Happy TuBishvat!

Early Almond Blossom by Ayala Moriel
Early Almond Blossom, a photo by Ayala Moriel on Flickr.
It's full moon & the New Year of the Trees (a rather obscure Jewish holiday).

If you have an almond blossom perfume, now is the time to wear it - the almond trees are traditionally in full bloom at this time of the year in Israel (though the almond flower in the picture was taken sometime in mid December). There aren't too many almond perfumes in my repertoire, or in my collection. Farnesiana  with its violet-macarons and marzipan aroma comes to mind. Oh, and there is also the almost forgotten KenzoAmour LeParfum, as well as a couple of soaps I adore - l'Occitane's Almond Delicious exfoliating soap and Royal Herbs' Honey & Oatmeal soap. And last but not least - Gabriel's Aunt Biscotti candle.

Tomorrow would be a good day to spend time in nature, noting and contemplating the early awakening and preparations of the plants and animals for the end of winter. The winter might seem endless but it's already showing some signs of weakening...

And back to the topic of almonds - it's a note that's mostly associated with benzaldehyse - that molecule that smells like bitter almonds, although isn't quite bitter on its own. It's what you taste in almond extract, and most cherry flavouring. Pure, 100% natural bitter almond essence is hard to find because of some legalities . For food use, the prussic acid (aka cyanide) must be removed, and you have to show some certification before purchasing it even for fragrance use.

And there is also the caramelize almond like aspect of tonka beans, a characteristic of coumarin. You'd also find coumarin in high doses in hay absolute and liatrix (deer's tongue) absolutes. However, neither remind me of almonds as much as tonka beans: they smell more like luscious raisins. Also appropriate for Tu BiShvat, when dried fruit get more attention than any other time of the year.

Last but not least: heliotripin, which is hard to find as a natural isolate (but naturally occurs in Tahitian vanilla beans). Also known as piperonal, it smells like marzipan and cherry pie, and very much like the flower heliotrope - sheer heaven. 

Happy Tu BiShvat!

hashkediya porachat, originally uploaded by orenel.

Happy Tu BiShvat, 15th of the month of Shvat and the New Year of the Trees to those celebrating.

This time of the year, almond trees bloom back home in my native land (well, one of them, I do have two homes), symbolizing the returning of spring, and everybody is planting trees and eat dried fruit and fruit salad... It's a simple and unfussy holiday that has the scent of moist soil and earth warms and the hint of cyclamens in the air.

I wish I could plant a fruit-bearing tree tomorrow. This is something I really want to look into. Perhaps not a fruit-bearing tree but any tree to help nourish our planet and take care of it. You don't have to be Jewish to do that, any day of the year will do, and it will help reduce our carbon print.

tu bishvat hegia, originally uploaded by giladlotan.

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