Mardi Gras Gala & New Orleans Perfume Launch Party

Mardi Gras!
It's already Thursday, which means that some photos from the Mardi Gras gala and New Orleans perfume launch are in order!
The menu in this cocktail party was all inspired by New Orleans' cuisine and the unique aromas of the city, which are featured in the perfume, of course.

Meyer Lemon Hard Lemonade
Meyer Lemon hard lemonade, with my own killer homemade limoncello!
In the perfume, I used lemon oil as well as Meyer lemon peel that I've tinctured myself.

Cornbread and Mardi Gras cupcakes
Mardi Gras cupcakes (with orange flower water and lemon, which match the aromas of the New Orleans perfume I've created). They were decorated, of course, by the dedicated little miss T, who was also in charge of eating about half of them and discovering the baby doll that's always hidden in the traditional King Cake. That means that she will have to throw a Mardi Gras party (again!) next year :-)

The cornbread (shaped like muffins for easier serving at a cocktail party) are spiced with rosemary I picked at Santa Rosa airport... Rosemary adds an herbaceous, green-fresh and slightly spicy aroma to the perfume.

Cajun Prawns
Cajun prawns, courtesy of my super-talented webmaster and dear friend David Griffith.
It was essential to serve seafood at this party, even though I don't normally eat it (and have no idea of how to prepare it). They were made to perfection and went well with oceanic theme of New Orleans - a perfume that includes both seaweed and ambergris.

Mardi Gras Sweets!
More sweets!
Osmanthus plays a big role in the perfume I created for New Orleans, and here we experienced them in the tea (pure herbal tea - just dried osmanthus flowers, top quality, from Shaktea). The shortbread is also infused with these beautiful, apricoty and slightly savoury flowers.

Revealing the New Orleans perfume and notes
Revealing the New Orleans perfume - it was a very intimate gathering (my favourite type - because than I get to also have fun and interact with my guests, not just run around...).
Now let the sniffing fest begin!!!

Nicole & GK Smelling New Orleans Perfume
Nicole and GK experiencing New Orleans perfume for the first time.

Kaylie & Nicole Smelling New Orleans Perfume
Kylie and Nicole

Lindsay's sniffing fest
Lindsay experiencing an individual note from the perfume.

Lee Smells the Base Notes for New Orleans Perfume
Lee experiencing a whole "fan" of the base notes of New Orleans perfume.

Jolanta & Ayala masquerading
It's a masquarade, after all!

Mardi Gras

Photography by Noam Dehan - all rights reserved.

Gearing Up to Mardi Gras

Mardi Gras Beads, originally uploaded by jciv.

I'm planning my Mardi Gras party for Tuesday, March 8th.
This is when I will be launching my New Orleans perfume. Those of you who've been following its development on the blog here might remember - the process started in 2007 and it took a while to brew in my head, my lab, and with the assistance of my perfume friends in New Orleans - Paula and Michelle - I'm able to bring it to you this Mardi Gras, even though I'm yet to visit New Orleans in person. I'm planning to go there for Jazz Festival this year though!

The menu for what I hope will be a happily laid back cocktail party is mostly derived from the perfume itself. I'll be serving aromatic nibbles and desserts that are inspired by New Orleans botanicals such as sweet olive (aka tea olive) - in the form of osmanthus shortbread.
Herbaceous rosemary will add a twist to a Southern cornbread recipe, and of course the menu will not be complete without some seafood and cajun appies.

As far as drinks go - there will be also a Meyer lemon hard lemonade, Southern Comfort cocktails, and for the tea lovers among us (me included) - fragrant Magnolia oolong tea.

The Mardi Gras Party is on Tuesday, March 8th from 7-11pm.
We will be serving some Southern finger food, as well as desserts and pastries inspired by the Cajun cuisine and the botanicals used in New Orleans perfume.

9:00pm - the Grand reveal of New Orleans perfume, as well as breakdown of the unusual notes that make it such a unique fragrance.

Tickets are by donation - you can order them online for our suggested donation of $12 at the door. 100% of ticket sales will be sent to charity in New Orleans, and additional donations are encouraged!
In addition, 10% of all sales that night will benefit these two important organizations:
1) America's Wetland non-profit organization that works towards saving coastal Louisiana, who is losing land at a rate of 25 square miles per year (!).

2) The Tipitina's Foundation which is dedicated to helping artists recover from Hurricane Katrina and preserving the cultural traditions of New Orleans. Can you imagine a Mardi Gras parade without a marching band?!

You can support New Orleans' unique culture by attending the event, buying New Orleans perfume online and off-line, and

Tickets can be purchased in advance online at ayalamoriel.com.

To RSVP or for more information about the Mardi Gras Party, please contact: ayala (at) ayalamoriel.com or call (778) 863-0806. Or via Facebook.

Happy Mardi Gras

Mardi Gras beads, originally uploaded by suckaface.

Happy Fat Tuesday!
I'm envious all who can celebrate anything today, particularly Mardi Gras!

It's a beautiful day today, but I'm bed-bound with a head cold/flu, and the only thing productive I can do is go through boxes of tissue... But I can always use my escapist imagination, and fathom myself out of the local carnival (aka Winter Olympics) and in New Orleans instead, enjoying the chaos and music and colors, and being able to smell things despite my cold...

For Mardi Gras, I decided to pick three perfumes for the three Mardi Gras colors of Purple, Green and Gold. These colours were selected in 1872 by Grand Duke Alexis Romanoff of Russia, who visited the city at the time and was the first crowned Rex of the parade. He later on also chose these colours for his family crest. No one knows for sure what the colours mean or symbolizes, but there are a few traditions going around about that. Either way, this vibrant color combination affects greatly the atmosphere of the Mardi Gras parade and give it some of its unique inimitable flavour.

For Purple, which is said to symbolize Justice, I suggest wearing a violet perfume that gives an air of royalty and extravagance. Violet Angel (or Guerlain's Insolence, I personally cannot wear that one at all...) will certainly stand out in the crowds with their violet-laced sillage!

For Green, which represents Faith, wear fresh crushed leafy green perfumes, for example Vent Vert. It will instantly bring hope for all the spring foliage to return.

And finally, for Gold, which symbolizes Power, my pick would be Lys Méditerranée. I can't explain why, but it reminds me of gold colours... Or if you want to be more literal (like I was with my previous two selections), how about Or et Noir, or Donna Karen Gold, Guess Gold or Estee Lauder's Dazzling Gold?

If you celebrated, please comment and tell us what you did today and which perfume you've worn!

Happy Mardi Gras!

Happy Mardi Gras / Fat Tuesday to those of you fortunate enough to have carnival in your city. Hope to celebrate it myself one of those years to come...

And just because I can, I'm going to post here one of my favourite dance clips (although this is ballroom Samba, which is quite different...). If not now, I don't know when it could possibly be appropriate to share my favourite dance on this blog...

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