Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Portobello West July 29th

Here is a little glimpse into the spectacular adventure of Portobello West this weekend. It was a vibrant and lively day at the market, with hundreds of Vancouvererites experiencing innovative local art, fashion and design, and discovering new concepts and cutting edge products.

I had a fantastic time meeting new perfume enthusiasts and witnessing their facial expressions as they experienced my perfumes. It never ceases to amaze me how a perfume can be new and at the same time feel familiar... One doesn't often see that mixture of emotions and double-takes in reaction to what is seemingly just a still-life object...

Portobello West Ayala Moriel Parfums Display 29.07.2007, originally uploaded by Ayala Moriel.

The chocolate truffles were consumed with much delight and I came home with nearly none left. We made two flavours the night before, with organic whipping cream and premium chocolates:

Dark chocolate truffles with nutmeg and lavender - which is the most exotic flavour resulting from rather familiar essences.

White chocolate truffles with specs of vanilla, litsea cubeba and neroli - rolled in lemon peel and coconut (pictured below).

Lemon Vanilla Truffles, originally uploaded by Ayala Moriel.

Those of you who live or visit in the area, the next market is August 26th, and should not be missed! Those who visited the market, I hope to see you again soon, either at my studio, the next Portobello West market or one of my upcoming workshops!

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Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Two Birds in One Shot

Perfume Bottles, originally uploaded by Ayala Moriel.

I'm not in the habit in neither shooting nor killing birds, but I sure felt victorious when I managed to simultaneously get all my flacons packaged for Portobello West this weekend, AND take photos of them all for the website. Phew!
Now I just need to wait for some bugs to be fixed so I can upload them and the rest of the copy. I'm am hoping to go live this weekend, but with Portobello West happening, and a very special guest coming from out of town, it may not be launched until next week.


Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Abstinence from Fragrance

Sun & Moon, originally uploaded by azredheadedbrat.

Today was 9th of Av (the 4th month in the Jewish calendar) - the day in which both the first and second temples were destroyed. It's interesting, that while there are plenty of references to incense and fragrance in the bible, there is very little ritual involving scent in Judaism.
The reason being, that the incense and anointing oils were only to be used in the presence of the Shekhinah. And after the destruction of the temple, the Shekhinah is believe to have left the people of Israel and is to come back only when the Messiah arrives.
Until than, Jewish ceremonies, for the most part, contain no fragrance. In any case, no fragrance that is burned and no anointing oils. Fragrance is included (but is not mandatory) as one of the blessing on the Sabbath table as well as when the Sabbath is over (in the "Havdalah"). Herbs such as myrtle are most commonly used for the fragrance blessing "Bore Miney Besamim" on those occasions, and so is a pomander of lemon or orange dried with spears of clove buds.

And what were those perfumes used in the holy incense and anointing oil in the holy tent and in the Hebrew tabernacle?
These were precious perfumes of antiquity, also used by the Egyptians, such as myrrh, frankincense, agarwood, spikenard, cinnamon and calamus. While the ingredients were allowed to be used as desired for personal pleasure or cosmetic use (such as in the Song of Solomon), the exact ratio was consecrated and was not to be repeated or used by anyone except for the priests. The oil was used to anoint the tools and furniture in the tabernacle, and the incense was used during the ceremonies.

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Perfume DVD Released Today

Perfume: The Story of a Murderer was released on DVD today, July 24th 2007. If you didn't make it to the theatres to watch the odd story of a mythical perfumer psychopath that had no scent of his own, you can now watch it at the leisure of your own home while sniffing your way through your own homemade enflourage... I am curious to see what the special features are in this DVD. Hopefully, they are have a lot to do with perfume and Grasse...

August 30th we're going to hold a draw for a wicked giveaway of 2 copies of Perfume: The Story of a Murderer DVD. All you need to do is either leave a comment during the summer on SmellyBlog, or place an order online from Ayala Moriel, and you will be entered automatically into the draw!

Click here for more details.

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Saturday, July 21, 2007

Big Clean-Up Sale!

Zodiac Perfumes, originally uploaded by Ayala Moriel.

In anticipation for the upcoming launch of my new website, a major clean-up is in place. And that means a huge sale - for all the perfumes that will be discontinued and will NOT appear on the new website. If you happened to be in love with any of those fragrances, you can always contact me to special order them. But they will not appear on the new website launching next week.

The following Parfum Extraits are presented in our signature flacon (frosted teardrop shape), and are offered at only $75 (instead of $100).



Moon Breath in alcohol base (limited edition, only 3 bottles left!) - Moon Breath in its oil base will remain the same price (and will be offered in the new website as well).

Petit Parfum, our perfume for children, also to be discontinued and removed from the new website, will be available for $65 for the parfum oil roll on bottle (10ml).

These are all offered at 50% off the regular price:
All are parfum oils in 10ml roll-on bottles, hand painted with the Zodiac symbol. Originally priced at $13o, they can now be had for only $65. You will be refunded for the balance immediately after placing your order.

