Monday, August 22, 2016

The Life Aquatic - Beyond Beach Scents Cliché

Life Saver

Even though most people don't think of water as having a scent - the most favourite nature smells among my clients are that of rain and ocean. This is based on a 15 year long ongoing voluntary data that customers provide me about their fragrance preferences.

I can't imagine what it would be like in summer without the wonderful beaches, lakes and streams. Even summer rains are welcome in my world, as they make the season feel more precious and allows us to continue enjoying greenery and worrying less about forest fires and dreadful droughts. Therefore I'd like to dedicate August's newsletter to water-inspired scents.

There's saline water and freshwater. In a similar manner, water-inspired fragrances can be divided into two: Aquatic and marine. Aquatic perfumes are usually ethereal, light and inspired by water gardens and flowers such as waterlily, lotus and iris and the wet-woods watery quality of cassie as well as the cucumber-like personality of mimosa and violet leaf absolutes. Marine fragrances tend to be more masculine (usually they're a sub-genre of Fougère) and include mineral notes that allude to salt such as ambergris, seaweed, oakmoss and vetiver - and even notes that suggests savouriness, such as parsley, dill, celery and angelica.

Bon Zai is perhaps the first aquatic perfume I've created, and the only one that has absolutely no saltiness to it. I often suggest it to clients who like the smell of rain, because it has the same freshness and crisp qualities the air has when it rains. It's a quite, non-dramatic, peaceful scent. Think about gentle West Coast rain in a Zen garden - no thunder or lightning, only soft rain on pine needles.

Since 2009, with the launch of Hanami, water has been a recurring thread in my perfume creations.  And as you will soon see, I often combine the qualities of freshwater and saline water in the same composition - which gives it a rather sheer quality and a compelling lightness. Although on and of themselves, cherry blossoms are particularly watery - Hanami plays on the theme of wet wood, after spring rain, and that scent mingling with that of cherry blossom and the urban surrounding: metal, wet pavement, and the commotion in and out of the underground train station. The scent is abstract, yet compelling. And for those who are familiar with sakuramochi and brine-preserved sakura and sakura tea - there is also a savoury connotation that balances the otherwise cloying sweetness of the flowers involved, and which makes Hanami perfume even more intriguing.

l'Écume des Jours (2004) was my first watery creation. Inspired by the perfect symmetry and profound beauty portrayed in Boris Vian's most praised novel by the same name. Cheerful Pianola top notes of cassis and freesia lead to Chloe’s deadly Lung Water Lilly. The melancholy base of green moss and watery marine seaweed reflects the tragic conclusion of the tale. l'Écume des Jours is a strange perfume of unusual harmony that inspires appreciation for the simple beauty that is found in all things – especially the Jazz of New Orleans...

And speaking of New Orleans: I also created a perfume that invokes the haunting scents of the Louisiana wetlands with salty seaweed and oakmoss underscoring heady flowers of magnolia, osmanthus, orange blossom and tea rose. There is also Meyer lemon and rosemary that truly cut through the sweetness and add a savoury touch that echoes the salt notes. For a scent so rich with florals, it is surprisingly refreshing, light and easy to wear.

Orcas, the first natural Fougère-Marine fragrance that was nominated for the 2012 Indie FiFi Awards,  now celebrates its 5th year anniversary. Inspired by the breathtaking scenery of the Wild Pacific Trail, a place where ocean meets forest and whales blow and sing above the stormy weather. Orcas perfume is an innovative all-natural marine woody, a unique combination of scents from sea and seashore. Brisk and pungent citrus and herbaceous notes suggest ocean breeze and tea-like clarity, and an array of oceanic treasures such as seaweed and ambergris meet seashore and rainforest notes.

My newest perfume, Lost Lagoon is a Chypre with s a powdery-sweet softness from the juxtaposition of amber, orris and magnolia that balances the bite of galbanum, rhododendron leaf and lemon. It is not aquatic per se, but it was inspired by the dreamy Rhododendron Garden that trails along Lost Lagoon. Again, we find a place where the freshwater is very close to the ocean, and this reflects in the perfume as well. The oakmoss contributes the saltiness, but the flowers are luscious and has a watery air to them - the crispness of violet leaf and iris being the main contributors to that effect.

