Liquid Fume

Frankincense, originally uploaded by galeriacores3.

Smoke is the origin of perfume: an ancient ritual of burning resins to create and purify mental space and exalt one’s soul to connect to the divine. By fire and alchemy physical matter (resins, spices) transform into spirit through smoke.

Burning loose incense is one of my most favourite ways to experience and enjoy fragrance. There’s something magical about the transformation of golden frankincense tears into smoke. Sparks fly when the charcoal is lit on fire, and that’s just the beginning of the excitement. Once the heat takes over the charcoal, a few precious resinous tears are placed on the ember. At first, they just rest quietly with their majestic dusted gold appearance. But soon enough, they can’t stand the heat any longer and begin to sweat their perfect aroma into the air, which turns from invisible vapours in the first few moments into smoldering smoke the next.

Frankincense has a way of affecting the human mind, coaxing it into relaxation and a meditative state of consciousness. The mere act of burning incense connects one to different elements of nature: fire, wood, metal. It gives me a sense of connection to my ancestors, the deserts of the Middle East and ancient rituals that were meant to bring people closer to themselves and closer to the gods. When I burn incense, a fransformation occurs in front of my eyes, taking over my space with its smoky perfume that is at once balsamic, sweet, woody, resinous, fresh and calming. All that remains to do is to let go and devote oneself to the experience this ancient perfume

With Liquid Fume I tried to create a perfume that captures the experience of burning incense, within the liquid medium of grain spirits. Without any matches or charcoal and real smoke, I tried to bring a sensation of warmth, dryness and the rich, resinous balsamaic odour of burning frankincense. I tried to imagine the most dense incense condensed in a bottle, with the warmth of embers and the dripping honey of melted frankincense tears… This is what I hope Liquid Fume will be for you.

Frankincense is of course the core of this perfume. But other notes were added for bringing out different qualities of an incense burning ritual: Virginian cedarwood and guiacwood were chosen for their smokiness, liquidamber for its molden-gold sweetness, helicrysum and labdanum absolutes for their rich, sweet honeyed and resinous qualities, and sweet orange to brighten everything up and remind us of the fresh, almost citrusy aspects of frankincense.

Top notes:
Sweet Orange, Virginian Cedarwood, Copaiba Balsam

Heart notes:
Liquidambar, Guiacwood, Atlas Cedarwood

Base notes:
Golden Frankincense, Labdanum, Helicrysum Absolute

Liquid Fume one-of-a-kind perfume is available on AyalaMoriel.com or via Etsy.

It's 100% Love!

lOve iS, originally uploaded by Mirage a.k.a ĈħoCõħŏľíç.

The most unusual perfumes are ones that have a strongly familiar scent. The sneaky, abstract nature of the human brain often mystifies the identity or the cause for the familiarity of a scent. Yet. it cannot conceal the fact that when it does that, when a new scent has a matching vibration to a significant scent from a different point in space in time – a person might suddenly move to different realm.

True, this does not happen with a flash of blue lightening a-la Quantum Leap. Rather, it happens gradually and gently, like melting through a gauze screen. First – my nose started sniffing ahead of my body, than my heart and lungs were filled with joy, my skin felt a familiar, pleasant shiver, and finally - my eyes became blurry and I sensed that I am no longer in the room (or wherever I was at the moment, it didn’t matter anymore): I suddenly found myself sitting on the mountain above my house in my home village, in a warm, sunny winter day under a bright azure skies, and surrounded by blood-red arbutus trees, striving oaks, velvety sages, Dam Hamacabbim (droplet-of-blood-shaped-blossoms of Helichrysum Sanguineum), and rockroses in full bloom.

That is what happened to me when I spritzed on some 100% Love, expecting chocolate and roses floating on water – and discovered none other than my favourite note of all times. No, it’s not rose. It’s Rockrose. Better known as Labdanum. Labdanum is simply the richest, roundest, most interesting note there is. A perfumer should not be biased, and should love all notes equally. And I do practice this when I design and create my perfumes. But I am also a woman who has her own personal preferences. It’s been well known to me for quite some time, that if I will ever need to pick only one note to wear for the rest of my life, I will choose without a moment of hesitation to grow old with Labdanum. It is many things at once, and I love it’s complexity, richness and depth: resinous, ambery, incensey, earthy, sweet, leathery, dark, sultry and reminiscent of dry blood, and despite the fact that it does NOT come from the pretty, wild-rose-like flowers, which by the way possess very little scent - but rather from the resin that covers the branches, leaves and twigs, boiled in water and than distilled into an absolute.

After a blind date with this unusual beauty (thank you, Victoria!), which was extended into three days now, I am quite in love with…100% Love.
It opens with roses and a backdrop of caramely chocolate – dark but sweet. But very quickly you will realize that neither rose nor chocolate are the real heroes of love here. The labdanum pervades the composition for hours, and since it is such a complex scent, it is perfect that way. After about 6 hours, a lovely, subtle musk note crawls out of its satin bed, with a comfortable sexy yawn, and invites you to join in. If you stay long enough Vetiver may join in as well – a very quiet, dry Vetiver, woody and almost unnoticeable.

If you expected this to be a bouquet of roses (or rather - a bottle of YSL Paris or Bvlgari pour Femme or Tresor) accompanied with a heart-shaped box of fine chocolates, you may be disappointed. This is quite an unusual Sophia Grojsman composition – though it is Grojsman in the sense that it is simple and pared down to the essential elements – while maintaining a bold, sensual and unusual statement. Despite the minimalism in notes, this is a very rich, down to earth, and I believe full of natural essences. The rose smells like rose absolute and rose otto (as opposed to a synthetic rose compound, or, if you will, damanscones). The chocolate smells like the pure cocoa absolute. And I think I already talked enough about the labdanum. The musk at the end is the only synthetic smelling note, and it makes for an interesting underlining accent for the rest of the notes. It’s a perfume – not a bouquet of roses and a box of chocolates. To me, this is Sophia Grojsman at her best.

Top notes: Rose Otto
Heart notes: Rose Absolute, Cocoa absolute, Labdanum

Base notes: Labdanum, Musk, Vetiver

p.s. 100% Love is available directly from S-Perfumes via The Shaping Room.

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