Aries - Spicy and musky with tobacco, zantoxylum and lime.

Taurus - Oriental rose deepened with patchouli and vanilla and a sprinkled with a hint of palmarosa and tangerine.

Gemini - Citrus Chypre, with lemongrass, oakmoss and agarwood

Cancer - Deeply sensual amber with luxurious jasmine and mysterious notes of camphor and anise.

Leo - Incensey and bright, with olibanum, Roman chamomile, cinnamon, rose and vanilla.

Virgo - Ethereal yet earthy with unusual combination of notes that are both fresh and intriguing: yuzu, clementine, magnolia, mastic, cardamom, fennel, myrrh and sandalwood.

Libra - Soft floriental with tuberose, tonka bean rose and sandalwood and a hint of green galbanum and clementine.

Scorpio - Leathery and naughty with lotus, tuberose, smoked benzoin, jasmine, tonka, zantoxylum, opoponax and black and pink peppercorns.

Sagittarius - Exotic, warm foresty and spicy with fir absolute, black tea, champaca, carnation and star anise.

Capricorn - Woody and floral with magnolia, rose, neroli, myrrh and vetiver.

Aquarius - Fougere floral with Linden blossom, green cognac, lavender, rosewood, Budha wood, blue cypress and myrrh.

Pisces - Ambery Chypre with seaweed, oakmoss, sage, juniper, grapefruit and bergamot

In addition, all other former packaging bottles that are still in stock, are further reduced. Visit our BLOWOUT SALE page to see the updates.

Some of the perfumes, even though I love them dearly and think they are great, have been in so little demand that I simply cannot keep them on the shelves (physical or virtual - especially considering all the data entry required for putting them up online in the new website).
Some of these perfumes mean a lot to me as they signify an important stage in my creative and technical development as a perfumer. For instance - Ayala, which is the first perfume I've ever created, and Petit Parfum, my perfume for children that my daguhter used to fall asleep to every night in her toddler and preschooler yers... Besides me there are very few who liked them enough to buy them... So I am going to give them a rest, and move on. The future looks bright and I must look forward and leave some of these nostalgic moments behind. At least in terms of production and sales. However, don't fret and order them if they intrigue you. I will be more than happy to re-produce them upon demand.

The discontinued perfumes include the following fragrances:
Petit Parfum
And the entire Zodiac collection.
The formulas, obviously, are kept on-file, and can be always produced upon request.

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Friday, July 20, 2007

Lorem ipsum

Lorem ipsum, originally uploaded by missha.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Vivamus vel neque eget metus sollicitudin porta. Donec pellentesque. Donec sagittis tincidunt magna. Nunc laoreet, diam quis accumsan commodo, metus dui aliquet neque, vulputate euismod mauris leo eget neque. Cum sociis natoque penatibus et magnis dis parturient montes, nascetur ridiculus mus. Vestibulum eget mauris. Morbi lacus diam, suscipit posuere, viverra quis, dignissim sit amet, nisi. Quisque in tortor a odio accumsan faucibus. Duis a mi. Integer fringilla tempus metus.

Nulla blandit diam vel velit. Sed eget orci eu massa mollis aliquam. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Vivamus vitae eros gravida quam pulvinar sollicitudin. Vestibulum viverra varius libero. Mauris vel magna. Vivamus auctor lorem nec nibh. Aliquam fermentum vehicula dolor. Maecenas non lectus. Donec et diam.

Vestibulum in odio id eros consectetuer molestie. Nam et erat vulputate lacus pharetra consequat. Nam vestibulum, orci sed elementum luctus, ipsum est facilisis lacus, in lobortis leo lacus nec ligula. Suspendisse in lacus id sapien dictum vulputate. In ipsum est, lobortis eu, egestas ullamcorper, facilisis ut, nunc. Pellentesque habitant morbi tristique senectus et netus et malesuada fames ac turpis egestas. Nulla aliquet. Sed pellentesque massa a ligula. Duis dapibus pellentesque nunc. Mauris imperdiet. Integer sapien odio, pharetra in, aliquet nec, cursus non, elit. Cras convallis rhoncus quam. Fusce quis nisi ut nulla porta blandit. Pellentesque eu ipsum. Ut dictum viverra arcu. Sed id enim sodales nunc sodales lacinia.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Quisque ultricies ante a quam. Donec ac tortor id nibh vestibulum consectetuer. Aenean suscipit varius lectus. Donec consequat suscipit lectus. Vestibulum fringilla. Morbi elementum pede non mi. Nam vulputate augue sed nulla. Fusce sit amet eros sed pede bibendum commodo. Nullam imperdiet bibendum pede. Vestibulum dictum nibh a libero. Nam porttitor eros at leo.

