White Potion. A Tropical Beauty by Ayala Moriel Parfums

Tropical florals like tuberose, gardenia, and jasmine can easily overwhelm a perfume with their intense headiness. Sometimes the intensity is beautifully crafted, such as in Fracas, but that iconic tuberose perfume is challenging for many people to wear and still feel like they are in their own skin. Ayala Sender, the nose behind Ayala Moriel Parfums offers White Potion as an alternative to ostentatious white floral perfumes.


White Potion is creamy and tender, as if the milky petals of tuberose, jasmine and gardenia are melding with your skin. Tuberose stands out more than the other florals, but not by much. As is typical for Ayala’s fragrances, White Potion is so well blended and balanced that all the notes sing harmoniously with each other. These diva flowers don’t elbow each other off the stage. They perform in concert, and very smoothly.


Coconut, along with tuberose, peers out of the composition just a shade more than the others allowing for the creamy, silky feel of White Potion. My experience of White Potion has been more sensual and soothing than bright and cheery, especially on this rainy day in the Northwest. With its undercurrent of sandalwood and rosewood, this fragrance has woody roots that gently tame the wanton potentness of the white petaled blossoms. In the final moments of White Potion, tonka bean adds a nutty flavor creating a more playful vibe. The ending serves me well as I always like to leave party while I’m still having fun.


White Potion is very wearable, and the perfect perfume for someone who wants to venture into tropical territory for the first time, or for that collector who has yet to come across a gardenia/tuberose/jasmine “skin scent” that does not possess musk. As with all of Ayala’s creations, White Potion is 100% natural and made in small batches to ensure quality and freshness. Ayala also donates proceeds from her perfumes to organizations that support people with Autism, Peace Organizations, and her latest project to help save the Bloedel Floral Conservatory in Vancouver BC. Additionally, Ayala Moriel Parfums does not perform animal testing, or use ingredients that have been tested on animals or that have been involved in animal cruelty such as musk, castoreum, whale-harvested ambergris and civet.


White Potion is available at the Ayala Moriel Parfumes Website.



 

Posted by ~Trish

Tuberose image from makeupandbeautyblog.com
Disclosure: A sample of White Potion was sent to me by Ayala Moriel Parfums. It was many months ago, so I can’t remember if it was included as a sample from one of my orders or if she sent it to me to review. Regardless, the opinons in this review are my own. I was not financially compensated for this review or any other.

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My Blue Moon Review: Anya’s Garden MoonDance

I’m writing this review on the eve of the blue moon and the new year. This is also the day I decided to try MoonDance from Anya’s Garden for the first time. Coincidence? If it was, it was a subconscious bleary-eyed one this morning. Reaching for my sample I thought I was going to experience a heady tuberose fragrance as I remembered reading on NowSmellThis that MoonDance is an homage to tuberose. Well, there’s tuberose in MoonDance, but not in the way I had expected.

After applying this 100% natural perfume, the scent of violets radiated from my skin. If you’re thinking gentle and sweet violets, then MoonDance will hasten you to rethink your violet notions. We’re talking violets on steriods! The tuberose and jasmine heart of MoonDance supplies our little purple pansies with a hallucinogenic quality, more vivid and intensely sweet than any other violet fragrance in my experience. On my skin, the violet completely took charge of this perfume leaving tuberose and jasmine to lend their indolic fullness in a supporting role. The blend is balanced so harmoniously that the larger-than-life violet doesn’t smell like a tuberosey-violet, rather an amplified version of its inherent components.

MoonDance is a vivacious floral no doubt, but there’s an earthy haylike quality present from chamomile that I adore. The dried grassy aroma tempers MoonDance enough so it doesn’t become cloying or overbearing. After many hours of wear, the violet and white florals settle into a delicate bouquet with just a suggestion of woods. Anya McCoy of Anya’s Flowers isn’t quite satisfied with the use of florals and woods though, even if some of them are rare and exotic. She’s added the peculiar ingredient hyraceum.

I had no idea what this was until I corresponded with her to find out more. I wasn’t expecting to find out that it’s the fosslized pee and poo of the Dr. Seuss-esque named hyrax, pictured here. Apparently tinctured hyraceum has a scent akin to ambergris or oud and can also have a grassy scent due to the hyrax diet. (Who knew fossilized poop as well as chamomile would add that hay note I love so much?) There’s a very informative discussion on Basenotes regarding hyraceum and I encourage you to read it if you have any interest in learning more about it. Since it is fossilized from thousands of years ago, there is no cruelty involved when sourcing these critters’ rock-hard excrement.

