Perfume Shopping with Miss T

It seems like ages ago since I've written anything about perfume shopping. And the reason is because there wasn't any. Aside from the fact that I don't NEED any perfume and the financial burden of overseas relocation and home renovation - we now live in the COUNTRYSIDE. And the only thing resembling a perfume shop in it is my very own perfume studio.

But recently Miss T and I were able to poke our snouts out of our little cave and go perfume shopping again. The spark that got me sucked back into this activity after such a long period of hibernation (or is it celibacy?) was a new shop that opened in the nearest mall, which carries some niche lines such as Penhaligon's, Tom Ford, Tocca, Initio, Reminiscence - and now I see on their website that they also carry some of l'Artisan Parfumeur's, Aerin and Atelier Cologne fragrances. Their definition of "Boutique Perfumes" is a little unclear sometimes, but in any case it is good to see that perfume shopping in Israel has expanded its horizon a little beyond the designer fragrances, at long last... Today I even stopped at the drugstore and was almost overwhelmed by the amount of lines that I'm unfamiliar with that crowded the shelves, as well as a couple of scents that you'd never see in Canada (Chanel's Egoiste, and Dior Homme Extreme come to mind). 

Anyway, what I really I wanted to tell you about is how Miss T, at her mere wee girly naiveté, woke up yesterday morning inclined on going perfume shopping for "Kitty Cat Perfume". I always dreamt of the day she'd do that (ask to go perfume shopping, not ask for Hello Kitty perfume - we need to be absolutely clear about that). So we went and thankfully for me, there was no Hello Kitty perfume in that shop. But there were many others which I tried, such as Reminiscence Patchouli on my left wrist, and Patchouli Elixir on the right one (the original is better, and also doesn't come in a hideous gold-plated bottle). And also, Miss T, after not finding any cats to spray on her wrists, ended up specifically picking one of the Hermessences eau de colognes. Last time we were there she tried the red one. This time she carefully sniffed both the red and the yellow, and picked the yellow. If you don't know Miss T, you don't understand the significance of this. This girl lives in a RED world. And if it's not red, it has to have some red in it (orange or pink, or at least purple). But no, she picked the "Yellow Pee Pee" perfume. That's right. And then we went to eat ice cream. 

And then (lo and behold), the moment every perfumista dreams of, but also hopes would never happen to her daughter: the girl obsesses over the perfume even while at the ice cream parlour. So we go back to the store and when asked which one she wants she explains "Yellow PeePee Perfume" once more yet she grabs another very similar yellow bottle by the same brand. I want to make super sure she knows what she wants, so I let her smell both "Yello PeePee Perfumes" side by side, and she decidedly goes for the one she tried earlier on, based on the smell. 

I don't know if most of you realize which kind of a breakthrough this is in terms of communication. Odour perception is hard enough to describe for neurotypicals. So imagine how even happier I was when she mentioned her "girl perfume" (which is how she called her Le Petit Prince Eau de Toilette - she thinks he looks like a yellow hair girl). It is also citrusy, so I was just over the moon that she can communicate the similarity and recognize the citrusiness they both have in common;  even though that's a lemony fragrance, and the one she chose now is more about neroli. 

Happy Perfume Girl

Dream Display

Dream Display by Ayala Moriel
Dream Display, a photo by Ayala Moriel on Flickr.
Happy to brag with my newly designed packaging, now on display at Dream Apparel (356 Water Street @ Cordova in Vancouver's Gastwon) and Adhesif Clothing (2202 Main Street @ 6th Avenue), which is the first store to carry Lovender perfume!

Dream also has some of the old selection (in smaller sizes), which is at 20% off while quantities last.

Adhesif Display

Scent Bar


What a pleasant surprise it was to find out that Scent Bar moved just a month ago to a roomy and beautiful location, AND is also exactly 7 minutes walk from where I'm staying in Los Angeles this weekend. It was also a very pleasant surprise to find out that this strip of Beverly blvd has experienced a transformation and is now buzzing with nifty little boutiques of vintage clothing and vintage shoes, antique furniture stores, and awesome restaurants. Randomness sometimes just pays off...

Selling fragrance is an art all on its own. Luckyscent is one of the ultimate online destination for finding fascinating fragrances - from niche and obscure brands (A Lab on Fire, Hilda Soliani, Xerjoff) to classics such as Caron and Creed - I was always wondering how such a space would be in real life. So with that in mind, I had no idea what to expect from the

As it turns out, much better than online: it's organized beautifully, and with a team of perfumista staff that are far more knowledgeable and responsive than any fragrance database.

