Thursday, May 30, 2013

New OOAK Perfume: Tubereuse et Violette

Awaken, spring. by alexstoddard
Awaken, spring., a photo by alexstoddard on Flickr.
This morning I've completed a new OOAK perfume today - Tubereuse et Violettes that has been aging since 2004...

Tubereuse et Violette is a Green and tender variation on tuberose, reminiscent of green fig and milky iris. Its inspiration was the majestic and extravagant perfumes of the Royal French courts at the time of Marie Antoinette when European perfumery became more sophisticated and extravagant, with the addition of flowers extracted by enfleurage.

Top notes: Black pepper, Mimosa, Rosewood, Ginger Lily
Heart notes: Tuberose, Violet Leaf, Orris Root (butter and tincture), Jasmine, Rose de Mai
Base notes: Opoponax (oil and tincture), Vanilla tincture, Tonka Bean, Vegetale Musk

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Tuesday, May 28, 2013


zebra volute shells by *omnia*
zebra volute shells, a photo by *omnia* on Flickr.
Diptyque's has already won my heart if not at least gained my deepest respect time and again with their classics - Philosykos, Oyedo, l'Ombre Dans l'Eau, Ofresia and Tam Dao. But I kinda stopped following their latest releases as I found them all to be pleasant enough; yet non has stirred anything in me. I probably would have dismissed Volutes completely if it wasn't for Trish's enthusiastic recommendation - she literally left a sample for me on the kitchen table to take home with me - which she didn't need anymore, because she already got her own bottle. Imagine that! If you're a perfumista, you know how rare a "full bottle" is...

Smelling it from the vial (or bottle) did not do it justice, and in my haste to catch the plane to San Francisco, they were left on the kitchen table... And caught up to me a little later, when Trish sent me a care package of a few perfume samples she thought I ought to try.

When I finally made the skinspace for Volutes, I understood what the enthusiasm was all about. It's very different from the other Diptyques in that it's a lot more substantial and full bodied; and dances on the edge of ethereal, smoky, oriental, and maybe even a little gourmand. If anything, it reminds me more of some of the more forthcoming scents they've created for their candle line (i.e.: Feu de Bois, Essence of John Galliano come to mind, in terms of their bold, outspoken complexity).

Volutes plays on the contrast between two themes - the smoothness, warmth and strength of polished woods against the airy, untouchable movement and swirling of incense. It spills out on the skin like warm melted beeswax and honey, creating a feeling that is not quite gourmand, but more so a sensory memory of gliding honeyed wax on smoothly-plucked skin. And maybe licking a polished wooden staircase (I might have done that at some point between the ages of 2-4...).

And then comes a waft of swirling incense mingled with pink pepper, roses, saffron and dates. Sounds familiar? Yes, it does bring to mind another favourite of mine - Ormonde Jayne's Ta'if. Only here the dates are more pronounced, and the musk is less powdery, and more sweet and addictive. The dry down reminds me of the (also addictive) Chai incense sticks (in Shoyeido Gourmet Incense Series).  Burnished pipe also comes to mind, which echoes the tobacco notes beautifully... And the tobacco with an accent of dried hay and immortelle are the last to remain while everything else is has jumped ship.

Top notes: Pink Pepper, Dates
Heart notes: Honey, Beeswax, Roses, Saffron, Incense
Base notes: Tobacco, Vanilla, Musk, Immortelle, Hay

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Sunday, May 26, 2013

ScentHive reviews Zohar Perfume + NEW Body Oil

"The luminosity of the top notes becomes a little hazy, the buzz of musky honey and the fuzzy legs of bees dance around the trees".

Thank you to Trish Vawter of Scent Hive for the lovely review of Zohar perfume + body oil. Even just reading her review transported me to my childhood's orchard and made me smile. 
 And, since you've asked -
Yes, we have a new body oil this spring!
I created it especially for my trip in San Francisco back in March and wasn't even thinking of selling it. But once I saw how excited Trish was about it, I decided to make it available to you too.
Hope you enjoy it!

