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New Incense

Ras El Hanout Incense, Three Ways
After close to twenty years in development and perfection, I'm excited to announce that my alchemical incense blends are finally available for sale! Check out the new section in my shop for Original Kyphi and Kyphi Galilee; Planetary incense pastilles, herbal incense cones and seasonal Nerikoh (traditional Japanese kneaded incense that is meant for warming on a mica plate Koh-Doh style; or more conveniently - on an aromatherapy lamp or incense electric heater).

More details about each incense type in the upcoming posts!

Four Copals Incense

Four Copals Incense Cones Drying
I'm getting deeper into the world of incense again, which is like coming a full circle (for those who don't know me, my perfume path began with incense). I enjoy the earthiness of this occupation, taking into consideration other aspects that are not relevant to the ethereal perfume making, such as shape, colour, texture of all the materials and how they need to be processed by hand. And also I'm a bit of a self-confessed incense addict when it comes to burning good incense. It's a great way to start the day with and clear all the cooking smells after breakfast. It helps me to concentrate when I want to practice Pilates or meditation. And it changes the atmosphere in the room within a few moments, sometimes also making people who are terribly chatty and obnoxious swoon and start to really listen to what's around them. This is especially pertinent to large groups that sometimes visit my studio.

It's much trickier than making perfume, so I am progressing very slowly. And find it a challenge on all fronts - first of all there is the challenge of designing the fragrance to smell good in all stages, including after the burn (aiming for that wonderful afterglow you find in a room long after an incense has been lit in). This is affected by many other factors besides the actual materials, including the shape of the incense. And this is where I'm still struggling majorly.
Four Copals Incense Making (Dough stage)
I've been trying to form incense sticks and almost every time I make a batch specifically for that shape it ends up impossible to make them properly (these fuzzy sticks in the pic below are not what I'm after!).
Untitled
So again, I resorted to making cones. These are lovely looking albeit labour intensive to shape by hand. What I like about them is that they stand on their own and don't scatter ashes all over the place. They can be placed on any heat-proof surface and will hold their shape after combustion. What I like less about them is how fast they burn and how much smoke they make. Because their circumference of ember keeps growing, they only intensify in smoke as they progress down the cone.
Four Copals Incense Testing
The result of these Four Copals incense cones is almost as perfect as I wished them to be. Their base is a combination of sandalwood and trailing arborvitae, the latter was added as a last resort because the mixture was far too soft and moist. I wish I added something more neutral - I have a feeling this creates extra smoke. But I was worried about making it sandalwood-dominant. It has a pinch of Palo Santo, and other than the sandalwood, it is very heavy on the copal: four types were used and ground by hand in a marble mortar and pestle: Mayan Copal, Gold Copal, Black Copal and White Copal. They are now available for purchase (very small amount was made, but I will happily make more if you like!).

Four Sages Incense Cones

Clary Sage & Incense Wands
An order that came in for my Four Sages incense cones prompted me to make more. I only had a few left which I made with my dedicated student cum friend Jenny Amber. She is the one who gifted me with much missed aromatics from BC (Sagebrush, Coastal Mugwort, Redcedar Leaf, and more). This incense blend feels very special to me as it combines sages of both the West Coast and the Western Galilee - the two regions that I call home.

I was a bit unwell when the order came in so had to wait till I felt better. And even then I felt like I needed a little energy boost - rolling incense cones is labour intense and sometimes it is much more enjoyable in good company. So I summoned my brother Yotam to the task. We sat on the eastern deck this morning, enjoyed the gentle yet warm, wintery morning sunrays, listened to his choice of Ceremonial music and rolled the cones you see in the picture below.
Four Sages Incense Cones & Smudge Bundle
These are potent cones, small yet pack a punch and seem to clear any negative energy within minutes.  They contain Coastal Mugworth, White Sage (Sagebrush), which are both types of artemisia, a pinch of wormwood and clary sage from my garden, and of course - three-lobed sage that is the iconic scent of the Galilee.
The cones are now available and in stock again and you can order however many you wish via the online boutique.

Incense Course Begins!

Incense Workshop
Today I began teaching my first incense course - a series of incense classes, covering the main burning styles and incense making techniques. Using natural raw materials only, such as precious resins, gums, woods, spices and herbs, we will pulverize, grind and mix together raw materials that were used in incense making since time immemorial.  I am very excited for this workshop - because it is taught to a very special group of women, and also is giving me the push to improve my incense making skills and learn new techniques!

Here's what's planned for the course:

1. Smudge Wands
Introduction to incense history and raw materials. Forage botanicals for making incense wands/smudge stick from wild and local medicinal herbs.

2. Loose Incense
Spotlight on resins and composition of a loose incense using resins, herbs and spices.

3. Kyphi
Relying on an ancient Egyptian recipe, we'll pulverize and grind various resins, herbs, precious woods and spices in a mixture of wine and raisins, and create small pellets that can be burned on a charcoal or electric incense heater or diffuser. You'll be able to pick up the Kyphi you made after a week (or get it mailed to you).

4. Incense Pastilles
Incense "candy" that is made of various type of resins, with added liquid, rolled into balls and burnt on charcoal or on aromatherapy diffuser).
Very suitable for children, as this type of incense is faster to make and does not require long drying time, and can be taken home the same day.

5. Neirkoh
Japanese incense pastilles - like soft incense caramels that are designed for warming on a hot plate rather than burning. Made from complex aromatics and aged for several months.

6. Incense Trails & Body Incense
Unique Japanese technique for incense burning, as well as perfuming the body or cleansing before entering temples for prayer and meditation. This class also serves as preparation for the most complex form of combustible incense.

7. Incense Cones
More technically advanced, this incense is hand-shaped into little cones that can stand on their base and are self burning - just like the more familiar joss-sticks, once they are ignited, they burn slowly from the tip to the bottom. Preparing them requires fine balancing of the ingredients and meticulous shaping, therefore taking much longer. You'll be able to pick up the cones you made after a week (or get them mailed to you).

Jardin Parfum Reviews Ayala Moriel's Kyphi, Incense Cones and Komorebi Perfume

“That Ayala is a highly esteemed perfumer is no secret. She also has a talented hand at incense, another fragrant pursuit she has had perhaps as long as or longer, than perfume.”

Visit Dabney Rose's blog, Jardin Parfum, to read her thoughts on Komorebi and my incense cones and my vetiver take on ancient Egyptian Kyphi.

“Her vetiver  Kyphi was INCREDIBLE. At some point in her life she had to have been a ‘ladybug’ on the wall when the ancient Egyptian priests were formulating in their temples.”

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