Media Clips: LivingBC, NaturalPerfumery.ru

Ayala Moriel's custom perfumes and ready-to-wear fragrances have been featured on p. 12 of LivingBC's Vancouver Valentine's Day Gift Guide

Also, visit NaturalPerfumery.ru to read Anna Zworykina's peer reviews of the following Ayala Moriel perfumes: Rainforest, Schizm, Fetish and Bois d'Hiver. Anna's writing style is as poetic as her perfumes!

Last but not least - some of our newest perfumes, soaps and the beard oils and hair oils are now on MakeUpAlley, so you can add your own reviews and impressions. Please do - we rely 100% on your word of mouth, and it's thanks to you, customers and readers, that I can continue doing what I do.

Musk Malabi

Malabi by Tom lahat
Malabi, a photo by Tom lahat on Flickr.
If Sahleb is the royal treat of winter, then the rosy, rubbery Malabi (see recipe below) is the queen of summer in the Middle East. Served cold in every other corner and almost every kiosk and restaurant of any caliber, this chilled milk-pudding captures the eye with the contrasting rosy-red syrup oozing all over the white, petri-plate-like to-go containers it comes in. I was never a big fan of its texture (ditto in regards to Rahat Loukum, also unjustly made with corn starch instead of better quality materials), but I adore its fragrance!

What always captures my imagination about malabi was its soft, evocatively sounding name, and its unique fragrant combination of rosewater and neroli. Rose and neroli are such noble flowers yet oh so different. Rose is open, voluptuous, sweet and feminine. Neroli is prim and proper, restrained, clean, ethereal and otherworldly. It's incredible that such a thing even grows from the earth, as has such a heavenly character.

Malabi with pom syrup by Dan Bar Dov
Malabi with pom syrup, a photo by Dan Bar Dov on Flickr.
The balance of these two strong-willed floral elements that inspired the creation of my new, limited edition for Valentine's Day 2014. Titled Musk Malabi, this perfume is a holy triad of sorts, between voluptuous, velvety and soft rose; airy, clean and cerebral neroli, and the pulsating animalic energy of musk. The musk is, in a most profound way, what makes these two oppositional flowers harmonize rather than compete with one another. It is told in the Koran that Mohammed's breath was as sweet as rose, and that he considered musk to be the purest of all perfumes. Musk grains were even mixed with the mortar in the construction of several Eastern mosques and retained their musky scent for years. The botanical musk in Musk Malabi was designed to smell as close as possible to deer musk, and most importantly, act like one: it plays cupid pulling all the strings between and drawing the lovers (rose and neroli) together. It doesn't need arrows, and plays the harp better than cupid, doing all of this work gently and with effortless fluidity. 

Malabi by shai.wininger
Malabi, a photo by shai.wininger on Flickr.

Musk Malabi is a limited edition for Valentine's Day 2014, which is just a month away from today! 
Love it, and it will love you back.

Top notes: Bitter Orange, Cardamom, Coriander, Blood Orange
Heart notes: Turkish Rose, Bulgarian Rose, Tunisian Neroli, Egyptian Orange Blossom
Base notes: Atlas Cedarwood, Botanical Musk Accord, Tahitian Vanilla

Tragic Love Stories, Bottled

I've decided to dedicate my 4th annual Valentine's Day tea party to broken hearts - those of us who are suffering from unrequited love, or are simply lonely on this day that's supposed to be celebrated in a twosome.

There is no real of art more obsessed with love, passion and desire than perfume. Nearly all perfumes are a promise of a love potion; an elixir so irresistible that it will capture your heart's desires, and lure in new ones... And some were inspired by the most tragic love stories. Others, even more so inspiring, by the perfumer's real life stories, agony and muses.

Let's begin with the house of Guerlain. More than any other perfume house I know, their perfumes bottle love stories and are usually inspired by women and created first and foremost to be worn on a woman's skin.

Jicky (1889) In 1864, Aimé Guerlain had to interrupt his studies in England and return to the family's business due to the illness of his father, Pierre-François. Him and his brother, Gabriel, now had to take charge of all aspects of the company - and his role was as perfumers, while his brother's was to take care of the business and marketing side of things. Years later he created this masterpiece, and although another story says this was his nickname for his nephew, Jaqcues - another story says this was the name of the lover he left behind in England.

