Happy Winter Solstice & Merry Christmas 2020!

Happy Winter Solstice & Merry Christmas 2020!

Wishing you all the most wonderful, cheerful, cozy and joyous holiday season!
And all the very best for the upcoming New Year 2021 - may it be a year of health, abundance and peace from within and without. May you always feel loved and always find the time to stop and smell the roses!
I sure am excited about the upcoming year, as it will celebrate 20 years of my perfumery career. Stay tuned for some very special releases, and fragrant events and sniffing parties conducted online with fragrance lovers, students and incense devotees.
I know this year's festivities are not the way we'd like them to be, and it's hard to keep traditions alive. Those who can't physically spend the coldest days of the year with family and loved ones are having the hardest time. Remember to still make this time special in whatever way you can - lighting a candle, burning incense, take a nice long relaxing bath with that oil or bubble bath that you always keep for a special time that never comes, meditation, prayer and writing in your journal to set intent and goals for the coming year. I find that writing Christmas cards to all the people I miss helped me feel so much better, especially knowing that they will be so happy and surprised to find this in the mail, instead of just bills and flyers.

Check out my SmellyBlog recipe index for more concoctions and recipes to make the festivities special this year.

Bois d'Hiver & Fête d'Hiver
Our duo of masculine and feminine winter perfumes that are festive and original. Made of natural ingredients only, as are all of our offerings - they provide a delightful and subtle alternative to the clichés of the season, while being undoubtfuly wintery. This was achieved by using luxurious frankincense, myrrh, rose and a proprietary vegan amber in both.
Bois brings together the scents of deep forest and Christmas trees, with fir, juniper and cedar, subtle of doze spices, and hint of cheerful orange blossom. Fête is more floral with added gardenia accord and slightly different array of spices for warmth and powdered-snow softness.
more Fête >>

Must Read: 500 Greatest Modern Perfumes

Basenotes is turning 15 this September! 
To celebrate, they're revealing, hour-by-hour, the "500 Greatest Modern Perfumes" that were launched from 2000 till now. This makes for a fascinating read that reveals what the choices of members of this wonderful global community of fragrance lovers (which I've been part of since 2003), which originally began mostly as a grooming and fragrance forum (AKA discussion board) for men. Yip, those were the days before blogs and vlogs, YouTube and Netflix ;-) 

The list's order is not exactly important. Rather, look at it as a compilation of what members had in their fragrance collections (AKA wardrobes), wish lists, which ones were viewed and reviewed the most, and which ones received the best star ranking. For each fragrance selected, there's also a review by one of the members. So it makes for a very fun read! 
You'll find all kinds of fragrances here, from drugstore gems and celebrity frags to posh designers releases, niche and hard to find European fragrances and of course - the creations of artisans like me who make everything by hand, bottle by bottle. So far I've seen 4 of my perfumes there: Palas Atena, Fête d'Hiver, Indigo and Kinmokusei, plus one that I've reviewed (Poivre Samarcande). You can also join the discussion on guessing what would be revealed next, on this thread

It's like a snapshot of what Basenoters have been wearing and loving for the past 15 years. The entire list will be fully rolled out on September 25th. 

Early Winter Plights and Delights

Someone have suddenly lifted the security blanket of clouds and rainfall off the city of Vancouver so that it joins the rest of Canada with its below-zero winter temperatures. And this is before winter has even officially arrived. Even in the coldest winters, (-)9 would be rare, and would certainly not hit us before late December.

I went for a little stroll this morning (40 minutes was more than enough to convince me to stay indoors as much as possible and immerse myself with sedate activities such as storytelling - aka blogging, arts and crafts - aka perfumery).

The plants, as you can see from my stroll in Nelson Park's community gardens, have froze over all the vegetation. Everything looks so miserable - like lettuce that was left unprotected in an refrigerator for far too long. They may look dark green, but there is no life in them whatsoever. The photos above are of two victims - Swiss chard and lavender. But they are not the only ones! Nearly all the evergreen bushes (rhododendrons included) look shrinking, lifeless and frost-bitten. I'm quite relieved that in a sudden moment of sanity before crawling into bed last night I rescued my gardenia bush and let us join the family in the living room.

And I was a little shocked to find that large potted plants were even brought in for a warm cup of spiced apple cider and chai at the local coffee shop!

It is so unusually cold that I think most of us in Vancouver don't even have the proper clothes for the weather. The fireplace at my home is blazing, and I even turned on the electric heat in all the rooms in the house, yet it still does not feel quite as cozy... Even after leaving the fireplace on all night (which I never do), the place is not its usual cozy self, but I'm sure the heat will accumulate after a few more days and nights...

So, in such cold days, in addition to a good cashmere sweater we need something to keep us warm and happy besides recycled cashmere sweaters and and borrowed ugg boots (I usually stay away from this, well, rather ugly indeed footwear, but it's practical in this dry and cold weather) - a little bit of nuts, butter and sugar seems quite appropriate. Especially when it's in a well-made almond croissant (I usually judge bakeries by how well they make their almond croissant - and so far the only descent croissant in town actually happens to be sold at Blenz Coffee).

And a newer discovery of mine are these rosemary caramels from up and coming Nektar Confections & Artisanal Pastries. The sweetness of the burnt sugar and butter is beautifully blanaced by the rosemary that they actually feel rather wholesome... They are yet to have their own website or store front, but you can find them at the Baker's Market, or in special events. I met them at my friend's Mindan home art sale last weekend and fell in love instantly with her simple and elegant shortbreads and with these rosemary caramels.

And last but not least - I intend to spend the remaining of the day at my studio, refilling vats with new batches of perfume that ran out because of all the intense bottling I've been doing in preparations to all my shows. For some strange reason, whatever formulation is out of stock seems to be the one that people end up ordering.

I was up late in the lab last night, making new batches of Fête d'Hiver , Yasmin and Zohar. It was time to refill the little rose otto vial with more otto from the big vat from the supplier... Although my studio upstairs is not freezing cold, it was too cold for this pretty lady (I mean: the rose otto). As I was pouring - always carefully, slowly and gently - a large clear crystal of rose otto (this happens to this delicate essence below room temperature) - blocked the way and caused a minor spillage... Nothing too dramatic, but I am starting to run out of this essence, so every drop is precious. I was able to save some of the otto and collect it into the Fête d'Hiver vat. But for the remaining of the night my desk, hands, face and brain smelled like pure organic rose otto from Bulgaria... A pretty inspiring way to drift off to sleep.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Location:Haro St,Vancouver,Canada

Fête d'Hiver reviewed on Perfume Shrine

Visit Perfume Shrine blog to read Helg's review of Fête d'Hiver, my perfume celebrating the winter holidays, with the soft ambiance of snow and fur...
You'll also find there a brief mention of Bois d'Hiver, the limited edition this winter - foresty, with sweet balsams and flowers, and a hint of spice.

Image: Sugar Plum Snowflake by Piper
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