Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Immortal Mine and Halloween Thoughts

My thoughts this Halloween are with the Eastern Seaboard where so many of my customers and fellow perfumers live. After all the excitement for the 3-night Clarimonde masquarade at MiN New York, it is a dramatic contrast to have such turmoil only a few days later. I can only hope that all the people there are safe and warm and from what I gather there is a lot of community effort and people helping each other manage through this very devastating storm.

Life is so tumultuous, and as much as sometimes we'd just want to rest - it is that movement, even at times of violent chaos, that distinguishes it from death. At least in it's romantic perception... While life is ever changing and unstable, death is that one sure thing, the resolution and rest to all. Immortal and glorious, eternal slumber. Silence.

Immortal Mine was created by House of Cherry Bomb - the baby of two New York based perfumers and artists: Maria McElroy (Aroma M) and Alexis Karl (Scent by Alexis). It takes the Goth theme to the extreme with a very rich, oil-based parfum that's bordering on being too much of a good thing. It is reminiscent of hot wax of red candles extinguished by pinch of two fingers and their slightly burnt skin and suffocated wick; dirty oud and sweet, nearly cloying immortelle melded with amber and molten chocolate. It is quite resinous, thick and sweet, yet there is some smoke and vetiver, burning myrrh and frankincense to penetrate through one's consciousness and create a reaction - regardless if this is your taste or not. There is also a tinge of indolic jasmine, and musk for good measure that diffuses and softens it a bit. It ends on a note of agarwood and decaying honey. Still peculiarly cloying, resembling the decomposing corpses, not far off what I would imagine the Corpse Bride would sprinkle on her wrapping sheet in her half-dead wedding.

The authors describe it well:
"Immortal Mine is the soil from an unmarked grave. One single drop of blood from a slayed Wyvern, the sweet elixir of dying jasmine and fading neroli. Amber found in ancient tombs of civilizations lost. Longing. Essence of smoke from the funeral pyre. A cut of material from Bela Lugosi’s cape, the dust from a bat’s wing. Wood resins gathered from the Forest of The Dead, Myrrh scraped from the cliffs of The Dark Realm. Precious ouds unearthed from burning desert sands. Wax dripping from black, white and pink candles, ashes of a Phoenix, words from a dead poets mouth. Rare herbs found in a cathedral’s forgotten garden. Desire".

Immortal Mine can be found on Indiescents and Suendhaft, where it is bottled in a beautiful filigreed mouthblown Bohemian glass bottle.  This week, I'm giving away my "copy" of the roll-on, given to me by the perfumers themselves. And I'm sending back prayers for minimal damage from the storm and returning back to normal life as soon as possible on the East Coast!

All you have to do is leave a comment telling us what your Halloween perfume was, and why you picked it (if such explanation exists). We will do a random lucky draw on Friday.

Immortal Mine by Ayala Moriel
Immortal Mine, a photo by Ayala Moriel on Flickr.

Labels: , , , , , , ,

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Up to 40% Off Thru October 31st

 Ayala Moriel Parfums is offering 40% off on select merchandize to make room for our new branding and packaging:

EDP Travel Size Roll-On 40% off
Parfum Oil Roll-On 10ml 40% off
Parfum Oil Travel Size Roll On 5ml 30% off 
Purse Parfum 5ml Liquid Poetry Collection 35% off

Eaux de Parfum:
Eau de Parfum Splash/Spray 15ml 30% off
Eau de Parfum Mini 4ml 30% off

This sale is good thru October 31st at midnight, or while quantities last.

Labels: , , , ,

Monday, October 29, 2012

Afternoon Tea With A Vampire

The Real Goths by Ayala Moriel
The Real Goths, a photo by Ayala Moriel on Flickr.
Pics are out on Flickr, though they are the poorest quality because I took them with my real digital camera, rather than with my iPhone (quite the paradox). Anyway, everyone had a good time, and enjoyed the Dreaming Parallel perfume (only 3 bottles left!) I created inspired by Clarimonde. There were some great costumes (though not nearly enough time to snap photos of all of them - it was a full house and I had my hands full even with the very helpful assistant I had!).

I'm still recuperating from all the preparations and hard work of last week; so this post will be very sweet and short. And I promise I will return tomorrow or Wednesday with a spooky Halloween perfumes post; recipe for Red Velvet Whoopie Pies using real beets instead of food colouring; and a wicked giveaway for this week. Stay tuned!

Labels: , , , , , ,

Must Read: Sonoma Scent Studio in San Francisco Chronicle

The San Francisco Chronicle is perhaps the first public appearance of Laurie Erickson - the kindered spirit and talented perfumer behind Sonoma Scent Studio. It provides a glimpse into her life and workspace in Healdsburg, California with gorgeous photos from her garden and cottage which is nestles between oak forest and vineyards, and a lovely portrait of Laurie herself.
She talks about her meticulous work and shares the scent experiences that led her to some of her most memorable perfumes: Forest Walk, Tabac Aurea, Jour Ensoleillé and her love for rockrose!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Red Flag

Possibly the best perfume spoof commercial of all times - Chanel's Red Flag on SNL.

Friday, October 26, 2012

The Answers!

Stroll over to Alyssa Harad's blog to read the reveal of the 10 perfumes I picked that were hidden in the book. To be fair, I must admit that didn't even know the correct answers to some of them. To be perfectly transparent with you folks I will even share my "answers": I was right about 7/10 of them - But my amusing mistakes were to identify no.1 as Diorella,  no. 8 was Eau d'Hadrian; and I was quite convinced that no. 10 is Narcisse Noir! Oh, and that honeyed, golden perfume that first captured Alyssa's heart and "made her knees buckle" - I thought that would have been Obsession (it sounded just too well behaved to be Miel de Bois)... I was very far from the truth, and yet am happy to know that I don't know all the perfumes in the world, and am excited to try this one now that I've experienced it through Alyssa's lenses so to speak.
Oh and that is also why I had to ask Alyssa to help me and reveal the true answers!

Before I reveal the winners for this week's giveaway - let me know what the prizes are:
One book to each winner of Coming To My Senses
Decant of Songes EDP from my own collection of course
In the spirit of sharing and generousity that is part of the perfumista culture (which meeting Alyssa reminded me all about - I've been a little out of the swapping loop in the past couple of years). Can there be anything more exciting than finding new smells arriving in the mail? Anything more heartwarming than finding surprise gifts and RAOKs from fellow perfumistas from around the world?

I hope that when you receive your package you will be pleasantly surprised: I'll be sending you samples of vintage Chamade parfum, and some other niche perfumes that are not all that easy to find, and I hope you will enjoy.

And by now you're probably dying to know if you won!
The winners are:

Please email me with your snailmail addy so I can ship your prizes next week!

Labels: , , ,

Weekly Giveaway - Reminder to Enter!

We got an AWESOME giveaway this week: 2 copies of Alyssa Harad's excellent book Coming to My Senses plus perfumes that are discreetly mentioned in that book (which I will have to keep secret until the winners are announce, to not spoil the answers! We're talking gorgeous niche and vintage stuff - some quite rare too!
Comment with your answers by 1pm to be considered for this very generous giveaway.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Clarimonde Masquerade

As Halloween approaches, Clarimonde is prepares for her 3 nights long masquerade and perfume exhibit at MiN New York. Curated by Lucy Raubertas of Indieperfumes, the Clarimonde Project began last summer, culminating in a series of Clarimonde inspired perfumes, Pinterest.