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Friday, May 24, 2013


Coal Harbour by Ayala Moriel
Lightshed, a photo by Ayala Moriel on Flickr.
This thought provoking sculpture by Liz Magor is a great inspiration to me. It's a puzzling piece of the landsacpe that whenever I pass by I ask yourself questions. At the same time, it's very realistic looking - yet it's obviously completely impractical. There is no chance that people actually live there, unless they are stuck inside forever... It's sort of a 1/3 size model of sheds that used to be scattered along this harbour when it was used for harbouring ships... But not quite: It's complete with barnicles and all - and is all silver. In fact, it is made of aluminum, even though it looks like wood. I pass by it a lot in my morning walks in Coal Harbour - sometimes without giving it even a second thought. But now that I'm getting deeper into my perfume inspired by this place, I am finding that in a way it relates to what I'm working on beyond the location.

In my perfumes, I often times need to create an illusion of a certain scent, using completely different material. The natural perfumer's palette is not nearly as versatile as I would like it to be and when attempting to express a concept such as the contract between city and nature (a recurring theme in my perfumes - for example: Hanami) - it's difficult to portray the man-made materials, minerals, etc. without the avant-guarde advantages of modern synthetics. I'd use galbanum as a representation for freshly cut grass (in combination with other notes, of course); vetiver for evoking wet wooden constructions; and who knows what else to emit the scent of hot metal, wet pavement or dusty concrete, rusty iron, or abrasive aluminum.

Creating the impression of something from something else is a challenge. And when there is a challenge I think there is also creativity at its best. I would (metaphorically) open the paint tubes of colours I don't really "like" or gravitate towards: seaweed absolute, fossilized pine resin, even galbanum didn't really used to be a favourite to be honest until I really learned how to use it. So I hope through this experiment I will learn how to embrace the nasty fishy smells of seaweed absolute and the evasive burnt grease notes of fossilized pine resin, and turn them into the beauty that I find in the contrast between the glass towers of the neighbourhood's new developments, the greasy marina and struggling sealife, and the pretty green spaces alongside the seawall, which are full of water-gardens in concrete and encourage the passers by to reflect and relax.

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Fish Oil?

Contrary to most writing rules, I'm opening this post with a question, rather than a statement. Fish oil is one of those things that I always heard awful things about growing up - how awful it tasted, and how my parents (growing up in the 50's) had to swallow it daily.

And here I am finding myself fishing for some oil and spilling half of it on my hands as I try to measure out the right amount. I know it also come in capsules, but I've been swallowing so many anti-inflammatory drugs recently in order to convince a herniated disc to go back to where it belongs; that avoiding more pills, even if it means swallowing some disturbing and smell stuff seems rather appealing.

With it's "great lemony flavour" it actually does not taste all that bad. But it leaves a streak of scent on my fingers no matter how hard I try not to spill. Lemon and fish oil. Sigh... And guess what? I'm finding it strangely appealing. Sort of like a low concentration of calone. Almost like the aquatic men's cologne that's been permeating the elevator in my building for the past week or so (Aqua de Gio or something along these lines).

That lemon and fish scent reminds me of Orcas' interplay between seaweed and lime (although it's not nearly as fishy); and makes a little turn to bring me to the Coal Harbour perfume, juxtaposing rather horrific man-made scents with the delightful nature contrasting it - diesel lawn-mawer and cut grass; ocean breeze and jet fuel; decaying polluted sealife and airy flowering trees...
I promise it will end up being wearable. But it will take a while...

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Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Patchouli Magique

The lovely Muza has generously sent me samples to enjoy, including Russian perfumes which I have never been exposed to. It's wonderful to explore fragrances that I don't normally have access to. And among them, Patchouli Magique immediately grabbed my attention. If it wasn't for this, I would have continued to believe that the prime purpose of perfume in Russia is a vodka back-up.

Patchouli Magique is not a Bolshevik perfume. I'm still stumbling to find out when it was actually created - before or after the revolution or the perestroika or whatever the crumbling of the Soviet Union is referred to. All I know is that it's a fine patchouli fragrance that won't put to shame even the most niche houses out there. I wish I had it earlier when I was running the patchouli series - consider this a latecomer to the patchouli party!

