Thursday, January 27, 2011

Tea with Miss T: Pomegranate Lychee Red Tea

Pomegranate Lychee Red Tea, originally uploaded by Ayala Moriel.

Our children learn from watching what we do more than any other way. Some habits and behaviours are just inevitably ingrained in us and we can't change much about them. Other things we pick up on the way and pass on to our kids as part of our daily routines - and what and how we eat plays a big role in family interactions.

So imagine how hard I was laughing when as a reflection of my elaborate tea parties, my daughter began throwing her own daily ritual tea every afternoon. There were a lot of treats around the house back than and they consisted of quite impressive menu for a couple of weeks. But after the holidays were over, the ritual stuck and every afternoon when little miss T comes home from school she immediately rushes into the kitchen, boils a kettle of tea and gets the pot ready, with... fruit!

First it started with blueberries and coconut, and than it became more and more elaborate. I would add the tea leaves, because otherwise it would just be half-cooked fruit juice diluted in water. Some of the inventions are quite out there - and others don't quite work.

This one turned out magnificent, and so I decided to start sharing with you daily teas that turn out here on SmellyBlog. As it turns out, in Asia, brewing fruity teas is widespread custom (bubble tea, anyone?). So miss T is certainly on to something...

In the picture above, is a lychee congou tea brewed with about 2 Tbs of pomegranate seeds. The sweetness of that particular pomegranate made it really delicious. Pomegranate could be rather sour when brewed.

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News from the Nose: Wear Your Heart On Your Wrist!

Dear Fragrant Friends,

Who says you have to wear your heart on your sleeve just because of some hallmark holiday? How about some subtlety and elegance?! May we suggest we wear it on the wrist instead, where it can be revealed with a tilt of the hand, to be seen (or smelled...) only by those close to our heart (and nose...)!

This winter we teamed up with some of our favourite local artists to bring you some innovative ideas to make this Valentine's Day fun even for those who feel more than half-cynical about it; and bring a hint of originality to the die-hard Valentines among you…

Click here to continue reading the newsletter...

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Monday, January 24, 2011

Tincturing Milky Oolong

Tincturing oolong tea, originally uploaded by Ayala Moriel.

I've been tincturing my milky oolong tea in the past couple of weeks, with mixed-success results.
There is no doubt the jus that results from this botanical is fragrant. But at first it smells like some sort of a witch's brew (and as you can see, the colour is quite reassuring in this direction), and only improves after sitting on a scent strip for a few minutes.
The true test for it, of course, is skin and perfume. On the skin I'm not really impressed with it on its own (yet). But I have added a few drops to an existing perfume that was begging for a cup of tea, and it seems to add some depth...
The interesting part is, though, that the one10 days in ethanol did not seem to take everything out of the leaf. So I'm doing a 2nd "steeping" and curious to see if there will be an improvement.

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Friday, January 21, 2011

Antique Amber for BuenoStyle

One of the things I've enjoyed the most last year, was collaborating with other creative and passionate business women in Vancouver, who I was fortunte enough to meet. As you may have already seen on BuenoStyle's blog, my 1st collaboration for 2011 is ready to launch this weekend!

Christi York of BuenoStyle creates jewelry from vintage finds that she collects and assembles with her own design sensibilities and style: chains, beads, brooches, lockets and vintage charms. Walking up the stairs leading to her studio, the scent of antique furniture and wood-polish and hints of incense perfumed the air ever so gently. Her studio is located on Main street, with a large window to the street observing Shaktea tea salon (I'm so envious!). These wide windows bring in plenty of natural light so one can marvel at the beautiful miniscule vintage treasures, such a chains of pearls, antique brass clasps, rolls of vintage chains, crystal and glass beads, Bakelite flowers and old tarnished filigreed lockets - attractively arranged in wooden trays of print setters.

So it only made sense to call the perfume that was going to complement BuenoStyle's jewelry with the name Antique Amber!

Christi's favourite scent has been Cancer perfume from my (now discontinued) Zodiac collection. We felt that while the perfume was very appropriate for the style and personality of BuenoStyle, this name was misleading. So we formulated it for a solid perfume base, and changed the name to Antique Amber, so that even people who were not born under the sign of the crab will feel compelled to adorn themselves with this exotic amber perfume!

Antique Amber is an oriental-ambery perfume with an old-world charm, like an antique wooden dresser filled with treasures: Luxurious amber resin, exotic patchouli-scented shawls, and remnants of jasmine perfume for an extra feminine touch. Borneol camphor and a hint of aniseed add a mysterious, lingering cool/warm intrigue.
Antique Amber can be worn alone or can be layered with other perfumes for added depth mystery.

Notes: Amber, Camphor, Aniseed, Jasmine, Patchouli

Fragrance family: Oriental-Ambery

Antique Amber will debut tomorrow, encased in BuenoStyle's perfume locket pendants with vintage chain patchwork and crystals (each is a unique design - one of a kind piece!) at the Indie I Do show at Heritage Hall (Main @ 16th Ave), tomorrow - January 22nd, from 11am-5pm. Hope to see you there!

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Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Busy days...