The last bit of cliché I'd like to tackle is that of beach scents. This popular sub-category of Florientals (or Floral Ambery) tends to be fruity, sometimes even cloyingly sweet, and smells very artificial. It is a strange category because it takes after the scents of ancillary products - namely suntan lotion, suntan oil and sunscreen products. These are usually rather chemical concoctions of white flowers and fruit esters over synthetic musks and amber bases, and sometimes even a bit of aquatic smelling compounds. If you love beach, this would smell fantastic to you; but even if you do - too much of a good thing can get a little overwhelming, or boring at best.

What I tried to do with Sunset Beach, is create a perfume that is neither watery nor marine in character, but rather works with the tropical materials in a more authentic way. To start with, the inspiration is driftwood and the fragrant flowers that might bloom near the beach. So it's entered around sandalwood from both Hawaii and India. I've used massoia CO2 as well as handcrafted tinctures of milky oolong tea and pandanus leaf to intensify the milky quality that is sadly lacking in most modern sandalwood oils. And I've used champaca CO2 for its fruity, spicy and incense-like qualities that I find irresistible, and ylang ylang for its fruity esters and creamy-coconutty qualities. Whenever I wear it I feel like I'm on vacation, and I hope you do too.

In the same way that Hanami contrasts urban and natural elements, my upcoming perfume Coal Harbour juxtaposes the smells that co-exists in my oceanside city's harbour: the salty-animatic notes of seaweed and marine animals at low tide with the rank of jet fuel from the aquaplanes. This disturbing contrast (both smells are quite intense, and together they can be very unpleasant, especially when locked up in a bottle!). To soften this blow, I've added notes of fresh cut grass that wafts off Harbour Green Park, as well as pleasant-smelling local tree blossoms, namely linden, elderflowers and balsam poplar buds.


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Sunday, August 21, 2016

Approaching Coal Harbour

Buoys

This week I've finally created a batch of Coal Harbour, which I intend to close the Perfume4aPlace series dedicated to my favourite spots in Vancouver. However, the concept of Coal Harbour perfume predated all the other scents. In fact, it was in one of those morning walks about five years ago in Coal Harbour that I knew I would soon have to leave the city. Walking there and watching the aquaplanes take off and land on water I felt a pang of melancholy, knowing how much I love the marine aspect of the city. And so I promised myself to make a Coal Harbour perfume before I leave, as a goodbye present to the place I've called home for nearly 18 years.

This idea of course was the seed of the entire collection. And as the time to leave approached, I began rolling out the scents. I felt reluctant to launch Coal Harbour, because deep inside I knew that would mean the last farewell. So I did this gradually, with one perfume in each season... Komorebi in the fall of 2015, Sunset Beach in the winter of 2016, Lost Lagoon in the spring, and finally Coal Harbour for summer.

The scent is now maturing in the vat - a concoction that echoes the juxtaposition of natural aromas in their urban surrounding, contrasting marine notes, fresh cut grass and linden blossoms with the penetrating aroma of jet fuel.

The perfume is still in the maturing phase, but you can pre-order a sample (or, if you know you like marine-leathery-green scents, an entire bottle in your choice of eau de parfum application - mini splash bottle, roll-on and larger spray bottle.

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Monday, August 15, 2016

Perfumer's Sketches for Sale

Moving Sale

Good morning & Happy Monday!
Perfumer's sketches + vintage testers for sale, from 15 years of perfuming at Ayala Moriel Parfums - part of our moving sale which I'm extending through till next weekend.

