Sunday, November 04, 2012

The Many Colours of Fall

Fallen Leaves by Ayala Moriel
Fallen Leaves, a photo by Ayala Moriel on Flickr.

As I was driving northbound on Blenheim street yesterday afternoon, I noticed the many colours that draped over the trees: there was a deep plum from the Japanese sour plum trees, ochre, mustard yellow, burnt orange, citrine, olive, and sprinkle of scorched crimson red and burgundy from the Japanese maples. And all that beauty set against the backdrop of the North Shore’s Coast Mountains. Breathtaking!

Fall’s glorious colours resonate with how I experience its subtle outdoors aromas: the cedar and fir mulch that lines gardens and the forest floor in the Pacific Northwest; ripe rosehips falling on the ground and becoming one with it; the robust fruit aromas and flavours; burning leaves from an unseen law-breaker; that crisp, brie-like fungi smell that permeates the air from the sprouting mushrooms after the rains; and all the traditional comforts of scents and flavours that are designed to warm one from within as the temperatures drop: spiced teas, wood smoke, warm cider, and aromatic fruit being poached and baked to much delight.

So, to make this fun and a little different from previous years’ autumn lists, here comes a colour coded one to wrap up fall (the moment after Halloween’s midnight, I already came across Christmas oldies on the radio – yikes! We still got Rememberance Day before we should get started on that!). So let’s celebrate whatever is left from summer’s bounty.

Citron, of course!
This is where fragrance and flavour are one this season, surrounding the theme of Etrog.
This fall I’ve been obsessed with the fruit in all manners possible: candying etrog fruit, making marmalades out fo them, tincturing for liquor and for the next batches of Etrog Oy de Cologne.
I’ve also just recently receive a sample of l’Etrog by Artquiste, which is utterly delightful though very much in the realm of fresh citrus. Reading the ad copy I was fascinated to find that Arquiste’s interpretation also alludes to dates (which is what I have incorporated with the balsam poplar buds absolute). And the myrtle note is rather inevitable, but still nice to see the recurrence in two creations that knew very little of one another. Although you could argue that

Sous la Vent, with it’s breezy, fresh and sunny personality with a dark edge, and is equally fougere and chypre. A man should be able to wear this without threat to his masculinity.
Flavour: The aromas of just-picked green olives, before they were pickled or pressed into an oil. Perhaps it’s too literal, but it’s exactly the

Fragrance: Golden osmanthus is in bloom in late October in Japan – so to me it’s always a seasonal symbol, echoing the sakura theme of the spring. I’ve been rotating between a few osmanthus fragrance for an upcoming theme on SmellyBlog. But admittedly, I’m rediscovering my own Kinmokusei in oil parfum form. It has a surprisingly honeyed base more so than the alcohol based eau de parfum. Which I have no explanation for except for concentration. And I’ve been enjoying the quite animalic interpretation by Artemisia which I will elaborate on in my upcoming osmanthus series (yes! Coming this week!). Last but not least in the osmanthus world is the beautiful, haunting incense that my friend Noriko brought me from Japan. Nothing natural about it, but it does smell just like the real fresh flowers I’ve met at Ineke’s garden this summer. Soapy, sweet and effervescent.
Flavour: Osmanthus green tea. Visually beautiful tea blend of grassy green tea from China, specked with fragrant golden osmanthus. And the liquor has a bright citrine colour and a flavour that is refreshing and mysterious – like a mixture of violet, apricots and green tea, of course.

Fragrance: Un Crime Exotique, with its soothing comfort – it is reminiscent of poached pears in star anise. The warmth and comfort I derive from this scent is only matched by how soothing I find the right shade of mustard yellow to be…
Flavour: Quince. Incidentally, there is also an Italian tradition of making quince mustard! The rosy nuances in fresh ripe quince’s aroma are sublime; and strangely enough, quince turns a beautiful pink once cooked. It’s quite magical!

