s

SmellyBlog

Neroli Tincture

Bitter Orange Flower Tincture
Often I'm asked if it is possible to make orange blossoms tincture. My snarky response is that you can tincture anything. Can't guarantee the results though... Fresh flowers, generally speaking, don't let themselves well to alcoholic tincturing. That is why enfleurage and solvent extraction techniques were invented in the first place. Otherwise why bother with such sophisticated process if it is possible to make such an easy homemade extraction with alcohol?
There are a few problems at play. One is the water content in the flowers. Once the flowers sit in the alcohol, it dries them up completely, which means it sucks all the moisture out of them. That's what alcohol does. It readily bonds with the water. This dilutes the alcohol's solvent powers. 
The other problem is that the alcohol dissolves also less desirable aspects of the plant matter, resulting in a very vegetal smelling tincture. It may be fine for medicinal purposes (which is the the main objective of most fresh plant matter tinctures). For fine perfumery - not so much. 
Bitter Orange Flower Tincture
Either way, one needs to watch out for over-steeping when preparing tinctures. Less is often more. Meaning, it is better to recharge the alcohol several times with the flowers until the desired odour strength is achieved. This is akin to steeping tea: Steeping the same amount of tea over a longer period of time will definitely give you a stronger tea, but not as fragrant and delicious as one that you've paid attention to preparing according to the appropriate steeping time and amount of tea leaf. When wishing you prepare a stronger tea, there is no way around using more tea. This is not the time or place to be thrifty with your raw materials. Remember the time and effort taken to grow, harvest, clean and infuse your plants. Remember how much you paid for that 96% alcohol. Don't waste these resources. 
So, with all that being said, the neroli tincture (bitter orange blossoms steeped in alcohol) smelled nice enough. I was smart enough to strain it before turning vegetable. It wears ok on the skin. But needs another recharge or two. In my opinion, aside from the cache of using something from my own orchard in my perfume, it does not offer anything more than what my high quality neroli oil and orange blossom absolutes have to offer. But we shall see once I use it within a composition. I will include some in my upcoming batch of Zohar (my orange blossom soliflore). Maybe it will transform into something more WOW inducing then. Either way, the process was fun. But I a more inclined to stick to traditional raw materials with these flowers and get a still ASAP to make my own orchard hydrosoles and perhaps even oils some day soon. 

Equinox Dream

Clematis armandii

Night was not only equal to the day but also just as warm. Breeze from distant countries brought in the scent of citrus orchards. It was as if we were walking in a rich neighbourhood in west Amman. Or maybe it was the reconstructed remnant of a vintage orchard, blocked in with sandstone and lit strategically with theatre lights, in Old Jaffa.

We walked from the top of the hill to the sea and savoured the salted air. We buried our faces in the white blooming foliage of clematis armandii, covering us in a shower of meteorites and drowning our nostrils in their dreamy orange blossom scent. 

Up the hill again, and in the garden. We sat under the blossoming cherry trees, observing their white petals fall one by one into the black pond. Just as our present moments are disappearing into the bleak past. We will never forget that night. It was equal to the day. Only that after that, the days will begin to lengthen, and we will have to wake up from this dream. Things will become more clear. More real. More light. Lightheaded from gin and tonic, washed down with salty tears of grateful appreciation muddled by the silent anger and deep sadness that is the inevitable realization that what is never will be again. 

Musk Malabi Fundraising Campaign for Syrian Refugees


Musk Malabi, my fundraiser perfume to support Syrian Refugees, was launched a couple of years ago. There was only marginal interest in the cause, unfortunately, so I was unable to make any substantial contribution to this cause. 

Now that the refugee crisis has come to the forefront of the media - I hope you can help me raise enough funds to help sponsor refugees who are arriving to Canada in these tough times. For every 15mL bottle sold, $50 will be donated to a community-sponsored family; and from each mini bottle, $20 will be donated.

If you are in Canada, I urge you to find a community-sponsorship as well, or initiate one yourself in your community or workplace. According to Canadian law around sponsorship of immigrants, groups such as religious community associations (i.e.: non-profit NGOs) and community based organizations (i.e.: mosques, churches, synagogues, etc.) but also corporations can sponsor refugees, and any group of 5 or more Canadians that can provide a feasible settlement plan for the refugees. That is one way to guarantee the safe asylum of a family fleeing the horrors of the Syrian civil war, and much more meaningful way to invest smaller amounts of charitable money than to support a huge organization in which whatever contribution I could make will just be a drop in the bucket.

Of course, if you wish to donate to larger organizations - there are some that are more effective than others and which will utilize your donations more efficiently. Do your research first. For example, charities that are recommended for maximum help in the ground zero of the Syrian refugee crisis and that have a minimum administrative costs are listed in Charity Intelligence (Canada) and Charity Watchdog (USA).





Below is an excerpt from the original press release (March 2014) and the updates regarding pricing and donations policy.

Inspiring Peace & Harmony with Musk Malabi’s Olfactory Love Triangle
Vancouver, Canada, March 5th, 2014. Get caught in a love triangle with Musk Malabi Ayala Moriel’s newest limited-edition perfume Musk Malabi. Released to coincide with the spring equinox and Persian New Year, Musk Malabi is an intoxicating floral confection. Unabashedly feminine, subtly exotic and hopelessly romantic - the fragrance evokes the sensory experience of a passionate love affair.
Inspired by the traditional Middle Eastern dessert of the same name, Musk Malabi centers itself around rich, milky musk. Having grown up in Israel, the sights, sounds, and smells of the Mediterranean have always been a source of inspiration for Ayala Moriel, the company’s in-house perfumer. “What has always captured my imagination about malabi is its soft, evocative sounding name, and its unique fragrant combination of rosewater and neroli water”, explains Ayala. “Rose and orange blossom are such noble flowers yet oh so different.”

