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Varthemia

כתלה חריפה Chiliadenus iphionoides

Sharp Varthemia (Chiliadenus iphionoides), or in Hebrew Ktela Harifa (כתלה חריפה) likes to grow inside rocks and has the most incredibly resinous, rustic, complex aroma. It truly is like a complete perfume all of its own, exemplifying what Garriague and Chypre are all about.

Sharp Vartehmia

I've stumbled upon this plant by chance, first near Keshet Cave in Park Adamit near the Lebanese border. A beautiful place with gorgeous view. It was one of two aromatic plants i was unable to identify, but intuitively knew they are both of medicinal and aesthetic value. I later found Varthemia on the mountain above my house. But it wasn't until I saw Yonat HaMidbar post about it and rave about its lovely perfume that I was able to identify the plant (it was never in bloom when I saw it, and it's near impossible to ID plants when they are not in bloom).

Vartehmia Incense Cones

Shortly after I was not only inspired to finally make incense cones out of it, but also studied some of the medicinal properties of it. Among others, it is good for heart problems and diabetes - and seems like a very gentle herb to enjoy in tea (as long as it's not overly done). I picked some for a friend who just had a heart attack, and figured my own heart could benefit from it too. So I've been sipping a lot of vartehmia. marrubium and white mint tea. A lovely combination, and feels to be soothing both the heart and the soul.

Heart Soothing Tea

Infusions

My next adventure with vartehmia is infusing it in both alcohol and olive oil. From the olive oil I will make a single-note vartehmia soap (I will also have it brewed into tea for the water component of the soap making process, so that it is as naturally fragrant as possible). From the alcohol infusion, which turned out beautifully resinous and rich, I've created a rustic, garrigue-inspired amber perfume, which I am debating if you launch this fall or not. It's a further development of an old, old, old formula that was almost sickeningly sweet because the amber base in it wasn't my own and I am quite certain contained some artificial molecules. Frankly, that base smelled more like an ambreine accord. The perfume I made with it included a touch oregano that balanced this sweetness to some degree, but not enough. I want the new perfume to be more authentic and local, and use my own herbal infusions in it - but without taking away from the luxurious character of the perfume. It is very different from the original, and surprisingly has a bit of the Espionage DNA to it - even there is nothing smoky about it. Must be the ambreine accord (which, FYI, is the core of Shalimar, Emeraude and the like). 

Inbar


Approaching Coal Harbour

Buoys

This week I've finally created a batch of Coal Harbour, which I intend to close the Perfume4aPlace series dedicated to my favourite spots in Vancouver. However, the concept of Coal Harbour perfume predated all the other scents. In fact, it was in one of those morning walks about five years ago in Coal Harbour that I knew I would soon have to leave the city. Walking there and watching the aquaplanes take off and land on water I felt a pang of melancholy, knowing how much I love the marine aspect of the city. And so I promised myself to make a Coal Harbour perfume before I leave, as a goodbye present to the place I've called home for nearly 18 years.

This idea of course was the seed of the entire collection. And as the time to leave approached, I began rolling out the scents. I felt reluctant to launch Coal Harbour, because deep inside I knew that would mean the last farewell. So I did this gradually, with one perfume in each season... Komorebi in the fall of 2015, Sunset Beach in the winter of 2016, Lost Lagoon in the spring, and finally Coal Harbour for summer.

The scent is now maturing in the vat - a concoction that echoes the juxtaposition of natural aromas in their urban surrounding, contrasting marine notes, fresh cut grass and linden blossoms with the penetrating aroma of jet fuel.

The perfume is still in the maturing phase, but you can pre-order a sample (or, if you know you like marine-leathery-green scents, an entire bottle in your choice of eau de parfum application - mini splash bottle, roll-on and larger spray bottle.

New Perfume: Lost Lagoon

 Inspired by a hidden garden of azaleas

Lost Lagoon

Happy May Day!
I'm excited to share with you my new perfume for spring and summer: Lost Lagoon.

Every spring, the rhododendrons awaken - first slowly, building anticipation. By early May, they simply burst with colour and aroma, some of the bushes so dense with flowers that you can't even see their leaves and branches...

These fragrant azaleas paint the edges of Lost Lagoon with myriads of flowers of tropical colours and exotic scents as versatile as the number of hybrids planted there: some are reminiscent of lily, others are like ylang ylang and some smell like cool suntan lotion. Bluebells, violets and other bulb flowers and annuals are planted among them; and magnolia, lilac and syringa contribute their luscious perfume to the already fragrant air. Freshly cut grass from the Pitch & Putt is the only reminder you're still in the Northern Hemisphere and not in the tropics...

