Boutique Exclusives

Boronia, originally uploaded by Helen Boronia McHugh.

Recent increases in rare floral essences prices have forced me to do something I don't like doing, but have to: increase the price on selected perfumes from my collection. I don't like the snobbish attitude this may imply, but if I want to be able to continue buying the materials to make these perfumes, logic forces me to follow what the numbers request.

The perfumes subject to the increase are those containing precious essences such as boronia, broom (the latter has increased its price significantly this year, and is now about $500 per ounce) and jonquille. Also, the ones that I will probably not be able to get for a long time if at all - such as ambergris and East Indian sandalwood (I have enough in stock to make Gigi for a whilte).

The price for the following perfumes are exclusive to Ayala Moriel's boutique as they can only be produced on a small scale. Their price have been increased to $160 per 9ml flacon:
l'Écume des Jours
And of course, Sahleb and the upcoming (2009) perfume The Purple Dress will bear the same price, reflecting the high concentration of rare essences that goes into their disctinc scent (orris with 15% irone and ambrette seed in Sahleb and red & golden champaca in The Purple Dress).

Thorny Experiments

One of my missions for this visit was the harvest and tincturing of the thorny bushes that account for the most intoxicating fragrance of spring in my village. The yellow flowers of a variety from the family of broom – only much more thorny. In Hebrew it is called Kidah Seirah. The thorns are sharp and evil and can be likened to small poisonous swords and may cause quite some pain for a while for those unfortunate enough to be wounded by them. The flowers, however, are heavenly smelling – with a scent reminiscent of sweet peas and sunshine. When the peak of the blossoming season arrives, it is almost dangerous to walk outside without becoming intoxicated by their sweet and ethereal aroma.

It was my dream to be able to extract and even a little bit of spring in my visit, but I was not able to make it true. When it comes to tincturing, I am quite the novice and am yet to feel successful with the results.

After an elaborate harvesting process with my devoted assistant, and waiting for over a week to mature, the result is not quite satisfying. Once the blast of alcohol brashly escapes the vessel, I am left with a sweet, honeyed yet sickening aroma that is not floral, but rather – reminiscent of propollis. Medicinal and not quite what I would call pleasant, not to mention inspiring or spring-like. I have left the jar behind, and took with me the renewed memory of the dangerous beauty of spring blossoms, and a few pictures to share with you.

The first one being the bushes in their natural rocky hills environment.

This is a handful of the precious flowers, which took about an hour to pick:

And this is how I ruined them by soaking them in alcohol, hoping to get their essence in return for the free booze:

I am quite convinced that the absolute of these flowers would have been incredible. But given the challenge of picking the flowers, despite their abundance, it would not be very realistic to keep such an operation for an extended period of time. It was fun though!

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