Cobalt Blue Lab Bottles with Spray (50-60ml capacity, but contents vary so read each item listed carefully): 
Finjan (2005) 1oz $60
L'Ecume des Jours 5ml $10
Cabaret 1oz $20 - SOLD
Democracy 1oz $30 
Libra EDT (2001) 50ml contains vintage floral bases (not 100% natural)

Lavender Wood (2002) 25ml $25
Razala (original mod 2002) - Garrigue Chypre 20ml for $20 - SOLD
Cucumber (2002) 20ml $15
Licorice (2002 formulation of Black Licorice) 20ml $20
Boronia (2002) soliflore about 10ml $10

Covet (retro style floral, contains vintage floral bases that are not 100% natural) - 20ml $12 - SOLD
Charisman (Charisma for men) 2002 - 20ml $20 - SOLD
Calibre (2002) woodsy masculine with absinthe 20ml $20 - SOLD
Sabotage (original 2002 mod) 1oz $20
 - SOLD
No. 19 all-natural match experiment to the Chanel classic: 25ml $30 - SOLD

Terlona (tropical-inspired, full-bodied fruity cacao with marigold) 20ml $15
Aqua (31.10.2002) - aquatic, watery floral, au naturelle - 20ml $10
Gaia (Foresty Chypre) 50ml $30 - SOLD
Cacao (Dark Chocolate, 2002) - 25ml $25 - SOLD

Fougere Lavender (2002) 1oz $30
IVY (11.08.2002) - Green, aquatic, resinous violet - 10ml $10
Fete d’Hiver Pour Homme (the original version of Bois d’Hiver - 24.09.2002) - 20ml $18 - SOLD
Clil (2002) - citrusy, herbal garden scent, with lemon verbena, lemongrass, hay, etc. - 25ml $15

Victoria (2002) - violet bouquet 1oz $30
Flowers (2002) - retro style, with vintage floral bases (which are not 100% natural) $20

Perfumer's Sketches & Testers Sale

One-Of-A-Kind Perfumer's Sketches (1/2oz lab bottles):
Assam Oud, mods 03 (SOLD), 06, 07. They are between 8-15ml and go for $20, $40 and $30 respectively (based on size)
Animalic-boozy oud with a spicy garam-masala finish...

Pearly Everlasting (Immortelle perfume, inspired by a 2011 hike in Northern California with Hall Hall Newbegin) - 1/4oz $8 - SOLD
Ruby & Marzipan (grapefruit & bitter almond) - 2015 - 1/2 oz $15 - SOLD
Mirkwood (cherry & chocolate AKA black forest cake) - 2015 - 1/2 $15 - SOLD
Yellow (2001) - vanilla-chamomile-lemon sorbetto - 1/4oz $8
Charisma (2001) - contains vintage flower bases (not 100% natural) 1/4 oz $12

Patchouli & Camphor (2012) 7.5ml $8
Mint + Vetiver (2015) 15ml $30
Thé Vert (2003) - green tea - 10ml $15
Mushroom & Flower (2012) - Tuberose woody animalic $50 
Fungi & Flowers (2012) - Tuberose woody animals; Contains the natural isolate octanol-3 $50

Jasmine et Lavande (2015) 15ml $50
Audrey series - Chypre with oaks, patchoui, hay and vanilla, exotic floral heart of tuberose, jasmine and osmanthus, and intriguing top notes of curry leaf, lime and citrus.
Audrey No.0 (earthy & mysterious) - 10ml $20
Audrey No.1 (bright, green herbaceous top notes) - 7.5ml $20 - SOLD
Audrey No. 3 (also green - but curry leaf and osmanthus more prominent) - 15ml $30
Audrey No. 4 (smooth, creamy, woody-chypre with tuberose & osmanthus more prominent) 10ml $25

Chai Rose 10ml $30
Arsenal III (musky, boozy lemony-citrus) - 15ml for $10
Granium Leaf 10ml $10 - SOLD
Eau de Canaga (ylang ylang eaux) 15ml $20
Pandan & Ylang (creamy, smooth tropical floral) 1/2 oz $30
Ginger Tea (24.05.2008) 10ml $15

Perfumer's Sketches & Testers Sale

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Fragrantica Reviews Lost Lagoon

Lost Lagoon

"you will appreciate the zingy, joyful opening: galbanum with citrus tones which pop, juicily vibrant. The heart is comprised of lovingly blended florals, almost buttery beneath cheery topnotes. A little deft touch of labdanum (I'll wager) smiles affectionately upon iris and oakmoss as they provide a resting place.

The distinct pleasure I derive from Lost Lagoon is how smooth and effortless it feels. There are no rough edges, all the aromatic materials play so swimmingly with one another. It's just plain pretty, is what it is. And refreshing. I'd like to see Lost Lagoon offered in liter size so that I could splash around in it like a duck."