Participating creatures:
Mandy Aftel - Oud Luban
Dawn Spencer Hurwitz - Paradise Lost
Aroma M and Alexis Karl - Immortal Mine
Monica Miller - perfumed lip stains
Deana Sidney - perfumed chocolate port
Ayala Moriel - dream pillow + Dreaming Parallel perfume

If you haven't read the story yet - you can listen to the audio recording of the story read by Joy Chan.
Also, for those in Vancouver - Ayala Moriel will be presenting Dreaming Parallel perfume at the Afternoon Tea with A Vampire October 28th (2-5pm). 

Labels: , , , , , , , , ,

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

O5 Rare Tea Bar

O5 Rare Tea Bar by Ayala Moriel
O5 Rare Tea Bar, a photo by Ayala Moriel on Flickr.
Last Friday, I was finally able to pay a visit to my friend Pedro's brand new tea bar - O5 Rare Tea Bar, which opened in September while I was too busy traveling. Pedro sources rare teas directly from family farms in Korea, China, Japan and Tibet. You may have met him or enjoyed his tea from his former company Dao Tea, or have met him at one of my tea parties, where he did tea tastings and also contributed with his own beautiful teas.

O5 Rare Tea Bar

O5 is like a cross between a tasting room, a tea salon and a tea shop. It’s a space where people may share a moment of sincere admiration for the ancient art of tea. Or, if they are short for time – pick up a bag or two of intriguing teas to brew at home.

O5 Rare Tea Bar
On the street, a barrel laden with steaming tea samples lures bypassers in. As you enter, you’ll notice the left wall, lined with shelves bearing the collection of directly sourced and carefully curated teas are laid out for you to explore on your own. But the heart of the space is the long bar lined to your right, with a hosting tea master that invite visitors to sit down on a bar stool while they watch the tea being prepared. Scattered around you’ll notice wooden boxes shaped like beehives, filled with heaps of freshly sourced tea.

O5 Rare Tea Bar

O5 carry the same high quality teas that I remember from Dao Teas – such as Korean balyhocha oolongs, Sejak green tea (also from Korea), and the ever so memorable wild chrysanthemum tea - plus a few more to surprise and delight.

The tea bar is quite the experience - being a beautiful space, serene yet not intimidating; warm, inviting and at the same time uncluttered. To top it off - Pedro and the staff are knowledgeable and friendly (rather than pompous – which is not uncommon among tea connoisseurs, I’m sorry to say), and will brew the teas to perfection right in front of you while telling the story and explaining the quality of each tea – how it was grown, harvested and prepared, and what are the best ways to make it and things it might remind them of as they watch your facial expressions sipping a strange tea for the first time.

Tapas at O5

On Friday nights, you might be able to join a tea-cocktail event and stay till the wee hours of the night. And you can also enjoy tapas or sweets, all made on the spot: goat brit with homemade blackberry & japaneo jam; Candied Jamaica in its own tart syrup; Darjeeling tea caramels; or ones flavoured with matcha that is manually ground on location with granite stones.

Golden Curls

The tapas menu changes, and so do the suggestions for tea tasting and “flights”. It was a no brainer for me picking the Autumn Flight of three teas: Golden Curls from Yunnan province in China that come from ancient tea bushes (more like trees by now); Balhyocha MLH which is mild and smooth with notes of sweet dried persimmon (if you haven't tried that, you should pay a visit to Ayoub's); and 1991 Oolong which is 21 years old and is the tea equivalent of whiskey and will knock your socks off!

Tea caramels
Truly, each tea deserves a SmellyBlog story of their own. I will only say that I spent two hours sipping several steepings of each and nibbling on tidbits of elegant goodies on the side, which makes it quite the experience. We started with the golden curls, which albeit being technically a black tea, come from yellow coloured leaves. They were very mild and smooth,  reminiscent of roasted butternut squash. The 21 year old oolong was so spectacular and awe-inspiring that I would have to dedicate an entire post to it; and the balyhocha was the finishing notes because of its calming effect as well as it being credited for aiding digestion. After the rebellious oolong though, I was so overwhelmed that nothing could quite impress me. Well, unless you count the caramels and the candied hibiscus blossoms!

Bowl of Yunnan Golden Curls

The golden curls were so perfect for Autumn that I had to take home a bagful for my upcoming Halloween themed tea party this Sunday. I also bought some Ghorka estate black tea (from Nepal) which has astounding delicacy and even with my love for milk in black tea I felt no need to do so. And of course - Jamaica (hibiscus blossoms) from Mexico, and the very last bag of Japanese sencha (not on the website). I decided to leave the 21 year oolong behind so I can have more excuses to visit O5 and have it brewed properly in the right pots. I was pleasnatly surprised to find out that the tea tastings and treats were all half the price when you purchase over $25 in loose leaf tea. I sure hope this will bring O5 plenty of business, as what they are doing is so unique, and this will basically educate the new generation of tea lovers who are younger and ready to appreciate tea - but perhaps are not quite ready to turn off their smartphone and not talk for two hours of a tea ceremony in Chinatown.

Labels: , , , , , , , , ,

Autumn 2012 Newsletter

My Autumn Aromas & Fall Flavours newsletter is out. You can read it here - and if you're not my mailing list yet - please sign up to get more info on my special events, new perfumes and the occasional deals that are only offered to Ayala Moriel Parfums' customers and mailing list subscribers.

Labels: , , ,

Monday, October 22, 2012

Coronation Grapes + Blue Cheese Muffins

Coronation Grapes + Blue Cheese Muffins

1/3 cup evaporated cane sugar
2 cups spelt flour *2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
50gr (about 1/4 cup) blue cheese, crumbled (i.e.: Rockfort, Danish blue cheese, Blue Claire by Little Qualicum Cheeseworks)
1/4 cup grape seed (or other vegetable) oil
1 cup buttermilk

2 eggs
72 Coronation grapes or so, removed from the stems (about 1/2 cup). 

- Preheat the oven to 400F.
- Sift together dry ingredients.
- Add crumbled cheese and stir together. 
- Beat the eggs lightly. 
- Measure oil and buttermilk and add to the eggs.
- Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients, and stir just until well blended (over stirring will dense the consistency and add too many air pockets!)
- Butter a 12-hole muffin pan, and spoon the batter into the pan, dividing the batter evenly.
- Press about 6 grapes onto the top of each dollop of batter.
- Bake for 20 minutes. Serve warm with butter or slices of cheddar cheese or wine-marbled cheese (i.e.: Tipsy Jill by Little Qualicum Cheeseworks).

Note: You may also mix the grape into the batter; however, this might result in some fruit sticking to the bottom of the pan. And the muffins won't look quite as pretty!

* Whole wheat or white flour will do too. I personally like spelt for many sweet breads, cakes and muffins as it gives off a nutty and melt-in-your-mouth moist texture to these baked goods. Besides, it's a healthy alternative to wheat for those who tend to be a bit sensitive to it (and I'm meeting more and more people who do, as a result of wheat in North America being genetically engineered or else with an unusually high level of gluten). 

Coronation Grapes + Blue Cheese Muffins

Labels: , , , , ,

Coming To My Senses - Double Giveaway

"The thick wine scent of honey, viscous at the back of the throat, lit from within by the flowers it came from and the golden sunlight of late summer" (p.13).

