Dream Display

Dream Display by Ayala Moriel
Dream Display, a photo by Ayala Moriel on Flickr.
Happy to brag with my newly designed packaging, now on display at Dream Apparel (356 Water Street @ Cordova in Vancouver's Gastwon) and Adhesif Clothing (2202 Main Street @ 6th Avenue), which is the first store to carry Lovender perfume!

Dream also has some of the old selection (in smaller sizes), which is at 20% off while quantities last.

Adhesif Display

Sephora in Vancouver

New Sephora, originally uploaded by Elsbro.

New Sephora, originally uploaded by Elsbro.

The long-awaited Sephora launch in downtown Vancouver brought a few good things to the city: in anticipation for the arrival of a new competitor, Holt Renfrew added Holtscents – an expanded fragrance division with many niche brands, including Editions de Parfums, Miller Harris, Bon No. 9, Juliette Has A Gun, Miller et Bertaux, Ineke, and several others. Some vanished after a while due to lack of demand (By Killian and Etat Libre d’Orange) but we can only hope the others will stick around and keep our dull Vancouver life interesting. Shoppers Drug Mart took a similar approach and expanded their fragrance and cosmetics tremendously – carrying brands that used to be only found in luxe department stores – Prada, Guerlain, Clinique, BeneFit Cosmetics, Comptoir Sud Pacifique and others.

And now the cat is out of the bag and Sephora is open for about a month. Vancouverite teenagers and girls in their early 20’s seem to not have gotten enough of it yet. I was there for the first time exactly on Jly 17th, exactly one week after the opening (July 10th)
around 2pm on a Friday, taking a detour on the way to pick up printed labeling for the Tropical Flower & Spice Limited Editions for the tea party that weekend.

It was a very hot day and I sought refuge in the mall’s lavishly air-conditioned space. The first thing that crossed my mind was: don’t anyone have a job anymore? Because clearly, everyone and their two girlfriends seemed to be at Sephora trying out new makeup. The downside was that the store was packed to say the least ( but that was nothing comparing to the opening day which I promptly skipped, being the crowd-avoider expert that I am). Apparently 7,452 is not enough to host all of Vancouver’s beauty junkies. The up side, of course, was that I was able to roam freely in the shop without anyone offering to “help” and asking me boring questions about my fragrance preferences.

I scouted everything that is new and unusual and can’t be found anywhere else in the city, and as far as fragrance goes I was not quite blown away. There was the Tweety bird perfume, with a promptly yellow atomizer bulb that turns the otherwise classy vintage-style perfume spritzing into a deja-vu squawking a rubber-duck in the bath-tub when you had to babysit your little siblings (by which point, commenting about the scent seems futile). On the other hand – I spotted some rather fantastic size for Fracas – a 7.5ml roll-on which if only for the long line ups would have landed in my purse later that afternoon.

Scent-wise, my sniffer was impressed with several things: Cannabis Santal – a strange mélange of woods, patchouli and chocolate that is not in the least as doobie as the name implies; rather, it reminded me of a cross between an Hermes masculine (Either Vetiver Tonka, Poivre Samarkand or Terre d’Hermes) with an overdoes of chocolate. I also found Cannabis Rose, which I had to try because one of my classmates in Grasse raved about it and it was created by a young perfumer at Robertet. Cannabis Rose smelled like the new generation of Chypre – with patchouli, vetiver and musk as the base and a warm and clean rose heart – but not quite spicy or rosy. I tried the body cream of that and it was overbearing though and will have to try it on skin at a later time. As an aside - Fresh can be found both at Holt Renfrew and Beautymark but neither of them carry the entire line, and neither of these two scents, to the best of my knowledge.