Sed eu mi in ipsum pellentesque interdum. Aenean blandit. Sed volutpat. Nunc porta. Duis adipiscing nisi vel leo. Phasellus cursus lorem in pede. Maecenas augue. Nulla eget ligula in erat accumsan vulputate. Morbi cursus, metus ut hendrerit elementum, leo sapien iaculis lorem, at ultricies arcu magna id nisi. Fusce viverra, mauris ac eleifend scelerisque, massa ligula aliquet augue, vestibulum gravida felis orci at neque. Praesent ut magna ac lacus feugiat rhoncus. Sed magna. Phasellus volutpat ultrices nisl. Pellentesque quis arcu non libero sodales aliquet. Quisque vel mauris. In vehicula tortor et nisi. Phasellus rutrum massa in ante. Donec in tortor. In bibendum.

If you've read this far, you'll know what I'm doing now... Yes, it's that time again. New website. It's in the Lorem ipsum, AKA beta stage. Which means that I have LOTS of data to enter. LOTS of photos to take, process and upload. Thankfully, the copy itself is already written. Tune in next week to ayalamoriel.com for a completely new look! Until than, it's more likely than not that I will not be posting here much. In the meantime, feel free to visit this website and learn more about Lorem ipsum.

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Thursday, July 19, 2007

Death of a Perfume Blogger

“On the stone an ancient hand
In a faded yellow-green
Made alive a worldly wonder
Often told but never seen

Before the fall when they wrote it on the wall

When there wasn't even any Hollywood

They heard the call
And they wrote it on the wall

For you and me we understood…

(Steely Dan, “The Caves of Altamira”)

Blogs are not people, and even though they reflect some part of a person's life, there are some things that can never be told or seen through this virtual window to their soul.

And how many times did you click through your web links only to
find out that your favourite scent blog didn't have a new entry at all in the past week? How many times did the thought "oh no, maybe s/he died this week" pass your mind silently only to be ignored by another thought "Why does so and so ever bother to keep a blog if they let it go stale for so long?!".

While the later thought is admittedly rude and judgemental (things
do happen in life, you know, outside of that 13" wide MacBook of yours (Gheesh, go get a life now dammit!), the initial one is strangely realistic and rational.

And who is going to start a paragraph with an “And”, now that we learned of the tragic and terrible news of the tragic death of Ms. Theresa Duncan. Who is going to quote mostly Steely Dan to open a perfume review. And why did I need to have the “wit of the staircase to only link to her blog now that she’s dead, and not before when it might just make her ever so slightly happier. Perhaps just enough to stay alive.

The news of death of a fellow blogger, even if one I’ve never communicated with directly (well, I did try to leave a comment a couple of times, but I haven’t the faintest clue if it came through). Communication is the message you get. And I definitely got plenty of messages from Theresa Duncan. And even if I don’t know her in person, at least I know a few things about her which are meaningful enough for me to include in this post.

Theresa started most of her perfume reviews with a quote.
Theresa usually mentioned the perfume she reviewed only once in the blog entry about it.
Theresa always picked quite bizarre and at times provocative and stunningly beautiful photographs that were borderline fashion and art. The last image she posted was called "fireworks" and looked like this.
The last perfume she reviewed was Aria di Capri by Carthusia.
Theresa loved many of Serge Lutens perfumes. Far more than any other blogger I’ve read.
Theresa had one talented way of expressing her thoughts and memories and link them to perfume. I may have not been able to relate to them all, or fully understand them, but I sure feel that she opened one intimate window into her soul by writing about them for us all to read.
Theresa seemed to have changed her writing style slightly recently, speaking as “we” rather than “me” or “I”. She even mentioned a “Mr. Wit”. She seemed to be in love.
Theresa’s last quote was from the Koran.

Theresa also seemed to mention or think about God, the spiritual and the metaphysical quite often recently – in the quote from the Koran, the reference to the creation of light, as well as a previous post related to Kabbalaa (By the way: in Hebrew, Kala means bride).
Theresa loved the sun and loved California. She hated New York. And this is where she died.
Theresa loved Steely Dan. So do I.
The last Steely Dan quote Theresa used was from “Rose Darling”.
So let’s close our eyes and listen to it now (really, close your eyes so you don't see the afwul montage… Sorry for lack of a visually better version). Wherever you are, Theresa, may your soul be at peace and enjoy the loveliest perfumes, words and music.

Related links:
Theresa's Last Post on Wit of the Staircase
Interview on LAist.com
Interview on Salon.com
Jeremy Blake's work
Jeremy Blake on IMDB.com
New York Times July 21 2007
New York Daily News July 21st 2007
LAObserver July 19th 2007

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Pure Turquoise

How often do the dirty and the clean mix together and stay clean? Apparently, this is possible not only in muddy and stinky sulfur springs, but also in a modern-day perfume by the name of Pure Turquoise. The concept of cleanliness takes an interesting turn as grapefruit is married with patchouli. All of the above being immensely artificial smelling in a charming way, like a flaunt of an “I just shampooed my hair” swept backwards releasing that completely non-original fruity fragrance of 2-in-1 shampoo+conditioner with grapefruit and avocado or whatever.