Busy days at the studio, as it turns out the holiday season left a larger dent than I expected in my inventory. So many perfumes need to be blended and matured in their vats - both in alcohol and oil forms. It requires concentration (so I can count and measure in Hebrew - so long distance calls from Israel should remain unanswered so I don't loose count), and getting started on any writing project will only distract me and put me in a disadvantage. Especially since time IS a factor: if those batches don't get blended now, it will only delay when they are ready.

The pace of the season is certainly different than market season, where there is no lab time at all (except for some "emergencies"). But it's busy nontheless - almost in a similar way to how summer was: preparing for the next big season (spring), and trying to keep up with orders, as well as beginning new projects for this year.

I have already met with my publicist after deciding what perfumes and/or new products will be released this year. My tea parties and many other special events for the year are already planned out. It's amazing how different this year is from the ones previous to that - after being in the business for 10 years I'm kind of able to predict the future a little better (in terms of anticipating what might happen each season; I'm no psychic!).

And it's also time for inventory count of raw materials, which will lead to ordering new supplies, AGAIN. This is always a big-deal to me both financially and, well - a little emotional too: it's always a toss between buying just what's necessary for the ongoing production (aka tried and true formulas that have been in demand for years) and exploring new raw materials, which will inevitably lead to creating new perfumes. Inventory count is a little scary, and I'm thinking the only way I will get it done this week (as per original plan) is by teaching my interns tomorrow about inventory and supply management. Talking about a teaching moment...

With the lab and client meetings taking the majority of my time this month (interns included! they are here to study and learn more than help), I've found very little time for writing so far. And also, since the nature of my lab work has been mostly production, and not necessarily creative, there is not much to write home about... At least not until a few things get cleared off my big full "to blend" box (I actually have a box like that, the equivalent of an inbox of a clerk in an office environment, only that it smells so much better than paper and ink...).

That is - with the exception of a couple of private-label/custom scents, which I'm DYING to tell you about; but will have to wait till they are ready and my clients are ready to bring to the limelight. I'm also gradually going to need to get back to a few perfumes that have been in the making (or are planned for release in 2012/2013!) that need fine tuning and perfecting, or are missing a name, or are waiting for the right material to complete them.

And another two mammoth projects that I'm going to begin this year - translating my business into the French language (website and labeling), and the cookbook that I've been planning to do. I think just came up with the best excuse for procrastination: I know that if I start either of these, I won't be able to get up and do anything else till the job is done. I'm very task oriented, and with things that take such a long time to produce and require a lot of sitting down and writing, it can be rather painful (physically). I'm going to keep in mind my fanbook, which was done in installments, and kept me constantly feeling inadequate because I still haven't finished writing this bloody thing (not to mention that most of the illustrations - about 98% of them - were original photography of raw materials by yours truly). Part of me knows that the only way to attack these two mammoths is to get started with something. ANYTHING, for that matter. Sort of like sewing a giant patchwork garment for each mammoth. It probably won't matter where I start (with the feet, perhaps?) as long as I start. And the mammoths probably will care very little if they are naked for the next couple of years, because these were some hairy elephants...

That is enough of talking to myself now. Back to the lab I go! But not before I go outside to get a breath of fresh, zero celsius air.

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Monday, January 17, 2011

Fashion 101: How Perfume Is Made

Today - instead of a post - visit to read an article based on an interview I gave to Alexandra Suhner Isenberg. Her Fashion 101 series follows in much detail what it really takes to create luxury products in the fashion world. And can be quite an eye opener to someone who is not normally privy to fashion-related production and design problems and details.

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Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Eco Fashion World

Visit Eco Fashion World to read their feature article and interview Ayala Moriel: Scents of Nature
by Magaly Fuentes.

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Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Snow & Incense

Snow, originally uploaded by homer250.

Greeting the cold air after Pilates class held a surprise for me - glittering snowflakes that kissed my face as I dashed home. Through an entire block of Bute, a thick scent emerged and kept changing, though remained true to the theme of smoldering incense.
Woodstove smoke -- hot candle wax -- incense -- burnt cedarwood -- overheated vintage perfume that was left too close to the central heating -- more incense smoke.
I live for moments of contrasts like this.And just to make things better, I crept out of bed in my nightgown and furry neck warmer to roll my first ball of fresh snow that piled up on my balcony.

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Cafleurebon lists their fragrant predictions for 2011 on this unusual date - 11/1/11

Saturday, January 08, 2011

Bad Girl Perfume Giveaway Winner

Congrats to Geordan - the winner of the "Bad Girl" Perfume Contest here and on Cafleurbon - I guess you will have to finally choose between Cabaret or Espionage ;-)

Thanks to those of you who participated and commented, sharing your perfume stories with us.

Friday, January 07, 2011

Vetiver Racinettes reviewed by From Top to Bottom

Visit From Top To Bottom perfume blog to read Michael's review of Vetiver Racinettes.

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Thursday, January 06, 2011

Long Pepper (Pipalli)

long pepper, originally uploaded by plainliving.

