Monday, November 30, 2009

Decoding Obscure Notes Part VIII-C: Perfuming Tobacco and Tobacco in Fragrance

curing tobacco, originally uploaded by bunky's pickle.

Here we further explore the relationship between perfume and smoke...

Perfuming Tobacco
Once the tobacco has been cured, many types of tobacco undergoes further processing by adding a scent. In some the perfume is more distinct than other, such as in cigars and pipe tobacco. Once the leaves have completed fermentation and curing and prizing, the may be sprayed with an appropriate perfume for their final use. There are different tobacco perfumes for cigars, cigarettes loose-leaf tobacco, snuff, shag, etc.

Some of the essences most popular for use in tobacco perfume are: vanilla, tonka bean tincture (as well as coumarin), vanilla (most popular in cigar perfumes), cedarwood, rose otto, sandalwood, patchouli, cascarilla, geranium, orris tincture, citrus oils, and even expensive flower oils such as orange blossom, tuberose and jasmie (in Turkish and Egyptian cigarettes), spices (such as cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg) and spirits such as brandy.

In Middle Eastern tobacco for narguilla (aka shisha or hooka), tobacco is sweetened with molasses, honey and dried fruit and blended with flavours such as rose, mint, apple and other fruit.

The Scent of Tobacco
Tobacco absolute is solvent extracted from the cured tobacco leaves. Only a very small portion of the tobacco produced is extracted for perfumery uses though. The absolute is a thick dark brown (almost black) semi-solid mass which discolours perfume into a dark brownish green (posing a disadvantage right there and than to the perfumer). An incolour absolute is also available, reducing that disavtange to some extent. The scent of this absolute varies depending on the quality of the tobacco leaves extracted. Some can be more flat, dry and woody, with a certain tannin-like quality, reminiscent of black tea and mate absolute and with musky undertones. Other can be fuller, more animalic and rounded, with more body and nearly chocolate-like richness. Although potent and long lasting, tobacco is a scent that can easily get “lost” in a composition, and in a sense – less is more. It really needs to be diluted down to be fully appreciated as a raw material; and needs to be used in a small quantity with complementary essences in order to truly shine.

Perfumery Uses for Tobacco Absolute
Tobacco is obviously a key component in the tobacco and leathery families. With its tannin quality, it makes a perfect base for leathery scent, along with castoreum or hyraceum tinctures, and cade oil or birch tar. And of course for the tobacco families – all one needs to do is take sufficient amount of tobacco and tobacco-like essences and pair them with the essences used to flavour tobacco to create the impression of your choice (see above). Depending on what you choose, it will smell more like pipe tobacco, cigar, cigarette, etc.

But the uses for tobacco do not end at the leather and tobacco families. Tobacco is a beautiful and versatie material in masculine fragrances, from the woodsy type in particular. It blends beautifully with all woods – vetiver, patchouli, sandalwood, cedarwood, juniper etc. And it adds a polished, sophisticated feel to what otherwise would have been plain citrusy colognes. Tobacco works beautifully with florals, especially rose and orange blossom. And in the citrusy or fresh context, orange blossom, lime and tobacco are a match made in heaven.

Some tobacco perfume worth mentioning (and experiencing!) are:

Feuilles de Tabac
Tabac Blond
Field Notes from Paris
Ava Luxe’s Film Noir
Guerlain’s Vetiver and Heritage
Jasmine et Cigarette

If you missed the previous article about tobacco, click here and here.
Next in our tobacco series: case studies of using tobacco leaf absolute in natural perfumes.

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Friday, November 27, 2009

Holiday Gift Guide 2009

Gifts For Every Personality Under One Tree

Each name on your holiday list has a unique personality, and deserves a fitting fragrant gift. Cuddly and cozy, flamboyant and sassy, exotic, mysterious, quirky… At Ayala Moriel, fragrance shopping is fun and easy – just follow your nose and it will make perfect scent and an unforgettable gift!

Immortelle l'Amour

Winter is your time for cuddling with a book in front of the fireplace. You have a bit of a sweet tooth and like to spoil your friends with delicious Sunday brunches. Although you like stormy adventures from time to time, you appreciate even more returning home to your cozy bed and cuddling your cat wile wearing your favourite sweater.

Other gift ideas:

  • Bois d’Hiver candle

  • Stocking stuffer $15 and under:

  • Immortelle l’Amour tea

  • Sahleb

    You know how to enjoy life to its fullest and greet life’s precious moments with befitting attire and attitude. The winter holidays are yet another excuse to celebrate lavishly, with bubbling champagne, your vintage fur coat and of course - the finest perfume!