Fragrance: Cognoscenti No. 19 (Warm Carrot). It’s so unusual, refreshing in concept and execution, both with carrot seed being the main theme, and also the structure or how the notes are orchestrated. It’s up there with Bois des Iles in my opinion.
Flavour: Golden Curls tea from Yunnan region (imported directly from the farmer by O5 Rare Tea Bar). It has notes of roasted butternut squash, and smooth, delicately toasty and sweet.

l’Artisan's Tea for Two. Everytime I wear this I ask myself why I don’t wear it more often.
21 year old aged oolong (O5 Rare Tea Bar)

Forest Walk, by Sonoma Scent Studio, evokes that magical time of the year in the deep Pacific Northwest forests, where coniferous leaves begin to rot and the first rains bring out a spurt of wild mushrooms. The warmth of oak leaves, and the coolness of damp soil. And there is also an incredible labdanum incense by Airs, which my aunt gave me years ago and I can’t find anywyere. I’m down to my last 2 sticks.
Flavour: Freshly picked wild chanterelles and black trumpets. And cooking them too.

Omniscent 0.96 with its luscious, multi-layered festival of flowers, incense and fruits. It makes a bold statement like carrying an orange bag.
And there is also a candle to go with this colour: Harvest by Gabriel’s Aunt. Literally, the scent of a burning Jack O Lantern with hints of pumpkin pie. We are talking real pumpkin and spices, not that fake fragrance that takes over the dollar stores at this time of the year.
Flavour: Guavas, which occasionally make their way to the grocery stores are a tropical fruit that I will forever associate with fall and the time when my daughter was born. Their aroma has green aspects, as well as spicy, herbal and even woodsy notes, and an ever so slight reminiscence to strawberry and stinky socks.

Chinatown, with it’s strange juxtaposition of peonies, gardenias, 5 spice, juicy peach and modern woody-chypre base. It’s the warmth and quirkiness in it that makes it very suitable for fall. It can be a little too loud for most other seasons.
Flavour: Poached red Bartlett pears in star anise, vanilla and Zinfandel.

Mitsouko. There is no fall without it.
Flavour: Cask Aged Ghorka Estate black tea (O5 Rare Tea Bar). Full-bodied, with hints of baked apples. Do I need to say anything more?

Nuit de Noel, which I’ve been craving earlier than usual this year. It’s rosy without being rosy, and is reminiscent of roasted chestnuts.
Flavour: Plum & hazelnut coffee cake muffins. The nutty, caramelized aroma of roasting chestnuts on charcoals – a unique scene on Vancouver’s streets which begins in the fall and goes on through the colder months until the chestnuts run out.

What are your fall colours? And which scents and sensations make this season for you? Share your favourite fall flavours and fragrances, and enter to win a little sample set of some of my own favourites, teas included!
Lucky draw entries close on Friday, November 9th, at noon.

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At November 04, 2012 10:16 AM, Anonymous Em said...

It's only just started to turn colors here (and is back to 80F!), so I associate the South's fall with the bright pink of azaleas still blooming against dark green and the slowly reddening leaves nearby.

At November 04, 2012 11:08 AM, Anonymous Suzinn said...

Every morning I'm greeting by the red/orange blaze of my 13 year old Cornus Kousa which seems to grow brighter every day. Soon the leaves will fall leaving a beautiful carpet for me to sadly sweep up.

At November 04, 2012 9:21 PM, Blogger Ms. Watson said...

Definite brown, on the forest floor. I love the scent of leaves mixed with moss as I mushroom hunt.

Grey fog is my favourite fall weather. Anything can be shrouded in mist. Scents need to be kept light to not overpower.

Translucent kelp is more brown than green in the fall, but its scent as it decomposes is crisper than in warmer air.

At November 04, 2012 9:35 PM, Anonymous BridgetTheodore said...

Most of the colors I love most are fall inspired: burgundy, plum, mossy green. Unlike the colors of summer, the autumn palette looks fantastic on my skin so I need to take advantage of the makeup coming out right now! And even though it's much too warm to wear a sweater and drink hot cider by a fire, I'm making do with iced apple cinnamon tea, pumpkin muffins, and the smell of wood burning courtesy of the local coffee house (the roast their own beans).

At November 05, 2012 1:24 AM, Anonymous muza said...

I just adore autumn colors! So sad it's already coming to the end here in Moscow.
Amber-gold smells Posh by Neil Morris to me, also it smells Immortelle l'Amour by you and Cinema YSL.
Olive-green (oh how much I like this solor) smells Carla Bruni du soir by Parfums Senteurs du Pays Basque and Miroir des vanites by TM.
Red-brick smells Opium, Maroussia by Slava Zaitsev.
November is almost completely colored with different tints of brown and charcoal :) I don't have any fragrances associated with charcoal but there are some browns: Tonka Imperiale by Guerlain, Intimate Amber by Neil Morris, Osmanthus Oolong by Providence.

