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Highlights of Florientals Week - Spring 2019

Florientals Week-Long Course, March 31 - April 4, 2019
The second perfumery course this spring was dedicated to the Florientals fragrance family - certainly one of the most charming and popular of all the floral categories. Narcotic white florals are the stars, supported by the contralto warmth of amber, woods and incense.

Florientals Week-Long Course, March 31 - April 4, 2019
Among some of my favourites lined up here are SamsaraSongesOpium Fleur de ShanghaiAzure de Soleil/BronzeGoddess, Velvet GardeniaFleurs d'OrangerVintage Gardenia as well as some serious bombshells such as Narcisse NoirGardnia and l'Heure Bleue.
Florientals Week-Long Course, March 31 - April 4, 2019
Some of my contributions to the genre include Moon BreathYasminWhite PotionTreazon and GiGi.
Our Spinning Organ for Florientals Week-Long Course, March 31 - April 4, 2019
Our palette seemed particularly indulgent, with all the gorgeous, intoxicating white floral absolutes: Jasmine grandiflorum and jasmine sambac, orange blossom, tuberose, and a few kinds of ylang ylang.
Raw Materials for Florientals Week-Long Course, March 31 - April 4, 2019
The base notes were no less rich and delicious, with sandalwood, tonka bean, ambrette seed, vanilla, benzoin and several other balsamic notes giving the characteristic ambery quality. We learned how to create amber bases and how to incorporate them within the Florientals genre.
Scent Strips from Florientals Week-Long Course, March 31 - April 4, 2019
We ran through thousands of scent strips (my scented paper project round 2 is underway). These were used not only to study close to thirty fragrant building blocks, and doing several "blind tests", but also longingly through the composition process.
At the Baha'ii Gardens in Akko with My Fabulous Students! Florientals Week-Long Course, March 31 - April 4, 2019
And we visited the Bahji gardens and tomb near Akko, which is the Baha'ii faith's holiest site, to seek inspiration and scout out new scents, smells and insights. Each student found a different aspect of the garden inspiring and built a unique Floriental fragrance based on what they've found. Perfume school is not just about theory and technique, but also about being open minded, open hearted, and with nostrils wide open for new smells and ideas. And most importantly - being perceptive to the other students and their process, because we always have something to learn from one another as well.
At the Baha'ii Gardens in Akko
Seeking inspiration in the forms and structure of the garden.
At the Baha'ii Gardens in Akko
Finding new fragrant plants...
Raindrops on Hibiscus at the At the Baha'ii Gardens in Akko
Inspiring visuals and textures (Raindrops on hibiscus).
My Fabulous Students! Florientals Week-Long Course, March 31 - April 4, 2019
Thank you so much for such lovely two weeks, with wonderful students from across the globe! It was wonderful to spend this spring together,  delve deep into the world of perfume and get to know you from up close. I'm truly blessed to have this opportunity to share my passion and knowledge with such lovely ladies who appreciate it and are so receptive to learning, respectful of one another, the raw materials, and this unique art form. I can't wait to see you all again this coming Autumn for the continuation of the course. We'll be studying Orientals (November 10-14, 2019) and Leather/Tobacco (November 17-21, 2019).

Fougere Week Summary - Spring 2019

Fougere Week-Long Course March 24-28, 2019
Fougère Week has come to a close - after spending a week with five amazing women from all over the world (there were representatives from almost all continents!) - it's time to say goodbye. But before we move on to next week (three of them are staying for the more advanced Floriental course), I'd like to share some photos.
Fougere Week-Long Course March 24-28, 2019
Our studies are focused on the Fougère fragrance family, yet tackling it from many different direction. As you can see from our setup, we study not only raw materials but also classic Fougère fragrances and this genre's pre-cursor Lavender Waters. So we enjoyed sniffing classics such as Jicky,  Polo, Yerbamate, Caron Pour Une Homme, Azzaro, Brut as well as some naturals from my collection (Lovender, l'Herbe Rouge, Gaucho and Orcas).
Perfume Trail in Park Adamit
We also went on a field trip to find inspiration and open our senses to nature. We went up to Park Adamit and Keshet Cave and strolled on the Perfume Garden Path, where we were able more than a dozen perfume and medicine plants, such as lavender, wormwood, bay laurel, wild rose and more.
My Students Rock! Fougere Week-Long Course March 24-28, 2019

My Students Rock! Fougere Week-Long Course March 24-28, 2019 Perfume Trail in Park Adamit

My Students Rock! Fougere Week-Long Course March 24-28, 2019 Perfume Trail in Park Adamit

Perfume Trail in Park Adamit
We met different plants along the way, including one from the apiaceae family that I never met before (and am still struggling to identify). It has leaves very smilier in taste and shape to celery, but it is not wild celery from as far as I could tell. The flowers were honeyed and fragrant in a most surprisingly delicious way.

Keshet Cave
(This is Keshet Cave, also sometimes spelled Qeshet Cave - a cave that had its roof cave in and disappear, leaving this impressive arch behind).

