Monday, January 30, 2012

Precious Fruit

Last week has flown by without even a glimpse of a chance to tell you about the progress of my Etrog perfume. The big breakthrough was, of course, finding the right heart note. But there is more fine-tuning that had to be done with the top notes and the base notes. Finding the right balance and also searching for a few missing elements. It was still lacking in some brightness, and needed more body and substance from both the base and the heart (for fixative quality - i.e. longevity - and also for more interest).

I was contemplating adding yuzu, aka Japanese citron (Citrus junos) to keep along with the citron theme. But the scent is so different from that of the cedrat or etrog citron (Citrus medica) that although I used it in previous mods (before obtaining the citron peel oil) - I quickly neglected the idea. The etrog is so subtle anyway, it's best to keep things simple with only the three types of Etrog essences I have (2 types of tinctures, and one essential oil) plus the pomelo (Citrus maxima) tincture.

As for the heart - it needed more depth, but also more brightness. The balsam poplar buds are so resinous and thick they threaten to steal the show! Etrog has began to smell more honeyed and ambery than planned. So, to cure the problem, I decided to intensify that effect with some real honey absolute on the basis of "Similia simelibius curentur", but it still needed some brightness, which was originally achieved with litsea cubeba. And for unknown reason, it felt wrong. I was hovering right next to it exploring other similar essences, and unearthed the very little bit of citron petitgrain that Mandy has given me when I visited her in Berkeley (she describes it as smelling like Meyer lemon blossoms!), and lemon myrtle that my brother Yotam brought me from Australia and I've never actually used in any of my perfumes (except for something I blended for him eons ago). They all got along marvelously, and also satisfied my geeky desire to keep with the Sukkot theme: myrtle and citron, both being part of the 4 species of the holiday. Sometimes, the simplest solutions lie right in front of your nose...

Last but not least, came the testing phase. The reason why in the photo above you're seeing what looks like a completed perfume (although it's not!), with label and spray and all, is because I had to test it in the spray form. And the reason why it's lying right next to a big fuzzy fragrant quince, is because I find quince and citron very similar to one another. Both have mythical tales surrounding them, unique aroma and medicinal properties hidden behind a rather modest (or even rustic and slightly unappealing look, in the case of Yemenite citron, or the fuzzy quince). These are the kind of fruit that fairy tales were woven about that if you're ill, the smell of this one special fruit will cure all ailments. That's been always my on my mind when creating the Etrog perfume.

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At January 31, 2012 6:41 AM, Anonymous Lisa Woodward said...

Wonderful glimpse into your creative process, Ayala! I am looking forward to smelling this when you release it. Etrog essential oil is a favorite of mine. I had ordered some from a company in Isreal years ago. I can no longer find the company and treasure my last few drops.

At February 02, 2012 9:25 AM, Blogger Ayala Moriel said...

Thank you for the kind words, Lisa!
It's not easy to share the creative process - in a way it becomes part of it to blog about it (which is a bit of a case of an "Observer Effect"...).

I hope you will enjoy the Etrog perfume - I know I am quite pleased with how it's unfolding!

I am aiming to launch it in the summer, because it's fresh and citrusy; but it also has enough warmth to it to lead into fall and Sukkot :-)

At February 29, 2012 9:43 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Congrats on your breakthrough! It's always so exciting to finish a formula after working on it for a long time. I've never smelled etrog, so I look forward to trying yours! --Laurie


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