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Yohji

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?

Approaching Coal Harbour

Buoys

This week I've finally created a batch of Coal Harbour, which I intend to close the Perfume4aPlace series dedicated to my favourite spots in Vancouver. However, the concept of Coal Harbour perfume predated all the other scents. In fact, it was in one of those morning walks about five years ago in Coal Harbour that I knew I would soon have to leave the city. Walking there and watching the aquaplanes take off and land on water I felt a pang of melancholy, knowing how much I love the marine aspect of the city. And so I promised myself to make a Coal Harbour perfume before I leave, as a goodbye present to the place I've called home for nearly 18 years.

This idea of course was the seed of the entire collection. And as the time to leave approached, I began rolling out the scents. I felt reluctant to launch Coal Harbour, because deep inside I knew that would mean the last farewell. So I did this gradually, with one perfume in each season... Komorebi in the fall of 2015, Sunset Beach in the winter of 2016, Lost Lagoon in the spring, and finally Coal Harbour for summer.

The scent is now maturing in the vat - a concoction that echoes the juxtaposition of natural aromas in their urban surrounding, contrasting marine notes, fresh cut grass and linden blossoms with the penetrating aroma of jet fuel.

The perfume is still in the maturing phase, but you can pre-order a sample (or, if you know you like marine-leathery-green scents, an entire bottle in your choice of eau de parfum application - mini splash bottle, roll-on and larger spray bottle.

New Perfume: Lost Lagoon

 Inspired by a hidden garden of azaleas

Lost Lagoon

Happy May Day!
I'm excited to share with you my new perfume for spring and summer: Lost Lagoon.

Every spring, the rhododendrons awaken - first slowly, building anticipation. By early May, they simply burst with colour and aroma, some of the bushes so dense with flowers that you can't even see their leaves and branches...

These fragrant azaleas paint the edges of Lost Lagoon with myriads of flowers of tropical colours and exotic scents as versatile as the number of hybrids planted there: some are reminiscent of lily, others are like ylang ylang and some smell like cool suntan lotion. Bluebells, violets and other bulb flowers and annuals are planted among them; and magnolia, lilac and syringa contribute their luscious perfume to the already fragrant air. Freshly cut grass from the Pitch & Putt is the only reminder you're still in the Northern Hemisphere and not in the tropics...

Lost Lagoon

In case you can't experience this extravagant botanical explosion in person - don't be sad: I've bottled that scent especially for you!

Lost Lagoon is the third installation in "Perfume For A Place" series, which is inspired by my favourite places in Vancouver. This perfume will transport you to a secret lagoon surrounded by tropical flowers. Lost Lagoon is a refreshing Chypre with exotic floral notes of magnolia and ylang ylang and loaded with bergamot and green notes of rhododendron buds, violet leaf and galbanum.



Top Notes: Bergamot, Lemon, Galbanum, Violet
Heart Notes: Rhododendron, Magnolia, Ylang Ylang
Base Notes: Oakmoss, Amber, Iris


New Growth

So much for the candles!! by she who is
So much for the candles!!, a photo by she who is on Flickr.

There’s no mistaking the influence of No. 19 upon opening the cute little 15ml splash bottle of my friend and colleague, fellow Canadian (now turned Grassoise) perfumer Jessica Buchannan’s newest creation, Fleur No. 1 galbanum and iris make a happy dance that echoes the distinct accord that is so characteristic of Chanel’s iconic scent, yet with far less melancholy, and with underlining softness of musk. After a few minutes, Fleur No. 1 quiets into a mellow sweet violet of alpha ionone, that quietly hums for a prolonged period of time. Once you’ve made the leap beyond the violet drone, you will find a meadow with delicate green floral narcissus and hyacinth notes, warm woods and a hint of oakmoss, and if you listen carefully – a subtle coniferous note that is softly green, like the new growth tassel of spruce in springtime.

1000Flowers Fleur No. 1 by Ayala Moriel
1000Flowers Fleur No. 1, a photo by Ayala Moriel on Flickr.

I joined the celebration of launching Jessica’s line at Lark boutique on Main St. tonight (July 14th), where she recounted her inspiration for the scent – spending last spring in Nelson, BC, she had to stray away from her originally planned first floral (a sunny, Mediterranean perfume that echoes the landscape of her new home in Grasse), and instead found inspiration in the moment – the melting snow, new buds and leaves and wild violets growing on the mountains of interior British Columbia, where she grew up. There is something to be said about embracing the moment.

photo by Ayala Moriel
photo, a photo by Ayala Moriel on Flickr.

Canadian Perfumers by Ayala Moriel
Canadian Perfumers, a photo by Ayala Moriel on Flickr.

Grin Body Oil

Green -  DSIR0201-g by Bahman Farzad
Green - DSIR0201-g, a photo by Bahman Farzad on Flickr.

Some products are inspired by unique materials, and others by unique people. The idea for Grin body oil came about when I had a lot of left over Boronia absolute from the large batch I've ordered from the distiller (or should I say extractor?). But it didn't manifest until a very special customer of mine, Melinda Huntley, asked for it. And so it is now for everybody to enjoy!

Grin body oil has all the goodness that my Song of Songs body oil has (squalane, avocado oil, tea seed oil, fractionated coconut oil, jojoba oil and vitamin E), but with Grin's elegant, cool, green floral scent. It has many precious absolutes: boronia, violet leaf, rose, jasmine form Egypt - which is why it is a bit more expensive than the rest - $35 for 15ml.

And one last note: depending on popularity, I'm considering bringing a larger size for the body oils, in a lovely glass bottle with a pump, 60ml. This will be of course more expensive than the 15ml, but will be much easier to get out of the bottle. It will be priced at about $85, for saving me the trouble of bottling and labeling 4 smaller bottles :-)

Would love to get feedback from you about this packaging, as any new packaging is a big investment (getting a big number of them is only part of the cost of new packaging - it also will require designing and printing new labels, photography for the website, etc.)

Grin Body Oil by Ayala Moriel
Grin Body Oil, a photo by Ayala Moriel on Flickr.

P.s. The picture is of my trial batch, which was at 2.4% - a little too high, so I reduced it to 2% which I think is just perfect... Also, the Indian jasmine I used in my trial batch was a little too indolic, so I replaced it with Egyptian jasmine, which is more sheer and less indolic.

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