    Other gift suggestions:

  • Signature Perfume

  • White Potion Candle
  • Stocking stuffers $15 and under:

  • Geranium Ritual Bath Salts

  • The Purple Dress

    Travelling is engrained in you, and when you are not physically visiting exotic lands, you are doing so in your imagination, and through your senses. You like to experience the sight, tastes, textures and scents of places and cultures far away, even at the comfort of your own home. You enjoy ethnic food and surround yourself with tribal block printed silk fabrics and ornamental rugs, and can appreciate the most exotic and unusual teas, spices, incense and perfume.

    Other gift suggestions:

  • Ethnic Poison Rings

  • Champaca Chai
  • Stocking stuffers $15 and under:

  • Charisma tea

  • Bois d'Hiver

    You are a free spirit constantly surrounded by fresh air and open space. You spend all your waking hours outdoors and engaging in somewhat risky nature sports – from surfing to rock climbing or backpacking through the mountains..

    You will never suffer from cabin fever – you’ll always find your way out, be it chopping wood or getting the last-minute groceries for dinner. Your Christmas tree is always the real thing (you might have even chopped it down yourself and carried it all the way home in one of your forest hikes). So when winter comes, your love of nature won’t just wait for you at your doorstep – you’ll find a way of bringing the outdoors smell of forest and mountains into the room.

    Other gift ideas:

  • Rainforest
  • Stocking stuffers $15 and under

  • ArbitRary tealight candles

  • Spruce Ritual Bath Salts

  • Espionage

    It takes a sophisticated mind to decipher your sense of humour, so you are often misunderstood. You can find beauty even in the mundane, including ragged objects such as a pipe or an old leather chair. Long ago, your favourite hangout place would have been the library for the smell of old and new books; now you spend more time with unscented gadgets that can expand your horizons and at times even acquainted you with likeminded people who are as quirky as you.

    Other gift suggestions:

  • Atzec Poison Ring

  • Liquid Fume One-of-a-Kind Perfume

  • Stocking stuffers $15 and under:

  • Lavender Ritual Bath Salts

  • Rebellius

    Your confidence has a bite and you like being noticed. Winter is your time to show off your best. You enjoy cocktail parties where you can either be found flirting with strangers or having a flamboyant debate with friends over a glass of red wine.

    Other gift suggestions:

  • Carnelian Perfumed Pendant with Autumn Solid Perfume

  • Kazach Carnelian Ethnic Poison Ring

  • Finjan

  • Stocking stuffers $15 and under:

  • Roses et Chocolat Tea

  • Film Noir

    You are the artist of seduction and a true sensualist. You know how to reveal only the most alluring parts of you and reveal just a hint of your dark side to yourself, which of course makes you seem even more mysterious and alluring.

    Other gift suggestions:

  • Palas Atena
  • Razala
  • Stocking stuffer $15 and under:

  • Film Noir Sachet

  • Fête d'Hiver

    You know better than fuss over the ever-changing trends. You’d rather stay with the tried and true classic staples: a well tailored suit, a string of pearls…

    You are attracted to timeless beauty and its principles, which allows you to save your energy for what’s really important: spending time with your family and friends to keep your heart and your home warm in the cold winter.

    Other gift ideas:

  • Épice Sauvage
  • Song of Songs
  • Stocking stuffers $15 and under:

  • Bois d’Hiver Ritual Bath Salts

  • Bon Zai

    Seeker of peace and tranquility, you are always in search of a balance between the various aspects of your life. The most important thing for you during the holiday season is to set time aside to contemplate the past year, envision the new one and spend time with the closest and dearest to you – including yourself.

    Your perfume is subtle and pure: it can be worn for meditation or a quite walk in the woods and will reinforce your enlightened thoughts.

    Other gift ideas:

  • Moon Breath Perfume Oil
  • Moonstone Perfumed Pendant
  • Stocking stuffers $15 and under:

  • Hinoki ritual bath salts
  • Bon Zai Incense Cones – Half Dozen

  • For all your fragrance advice needs, don’t hesitate to contact Ayala directly for an perfume-fitting appointment at the studio, or fill out our Fragrance Questionnaire!

    Happy Holiday Season!


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    Thursday, November 26, 2009

    Happy Thanksgiving!

    thanksgiving., originally uploaded by D.James | Darren J. Ryan.

    Happy Thanksgiving to all my American readers who are celebrating (and the Canadian ones who are helping out and helping themselves to another serving of Turkey ;-)

    There is one thing for me to be thankful for: my back is better. I still haven't got my life back so to speak, but I'm able to spend some portion of the day getting things done, instead of just taking care of it...

    If I can wish for one thing, it's that I'm going to survive this coming weekend: two days at Portobello (Saturday & Sunday) and Monday at the BCIT Christmas Fair.

    What do you wish for this season?


