Happy Norouz!

Persian Chickpea Shortbread & Hyacinths for Noruz

Happy Spring Equinox! Happy Norouz! Happy Purim Eve!

So many thanks to celebrate in one day... And as if that's not enough already, today is also the official 18th anniversary of Ayala Moriel Parfums.
As if to celebrate with us all this beauty, life and abundance - millions of butterflies were migrating yesterday through our skies,
Thank you for being my customers and readers for so many years, and supporting what I do. It means to me more than I can express to each and every one of you personally.
As a symbol to my gratitude, I am offering you an 18% discount with the code Chai18 when you order online. This offer will continue till the end of March.
Persian Chickpea Shortbread Cookies for Noruz
P.s. The above cookies are Nan-E Nokhochi (Persian chickpea shortbreads), which I am still looking for a good recipe for. Mine came out a little sticky but the flavour was amazing, with cardamom, pistachios and a splash of rosewater. They are gluten free and should be melt-in-your-mouth marvellous!

Perfume & Costumes

In preparation for Purim, I started thinking a bit about the connection between perfume and costume. I've discussed before how wearing a perfume can carry the same power and purpose of wearing a mask. This topic can be approached from different angles though: the similar angle of "wearing" perfume as you wear a garment, to present yourself to the world via an olfactory image. Such a picking the perfume equivalent of a navy or grey suit for a job interview (No. 19, Grey Flannel) versus a red one (the perfume equivalent of which could be Giorgio); picking a floral dress for a  or jeans and pearls for Sunday brunch or a picnic in the garden with your in-laws (wearing AnaisAnais, YSL Paris, or Laura Ashley No. 1).

Thierry Mugler's Angel gowns by Ayala Moriel
Thierry Mugler's Angel gowns, a photo by Ayala Moriel on Flickr.
The other aspect is the elaborate costumes designed for perfume commercials, designer fragrances most likely. Thierry Mugler has gone through elaborate lengths to design a different haute-couture gown for each of his Angel campaigns, all of which completely impractical for wearing in real life (even in a very fancy ball or red carpet event). One, for instance, was made entirely of heavy crystals (meant, no doubt, to hold the waif model down so she does not fly off the tower where it was shot). Nevertheless, Thierry Mugler carried his Angel dream all the way to reality in the most admirable over-the-top-manner only an artistically obsessed personality would.

YSL's famous dress for his Paris perfume: a black velvet gown with a pink satin haltertop that gathers into an impossibly enormous pink bow at the back - just as likely as the acrobatic lover who would smell your perfume miles away, only to drop out of thin air from a helicopter to kiss you upside down atop the Tour Eiffel. Voila:

Additionally, the tie between perfume and fashion has never been more crisply outlined than in Christian Dior's introduction of Miss Dior and his "New Look" in 1947. The ultra-feminine silhouette that characterized his collection were reflected truly in the perfume's vivacious juxtaposition of green galbanum, aldehydes, animalic civet and patchouli, and a bouquet of flowers to harmonize these contrasts. By the end of WWII, Chanel as a brand was out of the picture, and was not creating any new scents (not until the mid 70's with Cristalle). Although she can by and large be credited with marrying perfume and fashion; it is Christian Dior who took this marriage seriously with a very strong connection between his brand and perfume, hiring the best noses of the time - Jean Carles for Miss Dior, and later on the equally legendary Edmond Roudnitska, who created for the house numerous groundbreaking perfumes: Eau Sauvage, Diorissimo, Diorama, and Diorella; and Guy Robert to create Dioressence. Dior has been consistently taking their perfumes seriously and naming them often with the name of the brand included.

Last but not least: some bottles look like a costume or a fashion illustrator's sketch on their own right. Take Tocade's bottle, for instance: reminiscent of the Chinese straw hat and pagodas, charicaturized rather than getting the very stylized treatment YSL did in his Orient-inspired collections. Or take Ginvenchy Organza and Organza Indicence - both looking like three-dimensional glass gowns. The torso-shaped bottles of Shocking by Schiaparelli, as well as the more provocative Jean-Paul Gautier's fragrances for women as well as La Male are also both relating more to fashion than the human body per-se, tying together fashion and fragrance in a more costume-oriented manner.

News from the Nose: Carnival, Chaos, Renewal and Rebirth

Dear Fragrant Friends,
“I keep turning over new leaves, and spoiling them, as I used to spoil my copybooks; and I make so many beginnings there never will be an end. (Jo March)” - Louisa May Alcott, Little Women

In a chaotic world overflown with demands, there is nothing more empowering and freeing than the possibility of new beginnings. Don’t let the Polar Vortex convince you otherwise: winter will come to an end soon enough. Beyond the piles of seemingly endless snow, the days ARE getting longer; and the sun will again achieve its balance and return to power on March 20th. As shooting bulbs and new growth slowly but surely replace winter’s icy embrace, spring is the time of rejuvenation and rebirth. Time to start anew, shed our old skin, refine and re-define our path and distil our true essence. Time to establish a renewed sense of passion and purpose before we push ahead above the icy grounds. Like the Sonbol (Persian hyacinth, which symbolizes fertility and continuation), which is still curled up concealing the grape-like cluster of fragrant bells - this season offers a nurturing and quiet environment that will allow us to grow to our full potential.

Perfume has the power to restore one’s joie-de-vivre, increase mindfulness and nurture a greater sense of connectedness. The sense of smell is so intrinsically linked to our emotions and memories that it can help us reconnect with ourselves and with the here and now. Our obsession with the seasons – while might seem naïve – is no accident. By connecting to the cyclic rhythm of the seasons and changing with them, we find life lessons that ring true and timely in spite (or because) of the fact that the sun has been spinning this way for billions of years. This Spring we urge you to be in the moment, whether you are enjoying a hot cup of tea with a loved one, or catching up with your taxes.
Breathe deeply, and live fragrantly!

  1. Celebrating Chaos: Carnival Season is Not Quite Over Yet!
  2. Perfumes for Purim  
  3. Scents for Persian New Year
  4. Conscious Cleansing & Emotional Renewal
  5. Prune, Learn & Grow 
  6. Mindful Health & Inner Cleansing  
Read Ayala Moriel Parfums' March 2014 newsletter in it's entirety, and sign up to our mailing list to get future inspiring & informative newsletters with recipes, seasonal celebrations with scents, and  special promo codes only offered to our loyal customers and newsletter subscribers. 

Happy Purim!

Hammantashen & Massapan by Ayala Moriel
Hammantashen & Massapan, a photo by Ayala Moriel on Flickr.

The last batch of Hammantashen got out of the oven, and my home is filled with the scent of warm poppyseed, vanilla and lemon zest.

Wishing you all a happy Purim - and just out of curiosity - tell us what you dressed up as, or what you're wearing as a fragrance this holiday. Anything that screams "Carnival" or reminds you of Queen Esther or King Achashverosh?

Happy Purim!

Hag Purim Sameach to all of you who are celebrating today!

The photo is from the megillah reading I attended. This is the only holiday where heavy drinking is encouraged (good Canadian whiskey in this instance...).

May the month of Adar be a sign of much happiness in the remainder of the year :-)
Mine is already smelling of wild flowers and that always makes me happy.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone
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