Monday, April 30, 2012

Monkey Monday: Forbidden Lilacs

Lilacs by Ayala Moriel
Lilacs, a photo by Ayala Moriel on Flickr.

As I was strolling leisurely down Bute street towards Sunset Beach last night, I noticed that one of the lilac bushes was beginning to bloom. The buds haven't opened yet, but I could not suppress my curiousity and had to sniff them out and see if their scent has began to develop.
Before I could even figure what came first - the flower or the fragrance, I heard a woman yelling from a balcony in that building. I assured my daughter that surely this woman must be yelling at some dog that's ruining her patio garden; but she made it very clear that she was mad at me for "picking the flowers". I doubt that this bush even technically belongs to her, being one of the many trees and plants along the sidewalk (Vancouver does amazing job with gardening everywhere); but nevertheless I told her I was only smelling them. Which seemed to make her even more upset. Apparently, she's not willing to even share the scent of that lilac (if it will ever have any).

So - our Monkey Monday discussion topic today is this: have you ever been led by your nose into trouble?

And among those of you who comment, there will be a draw for Lys Méditerranée decant.

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Sunday, April 29, 2012

2nd Annual Mother's Day Tea Party

Mother's Day Afternoon Tea
Another fragrant tea party has gone by... This time in honour of Mother's Day that's fast approaching (May 13th). Studio guests enjoyed 20% off this afternoon; and online shoppers will continue to receive 15% off their purchases thru May 15th with a coupon promo code - for more details subscribe to our newsletter!

Edlerflower Cordial

Getting ready for a tea party always starts at least a couple of days early... This cordial of fresh elderflowers was made the night before, as it requires an overnight steeping (some recipes even call for 48 hours!). I got these at the farmer's market, but you can find them in Stanley Park now - they should be around for a few more days (flowers usually have a rather short season).

Elderflowers smell peculiar: a combination of delicate and overpowering; repulsive and sweet. The closest way for me to describe them is that of guava fruit with hints of black currants - although far more subtle than either. You must try to make a cordial yourself to really enjoy it. The store bought ones that I've tried were not only unimpressive - but quite disappointing in that they tasted like preserved lemon juice.

Instead of making simple syrup infused with the flowers and preserved with citric acid (yuck!) I decided to enjoy these beautiful, fresh and delicate flowers fresh, and create a "iced tea" of sorts. I boiled 1.5L of water, poured over the elderflowers, and one wedged lemon (organically grown and unwaxed). I Added 1/2 cup of evaporated cane sugar and steeped it overnight. Chilled in the morning, and by the time the guests rolled in, there was a refreshing, fragrant drink awaiting them: I poured half a glass of the "cordial" and the topped it off with San Pellegrino and it was divine. No one even wanted to try the G & T's that was on the menu!

Classic Tea Sandwiches

The simplest classic tea sandwiches are always the best, in my opinion. This time around I served only two flavours: cucumber sandwiches, and egg salad recipe (which I season with mustard, freshly grated pepper, dill and chives).


Scones are almost always my favourite of the tea party tray. Especially if they are served warm and with clotted cream and quality preserved fruit. These scones are made with sheep's cheese and wild mountain thyme from my home village, which my lovely sister-in-law picked and sent me - especially from the Galilee in Israel!

The savoury thyme and cheese serve a refreshing contrast to the decadent rainforest harvested jam of blackberries and wild roses!


And last but not least - the sweets. Sometimes, you might not have the time, mood or energy to put together a full dessert tier. This was meant to be a laid-back gathering so I only invested in the hazelnut brownies (which I made with teff flour), which is very rich and satisfying all on its own - but added some dates and salted caramels for those who wanted a little extra something, which also slightly accommodated my unexpectedly vegan guests. Dried fruit are always a wonderful treat and are healthy in more ways than I care to describe here. Always good to have them around (or in your bag, in case you get stranded...)

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Thursday, April 26, 2012

Frugal Dad's Top Fragrance Sites

Frugal Dad picked SmellyBlog among his favourite fragrance sites. Yay!