At the heart of the fragrance, neroli and rose come unexpectedly together with musk to create an unusual and mesmerizing triad. Musk plays cupid, pulling all the strings in between and drawing the lovers (rose and neroli) together. Designed to smell as close as possible to deer musk, the botanical musk brings an effortless fluidity to this magnetic fragrance. A company that prides itself on being all-natural and free of animal cruelty, all of Ayala’s fragrances are created using botanical essences.
With spicy notes of cardamom and coriander as the opening act for voluptuous rose and prudent neroli, the top and heart notes rest on a silky bed of atlas cedarwood, botanical musk and Tahitian vanilla. Light-hearted yet mysterious, Musk Malabi is a fragrance unlike any other and will transport one effortlessly to the exotic Middle-East, jet-lag free.
Top notes: Bitter Orange, Cardamom, Coriander, Blood Orange
Heart notes: Turkish Rose, Bulgarian Rose, Tunisian Neroli, Egyptian Orange Blossom
Base notes: Atlas Cedarwood, Botanical Musk Accord, Tahitian Vanilla

Available in eau de parfum 4ml ($69) and 15ml ($180) via www.ayalamoriel.com. For every 15mL bottle sold, $50 will be donated to a community-sponsored family; and from each mini bottle, $20 will be donated. 





Musk Malabi

Malabi by Tom lahat
Malabi, a photo by Tom lahat on Flickr.
If Sahleb is the royal treat of winter, then the rosy, rubbery Malabi (see recipe below) is the queen of summer in the Middle East. Served cold in every other corner and almost every kiosk and restaurant of any caliber, this chilled milk-pudding captures the eye with the contrasting rosy-red syrup oozing all over the white, petri-plate-like to-go containers it comes in. I was never a big fan of its texture (ditto in regards to Rahat Loukum, also unjustly made with corn starch instead of better quality materials), but I adore its fragrance!

What always captures my imagination about malabi was its soft, evocatively sounding name, and its unique fragrant combination of rosewater and neroli. Rose and neroli are such noble flowers yet oh so different. Rose is open, voluptuous, sweet and feminine. Neroli is prim and proper, restrained, clean, ethereal and otherworldly. It's incredible that such a thing even grows from the earth, as has such a heavenly character.

Malabi with pom syrup by Dan Bar Dov
Malabi with pom syrup, a photo by Dan Bar Dov on Flickr.
The balance of these two strong-willed floral elements that inspired the creation of my new, limited edition for Valentine's Day 2014. Titled Musk Malabi, this perfume is a holy triad of sorts, between voluptuous, velvety and soft rose; airy, clean and cerebral neroli, and the pulsating animalic energy of musk. The musk is, in a most profound way, what makes these two oppositional flowers harmonize rather than compete with one another. It is told in the Koran that Mohammed's breath was as sweet as rose, and that he considered musk to be the purest of all perfumes. Musk grains were even mixed with the mortar in the construction of several Eastern mosques and retained their musky scent for years. The botanical musk in Musk Malabi was designed to smell as close as possible to deer musk, and most importantly, act like one: it plays cupid pulling all the strings between and drawing the lovers (rose and neroli) together. It doesn't need arrows, and plays the harp better than cupid, doing all of this work gently and with effortless fluidity. 

Malabi by shai.wininger
Malabi, a photo by shai.wininger on Flickr.

Musk Malabi is a limited edition for Valentine's Day 2014, which is just a month away from today! 
Love it, and it will love you back.

Top notes: Bitter Orange, Cardamom, Coriander, Blood Orange
Heart notes: Turkish Rose, Bulgarian Rose, Tunisian Neroli, Egyptian Orange Blossom
Base notes: Atlas Cedarwood, Botanical Musk Accord, Tahitian Vanilla

Nocturnes



Although the name suggests it to be a night-invoking perfume, I find it extremely summer-like and full of light.
It starts off with a citrus splash of bergamot and tangerine, backed up with a feminine floral notes of jasmine, and a more masculine eau-de-cologne like notes of orange blossoms and a hint of musk, that adds sensuality to that blast of freshness.
As the top notes start to fade, they reveal a luscious fruity note of peach supported by vanilla, which gradually pushes away the dominant orange-blossom and tangerine accord.
The dry down gradually enters with an interesting and surprising accord dominated by a fresh, woody and masculine vetiver notes, accompanied by green notes, orange blossom (softer and more subtle now), and a very modest hint of vanilla and rose. 
This perfume is full of surprises, I love the way the stages fade into each other. The overall impression is of freshness and vivacity, mingled with a tad of melancholy, which brings to mind Chopin's expressive piano nocturni. 

It’s surprising to see that such an old-fashioned aldehydic floral was launched in the 80’s (1981 to be exact). The perfumer behind Nocturnes is Gerard Lefort.

Top notes: Aldehydes, Bergamot, Mandarin, Green notes
Heart notes: Orange Blossom, Jasmine, Ylang Ylang, Tuberose, Stephanotis, Lily of the Valley, Orris, Rose, Cyclamen 
Base notes: Vetiver, Musk, Sandalwood, Amber, Vanilla, Benzoin



  • Page 1 of 4
  • Page 1 of 4
Back to the top