Tuesday, August 30, 2011

White Tea Tasting

White Tea Tasting by Ayala Moriel
White Tea Tasting, a photo by Ayala Moriel on Flickr.

These days I'm mostly preoccupied with perfecting my tea blends, which I'm going to re-launch this fall, in new packaging, labels and formulae. Tea tasting is such a sensual experience, where sight, sound, touch, taste and smell. From the murmur of the tea leaves as they're measured into the cup and listening to the water boil and bubble; to the appearance of the leaves in their dry form, followed by their straining and their changed texture once they are wet and have given away some of their aromatic flavourful properties to the water... And last but not least comes the whiff of the hot steam from the tea leaves, teapot and cup, that merge with the taste and perceived texture into a unique flavour...

All of the senses work in harmony in the tranquil experience of tea tasting. The simple rituals of tea reconnect us to nature and the elements. And tasting a tea that I've blended myself is even more special, as I learn to refine my palate and explore new ways of putting my nosy nose to use...

Generally speaking, there is a hint of bitterness in tea, but it concludes with a sweet after taste. Which I find strange, because sweet taste is perceived by taste buds that are located on top of the front of the tongue, while bitterness is perceived in the very back of the tongue (as a precaution for poisons, many of which are poisonous, so as to make us gag or reject them if necessary).

White tea is the most delicate of all tea leaves. It is produced from the tea buds and the youngest leaves, and undergoes very little oxidation or fermentation, after the leaves are allowed to wither in natural sunlight. It is called white tea because of the fine white or silvery hairs that cover them like a peach fuzz; and the pale, nearly completely clear liquor they produce. But do not let the paleness fool you! There is a lot of flavour and aroma in white tea, albeit a subtle one. It evokes a pristine feeling, and is one of the most precious teas that not easy to prepare or store as it can lose its flavour very fast.

Silver needle tea (Bai Hao Yinzhen) is the finest white tea, made from the buds alone. It is brewed for longer time than most teas (up to 5 minutes) and some of the white hairs will float in the water and add a shimmery appearance to their surface as they reflect the light, contributing to the sense of purity and tranquility of the visual experience. I can't help but think of peach and apricot when sipping this tea, even though it does not quite taste like either - it's more about the texture of the liquor in the mouth, I guess.

White peony (Bai Mudan) is another type of white tea, which has a bud and two young leaves attached to it. It is more peppery in taste, and supposedly floral and reminiscent of peony flower.

I've been enjoying immensely the white tea blend that I'm still refining - and will be releasing along with my Zangvil perfume in November. This is going to be a very special perfumed white tea, with organic crystallized ginger and a few other delicious elements. What's really incredible about it though, is that it can be re-steeped for so many times - I've steeped it for 5 times and still feel there is more to it so will brew another pot of the same tea blend this afternoon.

If you stop by at the studio these days, you are sure to be put to use as a test bunny and be offered a sip of my recent tea concoctions. White tea is so delicate and special, I'm really looking forward to this winter release, when I can share it with you in a big tea party!

Mark your calendar, as the date is already set for 20.11.2011 (November 20th, 2011). It's going to be a white tea party and it's going to be so special... That I'm almost looking forward to the withdrawal of sun and decreased temperatures.

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Saturday, August 27, 2011

Blending, Mixing & Composing

Love is Colorful by Ben Heine
Love is Colorful, a photo by Ben Heine on Flickr.
There is nothing I like less than calling what I do "blending". It's not what it is. And I'll tell you why!

Blending to me is putting a few elements together... It says very little about the end result, except that it is comprised of more than one element. And I can't help but think of blending in makeup, not to mention that noisy machine one utilizes for making smoothies and such...

Mixing makes me think of mixing colours together – fingerpaints or paints or an artist’s palette, or mixing a cocktail, which is now named as if it is a new science – mixology.