Yet it is not until one gets beyond that hair-flaunting that a dirty, dusty, ephemeral scent of skin that just dried from a long soak in sulfur springs (or perhaps an improvised outdoor spa treatment of a fool-body warp in salty black mud), that the grapefruit and patchouli accord can be seen in a completely different light.

Pure Turquoise opens clean, fresh, watery and fruity that it is almost the modern cliché that everyone stopped looking forward to about five years ago. Although the pyramid for this fragrance is said to include many exotic and unfamiliar notes – I am mostly noticing grapefruit, lily of the valley, patchouli and an overall flat and non-descript fruity-floral freshness.

This is quite in cotrast to what I would have expected from a scent including notess such as cactus flower, indigo violet, night-blooming cereus (AKA Queen of the Night – that cactus that blooms only once a year, with an intense night-blooming-jasmine fragrance; I haven’t had the honour, but I wasn’t as stunned by Pure Turquoise as I imagine I would be by the Night Queen), desert lily (a lily that grows in the Mojave and Sonora deserts). I can see a desert theme threading through the selection of notes, yet I can’t quite smell it with my nose… Not only that, even the more familiar notes, which I work with everyday, such as Blugarian rose absolute and orange blossom absolute remain to reveal themselves to my olfactory bulb.

The base, dominated by patchouli, dries down to a woody skin scent. Clean, fresh, serene, but not as sterile as some others scents belonging to the fresh genre. On the other hand, it is not as sensual or wild as you might expect from a base containing rum, vanilla and silver birchwood. I am mostly smelling a clean musk and patchouli, and the latest remains of the sulfuric grapefruit still hanging to its life by the nails… The new Chypre family, as we can see, is all about being pleasant and polite. Thought there is something centering and grounding that I find in the modern, fake Chypres, and that they still are very chic in their own way - I must declare that there is none of the excitement and sense of danger or breaking the boundaries when wearing these limpid though pleasant scents. To find that, one must go back to a real Chypre, before the days of reformulations. And before the days of faking it and pretending that patchouli and vetiver are mossy. They’re not.

Pure Turquoise comes in two concentrations: eau de parfum for the poor, in a difficult to grasp cut-glass spray bottle; and pure parfum, for the spa aristocrat who loves to stack rocks over their jus. The latter crystal flacon is topped with a humongous sized turquoise stone, which unlike the beautiful one in all the posters and magazine ads, is not smooth and roundish, but cut in angular shapes (just like the bottle is), and comes in a far paler and less impressive colour.

* To the left: the EDP spray bottle accompanied by the false parfum flacon. To the right: the true parfum flacon, with the angular-cut paler turquoise stone, which is what you'll get in the box...

Top Notes: Cassis, Indigo Violet Petals, Lily of the valley, Cactus Flower,
Middle Notes: Night-Blooming Cereus, Orange Flower Absolute, Bulgarian Rose Absolute, Desert Lily
Base Notes: Patchouli, Silver Birchwood, Amber, Vanilla Bourbon, Rum.

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Wednesday, July 18, 2007


exhale, originally uploaded by _Neverletmego_.

Breath makes us alive. Breath connects the physical and the spiritual. Breath is the action through which fragrance becomes present in one’s sphere of the senses.

The act of breathing continuously draws parts of the outside world into the inner world of the living body. It is that connection that separates the living beings from the still objects. And through that breath, particles of other beings enter the body, sometime in the form of scent. Scent as a symbol of breath and of life is a hidden thread of which glimpses can be caught in acts such as religious ceremonies involving incense.

And so perfume, with its endless inhalation and exhalation of breathing plants and animal secretion, is an act of connectedness between mankind, animals and earth. A reciprocity of odour that while draining some lives in the process, it gives life to a complete new entity that is greater than the sum of all of its parts; while taking a way fragrance from some beings, it passes scent to others who may need it terribly, just like air for breathing…

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Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Beyond Pilates: New Space, Same Scent

Renowned dancer, choreographer and Pilates instructor Noam Gagnon has just opened his new Beyond Pilates Wellness Centre. The studio was originally run by Monsieur Gagnon alone, from his shabby-on-the-outside and stunningly-serene-on-the-inside Chinatown location. With the assistance from a handful of talented teachers when he was away on his international dance tours, this was only the beginning of a very promising future of a centre for Vancouverites to learn real Pilates in a very fun and humorous environment (Noam is not just a serious dancer, he also has the most exceptionally fabulous sense of humour, so you get your abs really working in his classes!). Noam knows how to make you work really hard and make you lough at the same time, and that cannot be said about too many other instructors that I've encountered in any field, really...

You may ask yourself what this has to do with perfume? well, not much. Except that the humble perfumer and writer of this blog finds an enjoyable workout/maintenance of the body to be a very important part of her life and, well... well-being. And besides the fact that I always love to promote things that I love, especially when delivered by exceptional people. And what a better place than a blog that attracts 8,000 visitors a month?!