Alyssa Harad's book Coming to My Senses is a wonderful journey of self-discovery through the world of scent, and perfume in particular. Alyssa has a poetic, genuine way with words and that is how she describes perfume - striking a chord yet without ever exhausting the readers like most of us bloggers tend to do. And to my delight - the book is dotted with evocative perfume descriptions that rarely disclose the names of the perfumes she's referring to. This serves two purposes -  not being too commercial (i.e.: promoting any particular brands), and also keeping some mystery going, which makes the book ever more accessible. Non-perfumistas will be able to relate to the descriptions from real life and their own experiences rather than get drowned in technical and commercial details. While perfumistas reading this will be having a blast trying to guess which perfumes are being discussed. 

So let's do just that: I will post 10 descriptions from Alyssa's book, and you can try to guess as many as you can - a task that is quite possible if you're a perfume buff. Naturally, some of them will be easier to guess if you've already read the book (in which case I've added a hint). Lastrly, you can search Alyssa Harad's blog for additional hints (not to mention it's an excellent read!) as she's revealing some of them for the benefit of us who can't stand the suspense any longer.

The person who guessed the most correctly, will win one of 2 books that Alyssa Harad has kindly gave SmellyBlog!

1) "The high, singing scent of lemons fading to the spring green of honeysuckle growing along a creek, and a bit of the muddy banks, too". (p.12)

2) "The scent of night-blooming jasmine, heady and heavy with fruit and a touch of ashtray - the lovers were smoking before they disappeared into the brush". (p.12)

3) "The smell of the air just after a summer thunderstorm - an astonishing scent of trampled grass, broken branches, bruised flowers, and electricity". (p.119)

4) "It was, precisely, the scent of lilacs in passing, a rain-freshened breeze carrying the scent from somewhere down the block, a scent of mercurial spring, made all the more lovey by the cold gray day". (p. 125).

5) "And finally, a grapefruit softened with vanilla and patchouli that left clean and bright behind for something dirtier and more interesting". (p. 142)

6) "...a fantasy in black leather, asphalt, rubber, and smoky vanilla".  (p. 142)

7) "The scent rose up all around me in a soft cloud. The sweetness expanded, lush and narcotic. I stood quietly in the middle of it, breathing. Then it roughened with a dusky bitterness that brought me back to myself just enough to open my eyes and begin walking". (p. 164); "Maybe I would leave the flowers in my hair. And I would still have my perfume - that beautiful dream of white flowers, that touch of honey". (p. 204). Hint: It's from Annick Goutal.

8) "This one takes you on a walk by the sea through a cypress forest, and then suddenly you stumble on a grove of lemon trees and just one fig tree, covered in rip figs. It's the perfect thing in hot, humid weather. Just one spritz and you can feel that salty breeze coming in off the ocean".(p.195)

9) "This one smells exactly like a creamsicle when you first put it on, but if you wait two minutes it turns into a rich, sophisticated amber. It's like you  put on a bright orange corduroy jumper and then it suddenly morphs into a little black velvet dress with pearls". (p. 195)

10) "I revisited a smoky incense-and-lilies that I have always wanted to like more than I really do". (p. 222). Hint: it's from l'Artisan Parfumeur.  

So - let's make some guesses! The winner will also receive extra samples/decants of perfumes relevant to the book (which I am not at liberty to disclose until the answers are revealed this Friday).

Labels: , , , , , ,

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Winner Announcement

Congratulations to Olive and Oud, the winner of last week's Monkey Monday giveaway!
You will receive samples of 3 solid perfumes by Sweet Anthem.
Please contact me via email ayala (at) to confirm your mailing address.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Neo Classics - Any Candidates?

Inspired by a recent discussion on Now Smell This, I would like to not only voice my opinions and musings, but also hear what you feel about  Frédéric Malle's notion that "Since Thierry Mugler’s Angel, created in 1992, the market has not generated one classic" and "They don’t concentrate on the fragrance at all. They concentrate on the story, they concentrate on getting a star, or an image or a launch or an event. It’s an idea they sell. It’s the easiest way to sell a fragrance which will please everybody, because everybody likes Céline Dion, for instance — or many people do. They create the sale by selling something cheap in a small bottle. None of these fragrances are designed to last."

Interesting observation. While Angel is an iconic scent, I don't think (and don't want to think) that classics have stopped there. It's hard to find spectacularly innovative mainstream perfumes. Somehow with Dune and Angel inventing the linear structure - it seems that innovation came to a halt and perfumes kinda stayed going in that direction. But there are some iconic scents that happened since then - Tocade (1994 - same linear story), Le Mâle (1995), Bvlgari Black (1998), and if judging by popularity alone - also Coco Mademoiselle (2001), Narciso Rodriguez for Her (2003) and Lovely (2005). The latter is probably the only celebrity fragrance that I would consider a candidate for an "iconic fragrance" - though it does not exactly offer something all that different from NR. though for those three, I think only time will tell: Remember how Cabotine (1990) was worn by EVERYONE and everybody back in the early 90's? (unless they were wearing AnaisAnais - which is is from 1978...) - I doubt that anyone would consider them classics by now. They sure are distinctive scents, but I don't think they come even remotely close in terms of popularity (customer approval) or their aesthetics/design significance (industry expert appreciation).

Kingdom and M7 were rather iconic too, and may have influenced greatly what happened later in the niche world - but since neither were a commercial success and already discontinued - we probably can't really consider them as classics. A classic would and should survive the test of time like Shalimar, No. 5, Mitsouko and the other masterpieces have.

To say that innovation ended with Angel is like saying that perfumery is a dead art. I think nothing could be further away from the truth! All you need to do is visit one of the smaller perfume shows of niche brands and the smaller artisan brands (such as those who participated in the Artisan Fragrance Salon that debuted this summer on the West Coast) to find a living proof that perfumery as an art form is alive and kicking: Vibrant innovation and out-of-the-box creativity is still possible. New technologies make possible more true-to-nature raw materials. Perfumers are exploring new dynamics or "structures" possible within the olfactory art form.

Last but not least: contrary to Mr. Malle's statement, story telling in perfume does not by any means contradict creativity or artistry! Rather, it is an integral part of the art of perfumery, and should remain this way. While the perfumes in his line might not have the traditional marketing schemes - but to say that they do not tell a story is an insult to the perfumers' art and the hard work they put in doing exactly this: telling a story by putting together volatile molecules that meld together sharing the same space and chase and replace one another in succession in a dance that begins in the bottle and ends on the skin. 

Labels: , , ,

With orange blossoms as compass...

The Green Prophet wrote a new piece about Ayala Moriel Parfums, showcasing my Middle Eastern inspirations and aspirations. Beautifully written by Karin Kloosterman.

Labels: , , ,

Thursday, October 18, 2012

The Jewish and the Carrot

 The Scent of Sukkot - In A Bottle is an article and interview in the Jewish Forward Daily food & culture column "The Jewish and the Carrot". Thank you to Renee Ghert-Zand for bringing Etrog and my fragrant chocolate bars to the spotlight!

Labels: , ,

Wednesday, October 17, 2012


Fennel  by Marcia Milner-Brage
Fennel , a photo by Marcia Milner-Brage on Flickr.
Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare) grows wild in the Mediteranean region. The wild fennel is called "bitter fennel" and cultivated fennel, also known as "sweet fennel" originated in the island of Malta, and discovered by crusaders who brought it to Europe about 1000 years ago. Growing up in the Galilee in Israel, we would find wild fennel in the winter and chew on them for their sweet aroma, or bring them home to our mother who added the feathery leaves to lentil stews and soups, or fresh into the salad just like you would with dill or parsley. Fennel seeds are common as breath-fresheners in India. The seeds also find their way into countless curries and garam masala recipes, as well as chai blends, where their sweetness balances the astringency of Indian black tea.

