more raspberry fingers

A significant part of preparing for my trans-atlantic move involves sifting through my countless of bottley possessions. While there has been some reported sightings of letting go, it hasn't made even the slightest dent in the number of glassware filled with precious liquid that I'm going to have to meticulously wrap and prepare for marine freight.

But what has happened was rediscovering of certain scents, and realizing that even though I rarely wear them - they're too special to let go of. Such is Yohji, in its clear "glass coffin" box, whose packaging alone inspires curiosity. By the way, its original wrapping also included being neatly rolled in parchment paper.

Yohji is singular in its execution of the ambreine theme, and turning it into a fully-fledged gourmand  - with a twist. Ambreine is the basis of many great oriental fragrances, and is based on the contrast of vanillin and bergamot, traditionally with rose and jasmine as harmonizers and  a touch of coumarin and patchouli for depth (for reference: this is the core of perfumes such as Shalimar, Emeraude, et al, and the modernized with the gourmand interpretations of fragrances such as Angel, Lolita Lempicka and Prada Ambre Intense Pour Homme).

Yohji intensifies this simple pleasure by utilizing the striking sharp green of galbanum that adds a much needed interest to the bergamot facet, as well galbanum resin at the base, which has a decidedly balsamic quality that adds interest to the sugary vanillin. But rather than having rose and jasmine connect these two extremes of balsamic and citrus - the perfumer nestled ripe, syrupy berries in the midst. Namely, raspberries and blackberries.

While the structure of Yohji is very much like that of Angel and Lolita Lempicka, it leaves a memorable mark on the smeller and stands apart from other modern gourmands. Additionally, while it does bring to mind the historic contrast of galbanum and raspberry found in the classic green floral from the 70s, Ivoire, it still comes across as strikingly different, in its decidedly unfloral core and lack of interest in obeying any trends or fitting any expectations whatsoever. It's also unclassified gender-wise - and there is no reason for men not to wear it, despite the lack of the subtitle "Homme".

My memories of Yohji were a bit of mixed feelings - first of all, because of its intensity, which to begin with made me wear it scarcely. Although it's not quite as aggressive as Angel, it is pretty close. Additionally, many falls ago,  when I just "met" Yohji (I've had a purse-size spray received in a swap), was when my doughter was recovering from a summer accident that broke her leg. It was a time of overwhelmingly intense transitions and challenges, and I found the scent to bring just the right amount of confidence and a great complement to brisk cold busy workweek mornings with too many tasks to catch up with and made me feel just a tad braver than before applying it. But that also tends to translate to not being able to wear it again after, simply because of the strong emotional association. Now that many years have passed without me touching it, and when I'm again facing a big life change, I find it to be oddly comforting. Only now I truly embrace its audacity and can appreciate its structure better. The opening, which can be experienced as harsh (there is more than a little acetone-like note going on there), does not bother me anymore, and I absolutely adore the dry down which reminds me of an almond and raspberry torte.

P.s. This review is for the 1996 version of Yohji. It was re-launched in 2013 and I have not tried the new version - therefore unable to comment on it at this time. If you've tried it - I would like to hear from you if it's worth a sniff. Perhaps it is the berry aspect that I'm sentimental about, and maybe that is the berry perfume I've been looking for all summer?

Attention: Perfume Collector's Moving Sale

Perfumes to a good home

Turns out most of my perfume collection of perfumes brings me a whole lot of joy. The ones pictured above are in search of a new home. I that you, SmellyBlog readers and avid perfume lovers (and collectors), will find something that brings you joy among these, as they are up for sale. I also promise to include fun samples with each transaction.

More details about the ones pictured above (from left to right, top to bottom):

Private Collection Jasmine White Moss (Estee Lauder) - Pendant decorated with blue semi-precious stones, with solid perfume that makes an impressive statement piece. The solid perfume inside has discoloured from the metal, unfortunately, and the scent has faded. Consider this as a costume jewellery purchase :-) Also keep in mind that this is discontinued $50

Stella in Two Amber (Stella McCartney) - solid perfume with compact - gently used - discontinued. $50

Agent Provocateur x 2 25mL purse atomizers with chain attached. I got a set of 3, and I only need one of them. They can come in box if you purchase both ($40) or individually $25).

Cognac (Aftelier) 2mL mini $30
Lumiere (Aftelier) 2mL mini  $40

Ezra's Poem  (Soivohle’) 4-5mL mini $20

Kelly Caleche (Hermes) 7.5mL mini $10

Narciso (Narciso Rodriguez) body lotion + sample in pouch (boxed and unopened) $10

Narciso Eau de Parfum (Narciso Rodriguez) 50mL very gently used - almost full and still in box $50

Yerbamate (Lorenzo Villoresi) Eau de Toilette unusual, gorgeous fouler with maté and tomato leaf notes 95% full 100mL $100 (paid $150)