(Never did I think I’d end a review with the words “rock-hard excrement”).

Moondance is $125 for 15ml of EdP and $75 for 3.5mls of Parfum Extrait at Anya’s Garden.

Posted by ~Trish

Red Orange Tan and Purple by Mark Rothko

Disclosure: A sample of MoonDance was provided for this review by Anya’s Garden. The opinons in this review are my own. I was not financially compensated for this review or any other.

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Scents & Serendipity; Ayala & Persephenie Part I

blunda
 FLOWER PARTY

BlundaAromatics in Los Angeles is an exquisite olefactorium/ artisan enclave/ scent school/ alchemical collaboration run by Persephenie Schnyder. Blunda’s website describes its store hours as Saturday: 11-5, Monday – Friday: By Appointment or Chance. It truly was a magnificent accord of chance, serendipity, a dash of divine intervention, and a dear college friend that dispatched me to Blunda a couple of Saturdays ago to experience natural perfumery in the flesh and to hear Ayala Sender describe her Ezra Pound haiku-inspired scent Hanami.

As I slipped out of the blazing SoCal sun and into Blunda(a Swedish word meaning “to close one’s eyes”), I was greeted warmly by Persephenie herself and an ethereal enclave packed with natural perfume devotees.  The walls were replete with sculptures, art, and shelves — shelves teeming with delicate glass vials of essential oils and jars of all sizes containing exotic substances; Ayala refers to this as a perfume organ.

The desserts Ayala and Persephenie prepared for our motley crew were other word-ly. Neatly stacked rows of sakura mochi (Japanese rice pastries filled with Azuki bean paste and wrapped in pickled cherry leaves) greeted us along withAyala’sperfumed teas, fresh and tiny tea sandwiches with cucumber, watercress, minted radishes, carrots, ginger and cream cheese, and wickedly delicious marble-sized handmade perfumed White Potion and Guilt chocolate truffles. As I tried to control my primal instinct to hoard and/or devour, I wondered how have I missed this genius; this cool lounge-like sliver of smell-hounds in LA? This brilliant speak-easy of taste, intelligentsia, and performance scent-art?  Thank chance and the prodding of Trish for this revelation!

GENUFLECTIONS BY A NEW NOSE

Ayala’s presentation was a wonderful introduction to natural and organic fragrance for the botanically naïve. After describing her personal inspiration for Hanami and reciting the rich Ezra Pound lyrics that inspired the perfume and Heather Ettlinger’s  poetic perfume project:

In a Station of the Metro

The apparition of these faces in the crowd;
Petals on a wet, black bough.

Ayala began by passing around scent strips dipped in her base notes of Vetiver, Tonka Bean, Cassie, Siamwood, Vanilla CO2, Copaiba Balsam and Bakul Attar. (For photos, check out her own SmellyBlog post here). As we passed and considered each note through the group, it felt surprisingly beautiful, holy and communal. There with Persephenie’s perfume organ as a back drop, we exchanged musical nose notes in quiet revelry.

Breaking Hanami down note by note seemed especially appropriate given the deconstructive nature of the tradition up-ending haiku written by Pound. With its unpredictable metrics (the musical notes/cadence of a poem), the poem shifts between hard clip urban consonants and noun images, and the gorgeous seductive nature of soft dark s’es and sh’s, p‘s and b‘s. Ayala’s base ensemble captures this brilliantly.

Cassie, as she explained, is a type of mimosa used in tanning leather and appropriately, it speaks with a musty earthen, even industrial and honeyed depth. Vetiver, a simple grass root with an incredibly rich and complicated wet woods and marshland scent, bowled me over. Vanilla CO2, she used because it is shearer than Vanilla and has a half milky half watery sense. Ayala identified these choices as a desire to pull a deep metallic, dark and dusty –even gloomy — smell.  The final woodsy, metallurgical accord is spectacular.

Then Ayala moved to the heart notes allowing us to appreciate the individual notes of Pink Lotus, Magnolia, Tuberose, Violet Leaf, and Oleander, before providing the scent strip fan of the Sakura Accord in its entirety. Again this process, especially for a novice like me, was extraordinary. There is something truly mystical and transformative to sit (or stand) in a jam-packed room and reverently pass these deep, dark woodsy and floral scents among one another. And finally, for Hanami’s top notes, she purposefully steered away from citrus and turned instead towards earthy-wooden florals — Cabreuva, Frangipani, Mimosa and Rosewood.