    Sunday, November 22, 2009

    Upcoming Holiday Markets & Events

    Mark Your Calendars:

    Saturday & Sunday, November 28 & 29, 12:00-6:00pm

    Portobello West Fashion + Art Market

    The Rocky Mountaineer Station (Cottrel @ Terminal Ave.)

    Saturday & Sunday Nov. 28-29 12:00-6:00pm

    Monday, November 30th

    Under the Tree Holiday Market @ BCIT

    November 30, 10:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.
    SE2, Great Hall, Burnaby Campus
    3700 Willingdon Avenue, Burnaby
    Info: UConnect Resource Centre, 604-451-7087

    Tuesday, December 1st, 5:30-8:30pm

    Candlemaking Workshop with Nikki Sherritt

    Join our guest instructor Nikki Sheritt, an artisan candle maker of Seattle-based Gabriel's Aunt, for an afternoon of candle-making. Tuesday, Dec. 1st, 5:30-8:30pm

    Tuesday, December 8th, 6:00-8:00pm

    Chocolate Truffles Workshop

    Learn how to make scented chocolate truffles with fine chocolate base and precious floral essences. Tuesday, Dec. 8th, 5:30-8:30pm

    Saturday & Sunday, December 12 & 13, 12:00-6:00pm

    Portobello West Holiday Market

    The Rocky Mountaineer Station (Cottrel @ Terminal Ave.)

    Saturday & Sunday Dec. 12 & 13 12:00-6:00pm

    Thursday, December 17, 6:30pm-11:00pm


    Join us to light the 7th candle of Hanukkah and revealing The Purple Dress perfume.

    December 17th 2009
    6:30-11:00pm; revealing the scent at 7:30

    #314-1230 Haro Street, Buzz #295,Vancouver, BC

    *Guests are encouraged to wear *something* purple!

    * RSVP: Email: Phone: (778) 863-0806 or on Facebook

    Friday, Saturday, Sunday, December 18th-20th

    The Beaumont Studios Christmas Sale

    Last Stop to Shop Before The Holidays - 3 day designer & artist sale at the Beaumont Studios.

    Friday, December 18th 7:00pm-12:00 midnight

    Saturday & Sunday, December 19-20 11:00am-7:00pm

    The Beaumont
    316 West 5th Avenue
    Vancouver, BC V5Y 1J5

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    Saturday, November 21, 2009

    Must Read: Visions of Fall and Winter - Parts 2 & 3

    Visit The Scented Salamander to read the rest of her series about visions of fall and winter according to North American independent perfumers. Part 2 featuring Candice Jurko of CJ Scents, Anya McCoy of Anya's Garden, Fabienne Christenson of Possets Perfume, and Christopher Brosius of CB I Hate Perfume; and Part 3, where you can read more from the previous artists and closes with the interview with me.

    P.s. Click here if you missed Part 1


    Friday, November 20, 2009

    New Online: Poison Rings and Solid Perfumes

    I've just added poison rings to, in the new Poison Rings section in the store.
    Also added are the various other colours of pendants that were especially made, in limited edition, besides our signature blue opal pendants. The one in the photo below is an ethnic Indian Moonstone one, filled with Moon Breath solid perfume.

    If you love Solid Perfumes - check out the new section, with vintage pillboxes containing larger amount of solid perfume (up to 1/4oz). The picture above has beautiful bird illustration on its porcelain lid, and is filled with Kinmokusei solid perfume.

    Other perfumed jewelry items of interest will be added as I go and find more interesting vintage and ethnic pieces. I'm always on the hunt of vessels that can contain perfume!

    More poison rings can also be found on Etsy.

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    Thursday, November 19, 2009

    Body Oil Poll

    While I try to get better with bitter Chinese herbs, here's something for you to think about: since the highest votes in the last poll went for adding body oils to my product line, help me decide which scent would be the first in my body oil line (these will be semi-dry-oils, with a base of fast absorbing frationated coconut oil as the main component).


    Wednesday, November 18, 2009

    Back issues...

    A wake-up call early Monday morning from my injured back caught me in the middle of a feature article about tobacco in perfumery. Unable to sit and type for any prolonged amount of time this and any other blog posts will have to be postponed until my back allows me to function again. Until than, I can be found with acupuncture needles and Chinese herbs or in the hot tub chasing off the pain.

    Monday, November 16, 2009

    Katie Puckrick Smells Avery Gilbert

    Katie Puckrick interviews sensory psychologist Dr. Avery Gilbert (author of "What The Nose Knows") on her YouTube channel. They discuss bod chemistry, pheromones, indoles and other fascinating scent-related anecdotes and myths.

    Thursday, November 12, 2009

    The Countdown Begins...

    Only one more month left till the online launch of The Purple Dress...
    You can order samples already, and also pre-order it (only 12 bottles were made).

