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Enrollment Closes Tonight for the Traditional Incense Crafting Course!

Enrollment Closes Tonight for the Traditional Incense Crafting Course!

I would like to remind you that today is the last day to sign up for The Traditional Incense Crafting Course and receive some fantastic bonuses! 

If you register by midnight tonight, Nov. 12th, you’ll receive 3 new bonuses (5 in total!):

*Incense Crafting Starter Kit – A variety of aromatic wood and resin powders help you make your first few batches of incense. Plus free shipping within the US! ($50 value)

*Aromatics & Incense Master Interview Series – Precious and rare insights into the world of incense and scent with hours of interviews from the world’s top incense crafters, perfumers, and herbalists. ($97 value)

*Incense Resins Mini-Course — Learn all about the wide world of tree gums and resins—the incense crafters favorite ingredients. Know their histories, uses, and how to incorporate them in incense, infused oils, salves, and other healing and fragrant products. From the resins ambassador Dan Riegler ($149 value)

*Natural Perfumery Mini-Course –Learn the foundations of Natural Perfumery and how to make botanical extractions and formulate and craft amazing homemade perfumes in this in-depth introductory class from master natural perfumer, Ayala Moriel.  ($149 value)

*The Materia Aromatica eBook – A collection of the traditional therapeutic, ritual, and historical uses of 20 of the most popular aromatic incense plants. ($9 value)

*PLUS, Evan just announced a new $33 a month payment plan today for the course!

The knowledge in this program from the Northwest School of Aromatic Medicine can add layers of depth to your understanding of plants and healing, and gives you more ways to use aromatics plants in your life; whether with your clients, in your business, or in your home.

You’ll be guided to work with the natural world’s raw aromatic materials and be shown many professional incense techniques, tips and tricks. You’ll also gain confidence to continue developing your incense practice after the course is complete.

I'm so happy to be able to share this opportunity with you at a discounted price with such great bonuses!

I really think you’ll love this class. I’ve personally taken the incense programs from the Northwest School of Aromatic Medicine, and loved every moment. I learned so many incredibly valuable teachings and had so much fun in the process!

Reserve your spot in program today! 

See you in there,

Ayala Moriel

Mastic Magic


Mastic Wreath
On January 8, 2018, I had the pleasure and honour to co-host a day-long workshop with Dan Riegler of Apothecary's Garden, who came all the way from Canada for some resinous adventures in the Holy Land. Here are some photos from our day together, along with 5 students from across the country.
Mastic Wreath

Mastic wreaths, to greet you at the door. Harvesting mastic branches and separating the leaves for distillation was part of the practical side of the workshop. We also dabbled in some very basic basketry related skills, turning these branches into a decorative chain. 
Mastic leaf distillation (Hydrosol)
Here is the still (a converted couscousiere) which we used to demonstrate distillation process. We produced only distillate waters (hydrosol). 
Preparing mastic leaves for distillation


Dan setting up the still and crushing the mastic leaves a bit more...

Lunch with a view

We went over to my brother's on our break, to enjoy lunch he cooked especially for us, and enjoy the beautiful view from his porch.

Mastic Branches, Leaves & Resin
Mastic before it's getting crushed and macerated over low heat with olive oil to create a mastic-olive oil infusion. 
Canadian beeswax - yum!
Beeswax from Canada, which along with the mastic-infused olive oil was handcrafted into a healing salve (great for treating eczema and other skin conditions). 
Mastic
Mastic resin from Chios, Greece. 


Incense pastilles
Incense pastilles - made from mastic and frankincense tears, to which we've added mastic leaf tincture and other aromatics to create a customized incense "candy". These can be enjoyed by warming them over an electric hot plate or an essential oil diffuser, or placing over a charcoal like you would with loose incense.

Hope to see you next time for another great botanical workshop! 


Burning through the Desert

Dan Rielger & Ayala Moriel

A few months ago (the last day of April, to be exact, which was also the first day of my Orientals week-long course), I had the pleasure and honour to host a special guest throughout the day: Dan Riegler of Apothecary's Garden - a purveyor of fair trade resins from around the world - especially frankincense and myrrh that are wild crafted in the traditional methods in countries such as Somalia, Yemen and Kenya. He also sources Cretan labdanum, and other rare raw materials, and sells resin-centrered products that he concocts himself, which you can find on his online shop. One of them being a highly fragrant moustache wax which basically surrounded him with a cloud of frankincense - so obviously he made an instant good impression on me!

