, as previous summer's memories are replaced by a new summer, for better or for worse - here's how my summer smells like:

Basil, Nectarines & Blueberries - better together, in a green salad.

Wild Salmon, which I've finally succumbed to eating after 13 years of lack-of-sun, abundance-of-rain. I was born and raised vegetarian, but now I eat local fish. And there's nothing better than BC's salmon (the smoked one is to die for).

Pinot Noir and other strange red wines I stumble upon when in Sonoma county. Like the fish, this is new to me, because the only wine I could somewhat enjoy till recently was white.

Sweet Peas, with whom I fell in love all over again after spotting a bouquet in a little antique shop in Graton.

Sugar Peas, which when grown properly (cold, wet summers make for ideal conditions), are the perfect beach snack, all on their own. They have a fragrant crisp green yet sweet smell. Not a substitute for green string beans (a summer favourite that I terribly miss and that have been absent because of the lack of sun and heat in BC to grow them).

Watermelon with Feta Cheese - well, when the local fruit is lacking (the cherries this year - also not so great...) - then there is no choice but to get some not so local fruit, and pair it with creamy, uber-salty Macedonia feta.

Perhaps I will just have to create my own summer, in a bottle... So here's a partial list, which I admit to be extremely biased as it mostly contains perfumes that I made myself, and most of them are more on the greener side (Orcas and Smiling Country and Grin body oil is how you should expect me to smell these days). What else can you wear in a summer with constant April showers?!

The others are made by other perfumer friends/colleagues of mine. In the light of the previous article, my sentiments towards handcrafted perfumes are becoming increasingly fonder.

Fleur No. 1 by 1000Flowers - green, delicate floral that begins boldly with galbanum and surprised with pine bud and narcissus absolute. At its base are quiet musks, moss and the haunting violet of alpha ionone.
But I must confess that even more than Fleur No.1 I was touched by another creation of Jessica Buchanan, which is not officially released except for among friends who are privy to this beautiful, all-natural concoction of white flowers and resinous base. It's very cheerful and sensual - so perfect for those rare hot days we're getting this summer...

Honey Blossom by Aftelier - bright, delicate floral focused on the tea-and-honey notes of organic linden blossom CO2.

Parfum Privé by Aftelier - with precious aromatic treasures such as beach harvested ambergris, osmanthus, orange flower and ambrette. I love its muskiness and overall rich roundness.

Le Parfum de Thérèse - basil, jasmine, melon and under-ripe plum - for me there's no summer without this masterpiece by Edmond Roudnitska.

Ineke's Angel's Trumpet from her new Floral Curiosities collection for Anthropologie - if it wasn't for Ineke I would have never paid attention to this curious plant - whose flowers turn into citrus candy heaven only after dark.

Incense Lily by Sonoma Scent Studio* - I understand this perfume has been out of production for a while, but I have a feeling that it will make a come back... Someone at Estee Lauder must have spied on Laurie when they created their Azuree de Soleil, because it's a dead ringer to that. Except that it's hand made with much care and love by Laurie Erickson.

Sombre Negra by Yosh - dark, smoky vetiver at its best.

What scents make your summer? Post a comment and enter to win a mini of Liz Zorn's Ankhara.
Draw will take place on Friday, August 5th.

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At July 29, 2011 3:12 PM, Blogger mandy said...

Thank you Ayala! What a nice treat to be on Smelly Blog - it makes me feel good that you love Honey Blossom and Privé. You have such a thoughtful and beautiful blog, I'm always impressed when I visit. And visiting with you in person was even better - I would love to do it again soon.

At July 29, 2011 3:28 PM, Blogger Ayala Moriel said...


Thanks to you for visiting & commenting on SmellyBlog - so glad you like it and wish one day you will visit my space in person :-)

Your perfumes are harmonious, original and well-balanced. It was such a privilege to get to meet you in person and enjoy your teas!

I should have mentioned your Linden Blossom tea - what a lovely scented oolong!

At July 29, 2011 4:13 PM, Anonymous Kathleen said...

