Scent Safari: Video Review for Komorebi

Maximilian Must Know Episode # 431 (Scent Safari - Ayala Moriel)

First video reviews ever for Ayala Moriel Parfums! And first review of my new perfume Komorebi - yayMaximilian compares it to Serge Lutens' Fille en Aiguilles, and says describes it as redolent of "woods, some forest funk, and this note of pine-like tree sap with some berries (...)" . FYI the vial titled "Forest Amber" is really Komorebi - before I had a name for it.

Also reviewed in this episode: Etrog, Film Noir, Espionage:
"The key word with these fragrances from Ayala is quality, development, power and performance (...) there is no gimmick (...) really high quality perfume made with passion and ingenuity and no shortcuts (...) This is as good as it gets. These are regal fragrances, fit for royalty". 

Film Noir Bar Featured in EauMG 2013 Gift Guide for Natural Beauties

Film Noir Bar (3-in-1 moisturizing bar for bathing, shaving & shampoo) is featured in EauMG 2013 Gift Guide for Natural Beauties.
The bar was created in collaboration with Open Source Soap, a Eugene Oregon based artisan custom soapmaker.
Film Noir Bar is made of the "usual" awesome formula of rich-lather soap, with the addition of moisturizing jojoba and castor oils, and nourishing cocoa butter. Perfect for travel, as it will save space in your suitcase, and weigh you down less, and will save you time if you need to go through airport security...

To The Ends of the Earth: Ten Fragrances That Will Transport

It is no secret that we are huge advocates for travel. There is nothing more enriching, exciting, or educating than bursting outside of your own familiar, cultural bubble and traveling somewhere far outside your country and possibly comfort zone. Summer is one of the best times to travel because most people get a little more time off and it usually means that the weather is going to be nice wherever you go. Even if you’re operating on a busy schedule and/or tight budgets don’t allow for summer travel this year - there is no excuse for not experiencing the cultures of countries far, far away this summer: Books, restaurants, recipes, movies, and of course, perfume will transport you to the desired destination fast and effortlessly!

Espionage – Destination: London, England

A subtly sexy scent that blends seamlessly with the scent of one’s natural skin, Espionage is a captivating and elusive blend of precious woods, classic florals and edgy leathery notes. With tonka bean, vanilla absolute, cedar wood, and nuances of cigar smoke and leather, you will find yourself transported o a mysterious London bar in the dead of night. 

Recipe idea: Lavender Ice Cream

  Film Noir – Destination: Hollywood, California

The golden age of Hollywood, the captivating thirties and forties, was a time of drama, intrigue, unadulterated luxury and true mystery – something that seems to be all but lost in today’s over-exposed culture. Film Noir’s decadent cacao, myrrh, and patchouli fragrance will help you channel Greta Garbo and Marlene Dietrich and the effortless power and unapologetic femininity that these femme-fatales conveyed.

Etrog - Destination: Israel 

Etrog is the Hebrew name for citrus medica, a truly rare citrus fruit that is prized for it’s delicate floral aroma and flavor. Etrog is one of the four species in Sukkot and symbolizes the heart while representing a whole and complete person, one who has wisdom and knowledge but also compassion and who commits good deeds. This fragrance is composed of ingredients that are reminiscent of Israel such as olive tree resin, opoponax (sweet myrrh), frankincense, petitgrain cedrat (leaves and twigs from the citron tree), and crisp green myrtle. A truly captivating fragrance with rare Mediterranean  ingredients.

Pales Atena – Destination: Greece 

Named after the Greek goddess of Wisdom,  Pales Atena combines spices like cinnamon with a base of patchouli, amber and sandalwood, which sets the warm tone for the fragrance. These warm base notes form a powerful foundation for lavender, sweet orange, vibrant jasmine grandiflorum, and the exotic and rounded flowers of champaca (a tropical golden-coloured magnolia).

 Sabotage – Destination: Acores, Portugal 

The beauty of the Portuguese islands is incomparable in its tranquility. There is something about the vast azure sea, rolling green hills, and sharp cliffs that have captured my heart since visiting my family there in 2009. The streets lined with hydrangeas and the fragrant aroma of “maracuja” (passionfruit) and sun-baked grass and earth are what I remember most about my summer spent in Sao Miguel and Terceira.  Sabotage’s citrusy notes of orange flower, lemon zest and lemon leaf combine with earthy Haitian vetiver, pimento berry (a spice often used in Portuguese cooking) and pungent green give a little spicy twist to this scent, reminiscent of Portugal’s invigorating coast and islands.

Recipe idea: Queijadas (Portuguese Custard Tarts)

Rainforest – Destination: British Columbia

British Columbia is renowned for its breath-taking natural scenery. It’s majestic mountains, calm seas, and abundant forests define B.C as a province and make it a beloved home to its locals and a thrilling and truly stunning destination for travellers. Rainforest is a coniferous, woody, chypre fragrance that encapsulates the fragrance and feeling of walking through the rain-kissed forest, inhaling the damp moss, pine needles and soft wild flowers. Cedar-wood, oakmoss, juniper berry, violet leaf and spruce are some of the notes that compose this refreshing, very west-coast fragrance.

Cabaret – Destination : Caribbean
With creamy vanilla absolute, tropical magnolia, dark coconut, orris root and Turkish rose, Cabaret evokes images of nights spent on Caribbean beaches with the azure waves frothing against the sandy shore. It’s a sexy, sweet, and subtle gourmand, perfect for your sensory tropical vacation.