Patchouli Magique enveloped me in a plush wrap made of soft yet rustic fabric. Like a hand-woven alpaca poncho. Or a woolen Russian scarf for that matter, with big roses printed all over it. Patchouli Magique is indeed magical - it's soothing yet sophisticated. Welcoming you with warm earthy notes of dry patchouli leaves; yet develops into warmer, sweeter notes of aged patchouli mingled with amber and sensuous musk. And a trail of sweet incense smoke weaves its way through - not the heavy resinous church incense; but rather a blend of sandalwood and flowers, reminiscent of the famous Nag Champa. Patchouli Magique is a delightful discovery in the patchouli genre, and is unusual in that it is simultaneously luxurious and sophisticated yet easy to wear and not in the least pretentious or overbearing. Being centred around a base note, its structure is not nearly as complex as classic French perfumes and such; but it is still dynamic rather than static; and provides something to ponder upon as you just immerse yourself in all those alluring notes and surrender to their powerful yet quiet beauty.

Patchouli Magique is made by Novaya Zarya, and being Russian, there got to be some fascinating history behind this house: originally Henri Brocard's company (a French perfumer that moved his business to Russia)*, it was renamed "Soap and Perfumery Factory No. 5" in 1917 (after the revolution); and then "Novaya Zarya (New Dawn) in 1922, under which title they first released Krasnaya Moskva (Red Moscow) - the first Soviet perfume.

* The story of this brand is kinda like the reverse of Ernest Beaux, whose family's perfume business, A. Rallet&Co. before the revolution; and "Soap and Perfumery Factory No. 7" in 1918, and eventually - Svoboda (Freedom)

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Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Must Read: Olfactory Journey Around the World - by Anastasia Deniskova

Join Anastasia Deniskova (aka Muza who comments frequently on SmellyBlog) and inidie noses for an around-the-world olfactory journey, where each perfumer introduces you to their city and paint an olfactory portrait of it.
I'm thrilled to be traveling with wonderful talents such as Anna Zworykina, Andy Tauer, Bogdan Zubchenko, Francesco van Eerd, Geoffrey Nejman, Neil Morris, Oliver Valverde Risquez, and yours truly.
9 perfumers, 9 cities - enjoy your trip!


Monday, May 20, 2013

Harbour Green

Harbour Green by Ayala Moriel
Harbour Green, a photo by Ayala Moriel on Flickr.
Well, I just went through a lot of trouble typing out a whole blogpost, only to have it entirely deleted by a Flickr hiccup... It was about my Coal Harbour perfume experiment which I unearthed from last year's archived mods.

What originally smelled as rather skunky and morbid, even (the seaweed absolute is an extremely difficult note to work with, and smells like decomposing bodies of seashore lives - seaweed, clams, crabs...) has turned out to be, what I was hoping for.

I place a drop of essence on my wrist, and like a seed in fast-forward motion it sprouts and grows into this luscious garden - Harbour Green, to be precise: fresh cut grass on a summer's day; kelp growing on the rocks underneath the docks; daisies and fuchsias alongside the trail; and somewhere in the very background the whiff of summer-blooming trees - linden and elder; Oh, and is that aquaplane in the background taking off or landing?

And just like the original blogpost, the formula is entirely lost. I have searched high and low and the temporary lab recording card must have slipped out of my formulae sketch book and has grown feet of its own that took it away from all its like-minded friends...
So I will have to wait a long long time before I know if my attempt to revive the Coal Harbour experience is successful or not.
Sigh... The woes of a perfumer's life.

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Saturday, May 18, 2013

Rose Berlin

How about a visual review for a change?With Serge Lutens' newest perume release for 2013, La Fille de Berlin, I was expecting this:
Makani Terror by _MissAgentCooper
Makani Terror, a photo by _MissAgentCooper on Flickr.
But got this instead:
Hybrid Tea Rose 2012 by neggatiff
Hybrid Tea Rose 2012, a photo by neggatiff on Flickr.