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Can you guess what (wild) plant this is? Hint: It's edible.
If you guess correctly I will be very impressed, as it looks extremely different from what we would expect it to be if we were to hear the actual name... I'm very eager to share the plant, so I will publish the answer later tonight. But just for the fun of it - who's game for guessing? If you guess correctly, I'll send you a sample of Smiling Country.

Growing up in the largely-wild country side of the Western Galilee (in northern Israel), we always would collect herbs and edible plants from the wild. Hyssop and sage are easy to find; while white mint and wild mountain thyme were a little more rare and "exotic", and combined with their valued medicinal properties and aromatic profile - my mom always made it very clear that we should always bring some home and remember where the plants were on our hikes and random roaming around on the thorny hill behind our home.

In the wintertime and early spring, there are also many edible greens full of nutrition that my mom learned how to recognize, harvest and prepare from the Arab and Druze women of the neighbouring villages: wild chicory (oh-so bitter, which she baked into a rolled pie, seasoned with crushed chiles), stinging nettles, mallow leaves (fresh in salad), purslane (in salad or incorporated into omlets and frittatas), and many other mysterious weeds I can't find the actual name for at the moment and deserve a whole post all on their own on account of their intrigue and obscurity.

For years now, I've been living in the city, and my foraging has been limited to the few obvious plants I know - blackberries, huckleberries, salmon berries and the like. Inspired by the book Earth to Table, I'm now determined to expand my foraging skills and learn a little more about edible wild plants of the Pacific Northwest. Anyone up for hunting morels, fiddleheads and ramps?

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Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Wild Asparagus

Wild Asparagus

Wild Asparagus, a photo by Ayala Moriel on Flickr.

Yes - you guessed it!

While rummaging through the wadi in Clil with my family, we spotted many buds and new shoots of wild asparagus. It's hard to believe the these shoots are of the same plant - they are so much more plump than the grown branches; their leaves curled in embriotic-like tenderness that recalls none of the porcupine-like prickliness of the mature spiky leaves. But if you see it in real life, the newborn branches developing in the spring, you can understand the connection and marvel at how precious is this moment in life when it is not only edible, but a real gourmet item

Far thinner than the cultivated variety, the wild asparagus has also a more intense flavour, with some intriguing bitterness emerging towards the end of the season. To prepare it, cut the stems only if they don't fit your steaming basket. Steam for a very short period of time, removing from the steam immediately once they've changed into a vibrant green and are easily snapped into two.

Seasoning, as in most top-notch vegetables, need to remain simple to really make the flavour shine: a sprinkle of coarse sea salt or fleur de sel, and a generous drizzle of pure virgin olive oil. Serve and enjoy immediately on its own, or on top of hot pasta or brown rice with shaved Parmesan cheese.

Wild Asparagus by Ayala Moriel

Wild Asparagus, a photo by Ayala Moriel on Flickr.

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Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Secret Garden

The Secret Garden is a story of transformation. A British brat loses her absentee and negligent parents to cholera in colonial India, only to be transplanted to her uncle’s mysterious mansion in the Moors. The uncle is even more oblivious to her existence then her parents ever been, and the neglected, lonely and anti-social orphan wonders about until she discovers the legendary secret garden her uncle planted for his young beautiful wife before she passed away prematurely and left him bitter, aloof and resentful.

Through to this abandoned garden, the little orphan girl discovers beauty that heals her both physically and spiritually. She regains her ability to enjoy life, and her joie de vivre is so infectious that it brings light to the darkest corners of the castle, including her uncle’s battered heart.

Frances Hodgson Burnett wrote the novel in 1911, and a hundred years later, Mandy Aftel created a perfume in its honour. The magic bean when the little mini arrived in a dark silk pouch with ornate tapestry, reminiscent of climbing roses. Uncorking the tiny lid, a strange yet familiar smell rose to my nostrils, bringing forth the charm and intrigue of antique furnishing and colonial fabrics. It was not at all what I was expecting (an outdoorsy, floral yet earthy perfume) but rather – an intense, dusky and quirky Oriental - mysterious and surprisingly also quite old-fashioned.