Composing perfume is a whole other story. It’s more akin to music than it is to any other art forms. Although, one could argue that it has a lot in common with the culinary arts, where blending is a very appropriate verb (as in blending wines, teas, spices, coffee or chocolate beans, etc., which undoubtedly takes much skill and knowledge of each raw material that is “blended”). Because, like music, the art of perfumery takes place in time. And like music, a few elements can exist next to each other without losing themselves to one another:

"If you mix blue and yellow together, you lose the individual colors and make a new one; tones, on the other hand, may be combined without losing their individuality. What you end up with is a chord, something new, which has its own sound but in which the individual tones are also distinct and identifiable. It's not a blending or, as one might expect when one hears a number of people talking at once, just noise, but something of a different order (…) For colors to stay separate without blending, they have to occupy space next to one another. They can't occupy the same space. But notes can occupy the same space and remain separate".
- Diane Ackerman, A Natural History of the Senses, p. 219-220

And this is what to me makes perfumery such a compelling art form – it encompasses so much emotion, and so many elements, and they sometimes sing in unison, but other times trail off to whisper their own melodies. They don’t lose themselves in whatever relationship they are. They just live together in harmony in their little glass house.

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Roses et Chocolat Tea Blending

My Roses et Chocolat tea blending adventures continue with another pot of tea - or a gaiwan, actually... This time with different proportion of the same elements. It's going to take a lot of fine tuning to get the flavour balanced and full bodied yet have that spicy pizzazz of the Roses et Chocolat perfume.

I'm learning how tea blending is so similar to perfume composition - it's all about proportions and balance. I want the surprising elements (i.e.: the spices) to be present, but not jump at you. I think it's getting there... But might need an additional tea leaf to go with the rose congou.

Looking forward to another pot of tea tomorrow morning!

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Friday, August 26, 2011

Reworking Roses et Chocolat Tea

Roses et Chocolat tea by Ayala Moriel
Roses et Chocolat tea, a photo by Ayala Moriel on Flickr.

This morning, I brewed a trial version of my new Roses et Chocolat tea. The formula is going to be completely changed around, and have more of the perfume's spicy personality. So I'll be using piquiant spices such as pink peppercorns and mace blades in the blend.
Although the ingredients are few and simple in this tea, it will be a long journey before I learn how to reach the balance between the elements. How the tea smells in the dry state is only a small part of the experience. It must taste just right when brewed, and have the correct balance between roses, chocolate, spices and tannins.
I'm off to brewing another version this afternoon, as I really want to see it coming closer to where I want it to be.

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Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Back to Tea

Tea tasting by nikosan.artwork
Tea tasting, a photo by nikosan.artwork on Flickr.

The end of this summer is dedicated to re-designing my tea collection, as well as adding a new tea for fall. I'm super excited about this new endeavor. My first collection of teas was designed in collaboration with Dawna Ehman, from whom I learned a lot about tea and she pretty much got me "hooked" on tea with her passion... A very good drug to be addicted to, if I may add! Teas have caffeine, but in so much lower quantities than coffee, so they are not nearly as addictive... In addition to caffeine, they are full of antioxidants and have an uplifting effect without the side-effects of caffeine withdrawal. Besides, the world of tea is so rich and beautiful with their subtle aroma and culture. Tea rituals exist around the world and are so simple and versatile. All you really need is some tea leaves (or herbs, if you rather), hot water and some vessels - not necessary fancy - and setting aside just a little bit of time on your own or shared with others - and there is your tea ceremony. Tea brings calm, serenity, energy, and has healing and rejuvenating properties.

So, these next couple of weeks will be dedicated to some tea tastings of a variety of teas I'm sampling, and experimenting with new recipes for my existing teas - namely Roses et Chocolat, Immortelle l'Amour (Charisma was a tea blend that I always served to studio guests, and I have already finalized the recipe for it). I'm also going to redo my packaging for the teas, as I'd like to have a larger tin again (instead of the current 1oz size). The tins I'm planning on using will be better on the functional level as far as sealing and maintaining freshness. But of course there has to be some sampling and testing to do first... And of course the labels will change as well.

Last but not least - there is a completely new tea that will come out this fall along with the new perfume I'll be launching on 20.11.2011. I've been experimenting with the recipe for quite some time, and am uber pleased with the initial results... So it's now a matter of fine tuning the formula, sourcing the leaves and all the finer details that follow a concept so it will become a reality.


Monday, August 22, 2011

Yearning, Waves & Agony

Dangerous Beach by Ayala Moriel
Dangerous Beach, a photo by Ayala Moriel on Flickr.

I'm reading Diane Ackerman's Natural History of the Senses - a thought provoking book, that is also sensually inspiring. It's amazing how our world relays first and foremost on our senses, how our senses limit our perception and contain our experiences within a certain range of decibels, light frequencies, odour perceptions and and also free us.