But it won't be completely worth a Smelly Blog entry if Noam's studio didn't still have that old, familiar scent that I was so hoping would not get lost in the big move. Despite the fact that the cherry wood floors, Chinese paper dragons and incense and Catholic-scented candles were left behind in the old location - there was still some of that familiar Noam Gagnon scent in the air when I went there for the first class today after a long Gagnon-withdrawal. Think vanilla, sandalwood, candles, cat's fur and a bit of lemon would best describe the scent. It's always welcoming, and while being just enough spiritual, it does not lack humour. Although Noam told me he wears Gucci perfume, the whole impression smells like a much improved dry down of Shalimar Eau Legere.

To try and get a guess at it yourself, or better yet - experience some hard-core Pilates with a bunch of exceptional teachers, you must visit Noam Gagnon's Welness Centre Beyond Pilates at 928 Davie Street (just between Burrard and Hornby, exactly where Atomic Cartoons used to produce their hilarious animation -whomever owns that place must like a good laugh!).
And now that the centre is offering a week of unlimited trials for only $30 - you must try it for a body and mind transforming opportunity.

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Sunday, July 15, 2007

A Narciso Rodriguez Breakdown...

Red Calla Lily, originally uploaded by Ayala Moriel.

I spotted this interesting Narciso Rodriguez display at The Bay downtown Vancouver this Friday. It took me a while to find it, as I was distracted by Sascha Luki's stunning floral arrangement accompanying the display, including calla lilies in both red and white, some of which were drowned in the vase rather the float above it...

The breakdown of three accords present in Narciso Rodriguez pour elle can be seen in the photo below. These three vials were (from left to right) are:

Coeur de Musc (musk heart) which is mostly musk and musk and more musk - the most clear, clean, persistent musk note, just like the one which makes the "her musc oil" in the black bottle.

Bois Tactile (tactile woods), which smelled like a synthesized vetiver, very clean and earthy-musky. This is what makes Narciso Rodriguez be part of the modern imitation Chypre family, AKA "Pink Chypre".

Lumiere d'Ambre & Vanille, which smelled like it sounded, amber and vanilla - though not quite what I would call "luminous". It might explain the slight sweetness of the scent once it dries on the skin, though I must admit the other two accords are far more persistent and are what makes this scent what it is.

There was no representation of the florl aspect of Narciso Rodriguez - consisting mostly of a very abstract, synthetic orange blossom and supposedly also other notes which I can't quite point my finger at (i.e.: osmanthus) or compare to the true flower which I've never smelled (honey flower).

Nevertheless, this was a very interesting experience smelling them all separately. I have to admit I prefer the compete creation, with fake flowers and all.

Narciso Rodriguez Breakdown, originally uploaded by Ayala Moriel.

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Friday, July 13, 2007

Studio Summer Hours

During the summer holidays (July through September 5th), our opening hours would be a little different:
Monday: 9:30am - 2:00pm
Tuesday through Friday: 9:30pm-3:45pm
Weekends and evening are by appointment only, as always.

Feel free to drop by anytime for your share of good scents, exotic ice tea and scented chocolate truffles!
Ayala Moriel Parfums Studio is located at the heart of downtown Vancouver, at 1230 Haro street, facing the fashionable Robson Strasse.

If you want to share the scentsational experience of natural perfume with your friends, book yourself for a feast of the senses - a celebration of aromatica and natural perfumery.


Fetish Reviewed on Perfume Critic

Visit the Perfume Critic to read Livia's review of my perfume Fetish.

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Thursday, July 12, 2007

Mojito, Jalapenos & Chocolate

Jalapeno Chocolate, originally uploaded by Ayala Moriel.

On the hottest day of the year, I've made the crucial mistake of making chocolate truffles. And not just any truffles, truffles that are stuffed into hot peppers! Where did I get this idea? I've wintessed, in some crazy birthday party of a friend, people pouring tequila into halved jalapenos and after drinking the burning liquor, chewing up on the entire pepper! Being neither a fan of jalapenos nor tequila, I've decided to adopt the idea and make something that is not for a faint-of-heart like me. And I've decided to add some mojito flavours to the mix...

The biggest problem is that the truffles melt in your fingers before even going through 1/4 way into the batch...

Well, aside from the meltage factor, the crucial mistake turned out quite good, actually. I've made two experimental batches - both with dark chocolate. I've split the ganache into half, so I can make two flavours and not have too many truffles at hand... This proves to be quite detrimental to the balanced diet I try to maintain on a daily basis - unless I make sure I have company every single evening...