From the first moment till the last, Secret Garden smells to me more of an indoors perfume. The scent that a person locked up in a secret room may be dreaming of if they’ve never smelled fresh air of a garden before. It’s the perfume they would sprinkle over red-painted thistle to imitate a living rose, only to wake up to the sound of a rusty key in the door that will announce the next hot meal. The perfume would be a condolence for their soul, wrapped in sleek silk and brocade cloths, yet trapped in a wheelchair and worse of all - social restrictions and prejudice.

Secret Garden parfum opens with spicy-warm and nutty notes of cloves and patchouli (although, the Aftelier website states that the spices are only “phantoms” – illusions that arise from the mingling of the other notes) and a robust, rounded berry and fruity notes of raspberry jam, blood orange juice and antique roses. The spicy aspect of roses is intensified with the presence of patchouli and greenish geraniol (an intensely rosy-smelling isolate – present in both rose and geranium). Dark castoreum further intensifies the spicy impression, but with such depth and quirkiness redolent of old crackled leather armchairs that you’d find in a dark study of an old English house.

Indole – from both jasmine and civet – is another important component in this perfume, adding to the jam-like qualities of the raspberry and blending seamlessly with the other elements, which include elusive blue lotus (which has a sheer, watery quality that is out of this world). The indole is played very quietly though, more of a thread through the perfume rather than a definite presence. The perfume fades quietly and slowly, in an elongated diminuendo distributed evenly between its components, though the last to depart is in fact the raspberry, and sweet-powdery vanilla absolute.

Top: Bergamot, Bois de Rose, Geraniol, Blood Orange.
Heart: Jasmine Sambac, Raspberry, Turkish rose, Blue Lotus.
Base: Civet, Castoreum, Vanilla, Deertongue, Benzoin, Aged Patchouli.

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Monday, April 23, 2012

Peony Musing


Laurie Erickson's post about her first carnation blooming in her garden got me thinking again about peonies, which I've began exploring olfactory wise in June 2007.

Peonies are lovely, yet a little confusing... I find that they vary in scent quite a bit and are not consistently "pleasant". Some of them could even smell like swamp and decaying vegetation - maybe even compost in it's post-fermentation stages...

But the good ones smell rosy and green-fresh, with hints of clove-like spiciness, and have less of the compost/earth/green rot smell. I tried to recreate it with naturals, and it always boils down to the fact that it's really too similar to rose and carnation to be a good stand-alone scent. It needs some extra something that will create the olfactory illusion of something that it's not... At least with my limited palette of only natural essential oils, absolutes, etc.

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Monkey Bees-ness

Rockrose & Bee

I'm back from 3 weeks in Israel, where there were all kinds of bees... There were ones that humbly collected pollen and nectar of cistus (see photo above) and were busy building combs and making honey; but also there were some perverted ones that strayed from their task for a pseudocopulation with deceiving plants...

Growing up in Clil, there were a couple of spots near our home were year after year we'll go looking for the "Large Bee Orchid" (Devoranit Gedola). They were rare, and like most bulbeous plants, re-bloom each year in the same location and don't spread out nearly as easily as other wild flowers.

Ophrys apifera (Bee Orchid)

This year, I was fortunate to spot the rare bee orchid (Ophrys apifera) quite late into spring and in an area I've never knew was a habitat for this strange plant. The area where they were growing had a mind boggling abundance of them (relatively speaking, of course...) and me and my brother Yotam spotted 2 hybrids of them - Large Bee Orchid (which looks like bumblebee) and Velvet Bee Orchid (the brown one, which looks like a wild bee).

Wild Bee Orchid

These sneaky orchids, in addition to dressing up as a wild Mediterranean bees, have developed an anatomy that will embarrass the manufacturers of blow-up-dolls. Furthermore, it even releases virgin bee pheromones (!) to make the male bee mad to the point of having sex with them...
This act of deception is called pseudocopulation. I haven't noticed
any smell around these orchids, so I'm guessing it's one of those scentless pheromones... This natural phenomenon, nevertheless, got me thinking quite a bit about the intelligence of plants - they must know more than they show!

These orchids are the only plants I'm aware of having such a developed sexual scheme. I'm curious to hear if you've ever seen them in real life (preferably in the wild) or if you know of any other plants that have such strange sexual habits.

Post a comment and enter to win a decant of Sous la Vent.