Strangely enough, the chapter I was most inspired by is actually the one on the sense of touch. There is so much emotion and expression tied to this sense, that when we are deeply affected by something (or somebody), we say "we are touched" by it... Although this sense is considered a "lower" or "animalic" sense in the hierarchy the Aristotle created (he viewed hearing and vision as higher, more refined or intelligent senses as they don't require direct contact with the object they are sensing - something that of course we could argue otherwise, with what we now know about light waves, particles, etc. - it's not as if nothing touches the eyes to stimulate vision!) - there is so much power to it and it is so commonly overlooked in our everyday life... And now that I've just completed the chapter about hearing, I'm yet again awed by the power of sound and the nearly magical effect of music on our psyche.

"...no end to the yearning, longing, rapture, and misery of love: world, power, fame, honor, chivalry, loyalty, and friendship, scattered like an insubstantial dream; one thing alone left living: longing, longing unquenchable, desire forever renewing itself, craving and languishing; one sole redemption: death, surcease of being, the sleep that knows no waking!” - Richard Wagner, of his Tristan und Isolde prelude ...

When nothing seems to soothe my soul, and I feel that I can't breathe, let alone inhale a perfume; on days when even the most beautiful music feels like it pinches my heart and hammers on my brain from the inside - disturbing whatever bit of peace I may have left, instead of providing an outlet for powerful emotions -- on days like this, I turn to the ocean, and am thankful for its proximity and healing power.

As I lay on the beach, I become aware of my skin being caressed by the wind, my toes dipped in the gritty warm sand and occasionally tickled by sand fleas. The waves reach for the shore, as if quietly licking my wounds... Their repetitive whispers quiet my mind, full of heart-clenching melodies charged with too much emotion... Each waves does not return to the ocean empty handed – it brings back a handful of tears, which might be why the ocean is so salty… And I begin to swim, every inch of my body embraced by heavy, cold water that shares my burden and lightens my load of sorrows by dispersing them evenly among the myriads of H2O molecules… And sodium chloride… and fish and algae - whose smell I begin to detect because finally I can breath.. And with each breast stroke, the world seems bigger and more full of wonders. And even a sudden death at sea (by a boat or a musk rat – ahum, disappointingly this was the only wild creature I swam next to this year…) does not seem all that bad if I will become a wave and take someone’s sorrow away. Wagner and his fellow Romanticists were so wrong… Death is not redemption in the sense of eternal rest and end of suffering (too bad for Ophelia, Isolde, Romeo & Juliet who lost their lives over love just because they couldn’t wait long enough to get over a breakup before taking up their own lives)… It is merely the beginning of another life form(s) and energy redistributed in the universe.

The waves remind me that everything is temporary. Can you even tell where a wave begins and where it ends? And when does the next wave begin? The waves are energy, flowing within the fabric of the universe, constantly changing, and carried in many different forms and patterns. And just when things seem to go only downhill, another peak arrives… And just when we think that the pain is unbearable and we can’t take it anymore – its peak is over and it withdraws and disappears without leaving a mark. The most beautiful things in the world don't last forever, but so does pain and suffering. It's all part of something bigger - life, the universe - we are a small part of it, and whatever we experience has its place in the greater scheme of things, even though we cannot always understand the whys and the hows. We just have to be.

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Friday, August 19, 2011

What Is Natural?!

There is an ongoing and lively (at times even heated) debate in the fragrance industry as well as among consumers about what is considered “natural” and what is considered “synthetic”. The terminology that is used by scientists, manufacturers and within the perfumery and flavouring trade is significantly different than the consumers' perception of terms such as "organic", "synthetic", "natural"... Throw in a term such as "organic synthesis" and the average person would get completely confused - most consumers think of "organic" as something that was grown without pesticides, non-GMO, etc. Organic chemistry, on the other hand, is a sub-discipline of chemistry that studies carbon-based and hydrocarbon based compounds. Many of which are formed in a process called synthesis - which when utilized by people will produce what we'd call "synthetics". But synthesizing is a process that occurs in nature - it is part of the metabolism of both plants and animals, and this is how all the useful medicinal compounds and essential oils are produced in plants.

