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SmellyBlog

Resurrection Incense

Myrrh Resin Enfleurage with Hyacinth Blossoms
When the hyacinths were at their peak, I had enough flowers to make a dry enfleurage of Ethiopian Commiphora myrrha resin. Just as it seemed intuitively appropriate to pair the sunny brightness of frankincense with that of grapefruit blossoms, there was something about the contrast between the cave-like depth and catacomb-like mustiness of myrrh with the energy of a spring bulb flower. It smells like such a strong metaphor for spring's deep spiritual meaning rebirth, that is so strongly apparent in the natural world.

In winter, the bulbs are dormant in the ground. In spring they spring forth with a life force and push through the frozen earth towards the sun. Yet, I had an anterior motive for doing so. I made this very special incense as a spirit medicine for a young mother I know, who lost her baby only a few days after giving birth to her. The immense joy at the end of a difficult labour, the hope and happiness of becoming parents for just a few days all cut off so abruptly inspired me to create this incense medicine, as a reminder that even from the depth of myrrh's deathly grip one can emerge with a renewed life and bloom again like the hyacinth.

Happy Easter!

Happy Norouz!

Persian Chickpea Shortbread & Hyacinths for Noruz

Happy Spring Equinox! Happy Norouz! Happy Purim Eve!

So many thanks to celebrate in one day... And as if that's not enough already, today is also the official 18th anniversary of Ayala Moriel Parfums.
As if to celebrate with us all this beauty, life and abundance - millions of butterflies were migrating yesterday through our skies,
Thank you for being my customers and readers for so many years, and supporting what I do. It means to me more than I can express to each and every one of you personally.
As a symbol to my gratitude, I am offering you an 18% discount with the code Chai18 when you order online. This offer will continue till the end of March.
Persian Chickpea Shortbread Cookies for Noruz
P.s. The above cookies are Nan-E Nokhochi (Persian chickpea shortbreads), which I am still looking for a good recipe for. Mine came out a little sticky but the flavour was amazing, with cardamom, pistachios and a splash of rosewater. They are gluten free and should be melt-in-your-mouth marvellous!



Wild Hyacinth & Veronica

Wild Hyacinth (Hyacinthus orientalis)

Clusters of wild hyacinths (Hyacinthus orientalis) greeted us when arriving at the foothill of Mt. Meron. And they kept accompanying us as we climbed up towards to peak (Elevation over 1,200m). This has easily became a favourite hiking trail, which is a satisfyingly challenging two hour round trip (not too long and not too short), and always full of flora and fauna delights. It's a unique mountain because it has many rare plants that don't grow anywhere else in Israel, for example wild peonies. Other plants maybe grow elsewhere but still attract floral pilgrimages that I compare to the Japanese tradition of flower viewing (I already told you about the Sternbergia).
Wild Hyacinth (Hyacinthus orientalis)
This time I came especially for the oriental hyacinth, the forefather of the cultivated grape hyacinths. I already wrote a little bit about wild hyacinths on this blog, but this is the first time I'm seeing them and smelling them in person. And I was not prepared for their smell at all. Cultivated hyacinths have a sharp green, heady, sweet perfume. Similar scent was observed at the bottom of the mountain - with the hyacinths having the typical green-sharp fragrance, a little sweet and white-wine-like, with forest-floor nuances and more than a sulphuric hint of green onion or chives. On the other hand, the hyacinths on the top of the mountain trail had a surprisingly tropical aroma, bringing to mind lilies and even suntan lotion (!).

Wild Hyacinth (Hyacinthus orientalis)
Several molecules were found responsible for hyacinth's character: 3,7 dimethyl-1,3(E),5(E)-octatriene-7-ol (AKA beta ocimene, which has a tropical, green, woody, vegetal scent) and (E)-cinnamic alcohol (which gives it the spicy, floral-green, powdery, balsamic and slightly fermented character), and ethyl 2-methoxybenzoate (AKA benzoic acid or ethyl ortho-anisate, which gives it the fruity-floral aroma, also present in grapes). It must be a different ratios of these molecules that created the difference in the aroma profiles in hyacinths in different location.

Veronica syriaca
Just a few steps from the first cluster of hyacinths on the trail, a meadow of Syrian Veronicas (Veronica syriaca) ignites the imagination, visually looking like a dream perfume pairing. They look a little like violets, with a striking line that separates their blue-purple top from the bottom white colouring. I didn't notice any special smell about them, because I was too preoccupied with their looks and taking pictures of them. They are so delicate and yet outstanding. It's interesting how on the foothill of this mountain, two plants of such different lore grow next to each other: Veronica is named after St. Veronica, who tended to Jesus on the cross giving him a handkerchief to wipe his brow; and Hyacinthus - a pretty Greek lad whose preference of the Sun God Apolo as a lover over the West Wind God  Zephyrus brought upon his untimely death. To avoid sending his body to Hades, the Underwold God, Apolo turned his blood into this lovely and fragrant blue flower.

Cubist Olive Tree
Cubist looking ancient olive tree at the beginning of the trail.

Bear's Plum (Prunus ursina)

And yet a few steps from there - a wild plum, called Bear's Plum (Prunus ursina), which smells very much like ume (Japanese sour plum), and will ripen sometime during the summer. There was a surprising number of wild plum trees dotting the mountain, which is simply an endless source of inspiration.

Wild Anemonies & Hyacinths Trail
A gorgeous trail of wild red anemones and blue hyacinths higher up the mountain. 

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