    To RSVP for the launch party click here.

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    Poll: Which Scented Products Are You Craving?

    Decoding Obscure Notes Part VIII-B: Tobacco - Origins, History, Medicine & Curing

    Tobacco in the Field, originally uploaded by Mike the B.

    Tobacco is one of the most strange, unusual, misunderstood and challenging notes in perfumery. There seems to be a fair amount of mystery surrounding fragrances from the tobacco family, which is why it makes a perfect fit for the “Decoding Obscure Notes” series.

    Tobacco as a fragrance family name is used almost interchangeably with Leather. Interestingly, the relationship between perfume and those two seemingly unrelated artifacts are quite fascinating.

    Like several other important members of the nightshade (Solanaceae) family, tobacco is native to the Americas and the West Indies. There are two main species of tobacco that are used aromatically, medicinally and commercially. Nicotiana rustica, which is a wild tobacco that is native to the West Indies and Eastern North America (i.e.: USA and some parts of Canada), and was the one used by native Americans since time immemorial; and Nicotiana tabacum which is indigenous to Central and South America and only later cultivated with much commercial success in North America in the state of Virginia. The name tobacco likely originated in the Tahitian word “tabaco”, a Y shaped pipe for inhaling the plant’s smoke through both nostrils.

    History & Cultural Significance
    Tobacco is a sacred plant in all Native American tribes. The first to use it were probably the Mayan Indians, and its use was spread throughout the entire continent. Tobacco was an essential element in most Native American rituals, and was used in different ways: placed as an offering to the gods or the spirits, burnt on the fire, smoked in a pipe or the leaves were rolled into the ancient forms of cigars in South and Central America (at times also elaborately decorated). Pipes were smoked to “seal deals” and agreements between tribes. The pipes themselves have a symbolic meaning: the “straw” part is considered projective or masculine, and the bowl where the tobacco is burnt is considered receptive, or feminine. There is a significance to the materials from which the pipes are made as well, and cultural messages hidden within the decoration of some pipes (which has become particularly elaborate in Central and Southern America).

    Medicinal Properties and Health Issues
    The Indians’ reverence for the plant and great respect to its powers prevented them from becoming addicted to it. They usually did not inhale the smoke when smoking the pipe. And the plant was used medicinally to treat many ailments (asthma, fever, bites, stings, and to clear the head). Tobacco was administered in different ways – i.e.: chewing, snuff and smoking.

    Tobacco’s medicinal properties seem quite aggressive – it’s considered a “sedative, diuretic, expectorant, discutient, and sialagogue, and internally only as an emetic, when all other emetics fail” ( but I suppose there is place for these actions too in some cases, as long as it is used appropriately and with caution.

    The principle constituent in tobacco is nicotine (by the way – both the chemical and the Latin name for tobacco are named after Jean Nicot, the French ambassador in Portugal, introduced the plant to France). This alkaloid a clear, poisonous oil and appears in larger proportion in the plants grown in their native territories.

    Ironically, once introduced to the Western world by the European invaders, tobacco has become one of the most dangerous plant substances in the world, resulting in illness and death of millions one in every ten adults dies from tobacco use world wide. Every 8 seconds someone dies because of tobacco. And to read more grim facts about the consequences of tobacco abuse, click here). And if you’re interested in digging even deeper into the history and the medicinal uses of tobacco, read this.

    Curing Tobacco
    What do leather and tobacco have in common? Quite a lot, actually. Both require a curing process before they can be used. And in both cases, aromatic substances and perfuming are involved in different stages of the process.

    Like several aromatic botanicals used in perfumery, tobacco requires a fair amount of processing before being used (or extracted). For example: vanilla beans must be left in the sun to cure to bring out the vanillin; patchouli leaves must be dried and matured for quite sometime to improve their scent; and iris rhizomes must be peeled, dried and stored for 3 years before they are extracted to produce orris butter. In the case of tobacco, the raw leaves have a bitter taste and not a particularly pleasant smell either. Nicotine, the substance that gives tobacco most of its medicinal (and addictive) properties, supposedly also protects it from insects and makes it not a very friendly or attractive thing in its raw form. Although it was used raw medicinally (the leaves were chewed or squeezed for their juice), it is hardly the sophisticated aromatic that we have learned to recognize as tobacco.

    Tobacco leaves acquire their distinct aroma only after they have been cured, a process that involves the alchemical work of enzyme to change their aroma, colour and flavour. Curing can be done in several methods to produce different results and types of tobacco.