Despite my clear and stated preference for using naturals in the products I create and sell (as well as products I purchase from other companies to use personally), I highly encourage you, my dear SmellyBlog readers (as I encourage all my customers and especially my perfumery students) to examine the true meaning of the terms natural and synthetic. Rather than portray a black and white picture, where materials can clearly be classified as either “natural” or “synthetic”, I would like to suggest an approach that helps to understand how materials are obtained, extracted and processed, and place them on a continuum that illustrates their relationship to the original raw materials based on two categories:
1) How much human intervention was required to obtain the material/building block?
2) What is the olfactory and chemical relationship between the raw, crude material and the end result?
- Based on these two factors alone, one can better understand and appreciate the qualities of different materials, This way, manufacturers and consumers are better able to make informed and educated decisions about the products they produce or procure.

The rawest state of an aromatic material is the crude state – such as the entire plant, or part of the plant – as in the case of balsams. The most processed is aromachemicals or other chemicals, including alcohol. Even organic grape or grain alcohols are, in fact, synthetic since they are achieved by the process of synthesis. Between those two extremes are varying degrees of human intervention to obtain aromatic building blocks, such as steam distillation, enfleurage, tinctures, macerations, solvent extractions, CO2 extractions (aka molecular distillation) isolates, etc. The table below is extracted from my Foundation of Natural Perfumery Course Handbook (2009 - 2nd Edition). It explains this concept with examples of actual raw materials: how they were obtained, their relationship to the source, etc. As you can see, it's not easy to come up with an exact "spot" for some of the materials in this continuum. Tinctures, for example, are raw plant matter that is immersed in alcohol, which is a material that is obtained by the process of synthesis (albeit from completely natural raw materials such as corn, grapes, etc.).

Not all aromachemicals were created equal either. Some are naturally ocurring (i.e.: eugenol, which is present in cloves, menthol in peppermint, geraniol in rose and in geranium, and ambroxan in ambergris and so on). These are "nature identical" molecules that were synthesized from a completely unrelated raw material such as petroleum. Other synthetic molecules are completely man-made and do not occur in nature - they were invented by chemists in the lab either when they were trying to create interesting molecules on purpose, or stumbled upon them by pure chance. Calone, for example, was discovered by the pharmaceutical company Pfizer in 1966. It does not exist in nature, although it is reminiscent of some pheromones created by brown algae, and smells somewhat like watermelon. Galaxolide, a synthetic musk used to death in most of laundry detergents and drier sheets, does not occur in nature (and neither does it break down - it's one of those polycyclic musks that is not biodegradable, which is precisely what makes it so attractive for scenting detergents - the scent endures many washes; unfortunately, the downside of this is that it also stays in the environment's water cycles, not to mention on our skin and in our own bodies for generations to come - the effects of which are still largely unknown).

Some synthetics are produced from waste that would be otherwise just thrown into landfills (such as lignin, a by-product of the paper industry, that is particularly useful for manufacturing vanilla). While some pure, beautiful naturals caused the destruction of entire forests (East Indian sandalwood, for instance). Lignin comes from trees - so would you say that synthetic vanilla is natural - or synthetic? And how about petroleum - isn't fossil fuel part of nature too? There are so many factors - environmental, political, ethical and health issues - that should affect the choice of certain materials over others.

One last interesting and important point for this debate - especially now that an increasing number of natural perfumers are choosing to use natural isolates in their perfumes - the question of what's natural and what's not is becoming more complex. It's easy to see the naturlaness and the relationship between the end result (the isolate) and its original plant when we're talking about ambrettolide isolated from ambrette seeds, galbanol from galbanum (some companies will actually label their isolates with the Latin name of the plant from which the molecule was isolated - which to me indicates that you can really know that it was not synthesized in the process). Isolates in these cases are really just a more refined forms of distillations or extractions - where the chosen components are removed from the plant's oil.

Other so-called isolates or "natural molecules" are manufactured in a different manner altogether. Ionone, for example, is a naturally occurring molecule in violets, osmanthus and other precious florals. It is not financially feasible to extract ionone as an isolate directly from violets. As far as I know, most certified-natural ionone molecules (either alpha or beta) are, in fact, synthesized from natural citral - a compound that is present in abundance in far more affordable natural raw materials such as lemongrass, citronella or litsea cubeba oils. If it's synthesized, would you say then, that it's natural, or synthetic? Or perhaps, it's a natural synthetic?!

Another confusing gray area is biosynthesis when it's used to create certain aromachemicals - at times the fact that natural enzymes were used for synthesis to create a certain molecule allows for labeling them as naturals, and the raw material from which this "natural" was synthesized remains unknown.