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Spring Giveaway Winner

Congratulations to Pam Jackson of Streetcat Designs - the lucky winner of our spring giveaway:
mini of Zohar perfume, the orange blossom soliflore I've created, which to me is liquid sunshine, smiles and butterflies in the orchard. Wishing you all a very happy spring and we will be back shortly with another Monkey Monday feature & prize for this week :-)

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Saturday, April 21, 2012

Shiso Parfum

Shiso parfum is said to be based on a Geisha powdered-perfume formula (also known as “body incense”), and it certainly smells that way, only far more intense and medicinal. Shiso parfum smells immediately of mysterious, dark tea houses, where the accentuated facial features of expressionless pale-faced Geisha. The many layers of silk kimonos that enrobe these geishas, wrapped up in obis restrictive etiquette, were stored in protective camphor chests and smell of such. While there certainly is shiso oil in this perfume (that unusual Japanese herb that looks like a cross between basil and patchouli leaf and is used to wrap meats and sashimi has a complex aroma that is both green-herbal, powdery and spicy – very similar to cumin). But it could have also been called kusu no ki (camphor in Japanese) with a similar effect.

Other apparent notes are camphor, which reminded me instantly of a little bottle my aunt gave me eons ago of "Eucalyptus oil" that smelled too good to be just that. In Shiso parfum the medicinal, cool temperament of camphor gains a heady, perfumy edge as it's escorted by nasal screw pine (kewda) and fresh sophistication of green peppercorns. Rose petals are not quite easily made out, but they are there and just as soft as a young woman's cheek, slightly dusted with rouge.

Agarwood and antique sandalwood are essential for this perfume's aunthenticity as there is no incense or any Japanese perfume without either one component. Spices such as dry-warm cassia and eugenolic cloves, also make an appearance but they are all blended to a powdery, woody, herbal and spicy-warm concoction that it’s difficult to smell any note in particular besides the shiso, camphor and agarwood that realy stand out. This is exactly how I would have imagined the perfume that would emanate from a Geisha’s kimono sleeves, white-washed skin and artfully-made-hair as she tiptoes by with frozen expression floating atop skyscraping Geta.

Top notes: Camphor, green pepper, kewda
Heart notes: Rose, shiso, antique cloves
Base notes: Agarwood, vintage patchouli, cassia bark, antique sandalwood

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Monday, April 16, 2012

Spring List + Giveaway

Butterfly by Ayala Moriel
Butterfly, a photo by Ayala Moriel on Flickr.

It's time for a little spring listing!

Narcotic Flower beautifully orchestrates magnolia, fruity jasmine and peach aldehydes over a soft patchouli and opoponax tincture. Haunting and mysterious.

Sweet rose and cardamom over irresistibly musky and aphrodisiac ambrette seeds in Bedouin
by Persephenie. Perfection, and a great way to satisfy a rosy craving!

And speaking of roses – there is also Persephenie’s Rose Paka: Healing restorative butter with a subtle scent of roses and a creamy, buttery undertone and a fluffy, mousse-like texture. Nourishes the entire body and is gentle enough to use on the face as well!

Vanille Galante has become one of those go-to spring concoctions, with it’s salted caramel decadence and booming Easter Lily explosion over woodsy vanilla.

Fig Tree by Sonoma Scent Studio – an aldehydic, Mediterranean fig scent, reminiscent of cold marble patios and shady grapevine leaves.

Crisp, effervescent floral bouquet with accents of apple and watermelon - Spring Flower
is the kind of scent that makes me believe for at least a few hours before it fades that life might just be a weekend picnic.

But spring is not only about flowers, it’s also about developing stronger roots, and what better root could there be besides vetiver?
Blood Orange & Vetiver by Soivohle’ brings together the mineral and smoky notes of vetiver and the brightness of bright red citrus.

What are your spring favourites this year? Add a comment and enter to win a mini of Zohar - which is my own expression of pure spring happiness.

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Sunday, April 15, 2012

Playing With Bitter Orange

Bitter Orange
The tree I planted 15 years ago and thought to be sweet orange, turns out to be bitter orange, or some other kind of unidentified-yet citrus... The fruit looks like a hybrid between orange and lemon - orange in colour but with a little lemony "nipple". The flesh itself is more sour than that of lemon and with a peculiar sour-tangerine-like taste.