    Air Curing is a relatively simple process although it has a few stages. Depending on the climate of where the tobacco is grown (i.e.: how humid or hot the air is plays an important factor), the leaves are simply air dried, either outdoors or indoors in well-ventilated curing barns or champers especially built for them (usually right near the fields). What you see in the photo above is the original method for curing, where the entire plant is cut and placed upside down so that the leaves air-dry straight (more or less). Air curing can also take place indoors, in curing barns with a gradually increasing temperature from 33 to 77 degrees Celsius over a period of 5-7 days. Once dried, the leaves are brittle and fragile; therefore, the doors of the barn are opened on a humid day so that the leaves are soft again and can be removed from the stems and stacked into piles of about 20 leaves per pack. They are left there to fully ferment and develop a uniform brown colour. The process takes about 8 weeks. The result is a tobacco that is light in flavour, and has higher level of nicotine.

    Fire Curing occurs indoors in curing barns where hardwood fire is kept for several days to produce a smouldering smoke. This also produces a high nicotine level and is mostly used for pipe tobacco, chewing tobacco and snuff.

    Flue Curing is a method that heats the curing barn through pipes, without the exposure to the smoke itself. Flue curing produces a tobacco that has more sugar, and less nicotine, that is used for cigarettes.

    Sun-Cured tobacco is the result of leaving the tobacco outdoors and exposed to the sun. After 4-5 days in the sun, the leaves are taken indoors into a well-ventilated barn at 22 degrees Celsius where they will become soft and can be packed. This method is mostly is used in the Mediterrenean region (Turkey, Greece, etc.) to create oriental tobacco, which is used in cigarettes and hooka (sheesha) blends and is low in both sugar and nicotine.

    After curing, there is a process of fermentation: The stacked leaves are left to ferment until they reach once the leaves are stacked, and reach a temperature of about 55 degrees Celsius. After a month they will reach a uniform brown colour, and than they are prized which entails pressing the bundles of leaves into big bulks of 1000lb each. The pressure has to be just right to avoid discoloration of the leaves; and often times rum, vanilla or molasses are added as well at this stage.

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    Decoding Obscure Notes Part VIII-A: Tobacco Flower

    Tobacco Flower, originally uploaded by taberandrew.

    Fragrant tobacco flowers comes from different species than those used for smoking, chewing, snuff etc. The flower of the Nicotiana affinis species are particularly fragrant, especially as the evening falls, and are an interesting subject for the perfumer.

    Although tobacco flower absolute is technically possible to create, it is not normally available to the perfumer, and Arctander’s description is that of the fresh living flowers, rather than the extracted absolute: “ The fragrance of this flower is extremely delicate, yet rich and sweet, spicy-floral, somewhat reminiscent of carnation with a fresher note, almost fruity”, and likens it to “Sweet William” (a type of fragrant carnation).

    Poucher includes a formula for tobacco flower base in his 1st volume of “Perfumes, Cosmetics and Soaps”, which includes rose, carnation, clary sage, honey, jasmine, immortelle absolute, birch tar, coumarin, vanillin, para-dimethyl hydroquinone and more to re-create the flower’s unique aroma.

    The tobacco that is used in perfumery more often is from the cured leaves, and that will be discussed in greater detail in the second part of the article about tobacco.

    For more about tobacco and perfumery click here and here.

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    Tobacco Bouquet

    Any old weed will do, originally uploaded by aussiegall.

    Trust Ineke to find a place for bright florals even in a dusky leathery-tobacco. Field Notes from Paris is a study of the tobacco concept from head to toe, leaves and flowers included. This take gives it more of an American character, which is the origin of the plant, no matter how much of it is smoked in Parisian cafes… To me, it illustrates the life of the plant from growing in the sunshine, being harvested, hanging the leaves to cure and flavour, and finally enjoyed as a guilty pleasure once burnt and smoked to the last puff from a fragrant cigar.

    Orange blossom is the star of the show at first, bright and with lavender and rosewood side-kicks it’s almost squeaky clean and with a strong masculine reference. Crushed coriander seeds notes are effervescent and floral but add a hint of dirty woodsy spiciness along with roasted coffee nuances. There is also a distinct fruitiness right from the beginning that smells like davana to me, even though it is not listed in the notes. It could very well be the tobacco flower note, which I can't recall ever smelling - but is described by the expert (Stephen Arctander) as having a scent "somewhat similar to carnation with a fresher note, almost fruity".

    As Field Notes from Paris develops on the skin, it becomes more warm, woodsy, full bodied and little tannin with notes of dry cedarwood and patchouli, polished by pollen-like beeswax absolute and the pipe-tobacco flavouring note of tonka bean. The tannins become more apparent in the final dry down, as the cure tobacco leaf, leather and patchouli notes take over, sweetened and softened by vanilla bean and the powderiness of the tonka.

    Previous post about Field Notes from Paris includes information about the perfume's inspiration and notes. I would only add that this is the most warm and complex fragrance from the line so far, even more than Evening Edged in Gold and it is my favourite next to After My Own Heart. But there are still a few more letters in the alphabet to cover before we get to know Ineke's full potential...