Fennel culinary uses far outnumber it's applications in perfumery. Its sweet, warm, fresh licorice-like aroma finds many uses in flavouring preparations from liquros and aperitifs, to syrups, cough drops and lozenges, as well as to season pickles and marinade fish and seafood. The last use, as well as its medicinal applications, has a scientific reasons behind it: the main chemical compound in fennel seed, anethole, is a powerful masking agent! You can find fennel seeds in Moroccan savoury pretzels and semoline cookies and desserts alike - not to mention Italian biscotti and how well it goes with orange zest. Fennel is more versatile that might seem at first to the untrained cook.

The fresh bulbs have many wonderful recipes in the Mediterranean region and you will find it in the Italian and Moroccan cuisines, where it's praised and prepared with reverence and consumed with much delight. The crisp bulbs are especially favoured, used fresh in salads, or roasted, grilled or caramelized for appetizers and antipasti.

Green Fresh Fennel Seeds

In contrast to this versatility - fennel rarely takes the centre stage in perfumery. Synthetic anethole is widely used to mask unpleasant odours in various industrial products, and that's about where its role ends. Synthetic anethole is preferred, because it is much cheaper to produce than to distill it from seeds of anise, fennel or star anise fruit. However, synthetic anethole also contains a toxic chemical called cis-anethole (which is not present in the natural oils of the above plants). You'd be hard-pressed to find any perfume of significance containing fennel as a note commercially. Fennel is a top note, so no matter how much someone might like it, it won't take centre stage for too long, even if it was allowed to. And then there is the other question - is there really any difference between fennel and other licorice-smelling notes?

Fennel by kevin dooley
Fennel, a photo by kevin dooley on Flickr.
The answer is, there is - though quite subtle. While aniseed has a very sweet-warm personality, and star anise an even cleaner, almost woody version of licorice - fennel has a bit of a fizzy green feel to it. You'd have to look at it with a magnifying glass (olfactorily speaking, of course) to find this out - but eventually you will be able to discriminate them in a blind test. In fact, it was one of the times I noticed that perhaps my nose is can differentiate such fine differences: I was in an aromatherapy store with a friend, and he spontaneously decided to blind-test me. I've ID'd it as fennel right away.

And why all this fennel talk, you might be wondering? It is seasonal - the bulbs are at the farmers' market, to my delight; and a surprise of green fennel seeds in Sunset Beach (which I used in a salad recipe with Asian pears). But my perfumery point of view on this actually comes from a surprising angle - my experiments with osmanthus absolute, furthering my acquaintance with this rare absolute brought me fennel seed again. I remembered fondly the Chartreuse Eau de Vie tisane and just had to try blending osmanthus with chamomile and fennel. Incidentally, I've also come across since with the liquor that inspired it (pricey, but worth it). It's so complex and delicious, reminiscent of honeyed herbal tea more than an alcoholic beverage. I'm not much of a drinker so it might take me a while to come up with a cocktail including that; but I will sure share it with you once I nail down something outsanding. For now I was just diluting it with San Pellegrino with much delight.

And just like the untrained cook - the beginner perfumer will only think of fennel as a whimsical, edible note to work alongside other licorice like notes (aniseed, star anise, tarragon) and other candy-like notes (sweet orange, vanilla, cacao) to produce a licorice candy effect. But it would take more imagination and adventurous experimentation to unearth fennel's beautiful life alongside Moroccan roses, apricot-like magnolias, fruity-apply chamomile, and spectacular, precious osmanthus. And I've only just scratched the surface of the surprising effects such combinations can create.

Labels: , , , ,

Asian Pear & Fennel Salad

Asian Pear & Fennel Salad by Ayala Moriel
Asian Pear & Fennel Salad, a photo by Ayala Moriel on Flickr.
Fall fruits are flavourful, fragrant and full of interesting textures. Such are Asian pears (Pyrus serotina) - they absorb the summer sun and turn it into a crisp, crunchy texture full of intriguing subtle flavours reminiscent of pineapple and ripe quince rosiness - yet without that very hard core or need of cooking. Its aroma is subtle yet floral and robust. This must be because of the unique esters in it - which if you get a tree-ripened fruit, will really shine through. The supermarket variety just don't cut it (though they still got the crunchy texture).

I particularly enjoy using Asian pears in savoury salads, as their texture is firm and they hold their shape through the tossing, turning or even marinating that I like to put my sturdy vegetables through. They are also not nearly as sweet as other pears, and are just a little more neutral and readily get along with other flavours.

Asian pears are particularly fantastic with crunchy, fresh fennel bulbs. I slice them as thinly as possible, add some shaved carrots (creative use for your vegetable peeler!) and toss them with pine nuts, goji berries and some pomegranate seeds if I happen to have some. And the best part is that this salad will taste amazing the next day, once the fennel seeds have soaked up some moisture and release more of their licorice-like sweetness. For this particular salad I used fresh, still green fennel seeds, so no marinating was necessary. If you are lucky to have some growing in your garden - or out in the wild - this is a marvelous way to use fresh spice.
I also was lucky to have a jar of marinated sweet & spicy butternut squash around and add it the first time around. I will post a recipe for marinated butternut squash another time!

1 bulb fresh fennel laved or quartered and then thinly sliced
1 ripe and firm Asian pear, cored, halved and thinly sliced
1 carrot, shaved with a vegetable peeler
1-2 Tbs raw pine nuts
2 Tbs dried goji berries
2 Tbs fresh pomegranate seeds (optional)
2 Tbs extra virgin olive oil (I prefer the Lebanese, Israeli or Greek oils; the majority of Italian olive oils that are imported to North America are dull and inferior)
Juice from half a lemon (about 1 Tbs)
1/2 tsp dried fennel seeds

Prepare all fruit and vegetables and toss in a salad bowl with the dressing. Garnish with pine nuts, goji berries and pomegranate seeds (if available). Serve immediately, or the next day (it will taste wonderful each time!).

Labels: , , , , , , , ,

Interview on ISRAEL21c

Visit ISRAEL21c to read an - Israeli perfumer smells like success - an article about my work and my Israeli and Middle Eastern influences. ISRAEL21c is an online news magazine offering the single most diverse and reliable source of news and information about 21st century Israel to be found anywhere.

Labels: , , , , ,

Monday, October 15, 2012

Kale & Pomegranate

Kale is a relatively newly discovered vegetable for me, and although tough and fibrous to chew on sometimes, it provides nice texture when processed right.

My favourite way of preparing it is actually the easiest, and has become a staple in my fall and winter menues, often replacing fresh leaf salads: rinsing a bunch off with water, cutting them into 2-3 smaller parts, and adding to warm olive oil in a wide sauce pan. Cover immediately with the lid as it will splash hot oil around. Open occasionally to flip some of the leaves around. The bottom will become nice and crispy!
The kale in the picture is Italian kale, and it's actually not my favourite. it's a little softer to eat though, but does not turn quite as crispy as the silvery, curly kale that is more commonly found.
Once the kale is thoroughly steamed (and parts of it will become crispy and just close to burnt) - transfer to a serving bowl, drizzle with balsamic vinegar and garnish with dark red pomegranate seeds which should be in season just around now - October through November (the darker variety is sweet & sour; while the paler ones are sweet and not as flavourful). The pomegranate and balsamic vinegar give a very nice contrast to the earthy kale.
Another favourite garnish is sliced almonds - or you can add both!

What are your favourite kale recipes?