Both batches had a bit of vanilla extract and rum added to them:

Jalapeno Truffles:
First batch was flavoured with lime and spearmint essential oils. Some of it I've stuffed into those green hot peppers (these are actually not jalapenos, because I couldn't find small enough jalapenos. Instead, I've used the hotter than fire serano peppers... Ouch!). They are topped with very thinly sliced fresh and sweet lime.
The result?
If you're like me (meaning: don't mind some spiciness but don't seek the fire-hot sensation on your tongue), you may not want to bite into the pepper itself (unless you belong to the other kind of people). You may just want to scoop out the chocolate. After chilling in the fridge for several hours, the chocolate have absorbed enough hotness to satisfy me. The strange (in a good way) thing is: this combination, along with the pepper, tastes a lot like fig! I don't know why, but it certainly does.

The remaining of the batch, I've turned into "normal" truffles, which were very minty and quite delightful. Espeically if you love mint. The lime was in the background, quite quiet...

Lavender & Nutmeg Truffles
The second batch was where the real surprise was. This is the first time I'm making truffles with no perfume inspiration behind them, yet the result was immensely perfumey! Some kind of mysterious alchemy is going on there. The nutmeg I've used is nutmeg absolute, which is well-rounded and full bodied, smoother and sweeter than the nutmeg essential oil. The lavender is lavender Mailette from France, which is very floral and light. The two notes, along with chocolate, clash to create a very peculiar flavour that feels so familiar... I'm transported to the Wadi where my friend Zohar used to live, yet I can't say if it's her house that I'm smelling or if its a particular wild herb that I can't recognize, in the midst of the wadi... Either way, I'm enjoying these immensely. They are floral, exotic, unusual, strange, yet the flavour is very harmonious. I can't believe I'm saying it, but think these are my favourite truffles so far!

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Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Awaiting Samosas

As I was waiting for my samosas to be fried at the nearby Indian restaurant last night, I sat down for a moment of silence and anticipation. The sweet and savoury aromatic steam of spices and herbs frying in ghee filled the space and convinced me to stop my daily worries for a moment, and just sit down and indulge in the pleasure of anticipation.

I couldn't help but wonder about the connection between fragrance and food. Without the enormous variety of aromas of vegetables, fruit, spices, herbs and so on - food would be limited to tastes (there are only 5 of these), texture and colour.

There was both of the familiar and the mysterious in the aromas of curries simmering in that kitchen: the boldness of cumin, the melismas of cardamom, garlic and onion changing colours and flavours in the hot fat... I felt instantly at home even though there was a lot of the unfamiliar too: a rich, intriguing combination of coconut milk, ghee, foreign homemade cheeses, pastries which I never tried to make and the tandoori oven mulling over its current victim.

I sat there, forgetting that I've come to eat, not to smell, and wondered about the long tradition of spice uses in so many different places, and how the same spices have been used in different ways in different cultures and cuisine. For instance: cardamom is used mostly to spice-up the dark coffees and the syrupy-sweet baclavas in Arabia, while being a staple in almost any "garam masala" in India. Or basil, with its refreshing, rustic aroma, paired with tomatoes and pastas in Italy and also thrown into the refreshing and creamy Thai curries. Or ginger - the gingerbread's favourite companion in Europe and North America, while used mostly fresh in stir fries in Asia... And so on and on the list goes...

In mankind's search for a better life, the spice caravans have created a connection between the people of the earth, making them silently connected by their passion for finding flavour in their life...

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Saturday, July 07, 2007

Prince's Perfume 3121 Launched Today

Today, 07.07.07, the legendary Minneapolis-born musician and cultural phenomenon known to us as Prince has launched a perfume called "3121". The fragrance was launched today with a 24 hour online charity event giving away 7% of each $31.21 sale of a 30ml EDP bottle via the website to 7 different charities.

I've never knew Prince was into numerology... Once I was grown up enough (and with enough dirty English vocabulary to pick some of them in some of his lyrics) I was under the impression that he was into numbers in a totally different way. I shouldn't have been so judgmental, I suppose, as this campaign takes an interesting turn: The numer 3121 add up to 7 as well (in case you haven't noticed), and the price was chosen accordingly. So are the other uses of the number seven.

The scent itself is said to be an "xquisite, mysterious xotic caleidoscope of rich florals".
It was developed by Revelations Perfume and Cosmetics Inc, and according to their press release, "3121 is a white floral scent that opens with a refreshing sparkle of crisp bergamot, opulent jasmine and gardenia. Orange flower and muguet sensually intertwine with tuberose and ylang ylang, creating a subtle, mysterious blend; evolving into notes of patchouli and creamy sandalwood. Precious cedarwood and luxurious musks complement this sexy scent with an almost surreal draw that tugs at all senses for total captivation".

At least we know it is not a fruity floral. Hopefully, just like Prince's music, it is worth purchasing "deaf" (AKA without any advanced listening). Because I'm going to buy it unsniffed. Hurry, before the clock rings 12 again... Oops, I think I've already missed it, because it's already past midnight EST. Wait, I tried it, and it worked! They even take PayPal! See, I already ordered it blind before even publishing this post. Now I can just sit back and listen to "Purple Rain"...

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Friday, July 06, 2007

Fig in Fragrance

crossed processed figs, originally uploaded by MatthewA.