Lavender Wands & Clary Sage Leaf
In addition to exposing the olfactory world and places outside of the studio, we also bring herbs, fruit and flowers from outside to tincture, study and smell. For example - various lavenders from the garden, and local natural sources of coumarin, such as wild purple clover (see below).
Purple Clover (Local Source for Coumarin)
It's amazing how each one of the students came out with a completely different brief, inspiration and Fougère fragrance out of this very same place of inspiration we all went to at the exact same time. It is important for me to teach not only the technical but also the creative and process-oriented problem-solving required to develop each student's unique voice and eventually style. It's not just about technique and raw materials, and I like to get this point across even in the beginner courses (Fougère is the second in the order of my courses).
My Students Rock! Fougere Week-Long Course March 24-28, 2019
If you too are interested in studying natural perfumery, I'd love to hear from you! The next beginner-intermediate session will take place November 10-14, 2019 and registration is already open. Before applying you should complete the Citrus & Colognes and Fougère correspondence courses.


Summary of Citrus Week Spring 2018

Citrus Week, Spring 2018, Clil
Summery of Citrus & Cologns + Lab 101 Course (April 22-26, 2018)
Citrus week began with scratch & sniff of real fresh citrus fruit, picking lemony and refreshing herbs from the garden, lots of sniffing, and lots of delicious tea breaks.
Citrus Week, Spring 2018, Clil
Once we start mixing, the table fills up with fragrant vials and the whole studio smells like Eau de Cologne!
Citrus Week, Spring 2018, Clil

Field Studies: Exploring the medicine garden by my studio, and finding inspiration, which is later on developed into a perfume brief.

Citrus Week, Spring 2018, Clil

Citrus Week, Spring 2018, Clil

Citrus Course, Clil, Spring 2018
Visiting Jullius Craft Distillery: The first of its kind in Israel, using cutting edge technology to preserve the most delicate aromas found in grapes, citrus and other fruit.
This is the special still that produces fine Etrog Eau de Vie, Tangerine Eau de Vie, Marc (out-of-Italy grappa) from fine local grapes.
Jullius Distillery
Joov explaining to the class how alcohol is made, how the still works (it's an advanced version of a column still that cools the distillates more efficiently than the previous generation, and therefore preserves the aroma much better).
Jullius Distillery
These juniper berries are just one of the local ingredients used to make the pure, ethereal Akko Gin. This is the only gin in the world which uses these types of berries, which are endemic to Mount Meron and the Golan Heights, and to this Joov adds many fragrant, fresh local plants, including mastic, etrog and tangerine peel, each ingredient distilled separately and later on the distillates are blended and fine tuned. The process of making this unique gin is on and of itself like perfume making.
Juniper Berries
There is always time for more tea... And delicious vegan food by Hagit Lidror who nourished our body and soul during this week.
Citrus Week, Spring 2018, Clil

Display of the various citrus perfumes and eau de colognes we've studied this week.
Citrus Week, Spring 2018, Clil





Leather & Tobacco Week


Tobacco & Leather Week (May 11-15)

This blog has been silent for a while, as the last two weeks were fully dedicated to teaching two courses back to back: Citrus & Colognes and Leather & Tobacco. Not to mention before that I was occupied with other things - recovering from jet lag, taking care of a sick teenager, and participating in two Pilates teacher training courses (just the stuff I do for fun... Because I don't have enough things to do)... It's nice to have your plate full; but it's also nice to ease in back to the good old routine of perfuming and blogging at the quiet of my own space, and at my own pace. Until next wave of events, of course.

Leather & Tobacco Week (May 11-15, 2015)

It's rare that I get to teach the fragrance family of Leather & Tobacco. Students must be at a very advanced level to study this genre, as the materials are quirky, strange, weird and forceful. Not to mention: at this point, they should have under their belt all the technical stuff, and have a solid understanding of composition and be utterly familiar with a wide array of raw materials.

Leather & Tobacco Week (May 11-15, 2015)
We studied a bunch of animal essences, including ambergris, civet and castoreum. In fact, we even tinctured ambergris that week - a rather messy process! This is what we did in the lab on the first day:

Tobacco & Leather Week (May 11-15)

The making of Espionage Tea
As the week progressed, we immersed ourselves with the raw materials and the history of these unique sub-fragrance-families. We started with tobacco fragrances and studied some of the key raw materials for the tobacco family. We also visited the tobacconist, drank plenty of Lapsang Suchong tea (black tea that is pine-smoked) and even smoked a cherry flavour cigar (it took me 3 days to finish off that one... My students were not very helpful!). The idea was to get to understand this genre from the flavouring point of view, which is how it historically began, and from that develop a scent that belongs to the genre and has a unique characteristic of a tobacco product - i.e.: pipe tobacco, cigar, etc.

Tobacco & Leather Week (May 11-15)

Studying leather was also a little more multi-sensory than usual. We visited some leather shops to immerse ourselves in the scent of leather. How does a jacket shop smell like comparing to a shoe store? How does a boot smell compared to a sandal? Each leather has its own scent, and we were likely mistaken for a bunch of shoe-fetishist as we scoured the shelves sniffing the inside and outside of boots... Thank goodness we were a small "group" of 3 (including the instructor). Otherwise they might have had to call the authorities.

