Spring Scents - Part Deux

Tulips in Coal Harbour by Ayala Moriel
Tulips in Coal Harbour, a photo by Ayala Moriel on Flickr.

Spring is beautifully shaping into a promise of summer. The temperatures are slowly approaching room-level in the outdoors (a rare event in these parts), and everybody seems excited about that.

Here are a few more flowers and perfumes that seem to wink to me, competing on skin-space and nosy attention since my return to Vancouver:

Lilacs are early this year, and I'm taking full advantage of the fact, sniffing nosefuls whenever I can and scheming how to coax a few clusters of lilacs under the influence of alcohol to make a tincture or infusion. With muted notes of lilac, cucumber and wheat and sweet En Passant brings to mind a lilac hesitant to open its buds fully but hides beneath it a little jasmine and heliotropin surprise.

Balsam poplars are in bloom, permeating the air with their sweet, coumarin cotton-candy aroma, and causing me a sneezing fit whenever I happily walk by them. The sadly discontinued ambery fougere Sève Exquise (Victoire Gobin-Daude) captures so well the spirit of the spring on a sunny, yet windy and rather cool spring day walking under those trees and catching the little water taxi to Granville Island. Balsamic and warm like baked cotton wool.

Lilies of the Valley are as rare as true love. For the two weeks when the buds and white bells are around, I'm anticipating the blossoms and keep running to my bottle of Diorissimo, which I make a point of wearing every year around this time, even though it seems to call for a most regal occasion I can only imagine partaking in.

Linden Trees are not in bloom quite yet, but I love Persephenie's Linden Blossom Dry Oil Spray. It has a citrusy, coconutty and fun attitude, and is especially great when traveling because it's only 50mls and will fit in your carry on; plus it can be used both to moisturize the skin and style the hair. So pretty.

Secret Garden - on rainy spring days, this perfume brings comfort and mystery to an otherwise grey and dull day. It gives off the sense of silk brocade and teak wood furniture saturated with an old perfume.

Mitsouko - what a darling perfume. When I stocked up on 5 bottles of it (different concentrations, mind you) I haven't had quite enough insight on how sad I'd be getting very near the end of my 1st flacon. Even when I think I'm not in the mood for it - there was not a single time I wear Mitsouko and regret it later. It brings comfort and a pensive, contemplative perspective to life and I love it for it.

Elderflowers - my new discovery this spring - they are the "mimosas of the forest" to me, and I'm on a roll with these (in case you haven't noticed!) and tonight, I've steeped some of them in a rhubarb and black currant compote. I'm so smitter with everything that comes out with elderflowers scent. It's so refreshing to find a local, wild flower with such a prominent scent that I'm almost wondering if it's too good to be true that it's so yielding to my effort to extract the scent - in both aqueous and alcoholic infusions.

Rhododendrons - The yellow ones are already in bloom in our garden, and even though it's not their peak quite yet, the courtyard is filled with their nearly cloying, lily-meets-carnation perfume. Upon opening the gate, one will wonder what wafts around, and the flowers are not the first thing that would be anyone's guess. The scent is spicy, intoxicating, with hints of rose and peony spiciness.

Sweet Violets are peaking their heads among the greenery, and I'm reminded of some favourite violet scents: Verte Violette with its crisp, almost milky crushed leaf appeal; Voile de Violette with it's velvety softness; and Après l'Ondée, with its melancholy spring shower whisp of anise.

And until summer truly arrives, and there are real freesias in bloom, I'll enjoy me some Ofresia by Dyptique - crushed greens so delicate with a touch of jasmine and peppery, crisp freesia.

What flowers are in bloom in your part of the world? And which perfumes are you enjoying the most these days?

Rhubarb Blossom Compote

Fresh Rhubarb by Ayala Moriel
Fresh Rhubarb, a photo by Ayala Moriel on Flickr.

This rhubarb compote brings the freshness of both the Canadian and Mediterranean spring, combining the rhubarb tartness with cheerful orange blossom aroma.

