Sunday, August 17, 2014

Olive & Olibanum

First route to bottling peace actually began with a lavender and olibanum combination, and then elaborated with more essences that enhance that duality.

To begin with, various essences of both frankincense and lavender were arranged against each other. Frankincense CO2 in conjunction with lavender absolute; then elaborating with wild frankincense from Somaliland and from Somalia with lighter French lavender oils: Mailette and wild lavender from the French Alps.

The idea of olive came later. There was a need to add depth and interest to these very light, balanced and a little to-therapeutic essences. Olive absolute added a fruity nuance; and olive tree resin more fixative quality and a hint of sweetness. But even more than its aromatic appeal, the quality of olive was important because it is part of the symbol of peace, as well as native to the war-battered region. I love the idea of using olives in the healing process required for peace. 

The base notes required some more grounding, and originally I was going to use sandalwood. But it did not feel right at the time, for reasons I cannot explain. I decided instead to use the tiniest hint of tobacco leaf. As with the olive, the concept was a leading key here. And concepts don't always work in reality... So the fact that it did was particularly rewarding. Tobacco's hay-like qualities went particularly well with the elegant coumarin qualities of lavender absolute.

Floral notes were also added for their bouquetting effect - another proof that there can't be a perfume without flowers... And white grapefruit from Israel for the significant locale; but also for lightening and uplifting this rather resinous scent and adding a more cheerful aspect to a rather meditative and introvert scent.

Top notes: Lavender Mailette, Wild Lavender, Ho Wood, Grapefruit
Heart notes: Olive fruit absolute, Ylang Ylang, Rose
Base notes: Olibanum CO2, Frankincense Oils from Somalia and Somaliland, Olive tree resin, Tobacco absolute

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Perfume for Peace

Back in the day, Escents Aromatherapy in Vancouver sold a blend called "Peace" with lavender and vanilla. It was lovely, and was a diffuser oil blend and also in a variety of scented body products. There was something truly luxurious and peace-invoking about it. Lavender to me really is a very peaceful scent. It brings a sense of well-being, calm and is at the same time also uplifting rather than sedative or narcotic. The healing properties of lavender are wide and well known, both emotionally and physically. But it is not the only essential oil that promotes such state of mind.

I spent most of yesterday morning uncorking vials in my perfumer's organ, in search for scents that will inspire and induce peace through the sense of smell. I've decided to go by intuition alone in my selection process, but then also researched the aromatherapeutic and spiritual uses of these oils and cross-reference my choices with some of the known traditions.

Inspires peace and calm. Very uplifting, gentle, soothing...

Spiritually, frankincense is connected to the heart. On a biochemical and psychoactive level, frankincense smoke brings a heightened spiritual awareness and helps the mind to enter a meditative state.

Grounding, centering, very spiritual, and also goes with everything and anything.

Olive essences:
1. Olive tree resin that I prepared from resin my brothers picked from our family's trees. 
2. Olive fruit absolute
3. Olive leaf absolute - grassy, leafy, bitter essence. A little similar to tobacco and tomato leaf, actually but not as harsh.
These are unusual raw materials, and are not commonly used in aromatherapy, healing or ritual. But the choice of olive is obvious, since a dove carrying an olive branch is a biblical symbol of peace.

The association with Peace pipe was inevitable. Tobacco is a sacred plant to the First Nations and was used for healing and for the famous "Peace Pipe" to seal deals and peace treaties between tribes.

I'm still unsure about how these essences will come together in a perfume. I feel as if this process can take one of two directions:
1) A harmonious continuum of peaceful aromas. That sounds kinda boring actually. But sometimes what's necessary is a good example...
2) My perfume is going to be like a peace process between clashing elements that are an unlikely partner for any collaboration whatsoever...

Labels: , , , ,

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

EauMG Reviews Musk Malabi

"What the heck else are the 1% doing with their money???" 

Visit EauMG to read Victoria’s EauPINION on Musk Malabi:
"Cardamom, rosewater and musk. Out of the Ayala Moriel perfumes that I’ve sampled, Musc Malabi is my favorite. I could seriously bathe in this stuff". 