There is a hard softness in the core underpinnings of this perfume that beautifully echoes the elegiac quality of the poem itself.  This heavy metal base creates the perfect enduring and quixotic caesura (pause) in one’s mind, a kind of olfactoric undertow. The floral tip opens up a deep and resonant space for that urban anonymity, the alienation and intimacy of modern living, to transpire in all its crushed complexity.  It is a lot like that final image Ezra Pound leaves us with – Ayala’s final fragrance looms like the enduring apparition of our lives, of our faces, anonymous, mysterious, individual, as petals on that wet, black bough. Ayala’s composition is not just a perfume, Hanami (and Ettlinger’s entire poetry project) should be installed in MOCA or MOMA, as an art experience. It is a stunning and sublime fragrance.

Much to our collective joy, Ayala brought several of her other signature perfumes with her as well as small samples of her entire collection.  I was immediately taken with Bon Zai, another Japanese-derived scent. It is minimalist, woodsy, and the Juniper is fabulous. Juniper! Juniper! Fete D’Hiver I found bewitching as well, although totally different from Bon Zai. It is described as “Spicy roses with incense and amber dries down to a powdery snow on fluffy fur” on the website, and this really says it all.  Now to start saving up so that I may purchase all THREE.


Please come back to Scent Hive on Tuesday for Part II of Scents & Serendipity, Ayala & Persephenie

Hanami is available at Blunda Aromatics.

Written by guest contributer ~duVergne Robert Gaines: a neophyte to the odor order, is a professional feminist and occasional poet.  She lives in Los Angeles near the La Brea tar pits with her partner David Riley Shackelford and their two cat children, Trotsky and MadX.

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Strange Invisible Perfumes: Galatea

jeanleongerome-pygmalion-and-galatea

Galatea begets an image of a bitter-orange tree corridor. Blossoms opening from a balmy night of late spring. Dark silhouettes of lovers loosely hold hands, fingers intertwined. Boozy thoughts dance above them. The trees emit their balsam, finally released from the first true heat of the season. The bark has become balm and essence. It’s a lovely vision, a bit dark in my mind, and this perfume swirls around it like a trance. 

 

I am in love with Galatea and yearn to have a full bottle. Here’s the caveat; one has to really love this fragrance before buying it as it is only available in parfum strength and is $185 for 1/4 ounce. But neroli is a weakness of mine. I adore its sensual heralding of springtime and slightly spicy undertones. This lovely note of neroli, combined with the sweet warmth of benzoin and the leafy-green resinous quality of galbanum have been orchestrated with an artist’s skill and inspiration. Alexandra Balahoutis, the creator of Strange Invisible Perfumes composed Galatea for herself, which might explain why this is such a perfectly blended fragrance. 

 

To clarify, the benzoin used in fragrance is different from the medicinal benzoin which is a skin protectant and smells like camphor. Perfumery benzoin is a resin from the Styrax tree which is native to Southeast Asia. Cuts are made in the bark to release the liquid secretion, which later solidifies into a resin after being exposed to air and the sun. The resin smells sweet and vanilla-like, and according to Mandy Aftel in her book Essence and Alchemy, “people tend to find benzoin calming, seductive, sensual and rejuvenating”.

 

Tuberose plays its part in this perfume as well. But not in the typical bombshell-floral role it’s usually relegated. In Galatea, tuberose has soft curves that cradle the neroli. So subtle is the tuberose, that it only becomes apparent in the base. Providing a richness to the neroli and an evolution for the fragrance to move into deeper territory. But the resinous, booze-like quality that makes Galatea so dreamlike remains constant. 

 

Galatea is available at  Strange Invisible Perfumes.  Strange Invisible Perfumes does not use any synthetically derived chemicals and all of their products are crafted solely from ingredients found in nature. They use organic beverage-grade grape alcohol as the base for their perfumes. 85-100% of their product is organic and they use organic ingredients whenever possible. Please see their site for more on their green mission.

 

Galatea decants are also available at The Perfumed Court.

 

Posted by ~Trish

Pygmalion and Galatea by Jean-Leon Gerome at Explore-Drawing-and-Painting.com

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