Baked Eucalyptus & Redwoods

Eucaliptus by theoorm
Eucaliptus, a photo by theoorm on Flickr.

The scent of eucalyptus has never been that of fond memories for me, having too many colds and ear infections as a kid that my parents lovingly treated with eucalyptus steam session (yuck!). Therefore, I was never particularly interested in it from a perfumer's point of view.

However, like most things less than positive in my past lives, they tend to make full circle and come to my present from a different angle, making them smell glowingly positive or even romantic.

Driving to Santa Cruz, the dry wind in the freeway brings to my nose the smell of redwood forests baking at 90F or so, a dry woody aroma with a compelling sweetness that is oh so different from the Pacific Northwest conifers. And strolling under gigantic eucalypti on the way to Santa Cruz beach not surprisingly smells of these very same trees whose scent make me melancholy if anything at all, except for the one time when I was fortunate for a private screening of the Australian aboriginal scene from Michel Roudnistka's Un Monde en Senteurs.

They must be a different variety than what grows in Israel, as their silhouette was different, as well as their berries (which were gigantic in size - almost as large as acorns). The same aromas hit my nose driving to Sonoma coast on 4th of July, by than it being a somewhat nostalgic, fond summer memory...

On this very eve, I will unearth some eucalyptus samples I've got, because not all eucalyptus are born equal. Most smell very, very camphoreous and medicinal - blue gum (E. globulus), blue malee (E. polybractea) and even the gentler narrow leaf (E. radiata). Lemon eucalyptus smells like citrus (E. citriodora), and some smell like precious Shamanic wood (Eucalyptus dives). I'm determined to create a perfume with eucalyptus, that will not smell like an aromatherapy treatment for congestion.

Smiling Country

View from Bald Mountain, originally uploaded by Ayala Moriel.

“The nightmare city was gone (…) In the interval the city had disappeared. The roar of it no longer dinned upon his ears. Before him was smiling country, streaming with sunshine, lazy with quietude”.
(Jack London, White Fang)

So begins White Fang's life in Northern California, which resonates with my state of mind these days. Although I can't really say that Vancouver is all that intimidating of a city (unless you are a wild wolf meeting it for the first time...), nor is it detached from nature to that point that I feel disconnected from it; but somehow, after my 13 consecutive years of urban life, and swearing by it as if my sanity depends on it, I'm coming to a realization that even that phase might pass. I'm not so much fed up with the city itself as much as I'm longing for simplicity, and am a little bit tired by how materialistic city life can be. Of course, even for city-dwellers, there is still some choice in the matter. It's not as if living in the city is by default materialistic; but it certainly is far easier to get there and try to fill any existential void that might present itself with pretty things (or at least window shopping for them).

The other part of my White Fang equation is the longing for a slightly warmer climate. Growing up in Israel, I was always attracted to the North - especially Canada where I was born. Not that Vancouver is really a hard-core Northern city, but the greenery, snowy mountains, forceful rivers and soft cloud-filtered light certainly have their Pacific Northwest magic to them. However, these days I'm trying to break free from these glass towers, where my heart was kept on ice for years of exile... I'm seeking a change of scene and my spirit wants to wander southbound, where the sun is warm and rarely gets interrupted by rain. A place where the country is smiling!

And until I'm there again, all I can do is bottle up my dreams (no pun intended) and work feverishly on my perfume for the Midsummer Night's Dream scent event. Which is the only excuse why this post ever made it to SmellyBlog. But it will all make sense in the end... I promise.

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