Some collections and brands have their own display areas around the shop; but the best part is - all of the fragrances are arranged by categories on shelves along the walls: some predictable like fragrance families, unique notes (i.e.: Oud, Patchouli and Incense each receive a shelf of their own); and some more surprising (such as an entire shelf dedicated to "Avante Guarde"), and of course - a Chypre shelf, which brought me back there today, tagging along my students from my Chypre intensive weekend I'm teaching at Persephenie's this weekend (if you missed it - you might want to sign up for my Citrus Week July 30th - August 3rd).

Some fun finds for me there were Keiko Mecheri Bespoke, in their beautiful presentation of black and gold; Santal de Mysore (Serge Lutens) and Tubereuse Criminelle (Serge Lutens), which I haven't caught a whiff of since my visit to Salons Shiseido; Odalisque (Patricia de Nicolai) which was a new chypre discovery for me, Andy Tauer's Rose Vermeille (congrats on the new octagon bottles, by the way!) and my most unexpected find - 100% Love by Sophia Grojsman, which I recently noticed I ran out of my decant and had to leave with a full bottle of.

But ultimately, I was most impressed with the staff, who really know their stuff and make visiting there such a fun experience. They can carry a conversation, give genuine recommendations, and spontaneously list the notes of any given perfume, not because they memorized it - but because they actually know what they smell like.

Harajuku Lovers

Harajuku Lovers, originally uploaded by Ayala Moriel.

I always get lucky when I go shopping with Tamya. Last Saturday, when after we went for our weekly swim at the YWCA, I decided to overcome my inferiority complex and go check out the new member of Les Exclusifs at the Chanel boutique next door. We were both wearing our heart-illustrated gum boots and feeling great but looking everything else but glamorous. I secretly like taking Tamya to fancy boutiques, as a test to see how nice the sales people really are. I can tell you that in both Chanel and Holt Renfrew they are very, very nice to kids and usually also to adults. This time, I scored 2 “samples” from the Les Exclusifs – Sycomore and 31 Rue Camon (they really are minis). Obviously, Tamya is my lucky charm...

We than continued to a the drugstore to check out the new doll collection htat hides perfumes inside. I saw them a couple of days earlier and could not for the life of me make up my mind about one. So I thought Tamya could help me, and after all – her Bat Mitzvah was just a few days ago so she deserves to pick a perfume for herself!

I have to say, this was difficult. The dolls are all very cute. In fact, irresistibly cute. The juices, however, are not as nose-catchy as the dolls are. There was only one that I found to be really distinct – G. But I couldn’t really decide if I like it or not. The others all smelled like something I smelled before. There was Baby with a curly black hair which smells like a fancy baby powder; Music, a brunette with a fancy hairdo reeking of a non-descript musky floral; G with an overly symmetric blonde hair and smelling oddrly of coconut and something green at the same time; Lil’ Angel, dressed as a tomboy, and smelling very pineapple-y and a very MiamiGlo kind of way; and Love, the prettiest of all dolls with an asymmetric Asian-inspired hairdo which smelled like a very pretty yet quite generic light floral with a musky base (at first I had a hard time distinguishing between Love and Music).

After spending about an hour staring at them, sniffing, making up our minds only to change again two seconds later, both Tamya and I unanimously decided to adopt Love and take her home with us. We got home and almost forgot that she even existed (she’s very well behaved). We did the perfume-box-opening ceremony and from this point on I was just immensely impressed by how accessible this perfume was. This was the first perfume that Tamya really seemed to be into, spraying, sniffing her wrists AND showing off. And I suspect it wasn’t just the doll, because when her daddy came home, and I asked her to show him her new perfume – she let him smell her wrists rather than bring the doll. Love smells lovely on Tamya, by the way. It also smelled good on my wrist (though not as good as on Tamya). It reminded me very much of Spring Flower but a little softer.

Ayala Moriel @ Portobello West

Ayala Moriel @ Portobello West, originally uploaded by Ayala Moriel.

Here is a glimpse of my table at Portobello West. I had very little time to take photos (snapped only two shots of my own table, and none of the market itself). It was plenty of fun and a busy, busy day at the market, even though it was raining cats and dogs outside.

It was fun meeting fashion-savvy Vancouverites who love to support local art and feed them my scented chocolate truffles... My Blood Truffles (dark chocolate, rose otto and chilli) were a hit. The Charisma truffles (matcha & jasmine white chocolate with hints of osmanthus, spearmint and litsea cubeba) were admired too... Of course you have to love matcha to truly appreciate them. I will be definitely bringing truffles to the next market - with flavours you won't even imagine... This time they will be for sale.

The next market is July 29th, 2007. Hope to see you there!

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