    The scent is available directly via Ineke's website.

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    Tuesday, November 10, 2009

    Burning Tobacco, Sans the Smoke

    Un jour d'août au champs de tabac, originally uploaded by pfala.

    Burning tobacco without the smoke is made possible via Bohem, Gabriel's Aunt scented soywax candle. While it isn't in the least smoky, it has the unique effect of tobacco absolute, smelling simultaneously fresh and deep, warm and woody. It's a rather simple candle yet smells sophisticated because of the unusual choice of notes: tabac blond absolute, patchouli, vetiver and davana, which adds a curiously fruity and herbaceous-freshness to the mix.

    Bohem reminds me of a gypsy or a voodoo dance rather than a bohemian smoking den. The raw and unrefined qualities of the materials and the relative simplicity of their orchestration creates an unfamiliar experience that is curiously appealing.

    But Bohem is not only a candle. It began as a perfume, and it is the first of Nikki Sherrit's candles to reflect her natural perfume collection. The perfume is more sophisticated, with the fruitiness of the davana even more pronounced. It plays on the contrast between that wine-like fruitiness and the dryness of tobacco, amplified with the other woody notes which later on evolve into a smooth, chocolatey tobacco dry down. Both the candle and the perfume represent the cured tobacco leaf rather than any tobacco product (i.e.: cigars, cigarettes or pipe tobacco); a choice that makes Bohem stand out in this genre. While there are leathery qualities, an inevitable aspect of the tobacco leaf, there is none of the smokiness or imposed sweetness that happens when you light a match to flavoured tobacco.

    Notes: Vetiver, Virginia Cedarwood, Patchouli, Tobacco, Allspice, Cassie and Davana.

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    Monday, November 09, 2009

    Must Read: Visions of Fall and Winter on Scented Salamander

    The Scented Salamander hosting a short series of articles about independent North American perfumers: their relationships with the seasons and nature, the inspiration and creative process that lead to the creation of their perfumes for fall and winter. The article is titled "North-American Originals: Perfumers on Fall & Winter", and the first installation features interviews with Ineke Ruhland of Ineke, Mandy Aftel of Aftelier Perfumes and Liz Zorn of Soivhole.


    Monday Musing

    363/365 - I'LL BE WAITING, originally uploaded by auntsmack4u.

    Life's demands got the better part of my attention than this blog usually reserves (and rightfully deserves). Which got me thinking to which direction to take it this coming new year. I want SmellyBlog to remain a unique blog about fragrance, with focus on the natural raw materials with which I work and love.
    I'd like to throw the idea to your courtyard to see what will happen: What do you, SmellyBlog readers, most enjoy about it? What do you want find when you type in the url in the address bar? And what do you hope to be reading here in the next year or so?

    Generally, SmellyBlog articles can be divided into a few major categories. Can you please determine (by posting a comment below), which you are most interested in?
    1) Raw materials - information about the raw materials of perfumery

    2) Perfumer's journal - diary-like entries about progress of perfume project in my lab/studio

    3) Perfume reviews

    4) Perfume related news (including my newsletters)

    5) Recipes and formulas for perfumes and body products as well as fragrant foods, desserts and beverages

    6) Perfume advice

    7) OTHER: if there are any other things you'd like to read and learn that is not in that list, please add it on!

    Your opinions and input are greatly appreciated.

    Warm regards,


    Chai Recipe No. 2

    Ok, I'm awake enough now to type up the chai recipe:
    4 cups 1% milk
    2 Tbs. cane sugar
    2 tsp. organic Assam tea
    The following whole spices:
    2 star anise
    1 stick cinnamon
    3 allspice berries
    5 clove buds
    1 piece fresh ginger (about 1" long)
    1/2 tsp. fennel seeds
    25 black peppercorns

    Mix all ingreidens in a small pot and bring to a boil. Cover and let sit for about 5 minutes to steep. Strain and serve warm.

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    Sunday, November 08, 2009

    Fashion and Tea Day

    Harvest-inspired treats at The Secret Garden Tea Co.

    Sunday was packed of fun things: brunch at home with family, notably with a new recipe (sorta) of chai tea (will type that up tomorrow morning when I'm more awake). Than instead of lunch, afternoon tea at Secret Garden which ended, suprisingly, instead of at the movie theater wacthing Coco Avant Chanel going to Vancouver Fashion Week (a good friend has given us tickets), where I also got rid of a pack of The Purple Dress flyers (my very first time handing flyers for my perfumes, which is very strange).