We started the day at the Baha'i Gardens in Akko (which deserve a full post dedicated to them) and then went to my studio to make incense - and burn a bunch too. Little did I know what I was signing up for. On top of the usual things I burn for this class (palo santo chips, sandalwood incense sticks, one type of myrrh and frankincense resins and my own rendition of Egyptian Kyphi) - Dan had a trunk-load of resins that he just imported from Africa, and was immensely kind and generous to share with us the most incredible incense resins with me and my class. We spent the afternoon burning rare myrrh, olibanum, and also some gums I never knew existed, namely Sandarac and Ammoniacum, the latter of which totally blew my mind.

I learned so much from Dan, about the resins (and the other raw materials he curates and sells), how they are harvested and collected, the chemical makeup of the resins and how it affects the stages of burning (it turns out that incense resins also have top, heart and base notes) - and this post is just a little taste of all the beautiful resins we burnt when he was here. I'm looking forward to meeting him again on his next visits in Israel on the way to the African continent.

Boswellia carterii
Frankincense usually comes in "tears" shape as this Boswellia carterii - but not always. Below is a specimen of the less known B. neglecta that look more like a chunk of resinous granules. B. carterii has the characteristic, most unmistakable scent of frankincense - beginning with sweet citrus notes of lemon drops and orange candy and continuing into more resinous, woody and even balsamic, caramel-like nuances as the incense burns on the charcoal.

While looking pretty much the same, other frankincense species provide further nuances and a whole frankincense burning comparative study (or incense games a-la Japenese Koh-Doh) can easily occupy half a day. Compare this to Maydi (Boswellia frereana) which albeit its slightly herbaceous (sage-like) opening, is more subtle, woody and perfumey. In fact, it smells almost powdery like violet and iris. Ethiopian frakincince (Boswellia papyrifea) is even finer with its suave, light perfume notes, slightly sweet and with notes of burnt sugar at the end of the charcoal burning process.

Boswellia negoecta - black and white

Boswellia neglecta is endemic to north Kenya and comes in white and black forms (as you can see in the photo) and is not widely known. The white and the black smell significantly different. The white begins resinous-green, piney and mysterious, surprisingly juice like crushed leaves with hints of parsley, galbanum and ammonia (smells a lot like amoniacum).  It has a hint of sweaty note, a little like coriander seed. The final burning moments bring to mind the smoke coming out of autumnal piles of fall leaves.

The black neglecta smells completely different - you wouldn't think it came from the same plant: it smells dark and looming, like moss, mushrooms, decaying fall leaves, peat, forest floor and hints of campfire. It's surprising and magical that a resin can possess so many different facets.

Sandarac
Sandarac (tetraclllyris) comes from Malta and just like its pure milky appearance, burns clean with a woody-balsamic-resinous scent that is fine and very pleasant. It's a little bit like elemi, a little like mastic but not quite. There is a tiny hint of seashore to it that I only detected after many times of burning. It is quite lovely, even if underwhelming at first impression.

Ammoniacum
Ammoniacum is intense and pungent, like a mixture of galbanum, asafoetida, sulphur, greens. It it a very interesting odour but I suspect it would have better effect in magic and exorcism ceremonies rather than contemplative incense rituals.

Commiphora confusa

Commiphora confusa, as the name suggests, is a type of myrrh that is hard to identify, and for several reasons: the flowers look different on each plant, the resin looks different as well - and the most surprising of all: it smells more like frankincense than myrrh.

Commiphora myrrha

Commiphora myrrha (from Ethiopea) has the characteristic bitter, rubbery scent when burnt, and is what I'd imagine the Queen of Sheba to wear on her neck when seducing King Solomon.

Commiphora karat

Commiphora kataf (from Kenya) has pieces of wood in it (which would change the smell of the smoke depending on which chunk you burn). It has a strange, sulphuric-sweaty odour. I guess you could call it spicy, as it has a hint of cumin in it too. Overall it reminds me more of the smell of food than incense - barbecuing kebabs comes to mind.

Commiphira holziana
Commiphora holtziana does not smell like myrrh at all to me. It's more woody than C. myrrha, and a tad fresh to start with. Dan describes it as briny and sea-like but I'm not getting it.

Arabian/Yemeni Myrrh
Arabian/Yemeni Myrrh is by far the most incredibly beautiful myrrh resin I've ever burnt. Although it came in a strange looking chunk, containing pieces of the plastic bags used by the collectors, and even a piece of wool yarn, it has the most fantastic scent, like a perfume on its own accord. It reminds me of the unique "version" of frankincense that B. papyrifea offers. I would love to have this as an essential oil and create a perfume with it.

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