Lost Lagoon

In case you can't experience this extravagant botanical explosion in person - don't be sad: I've bottled that scent especially for you!

Lost Lagoon is the third installation in "Perfume For A Place" series, which is inspired by my favourite places in Vancouver. This perfume will transport you to a secret lagoon surrounded by tropical flowers. Lost Lagoon is a refreshing Chypre with exotic floral notes of magnolia and ylang ylang and loaded with bergamot and green notes of rhododendron buds, violet leaf and galbanum.



Top Notes: Bergamot, Lemon, Galbanum, Violet
Heart Notes: Rhododendron, Magnolia, Ylang Ylang
Base Notes: Oakmoss, Amber, Iris


New Perfume: Sunset Beach

Summer 2012

Sunset Beach is a little piece of heaven tucked away in the midst of boat-bustling False Creek and busy bridges that cross over it. Sunset Beach is that happy place where time stops and the only things that matter are the tides, the currents, and basking in the gentle evening sun. You can spend the day there or just bring a hectic workday to a serene close with a beachside walk or a leisurely picnic.

Fragrant Harlequin glorybower and Robinia embellish its borders, and in midsummer you'll find musky wild blackberries and hot-pink everlasting peas along the shoreline. And if you're particularly lucky - you'll find yourself swimming alongside a playful harbour seal!

Sunset Beach can be anywhere... Mine just happened to be in Vancouver. I invite you to uncork a bottle of this daydream and experience a truly creamy sandalwood perfume complemented by handcrafted tinctures of pandan leaf and milky oolong tea, coconut, massoia bark and dreamy champaca.

Sunset Beach is the second perfume in "Perfume for a Place" series, dedicated to Ayala's favourite places in Vancouver.


Top Notes: Pandan Leaf, Milky Oolong Tea Tincture, Cedarwood
Heart notes: Champaca, Coffee, Nutmeg, Ylang Ylang, Orris Butter
Base notes: Indian Sandalwood, Hawaii Sandalwood, Chocolate, Coconut, Massoia Bark

Fragrance Families: Woody, Floriental

Available in: Eau de Parfum only, in the following sizes: 1mL sample ($18), 4mL mini ($48), 5mL roll-on ($69) and 15mL splash/spray ($120).

New Perfume: Komorebi

Komorebi

Thank you for everyone who've contributed their ideas for a name for the pacific rainforest amber-chypre perfume. The new perfume captures the wonderful scent that can be experienced in late summer and early autumn in the Pacific northwest rainforests: It emanates from the sun-dappled fragrant forest floor on those warm days when the sun brings out the sweet smells of redcedar, moss & Douglas fir…  This is a perfume I've been trying to capture for many, many years, and when I finally got the result I wanted - the name just wouldn't come up... So I asked for your help, as well as Elena from Perfume Shrine to help to find a word that describes the smell of sun-warmed forest floor...

There were many intriguing names, and it was still a very difficult choice. After much struggle, contemplation and even a poll between the finalists, it made itself clear that while in an ideal world there will be a perfect word just for that - or a name of a place that evokes that smell and feeling of mystery and wonder - the name does not have to fit the smell to a T. So rather than going with Cathedral Grove (a wonderful old-growth forest on Vancouver Island, on the highway between Nanaimo to Tofino) - I've picked Avraham Yehoshua's excellent suggestion Komorebi. While the perfume does not smell particularly Japanese, both the scent and the name evoke the same sensation and feeling of awe for the forest visual and fragrant beauty. After all, things don't have to match perfectly to be true or beautiful.

If the word "Petrichor" describes the smell of the parched earth after the rain; this perfume captures the opposite - the scent of the forest floor after its been kissed by sun. It's the Pacific Northwest equivalent of the Meditteranean "Garrigue" (the intoxicating odour of sunbaked earth and scrubland, dominated by sage and labdanum), and in my mind I've been describing it as "Forest Amber" or "Pacific Chypre".  But non of these names seemed to capture the magic quite as perfectly. So I'm thankful to the Japanese language, which has a special word for the interplay of light and leaves, which includes the sunbeams one would observe coming through the trees and shedding light on the vapour they exhale; as well as the dappled-gold forest floor, a vision that is shifting yet constant, as long as the sun is there. This is the essence of komorebi in the Pacific rainforest. 

This perfume is the first in a series of perfumes dedicated to special places in the Pacific Northwest. Place of inspiration: Cathedral trail in Xwayxway (Stanley Park). It is now offered online as an Eau de Parfum (15 mL and 4 mL) or parfum oil (5 mL). 

Notes: Redcedar, Fir, Oakmoss, Black Cottonwood 

Fragrance Families: Woody, Ambery, Chypre





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