Leather & Tobacco Week (May 11-15, 2015)
I've heard about Chamois a lot, especially in several of Mandy Aftel's books. But never bothered to find one. This class gave me the excuse to indulge in two pieces of this fine leather, that is used like a cloth for polishing cars; but is in fact the entire hide of an animal. I find this to be both creepy and humbling. The leather is so fine it has the texture of the plume-covered newborn's back. And it's also a bit stretchy. It is delicately scented - a leather scent alight, but one that does not dominate a scent that is added onto it. We didn't wash our Chamois before scenting it. I really wanted to see how the scent will mingled with all the curing materials on the leather. Each student got to pick a historic formula for scenting leather (and I picked a couple as well). They all worked quite beautifully on the leather. All in all we had 3 renditions of Peau d'Espagne (all from David G. Williams' Perfumes of Yesterday; and I also re-did one of Poucher's Frangipanni formulae.

Leather & Tobacco Week (May 11-15, 2015)

Here you can see the many essences we used for recreating Peau d'Espagne (Spanish Skin) - a historic perfume formula from the 17th Century which was used for perfuming gloves. It's a rich, complex melange of precious historic materials such as animalic tinctures, floral extraits (a step in the enfleurage process), and materials that are not commonly found on the modern perfumer's palate. There needed to be plenty of interpretation of the formula and how we can create it with what we have on hand, as authentically as possible. The result, I'm afraid to say, smells like a rather cluttered composition that if I were to compose it (or any of my students), I would heavily criticize their overindulgence of so many raw materials - often with no clear idea of why they are there and where is this composition going. At this point (pre-maturation), it smells like a chaotic cacophony of many floral and animalic scents that is lacking a clear vision or integrity. When applied to leather (we used the Chamois for that purpose)  it smells much better though.

Leather & Tobacco Week (May 11-15, 2015)

On the last two days, students got to create their own original leathery scents, based on all the raw materials and classic perfumes we've studied that week, the formulae they and practiced and created so far. Each student had their own brief, so that each perfume was a completely original idea. Which is appropriate for this level (about halfway through the 8-course program). The next program in the series is the Fougere week, which will take place September 21-25 at my home studio in Vancouver, Canada.

Citrus & Cologne Week

Citrus & Cologne Week May 4-8, 2015

The other week, five students from all over the world gathered at my studio to dip their toes in the waters of cologne and experience what studying perfumery is all about. The Citrus & Colognes Week is the ideal course to start studying perfumery. You get to work with really simple, fun materials that are familiar (mostly citrus and herbs, but also some basic woods, spices and floral notes such as sandalwood, cedarwood, rose and neroli). Students learn all the nitty-gritty details of lab etiquette, how to handle the materials, dilute, measure and tincture them, etc. We also unveiled the mystery of aromatic extractions: how essential oils are distilled, how absolutes and other extracts are extracted, etc. and how to make your own macerations and tinctured.

Zest, juice, flowers, twigs and leaves - these are all fragrant components that come from the citrus tree and are used in both perfuming and flavouring. This week, we attempted to dissect the characteristic of each citrus note, draw connections between all the sub-categories of the citrus building blocks (citrus-leafy, citrus-lemony, citrus-orangey, citrus-sulfur and citrus-floral) and be able to discern between a sweet and a bitter orange; between grapefruit and bergamot; and between neroli and petitgrain (among other similarly related citrus notes). It's not an easy task, and one that I always wish my more advanced students would spend more time on doing...

Citrus & Cologne Week May 4-8, 2015
In particular, we learned how to tincture citrus zest (Meyer lemon... mmm...), and leaves (i.e.: Kaffir lime leaves); as well as dried orris roots (which turned out beautifully although they still need a little more maturing).

On the technical trouble shooting frontier, we learned how to added distilled water or hydrosols to create true eaux de colognes and eaux de toilettes and understand the technical difficulties that arise from this. We also learned about the chemistry of citrus oils, and how their unique characteristics makes them popular not only as a flavour but also as an active ingredient in many cleaning products such as soaps, solvents and detergents.

Last but not least: We've created historic formulae of eaux de colognes from given tried-and-true formulae from my new book; as well old historic recipes from various historic books in my library. Students also learned how to analyze classic and commercial citrus and cologne-type fragrances, and try to pick out the notes and re-create the scent based on the smell alone. On the last day, we also attempted at creating our own original citrus perfumes without any given starting point of a formulae, but rather drawing on a personal inspiration that emerged from an exercise we did together in class.



The next course will take place in September: Fougere Week (September 21-25). It is suitable for beginners. Ideally, you should have read Ayala's book "Foundation of Natural Perfumery" and taken the Citrus & Colognes and/or Lab 101 course prior to that. If this is your first time applying for the program, email ayala (at) ayalamoriel.com with your CV and a coverletter explaining why you'd like to study this program. Suitable candidates will be contacted to schedule an interview in person or via Skype.


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