What will lure you in immediately are the distinctive tea rose with only the slightest soapiness - the iconic and familiar sharpness of the Perfumers' Workshop Tea Rose immediately comes to mind. Once it touches your skin, La Fille de Berlin quickly turns into an uber-sweet tea rose and violet-candy affair, reminiscent of the sweet-spoken Bvlgari pour Femme, only with a higher price point and slightly intriguing spice to stop it from being as cloying. Musky woody notes at the base give this retro theme a more current flavour; and a hint of leathery saffron note is the only thing that gives it a “niche” edge. Other than that, Serge Lutens’ La Fille de Berlin is a crowd-pleasing 2-syllables rose, obvious and leaving no room for guessing. The dryout is continously rosy, changing into plum-like damascones and raspberry-jam darkness that's reminiscent of Ivoire's dying words; and a very subtle animalic aspect of sandalwood against the smooth-warm-cool wood of Moroccan cedar lurks underneath, very subtly and surprisingly does not embody what you'd expect from Lutens - or from a Berlin girl. I really expected some more thorns and instead got a very conventional, although well-made sugary rose.

Top notes: Tea Rose, Black Pepper
Heart notes: Rose, Crystallized Violet, Safranal
Base notes: Musk, Atlas Cedar, Raspberry, Sandalwood

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Mother's Day Contest - Winner Announcement

Congratulations to MariaA, the winner of our Mother's Day contest & lucky draw!
You are the lucky winner of a Viola mini, Sacrebleue decant and a few other goodies.
Please email me with your mailing address so I can send your prize!

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Thursday, May 16, 2013

Best Shavuot Cheescake Cake Ever

Cheesecake with vanilla cream for Shavuot

Shavuot, the holiday of receiving the Torah, and celebrating the wheat harvest, the first summer fruits and the newly born lambs and kids is here (the 2nd day of it, to be precise).
I've written before about milky notes in perfumery, and I have just updated it with some newly found and thought about notes.

For the culinary aspect of the holiday, eveyrone agrees that cheesecake is a must. Herding is the traditional, ancient lifestyle, and therefore celebrating the birth of newly born kids and lambs and the milk that flows with them is a tradition every late spring.

I'd like to share with you my favourite ever cheesecake. It is simple to make, but tastes and feels so extravagant, that I only bake it once a year - if I can. And if I can find quark cheese. Which should be more readily available for baking enthusiasts like me; but is not only hard to find but also ridiculously expensive. Even more than cream cheese. In Israel, the cheese used for that is a soft cheese simply titled "white cheese", and it's considered a staple food and priced accordingly. It also has far less butterfat - typically 9%, but also in lower fat (5% and 1%). Anyway, quark cheese is as close as it can get to the original recipe.

The making of a cheesecake
1kg Quark Cheese
5 eggs, separated
1 package instant vanilla pudding (see notes below for alternatives)*
4 Tbs tapioca starch (or corn starch)
1.5 tsp Pure Vanilla Extract 
1 cup fine raw sugar (evaporated cane juice)
Zest of 1 organic lemon
Pinch of salt
1 cup whipping cream
1/2 cup whole milk

For the cheesecake:
- Line a springform pan with parchment paper.
- Pre-heat the oven to 160c (320F)
- Beat the egg whites with a drop of lemon and a pinch of salt, just until light and fluffy.
- Add 1/2 cup of sugar and continue whipping until soft peaks form. Set aside
- Beat the yolks with the remaining sugar.
- Add 1tsp vanilla extract and the lemon zest
- Add the quark cheese and beat until smooth
- Beat in the tapioca starch and 4Tbs of instant vanilla pudding powder and ensure the mixture is smooth and uniform
- Fold the egg white mixture into the yolk until well blended.
- Pour into the pan and spread it evenly.
- Bake in the oven for 60-80min, until the cake is golden in the centre and lightly brown on the edges.
- Let the cake cool slowly inside the oven, while you leave the oven's door slightly open.

