Caléche, Hermes' first fragrance, somehow eluded me and I never gave it much thought. Perhaps I was not sophisticated enough to appreciate it till now. I am easily blinded by ornate bottle designs of the Art Deco style, and mesmerized by the decadent stories that often accompanied them. Somewhere down the rabbit hole of exploring vintage floral bouquets, I have decided to give this one a try. The following are my impressions based on a vintage EDT I found in a flea market as a part of a fancy wooden coffrett, comprised of fragrances from several different classics, which based on the lineup, I assume is from the late 80s.  

Caléche is a refined, sophisticated and quite an old-fashioned perfume, in the sense that it is a Chypre with such strong floral leanings and a relatively heavy sprinkle of aldehydes on top, that it may be easily mistaken for an aldehydic floral fragrances. It reveals many layers of richness, and quality of materials that is rarely seen in the current releases makes a world of a difference - a sensation that lingers and is being felt throughout the perfume's performance. 

Caléche has a classic Chypre Floral structure, centred around sensual white florals that are softened and blurred by candied violets, and a generous dose of aged sandalwood which are perhaps the perfumer's Guy Robert's special signature. It gives off a feeling of luscious, smooth and luxurious silk fabric, dyed and printed with rich colours and romantic designs. 

The white flowers - gardenia, orange blossom, jasmine, ylang ylang, are all very tasteful and not at all vulgar. The sandalwood softening and enveloping like a silk wrap, and the sweetness from the flowers and violets balanced by additional, dry and sharp woody notes of vetiver and cypress.  

I think it is a classic case of Chypre Floral - even with its robust old-growth oakmoss, it still smells very floral. And anyone attempting to compose this genre, would find that when adding up so many white florals, they truly shine and take over the composition. Yet unlike other floral creations, there would be a lot of depth once the flowers fade out. Another recurring theme in many retro aldehydic florals (and Chypre) is a smooth and woody vetiver at the base. Here it especially smooth and soft, with all the sandalwood mentioned before. I am very curious to smell how the perfume extrait would play out with this one. 

Top notes: Aldehydes, Neroli, Bergamot, Mandarin

Heart notes: Orris, Ylang Ylang, Gardenia, Jasmine, Rose, Lily of the Valley

Base notes: Oakmoss, Sandalwood, Olibanum, Amber, Musk, Vetiver, Cypress, Tonka Bean, Cedar, Coumarin

Eau de Campagne (Sisley)

Eau de Campagne (Sisley)

I'm late to discover Sisley's Eau de Campagne, one of Jean-Claude Elena's earlier creations. Eau de Campagne is just about as old as I am or perhaps two years my senior, and true to form, it radiates the 1970s greenish and trimmed style that is so characteristic of the decade. 

What I have on hand is a modern rendition, and I am sure that like everything that before contained oakmoss, it has undergone alterations. However, it manages to maintain much of its green and natural charm nevertheless. 

I have purchased it as a sort of a birthday present for myself earlier this spring, in preparation for the heavy heat that is to come in the summer. While living in Canada, I never needed more than a scent or two for humidity and heat. Here in the East Mediterranean, I'm afraid to say these form the majority of the wearable portion of my fragrance wardrobe. Except for the brief winter we have, when I can pull out my beloved Chypres and incense-and-smoke laden Opulents, nowadays, Le Parfum de Therese, Diorella, Philosykos and the like are a mainstay on my dresser. And although I am not truly in need of another fresh scent, I felt like adding another option that would be reviving and refreshing for the hot days. Just to mix it up a bit, you know. 

Eau de Campagne is both citrusy and green, and can be classified as Citrus Fantasy type with a noticeable Eau de Cologne vibe, which makes it timeless, and a green and leafy twist of galbanum and tomato leaf that add an unusual, modern and cutting edge element that makes the wearer feel unique and sophisticated. And this elegant, simple sophistication is what makes it in a way a pre-cursor for Jean-Claude Elena's future minimalist style. 

At the same time, it is quite a classy and some would feel quite masculine type of fragrance. Some women nowadays may find it very brisk and bright, perhaps too sharp, but I also know many who love it. The moss, vetiver and patchouli undertones give off a very similar vibe to Eau Sauvage. Yet it has a more pronounced layer of patchouli, which adds a deep, warm, mysterious and incensey layer. Once it wears off, it becomes a very translucent white musk, which is quite a surprising turn. I think it is mostly ambrettolide, which makes it more pleasant and less artificial or obnoxious as other contemporary white musks. But still, I find it a bit flat and persistent in the end in a way that does not correspond smoothly enough with the beginning of the perfume. I'm quite confident that earlier versions of this would have still had the (real) oakmoss lingering at this stage... 

It is easy to see why it has a cult following. It's special, fun, yet easy to wear. It's fun to have a fragrance that is fresh and woody and green, without depending on iso-E super. It's both rustic and modern. In my mind it's from the same lineage of Le Parfum the Therese and Eau Sauvage, with an innovative pairing of herbaceous, floral and fruit notes, freshness and complexity, layered with a storytelling. 

While the name means "Countryside Water", I resonate more with the watery concept, rather than a typical rustic countryside per-se. There is a feeling of dipping in a cool creek or lake on a hot and humid summer day, and inhaling water mint and other herbs growing on its bank. Tomato leaf bring to mind a country's cottage vegetable garden, something that you'd keep for a hobby, not for sustenance, and to work out a sweat early in the morning. There is a hint of tart fruit (plum?) and an expanse of flowering vines (jasmine, honeysuckle), but not enough to make it truly floral. Distant scent of new mown hay and grazing animals comes across through the somewhat gamey patchouli and dry vetiver.  On the hot days that we've had lately, I've worn it with great ease and pleasure. 

Top notes: Galbanum, Basil, Bergamot, Lemon, Plum
Heart notes: Geranium, Tomato leaf, Jasmine, Lily of the Valley
Base notes: Oakmoss, Patchouli, Vetiver, White Musk 

New Online Workshop: Visual Tools for Perfume Design

New Online Workshop: Visual Tools for Perfume Design
Excited to announce a new, stand alone online workshop: Visual Tools for Perfume Design.
Using visualization and accessible techniques to assist perfume designers in their creative process and brief development. In this online event, we will discover how to utilize simple, everyday techniques and technologies such as phone photography, inspiration boards, journaling and more to help boost your creative process in the realm of olfactory arts.
During the workshop, Ayala will demonstrate through case studies, how she uses visual tools in her creative process of fragrance development, from inspiration and brief development, copy writing and marketing.
Participants will also experience some of these techniques through interactive exercises using simple, everyday materials and tools.
April 30th, 6:00-8:00pm Jerusalem Time (GMT+2)
Link to the Zoom classroom and list of materials and tools needed for the workshop will be emailed to you upon registration.



Free5!a is an ode to one of the most ephemeral flowers, that elludes distillation. It's green and peppery, yet soft and delicate perfume can be created with a lot of imagination and a pinch of stubbornness, and the purest ingredients chosen to create  an all-natural Freesia soliflore, sheer and bright as a raindrop on a flower stem, clear and free of pretence. 

Free5!a soliflore perfume launches today, 23.03.2023

22nd Anniversary Sale

22nd Anniversary Sale

Happy Spring Equinox, and Happy Fragrance Day!

Today we're also celebrating 22 years of existence of our little 100% artisanal, natural and  independent perfumery. Twenty two is also the number of the letters of the Hebrew alphabet.  

Enjoy 22% off all orders thru March 31st, with code alpha22 Ayala Moriel Parfums for more info and the website address is there as well as my personal info for anyone who haven't visited it yet
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