Musk and green tea - the intense heat of Toronto coupled with no air conditioning quenched by ice-cold homemade green tea
Pine, sand, salt and crisp fresh air - visiting Vancouver, walking around Kits beach and playing with a friend's darling boys
Coco Lime - memories of a fantastic tea, delicious food, meeting a talented perfumer (!) and fueling my inspiration (Thanks again Ayala!)
Fresh cut grass, sangria and barbequed crabs - a recent trip to my parents' home in Winnipeg and drinking sangria under the pergola by the barbeque
Coconut - my new favorites teas from the West Coast, dreams of fresh creamy pie and the memories of suntan lotion as a teenager
Cedar and salmon - cedar plank salmon barbequed by my husband

Happy summer to you! xo

At July 29, 2011 4:45 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks Ayala! I've been working on something sort of similar to Incense Lily but with jasmine and OB rather than lily. Will see if it comes together. Sweet peas are one of my favorite spring treats! Love Mandy's Honey Blossom and Privé, and need to sniff those others you mention. I've been wanting to try something by 1000 Flowers -- her scents sound lovely. Always fun visiting your blog. It's one of the most informative and beautiful blogs by a perfumer. Happy summer!

At July 29, 2011 10:43 PM, Blogger Ayala Moriel said...

Sounds like you're having a great summer!
It was so lovely to meet you in person and I'm so happy you had a great time at my tea party and in Vancouver. Love your descriptions of everything! I can live summer vicariously through them :-)
P.s. I say - bring on the heat, Vancouver! Even if for just a few days... Forecast looking good for the upcoming week. Yay!

At July 29, 2011 10:44 PM, Blogger Ayala Moriel said...

I'm looking forward to smell the new incarnation of what used to be incense lily. Love orange blossom and jasmine - more than lilies, admittedly... The base for that one is so balanced and pretty, and reminiscent of beach scents, in a good way. Going to put some on before bedtime...
Hope to see you again soon!

At July 30, 2011 10:40 AM, Anonymous Jessica September said...

Beautiful post Ayala! So sensual and full of delectable tastes and images and scents! Thank you for your mention for Fleur No1 and also for the mystery perfume. I have decided to announce it as soon as I get to France. Well, maybe after I take a few days to recuperate by swimming in the Mediterranean and soaking up the gorgeous sunshine of the south region. Wishing you lots of sunshine too for the remainder of the season here on the gorgeous west coast! Many blessings! xoxo

At July 30, 2011 10:25 PM, Blogger Michael said...

Hi Ayala,

Sorry it has been such a lousy summer there in Vancouver. I will gladly trade you some of the hot sunny 90 degree days if you want to send some nice cool temperatures and rain down towards Colorado! It hasn't made for a very fun summer here either.

I have been helping myself through the really toasty days with Anya's Garden's Kaffir, Profumo's Oak Moss and today I just tried Mermade Magickal Art's Greenwood. It had me wanting to go run naked through the woods!

Hope things pick up a little more for a nice end of summer for you!


At July 31, 2011 7:45 AM, Anonymous HollyJae said...

Whilst its winter where I live, I've just returned from a tropical holiday and coconut, mint, lemongrass, ginger, kaffir lime and exotic flowers are screaming summer to me! =)
Warm regards

At August 01, 2011 1:24 PM, Blogger Lyubov said...

Inspiring article - thank you!
Come to Bulgaria, Ayala! The sun is very generous this year!
I am wearing Un Jardin Sur Le Nil, Alien, Daim Blonde, Shaal Nur, Vetiver des Sables these days. I am looking now for a summer rose scent and maybe 4 Reines de L'Occitane is the one...

At August 04, 2011 9:48 AM, Blogger flavourfanatic said...

Hi! I love reading about the scents of your summer as well as the scents of everywhere else. Stockholm actually has had a great summer - very unusual. The right amount of sun balanced by a few rain showers. The smells here are freshly cut grass, a little bit of funk from the channel next to our house, childrens sun block cream, smoke from barbeques, boat exhaust fumes, all balanced by the shy rosy/peachy scent of a glass of rosé.

At August 05, 2011 12:01 PM, Blogger Undina said...

Here, in Northern California, summer hasn't happened this year as well. I cannot complain - not only by comparison with the rest of the country sufferring from a heat wave but in general, I really like this weather and do not miss heat. But because of that weather I didn't have my regular perfumes rotation, some summer scents never felt appropriate (for example, Sur le Nil by Hermes and many colognes by Jo Malone).
Today I'm wearing Zeta by Tauer Perfumes - and both perfumes and weather feel like spring.

At August 05, 2011 12:19 PM, Blogger Shawn said...

It's funny just as I was openening facebook I was reveling in the sweet fragrance of the organic strawberries on my desk. Most often it is difficult to truly find strawberrys that are truley fragrant. My favourite smells are truly flowers such as lilacs, roses and a this beautiful tree in front of my apt. building which I have no idea what it is called. White flower burst from its braches smelling similar to a gardenia. Oh, and sweet peas are wonderful. I do love the essence of fresh vegetables. I could go on and on of the smells of summer. xo


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