And last but not least – it was a very nice surprise to find Demeter Vintage Naturals 2009 limited edition collection of 5 soliflores that are all-naturals: Lavender, Rosebush, Patchouli, Geranium and Mimosa. The latter captured my attention immediately. Geranium has been my obsession in the past year or so, and it was refreshing to see it treated as the main theme. This geranium is extremely leafy and fresh. It starts herbaceous and minty and dries down into a more earthy base, and geranium is always at the forefront – no surprises there. Mimosa opens with a dominant mimosa absolute note, which is a top note so it does not stick around for too long. Than it morphs into a complex, rich white florals – with ylang ylang, jasmine and powdery tonka bean whispering sweet nothings in your ears till you are completely seduced. It has an incredible lasting power. I am yet to try the other three but so far I have to say I’m very impressed with this mass-produced natural perfume, and the price is very reasonable at $75 a pop (50ml EDP spray).

And the other evening, I stepped in again, and although the store was not as busy as before, the lineups were intimidating. For the first time I got noticed by a sales rep which I gently refused. Fortunately, I had Tamya with me so I got to try the Geranium and the Mimosa again and also tried Fresh’s “Strawberry” (so not!) on Tamya’s one wrist, and BeneFit’s whimsically martini-shaker packaged “Something About Sofia” from their new Crescent Row collection (lilies and some fresh tart fruit – perhaps apple and lychee?) on the other. Incidentally, "Something About Sofia" was what was suggested to me after completing BeneFit's quiz. Also, if they had a quiz to find out how much of a sucker for a cute bottle you are I would probably lead with at least 99% and buy the bottle on the spot. As it turned out, I was impressed by neither but I learned a new shopping tip: take your kids with you and use them as living scent strips. It would save you money.

Vetiver Fans for Vetiver Fans

Vetiver Fan, originally uploaded by Ayala Moriel.

Marcia Elston from Samara Botane kindly sent me a lovely Vetiver Fan. This is going to be a must have for all vetiver fans, pun intended!
The fan is weaved from vetiver rootlets and surrounded by an outline of firmer branches to hold up its shape. It is recommended to use during the hot summer days after sprinkling it with water or better yet - vetiver hydrosol.

I will be taking this with me on my travel to warmer parts of the world so I can report on the effectiveness of combating heat. A real challenge.

To order your own vetiver fan, contact Marcia.

August 26th: Snifforama with NYC Perfumistas

In a charming Italian restaurant in Greenwich Village, the three of us met for brunch – Nancy Arnott, Susan Winters and I. Time flew by fast as we discussed almost anything possible from perfumes to traveling, family, world peace and community supported agriculture (CSA). Susan smelled deliciously of Parfum Delrae Eau Iluminee while Nancy had a scent-free skin, all set up for a big perfume-testing day.

We set off for Aedes with left over from the generous lunch that mysteriously found its way to the table without invitation, all in high hopes for finding a hungry homeless dying to have that gourmet pizza. The doggy-bag ended up accompanying us to the finest perfume stores in Greenwich Village and beyond…

Aedes was nothing I had expected. It may be great to be able to recognize a meeting point by a photo on the internet, but when it came to Aedes, I was happy that I did not have any visual idea about the store, except for its name and its old fashioned logo (and a vague yet intriguing idea of some of the lines carried there). At the door, a gentleman named Robert was joyously smoking his afternoon cigarette and of course it wasn’t necessary for Ms. Winters and Ms. Arnott top introduce myself, and I was just the anonymous lady dragging along with the avid perfumistas (trying to keep a low profile, which lasted for quite a while)… The atmosphere inside the dim-lit and highly fragrant store space was very European – from the furniture and the decoration and the manner in which the perfume lines are exquisitely displayed in their antique cabinets, to the accent of the other gentleman, Karl, who greeted us warmly as soon as we entered the space.