For the vanilla cream:
- Combine the whipping cream, milk, remaining package of instant vanilla pudding and 1/2tsp of pure vanilla extract in a bowl.
- Whip on high speed until the mixture is creamy and fluffy.
- Once the cake is completely cooled down, spread the cream on the cake and decorate as desired (you can make a pattern with a fork, or use a fancy piping if desired).
- Chill for at least 2 hours before serving.
- Serve alone or with fresh fruit. This cake is so incredibly balanced in flavour that I never feel I need to serve it with anything really; but chocolate milk is an option, as is cafe au lait, fruit flavoured kombucha or a milky oolong.

* This cake calls for instant vanilla pudding, which is essential for getting the beautifully smooth and thick cream on the top. This processed product has its merits, but also tastes like fake vanilla. To improve that, I suggest adding some pure vanilla extract to the cream. But you can also seek out alternatives to instant vanilla pudding cream if you're a purist.
If you'd like to substitute the instant vanilla pudding in the cheesecake portion (not the whipped cream topping) - I suggest you substitute the 4 Tbs of instant vanilla pudding mixture with 4 Tbs of tapioca starch, and add 1/8tsp xanthan gum. It works fantastically well consistency-wise (maybe even better than with the instant powder), and you won't feel at all as if the cake is any less sweet.
For the topping I'm still experimenting with more wholesome alternatives; but for now I just want the good old fashion flavour and texture of my grandma's cheesecake.

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Budding Needles

Budding Cedar of Lebanon by Ayala Moriel
Budding Cedar of Lebanon, a photo by Ayala Moriel on Flickr.
Last week I had the short-lived yet delightful opportunity to forage a minute amount of spring needle tips with my mom to use in teas.

Conifers were not made equal, and some were better suited for this purpose. Notably, Douglas fir and some types of spruce produces the most delightful young needles: tender like sprouting wheatgrass; and soft like a silky tassels. But of course what's most important is their aromatic and flavour profile: look for spring tips that have a delightful refreshing yet sweet aroma, reminiscent of lemon zest and tangerine peel and a breath of forest after rain.

How can you tell which ones to pick? If you don't know the specific species, use your senses to assess the tea potential of these spring forest buds. Rub them between your fingers and inhale. If the scent appeals to you, that's a good start. But what's most important is the taste. Don't hesitate to nibble on some (they should be soft and tender when you pick them, so don't worry about puncturing your cheeks...). If they taste acrid, dry and bitter - forget about them. If they are slightly tart, delicately aromatic and leave only very little dryness in your mouth this would also be your experience when you brew them into a tea.

The tips pictured above are of Cedar of Lebanon (taken at the Van Dusen Botanical Garden). These look pretty and feel soft; but don't have any of the qualities you'd want in a forest-foraged-tea. Below are Douglas fir spring needle tips. They are very short and require a lot of work to harvest; but their aroma is superb! And to boot, they are rich in vitamin C, which would be a wonderful supplement for your immune system in the spring or any time of the year.

Douglas Fir Needle Tips

Once picked, spread the needle tips or "tassels" on a tray to thoroughly dry in the shade: away from light, heat and, of course, humidity. Once they are thoroughly dry, store in an airtight container and steep in boiling water to make a delicious, fragrant tea (1 tsp per 250ml) that can be served warm or chilled.

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Monday, May 13, 2013

Transition to Satin

Satin Ribbons by Ayala Moriel
Satin Ribbons, a photo by Ayala Moriel on Flickr.
Slowly but surely, I'm switching my merchandize into the spanking-new packaging. The last component just arrived recently: the name and logo printed along 500 yards of satin ribbon!
And soon, also our retailers will be switching to the new "look". Some are even having items on sale to make room for the new packaging and branding. For example: Dream in Gastown will give you 20% off all of my perfumes they have in stock, while quantities last. This is also an excellent opportunity to check out their new location: They have just recently moved to a gorgeous new space next-door on 356 Water Street (where "Two Of A Few" used to be - on the corner of Water & Cordova).

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Sunday, May 12, 2013

Happy Mother's Day!

