Back to Citron

Etrog, originally uploaded by BecomingJewish.Org.

After a year of break from my Etrog project, I'm getting back to designing this perfume. It is probably going to be more of a cologne than a perfume though... And here lays the challenges - technical as well as creative:
1) Etrog (or citron - aka Citrus medica) essential oil is nowhere to be found to the best of my knowledge
2) Etrog fruit is just as rare. The Jews seem to be the only ones trading in it in North America, and the fruit starts at $40 each (you usually need to buy this with the whole set of "Arba'at ha Minim" - the 4 species of Sukkot.
3) Because of this rarity, it is neither easy to make tincture of the fruit, nor is it easy to remember how the scent smells like and stay true to the inspiration!
4) Last but not least - what I'm trying to create is more of an Eau de Cologne scent rather than a full blown perfume. This is the only way I have a chance of letting this delicate note truly shine, rather than being a mere top note!

I'm back to the lab and the drawing board this morning with my Etrog perfume. My 1st two mods of last year utilized a Yemenite Etrog tincture my mother made for me from organically grown fruit from the village. That year I also created my own Etrog tincture from the over-priced fruit here, possible only thanks to the courtesy of Rabbi Binyomin Bitton of Chabad Downtown, who donated to this project the 3 etrogim that he and his sons used throughout the holiday, and that received all the thorough blessings possible. I added to that my own personal etrog (less blessed, admittedly). And I tinctured this with my 1st year's students last fall, after Sukkot was over.

I created 2 mods last year, and kept them relatively simple. I used the abovementioned etrog tincture from the village, pomello tincture from an unusually fragrant and unwaxed pomelo that I completely luckily stumbled upon one day in a Chinese grocery store... A little bit of Japanese mint and rosemary verbenone, Japanese citron (yuzu), and a few fixatives: just benzoin in one, and benzoin and hinoki in the other.

I was much less than impressed with either of these, but had to let my frustration rest for a while before getting back to it. This morning seemed to be a good time to continue... Even though I feel I will need to double the concentration of the etrog tincture with more etrogim from this Sukkot in order to get the right result!

Etrog has a very fine aroma, not so much like citrus - more so like flowers and pineapple. It's hard to capture that, but funnily enough, my pomelo tincture seems more true to it than the actual etrog tincture... It has to have a fine balance between sweetness and dryness. It's a very, very elegant note and not at all like any other citrus (except for pomelo, perhaps).

So this morning, I've blended the same tinctures and yuzu, but also added some blood orange, green lemon and organic lemon, and the same herbs as before. I also fleshed this out with some florals - neroli and orange blossom absolute, petitgrain bigarade and lemon petitgrain. I fixed this with benzoin, frankincense, cypress, ambergris and olive resin tincture. I'm still feeling like a lot is missing and I'm quite sure I know what I want to add: green myrtle oil (which I thought I had but I don't!) and also citron petiitgrain, which I'm out of as well and love (it's a very rare oil to find, but not as rare as citron fruit peel, which I've never came across, ever!). And as I said, a stronger citron tincture, by adding more peels to last year's tincture. This is going to be at least a 3 years project, which can be on one hand really intimidating, but on the other hand - I think this is the beauty of the art of perfume: timing is everything, and the perfume has to ripen not only in the vat, but also in the perfumer's soul.

Charisma Perfumed Tea

Ayala Moriel is pleased to announce the launch of Charisma tea - the 5th creation in our series of authentic perfumed teas made for us exclusively by Inner Alchemy Tea Co.

Of course, Charisma originates in the perfume of that name – a concoction of green tea, jasmine sambac, osmanthus, kewda and spearmint that creates a very distinct scent. But it also has another significance for me personally which I would like to reveal here.

Back home in my little organic village in Israel, we hardly ever drank proper “tea” from tea leaves – but only tisanes brewed from fresh herbs from the gardens or wild ones from the hills and meadows surrounding our homes. My favourites since childhood were lemon verbena, lemongrass and spearmint. The brewed fresh leaves are magically refreshing and calming. A true pleasure to the palette as well as the nose.

Inspired by my friend and colleague Dawna and the exceptional teas she has created for me, I set on experimenting with my own stash of herbs and tea to create a matching tea to my original refreshing and Charisma perfume.

Those of you who visited the studio in the past year are probably familiar with my “secret house blend”. I took my all-time favourite freshly dried herbs from my mother’s organic garden in Israel – lemon verbena, spearmint and lemongrass – and added an equal amount of authentic perfumed jasmine green tea, and a touch of dried osmanthus blossoms.

Wanting to share this beautiful blend with friends and clients around the world, I asked for Dawna’s help to refine the ratios and create a small batch of this beautiful tea. In her skilled and sensitive hands and with her expertise in the flavour and aroma profiles of teas and herbs, Dawna has transformed this beautiful tea into something out of this world. The jasmine tea was replaced with a rare pomelo blossom perfumed tea*, which seems to have captured the essence of Charisma more fully – including it’s rounded floralcy and pungent aroma from the kewda and spearmint. When I first tasted Charisma tea I felt like I was sipping an orchard in full bloom. It left my mouth with a tingling sensation and with butterflies in my tummy.

- Traditional ‘Pomelo Flower’ Tea, premium grade (Fujian region, China)

- Lemon Verbena Leaf, organically grown (Turkey)

- Spearmint Leaf, organically grown (USA)

- Osmanthus Blossoms, premium grade (China)

Brewing Instructions:

Bring freshly drawn water to a boil. Infuse 1 tsp. per 5 oz. cup of tea desired for 1 ½ to 2 minutes.

Allow to cool slightly to appreciate full taste profile. May be re-steeped up to 4 times.

* The reason why pomelo blossom tea is so rare is because pomelo trees don’t have that many blossoms to begin with. The pomelo fruit being so large, the tree can only burden itself with few fruits; and the blossoms are few to begin with.

Back to the top