I'm going to leave you with these thoughts, and let you decide for yourselves what you want to call natural, if it is at all of any importance to you. From my point of view, both as a manufacturer and a consumer, transparency is the most important aspect as far as ethics go and affects fairness in advertisement and labeling. At the end of the day, everyone decides what they want to put on their skin and flush down their drains. And hopefully with the right information, we'll make smart enough choices to leave a clean, healthy and happy planet behind us for the next generations of humans, plants and animals.

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Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Perfume Making Bridal Stagette


"Who is this coming up from the desert like a column of smoke, perfumed with myrrh and incense made from all the spices of the merchant?"
(Song of Solomon, 3:6)

This Saturday, Natalie will be walking down the isle wafting a sexy-gourmand perfume that she concocted herself with her cousins and close friends at my studio. Although she will not be smelling like myrrh and incense, spices were definitely among her choices.

The perfume making bridal stagette was a total surprise for Natalie, organized for her by close family and friends as the first part of a day that embraced all the 5 senses. The ladies gathered at noon at Ayala Moriel Parfums studio, nibbled on snacks, fruit, homemade lemonade and local white wine, while exploring the interesting connection between perfume and personalities, and learning about how perfume is constructed - from top, heart and base notes.

They then began exploring the different notes from a carefully curated organ of about 100 natural botanical essences. Each lady picked one top, one heart and one middle note and began playing with scent-strips to see how they might smell if blended together, and to this focal point of three favourite note, each one added more notes until they were all happy with their personal perfume.

Bridal Stagette Perfume Making Party
Interestingly, even though there were 5 ladies attending, only 3 perfumes were created:
Joanna's perfume was a fresh, vivacious melange of basil, jasmine and citrus.
Laura's perfume was with mimosa, sambac jasmine, cacao and rosemary absolute.
Natalie, Heather and Amy all loved the gourmand notes, and decided to concoct their perfume together and a team! And so they will be sharing Natalie's very special wedding-day perfume!
And what would that smell like, you may ask? Sweet cinnamon bark and nutmeg absolute, over a base of cacao and tonka bean - deliciously reminiscent of custard and seductive desserts. This is going to be a very sweet start for this young couple!

Bridal Stagette Perfume Making Party

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Sunday, August 14, 2011

Eyeliner On A Cat Reviews Viola Perfume

"This is just the beginning of my relationship with Ayala's perfumes, the first of which struck me dumb, rendering me wordless and very emotional. Now that I've recovered my voice, I definitely plan to use it".
- Carrie Meredith of Eyeliner on a Cat blog reviews Viola - my violet soliflore.

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Saturday, August 13, 2011

Perfumer's Organ

Perfumer's Organ by Ayala Moriel
Perfumer's Organ, a photo by Ayala Moriel on Flickr.

As I mentioned earlier in the week, this was one busy week! I had new students here doing a crash course in perfumery lab orientation - learning all the basic skills required for perfumery lab work, including using the scale, calculating ratios, learning how to work with sticky, solid, resinous materials and how to weight and measure them accurately.
As is always my teaching style, I cover both theory and practice, so while working on diluting different types of essences, and weighing a given formula, the students learned the proper practices of how to document and label everything properly. And last but not least - how to write a formula that could be understood industry-wide by other professionals.

We also covered theoretical aspects such as methods of extractions of essences (absolutes, essential oils, extracts, etc.) and tackled the very tricky question of what is the definition of "natural". There will be more about that in a different post. For now, let me just brag about my new perfumer's organ, which will be permanently displayed in the studio's "showroom" and be used by students in my workshops and courses from now on. There are still much more space to put more essences there, which is still a work in progress. But the students loved using it this week, and I've also used it in my Bridal Stagette Perfume Making Party today (will write more about that tomorrow!).

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Monday, August 08, 2011

Summer School: Busy days...

I'm busy teaching the Perfumery Lab 101 summer course until Wednesday night so expect no posts till then... For those of you interested in studying perfumery, there is more info about it here, and there is just one spot left in the fall course, dedicated to the Chypre fragrance family - which is designed as the first week-long course in my 8-part foundation of natural perfumery course.

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Friday, August 05, 2011

Ankhara Lucky Draw Winner

Thank you to everyone who shared their beautiful summer memories and favourite smells of summer!

Congratulations to commenter no. 5 -Michael Singles!
You won a mini of Ankhara perfume by Liz Zorn.
Please email me your snailmail addy so I can send your prize in the mail this afternoon!