My mom was always an au-naturelle kinda gal who loved real flowers but not perfume. So she never wore scent, but preferred floral prints instead, and would always pick beautiful flowers to cheer me up and weave a beautiful crown of spring flowers for my birthday. She even put edible blossoms in my salad (nasturtium and wild garlic flowers), and would cut the radishes into flower-shapes to encourage me to eat them. 
Although she never worn perfume - she always loved aniseed tea and caraway-studded breads. So it comes as no surprise that to this day, I associate her with anise and and the enigmatic notes of violets and iris, which I find as soft and mysterious as herself and the midnight-blue crushed velvet she liked to wear. Kinda like what I imagined l'Heure Bleue when I read about it and before I smelled it.

It was only years later that she told me that indeed violets, anise, chocolate and vanilla were her favourite smells (before she lost her sense of smell almost permanently due to chronic colds...). And she also loved the lilacs she picked for me in her first visit to Vancouver (which sadly ends tomorrow...) Years ago,
I created Indigo perfume in her honour, and I've put anise, caraway, boronia, violet, carnation, orange blossom, frankincense and amber in it... Now I'm thinking that although I was probably on the right track - I should make her another perfume, and hopefully she could smell it occasionally - with cacao and vanilla absolutes, violets and anise.  
What perfume did your mom wear as you were growing up? Or what scents do you associate her with?

Leave a comment and enter a draw for a mini of Viola, my violet soliflore, a decant of Patricia Nicolai's Sacrebleu and a few other goodies... And - a quick reminder, that today is the last day of my Mother's Day free shipping online event.

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Friday, May 10, 2013

1000Flowers Giveaway Winner Announcement

Thank you everyone for posting and supporting Jessica Buchanan & 1000Flowers!
Congratulations to Susan - you won last week's giveaway, and will be sent a trio of samples from 1000Flowers first 3 fragrances. Email me with your address so I can send your loot :-)

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Sunday, May 05, 2013

Sweet Breath

Illusioned by Diana Pinto
Illusioned, a photo by Diana Pinto on Flickr.
Anima Dulcis (Sweet Soul in Latin) was one of those rare things in the perfume world: love at first sniff. And that first sniff began intriguingly with cumin, a note so rarely used in perfume, and when it does is considered a daring choice. It's not-always favourable association with sweat is precisely what makes cumin compelling to me. It makes it more human and accessible on a personal level.
The love at first whiff is not so much because of the cumin, but more so with how it is orchestrated with iris and earthy-ambery base that brings to mind non other than the reformulated Femme de Rocahs (1989). In the latter, there is something audaciously over-the-top and a tad plastic-y.
Anima Dulcis, however, is everything I could hope that version of Femme would transform to on my skin and better. The cocoa plays greater role in the ad copy (a Mexican theme of chocolate and chilli) than in the perfume: it's merely in the background, creating a layer of soft-focused dusting to complement the powdery orris, indolic jasmine and liberating hedione, and leading to a sensual, earthy finale of dark patchouli of the best kind and the bitterness of arcane myrrh resin.
Discovering it was like meeting an old friend I was searching for a long time. A consoling moment. And to me the name is more of a suggestion that there is an echo to our soul somewhere, whether or not we're aware of it.

Top notes: Cumin, Black Pepper, Ylang Ylang
Heart notes: Jasmine, Cinnamon, Orris Root
Base notes: Vanilla, Patchouli, Benzoin, Myrrh, Cacao

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Friday, May 03, 2013

Seattle's 1st Artisan Fragrance Salon

This weekend, Seattle's Artisan Fragrance Salon will take place at Pier 66 (2211 Alaskan Way). Tickets can purchased in advance online, and will also give you access to the adjacent Chocolate Salon. You can get your tickets for a discount online for $20, or get them at the door for more cash...

You can learn about the participating perfumers via their websites (below) as well as virtually "Meet The Perfumers" on the Seattle Sniff website (which is a spontaneous perfumer-organized and run organization, separate from TasteTV who are running this salon). 

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Thursday, May 02, 2013

ScentHive Reviews Vetiver Racinettes Soap

Visit ScentHive to read Trish's review of the new Vetiver Racinettes soap bar I created with @OpenSourceSoap. 