Global warming makes Vancouver's summer feel real. And with it comes a craving for figs. I miss their tangy, fizzy sharpness. I miss their oddly refreshing green sap-milky attitude. I even miss the burning in the tongue as soon as you betray their fabulousness and decide to move on to the next victim in your daily diet.

I would spend many hours of my summer wrapping the fruit in brown paper bags, to protect it from the coveting eyes and beaks of birds. I would spend my mornings around the tree picking the first fruit that might have ripened in the heat remaining over night. I would go back there late afternoon for a snack, checking on the more fruit that ripened in the scorching sun, while frying my bare feet on the sun baked earth.

Figs are one of those fruit that if you don’t eat them fresh, you better not eat them at all. Fresh in this case means that you’ve just picked them from the tree less than an hour ago and preferably haven’t washed them either. It’s better to eat them dusty than washed. Trust me. Once you wash them, they lose both their flavour and their texture: their skin softenes and they become this characterless green sack of seeds…

Black (or “red”) figs keep better and are more marketable. Yet their flavour is often less intense or interesting in my opinion. It is the green figs that I am truly passionate about. And I’ve never seen them sold anywhere… Last summer I’ve had them after about 8 years of green fig withdrawal…

Diptyque Figuier Candle, originally uploaded by Ayala Moriel.

Olivia Giacobetti’s Philosykos for Diptyque is by far the most satisfying fig scent I’ve ever encountered. It reminds me of the whole fig picking experience, tongue burning, milky sap and all. I’m sure by now you are well aware of my partial opinion about it. This summer I am enjoying both the scent as well as the “Figuer” from Diptyque. I got it at Lola, and the first time was very unfortunate: the candle has no scent at all, unless you happened to stick your nose to the flame. Not even than, really. Christina was kind enough to take it back (this is her personal favourite too, and after (not) smelling for herself the poor performance of that particular specimen, has given me a replacement candle, which I am enjoying tremendously.

But for those of you unmoved by Philosykos or simply looking for other fig scents to indulge in this summer instead of the real thing, there are quite a few to choose from, as a quick search on Make Up Alley may turn out.

While I can’t claim to have tried them all (well, I haven’t!), I can definitely bring a few to consider and which I would like to re-visit this summer:

Figs in Bowl, originally uploaded by MatthewA.

Aftelier's Fig re-creates the experience of overripe black figs, the kind that is actually worth trying even when not freshly picked. An accord of resinous yet sweet fir absolute along with jasmine sambac and yuzu creates this pleasant illusion for a moment in the opening. In my experience, the FIR is the star of FIG, and the jasmine creates a perfumey impression, which dries down to a powdery sweetness.

Jo Malone’s Wild Fig & Cassis
: As the name suggest, you get two fruit here: green fig and black currants. I found it to be a little to fruity to my liking, yet I think it makes an interesting layering companion to Black Vetyver Café.

Fresh Index Fig Apricot: Like most of the Fresh line, I find this one to be yet another artificially delicious fruity aroma with too little substance to back it up and account for its perfumeness. The base is musky and head achingly artificial. Still, it’s one of my more favourite combinations in the line (the other being Pomegranate Anise and Redcurrant Basil).

Figue Amere by Miller Harris: If you’re looking for a more sophisticated fig, this might be an intriguing challenge for the fig lover: it is one of the most perfumey of all the fig scents I’ve tried, besides Aftelier’s FIG. Bittersweet and salty at once, it feels dusky rather than summery and reminds me of salt-dipped green almonds, myrrh and heliotrope more than figs...

Io Capri, on the other hand, is an uncomplicated summer pleasure of wild fig and tea leaves. To me this smells mostly of green tea, and while being not in the least sophisticated it makes perfect sense for summertime, when we tend to be a little more extrovert and don’t need the additional distraction of a contemplative fragrance. Io stays the same on my skin, light and fresh and delightful, both unchanged and extremely long lasting yet at the same time never overpowering.

Another fig and tea combination, but more perfumey than Io is Fig-Tea by Parfums de Nicolaï
As a whole, I find Patricia de Nicolaï's fragrances to be quite perfumey.

Feel free to share your favourite fig scents with me here. I would love to hear your opinions and recommendations for any fig scents I haven't smelled or heard of but should!

And last but not least is the first fig perfume to be released, also by Olivia Giacobetti – this time for l’Artisan Parfumeur, which reportedly proceeded all the other scents I’ve mentioned. While it is indeed a very fine fragrance, I believe that Ms. Giacobetti got it perfect the second time around with Philosykos. To me, Premier Figuier is a tad too melancholy, and too green with its mastic leaf top notes, and it is a tad too fleeting as well. Nevertheless, the coconut milk base makes it my second choice after Philosykos when a green fig fix is required.

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Thursday, July 05, 2007

Word of Mouth: Refer a Friend and Enter the Contest

whisper, originally uploaded by _Neverletmego_.

