Mental Notes: Nuts on Matcha and Lilacs

Today (or is it already yesterday?) is an exotic nutty day - I was wearing Vetiver Tonka, which had that unique sesame seed note roasting in the background.
Surprisingly, the traditional (unsweetened) matcha I had late this afternoon at Steeps Tea was nutty and smelled like white chocolate or cocoa butter.
On the way back home this evening after belly dancing I met two lilac bushes, one in full bloom with tiny flowers and one with large ones but not as fragrant or as abundant quite yet. The small one, planted in a bit pot on the patio of a restaurant on Davie street, was so fragrant it was just like perfume on a bush.
It reminded me of how strange it was to compare Diorissimo just a few days ago with the real living flowers. Side by side, they almost had nothing common. At least it wasn't all that obvious with the parfum concentration. Which goes to show that Diorissimo is a perfume, not just a lily of the valley note.


Lilac, originally uploaded by Ayala Moriel.

There are so many different lilacs here. Different colours, different sizes of clusters. Maybe this particular one isn’t exactly lilac either. But it sure smells like one. And against the pale blue sky, it is starting to become a symbol of summer for me. In a cheerful way, and without all the misty, dewy and a bit melancholy aspects that lilac can sometimes have on me.

After My Own Heart

I spent the weekend in Jerusalem, and on my Friday’s twilight stroll, I found a bush of lilac in full bloom. The scent of fresh lilacs is dreamy yet also awakening with its subtle green twig nuances. The delicate aroma of the lilac branch I picked ealier, as well as my reunion with my lilac-lover friend Zohar made me crave a spritz of Ineke’s After My Own Heart.

Ineke’s perfumes, unlike their longish titles, are minimalist and calculated. The lilac-bouquet named After My Own Heart is an alphabetized representation of the emotion of longing and romance: a burst of lilac flowers, twigs and all, softly brushing against a blushing cheek in an anticipation for caressing kiss. A promise of love, the buds of passion invoked by hints of indole (I detect distant jasmine and cassie here...) and the luscious juice dripping off freshly picked raspberries. As the crushed twigs and rubbed petals lose their freshness, they make room for rosy and powdery accords, gradually sweetening into a dry out of musk, vanilla and heliotrope.

Lilac perfumes, and particularly ones that capture the imagination as well as the scent of these delicate flowers are sparse and few. Lilac absolute, if it can at all be obtained, is not at all comparable to that of the fresh flowers. Therefore lilac perfumes relay heavily on the use of synthetic compounds that reconstruct the aroma of the fresh living flowers, usually by the means of the headspace technique*. The challenge with lilac as with other flowers that don’t yield themselves well to distillation is to create a genuine impression of the flower that does not feel too artificial and imposed. I’ve smelled this happen with Olivia Giacobettie’s En Passant, where the lilac is chilling, powdery and reminiscent of the blooming twigs and crushed leaves on a foggy day. Ineke Ruhland’s After My Own Heart gives lilac a different interpretation, less abstract and aloof than En Passant. It’s a romantic, dreamy lilac, creating a fleeting yet sensual presence of petals, powder, fruit and musk.

I'd like to conclude with the "transcript" of the little poem in the image above (from Ineke's website):

After and before
Today and tomorrow
Sand becoming a wave
What was it I saw at the top of the world
as I fell asleep last night?
I tried putting lilacs in your dreams
You smiled in your sleep
I hear your words like the wind
whispering in my ear
the most enchanting words
after my own heart

* According to Bojensen.net, nowadays, lilac is often produced with the headspace technique. (E)-ocimene is the most dominant in the makeup of the scent, yet it is the furanoid terpene aldehyde , AKA lilac aldehyde, benzyl methyl ether,
1,4-dimethoxybenzene (hydroquinone dimethyl ether) and indole which give lilac is characteristic odour. The other important odorants which give lilac its characteristic smell. Benzyl methyl ether has an intense fruity-etheral scent which is reminiscent of the top notes of ylang ylang. Lilac headspace also contains minute amounts of anisaldehyde, 8-oxolinalool, cinnamic alcohol and elemicin.

** To read another review of After My Own Heart, visit Legerdenez

While Passing…

Whale Watch, originally uploaded by Weffie.

Things you may find while passing might be the least expected. I passed through to smell the lilacs of En Passant, and in a short snatch, a-la the chess maneuver by the same name, I found myself searching for whales on a misty day on the Sait Laurent river… Unsuccessfully, needless to say, but enjoying the fjords and the moist mist…
The heady, innocent and slightly powdery spring-like scent of white lilac quickly leads my nose to the subtly fragrant branches and stems bearing blossom-vines. These transform into an olfactory green fig leaf scent, and than in a split of a second you find out that you just jumped, head first, into a chilly ocean – smelling the fresh air of the ocean breeze, with its slight saltiness, and the clean, fine mist meeting your face as you watch for whales on the fast-loating boat…

With notes of white lilac, cucumber and wheat, Olivia Giacobetti has created an abstract lilac perfume that is more of a subjective interpretation of the flower rather than an effort to re-create the scent of the fresh blossom. Its ozone and marine cucumber notes are not my personal favourite and the wheat adds to a certain flour-y powdery yet green nuance that is nevertheless interesting and original on its own. However, the result of the final drydown is surprisingly disappointing in its ozonic-oceanism and its reference to l’Eau d’Issey of all perfumes.

Top notes: White Lilac
Heart notes: Fig, Cucumber
Base notes: Water, Wheat, Violet Leaf

Lost Lilacs

It is sad when a thing of beauty is lost. But the absence of a beauty makes it even more desirable and increases its esteem in our eyes. And so, just as the lilac blooms for only a short period of time and do not yield its lovely fragrance to any method of extraction – Mystic Lilac, one of my favourites of all floral natural perfumes has disappeared since its creator has pulled his line out of the market and went on to pursue other fragrant ambitions. Maybe he will read this post and change his mind? I sure hope so. And if this review intrigues you enough you may be my guest and bug him via his website to put his perfumes back on the shelf.

Sublime, delicate and with a seductive breath of Spring, Mystic Lilac brings to us the joy of inhaling Lilac bushes in full bloom – the twigs, the leaves, and the Spring air warming to the sunny skies.
This is a simple yet interesting rendition of Lilac – that has depth and dimension as well as a hint of mystery…
Starts off with quite distinct Ylang-Ylang and Violet Leaf accord, which establishes the green-floral, powdery-sensual theme. In the background, precious Blue Lotus, Jasmine and Tuberose create a pulsating Lilac effect that is fully established once arriving at the dry down stage while Linden Blossom adds the hint of woodiness to the composition. Powdery, green and with an underlining playful sensuality, Mystic Lilac has immediately captured my heart.

Inspired by the fresh Spring blooming lilac bushes in Michigan, the talented perfumer created this phenomenal all-natural lilac perfume that is a true floral delight. Capturing the sublime and delicate essence of fresh lilac is near to impossible when using only natural materials, and Lilac is more often replicated in the lab with synthetic aroma chemicals. Mystic Lilac may not replicate lilac like most synthetics do (which usually I find overwhelmingly heady and powdery to the point of being cloying, despite their lilac loveliness), but it does create a Lilac impression throughout its existence.

Top notes: Ylang Ylang, Blue Lotus, Violet Leaf
Heart notes: Jasmine Grandiflorum, Linden Blossom
Base notes: Tuberose
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