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Mother's Day Gift Guide 2013

Mother's Day came early to me this year, with my mom visiting Vancouver for the first time! Her favourite perfumes are violets, anise, chocolate, vanilla so I always associate her with Viola and Indigo. To celebrate the amazing women who gave us life, we'd like to offer free shipping through Mother's Day (May 12th, 2013)*.
We have wonderfully fragrant, handmade creations in store that would make your mom feel special and appreciated! Here are just a few suggestions... If you would like help to select a perfume for you mom, fill in our Fragrance Questionnaire, or give us a call (778.863.0806 8am-4pm PST) for a free personal consultation!

Happy Mother's Day!


* Free shipping does not include xpresspost/expedited/courier services. If you require insurance and/or tracking number for your order, please contact us for quote based on your particular order size and destination :-)

Ayala Moriel Parfums
My SmellyBlog:
Tel.: (778) 863-0806
Address: 1230 Haro Street, Buzz #295,Vancouver, BC, V6E 4J9
Hours: Mon-Thu 8:00am-3:00pm; Fri: 8am-12pm; Closed Saturdays; Sundays & evenings by appointment only

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Wednesday, May 01, 2013

Happy May Day!

Lily of the Valley

It is May 1st, and I'm wearing Diorissimo extrait to celebrate whatever this day is supposed to stand for; but more personally because it's a lily of the valley scent that I have a strong personal connection with. I worn it on my wedding day, and to me it will always symbolized non-compromised happiness. Besides, I believe it's one of the best perfumes every made (alongside others by Edmond Roudnitska: Le Parfum de Therese, Eau Sauvage and a few Guerlain classics - Mitsouko, Vol de Nuit, Shalimar, l'Herue Bleue) that are reclining comofrtably in a special case dedicated for emergency evacuation); but also because I don't own any other lily of the valley fragrance.

There are some great Lily of the Valley classics that I owe it to myself to wear and experience and give more proper attention - Coty's Muguet de Bois, Caron's Muguet de Bonheur Guerlan's Muguet. If you have more lily of the valley perfumes that you think are exceptional, please leave a comment. The note used to be far more popular as a stand-alone theme in the olden days; but it lost popularity greatly because of its functional fragrance usage - namely masking the stench of the French metro systems; and other bathroom fresheners, soaps and the like. Basenotes only lists about 27 perfumes with the name "Muguet" in them; and 25 with the word "Lily of the Valley". Not insignificant, but not even close to how popular rose or jasmine themed perfumes are. Many of them have also been discontinued, a sign that this note belongs to another era. There are other lily of the valley dominated perfumes, of course, such as the classic Joy and the more modern musky floral Idyle. So I'm sure we won't be running out of lilies anytime soon... And there are even natural lily of the valley inspired perfumes, such as Urban Lily and Grin.

Most of the other less worthy of mention are sitting in my sample catalog pretty much untouched, and I revisit them occasionally only to come to the conclusion time and again that really Diorissimo is my true love. There can be a very conformist, agreeable yet boring air to them and a very flat, interest-lacking evolution. I am quite certain that should there have been a little extra jasmine absolute and rose otto in them to give them depth and naturalness they would have faired better - in my personal wardrobe, SmellyBlog entries, as well as sales wise. i.e.: Muguet Eau Fraiche (Yves Rochas) is a soapy clean, with modern musks and Iso E Super that bring to mind Thierry Mugler's Cologne of all things. Crabtree & Evelyn's Lily of the Valley, which comes in all the matching ancillary products from body lotion, triple-milled white soap to scented talcum powders - has been promptly returned to the store because it just has no personality whatsoever - flat, synthetic molecules with plenty of headiness and little staying power. Yardley's wasn't much better off. All three were to me what you'd call "scrubbers".

Muguet de Bois (Coty, circa 1949), on the other hand, requires some immediate attention on this beautiful warm spring day: It opens up sparkling and refreshing, with notes of lemonade and fresh-crushed green leaves. It has a fully developed heart phase that's definitely lily, but not just that: it is a tad spicy and more rounded floral than how I experience the fresh lily of the valley flowers to be. I detect resinous styrax and lilac, rose and hints of jasmine. The "Bois" (or woods) part is subdued, and is interpreted as a woody base of sandalwood and musk.

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