Sunday, August 26, 2012

What Summer?

Summer 2012 by Ayala Moriel
Summer 2012, a photo by Ayala Moriel on Flickr.

It's not summer unless you get slightly sunburned at least once without trying (not happeneing...); scraped by an underwater rock (check); and nearly get ran over by a boat (check and check!). While the last two happened, this summer was so ridiculous that the corn and cherries didn't ripen till about 3 weekends ago, there is a painful absence of red peppers, and the lineups for the tomatoes are nearly as long as that to the Madame Tussauds museum in London.

And since there was hardly any summer to speak of this year, reiterating the "best of summer 2012" seems to be a completely meaningless act. Yup, it's just about as bad as last year...!
And even going through my "summer themed" perfumes did not seem to work too well in coaxing the summer out of its shell; or making it stick around any longer. I think we got about 20 days of real summer at best; and this seems to be over already - before the school year has even began, there is that nippy morning chill in the air, and I've already had to wear socks and shoes one evening to keep my toes cozy.

I'll do my best though to do a little round up of whatever summer goodness I was able to snatch while it passed through here, barely touching the inhabitants of this town. Keep in mind that as always, this list is completely personal and has very little to do with new offerings on the market or any other hidden agenda.

While in past years I've been known for being as far as possible from being a scent monogamist of any sort - constantly rotating between scents, trying new things as they come along and as the mood strikes me, and being very eager to try new perfumes; In the past 3 years I've been in a long cycle of wearing mostly just my own creations. It's interesting how personal life changing events affect our emotional state and how that is reflected in anything from choice of colours to scents. In summer 2009, my mother has become very ill - it was a life threatening event at the point and I don't even want to go back to tell you what an awful experience it has been to all of us. But I will happily share the news that her recovery - though not fast - is complete; and she is happier than I've ever seen her before and was able to overcome what seemed impossible and regain and reclaim back her life and freedom. Amen to that! What an inspiring woman and full of surprises my mother is.

But this event have put me in an emotional roller-coaster which took a long gradual recovery from: Most of the commercial and synthetic-laden scents have been very unattractive to me, and I was definitely not going to wear anything that I was wearing at the time of the bad news... And it's only time and inspirational people and moments along the way that got me out of that rut. I still do prefer to wear my own perfumes, but at long last I'm curious again about other perfumes and don't feel as if they are taking up my lungs when I wear them.

The emotional stuff aside, I was also experiencing a sort of a burn-out from all the bombardment of new releases, which I more often than not - found to be quite disappointing. These are probably the two main reasons and explanation for why you could find very few new scent reviews on SmellyBlog in the last 3 years.

And as to why things are picking up again on SmellyBlog (at least on the perfume review front) is in many ways thanks to the inspiring encounter with all the fabulous perfumers and perfumistas at the Artisan Fragrance Salon. And most significantly - to reading Alyssa Harad's book launch and reading "Coming To My Senses" this summer, which revived and renewed my interest in vintage perfumes and perfume collecting in general; reminding me why I love perfume so much (not from the creator's point of view - thankfully non of that was lost in that traumatic summer!). I think her book is an amazing exploration of how scent relates to our lives and how it can connect people from different time zones, eras and cultural background; connect them on a very primal emotional level and at the same time there is no shortage of intellectual intrigue and cultural celebration while doing so.

So here comes my list of summery sensations and scent related beauties to enjoy and celebrate and remember this summer by (though more often than not, you will find me enveloped in one of my own scents - Orcas, New Orleans and Etrog being the most prominent this past spring and summer, and the new Treazon which is not due to come out till December but is already well stocked and bottled; but waiting for the new labels and packaging to be complete; for now you can order samples of it though):

Wildflower discovery:
Pearly everlasting.
Beautiful in and out - this flower has a soft, warm, spicy herbaceous scent, more deliacate than other helicrysums that I've smelled.
Pearly Everlasting

Favourite Summer Flowers:

Sweet peas and Angel's Trumpets. Both of which smell a lot like heliotropin and anisaldehyde.
And lots and lots of linden... It's not summer in Vancouver without a lot of it in the air!
Angel's Trumpet (Datura)

Note to obsess about:
I agree, not the first note that comes to mind when the word "summer" pops out; but it hasn't really been summer yet...