The best part though, is the scent of it's peel: fragrant and vibrant, somewhat like that of Meyer lemon's, orange and yellow mandarin. Spontaneously, I've decided to use the fruit of my own tree (grown organically, sans pesticide, herbicides, etc.) to be used in my next version of Immortelle l'Amour tea.

Bitter Orange

Bitter Orange

Bitter Orange

Bitter Orange

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Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Lyric Rain

Ahh, in places like LA and Tel Aviv, rain has a romantic air about it… Connotation of mystery, beauty and even its scent is something to look forward to. Needless to say, in rain-soaked cities like Vancouver, Portland and Seattle – it’s the sun we’re after, and the most sunful, even if dreadfully dry, is most desirable and gets those dreamy looks of mention from its inhabitants. Tell a Vancouverite that you’re going away to a desert island, and they’ll get all envious and dreamy-eyed. Tell someone in Tel Aviv or Los Angeles that the weather forecast is “chances of rain” and you can immediately start seeing them planning which sweater to wear, what hot beverage they’ll be sharing with their imaginary date, and of course – a perfume to go with it.

Lyric Rain is what would bloom in an LA garden after a brief period of showers. Hibiscus, bougenvilia and perhaps a night blooming jasmine or two. It hints at the tropical, but without actually being in the tropics. It sings of balmy nights and longing for a few raindrops to make the grass a little greener.

Beginning with soft-focused lavender and hints of sweet orange and pepper, Lyric Rain has that nostalgic air about it of spending the day at home reading books, gazing at the raindrops distort the window-view, and listening to melancholy music while sifting through old photographs and stamp-albums with your house cat. Jasmine and pink lotus purr throughout the perfume while laying on a velvet cushion of plush patchouli, walking a fine line between exotic orientalism and hippie nostalgia.

Top notes: Lavender, Pink Pepper
Heart notes: Blue Lotus, Jasmine
Base notes: Patchouli

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Sunday, April 08, 2012

What do Canadians know?

The comments to this misinformed CBC article about ambergris just about sums up the attitude of Canadians to perfume and the art of perfumery... I'm still on the fence as to whether this means I should keep working harder, or just give up because of the lack of interest in the art. Argh...

Saturday, April 07, 2012

Parfum de Maroc

Morocco’s legendary Ras el Hanout is the inspiration for the luxurious spicy-oriental Parfum de Maroc by Aftelier. The magic of spice mixture is mingling the familiar with the foreign, and dissecting its aromatic components is part of its charm.

The familiarity of citrus welcomes you first with bitter orange – tart and invigorating, along with freshly grated black pepper. Galangal, however, brings the exotic into the bouquet of top notes, and while similar to ginger, it brings with it an edgy warmth.

Homely cinnamon brings us back to familiar grounds; yet jasmine vines crawl upwards as the spices progress, and with intoxicating nutmeg make it venture back into the exotic. The rose is far more muted than I have expected, but it is there, bringing soft harmony to the sharpness of some of the spices, and lingering towards the base notes, where aromatic cardamom absolute and resinous myrrh reign.

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Sapadilla Featured in Wall Street Journal

And speaking of eco friendly house cleaning products - Sapadilla, for whom I've designed the scents for, are featured in the Wall Street Journal.

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Friday, April 06, 2012

Happy Passover!

Green Ears Wheat by delphaber
Green Ears Wheat, a photo by delphaber on Flickr.

For those of you celebrating this holiday of freedom and renewal - may you be freed of any chains that are holding you back; and may all that is stale in your life be replaced by a fresh start this spring holiday.

P.s. By the way - the winner of this week's Monkey Monday giveaway is solace. Please email me with your snailmail addy so that I can send a Turtle Vetiver Front sample your way!

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Bambi Meets Bamboo

Forest Musk Deer by siwild

Forest Musk Deer, a photo by siwild on Flickr.