After 7 years of natural perfume design, my studio has finally opened to the public a couple of months ago. It is still a bit hidden from the public eye, and so I’m asking your help in letting people on to this little fragrant secret… If you know other perfume lovers, who you think will appreciate my range of natural perfumes, or are looking for their own signature perfume made – by all means tell them about Ayala Moriel Parfums!

Besides having more great-smelling people around you, you will be entered to the contest and win one of these two uber-fabulous scented prizes:
1) A collection of 4 miniatures of my most summery fragrances - Fetish, ArbitRary, Coeli and Sabotage

3) Rainforest 30ml EDP spray (in a hand painted bottle)

To enter the draw, simply ask your friend(s) to mention your name and email address when they order from us or contact us for a consultation.

Contest winners will be announced July 31st.

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Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Kid's Corner: Silly Scented Summer Art

Not sure how to break the boredom of summer for your kids (or any other kids, for that matter)?
Try this:
Let them experiment with the new Silly Scents from Crayola - markers, pencils and crayons that come in unbelievably silly scents such as Alien Armpit, Sunburnt Cyclop, Dragon Drool, Scary Movie and others... These are sure to inspire even the most TV-wired kids to create with real colours on paper or walls... And will induce an unmatched amount of giggles too...

The marker set is $5.75, pencils are $4.63 and the crayons go for a mere $3.10 via ArtSuppliesOnline.com, my favourite online art supplies store.

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Monday, July 02, 2007

Rosy Surprises

Rose Woody Clusters 30-06-2007, originally uploaded by Ayala Moriel.

As I was enjoying a weekendly stroll in Stanley Park this Saturday, I was surprised by series of roses with completely different smells lined up on the pathway that leads from downtown to 2nd Beach, and runs parallel to the Rhododendron Garden and Lost Lagoon’s trail.

The first rose I was so familiar with I didn’t even bother to take a photo. It was single-tiered, and with a luscious, fruity rose scent, very much like the one I’ve mentioned earlier this summer.

Roses Under Fir 30-06-2007, originally uploaded by Ayala Moriel.

The next bush, however, was like nothing I’ve either seen nor smelled before. It was a tall, thick bush, laden with cluster of single tiered white roses, and so abundant that I almost lost track of time sniffing and photographing different clusters and individual roses. It was so peculiarly different from other roses: although the scent was intense and magnificent, it was also very light. It was what I can describe as both woody and airy. A similar feel comes from Atlas cedarwood and cabreuva oils, only with the added florally of rose. It was so light it almost reminded me of a water lily…

Rose Pink Indolic 30-06-2007, originally uploaded by Ayala Moriel.

The second bush was less abundant and the roses were larger and pink. What struck me about this one was not so much its look as the scent of the flower: this pink rose was like no other pink rose. It was so shamelessly indolic that I could swear I smelled notes of jasmine and civet in there… Certainly not “innocent as a rose”…

The next bush of white roses had tiered flowers whose scent was closer to what I would expect a white rose to smell like: the purity of a rose, perhaps with a certain peach-like qualities about it.

Rose Tiny 30-06-2007, originally uploaded by Ayala Moriel.

Last and of least significance was another white rose bush, single tiered again, with not particular odour that I could comment on, but it was every so tiny that it was about as wide as my thumbnail!

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Corpse Flower

Corpse Flower 30-06-2007, originally uploaded by Ayala Moriel.

Now, on a far less pleasant note, I did find this corpse flower in the rhododendron garden earlier that Saturday... It's the first time I'm seeing it here at the rhododendron garden, which is usually known for far more pleasant habitants. In Israel, we have a much smaller variety which smells like old human feces. Just like this corpse flower you can see above, it also attracts flies (which it feeds on once they get caught in its juicy trap). I'd take that any day over the smell of this particular corpse flower.
And how did the one in the picture smell? Rotten fish! Now I can almost understand what Grenouille was trying to avoid by becoming a murderous perfumer... I'd do anything to avoid this stench, it was sickening and I could barely stand there long enough to take a few close up shots...
There were no rhododendrons left in the garden (except for one bush, which was not of a fragrant variety), so I had to run for my life after that and go straight to the sea... Grenouilles favourite smell until he got spoiled on virgin body odour... I'll stop now before I frighten myself too much!

P.s. I am not so sure that "Corpse Flower" is the accurate name for this particular variety. This is not the Titan arum although you must admit it has quite an impressive phallic centerpiece... If you have a clue of the true name and/or Latin name, please share it with me. I am sure it's a type of Amorphophallus, but the exact species, I am not sure...

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Sunday, July 01, 2007

Happy Canada Day!

Moraine Lake, originally uploaded by champy1013.

Happy Canada Day to all of SmellyBlog's Canadian readers!
Hope you had a fun and a fair weather today to celebrate the special day of our magnificent country. My day, personally, was mostly full of Salsa dancing at Robson Square...

Silhouette, originally uploaded by CharlieBrown.

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