Mitsouko (1919) is inspired by the heroine of Le Bataille (The Battle) - a novel about a Japanese girl who was abandoned by an American naval officer who married her, got her pregnant and never returned to her. She tried to perform harakiri but was found by one of her maids, who saved her life. The perfume is redolent of Asian woods, spices and delicate aldehydic peach note.

Nuit de Noël (1922) was created by Ernest Daltroff with his muse, lover and business partner
Félicie Vanpouille. She was a dressmaker by profession, and became Caron's legendary package and bottle designer. Her creations really completed the perfume and together the couple created masterpieces in both visual and olfactory aspects. She always turned down Daltroff's proposals, so they never married. But, she did become an equal partner and shareholder in the business, and when Daltroff fled Nazi-occupied France to Canada (he was Jewish) - he gave her the entire Caron company. He died two years later from cancer - or was it a broken heart? 

Shalimar (1925) was inspired by the tragic tale of Shah Jahan (an Indian king) to his favourite wife Mumtaz Mahal. She died in child birth and left him broken hearted. The perfume is named after the gardens of shalimar, where the royal lovers spent their happy times together before her untimely death. Next to them Shah Jahan build the Taj Mahal - a tomb and monument for Mumtaz Mahal. His resting place is adjacent to it, so he can watch her monumental beauty for many years. The perfume contains all the abundance of the imaginary oriental garden and is presented in a bottle that resembles a water fountain - or a fruit bowl. Take your pick.

Femme (1944) was released by Marcel Rochas as a coming-of-age tribute to his wife, Hélène. It was, however, created earlier by Edmond Roudnitska, with whatever raw materials he had from a raw material supplier he worked with. The materials were inevitably aged during the war and he quality of the perfume has a certain darkness to it that truly reflects its time. Despite the gravity of the events outside, Roudnitska maintained his creative spirit and his commitment to his art. And that, to me, is the true love story behind this perfume.

Chamade (1969) is the name of a particular military drum beat, and also doubles as the heartbeat of surrender - to love, of course. Jean-Paul Guerlain said he created it for a certain woman in mind - but won't reveal who she was. With notes of black currents, ylang ylang and green galbanum over a base of vanilla and oakmoss it was one of the perfumes that predicted the sharp-angled greens of the 1970's.

Love Story in a Bottle
Please leave a comment with perfumes that were inspired by a love story - tragic or otherwise. Among the commentators, there will be a lucky draw on Friday, February 22nd, to win a package with a mini of Immortelle l'Amour - my own contribution to the world of broken-heart-inspired perfumes.

Broken Hearts Tea Party

Broken Hearts
Here are some photos from my latest event on Sunday, February 10th - the 4th annual Valentine's tea party, with Broken Hearts theme... I hope you'll find some ideas for celebrating today - regardless if you're single, broken-hearted or in a loving happy relationship. By the way - the broken hearts above were part of a game. Guests had to find their "better halves" and the first two who found it won prizes!

Setup by Ayala Moriel
This is the setup - relaxed, casual but still luxurious, and with splashes of hearts and colours. It was an unusually small crowd because of the multiple holidays happening that weekend: Chinese New Year and Family Day long weekend - a new holiday just recently invented so that Canadian kids will get even less education than before. So, many people were away, and I will have to better plan for next year so it doesn't fall on a long weekend again. The good thing was that I got to spend quality time with my guests instead of boiling 20 liters of tea; and also considering I was sick all week I was able to sit down a relax a bit, and have civil conversations with people instead of standing up and running around for 5 hours straight (which is usually my share on my always overbooked Valentine's events).

I also really enjoyed preparing for and presenting perfumes that were inspired by tragic love stories. This will be a part of a separate post though - so please visit again later today. Below are more photos and the menu as well as some recipes you can easily whip up at home tonight for your sweetie or just with a bunch of single friends that don't want to feel sorry for themselves tonight!

Minted Radish Tea Sandwiches
Minted radishes tea sandwiches - a surprisingly classic combination that never fails.