Green at first, a shy musk deer is hiding among tall grasses, digging its nose deep in the ground, as if in search for truffles. Earthy-green notes are the first to show through the blades of cut-grass muskiness: Egyptian geranium, with it’s baby-powder muskiness and looming above all is rooty-green angelica with its sharpness tempering its otherwise candy-sweet. Ambrette seed accentuates the wine-like qualities of geranium and brings out the musky qualities even more. Frankincense adds more depth and bright mystery, deepening its desert-like dusty and musty-urine aspects. The entire ensemble sings in an alchemical unison that hardly reveals its components to the untrained nose, and creates a rather striking illusion of castrated Tonquin musk – it’s disturbing sharp greenness and dusty fecal notes included, but not the cruelty involved in procuring it.

It’s hard to speak of this Musc Botanique as having top, heart or base notes. It behaves more like a single musk note or “accord” and each of the individual notes I’ll list below are just part of the whole, but not enough to describe it.

Notes: Angelica Roots, Egyptian geranium, Frankincense, Ambrette Seeds

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Thursday, April 05, 2012

Bon Zai Candle Featured on Perfume Pharmer

Visit Perfume Pharmer to read about our Bon Zai perfume and new candle coming up - part of the horoscope for April 2nd. The candle will be completed by the end of the month, and is now available for pre-ordering on Ayala Moriel's online boutique.

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Green Spring Cleaning

Spring cleaning by Happy-Red-Fish
Spring cleaning, a photo by Happy-Red-Fish on Flickr.

Fresh all-natural tips for spring cleaning, for those of you still busy with last-minute Passover preparations or are doing spring cleaning out of your own sense of self-torture, discipline and renewal.

There are numerous sources online for using basic fragrant and cleansing essential oils and other pure ingredients. I'm not going to go into as much depth as they do (the recipes out there are so exhaustive it's amazing we are still buying house cleaning products...); I just hope this post will inspire you to re-think your house cleaning habits and enjoy

Window cleaning:
The best and most old fashioned way to clean windows requires only water, vinegar and newspapers. If you have a reusable sprinkling container – all the better. Mix 50/50 of distilled white vinegar and tap water, fill a reusable spray bottle and spray on the windows. Rub the window till they are sparkling clean with newspapers that bear only old news... Your view of the outside world will never be clearer. I admit that white vinegar smells awful though, so you might want to add a drop or two of citrus oils to temper it a bit. And either way - keep the windows open to bring fresh air after you're done.

Lavender for Laundry:
Lavender’s Latin name comes from the word Lavera (to wash) points to one of its most important functions since Medieval times. To freshen up your laundry after washing, place a few drops of lavender or geranium (or both) on a little gauze or cloth - instead of the musk-laden dryer sheets. Your laundry will smell clean and beautiful but not overpoweringly so.

Lemon for Dishwashing:
Lemon’s popular use in dishwashing detergents is not random: both lemon oil and juice help with breaking down limestone and for brightening copper dishes. To clean copper dishes, simply rub it with an-already-squeezed lemon wedge (or half) and a teaspoon of sand. The sand will help rub out the oxidized particles from the copper; and the lemon acids will help to bring back shine to what’s left from your copperware.
Soak your dishes in a bowl of simple castile soap and a few drops of lemon oil to help breakdown grease and make your dishwashing experience fragrant and energetic.

Orange for Anti-Stickiness:
Use pure orange oil for rubbing off the remainders of adhesive labels and even to remove stubborn chewing gum. You must try to scrub off the sticky stuff “mechanically” first (i.e.: with a knife, etc.) as the orange oil dissolves it very thoroughly; so if there’s too much stickiness left all it’ll do is spread a thin coat of adhesive or gum all over the object… Otherwise, it’s extremely effective!

Pine, Eucalyptus and Tea Tree Oils for Toilet Bowl Cleanliness:
No doubt, one of the dirtiest spots in the home requires some attention… In addition to the baking soda and Castile soap mixture, you may want to disinfect the area with the clean-smelling oils that have anti-microbial, anti-viral and anti-fungal properties such as these oils – either alone or in combination. They are also extremely affordable.

1/2 cup Baking Soda

Liquid Castile Soap

5 drops each Tea Tree essential oil, Eucalyptus and Pine

15 drops Lime essential oil

1 Tbs Vegetable glycerin (if you are planning to keep this mixture for a while)

You may use a similar formula with a different scent to clean the bathtub, sink and shower (i.e.: 5 drops each lemongrass, lemon and orange).