Recipe idea: Raw Coconut Macaroons

New Orleans – Destination: New Orleans, Louisiana

For those who have always dreamt of going to a Mardi Gras but have never gotten the chance to go, New Orleans is afragrance that celebrates the Louisiana coast with oceanic seaweed and ambergris supported by uplifting notes of Meyer lemon, Murcott mandarin, osmanthus, rosemary, vetiver Haiti, tea rose and white magnolia. It’s a fresh soft scent that captures the lively and irrepressible spirit of New Orleans.

 Finjan – Destination: Turkey

 Finjanis a darkly sweet, oriental gourmand fragrance that celebrates the fragrant flavor and aroma of Turkish coffee with coffee absolute, clove, cardamom, blood orange, rose maroc, and balsam tolu. It’s a spicy unisex fragrance that will take your heart and senses to the fragrant Middle East.

Bon Zai – Destination: Japan

Japan is an island of delicate yet striking natural and historical beauty. Bon Zai, inspired by the art of miniature bonsai trees, captures the tranquility of a Japanese garden with it’s its simple and minimalistic composition of agarwood, juniper berry, lemon verbena, Virginia cedarwood and sandalwood. The fragrance is characterized by shiso (perilla), a an herb often used as a garnish in Japanese cooking and has a striking aroma that transcends seasons.

Whether you are able to physically leave your home city, province, state or country this summer or not, we hope that you enjoy your sensory travels this summer! 

Monkey Monday: Smelly Detectives

Real-life investigators as well as fictional detectives often times use their sense of smell to solve murder mysteries. Police officers need very little skill to detect alcohol on a drunk driver's breath, and collect scent evidence from a crime scene which is as important as fingerprints - since each individual has a unique body odour - "By definition, scent is the 'bacterial, cellular, and vaporous debris enshrouding the individual' known collectively as 'raft', this debris consists primarily of dead or dying skin cells, which the body sheds at a rate of approximately 40,000 each minute. Air currents project the raft upward and away from the body, much like a plume. The debris becomes deposited in the environment in a conically shaped pattern known as the scent trail"...

Sherlock Holmes used his sense of smell on more than one occasion, being able to identify the 75 perfumes of his time (he surely will have harder time now!) and detect other odours in the crime scene, which helped him solve several murder mysteries. When losing his eyesight temporarily, Monk manages to solve the case in the episode “Mr. Monk Goes to the Firehouse”; and when there is a garbage strike, he can't concentrate on the case. Agata Christie "killed" more than one of her "victims" with cyanide, leaving a trail of bitter almonds and marzipan as a clue to the cause of death. And in Denise Hamilton's several Noir novels, there is a significance to the sense of smell; but particularly in her latest "Damage Control", where the central character is a perfumista and in which a perfume serves as a key clue.

"...anyone "with a nose for" crime should be able to sniff out culprits from their tweed, India ink, talcum powder, Italian leather shoes, and countless other scented paraphernalia. Not to mention the odors, radiant and nameless, which we decipher without even knowing it. The brain is a good stagehand. It gets on with its work while we're busy acting out our scenes. Though most people will swear they couldn't possibly do such a thing, studies show that both children and adults, just by smelling, are able to determine whether a piece of clothing was worn by a male or a female." (Diane Ackerman, A Natural History of the Sense).

Even in our mundane lives, we act as detectives using our noses to find out if our date is a smoker or not; if our kids have dipped into the chocolate chip cookie jar or bothered to brush their teeth; and amuse ourselves by guessing which soap or shampoo our friends use. Our sense of smell is keener and far more important to our ongoing gathering of information than most of us would ever care to admit...

What about you? Have you ever used your sense of smell to solve "crimes" around your house or to clue in on something that your friends, coworkers or family members have been plotting behind your back?

Share your stories by leaving a comments below, and enter to win a mini of Film Noir.

Septimus Piesse, Potpourri and Film Noir

Today was a potpourri experimentation day for me. The trigger was an email from one of my students with an electronic version of Piesse's book “The Art of Perfumery and Method of Obtaining the Odors of Plants” has inspired me to re-visit my perfume collection and search for ideas for various “dry perfumes” – something I meant to do for quite some time. Unfortunately, this electronic edition (www.craftsebooks.com edition by Maria Wilkes) is full of misleading typos that could confuse the reader who is not already familiar with some of the materials (and in some cases the translation of names and terms is not too accurate either); but overall it’s a great resource and an interesting portal to Western perfumery in the mid 19th century.

The book is a well of information, including perfume formulas - many of which are flower replicas that rely on almond oil (bitter almond I presume) to do the trick of transforming the floral bouquet into lily of the valley, sweet pea or what not.

Some of the recipes there for potpourri and sachets are quite simple. For example: a patchouli sachet includes nothing more than 1lb of dry and ground patchouli leaves and 1 dram of patchouli essential oil; and than there are more sophisticated recipes evoking the scent of heliotrope (pounds of powdered orris roots, rose petals, tonka beans, vanilla pods and musk pods with a few drops of almond essential oil - the only case in which the almond actually makes perfect sense for the flower’s odour profile.

I’ve spent the entire morning in my little lab experimenting with my dry herbs and I’ve came up with 3 potpourri/sachets that are not half bad, all of which are based on my existing perfumes, The whole ritual of stuffing a little bag and placing it in between the clothes set me in a completely different pace and state of mind; it set me in that very old-fashioned, Imperialist mind frame of using exotic botanicals sourced elsewhere in little lady-like mousseline bags and so on. Perhaps I should have seen the warning signs when I became smitten with Pashmina scarves... Now I’m officially old: wrapped up in my silk Pashmina I look for secret places to hide my Film Noir potpourri/sachets made of dried patchouli leaves soaked in dollops of vintage patchouli oil and cocoa absolute… It's deliciously old fashioned and modern at the same time. Does this make any sense?
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