While browsing the many exotic spices at Capers I stumbled upon long pepper for the first time. Of course, when I came back to purchase it, there was non to be found. So I was thrilled (and relieved) when I discovered more of it at Southern Seas Trading Co (in Granville Island Public Market).

If you’ve never smelled long pepper, you’re probably puzzled why I was so excited to find it. Especially when I had absolutely no idea how it tastes like, not to mention how to put it into use.
Well, if you get a whiff of this strange, elongated catnip-flower-like rare spice, you will understand immediately:
It is musky, sweet and just so warm and cuddly it makes you want to sigh a long Ahhh.
Knowing that there is such a smell in the world is good enough to me. And being able to use it in cooking and baking is like delving into an unknown adventure.

Long pepper is indeed related to black pepper. And way back when Europe began its introduction into exotic spices from India, long pepper was prized more than most any other spice. That was until black pepper was discovered as well – it is not only much more affordable, but also easier to grind and work with. Long pepper is very hard and difficult to grind or grate. So far I have only been using it whole, and am yet to figure out the best way of grinding this beautiful and unusual spice, which really is just a miniature cluster of peppery seeds (if you’ve ever seen fresh peppercorns still in their cluster, you’ll know what I mean).

I’m still not sure how come it is not used as an essential oil in perfumery, and why it is just used for flavouring. Because so far, I find the flavour on its own quite underwhelming – it is so similar to pepper in how it feels in the mouth when one bites into it that it’s slightly disappointing even. So I’m only just beginning to experiment with long pepper and so far, using it whole is wonderful, in both savoury and sweet contexts. I added a couple of long peppers to a curried roasted pumpkin soup (along with black cardamom – my other new favourite). And I’ve also cooked a couple along with 3rd of a vanilla bean in a hot chocolate, much to my delight the musky aroma of the long peppers remained in the kitchen until the sad moment at the end of the day when I just figured it’s time to throw them out before it gets too weird…

But I’m most excited about using it for its scent along: throw a couple of long peppers into sachets and potpourri blends, or just on their own in drawers of stationary or even lingerie. I’m also going to try to tincture it and use it in my perfumes, tough I’m fully aware that using it this way may not be as effective as I’d like. But you can’t know till you try.

Other exciting uses for long pepper:




Desserts (but, of course!)

Mulled wine

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Interview for Fragrantica

Read my interview for Fragrantica - so beautifully illustrated by Elena Knezevic and with thought-provoking questions by their olfactory oracle, Hieronimuss.

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Phthalate Free Fragrances on Jillian Michaels' Website

Ayala Moriel Parfums are recommended by Paige Padgett, a green beauty expert, and Jillian Michaels' makeup artists. We are listed among her 6 phthalate-free fragrance companies.

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Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Bad Girl Perfumes on Cafleurebon + Giveaway

Monica Miller of Cafleurebon picked 6 perfumes from my collection to unleash your inner bad girl.
Which bad girl are you? What perfume do you wear when you want to connect with your dark side? And how do these perfume act your magic on you? Post a comment and enter to win a mini bottle of a naughty perfume of your choice.
Leave a comment on Cafleurebon too and increase your chances to win!

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Monday, January 03, 2011


Vanilla Beans, originally uploaded by Daniel Hurst Photography.

Vanillaville -noun - Metaphor for the ficticious place people that are married live, since where they live there is only 1 flavor, vanilla, which represents their spouse.

Soivohle' Vanillaville is a quirky vanilla that is everything but what the name implies.
It is what I was hoping that Jo Malone’s Vanille Anise would deliver, or what I imagined that Vanille Galante would be before I smelled it and learned it has very little to do with vanilla and more with Easter lily... Of course, coming from Liz Zorn, a true artist and an independent perfumer, it is cutting edge and surprising - and rather than smelling like vanilla caramels (turn to her Pink Praline to satisfy your sweet tooth). More than anything else, it reminds me of Ardbeg Uigeadail scotch, with its salty licorice and vanilla aroma.

Vanillaville does not begin with a love affair – but rather with a quarrel between dry woods and Sambuca (anise liquor) – not unlike chewing on a dry piece of licorice root. The initial sweetness does not seem to have anything to do with vanilla – but rather reminiscent of a Chinese five spice blend dominated by star anise and the hot/cold confusion of Szechuan peppercorns. Absolute vanilla is turned up on its head – revealing its dry woody aspects first, and its vanillin sweetness only later on, which eventually merges with an endless drone of raspberry ketone (which could be the natural isolate) or perhaps it’s from a particularly fruity oud essence – which lasts well beyond 12 hours and only at this point one might remember the humorous name and realizes that the quarreling couple we met in the prologue have made up and decided to live happily ever after.

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Frangipanni Gloves in Basenotes

Frangipanni Gloves perfume was added to Basenotes fragrance directory, so all Basenotes members among you who have tried can now add their insights and reviews for this perfume.

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Que'est-ce que c'est?

Tomorrow's post will be all about it!
In the meantime, post your guesses, and tell us how you think it can be used.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Sunday, January 02, 2011

Perfumes for Kwanzaa

Cafleurbon chose Schizm as one of their perfumes to celebrate Kwanzaa.

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