Chocolate Sunset

Scorching Sunset by Ayala Moriel
Scorching Sunset, a photo by Ayala Moriel on Flickr.
Chocolate Sunset was created by Sarah Horowitz Parfums especially for the LA Artisan Fragrance Salon. It's part of her Banque de Parfums phenomenon: exclusive monthly limited edition perfumes that are created for her loyal customers. Every month you can find something new and exciting coming out of Sarah's studio in Westlake Village - and is replaced by a new, singular experience the following month.

Sarah Horowitz Parfums

To quote from Sarah herself: "Chocolate Sunset is our nod to the final glorious days of summer and the richness of fall; two seasons that collide in September, neither yielding to the other as they put on a show of their beauty".

Chocolate Sunset, just as Sarah described it in her own words, is mostly a base notes perfume. You will immediately smell patchouli, Sarah's all-time favourite (as I learned from my visit to her studio along with Persephenie and Miriam). She has many different patchouli accords in her organ, and has created more patchouli perfumes that I could recount - including some private label and custom perfumes she created for her "Fragrance Journey" customers. From her steady collections - you can enjoy Love Comes from Within (a spicy, dry oriental that is based on patchouli, carnation and cloves, with a nod to the timeless Tabu and Cinnabar), and the surprisingly dry Perfect Bliss.

But it wouldn't be Chocolate Sunset without cacao! And while patchouli is immediately recognized - from the vial as well as upon application - it's the chocolate that acts as a "top note" to intrigue and almost has a "come hither" role. The darker side of chocolate is extended by an oud accord, dark and resinous and animalic, which leads us to the musky finish: Egyptian musk, which is what lingers the longest and creates a clean, skin-scent quality, still with some woodsy warmth. But eventually it's the musk that takes over. It's never obviously gourmand; nothing like Angel either as you'd expect from the chocolate and patchouli marriage, which might be due to the tiny hint of jasmine, which seems to simply have a bouquetting effect if recognized at all. It's a mellow, cozy yet sexy scent that can be worn in the heat wave of Los Angeles in September, and will lead you through a cooler fall anywhere else with warmth and ease.

Sarah & Miriam 
Sarah Horowitz-Thran (right) and Miriam Varledzis (left) 

Highlights from my LA Trip

Fountain/Fan Plant 
Last weekend I embarked on yet another trip to Los Angeles (my second this year! Did I get the travel bug, or what?!). Before I get fully into the reasons behind the trip - the Artisan Fragrance Salon - I thought I'll share a few snippets of scents, aromas and all-around goodness that accompanied me in this trip.

Giant Plumeria by Ayala Moriel
Giant Plumeria, a photo by Ayala Moriel on Flickr

I stayed with Persephenie, a kindered spirit whom I now feel like I have known for ages. She was not participating at the salon after all (all because some good news - her line is now heading to Japan!) but we got to spend some quality fragrant time together.

This gorgeous plumeria tree grows somewhere on 4th street if my memory serves me right, on the way to Persephenie's studio (Edinburgh avenue, just off 3rd street). I was surprised at the very faint and decidedly soapy scent it had in the morning, even though the sun was at full blast by 10am: it was so light, fresh and soapy I thought I was smelling an Ivory soap bar mingled with sun tan lotion... A couple of days later, in the full afternoon sun (apparently there is higher blast than full blast), it smelled very strongly of the original Kai perfume oil - heady, tropical, almost fruity, and just all around paradise-like!

Meeting of the Noses @ Sarah Horowitz's studio

We visited Sarah Horowitz at her perfume studio in Westlake Village. It's set in a gorgeous establishment, with bubbling waters in the courtyard and a couple of restaurants downstairs. We first met there - Persephenie, Sarah and Miriam from 40notes. Then we visited Sarah's lovely studio space and had a full tour, including sneak sniffs into the salon feature - her Chocolate Sunset perfume, which is gorgeous and deserves a whole post all of its own!

And the best part was trying so many wonderful new creations, by Sarah and by the other perfumers whom I met at the salon on Sunday (which I will get to later tomorrow, after ample sleep), and experiencing Persephenie's new and gorgeous as always Island Violet cream. And the greatest surprise (though, come to think of it - not really...) was discovering that not only me, but also other incense lovers (which Persephenie truly is) start their day by burning incense, in any shape or form. One of them was especially rosy - almost like the rahat loukum candy with and overdose of rosewater and vanilla... Can there be a better way to start the day? Probably only a strawberry muffin!

Strawberry-Buttermilk Muffin
Joan's On Third is a marvellous place a friend invited me to when I was in LA back in June. Bakery, cafe and catering company whose owner must be a really lovely person because everything that comes out of her bakery is spectacular. So much so that I had brought nothing home for my daughter but a couple of these luscious strawberry buttermilk muffins! They were so fragrant and just melted in your mouth; and not nearly as sweet as the coffee shop variety. Add a slice of cheddar on the side and you have a pretty substantial breakfast.

California grown Citrons!

And last but not least: the marvellously refreshing, aromatic scent of California-grown citrons!
This lovely and generous gift of noi less than 7 etrogim awaited me at Persephenie's studio - straight from the orchard! I'm going to be tincturing them tomorrow and am thrilled that I will have another fresh batch of citron tincture so that I can continue making more Etrog Oy de Cologn. It's been rapidly gaining popularity, I can barely keep it in stock! Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!

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