Labels: , , , , , ,

Monkey Monday: Smoke without Fire

oh, smoking monkey! by Bread Mouth
oh, smoking monkey!, a photo by Bread Mouth on Flickr.
Is there really is no smoke without fire?
Last week, I discovered yet another hidden use of fragrance when the fire department came for their regular smoke-alarm tests in my building to activate the dreadful digital monsters with a blast of musk-infested spray. It was perhaps subtle, but nevertheless smelled very similar to a cross between Kiehl’s Original Musk and The Body Shop’s ever so popular White Musk. Thanksfully they were gone in a giffy, just a few moments after the screaming monster was appeased and shut-off (I am convinced they were designed for deaf people who don’t ever cook – because every time I get any action in the kitchen they have to protest!).

While I agree that one should always look carefully into what are the ingredients in the products they use; I must admit that fine fragrances are misguidedly overly targeted and are the subject of far more attacks than they deserve. Even if you use a perfume that contains synthetics, the amount you use (unless you're over using it) is just a little dab on both wrists and maybe the neck too (or spritzes, if you use a spray application). You have control over how much of fragrance you expose yourself to with the fine fragrances (and these are parfums, eaux de toilette, eaux de parfums and eaux de cologne).

In my humble opinion, it is the functional fragrances that are to blame for our over-exposure to toxic aroma-chemicals. Most people don't know it, but almost any product you buy is scented - and this applies not only to body products or fine fragrances, but also to the following unlikely list:
Natural gas (it’s otherwise odorless, and is artificially scented so we can detect leaks)
Plastic products (any and all; including kids' and babies' toys)
Rubber (ditto)
Leather goods
House cleaning products
…and so on...

I wish perfumes were less attacked, because it is also an art form, and because of ridiculous regulations that were designed to make the fragrance companies stronger and richer (that is far more higher on the agenda list than the public safety, I'm sorry to say) - this art form is in danger of extinction now. These we have a lot less control over how much they affect us, because they are everywhere in products we are using.

And that is it for my opinionated Monkey Monday. I don’t anticipate a huge debate as most of the visitors to this blog are perfume lovers; but nevertheless – if you voice your opinion, or add more weird objects and unlikely scented products that surprisingly artificially scented - you will earn the right to be entered into my weekly giveaway. This time around it’s a sample package of solid perfumes by Sweet Anthem – which also has a shop in Seattle where you can buy perfumes made in the West Coast, including Ayala Moriel Parfums.

Labels: , , , , , , ,

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Warm Carrot

carrot seed by Hey! Sam !!
carrot seed, a photo by Hey! Sam !! on Flickr.
Cognoscenti’s No. 19 took me by surprise. The line is decidedly abstract, and insists on using very little if any floral notes at all. Add to this the angular, unisex packaging and numerals in lieu of titles and you’ll find what is usually the recipe for being ignored by my nose. Except that this line is different, and the stubborn shortage of frivolity reveals a true artistry and a mischievous, playful style.

Dannielle Sergent, the lady behind the scents, is an architect by training and profession, and studied under Yosh Han. Cognoscenti debuted in July at the 1st Artisan Fragrance Salon in San Francisco - a unique event, first of its kind that although small and quite underground, will be unforgettable as the launching pads of several indie niche brands on the West Coast and where artists who otherwise work rather reclusively in front of an intimidating organ came together as a community to voice their similarities and differences let their voices be heard as one.

But I digress. I wanted to tell you about Dannielle’s work, which I found astounding. Do not let the architectural, cut-glass look of the line fool you to think that these scents will be cold, emotionless or un-sexy. What is behind these crystal walls is a jus so mercurial and expressive that by the time you found your words to describe its scent - its very essence has already changed and become another.

No. 19 is accompanied by a tagline that reads “warm carrot” – which I can relate to much more easily than a random number (and do not expect it to resemble Chanel’s perfume bearing the same number either). If anything, on first impression it will remind you of another Chanel’s classic which I love even more: Bois des Iles. Cognoscenti’s composition, however, revolves entirely around a much misunderstood, underused and under-praised note of carrot seed essential oil. Although, mind you, it is known for its wonders in skin care, containing carotene and vitamin A – both helpful for anti-aging and anti-oxidants. When I first smelled carrot seed I thought very little of it as a perfumery ingredient. And I kinda left it there, neglected in its little corner on my palette.

Wild carrot seed (Daucus carota) shines in No. 19 and brings forth qualities that I have never thought belonged to carrot: mysterious, sexy, soft. It is warm, woody, musky and a little powdery and skin like.

In the beginning you will smell also hints of ylang ylang’s creaminess, lavender’s softness and the rich almost cloying woody sweetness of sandalwood (and as mentioned earlier - together reminding me of Bois des Iles). Other notes – vanilla, musk, amber, clary sage - weave in and out yet the carrot remains true with its beige elegance and creamy soft attitude of caroty intrigue, until the final dry down: vetiver and lavender, smelling curiously musky in the best of ways.

The energetic yet gentle dance of the notes reinforces the strange characteristics of Cognoscenit: the weaving in and out of notes, the return of the same forgotten notes moments later, and an over all dance that might seem chaotic at first but quickly reveals a pattern and a rhythm, perhaps even a hidden reason. The unexpected has happened – a new perfume structure was invented. Dynamic movement spiraling out of an invisible centre. It reflects the beauty of change and speaks of the intrigue of randomness. Abandon the well-traveled path and you will discover an abundance of wisdom and beauty.

Notes: Carrot seed, ylang ylang, lavender, vetiver, labdanum, amber, benzoin, vanilla

Labels: , , , , , , , ,

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Clarimonde Masquarade & Exhibit at MiN New York

Carnevale di Venezia 2009 by pyongbricole
Carnevale di Venezia 2009, a photo by pyongbricole on Flickr.
As Halloween approaches, Clarimonde is prepares for her 3 nights long masquerade and perfume exhibit at MiN New York. Curated by Lucy Raubertas of Indieperfumes, the Clarimonde Project began last summer, culminating in a series of Clarimonde inspired perfumes, Pinterest.

Participating creatures:
Mandy Aftel - Oud Luban
Dawn Spencer Hurwitz - Paradise Lost
Aroma M and Alexis Karl - Immortal Mine
Monica Miller - perfumed lip stains
Deana Sidney - chocolate port
Ayala Moriel - dream pillow + Dreaming Parallel perfume

If you haven't read the story yet - you can listen to the audio recording of the story read by Joy Chan.
Also, for those in Vancouver - Ayala Moriel will be presenting Dreaming Parallel perfume at the Afternoon Tea with A Vampire October 28th (2-5pm).

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Breathtakingly Beautiful & Very Wearble

"The opening blast of wintergreen will knock your socks off (...) Treazon, which is a natural perfume, softens into a silky, dusky, not-buttery tuberose accented with vanilla and spices. It has an almost wine-y undercurrent".

Visit Now Smell This to read the rest of Robin's review of Treazon - which is described for the 2nd time as "breathtakingly beautiful" (the first one to say it is Gaia aka The Non-Blonde) and "very wearable". I'm also particularly honoured that this review comes next to the wonderful Forest Walk by my friend & colleague Laurie Erickson, and the 7 Virtues Afghan Orange Blossom (which I'm yet to smell).

Labels: , , , , , , ,

Drunken Tuberose

"The composition isn’t your usual floral fare – Treazon has an odd mix of infatuation with opulent Tuberose and a nonchalant glamour of something a bit retro".