Best Beach Scent:
Narcotic Flower by 1000FLOWERS. Make it my favourite white floral of the summer as well!

Best Citrus Splash:
Eau d'Orange Verte is becoming a summer staple (when the weather cooperates) and I've been immensely enjoying Artemisia's Yuzu Citrus. And, of course - there was a lot of my new Etrog Oy de Cologne!

Summer Evening Scent:
Omniscent by Yosh

Soliflore Discovery:
Sweet William by Ineke. I didn't even know till now that sweet william is a type of carnation. Always something to be learned!

Spicy Surrpise:
Santal de Mysore - though I would have liked to smell a tad more sandalwood in it...

Favourite Scented Body Product:
Persephenie's Linden Blossom Dry Body & Hair Oil.
With it's subtle yet delicious notes of coconut and lime, Linden Blossom Dry Oil is a mouthwatering tropical treat. Spray all over the body for a non-greasy and non-clogging oil based moisturizer, or spray some on your finger tips to style and condition frizzy hair. It will keep it shiny yet not greasy and is perfect for dry or curly hair.

Surprise of the Summer (aka the 180 twist of faith):

. I think I actually like you better in the heat!
(Note to self: Seriously, Angel?!!)

Favourite Masculine Fragrance:
A*Men. Man, I love the coffee note in this scent!

Summer Read:
"Coming to my Senses" by Alyssa Harad.

Summer Cocktail:
Kir Royale and Midnight Violet

Midnight Violet Cocktail

Food Discovery:
Fresh tamarind pods, which taste delicious on their own; and using watermelon in a salad! Thanks to Alyssa Harad's tip (via Facebook), I've been making my own version with heirloom tomatoes, sweet onion, Macedonian feta cheese and lots of crisp fresh basil. All you need is a little drizzle of olive oil on top, and a few drops of balsamic vinegar.

Champagne Peach & Thyme

But, I think the most profound food discovery this summer is using surprising fruit and herb combinations. I've really enjoyed the fruit & herb scented kombucha that Lisa Camasi brought to the party at Laurie Stern's home (more about that later); and have really enjoyed white peaches with fresh thyme, for example.

Vintage Discovery:
l'Aimant by Coty. I'm shocked at how modern it smells (very much a skin-musk, from sometime in the 60's). Reviews of all of these 4 to come soon!

Vintage Coty Parfum de Toilette set

Reason why I'm ok it will be fall in a few minutes:
Forest Walk by Sonoma Scent Studio. Certainly something to look forward to!
And don't get me wrong: I LOVE fall. I just like it better when there is a little bit of summer beforehand. It certainly makes the crisp air and fallen leaves seem more magical if there is a teeny tiny heat wave at some point in July or August.
Anyway, I will be looking forward to forest walks in Stanley Park and collecting fallen leaves while enrobed in this veil of foresty, musty and ambery perfume. It's very realistic and beautifully done.
Forest Walk (Sonoma Scent Studio)

Event of the summer:
Artisan Fragrance Salon (in case it's not obvious already...).

Challenge for this summer:
New packaging design for Ayala Moriel Parfums. I'm happy to report that there is huge progress and if all goes well, come fall I will have a lot to show you!

Trio for Nicole Bridger

Achievement of the summer:
Trio of perfumes curated for Nicole Bridger is now at their flagship boutique on 4th!
Including Bon Zai, Moon Breath and Palas Atena. Hope you like the new labels as much as I do :-)

Focus this summer:
Teaching, teaching and more teaching!
And I hope there will be even more of that come fall. This coming year is dedicated to turn my teaching into a more widely distributed book. And since it can never hurt to ask for help: if you know anyone who is really in the know in the publishing world (e-Publishing included) I would love to hear from you!
California stats

In lieu of Monkey Monday's giveaway, leave a comment with your best of summer scents and sensations; and you will get entered to win a copy of my Foundation of Natural Perfumery Course Handbook*

*Please note, this will not include any correspondence consultations sessions, only the book itself. But I hope that it will be a great motivation for the lucky winner to study perfumery in more depth in the future!