Labels: , , ,

Tuesday, August 05, 2014

A Brief History of Perfumes for Peace

Perfumes dedicated to peace, as a quick Basenotes search brings up includes 33 results. Here's a roundup of the ones that are probably easier to find - in order of appearance:

1999 Time for Peace by Kenzo comes in a masculine version (mandarin, sage, chestnut, tonka bean, amber, cedarwood vetiver and vanilla) and feminine (mandarin, bergamot, blackcurrant, freesia, peony, jasmine, amber and musk).

2001 Imagine... Peace by Bath and Body Works sounds like another nondescript bouquet of sandalwood, musk and flowers (muguet and waterlily). Probably watery and boring...

2003 I Am Peace (Danica Aromatics) was created by a company in Santa Monica that I've never heard about till now, and has notes of white peony, tuberose, jasmine, heather, myrrh and sandalwood.

2006 The Scent of Peace (Bond No. 9) was created as a fundraiser for the UN, whose headquarters are in NYC. It's a nondescript aquatic-citrus-woodsy scent with grapefruit, cassis, muguet, hedione, cedar and musk. Rather forgettable.

2008 - Kenzo Peace is a reissue of the limited edition from 1999: a blend of tonka, musk, heliotrope, cedar, mandarin and vanilla.
 - Peace On Earth (Liz Zorn) now renamed "Solstice" (changed the name to avoid copyright battles with Bond No. 9). This is an all-natural fragrance with white flowers and incense.

2009 Botanical Perfume devoted to peace, 1st Edition (Roxana Illuminated Perfume) was created for Project "Peace on Earth" - an annual worldwide telecast concert of Superstar musicians performing Sacred Music from the most mystical concert venues on the planet: Egypt's Great Pyramids, England’s Stonehenge, Australia's Ayers Rock, Peru's Inca Pyramids, Japan's Mount Fuji, and California's Mount Shasta. It's a cinnamon and spice botanical fragrance. 

2010 Peace Love & Juicy Couture
seems like a crowd-pleasing fruit-punch for the concious teenager, with top notes of Meyer lemon blossom, Hyacinth, Apple and Blackcurrant; heart notes of Sambac jasmine, Star magnolia, Malibu poppy, Honeysuckle and Linden blossom; and base notes of Iris, Patchouli and Musk

2012 - 7 Virtues Middle East Peace
Some of you might remembered that two summers ago there was much talk about the threat of Iran on Israel, and the Israeli government was looking for many excuses to strike and start a war. Thankfully that never happened. But many Israelis and Iranians were very scared of this prospect, and the spontaneous online campaign that ensued showed many Israelis and Iranians around the world showing that they love each other and do not want to go to war.

Inspired by this, Canadian company-with-a-cause 7 Virtues launched Middle East Peace. Combining Israeli grapefruit and Iranian lime and basil, and although citrus goes along easily (and this scent is a not a particularly unusual citrus at that) - the scent still is a metaphor to the alchemy that can happen in the bottle when you allow two or three elements to mingle and marry. I believe it's just as easy to do so in real life, if we let the two sides of the conflict speak to each other. Once the artificial walls of separation and hatred are eliminated, there is only compassion, understanding and willingness to find a solution that will be a win-win situation.

You can continue following this campaign, which shows what real people want in this region: Israel Loves Iran and Iran Loves Israel. Similar campaigns are active for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, both online and in real life, for example: Jews and Arabs Refuse To Be Enemies on Facebook, and many other peace organizations in Israel and occupied Palestine that work towards peace and reconciliation from the grassroots level, locally and internationally.

- In Peace by Space NK sounds perhaps a little more promising with peppery pimento and freesia opening, iris, mimosa and suede heart, but still a generic-sounding base of white musk, sandalwood and tonka bean. ore importantly, it has a cause: 10% of net profits from the purchase of each bottle will go directly to Women for Women International's sponsorship program which supports women survivors of war to enable them to rebuild their lives and promote peaceful communities.

2013 Inner Peace by Tisserand is an aromatherapy perfume blend of rose absolute, cardamom, rose geranium and frankincense.