Cucumber & Watercress Tea Sandwiches
Cucumber & watercress tea sandwiches. Another classic.

Banana & Peanutbutter Tea Sandwiches
Peanut butter & banana tea sandwiches - not just for kids. Did you know that bananas are an aphorodisiac? And can you guess why?
To make this flavour a tad more grown up, spread a thin layer of hot red pepper jelly on one slice, and peanut butter on the other.

Meyer Lemon Scones + Blueberry & Meyer Lemon Marmalade
Meyer lemon scones - hot from the oven, and promptly served with Devon cream and with a blueberry & Meyer lemon marmalade.

Chocolate Madeleines with Orange Flower Water
Madeleines are fantastic, shell-shaped cross between cookie and a cake. They are dense, moist yet light and are flavourful yet neutral enough to dip in a tea. Might even be superior to shortbreads in that regard, if only it wasn't for the extra work they require. These are chocolate flavoured and are scented with orange flower water. Sounds just like the kind of recipe I will invent; but it is actually from Maxine Clark's excellent book, Chocolate: Deliciously Indulgent Recipes for Chocolate Lovers.

Mint Chocolat Wafers Sandwich Cookies
Chocolate mint wafers, enclosed between two layers of sugar cookies with hint of black pepper. This recipe is so easy, yet so elegant. You have to try it! Use your favourite sugar cookie recipe and cut in whichever shape you like (circle or square works best). Place a chocolate mint wafer in between the cookies while they are still hot, and - voila! You have a cookie sandwich that is flavourful and looks very professional, without ever needing to whip up a filling, and with very little mess to clean...

Rosewater Buttercream Cookies
Rose almond sugar cookies with a layer of rosewater buttercream piped in between. Want the recipe? You got it!

Bleeding Hearts Truffles - with Ylang Ylang & Cassis
The cherry on the top, or the jewel in the crown are always the scented truffles I make for my special events and celebrations. Some were so popular that they've became a timeless chocolate bar (created in collaboration with CocoaNymph). But for the new flavours you will have to visit my studio and participate in these events. You're always sure to be surprised by an unusual, new flavour combination, featuring essential oils and tea infused ganache. This time was my first to experiment with organic ylang ylang oil of the best quality. I paired it with creme de cassis liquor, a combination inspired by Chamade. The result is a melt-in-your-mouth tropical floral experience with a round berry backnote. Introducing: the one and only Bleeding Hearts truffle!

My lovely guests, customers & friends!
I love to see everyone having good conversation and playing around with the essences and perfumes. Sometimes they don't even need my help picking a scent - they just dive in and smell them all and share their insights with their friends and other guests; and then I know that they are real fragrance lovers.


Lovers Tea
Lovers Tea: 1 hand-tied jasmine green tea + 1 teaspoon rose petals. Beautiful visual effect and ever so lovely fragrant cup of tea to sooth the soul and seduce the imagination. It's like a garden in a teapot!
You might want to strain the tea before serving; but I find that letting a rose petal or to through the spout creates a more sensual tea-sipping experience.

Bleeding Hearts cocktail

Bleeding Hearts cocktail. I'm willing to share my recipe:
1/2oz Creme de Cassis
1oz Hendricks gin
1/4oz Elderflower cordial 

Club Soda
Angostura Bitters
Blood Orance, sliced- Shake with ice. 
- Top with club soda. 
- Add a dash of Angostura bitters. Stir. 
- Garnish with a slice of blood orange.
- Sip slowly, savouring every drop. 

- And please don't drive!

Rosewater Buttercream Cookies

Rosewater Buttercream by Ayala Moriel
Rosewater Buttercream, a photo by Ayala Moriel on Flickr.
With Valentine's Day around the corner, and the winter greyness in full swing - there is no better timing for something bright and pink and optimistic. Rosewater buttercream, anyone?