    Designer Tanya Min Jee Ellis with her collection in VFW international design competition (I voted for her but I couldn't find out the people's choice award results today yet)

    I'm now exhausted and smelling strongly of Velvet Gardenia (a perfume I associate with fancy tea rooms ever since the first time I worn it at The Empress). Sweet dreams...

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    Friday, November 06, 2009

    Holiday Mailing Deadlines

    Even Santa has deadlines, and Canada Post just put out their send-by-dates so that your gifts can make it by the holidays around the world. I'm only posting the regular parcel services (which is how much I charge on my website). If you place your order after that date, it will have to be shipped Priority (for an additional cost of course).

    Canada - December 11th
    USA - December 14th (must be shipped Xpresspost - might require additional shipping costs)
    Asia, Europe, Middle East and the Caribbean - December 1st
    Africa - November 23rd
    Australia & New Zealand - December 7th (Xpresspost - might require additional shipping costs)
    Central & South America - November 23rd

    For more details on shipping options and cut-off dates for holiday mail click here.

    Our holiday gift guide will be coming out soon in our next newsletter.

    Wishing you all a stress-free pre-holiday season!


    Wednesday, November 04, 2009

    Stock Updates

    For those interested in the stock market... We have very limited stock on some of our perfumes containing rare essences (i.e.: boronia, osmanthus) and do not know when we will be able to replace them and create a new batch.

    Charisma - 2 x parfum extrait flacon, 1 x travel-size perfume-oil roll-on
    Grin - 1 x parfum extrait flacon, 3 x travel size perfume-oil roll-on
    Hanami - 4 x parfum extrait flacon
    Indigo - 1 x parfum extrait flacon, 1 x travel size perfume-oil roll-on
    Kinmokusei - 2 x parfum extrait flacon, 3 x travel size perfume-oil roll-on
    l'Écume des Jours - 1 x parfum extrait flacon

    And lastly, Black Licorice, or Halloween limited edition has only 1 bottle of extrait and 2 bottles of travel-size roll-on bottles left.


    Liquid Fume

    Frankincense, originally uploaded by galeriacores3.

    Smoke is the origin of perfume: an ancient ritual of burning resins to create and purify mental space and exalt one’s soul to connect to the divine. By fire and alchemy physical matter (resins, spices) transform into spirit through smoke.

    Burning loose incense is one of my most favourite ways to experience and enjoy fragrance. There’s something magical about the transformation of golden frankincense tears into smoke. Sparks fly when the charcoal is lit on fire, and that’s just the beginning of the excitement. Once the heat takes over the charcoal, a few precious resinous tears are placed on the ember. At first, they just rest quietly with their majestic dusted gold appearance. But soon enough, they can’t stand the heat any longer and begin to sweat their perfect aroma into the air, which turns from invisible vapours in the first few moments into smoldering smoke the next.

    Frankincense has a way of affecting the human mind, coaxing it into relaxation and a meditative state of consciousness. The mere act of burning incense connects one to different elements of nature: fire, wood, metal. It gives me a sense of connection to my ancestors, the deserts of the Middle East and ancient rituals that were meant to bring people closer to themselves and closer to the gods. When I burn incense, a fransformation occurs in front of my eyes, taking over my space with its smoky perfume that is at once balsamic, sweet, woody, resinous, fresh and calming. All that remains to do is to let go and devote oneself to the experience this ancient perfume

    With Liquid Fume I tried to create a perfume that captures the experience of burning incense, within the liquid medium of grain spirits. Without any matches or charcoal and real smoke, I tried to bring a sensation of warmth, dryness and the rich, resinous balsamaic odour of burning frankincense. I tried to imagine the most dense incense condensed in a bottle, with the warmth of embers and the dripping honey of melted frankincense tears… This is what I hope Liquid Fume will be for you.

    Frankincense is of course the core of this perfume. But other notes were added for bringing out different qualities of an incense burning ritual: Virginian cedarwood and guiacwood were chosen for their smokiness, liquidamber for its molden-gold sweetness, helicrysum and labdanum absolutes for their rich, sweet honeyed and resinous qualities, and sweet orange to brighten everything up and remind us of the fresh, almost citrusy aspects of frankincense.

    Top notes:
    Sweet Orange, Virginian Cedarwood, Copaiba Balsam

    Heart notes:
    Liquidambar, Guiacwood, Atlas Cedarwood

    Base notes:
    Golden Frankincense, Labdanum, Helicrysum Absolute

    Liquid Fume one-of-a-kind perfume is available on or via Etsy.

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    Monday, November 02, 2009

    Bvlgari Black

    Crushed violets, originally uploaded by oksidor.

