High Fibre Fragrances (or How I Discovered Natural Perfume)


08th May, 2010

Win a sample set from Ayala Moriel! Ayala is giving away a miniature fragrance set, featuring the fragrances mentioned in the article (worth $360). We will pick a random winner from the comments for Ayala to send the prize to. (closing - end of May 2010)

Wholemeal pasta. The texture is all wrong. It is eaten by worthy, try too-hard long haired types. They are well meaning, it is true, but ultimately they are too wrapped up to know that you can eat white pasta and still get enough fibre in your diet. Some time ago, I began with an assumption that natural perfume must fall into the same category. It would be worthy but somehow stodgy. Maybe, like some whole foods, it would be full of goodness which I don't enjoy enough to use enough to benefit from the goodness. The thought would run something like this: fragrances are about smelling good, and good can be created by human endeavour as well as nature. Nature gives us clay, human beings fire the clay into bricks, and bricks build stronger houses than sticks and mud.

In the background, growing like a cancer treated only with health food remedies, there lurked an allure. The idea that I would smell real oakmoss in a green scent appealed to me. If the description mentions lime, it would be pleasing to think that the fragrance contains lime. I donít know why this seemed important. Maybe it was to do with the general feeling I have running in the background that I am being duped by everyone about everything all the time. I am an urban boy.

I had read about Ayala Morielís perfumes on basenotes.net, and indeed read Ayala's posts there, and her own excellent blog. I had even unsuccessfully attempted to contribute an idea for naming one of her fragrances when she consulted the basenotes public. I had never smelled one.

Image: Trish Vawter of ScentHive.com

I set off to Vancouver to visit my friend. One day with little agenda, I was wandering the city when I remembered that Ayala was downtown on the street named Haro. I couldnít remember the exact address, so I walked along looking out for a shop front, keen to pop in and try her Rainforest of which I had read. It has oakmoss in it (amongst all sorts of other things) and it sounded good. After strolling all the way down Haro, I got to Stanley Park and smelled the real rainforest but I couldnít find Ayala. Later, I realised that she operates from a private address not a storefront. Luckily for me, when she later read my story of walking straight past her, she generously sent me a set of eight samples of her perfumes.

So, back in London, I opened the little box and unscrewed the lid of the Rainforest and took a sniff. It was sweeter than I expected, the subtle rose note somehow civilising the very green and quite warm rainforest, as if the savages in the forest have a beautiful secret flower garden they maintain tenderly while taking a break from grunting and fighting. A dry hay and a friendly pine note, not at all harsh as pine can be, sitting with a little citrus and some moss. This was very good. I was struck by the depth, darkness and earthiness, the sweet balsamic wood. Like a living forest. Surprised and impressed, I put the samples aside for later when I would have more time.

Coming back to them that evening I opened all the little vials and had a sniff. Several smelled so good from their containers that I couldn't stop. I had something of a re-awakening. I remembered why I like fragrances. For me, it is not so much the longevity, the projection. It is just about something that smells fantastic. I inhaled deeply and repeatedly. I read some of the notes from the website, tested a little on skin, but mostly I inhaled deeply from right above the little pots. This turned out to be a very bad mistake. I had forgotten that these were not light, volatile Eaux de Toilette. My sense of smell hit overload quite rapidly so I couldnít smell anything much except a general essential oil melange. I felt like my nose had a coating of heavy oils on the inside. I tried to resist mental images of nasal receptors overflowing with oil while an impotent scent molecule struggled to get in. I ran for the coffee, but it was too late. Thoroughly burned out, I wore no fragrance for two days. Even the smell of toast had become annoying. I was briefly worried I had permanently damaged my will to explore, but fortunately this was not the case and I returned to these fine potions a few days later with a much more cautious approach.

First I chose the vetiver scent Vetiver Racinettes. On first sniff I almost recoiled at the sheer raw earthiness on offer here but immediately I wanted more. This smelled so deeply rooted it seemed to touch some primeval nerve. It was almost rude. I sniffed again from the sample, then put a little on a testing strip and waited for it to develop. This didnít smell sensual to me; I smelled something downright sexual. I had to put some on my arm. After such a radical opening I was surprised to find that this lightens surprisingly quickly as it settles on the skin leaving a perfect wild vetiver fragrance. I was struck by the structure, the composition and the development. This was a fragrance constructed by a nose of some distinction.

Over the next few days, I tested others in a similar fashion:

Arbitrary is beautiful and seamless. It is a zingy blend of citrus and aromatic herbs with bitter oakmoss in a classic chypre accord, reminiscent of legendary masculine scents like Eau Sauvage or Signoricci. The way the citrus melts into the verbena is outstanding, the fresh, slightly minty side of the herb shines through while a touch of an anisic green quality, maybe from the listed basil note, stays very much in the background. In the heart, a dry hay colours the warm jasmine, which is thickened slightly by some patchouli. For lovers of the dry citrus herbal style like me, this will rate very highly.