Un Jardin Apres la Mousson dry oil (Hermes) 100mL $30

Dioressence vintage mini cahrming retro style, about 80% full $15

Sweet Lime & Cedar (Jo Malone) - 30mL 95% full  DISCONTINUED $50

Femme (Rochas) 100mL new version practically full $90

Aqaba (Miriam Mirani) 50mL box is covered in woven straw that is falling apart. Otherwise it’s in perfect condition and about 95% full $40 - SOLD

Ma Griffe with OAKMOSS! Older formulation (bought at the store but labeling tells me it is from about 12-15 years ago), practically full $100

KISU (Tann Rokka) 50mL no box, opaque black glass bottle. Received this in a swap so can't guarantee how full it is - but it was rather full when I got and I have not used it much. Just to be safe - I'm estimating it's 70% - $40

Notorious (Ralph Lauren) 50mL barely used DISCONTINUED fantastic modern gourmand-Chypre with vetiver and cacao notes $40

Deseo (JLo) 100mL about 80% full Discontinued albeit the best JLo fragrance IMHO - a very dry, mineral modern Chypre $20

Vaara (Penhaligon's) boxed manufacturer's purse spray/decant $20

Sugar (Fresh) 30mL eau de parfum, no box, about 70% full $7

Something About Sofia (BeneFit) 30mL hardly ever used $20

Harajuku Lovers - Sunshine Cuties - Lil’ Angel 10mL hardly ever been used - adorable doll-like bottle - and a perfect summery fragrance that smells like angel's food cake! - $12

Lolita Lempicka, boxed purse atomizer 7mL (from the manufacturer) - not in the picture $10

Apple Blossom - charming vintage mini. Scent is not all that great. $1


I'm also putting out my perfume decant collection. All of the following are spray bottles unless otherwise specified. The following are for sale + $16 shipping (International airmail with no insurance; Within North America this includes tracking & insurance). From left to right:

Sacrebleue (Parfums de Nicolai) 30mL almost full $15

Piper NIgrum (Lorenzo Villorsei) 10mL almost full $10

Casma Cologne (vintage) - about 4mL vial $4

Goccia di Cristallo (Borsari) - about 4mL vial $4

Izmir (Neil Morris) 5mL - $5

Vision in Black (Neil Morris) 5mL - $5

Mousse II (Oliver & Co) 5mL - $5

Vetiverus (Oliver & Co) 5mL - $5

Teinte de Neige (Lorenzo Villoresi) about 5mL left $5

Citta di Kyoto (Santa Maria Novella) about 20mL left $15

Bonus - not in the picture - Rare!
Guardian's Sous la Vent 100mL vat - I bought this myself in the Guerlain's flagship store in Champs Elysees.
Unfortunately the original bottle cracked enroute from Paris, so I had to transfer it to an amber,  lab-style bottle. You may also receive the original box and (glued up) bottle if you purchase this. - 100mL $100

Please note:
All prices are in USD. Shipping is $16 for packages up to 500g (this includes insurance + tracking within North America; International shipping is airmail with no insurance). Larger orders (heavier than 500g) will require extra shipping charges. Payment via PayPal or Interac money transfers (if you're inside Canada).

Please email me if you're interested or for more information.

A Word About My Discontinued Perfumes

Last year, my decision to remove unnecessary clutter from my life and return to my core has also been translated to some trimming of the collection of perfumes offered. In response to some of you, who were worried your favourite scent is being discontinued I would like to explain 2 things:
a)    To make room for new scents, I do need to clear our shelves a little bit – both at the studio, and on the virtual  boutique. There is simply no ample space in both to keep moving forward AND dwell on the past simultaneously. Especially with the size of our screens constantly shrinking (not to mention attention span). It was a tough decision, but it had to be made.

b)    With that being said, I will continue to re-blend discontinued fragrances on a made-to-order basis. This has always been the mandate at Ayala Moriel Parfums, and I am fully committed to never discontinue your favourite scent (unless, of course, I can no longer find the ingredients to make it).
To further clarify how this would play out: I’m currently working on a new website. When this will take place, the discontinued fragrances will no longer be part of the virtual boutique; but will still appear in a designated section where their descriptions and notes will be at your fingertips to peruse. There will be a minimum order of 15ml for either an Eau de Parfum and Parfum Oil. Both will be priced the same way a refill for a Signature Perfume is priced 15ml EDP in the splash/spray bottle for around $180-$250 (depending on the scent); and 3 x 5ml parfum oil roll-ons for $315).


Before I begin, I have two announcements to make: First of all, I want to thank the generous Joanna for sharing a decant of vintage Diorella with me. This review is based on my subsequent wearings of this beautiful rendition, prior to the oakmoss banning days. My second confession is that some ten or so years ago, when Diorella was quite widely available (and before oakmoss was so ridiculously restricted) and it did not quite capture my heart. While I liked its freshness and similarity to the brilliant Eau Sauvage, here was something about it that I disliked - a combination of the heaady floral note of honeysuckle, and the soapy aldehydes at the opening. Time perhaps has been kind with Diorella, because she has aged gracefully. Or perhaps it is an even earlier formulation of the same one. But it is certainly different from the scrubbed and lathered version you’ll find on the Dior counters nowadays.