Visit Fragrantica to read the rest of Ida Meister's review of Lost Lagoon.

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Wednesday, August 03, 2016

ScentHive Reviews Sunset Beach & Lost Lagoon

Coconut (Cocos nucifera)
Many thanks to Trish Vawter of ScentHive for reviewing Sunset Beach:

"Sunset Beach (...) is milky, smooth and fresh. The overall impression of this fragrance is of creamy woods, gentle spices and a laid back floral flourish. Champaca and ylang ylang reveal themselves in a light, tropical manner that lends a beachy vacation vibe to this perfume, perfect for those of you who love woody florals, but don’t want anything too heavy."

And Lost Lagoon:

"Chypres can be hyper green, icy crisp, or down in the dirt earthy. Lost Lagoon strikes a nice balance, probably because it does not make use of synthetic aldehydes so the initial citrusy-green opening melds gently into its lovely floral heart. "

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Friday, July 29, 2016

1804 George Sand

"There is only one happiness in this life, to love and to be loved" (George Sand)

The perfume dedicated to the controversial author George Sand, has a complexity of a real person and a feeling of rummaging through the old bureau of an author to find her own inkwell and notebook. I am not familiar with her work (except for La Petite Fadette which I read translated to Hebrew when I was in elementary school). She lead an unusual life and was ahead of her time in insisting on doing things that were considered taboo for women, most memorable of which were sporting men's attire and smoking in public and her reputation was an androgynous type (apparently, having a masculine pseudonym was common at the time, otherwise no publisher would risk taking on a woman's work). But more importantly - her independence, breaking free from her marriage, following her heart into many tumultuous relationships, the most famous of which is her 10 years love affair with Frédéric Chopin - all the while still raising her two children. She sounds to me like one wild woman.

1804 is a classical spicy oriental, in the great tradition of Tabu, Opium and Asja. Like the latter, it also has some fruity surprises. And like Opium before it - there is a fascinating contrast between coolness and warmth that keeps the tension and interest of the reader from the get go.

The beginning feels earthy and cool yet spicy, with the Mellis accord centered on patchouli, cloves, carnation and jasmine and a hint of plum-like rose notes in the midst. The earthy quality is a bit musty, like a jar of clay or like spikenard. There is a certain cool and sharp edge to this, but as the perfume continues wearing on the skin, it seems to switch over to ambery-oriental world. The patchouli is still there, but it's more of a spice or a nuance, giving the sweet, rich and soft amber a dirty-sultry undercurrent.

Top notes: Peach, Pineapple, Gardenia 
Heart notes: Jasmine, Carnation, Rose, Lily of the Valley Cloves, Nutmeg 
Base notes: Patchouli, Spikenard, Vanilla, Benzoin, Amber, Sandalwood

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Thursday, July 28, 2016

Attention: Perfume Collector's Moving Sale

Perfumes to a good home

Turns out most of my perfume collection of perfumes brings me a whole lot of joy. The ones pictured above are in search of a new home. I that you, SmellyBlog readers and avid perfume lovers (and collectors), will find something that brings you joy among these, as they are up for sale. I also promise to include fun samples with each transaction.

More details about the ones pictured above (from left to right, top to bottom):

Private Collection Jasmine White Moss (Estee Lauder) - Pendant decorated with blue semi-precious stones, with solid perfume that makes an impressive statement piece. The solid perfume inside has discoloured from the metal, unfortunately, and the scent has faded. Consider this as a costume jewellery purchase :-) Also keep in mind that this is discontinued $50

Stella in Two Amber (Stella McCartney) - solid perfume with compact - gently used - discontinued. $50

Agent Provocateur x 2 25mL purse atomizers with chain attached. I got a set of 3, and I only need one of them. They can come in box if you purchase both ($40) or individually $25).