We will have another giveaway next week...

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Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Apricot Almond Cake

Apricot Almond Cake by Ayala Moriel
Apricot Almond Cake, a photo by Ayala Moriel on Flickr.

Summer is here and the fruit is ripe - and gets overripe before there's time to completely enjoy it... So some has to become this cake, which is one of my favourite cakes ever... It's the second week in a row that I'm making it and we have no trouble finishing it up - and thankful whenever there is a guest over to help us out!

It's super simple to make, and the best part - it smells so beautiful when it bakes - nothing quite like pastries baking when they have loads of almonds, butter and vanilla in them!

10 Tbs. salted butter, room temperature
2/3 Cup sugar
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract or 1 tsp. vanilla paste
¼ tsp. pure almond extract
3 eggs
1 cup unbleached white flour
1 cup almond meal (100gr)
2 tsp. double acting baking powder, or 1 package German Backpulver
1/4 cup sour milk (you may also use buttermilk, but sour milk is better in my opinion)
About a dozen fresh apricots – or enough of them to cover the cake’s surface


•Use an 11 inch springform pan, lined with parchment paper.
•Cream the butter with the sugar, vanilla and almond extracts.
•Beat in eggs, one at a time.
•Sift the flour with the baking powder Beat into the egg mixture. Add the buttermilk and mix well.
•Spread the batter into the baking pan.
•Place the apricots on top, cut side down.
•Bake at 350°F for 30-40 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the middle comes out pretty clean (as long as you don’t insert it through the fruit!)
•Wonderful served warm, but keeps well for a 2-3 days (if it lasts!). If you refrigerate, bring to room temperature before serving.

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Monday, August 01, 2011

Project VL - Part 2


Well Sometimes I Go Out, By Myself, And I Look Across The Water.

And I Think Of All The Things, What You're Doing, And In My Head I Paint A Picture.
(Amy Winehouse, "Valerie")

Project VL got me thinking about love that is not literally, but metaphorically blind. Love that lacks most of the seductive senses - smell, touch, taste and even hearing... Passion that exists in one's mind and its extensions (cellphones, laptops...) and hardly at all has any holdings in reality.

Yes, it's a totally bizarre yet intriguing project. Initially, I was perplexed by the fact that romantic relationships becoming so impersonal. I didn’t even want to do it, and I was even more ambivalent about sharing the process and this very personal story of a client on the blog (despite the fact that I not only had her permission, but was practically begged by her to share the story).

At the same time, I was intrigued by how much people need a sense of closeness, and will seek it at whatever price. And the more I thought about it, and the more I spoke to people my age going through similar experiences hoping to find love or something like it via optimized search engines – the more I realized how relevant the topic is.

Thinking about this project also brought up a lot of interesting thoughts about the role of our senses in interpersonal communication - and the sense of smell is definitely more powerful than most people give it credit... We know it subconsciously, but we are not fully aware of it until it is absent!

Project VL is all about the imagination and sensory compensation. When someone dear is far away, we compensate for their presence with photographs, locks of hair, love letters, and anything sensory that will elicit the feeling of closeness and intimacy with the absent person.

As I was filtering CocoaNymph’s trial batch of the upcoming signature perfume for her brand (hint: it has chocolate, but also many other secret ingredients that I’m not at the liberty to disclose just as yet!), it got me thinking about scented love letters… And so I ended up sealing the scent-soaked filters with some of my Valentine cards.

Letter writing is a dying art. In this day and age, where even emails seem old-fashioned and time consuming, love letters are becoming far and few. In Dr. Zhivago, most of the “love story” is, in fact, virtual – Yuri and Lara see each other in real life far less than they correspond with letters (which were delivered far slower in those days – by post carriages led by horses…). Today’s snail mail is far faster, but still, has the same effect – while it does not deliver the message in real time, it delivers intimate details such as the person’s mood and emotions via their handwriting and choice of stationary, not to mention other tactile qualities of the paper itself, and perhaps things that are added to it – little gifts, and scent – either by default (any personal artifacts take the on the scent of their home or surrounding); or on purpose (when the lovers take the effort to scent their paper).

All those things are painfully lacking in digital, virtual love affairs of modern day, which makes the task of creating the imagined smell of this lady’s lover all the more difficult and challenging… She had very little more information about the person than I did! Can you imagine a person’s smell as you would their face, physical appearance, voice and personality? Where to begin?!

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