    “Forgiveness is the fragrance that the violet sheds on the heel that has crushed it.” (Mark Twain)

    In the summertime, Bvlgari Black wears like a molten asphalt and roof tar, underlined by purring black cat’s fur. Intense and linear, it grows on the skin until it becomes unbearable. In the cooler fall weather, it wears like a woolen sweater contaminated by the smoke escaping from the fireside. And a cup of Lapsang Suchong comes to mind. But this is only temporary: soon violets take over. Violent violets of the candid kind that you can find in the two Lolita Lempicka and the Au Masculin (both are also by Annick Menardo). It also is quite similar to two other masculines that played florals in a cheeky way: Joop! (Michel Almairac) and Le Male (Francis Kurkdjian) - a trend that most likely began with Geoffrey Beene's Grey Flannel (André Fromentin).

    Lapsang Suchong, originally uploaded by Ayala Moriel.

    Bvlgari Black is intriguing and quirky and reminds me of both the smoky tea of Dzing! And Tea for Two (both created by Olivia Giacobetti for l’Artisan Parfumeur). I’m still not decided which one of the three I like the best. The dry down of Bvlgari Black is a rich though not smouldering vanilla, reminiscent of Shalimar's counterpoint between sweets and smokes, confection and leather.

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    Twitter Draw Winner + New Contest Announcement

    Thank you for all of you who tweeted about #ayalamoriel on Tweeter!

    We have a winner!
    Congratulations to ScentHive, who were randomly chosen via to receive a roll-on bottle of my perfume. She gets to pick which one...

    And you get another chance this month to win a roll-on bottle of your own!

    As of today, I'm starting another contest for twitters. Here are the rules:
    1. To be included in the lucky draw, you must include the topic #ayalamoriel in your tweets. I won't include anyone who tweets back @ayalamoriel in the draw next time
    2. Tweets must express genuine opinions/impressions/experience and contain accurate information.
    3. If you tweet about #ayalamoriel more than once, your name will be entered into the draw more than once as well.
    4. All tweets dated no later than November 30th will be entered into the draw.
    5. Winner receives a free roll-on perfume of their choice (excluding the exclusive line)
    6. Winner announcement will take place December 1st.

    Sunday, November 01, 2009

    Sniff or Treat Halloween Tea Party + Lucky Draw Announcement

    Here are some of the highlights of the Sniff or Treat Halloween Tea Party that occurred yesterday afternoon. Hopefully the sights and the stories will convince you to be among our guests next time (if you happen to live or visit in the erea).

    But first of all, let me announce the lucky winner among the guests who signed the guestbook - who will receive a 5ml travel roll-on perfume oil of Black Licorice perfume.
    We numbered the guests based on the order they signed the book, and than got to pick them. The lucky winner is guest no. 8, who's no other than (drum roll)...

    James Sherrett!

    Congratulations James, I hope you will enjoy the sweet smell of Black Licorice and come to many more parties!Black Forest cupcakes (left) and Spider Eggs (right) which really are almonds covered with dates and rolled in roasted black sesame seeds.

    Pomegranate tarts, with strawberry creme fraiche or lime curd; and fig tarts in a match-cream cheese filling.

    Pumpkin tarts with lavender-orange shortbread crust.

    Blue Cheese & Concord Grapes scones, Fennel & Golden Sultana scones, served with Devonshire cream and various jams and preserves, such as:
    Bluebarb by Karin Brauch of Preserved BC Sunshine
    (created with Vancouver unsprayed rhubarb, wild Cloverdale blueberries and married with a hint of Okanagan white wine).

    Spiced Eggplant Confiture
    (I made them myself based on a Morrocan recipe)

    Raspberry Jelly by Naturally Rooted

    Tea sandwiches: in the picture you see the tarragon-orange-fennel tea sandwiches, made with organic cream cheese and freshly grated orange zest and tarragon herb, and finely sliced fresh fennel bulb.
    We also made cucumber-wasabi sandwiches, carrot-ginger, and deviled-egg-salad ones.

    Fresh Mission figs and homemade biscotti (anise-almond; chocolate-hazelnut)

    Kurogoma cupcakes, with black sesame cake and a matcha-cream-cheese frosting.

    Teas served:
    Hulnejan (the witche's brew)
    Roses et Chocolat
    Lapsang Suchong (ArtFarm)

    And last but not least - the presentation touched on the connection between the spirit world and incense and plant essences; how incense was and still used to communicate with the spirit world and with loved ones that passed away, and smelling some of the essences of resins and woods used from ancient times for making incense: opoponax, myrrh, frankincense, costus, agarwood and more. We also smelled cade oil, which has a smoky, camp-fire scent and is similar to the Lapsang Suchong we drank in the party. And lastly, we burned a Japanese Kyara incense stick (the highest quality of oud) of the kind that is burnt on a daily basis in home-shrines for the family ancestors, and myrrh resin because of its connection to earth and embalming the dead in Egypt.

    And below are some pictures of the guests at the party:

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