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Indigo Flower

Indigo Flower

Indigo is a mystery: an elusive colour that hides in several plants across the world. The preparation of indigo is like an ancient ritual, and one of the telling signs that it worked is a coppery patina and the "Indigo Flower" that forms on top of the surface. The blue indigo flowers pictured above are in fact the dried up fruits of milk thistles that I have dipped into the vat and dyed their fuzzy hairs blue.

Each continent has its own indigotin-bearing plant, and it's amazing how ancient civilizations have unlocked the secret for extracting and dyeing with it. Indigo does not dissolve in water  and requires a careful alchemical process before it can be used as a dye. It is the most durable natural dye, and we are all familiar with it through denim, which represents just some of the shades that can be achieved with indigo dye.

I've been dreaming of shibori dyeing with indigo and have finally became confident enough to prepare my own indigo vat. Indigo powder has a peculiar scent that is familiar from henna dyes (they are histoic allies, often used in conjunction for making the paste known as "black henna", and also henna is a natural reaction agent in the indigo vat). I used dates in my own vat, and it smells like milky bubble tea which makes indigo dyeing all the more enjoyable! 

Before I even knew anything about Indigo I was inspired to create a perfume by that name. It is an homage to my mother, herself a mystery. The perfume smells like a velvet indigo hug

Indigo

Grin Body Oil

Green -  DSIR0201-g by Bahman Farzad
Green - DSIR0201-g, a photo by Bahman Farzad on Flickr.

Some products are inspired by unique materials, and others by unique people. The idea for Grin body oil came about when I had a lot of left over Boronia absolute from the large batch I've ordered from the distiller (or should I say extractor?). But it didn't manifest until a very special customer of mine, Melinda Huntley, asked for it. And so it is now for everybody to enjoy!

Grin body oil has all the goodness that my Song of Songs body oil has (squalane, avocado oil, tea seed oil, fractionated coconut oil, jojoba oil and vitamin E), but with Grin's elegant, cool, green floral scent. It has many precious absolutes: boronia, violet leaf, rose, jasmine form Egypt - which is why it is a bit more expensive than the rest - $35 for 15ml.

And one last note: depending on popularity, I'm considering bringing a larger size for the body oils, in a lovely glass bottle with a pump, 60ml. This will be of course more expensive than the 15ml, but will be much easier to get out of the bottle. It will be priced at about $85, for saving me the trouble of bottling and labeling 4 smaller bottles :-)

Would love to get feedback from you about this packaging, as any new packaging is a big investment (getting a big number of them is only part of the cost of new packaging - it also will require designing and printing new labels, photography for the website, etc.)

Grin Body Oil by Ayala Moriel
Grin Body Oil, a photo by Ayala Moriel on Flickr.

P.s. The picture is of my trial batch, which was at 2.4% - a little too high, so I reduced it to 2% which I think is just perfect... Also, the Indian jasmine I used in my trial batch was a little too indolic, so I replaced it with Egyptian jasmine, which is more sheer and less indolic.

By Ayala Moriel on 2011-06-04


It's sunny and warm in Vancouver (at long last!) and before I head down to Spanish Banks for my first seriously long swim of the year (hopefully!) and spend the rest of the day soaking up the late spring sun, I was determined to create a Grin scented body oil. The idea was long in the making, ever since I obtained a more substantial amount of the rare boronia absolute, which *almost* makes this luxury logical. Boronia is uber expensive, and including it in a body product is bordering on madness.

The formulation was pretty much done yesterday, but I didn't make it to the blending/experimenting stage last night. I've already decided on the base oil - incorporating silky and non greasy oils such as squalane, camellia, avocado and jojoba, which I did in Song of Songs. I was contemplating using argan oil in the base, but decided against it, thinking that for a spring scent that light, the base should be light as well. Argan is fast absorbing and beautiful on the skin, but it's very emollient and rich - and not quite what I thought suitable for this scent's texture.

The scent itself is a modification of Grin perfume, adopted for a skin formulation both concentration and ingredients wise. It's crisp and green, yet sweet, with jasmine, rose and boronia making up the most of the heart accord, and hints of woods, violet and galbanum round it off and add crispness as well as depth. All in all, it smells like a spring flower garden - lily of the valley, green leaves, violets and snowdrops. I have a patch of Grin body oil on my left arm, which makes my skin feel smooth to the touch and like a breath of spring to my nose. Can you see my smile?

Eau de Tinkerbelle

100 Jasmine Concrete
100 Muguet de Bois (Blanc)
50 Ivy
10 Citron
200 Snow Orchid (Silver)
30 Cloud Essence (Citrine-Vert)
1000 Liquid Air (Pink)
1000 Midnight Dew from Snow Orchid
Distill in a crystal ball for 24 hours, while shaking your bells vigorously.
No additional filtration is necessary

Eau de Tinkerbelle, a boronia soliflore I created in 2004, is back by customer request. I'll be blending one small batch for Princess Ellie, and than there will be 2 extra bottles for the boronia lovers among you to snatch and savour. The ingredients are really, really rare, which is why I will only be making a tiny amount of this.

Eau de Tinkerbelle is a green and playful attribute to the little envious fairy from Peter Pan. A single floral of the exotic and rare Tasmanian Boronia - a beautiful absolute reminiscent of freesias and violet, with a hay-like, sea-breeze undertone.

Top notes: Mimosa, Cassis
Heart notes: Boronia, Jasmine, Hyacinth
Base notes: Green Tea, Ambrette, Sandalwood

Mossy Whale


Mossy trees, originally uploaded by Ayala Moriel.

The moss sculpts its way on the tree trunks and branches along the Wild Pacific Trail. And I’ve heard it has something to do with how crisp and clean the air is there… The mosses and lichen love it and adorn the trees with their moss-green velvety ropes and silvery laces… And nearby, whales spit a mist of water from their lungs which towers abaove the water and they weave in and out of its depths along the rocky shores.

I wanted to play on these themes of moss and marine creatures in the 4th mod. As it turns out, I went a little too far though… I was a little adventurous, and rather than adjusting the formula a bit by changing only an element or two, I added many different elements and nuances.

First, I wanted to see what happens if I add some more violety notes, so I added even omre cassie absolute, which has a wet-wood and leather quality to it and also boronia absolute, which I find to have a certain oceanic quality about it that is hard to explain, but if you smell it you will understand what I’m talking about. And added even more Haitian vetiver!

Remembering the rotting squids also made me want to add something animalic and marine to the mix – and that’s when the ambergris joined the game. My original concept of making this a simple and not crazy expensive perfume (except for the seaweed, which is essential) pretty much flew out of the window right that moment.

I should have probably stopper right than and there to see what transpires of my efforts. But I was unhappy of whatever result was going, and added a little more of this and that – which included more citrus (lime) and more woodsy notes (juniper, cypress). But where everything went out of control was when I decided to go with nothing else but cherry cedar, which is distilled locally, and I thought would be very appropriate for this British Columbian theme. What I added accounts for just about 2% of the formula was clearly too much. All I could notice now was cedar, cedar, cedar… Red, local, whatever…! It was too much.

I let it rest for just one week. I came back to it yesterday, and the thing has transformed into the craziest berry-cedar perfume I’ve ever smelled in my life. And than it turns interestingly salty with the seaweed and boronia and the moss. It’s not bad at all. But it’s not Orcas yet - unless you are imagining a killer whale that picks wild berries and carves canoes from cherry cedar.

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