Visit Beauty Huile to read Nav's review of Treazon, my upcoming killer tuberose. FYI: You can already orders samples online. Everything is already in stock for those of you who pre-ordered - and once we approach the launch date we will also have parfum oil in travel size roll-on (5ml).

Labels: , , , , , , ,

Pathouly Indonesiano

Arjuna by timekin
Arjuna, a photo by timekin on Flickr.
Pathouly Indonesiano by Farmacia SS. Annunziata dal 1561

There were a few other patchoulis I wanted to try and close the patchouli series with – namely – Hindu Grass (Nasomato), Reminiscence, Purple Patcholi (Tom Ford), and the Hermessences Patchouli that one day Jean-Claude Elena will come up with (he will, right?). But, alas, I was not able to find a tester or a sample of them in my vicinity.

I stumbled upon Patchouli Indonesiano at Scent Bar, who discovered them in one of their trips to Firenze. It’s by an old Italian pharmacy brand that I’ve never heard of before, and that produces. They have a rather lengthy name: Farmacia SS. Annunziata dal 1561. And yes, the name alludes to its rather archaic historic origin sometime in the 16th century in a Benedictine monastery, which developed into their modern incarnation as cosmetics providers - their preparations range from face and body moisturizing lotions and toners to shaving to sunscreen products. And of course, true to form - they produce the much more sophisticated incarnation of aqua mirabillis: They have a couple of other predictable single notes themes that are not surprising (Ambra Nera, Vaniglia del Madagascar) but most of the names are actually far more exotic and imaginative. And if all are as well made as this Patchouly – then the is truly worth exploring!

Patchouly Indonesiano is a real, hard-core patchouli, that brings to mind upturned soil yet with a captivatingnutty opulence that make stand out. There is a certain sweetness to it – from benzoin, perhaps, and later in the scene you might notice a mere hint of sandalwood... But overall, all you’d smell is patchouli with much depth, redolent of dark red wine with spicy undertones. A must for patchouli lovers and haters alike – you might be surprised. Patchouli at its best is glorious, and the best comes from Indonesia.

Labels: , , , , ,

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Narcisse Noir

black narcissus 8-366 by sedgwic
black narcissus 8-366, a photo by sedgwic on Flickr.
Narcisse Noir is a smoldering femme fatale. Once you succumbed to as much as a single dab on the wrist, you’re in for a big voice declaring unrecruited love with flamboyant stare of black-countered eyes and dramatic uttering of painted lips.

It takes about half an hour of full-on flowery menace, prowling orange blossom and high-pitched tuberose. Painted in oily strokes full of powder and grapey bittersweet salicilates redolent of old rouge compact, vintage lipstick and perfume-stained satin intimates that smell like peering between the sheets of a turn-of-the-century’s escort. But beyond all the dirty scandals and high-maintenance drama lies a surprising secret and her even more dangerous side...

Once the rather sickening flowers dissipate, Narcisse Noir becomes the code name of a World War I spy mistress. She lures the enemy into her bed, and the moment they are charmed by her chalky whispers and softened by her velvety gown – she flips around and becomes the master of torture in patent leather attire, with spurs in her heels that fill the dusty boudoir with incense smoke, cigarette butts and a mysterious, inexplicable animalic presence that is somewhere between a cat and lion. And on the not so rare occasion when her victim becomes aware of her betrayal, she will escape the gunshots with the nostril-pinching scent of burnt rubber tires, leaving long skid marks and an even longer trail of enigma.

Top notes: Bergamot, Petitrgarin, Lemon
Heart notes: Orange blossom, Tuberose, Jonquil, Jasmine, Rose
Base notes: Leather, Musk, Vetiver, Civet, Sandalwood

Narcisse Noir is an iconic scent, created in 1911 by Ernest Daltroff (Caron's founding perfumer). The Art-Nuveau bottle is just as legendary as the scent itself, with its squat jar reminiscent of ink vessle, and a black carved glass stopper with a flower motif of the "black narcissus". Legends could be told (or made up) about such flower, and the familiarity of it as well as the mystery and intrigue came well before "Noir" was so fashionable... Narcisse Noir is the kind of perfume that inspires intrigue, writing, and perhaps even films. It's not a perfume I often reach for, yet I don't think it will ever leave my collection. 

As an aside note: I've heard mentioned time and over again, that Narcisse Noir or Black Narcissus is mentioned by Gloria Swanson in "Sunset Boulevard". This is the only reference I had confirmed from the film that refers to a scent - tuberose, to be exact: "She'd smell of tuberoses, which is not my favorite perfume, not by a long shot" (filmsite). This could be Narcisse Noir or could be from any number of other tuberose-laden scents of the era. And I won't be surprised if Gloria Swanson was overdosing on that perfume before that scene to get an authentic reaction from William Holden.

Which reminds me of another eccentric theatrical character of similar overbearing presence. Neither ladies might have worn Narcisse Noir; but they sure have the same super-imposing personalities of the perfume. It takes a long time to warm up to them - once you've discovered their volnurability; or in the perfume's case - it's leathery, deep and non-floral aspect.

Labels: , , , ,

Monday, October 08, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving 2012 by Ayala Moriel
Happy Thanksgiving 2012, a photo by Ayala Moriel on Flickr.
Happy Thanksgiving for all my Canadian readers celebrating today!
And what better opportunity than today to say a bit THANK YOU for reading my random smelly musings on this little strip of virtual landscape; and for your growing number of comments, which are fascinating and intelligent and add to the smelly spirit of this space.

We celebrated a bit early this year with friends and family in our non-traditional annual stuffed vegetables feast Saturday night and are enjoying a marvellous sunny and warm couple of weeks. Very unusual for October! I even went on a Thanksgiving ocean swim - but what else is new?!
How are you celebrating today? Any special Thanksgiving perfumes or autumn favourites? I'm wearing Megumi myself today, which seems to go equally well with the crispiness of the fall morning and the sunnier, warmer afternoons.

Please note: because today is a holiday, spent out of doors with my dear daughter (and indoors too baking fresh fig tarts!) - the Monkey Monday contest will be posted next week - we've got a really cool prize for next week that I hope will be worth the wait :-)


Noir Patchouli

hypnotic bokeh wallpaper by mav_at
hypnotic bokeh wallpaper, a photo by mav_at on Flickr.
In my recent visit to Scent Bar to pick up a birthday gift for my brother, Laura and Steven have given me a few samples – 2 of them being of patchouli scents with which I’d like to close the patchouli series.

Noir Patchouli by Histoires de Parfums is a more of a study in dry chypre than it is a patchouli per se. It opens with a very perfumey, old-world blast of blushed, rosy cheeks and fatty aldehydes, bringing to mind floral chypres of the caliber of Aromatics Elixir. Yet, there is a dry spiciness to it all that stops it from being cloying.

Coriander and aldehydes are the dominant first notes, underlined by a honeyed, lush rose absolute. The dry patchouli layer underneath it all is always apparent yet not exactly obvious as you’d expect from a perfume of that title. There is also a hint of tobacco leaf, or vetiver, or both; as well as hints of jasmine and indole – giving it an earthy, bitter tonality that at firstshifts its balance from smelling muddy and overcrowded to intriguingly light and well-composed, until it settles on the latter, once a dry musk takes the reins and disperses the rose into like dust particles that lift up from an unused leather seat that’s finally been claimed by its absent owner.