Way before its time, Roudnitska was at ease incorporating fruit salad elements in his fragrances in a most refreshing, light-weight manner... created in 1972, Roudnitska’s fruit has thankfully no affinity with the syrupy, unbearably sweet fruity-gourmand florals of the new millenia; but rather posessed a cheerful lightness paired with complex substance from more earthy and floral notes of natural raw materials. So again, these are far superior to the light, watery fruity-florals of the 90‘s, though these were strongly influenced by the asthetics that Roudnitska developed with the creation of Eau Sauvage, which introduced the concept of space and expansion to modern perfumery.

Diorella is munching on a honeydew melon (or is it a cantaloupe?). It is ripe, juicy yet somehow still crisp, as it is brilliantly paired with citrusy notes of lemon and bergamot and a touch of spicy-sweet green basil. Her peach-toned skin emanates a scent that is similar to white peach’s delicate, milky and slightly nutty aroma, due to the use of peach aldehyde and peach lactone. These unique fruity notes were both brilliantly used in a non-edible way (as Edmound Roudnitska explains beautifully in Michael Edward’s book, Perfume Legends - French Feminine Fragrances). Rather, it brings freshness and a unique texture to the jus. It is brilliantly paired with effervescent, ethereal and soapy honeysuckle, crushed basil leaves and a tad of the oily aldehydic notes backed with ionones, that simultaneously give the clean impression of triple-milled soap, and the dirty allusion to hosiery that’s been worn and sweated in for at least half a day. That dichotomy between anti-bacterial herbs and animal/human secretion seems to be at the core of Diorella.

The oily aldheyde and peach notes fades rather quickly, allowing the basil and citrus notes more breathing room. Orris butter is present yet very subtle, giving a soft-focus background to the composition, and making it somehow smell more feminine. What truly moves to the forefront is jasmine. Pure, unadulterated, indole-rich jasmine at its best. And it is that indole that will accompany Diorella throughout her strut on the skin and the surrounding air - first an ethereal jasmine, and later on a full, unabridged indolic jasmine, with its fruity, jammy peach-like and earthy and animalic character beautifully showcasing this gorgeous phenomenon. The similarity to Le Parfum de Thérèse as well as Eau Sauvage are striking; but what surprised me what the affinity I discovered with Eau d’Hermes. Also a perfume that is all about jasmine, yet from a very different point of view - more warm, sweet-earthy and spicy. It is probably the juxtaposition of jasmine with ionones that creates that olfactory connection for me.

Last but not least, it’s time to talk about the base notes, the foundation of Diorella. No matter how much Roudnitska denies any connection to Eau Sauvage, the similarity is striking, despite the differences. There is definitely oakmoss, but not nearly as much as in Eau Sauvage, which gives it more of a green, dry and woody character rather than a dense, brown-earthy and musky feel. Vetiver also supports it in this direction. Even the patchouli, which appears in both, seems to be toned down and instead of the big-warm-oily patchouli hug you get in some feminine Chypres such as Miss Dior - there is just a single brush stroke of it, done in aquarelle. Last but not least, where Eau Sauvage has a generous dose of hay, which gives it an almost-fougere quality, Diorella has a subtle sprinkle of tonka bean (or perhaps just pure synthetic coumarin - in reality there is a very small difference between the two), giving it a slightly bitter finish, but with that feminine soft-focus that reflects the orris from earlier on.

Diorella is a very Mediterranean perfume, and truly reminds me of Grasse and the surrounding area, including the perfumer’s home and garden (which I visited in 2009). It also reminds me of a perfume that his son, Michel Roudnitska created way into the future - Eau Emotionelle - also playing on the cantaloupe-jasmine-ionone theme, but in oil-pain strokes rather than the sheer aquarelle of his father's. The culture in that area is greatly influenced by Italy and Spain, and there is something very Italian about it, especially in the opening notes. If Diorella was a woman, she would be one with a very outgoing, young spirit. A woman that loves to laugh and enjoy life’s pleasures, and just goes with the flow - but isn’t audacious or dominant by any means, and is very kind, generous and open but without ever being vulgar in the least. There is something truly carefree, open, fun, bursting with life and joie de vivre about it. In case you didn’t know already - it’s a true masterpiece. It has been relatively recently re-introduced along with the other classic retro Dior-fumes: Diorling, Dioressence, Diorama... I’m sure the new version pales in comparison but I’m nevertheless intrigued to find out what they’ve done to it to overcome the restrictions on jasmine levels and the industry’s new (low) standard of avoiding oakmoss at all costs (even though it is still allowed - the washed-down version of atranol-free absolute, and at only very low percentage).

Top notes: Bergamot, Lemon, Basil, Melon, Aldehydes, Peach
Heart notes: Jasmine, Honeysuckle, Hedione, Orris, Violet
Base notes: Oakmoss, Patchouli, Vetiver, Coumarin
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