1kg fresh rhubarb
1/2 cup evaporated cane sugar
2 Tbs orange flower water *

Rinse rhubarb and discard any green parts (they are poisoneous). Cut into thick slices.
Place in a sauce pan. Sprinkle sugar over top. Cook covered on a medium heat until the rhubarb is soft, about 5 minutes (check on it often to stir and to make sure it does not get scorched, stuck to the bottom, etc.). Add the orange flower water at the end of the cooking, to maximize its flavour.

Bring down to room temperature and pour into an airtight container. Store in the refrigerator up to one week (you can also eat it warm, but it won't taste as "fresh").

Serve with vanilla ice cream, frozen yoghurt, fresh yoghurt or unsweetened whipped cream with a hint of vanilla.

* Orange flower water is the distillation water from making neroli essential oil. It is a very popular ingredient in Middle Easter, Persian and East Indian cuisine - where it is used in countless desserts such as ice creams, confections and pastries.

Spring List + Giveaway

Butterfly by Ayala Moriel
Butterfly, a photo by Ayala Moriel on Flickr.

It's time for a little spring listing!

Narcotic Flower beautifully orchestrates magnolia, fruity jasmine and peach aldehydes over a soft patchouli and opoponax tincture. Haunting and mysterious.

Sweet rose and cardamom over irresistibly musky and aphrodisiac ambrette seeds in Bedouin
by Persephenie. Perfection, and a great way to satisfy a rosy craving!

And speaking of roses – there is also Persephenie’s Rose Paka: Healing restorative butter with a subtle scent of roses and a creamy, buttery undertone and a fluffy, mousse-like texture. Nourishes the entire body and is gentle enough to use on the face as well!

Vanille Galante has become one of those go-to spring concoctions, with it’s salted caramel decadence and booming Easter Lily explosion over woodsy vanilla.

Fig Tree by Sonoma Scent Studio – an aldehydic, Mediterranean fig scent, reminiscent of cold marble patios and shady grapevine leaves.

Crisp, effervescent floral bouquet with accents of apple and watermelon - Spring Flower
is the kind of scent that makes me believe for at least a few hours before it fades that life might just be a weekend picnic.

But spring is not only about flowers, it’s also about developing stronger roots, and what better root could there be besides vetiver?
Blood Orange & Vetiver by Soivohle’ brings together the mineral and smoky notes of vetiver and the brightness of bright red citrus.

What are your spring favourites this year? Add a comment and enter to win a mini of Zohar - which is my own expression of pure spring happiness.

Portobello West Spring 2012 Market this weekend!

Portobello West is back with our 6th Spring Opener this weekend!

It is the first of 4 seasonal full-weekend fashion markets this year, all taking place at the Creekside Recreational Centre (1 Athletes Way in the scenic and brand-new Olympic Village neighbourhood in False Creek - just a few minutes walk from Main St. SkyTrain Station and about 15min walk from Olympic Village station on the Canada Line).

We're excited to have our own booth (rather than just a table) for the very first time, and have worked for months re-designing our display and making this weekend a memorable experience!
And, my booth is happily nestled between two of my favourite ladies - Creampuffs by GG and Sofia Clothing!

For those of you who've never been to the market - it's been a monthly art and fashion market for its first 5 years, and in this year it's will be held as 4 seasonal, longer and bigger events instead. You can find here anything your heart desires - and all made locally by artists and designers who call this their passion: clothes, accessories, leatherwork, jewellery, art, body & beauty products, pottery, floral designs - and perfumes by yours truly!

For my regular Portobellas who've been visiting the market monthly for the past 4 years, and have become accustomed to my full-range of products on display, be prepared that only select perfumes and products have been curated for this show, in order to accomodate the nature of the set-up and make your choices easier. So --- instead of all 50 fragrances, there will be only 8!

So if you're worried that I won't be bringing what you were hoping to shop for - please drop me a line and I will make sure that you get your perfume shopping needs covered.

24HRS Features Hanami Perfume

Hanami perfume is featured in today's 24HRS beauty section, recommended for both men and women: "Floral and woody, this nature lover's scent is just as sexy on men as it is on women. And because it's not pumped full of chemicals, just a dab of this romance enhancing, pure essence will do".

This spring it's available for the first time in 15ml EDP ($180), and we have a very limited edition of the pure extrait in the beautiful flacons ($300).
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