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At August 27, 2012 11:43 AM, Blogger Le Marquis de 'Sage said...

summer here and summer there...

seriously, Angel?!

Ich bin kein Robot,

Chris "Supermarky" Maher

At August 27, 2012 11:49 AM, Blogger Ayala Moriel said...

I know... It's almost embarrassing! But I promise I worn it with utmost discretion :-)

At August 28, 2012 12:23 AM, Anonymous Jackie said...

Here it is almost spring and I am looking forward to the freshness of citrus, both in fragrances and cold drinks...although that Kir Royale looks spectacular!
I also like to cook...
Asian salads use combinations of fruits and various meat with lime juice dressings
Roll on summer!

At August 28, 2012 4:01 AM, Blogger Lisa Abdul-Quddus said...

It has been uncharacteristically hot here in Michigan this summer. I found myself constantly reaching for straight frankincense.

At August 28, 2012 4:06 AM, Blogger EarthlyReality said...

Summer in FL is hot hot hot well we mostly have summer here but I love it I am a tropical kinda gal. I have been loving a very soft tea like rosewood scent.

At August 28, 2012 6:05 AM, Anonymous tanya said...

Summer in London has been hit and lotta miss, with a few furiously hot days in August mixed with rain, cloud and humidity. I love a good sultry note and have been reaching for my Frangipani absolute, eating frangipani + pear tart; also Lime - burning the oil, dropping into a cool foot bath and chopping them fresh into a good Gin+Tonic; finally Vetiver - I love it, whatever the weather - reminds me of outdoor fires and the random BBQ's popping up as I wander round this Fab city ;-)

At August 28, 2012 6:54 AM, Anonymous Suzy Larsen said...

Summer for me has been packed with family adventure. My husband, myself and my little 2 and a half year old daughter decided to move from Vancouver Island to Lethbridge for the summer for the sole benefit of my daughter getting to know all her cousins better. Mission accomplished but the heat was draining and I found myself especially drawn to galbanum. It just felt cool to me. As far as food, well, if you asked my daughter what her fav food is she'd say, "Quinoa". So I have become very adept at using this very healthy grain. I especially like it in salads with cranberries, almonds and citrus. Thanks so much for the draw. I am crossing my fingers.
Suzy L

At August 28, 2012 7:37 AM, Anonymous Felicia S. said...

My best summer scent...very drawn to vetiver in the heat, it's cooling but the density also highlights how intense summers can be here in Montreal: extreme heat, humidity, etc. Lemonade with orange flower water is great too.

At August 28, 2012 12:02 PM, Anonymous Bridget Theodore said...

This summer I moved to a small town in northern California called San Juan Bautista. The weather here has been warm and cloudless in the day and cool and breezy every night. Roses are grown every where you look, and lemon trees are on almost every corner. As you can imagine, the smell is about as summer as you can get. I, on the other hand, have been wearing Lolita Lempicka nearly every day. I know it's not the most season appropriate scent, but I'm just obsessed. :)

At August 28, 2012 7:00 PM, Blogger woodgirl said...

In the Florida heat and humidity, I've been wearing a lot of 4711, Monsieur Balmain, Eau de Rochas, and, oddly enough, Caron Parfum Sacre. Thanks for the draw.

At August 29, 2012 12:39 AM, Blogger Maggie Emm said...

Here in the UK we have had a similarly wet and disappointing summer - and the rain is still pouring down. Roll on autumn!
I have been experimenting with a perfume based on a mixture of Jasmine sambac and Opopanax - a sweet and floral freshness with a hint of spice.
Thanks for the chance to win - I am still at the beginning stages of learning on my own, and would love the book.