While I do find the initial blast of aldehyes more than a tad overbearing, it is worth trying it on for what’s to become of Noir Patchouli later on: a modern take on the patchouli-rose of yesteryear, updated with contemporary musks and acrid leather-woody notes that both complement the patchouli and bring the rose its due respect. It brings to mind other favourites from the musk-rose-faux-chypre genre, namely Agent Provocateur; yet while the latter demands to be worn by a lady, Noir Patchouli could be quite easily pulled off by a man, as long as they can handle a few mintues of oily aldehydes.

Top notes: Aldehydes, Coriander
Heart notes: Rose, Jasmine
Base notes: Patchouli, Tobacco, Vetiver, Musk

Labels: , , , , ,

Sunday, October 07, 2012

White Patchouli

Tom Ford White Patchouli

Tom Ford's White Patchouli comes with a surprisingly subtle ad, which - while very beautiful as an image, left me a bit puzzled:  the white porcelain-like bottle is sported by a very dark skinned female model. What is that suppose to mean? That the woman aspires to be white?!

Aside from that play on black and white, and taking a rather dark note and giving it a "white" name - there is nothing in White Pathouli to make me think of the full colour spectrum otherwise. I would have expected a play on the clean dryout note of some thin patchoulis. Rather, what I'm getting from White Patchouli reminds me a great deal of the mushroomy, berry-like ensemble of Black Orchid. If it was called "White Orchid" I would have been less dismayed at the contents of the white bottle, as patchouli barely resembles its sillouhette here. Instead, what reaches my nose at first is wine-y and resinous opoponax, berry notes and an overall fruitchouli nonsense. Let it sit a few minutes, and the more dry note quietly slithers its way with an ashen patchouli feel to it, but very plasticized and surrounded some other vague floral woods, perhaps rosewood. It's nothing offensive, but doesn't come close to the glorious richness and evocative mystery that so many other patchouli themed perfumes that I've described here before bring to the patchouli patch. The final drydown is a non descript wood with allusion to washed-out patchouli, oakmoss and musk with a masculine tendencies - but not what they now refer to as "unapologetically masculine", if you get my drift.

Labels: , , ,

Monkey Monday BO Winner

Congratulations to Muza, who won the lucky draw for last week's giveaway: a sampler kit of Persephenie's body products. Persephenie makes incredibly luxurious body products so I hope you enjoy them - and their beautiful scents!

Labels: , , ,

Interview for Fragrance Scout

Visit Fragrance Scout to read "Ayala Moriel, Interview to an EU-free perfumer!"
Thank you, Giovanni Samarco for reaching out and for the opportunity to discuss some burning matters that rarely get brought up.

Snooty Rose reviews Roses et Chocolat & Film Noir

Visit Snooty Rose to read her reviews of my Roses et Chocolate and Film Noir.
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Los Angeles Artisan Fragrance Salon (September 23)

Coinciding with the 6th annual LA Chocolate Salon, TasteTV has organized their 2nd fragrance event this year - 1st Artisan Fragrance Salon in Los Angeles. The event took place at the east wing of the Civic Center auditorium in Santa Monica, where hundreds of perfume and chocolate aficionado congregated from all parts of southern California for an all-encompassing fragrance and flavour experience.

This perfumista got everything under his belt
Although primarily a consumer show, the salon attracted industry professionals such as suppliers and retailers. Budding perfumers as well as students and hobbyists also came to the show to connect with perfumers and other like-minded individuals, as well as search for additional perfumery training opportunities.

The unique thing about this show was in its diversity, independence and free spirited creativity that is is such a defining characteristic of West Coast (which is home to all except for one perfumer participating in the show) - and clearly reflected in the aesthetics of the new brands that debuted that weekend.

The salon was a great opportunity for emerging brands to debut their line in a supportive environment where the audience is clearly passionate about their craft! And there is no better opportunity as well to network with others in the industry, and draw inspiration from their experience and expertise. Several promising new perfumers arrived at the show, and their olfactory aesthetic as well as the visual presentation of their line and their booth is evidence that the sky is the limit when it comes to creativity!

SANAE Intoxicants - debut appearance with Sanae Barber
Sanae Barber's eponymous line is one of the surprises of the salon - as I've met Sanae a few years back in Los Angeles, and had no idea she was interested in becoming a perfumer! Sanae Intoxicants perfumes are all-natural, and have a deep, dense, earthy tonalities with exotic Indian attars in the compisition that give them an unusual edge. They also bear unusual name, such as Smoking Rose, Meadow Slumber and Burning Ocean (pictured below).

SANAE Intoxicants Burning Ocean 
Below are Sanae's testers, from which she placed drops of perfumes onto glass bowls to allow show's spectators to experience the scent before applying on the skin.

 SANAE Intoxicants

David of Imaginary Authors
Hailing from Portland, Oregon, Imaginary Authors is Josh Meyer's new fragrance line proves that Portlandians's creativity does not end at pickling every possible organism and stamping birds on every object of desire.

Imaginary Authors
Each perfume has a story behind it, of course - an obscure uhm, imaginary American author (and usually long dead), and the story behind a completely fictional novel they wrote, serving as the inspiration for the brand's original line of fragrances. What caught my nose was The Cobra and The Canary - a modern, dry leather-tobacco scent with notes of "Lemon, Orris, Tobacco Flowers, Leather, Hay Fields & Asphalt".

PK Perfume
Another new line at the salon, using uncommon combinations of raw materials - synthetics and naturals, including some fascinating oils from South Africa.

Paul of PK Perfumes

Parfums Lalun - Maggie Mahboubian
Maggie Mahboubian was born and raised in Persia, and has been concocting body care and cosmetics based on recipes that women in her family would concoct for their use in the hammam for many generations. Her love for pure, simple aromatics has lead her to studying perfumery as well and developing 5 distinctive all-natural perfumes that will take you from sunrise to late night: Aqua di Calltiris (fresh citrus water), Phenomene Vert (herbaceous), La Lune de Miel (spicy and honeyed), Qajar Rose (powerhouse of saffron and rose) and Blance de Bois (abstract woods).

Parfum Lalun sample sets
Lalun's sample packages are a giveaway to Maggie's past life as an architect - little paper structures that cleverly hold her 5 fragrances. 

Photo courtesy of Sebastian Signs

Sherri Sebastian is the chief perfumer at Fragrance West, and also has her very own line of fragrances and scented body products. At the show, Sebastian Signs launched Purusa Naturals - an all natural (base and fragrance) perfume gel based on patented green technology that transforms Argan oil into a smooth gel. Each fragrance—Root, Petalum, Seed, Leaf—was named after the part of the plant from which the oils were derived.  Purusa is Sanskrit for ‘pure consciousness’ and Seed has become a personal favourite, featuring carrot seed in rather unusual way. Carrot seed seems to be a recurring theme at the salon, which you will discover in a moment...

Photo courtesy of COGNOSCENTI

Cognoscenti debuted at the Artisan Fragrance Salon in San Francisco a few months back, so it's still bright and fresh and deserves the spotlight! It garnered many awards then, and this salon was another great opportunity to showcase this unusual perfume line of three distinct fragrances. Interestingly, the nose behind it, Dannielle Sergent, is also an architect (or was till recently...). And while her outer packaging is rather brisk and minimalist, her fragrances bear a structure that is incomparable to anything else I've ever smelled. Abandoning almost entirely the centre core of floral notes,  the perfume have a unique dymanic of weaving in and out of phases unexpectedly, always keeping you on your toes. They refuse to be categorized or pinned down, and likewise their names betrays very little if at all of their enigmatic creator. No. 1 is strange, green and fig-tea-like; No. 16 begins like leather and tomato leaf and ending on a white musk accord; and No. 19, subtitled "warm carrot" won my heart with it's unusual core of carrot seed, revealing a surprising beauty of an often overlooked raw material.