For more Natural Healthy Home Cleaning Tips, visit The Soap Dispensary in Vancouver and similar shops in your own town - they provide workshops as well as many eco-friendly unscented basics for body care as well as house cleaning – beginning but not limited to castile soaps, soap flakes, vinegars, salt, baking soda and more.

Kitchen Cleaning:
Nothing like aromatic oils to make the kitchen smell delicious and clean. These oils are both antiseptic and good-smelling. Use them to clean the floors.

Countertop Cleaner:
1 Liter tap water
1 Tbs white vinegar
4 drops Lime
1 drops Basil
1 Tbs concentrated Liquid castile soap

Floor Cleaner:
1/4 cup white vinegar in a bucket of water
15 drops Lime oil
5 drops Basil oil

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Blood Orange & Vetiver

Blood Oranges by INGLESsamuel_CD2/10
Blood Oranges, a photo by INGLESsamuel_CD2/10 on Flickr.

Striking contrast between the brownness of vetiver and the robust red pulp of blood oranges is at the same time a surprising yet obvious pairing. Like red desert mountains set against azure blue sea, the contrast is most welcome.

Vetiver’s tart coolness stems partly from the presence of some citrus-like molecules in its oil. But in this composition, like most everything that comes from Soivohle's atelier, there’s more than meets the nose at first sniff. To begin with, rather than opting for a locale that produces a cleaner and leaner vetiver oil, the perfumer picked a smoky, rich one reminiscent of barbecued meats on a South Asian seashore weaving velvety streams of smoke into thick drapery.

Nutty nuances are further warmed by a dusting of red cinnamon. And tinctures of other unidentified woods (which seem to be the signature of this perfumer’s natural line) add body and mystery that makes the perfume smell less ethereal and more of a tangible object, like a piece of driftwood or old furniture.

As for the blood orange – you’ll find it in there but it’s not nearly as prominent as the vetiver. It’s there just to add a drop of blood, a hint of redness… The dryout is surprisingly dry and mossy, even though I’m quite certain the oakmoss is there mostly for fixative properties.

Top notes: Blood Orange, Cardamom
Heart notes: Cinnamon, Nutmeg
Base notes: Vetiver, Oakmoss, Sandalwood, Vanilla

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Monday, April 02, 2012

The Dancer's Garden

The Dancer's Garden by rosiekernohan
The Dancer's Garden, a photo by rosiekernohan on Flickr.

This olfactory ballet starts off a little grassy and sharp, with palmarosa taking centre stage, and herbaceous greens of lime and sage crawling about like winding ivy.
Once the curtain reveals the second act, our Prima Ballerina shows her overwhelmingly rosy and feminine side, with Rose otto being the most dominant note. Ambrette seed bridges between the initial herbaceous notes and the wine-like and fermented fruit qualities of the rose.

The scent has a very good projection. Overtime, the rose deepens, and becomes darker and more wine-like. This is no innocent and prim tutu-wearing girl, it’s a Prima Donna that demands your full attention. And pure natural rose certainly deserves it.

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Sunday, April 01, 2012

The Smell of Blackout

'Actor Monkey' by ;-) SHAGGY
'Actor Monkey', a photo by ;-) SHAGGY on Flickr.

Happy April Fool’s Day!
I hope you weren’t the victims to any nasty April Fool’s Day tricks like I’ve witnessed tonight – a bar tender was serving saltwater instead of a simple syrup all night long, completely oblivious to the trick… everything he concocted turned out like pickle juice… Yuck!
I totally admire that he took it with a sense of humour, which I very much doubt I would have after all the drinks that were returned with disgusted/disappointed faces...

For today’s Monkey Monday’s giveway, I’m hoping you could help me solve the mystery behind the intense horseradish scent that pops into my nose before every time I black out (I had the pleasure of experiencing many of these in my lifetime – but don’t worry – I’m perfectly healthy!). It certainly helps as a warning sign, so I can sit it out rather than crash to the floor… Anyone else with a similar experience, or is it just me being the odd one?

The person who helps me solve this riddle will win a sample of LesNez’ 2nd installation in their Turtle Vetiver Series – Turtle Vetiver Front.

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