This recipe is an improvement on another one that I've tried from Canadian Living Magazine's special baking edition that came out in the fall, especially for the holiday season 2012. I love getting those special edition magazines: some of the recipes there I swear by and they have surprisingly original combinations, and are usually quite well-tested. This was an exception - whilte the buttercream frosting and the technique was fantastic; I was not at all happy with the dough. Contrasted with the soft, yielding texture of the buttercream filling - the dough must have a more flaky, absorbent consistency. Otherwise every bite will squish out the frosting before you can even get through the (rather thin, I must add) double cookie layers.

So I went off and decided to give you a tried and true cookie recipe instead, which I am sure will produce finer results: it's a classic pâte sucrée recipe, taken from Dorie Greenspan's wonderful Paris Sweets. The reason I'm telling you all this is not just because I want to give due credit to the origins of my new recipe; but also to let you in my recipe baking process. I often get complemented about my "creativity" in baking; where in fact - all I do is amalgamate components that I like from different recipes in my repertoire. It's true that I stop at nothing when it comes to flavour combinations, and these can be rather daring. But as far as consistencies go, the science of baking is something I consider myself to be a complete novice at. I keep making mistakes, learning from them, and keep trying adventurous new recipes to understand who all of this works. So don't be afraid of experimenting in the oven - baking, just like cooking - can be creative and rewarding. And once you come up with your own flavour, it's already your recipe, really. You own it - and best of all: you can share the treats with friends, family and colleagues. And that's more than half of the fun.  

Hot Hearts
For the rose-almond cookie dough:
1-1/4 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup icing sugar
1/2 cup (50gr) ground blanched almonds
1/2 tsp almond extract
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 large egg
3 drops rose absolute (optional)
1-3/4 cups unbleached white wheat flour
2 Tbs rosewater, for brushing the cut cookies1/2 cup Coarse sugar, for decorating

- In a food processor or standup mixer, beat the butter, salt and sugar together until smooth and creamy.
- Beat in the eggs, vanilla and almond extracts, and rose absolute (if using).
- Add the blanched almonds. Scrape the sides of the bowl if necessary.
- Add the flour and continue beating/blending just until the dough forms moist-looking chunks and can form a ball. Avoid overworking this dough as it will affect the crumbly, melt-in-your-mouth texture!
- Divide the dough into 2 balls, and roll each into a flat disk.
- Cover in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 4 hours or up to 2 days.
- When ready cut and bake the cookies, roll each disk into 5mm/1/4", between 2 layers of wax paper.
- Chill the dough for 10-20 minutes if it has become too soft and difficult to work with.
- Use heart shaped cookie cutters if you got them, a fluted round (as used for Linzer cookies), or any shape you like. Dip the cutter into flour to avoid the cut cookies from sticking to it.
- Preheat the oven to 350F.
- Refrigerate the cut cookies for 20 minutes.
- Brush (or spray) half of the cookies with rosewater, sprinkle with coarse sugar.  The other remaining half should be left alone as they are - they will be the base or bottom of the sandwiched cookies once you assemble them.
- Bake the cookies for 8-10 minutes, just until the edges are slightly golden.
- Place on a wired rack to dry.

Rosewater Buttercream
For the Rosewater Butter Cream Filling:
1/3cup unsalted butter, softened

2 cups icing sugar
Pinch of salt (use Hawaiian Red or Pink Himalayan salt if you want to be really fussy!)
2 Tbs whipping cream
2 Tbs rosewater
2-4 drops of red food colouring (optional)

- Beat the butter, salt and icing sugar until completely combined.
- Stir in the whipping cream and rosewater, one tablespoon at a time, beating thoroughly between additions.
- Add the red colour and blend till it is evenly distributed and the frosting is tinted a light cheerful pink!

To assemble:
Pipe the butter cream frosting on the cookies that do not have the sugar decoration. You may use a spoon or a butter knife if you don't have a piping bag/syringe: you will need about 1 teaspoon per cookie - place filling in the centre of the cookie, and press the sugared cookie on top so that the filling reaches the sides of the sandwich.

Store in an airtight container until serving. You may store them in the fridge for up to 5 days. Just remember to bring them to room temperature before serving, for the best texture and flavour.

And - voila!
Your rosewater buttercream cookies are ready to enjoy!

Rosewater Buttercream Cookies
  • Page 1 of 6
  • Page 1 of 6
Back to the top