Photo courtesy of COGNOSCENTI


Amanda of A Perfume Organic
Amanda Walker's line was distinctive not only because it's entirely organic; but also because it's the only line that came all the way from back east - from Manhattan! Amanda's 5 perfumes are all oil based roll-ons that are  beautifully packaged in seed-embeded boxes and printed bottles  - Urban Organic, Green, White Magik and Mejica. She's also created a new scent in her Perfumed Wine Trio - Rosé. The line is certified by USDA, OTCO and PETA.

A Perfume Organic: Mejica

JoAnne Bassett
From southern California, JoAnne Bassett has years of experience in aromatherapy and as an educator and natural perfumer. Her French Collection has many beautifully made, classic constructed scents from naturals only. 
For the salon, JoAnne created Venus Amber eau de parfum - with a musky, spicy, amber accord and a soft powdery, drydown of vanilla and benzoin.

Mario with House of Matiarch
House of Matriatch won Best in Salon and for a good reason! This elaborate display stood out, and being a traveler from far away myself I can't even imagine how Christi Meshell has brought this entire show with her on the road!
Christi has also created perfumed fans that she gave to all the perfumers participating in the show (You'll find a few pics of us posing with them along this post...).

Especially for the salon, Christi created 4 decadent chocoalte-inspired perfumes: Cocosigaro (inspired by luxurious Italian after-dinners cigars), Cocoblanc (white chocoalte with nuances of coconut), Cocorosa (chocolate and rose) and Cocosenesis (chocolate and orange).

House of Matriarch

Lisa Fong - Artemisia Perfume
Artemisia Natural Perfume has a definitive, complex yet light characteristic that's elusive and non-conformist. For the LA Artisan Fragrance Salon, Lisa Fong has created a new perfume for the show: Saveur d'Abricot. It's surprisingly animalic, with notes of apricot accord and costus that adorn a very high quality osmanthus absolute.

Team Fong at Artemisia Perfume

Velvet & Sweet Pea's Purrfumery
Laurie Stern, the sweet lady of Velvet & Sweet Pea's Purrfumery has a way with the bees, cats, flowers and her displays shows it all too well! Every bottle is beautifully packaged and decorated with fabric pansies, ribbons and collectible labels. Her newest creations that launched last weekend is titled "Fleur de Caramel". Yum!

You might also like to know, that Laurie is very passionate about animal rights, and does not use animal materials, or materials that were tested on animals.

Gary at Velvet and Sweet Pea's table
Gary (Laurie's husband) watching the Velvet and Sweet Pea's Purrfumery table before the show begins.

Roxana & Greg
Artist, aromatherapist and perfumer Roxana Vila lives in Santa Monica, where she concocts her all-natural botanical perfumes also from tinctured indigenous plants (as in oak for her Q perfume, and desert sage for Chaparal). She's also an avid bee keeper, and she and her husband, artist Greg Spalenka, brought their own bee hive with them to the show!

Roxana Illuminated Perfume

Roxana Illuminated Perfume
Roxana's new perfume Chiaroscuro, with jasmine flowers from her garden, which she especially tinctured for this perfume. 

Ayala Moriel Parfums
From Vancouver, Canada, Ayala Moriel Parfums brought the new perfume Etrog Oy de Cologne, whose fruit (California grown!) adorned the minimalist table display; and salon special preview of Treazon, Ayala Moriel's "killer tuberose" due to launch 12.12.12. Other items of interest were the new Vetiver Racinettes soap, fragrant chocolate bars, and real citron frtuit from a farmer in California, that spectators could "scratch and sniff" and compare to the Etrog fragrance.

Etrog display

Sarah Horowitz Parfums
Sarah Horowitz Parfums brought their traveling "Fragrance Journey" organ with various perfume notes which are used for creating their custom perfume. Each month, Sarah Horowitz creates a limited edition perfume for that month only, and September's limited edition that was dedicated to the salon's chocolate theme -  Chocolate Sunset.

Kedra of Opus Oils
Kedra Hart - the perfumer behind old Holywood chic perfumery Opus Oils, and creator of Eau Pear Tingle, Tiger Powers series, and many more. Some of her scents are all naturals, and others are mixed media. Opus Oils' Jitterbug Perfume Parlour in Hollywood is a destination for perfume lovers, and you can also take workshops there as well as experience the perfume parlour teas, scented with floral absolutes.

Opus Oils

Luckyscent is a leading niche and hard to find online fragrance store, with a brick-and-mortar spot on Beverly Boulevard (a must visit place for perfume lovers!) called Scent Bar. They were at the show with some more established European and North American niche and artisan brands such as Andy Tauer, Histoire de Parfums, Mona di Orio and Keiko Mecheri (who is also based in Los Angeles). 

Photo courtesy of smellbent

Los Angeles based SmellBent launched their new series Sunset People at the show.  It's all about disco and the fabulous nightlife. The packaging and the display is colourful and whimsical, playing on the "mad scientist" cliche to its fullest in a most fun, vibrant way.

Photo courtesy of smellbent

Ellen Covey is an orchid grower, and lives just south of me in Seattle. During the salon, Olympic Orchids launched Sonnet XVII - a collaborative effort between perfumer Ellen Covey and Michelyn Camen, Editor-in Chief of CaFleureBon, as described here. It is a fragrant tribute to the love poems of the great Chilean poet Pablo Neruda (1904-1973). Notes feature citron, cubeb, white champa flower, mastic, spikenard, oakmoss, Haitian vetiver, Bourbon vanilla, woods and musks, and a touch of natural ambergris tincture.


Photo credit: Sophie Lee

40notes also hailed from Portland, and is no hipster! Miriam Varledzis is an indie perfumer with a long career in the fragrance industry as a fragrance evaluator and in other capacities (and before that she was an architect - are you noticing a pattern in the North American indie perfume community?). For this show, Miriam brought a special limited edition perfume, Crystalline Hyacinth Limited Edition perfume, that she created last spring.

"Hyacinth is elusive, at once fleeting and headstrong.  To me it is Spring everlasting, which makes it more mysterious than innocent", says Miriam. She created it in winter/spring 2012 working with real-life hyacinth flowers as an inspiration and reference. The notes include natural hydro-distilled green lemon, hydro-distilled grapefruit, and nuances of white lily.

The perfumers showing at the salon were also given TasteTV Awards, and 40notes was a 2nd time gold medal winner for "Best in Salon"! Other lines that were receiving many awards are the new brand COGNOSCENTI and also Sarah Horowitz Parfums.

New Brands: Cognoscenti, Imaginary Authors, Parfums Lalun, PK Perfumes, Sanae Intoxicants, Sebastian Signs
All-Natural Brands: A Perfume Organic, Artemisia Natural Perfume, Ayala Moriel Pafums, House of Matriarch, JoAnne Bassett, Parfums Lalun, Purusa Natural (by Sebastian Signs), Opus Oils (some scents), Roxana Illuminated Perfume, Sanae Intoxicants, Velvet & Sweet Pea's Purrfumery
Organic brands: A Perfume Organic
Mixed Media (aka combinations of synthetics and naturals):  40notes,  Cognoscenti, Olympic Orchids, Opus Oils, PK Perfumes Sarah Horowitz Thran, Sebastian Signs Fragrances, SmellBent,
Canadian Brands: Ayala Moriel Parfums
East Coast Brands: A Perfume Organic
Retailer: Luckyscent/Scent Bar

Labels: ,