At November 06, 2012 8:47 AM, Anonymous brie said...

Dark forest green- Laurie's Forest Walk-perfect for the cooler weather in the Northeast of US

Gold- my favorite of the Ineke line-Evening Edged in Gold-made me fall in love with osmanthus Reminds me of the beauty of gazing at a moonlit star studded autumn sky

Bright Orange- Jour Ensolielle (SSS) on my skin a honey rich orange blossom which moves me from late summer into early fall (this is my all time favorite scent)

Charcoal- Reglisse Noire by 1000 Flowers- Love it year round but especially in the fall as the severe cold weather approaches it becomes my "happiness in a bottle"

Dark brown- Winter Woods by SSS- my segue scent from fall to winter-on my skin it is warm,cozy and a "grown-up" vanilla

At November 06, 2012 12:07 PM, Anonymous LCT said...

I love this post!

Chestnut Brown - Satal Majescule by Serge Lutens conjures this colour in my head when I wear it.

Moss Green - Montale Patchouli Leaves makes me think of the very happy moss in the fall rainy season of the Pacific Northwest.

Russet - L'eau d'Espices by Tauer has dark reddish orange written all over the smell of it.

At November 06, 2012 12:47 PM, Blogger Ayala Moriel said...

Wow! I love all the fragrances you're wearing! And am also inspired to try some new ones :-)

I hope fall will come your way eventually. Pink azaleas are glorious :-)

Is that the one with the dogwood-like flowers? We have many of them here but I haven't noticed which colour they turn to! Don't forget whatever colours are gone by winter will be compensated for with all the lights and festivities :-)

Ms. Watson,
Beautiful colours and I wish I could go mushroom hunting with you! I need a partner in crime - and more so, a mushroom guide. Time to join the mycologist society ;-)

Fall colours are my favourites. Always been a lover of warm colours. I find them very soothing.

At November 06, 2012 1:02 PM, Blogger Ayala Moriel said...

Autumn is just about at its peak here, which means that all the leaves are beginning to rot and emanate that musty-sweet smell of fall... And some are rapidly turning into skeletons, which is the mark of late fall and beginning of winter (not another 3-4 weeks...). Glad to see Immortelle l'Amour among your fall scents! And I'm dying to try Osmanthus Oolong by Providence!

We share the Sonoma Scent Studio love! Aren't Laurie's perfumes magical? And so is Jessica from 1000Flowers. I left Reglisse Noir out because I can't think of black *quite yet* but I've included it in previous years' fall lists - a perfect trick or treating scent ;-)

Thank you for adding more colours and new scents that I'm yet to try. How is Santal Majuscule comparing to SL's 2 other sandalwood scents (Santal Blanc and Santal de Mysore)?

At November 06, 2012 6:20 PM, Anonymous LCT said...

Hi Ayala,
I've only tried Santal Blanc and Santal de Mysore in wax form but I have to say I find them all quite similar. Santal Blanc is a bit higher pitched while Mysore is a bit drier. Majuscule is the most buttery and has a gourmandy chocolate note that rounds it out and makes it irresistible to me!

At November 06, 2012 8:52 PM, Anonymous muza said...

Osmanthus oolong and Tabac citron are my favs among Providence scents that I've tried. I can send you some vials :)

At November 06, 2012 9:06 PM, Blogger Ayala Moriel said...

Thanks for the Santals comparisons. Sounds like Majuscule would have been my fav of the bunch (Santal de Mysore was a little too curry-like, but mostly just not enough sandalwood in there). The wax samples are great for understanding the dry down.

At November 06, 2012 9:07 PM, Blogger Ayala Moriel said...

muza -
That's so sweet of you to offer! They both sound just like my cup of tea (though I do not smoke LOL).

At November 06, 2012 10:57 PM, Anonymous muza said...

You're welcome, Ayala! I think you'll enjoy them. Send me your address please :)
P.S. I don't smoke either but still like some smoky/cigarette/tabac-like scents :)


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