I saw perfumes that have never smelled before – Mona di Orio line, wich I found most exquisite; Rosine’s line, which showcases the versatility of rose; Montale’s rich, Arabesque concoctions; Escentric Molecules’ sweet and short, abstract olfactory line (Nancy tried their Molecule No. 1 , which to me smelled as soft skin-musk, and Nancy experienced as celery seed); Jalaine’s oils in fancy cut-glass bottles; Luten’s legendary line, including the newest Chypre Rouge (it was celery again! Not what I was looking for in a Chypre…) and Vetiver Oriental;

Montale’s Oud Queen Rose was the only one I have tried on my wrist at Aedes. It was a bit like an exaggerated impression of Agent Provocateur, with higher doses of saffron, and of course a killer dose of oud. It was persistent for quite a long time until it started to soften and phase out.

We also got a sneak-sniff into the new l’Artisan harvest limited edition coming up, based on narcissus. To our sheer astonishment, it smelled very little of fresh narcissus, but strongly of dark coffee, and than a quiet, powdery and dark narcissus note has emerged from the bottom.

If it wasn’t for the charming Ms. Winters, I could have kept my anonymity throughout the visit and manage to go through the entire Rosine line and maybe even picking a new scent... But thanks to her enthusiasm, I had the opportunity for a brief olfactory seduction with scents such as Espionage and Zohar.

Nancy and I than set off to a couple of old pharmacies – New London and Bigelow’s – and explored their extensive collections of both bourique and classic fragrances. Bigelow’s collection was incredible – Miller Harris, Comptoir Sud Pacifique - they carried almost anything classic imaginable, from Diorissimo and Vent Vert to Patricia de Nicolai, Lorenzo Villoresi, Le Parfums de Rosine and more. Quite a departure from the usual Brittney Spears and Coty’s Wild Musk collection that more down-to-earth pharmacies offer. They also carried indie self-made houses such as AromaM Geisha line, and others.

New London Pharmacy carried a similar variety of lines, namely Miller Harris, Sage Mechado, Dyptique, Comptoir Sud Pacifique, Aqua di Parma and Carthusia. If only we weren’t in a bit of a hurry to get to Barney’s store uptown on Madison Avenue before closure time, I would have readily spent more time (and probably money too…) in the rich perfume isles of these two old-fashioned pharmacies. They truly deserve their very own blog entry, and a bit of history
about the interesting relationship between the apothecary, pharmacy and perfumery. I will save this for my next trip to New York.

It was Le Parfum de Therese that was calling my name all the way from Madison Avenue to the Village, and I had to go and meet her before the Barney’s closure time. The subway in New York is impressively fast and effective - it got us there in less than 30 minutes, and we had time not only to finally get a steady supply of this masterpiece (which have become my summer staple fragrance), but also befriend the two sales people – a kind and knowledgeable lady and an enthusiastic gentleman named Khash. We were fortunate enough to sniff We got more sniffs of l’Artisan, Serge Lutens and Frederick Malle scents that I haven’t had the chance to smell before. I tried Bigarade Concentree for the first time, and loved it more than I can ever expect from a citrus. There were also a few lines that I haven’t seen in any of the other fragrance boutiques I visited in NYC yet – such as Strange Invisible Perfumes and Yosh, and even the more known Costume National (thanks to Khash, I am now quite intrigued by their Scent Intense – a skin-musk type of scent in the black bottle). After Khash’s comment about our knowledge and understanding of fragrance, the kind Ms. Arnott couldn’t help it but follow Susan’s tradition of identity-revelation, and I had the pleasure of giving Khash a little tour of my fragrances as well, particularly the skin-like and the musky ones (Razala, Espionage). He likened Ayalitta, strangely enough, to an exotic Indian and Pakistani breath freshener, wrapped in leaves and served at the end of weddings and festivities.

It was a fabulous day, with two fine ladies, in a fine city full of gorgeous perfumes and curious celery fragrances. It wasn’t until I got off the train in Brooklyn that I finally found the grateful homeless man to eat that gourmet pizza, and it seemed well worth carrying around, along with all the fragrant souvenirs from a gigantic metropolitan – the capital of the world.

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