Cognac (Aftelier) 2mL mini $30
Lumiere (Aftelier) 2mL mini  $40

Ezra's Poem  (Soivohle’) 4-5mL mini $20

Kelly Caleche (Hermes) 7.5mL mini $10

Narciso (Narciso Rodriguez) body lotion + sample in pouch (boxed and unopened) $10

Narciso Eau de Parfum (Narciso Rodriguez) 50mL very gently used - almost full and still in box $50

Yerbamate (Lorenzo Villoresi) Eau de Toilette unusual, gorgeous fouler with maté and tomato leaf notes 95% full 100mL $100 (paid $150)

Un Jardin Apres la Mousson dry oil (Hermes) 100mL $30

Dioressence vintage mini cahrming retro style, about 80% full $15

Sweet Lime & Cedar (Jo Malone) - 30mL 95% full  DISCONTINUED $50

Femme (Rochas) 100mL new version practically full $90

Aqaba (Miriam Mirani) 50mL box is covered in woven straw that is falling apart. Otherwise it’s in perfect condition and about 95% full $40

Ma Griffe with OAKMOSS! Older formulation (bought at the store but labeling tells me it is from about 12-15 years ago), practically full $100

KISU (Tann Rokka) 50mL no box, opaque black glass bottle. Received this in a swap so can't guarantee how full it is - but it was rather full when I got and I have not used it much. Just to be safe - I'm estimating it's 70% - $40

Notorious (Ralph Lauren) 50mL barely used DISCONTINUED fantastic modern gourmand-Chypre with vetiver and cacao notes $40

Deseo (JLo) 100mL about 80% full Discontinued albeit the best JLo fragrance IMHO - a very dry, mineral modern Chypre $20

Vaara (Penhaligon's) boxed manufacturer's purse spray/decant $20

Sugar (Fresh) 30mL eau de parfum, no box, about 70% full $7

Something About Sofia (BeneFit) 30mL hardly ever used $20

Harajuku Lovers - Sunshine Cuties - Lil’ Angel 10mL hardly ever been used - adorable doll-like bottle - and a perfect summery fragrance that smells like angel's food cake! - $12

Lolita Lempicka, boxed purse atomizer 7mL (from the manufacturer) - not in the picture $10

Apple Blossom - charming vintage mini. Scent is not all that great. $1


Decants

I'm also putting out my perfume decant collection. All of the following are spray bottles unless otherwise specified. The following are for sale + $16 shipping (International airmail with no insurance; Within North America this includes tracking & insurance). From left to right:

Sacrebleue (Parfums de Nicolai) 30mL almost full $15

Piper NIgrum (Lorenzo Villorsei) 10mL almost full $10


Casma Cologne (vintage) - about 4mL vial $4


Goccia di Cristallo (Borsari) - about 4mL vial $4


Izmir (Neil Morris) 5mL - $5


Vision in Black (Neil Morris) 5mL - $5


Mousse II (Oliver & Co) 5mL - $5


Vetiverus (Oliver & Co) 5mL - $5


Teinte de Neige (Lorenzo Villoresi) about 5mL left $5


Citta di Kyoto (Santa Maria Novella) about 20mL left $15

Bonus - not in the picture - Rare!
Guardian's Sous la Vent 100mL vat - I bought this myself in the Guerlain's flagship store in Champs Elysees.
Unfortunately the original bottle cracked enroute from Paris, so I had to transfer it to an amber,  lab-style bottle. You may also receive the original box and (glued up) bottle if you purchase this. - 100mL $100

Please note:
All prices are in USD. Shipping is $16 for packages up to 500g (this includes insurance + tracking within North America; International shipping is airmail with no insurance). Larger orders (heavier than 500g) will require extra shipping charges. Payment via PayPal or Interac money transfers (if you're inside Canada).

Please email me if you're interested or for more information.


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Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Positive Packing

Studio

I've been preparing for this moment for three years. I knew it would be hard. And I knew I want to do it differently this time.

I hate moving, and a testament to that is the fact that I moved as little as possible in my life time - only a few times. The place I live in now has been my home for 11 years. And it's abundant with storage space for things small and large. I am still yet to determine if this is a blessing or a curse. I am grateful for this home as it enabled me to flourish and live the lifestyle I want - working from home immersing myself in creative projects that give me joy, and enabling me to share my passion and life's precious moments with my family, friends, studio guests and many students who've been an important part of my Canadian journey.