At August 29, 2012 9:43 AM, Anonymous Julie in Sonoma said...

I've found myself reaching for Jo Malone's Nectarine Blossom and Honey!

At August 29, 2012 11:02 AM, Blogger Ayala Moriel said...

Jackie, you must be down under somewhere! How fun. Wishing you a wonderful spring & summer. I love papaya salad very much; and also mango kerabu (Malaysian marinated summery salad). And lime rules!

At August 29, 2012 11:03 AM, Blogger Ayala Moriel said...

Lisa, straight frankincense is hard-core! Were you wearing it alone, or adding it to baths, or...? There is a citrusy element to it that makes it very suitable for warm weather IMHO.

At August 29, 2012 11:04 AM, Blogger Ayala Moriel said...

EarthlyReality - I'm jealous of your tropical weather!
Rosewood is so pretty and can feel very crisp and clean :-)

At August 29, 2012 11:07 AM, Blogger Ayala Moriel said...

Tanya, I'm with you on frangipani - both the fresh flowers and the tarts! Major loves of mine :-)
And both lime and vetiver are very cooling and refreshing.

At August 29, 2012 11:09 AM, Blogger Ayala Moriel said...

Suzy, I'm embarassed to say I haven't even heard of Lethbridge till now! Sounds like fun - it's been a lousy summer in BC (at least around Vancouver... Perhaps the island is a bit better?). Galbanum's bitterness and sharp green character is perfect for warm weather. Reminds me to bring out my Jasmine Pho next time it's hot (next year?).

At August 29, 2012 11:10 AM, Blogger Ayala Moriel said...

Felicia - my dad is in Montreal and was complaining about the heat and humidity... I'm strangely jealous (and I do not like heat, actually...).
I'll have to steal your lemonade with orange flower idea!
And vetiver is a classic for cooling off - even in Ayurvedic medicine that's how it's used.

At August 29, 2012 11:12 AM, Blogger Ayala Moriel said...

Bridget - you are lucky - California simply seems to have perfect weather year-around... I absolutely love Northern California!!!
The roses and lemon tree together sound like a perfume on its own :-)
Enjoy your Lolita Lempicka obsession!

At August 29, 2012 11:14 AM, Blogger Ayala Moriel said...

Woodgirl - you lucky Florida gal! Nothing beats citrus cologne type to cut through heat and humidity. Maybe only vetiver? You got some fine choices. And I can somehow relate to the Parfum Sacre - though for me it's a snow weather perfume. I think sometimes the spice and heavier note have an opposite effect (cooling rather than warming) in extreme heat. Opium is spectacular in warm weather too.

At August 29, 2012 11:16 AM, Blogger Ayala Moriel said...

Maggie Emm - you should try 1000Flowers' Narcotic Flower - it got both jasmine and opoponax. Wonderful combination. Good luck with your studies! Hopefully you could make it here to my Vancouver studio some day to study perfumery with me :-) The "Floriental Week" is in May 13-17, 2013 (more info here and it's still "early bird" registration):

At August 29, 2012 11:19 AM, Blogger Michael said...

Aside from dry dusty scent from the drought conditions and the massive fire that blanketed the city with smoke for weeks and took some homes with it, the other smell that dominated my summer here in Colorado is the balsamic cinnamon and vanilla scent the the Ponderosa Pines give off when hiking in the woods around the city. That was definitely the best of the smells of summer here.

At August 29, 2012 11:20 AM, Blogger Ayala Moriel said...

Julie in Sonoma - Please send hugs to your county for me. It's one of my favourite places on earth...
Nectarines are such a wonderful fruit! I haven't had much luck with this particular Jo Malone offering; but I like a few others from that line (Vintage Gardenia, Black Vetiver Cafe, Orange Blossom and Sweet Lime & Cedar). Trying Vanilla Anise right now, as a matter of fact...