2014 - Axe Peace with citrus, nutmeg and cedar. The name is ironic, because so many peace initiatives are undermined too early with a swift blow of an axe.
- Peaceful Harmony by Philosophy seems to repeat the theme of light florals (neroli, iris, lily of the valley and lotus) with citrus top notes and a musky base (also with cedarwood and oakmoss) that seems to thread in many of those peacefully named perfumes. It's the newest fragrant peace initiative and sounds not much different than the rest of the light, inoffensive, clean fragrances from this brand.


Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Bringer of Peace

The outpour of tragic news from my home country have practically taken over my life. It's difficult to think about anything else but this summer meteorite of pain and hostilities. Try as I may to not get political, I simply can't these days. In fact, I never had a stronger political view in my life. In 2 sentences it goes like this: Stop the violence. Make peace NOW. 

There is very little I can do, but I'm trying all I can to encourage people around me and especially back home that there is another way. That fear does not need to be the ruling factor. And I'd like to use this blog to also promote this idea, because maybe there is someone reading it that it could help them think differently.

There are lots of things we can do on a daily basis, and one of them is non-violent communication. Something we can all learn and achieve. I can only wish all the leaders of the Middle East (if not the world over) will adapt this approach.

Lastly, with the very little influence I have, I want to talk about peaceful perfumes and fragrances. And I'd like to dedicate the upcoming month of August as a Perfume for Peace month. Please wear a perfume that inspires peace and share your comments here and everywhere else on the social networks. Maybe with combined efforts and intent we will be able to move something in this world... Of course that does not come instead of actions such as demonstrations, signing petitions, dialog with the people we were raised to be at war with, and finding non-violent ways to communicate and resolve conflicts with the people around us.

First installation in the Perfume for Peace will be posted tomorrow... In the meantime, try to get restful sleep.


Thursday, July 24, 2014

Rose Garden Perfume

Taking a little breather from feverishly working on the last edits and additions to my book... And blog a little on some of the things I've been brewing (for the book, and just for fun).

I've enjoyed the rose garden strolls so much, that I wanted to create a perfume that captures the full-spectrum of rose garden's beauty. For a long time, I had a rose leaf concrete that I had no idea what to do with. It has high portion of floral waxes in it, so it looks like brittle yet creamy pieces of cocoa butter, only green in colour. Such texture would be frustrating to work into an alcoholic perfume, but perfect in Crème Parfum.

I wanted it to smell like leaves, flowers, rosehips, and a tiny bit of the moist fertile soil. It's very fruity but also leafy and fresh. Very rosy but does not feel too formal or ancient. It's probably the most realistic rose scent I've ever made, a little rustic and free spirited too.

Top notes: Szechuan Pepper, Lemon, Fresh Ginger
Heart notes: Rose Leaf Concrete, Bulgarian Rose, Rose de Mai, Rugosa Rose
Base notes: Sandalwood, Green Spikenard, Oakmoss, Angelica

The resulting perfume brings me much comfort during what seems like a terrible summer from hell in too many parts of the world, include Palestine and Israel. I would like to ask you all to dedicate a few moments a day to pray for peace in whichever way you see fit. Light a candle, chant, meditate, burn incense, fast. It's time we all put our honest and pure intent into bring an end to the violence in so many parts of the world. As one Palestinian girl said it: "We are all going to die, so let's live our lives in peace".

Labels: , , , ,

Wednesday, July 09, 2014

Gourmands for Summer

Thanks to Victoria from choosing Musk Malabi as one of her EauMG's top perfume picks for summer 2014!
Thrilled to be featured next to some of my personal favourites, including Savuer de l'Abricot and Sel de Vetiver.

Labels: , , , ,

Love or Hate: Cilantro

Cilantro - do you love it? Or hate it?
There might be a bio-genetic reason for that... 

I know a friend of mine whose mom could not stand the taste of cilantro when she was pregnant with her. Neither does she... 
Personally, I didn't always care for cilantro; but now I find it wonderfully refreshing and interesting in food (cold noodle and mango salad with lime and cilantro is a dreammm...); and love its aldehydic, slightly soapy effect in perfume. 
Please do comment if you are one of the 10% of the population that can't stand it.

Labels: ,