But how do you pack 18 years of such creative and abundant life in only a few months (or weeks, really)? Any perfumista worth her salt knows that this is not an easy task. But if to that you add the logistic complexities of moving overseas; the tedium of packing precious liquid gold in glass bottles, you must know that this is a challenging task both mentally, emotionally and physically.

So for many months (or maybe even 2 years, really), I've been considering how I can do it differently. I've always been one to get overwhelmed with big sorting tasks, especially for so many details. I get easily lost in little details and take forever to tidy up, not to mention pack... Each objects brings so many memories, emotions and requires to make a harsh decisions - discarding it or keeping it, which seems like such a huge, life-changing event. Even if it's about something as small as a button or a perfume sample or a greeting card. And I don't even want to imagine how this would go for sorting through volumes of essential oils and my insanely well-stocked perfume collection...

Like I said before: I knew I would have to tackle things from a different angle. I thought to myself, instead of sorting the items individually, the traditional way, and making piles for "Donation", "Sales", "Trash" and "Keep, Pack & Move" - I would just pick all the things that I absolutely love and want to ship over two oceans and a sea. Everything that goes into the boxes has to be something I will be thrilled to unpack and place in my new home (when they arrive a couple of months later).

I knew I was onto something, but I also knew that it would be hard to remember that all the time while facing many tiny knickknacks and memorabilia from 18 years of life that I'm parting with forever. I'm a sentimental type and you don't even want to imagine how many little things my home (which is also my workplace and my creative space) is burdened with. There is not a single room in the house which does not have something liquid and fragrant roaming around - be it the perfume display in my living room, bottles of essential oils which I use anywhere and everywhere in the house - because I add them to my cleaning products and sometimes even my cooking and baking (however, the only oil that is always in the kitchen is eucalyptus oil, which I use in honey instead of a cough drop); and samples of fragrances I'm about to blog about (which turn up in the oddest of places!), not to mention my den which serves as my designated studio space and where I design, create, produce, bottle, pack, and ship all of my perfumes and products. Essentially, my home is a big lab, and my life is an ongoing olfactory experiment.

So I was absolutely thrilled when I came across the Konmari method and am absolutely grateful to Tamya's teacher who told me about it. I have seen it pop up in various newsfeeds and even ads, so naturally I was skeptical (which I always am about things that are trendy). This method is rather simple - and is essentially exactly like what I had envisioned - keeping only the things I love. But of course the author has years of experience and has many details and stories to tell that keep that vision clear in the mind. Also, it does not really have rules like other tidying methods have. It does not tell you how much is too much or random and elaborate storage methods. It is very intuitive, and is a really great guidance so far in my journey through those 18 years and into the future, to the life I envision for me, my daughter and my little business.

Hand-painted samples

I haven't even really began to tackle the fragrant portion of my possessions. They are going to wait till the end, until I am well practiced in the process of discarding and learn to focus on what I keep, and not cry over the spilled milk of what I had to let go of. But I have already came across some curious things which I know I will have to get rid of - but still have hard time parting with. Such as these hand-painted samples, circa 2003. I can't believe to what lengths of effort I went to prepare my samples... This makes the notion of frequent "free samples request" even more ridiculous. I also found this old tester/demo kit, including the long discontinued Zodiac perfumes and other treasures... They still smell pretty great!

Old Demo Kit

And way before I had my own branding or bottles, I'd clean, polish away old screen-printed logos, and rebrand old minis with hand-painted perfume names, some of which are still among my best sellers. All of these are circa 2001.

Hand-painted minis

This method has a very reasonable progression from the easiest to the hardest - starting with clothes, then books, then miscellaneous and only in the end all the sentimental stuff that is the hardest to let go of. I have only done this for a few days, and most of my week has been devoted to packing. Usually I find this kind of process draining emotionally. Instead, I am feeling excited: about how many boxes that I've packed are actually things I'm going to get rid of (so maybe I will not need to buy more storage boxes after all!); and also about how many wonderful things I decided to keep. My closet is already looking happy and inviting, and that gives me more energy to proceed with this process. Also, I'm feeling quite invincible at the moment. Pack up my house AND business in only 7 weeks to ship it overseas? Of course I can do it!

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