At August 29, 2012 11:25 AM, Blogger Ayala Moriel said...

So sorry to hear about the fires - that's a very familiar scent to me from Israel. Lots of bush fires and it's a bit too much in the heat :-(
The ponderosa pine scent sounds amazing! Can you send me some? ;-)

At August 29, 2012 12:28 PM, Blogger Tlell said...

Summer scents for me this year have been mostly punctuated by time spent with hands in the dirt brushing up against the green, earthy scents of mushroom mulch, a blooming caraway plant, prickly rosemary bushes and tomato leaves full of robust, leafy tomato smell. All beautiful summer scents that are deep and linger long after washing the dirt away :)

At August 29, 2012 1:43 PM, Blogger Scentual Mixtress said...

I love a scent that my friend and I made together called Naughty Librarian. It's a blend of white amber, leather, dirt, and cedar. I can't get enough of it. It's light yet dirty and makes my mouth water!

At August 29, 2012 11:30 PM, Blogger Ayala Moriel said...

Tlell - sounds like a lot of gardening fun! Never smelled fresh live caraway. Intrigued!

At August 29, 2012 11:32 PM, Blogger Ayala Moriel said...

KLEAN Gal - what a fun perfume! Bring on the leather bound books and ink-laden index cards ;-)

At August 31, 2012 3:46 AM, Anonymous Bellatrix said...

I wore various perfumes just to see how they will interact with sea :)
or with all smells from nature while I am riding bike. :)
In the end, I decided to use various perfume oils from indie pefumers which was cool...

At August 31, 2012 3:29 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have three favorite summertime perfumes. The first, Guerlain's SOUS LE VENT, evokes a paradisiacal zone. Its hint of cinnamon lends its chypre accord an added spicy and voluptuous dimension, notably in its vintage versions. The second one, Mecheri's IRIS POURPRE, has a cool and yet luscious tenacity and provides respite from the overreach of heat waves. Thirdly, SUMMERLOVE, by Rebel & Mercury, is suffused with grassy vanilla notes that recall my childhood in California--the days of dry warmth amid flowering fields and woods near the mountains. These three fragrances, dreamy, shaded, and sunsplashed in turn, offer an exquisite balance of summer scents.

At August 31, 2012 7:05 PM, Blogger melou said...

Hey Ayala, I would love to be entered into the draw. Palas Atena, Immortelle l'Amour and Fetish have been getting a lot of wear. I've almost drained a sample of SL Tubereuse Criminelle. Love tuberose, will definitely be sampling Treazon! I found a bottle of vintage L'aimant at my local antique store that looks similar to yours. Top notes are damaged I think, but the dry down is very soft and pretty. Weather around here has been uncharacteristically wet and hot. I keep mulling over the floriental week............


At September 01, 2012 8:45 AM, Blogger Ayala Moriel said...

Bellatrix -
Sounds like you are enjoying your summer vacation!
Which oils were you wearing then?

At September 01, 2012 8:48 AM, Blogger Ayala Moriel said...

I adore Sous le Vent - though to me it's more of a cooler weather scent (not that it was particularly warm here...): I find it very warm and rounded.
Am yet to try Iris Pourpre (great name!); nor Summerlove - but I am always intrigued by everything that Nikki Sherritt concocts so won't be surprised it I love it too!

At September 01, 2012 8:51 AM, Blogger Ayala Moriel said...

melou/Melissa -
I'm so happy to hear you're enjoying your Palas Atena, Immortelle l'Amour, Fetish perfumes you disocvered in your studio visit here! Was so fun to have you - and I really hope you could attend the Floriental week (May 13-17, 2013).
I've been wearing a fair amount of Tubereuse Criminelle - received a sample from ScentBar when I was there in June. I adore the bold, medicinal, over-the-top-tuberose opening; but found it to be too similar to Fleur d'Oranger in the drydown, so I don't think I would be purchasing a bottle after all... Will send you a sample of Treazon to try too!


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