In Bon Zai Tangerine seems to bridge the rose and the wood, tying the two together into a unified chord. From the first, a green, woody, inedible quality comes to the fore, followed quickly by a citric-emphasised rose. The lemon Verbena is strong too. From a distance it smells like a rose scent but closer up the greens and the woods are more prominent. There is a distinct and fascinating Japanese quality to the woods, a skillfully realized effect. The quality of these ingredients radiates. This is a very fine and unusual rose scent for men to wear which combines echoes of classic English Victoriana with exotic greens.

Epice Sauvage boasts an astounding top note accord of soft wonderful spices. Many perfumes claim the ďSpice MarketĒ label but this smells just like Iím standing in front of the stall. Cardamom usually smells harsh and unpleasantly sour to my nose, but here it is round and beautifully integrated. Cinnamon is another note which I often find overpowering in fragrance but here it is a gentle dusting, a flavor amongst others, not prominent in its own right like in a perfect apple crumble. The key word here is accord. It settles into a lovely floral heart with transparent wood and dries to an herbaceous, balsamic, sweet accord balanced perfectly with the savory/dry spice.

Espionage is very different. Lots of action up front here before it settles down into an amalgamated accord of lightly musked vanillic leather with the other notes in wonderful subdued balance. The initial rollercoaster gives me immediate leather, tobacco, leather again, rose otto with a little indolic jasmine in a wonderfully balanced floral blend, with a touch of brightness from bergamot. Vanilla too, all detectable in the first ten minutes but masterfully put together. Again this brings to mind the blending of top quality French fragrance. The fact that it is all natural makes the effect achieved even more impressive. I am not sure how the leather note has been done, but I get a hint of earthy mushroom giving an earth- hide note.

Lovender is a beautiful lavender fragrance which skillfully and without complication showcases and accents the various components of the lavender. The minty quality is there balanced nicely with the more prominent citric aspect. This lemony note segues into an orris note, which remains quite transparent and clear and hardly powdery, though a little soft-focus aspect emerges as it develops. The warm sandalwood, with a pinch of vanilla, sits underneath supporting the more woody tones but these remain very much in a subordinate capacity. The main silage is a wonderful lemony herbal lavender freshness, with just a hint of romance beneath. A scent for an anniversary, not a date.

Ayala describes Sabotage as a ďparody on classic masculine scentsĒ. Personally I donít get the satirical angle. Instead I experience a wonderful fresh lift of citric green; lemon, petitgrain, gentle spice from the pimento (which smells here somewhere between bay, juniper and capers to me) and soft pepper. There is a sorbet-like refreshment from the orange notes. Buried at the bottom is an almost fungal sweet green earthiness from tobacco, vetiver and tonka. Maybe this is the sabotage? Who put the mushrooms in my lemons? The vetiver wins out in the long run in the base accord providing good longevity. Imagine the great menísí scents of the 60ís and 70ís made with top quality natural ingredients. Fabulous stuff.

I love the way Ayala references classic mainstream perfumes and accords. In this way, she cleverly avoids being stuck with the old recipes for natural perfumes and stays rooted in the current discourse of ideas. It is as if she has taken some of my favorite commercial fragrances and made them better. Each of these boasts a quality of smell which immediately puts it in the top bracket of its category for me. The longevity and projection are low compared to perfumes which use synthetics, but it is difficult to care when it smells this good.

I knew I couldnít draw any conclusions about natural perfumery from the work of just one nose who is, in my view, exceptional, and I have since explored more. However, Ayalaís fragrances showed me that natural perfumery can be excellent. Iím sure it often isnít. The strength in her structures suggests to me that Ayala could have made excellent perfumes with synthetics also or indeed with the contents of her kitchen cupboards. As a natural perfumer, I think she has carved herself out a true ďnicheĒ and found an independent way to be in control of her materials as well as secured a good marketing position.

Win a sample set from Ayala Moriel! Ayala is giving away a mini fragrance set, featuring the scents mentioned in the article (worth $360). We will pick a random winner from the comments for Ayala to send the prize to. (closing - end of May 2010)

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About the author: Walker Minton

Walker Minton is a Jasmine award winning freelance writer and jazz musician with a lifelong interest in scent. He lives in North London with his partner and two sons.

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Comments

    • odysseusm | 9th May 2010 20:49

      Very good article. I'm not surprised you find so much to appreciate in Ayala's scents -- they are works of her heart and creative imagination. She is a charming person to meet, her enthusiasm for scents is contagious, and she is a good teacher.

    • Nymphaea | 10th May 2010 17:46

      Ahhh....it's wonderful to see a Perfume connoisseur venture down the lush path of natural perfumery and experience a new depth and richness truly only available there! Once you immerse yourself in these, you may find yourself unable to enjoy commercial scents without comparing them to naturals, and, at the very least with a new perspective on them. Really, one does not negate the other, but tuning in to the calmer, evolved scents of earths raw materials is very much like growing up...you don't need to parade yourself with a flaunting smack, as your personal pleasure has now been elevated to a richer plane of experience.

    • Flora | 11th May 2010 06:42

      Excellent dissertation on these natural perfumes! You make them all sound so enticing.:smiley:

      I agree with your general approach - perfume just has to smell GOOD, and it's wonderful when you discover that natural perfumes are no longer just the stuff of head shops and DIY mixing.

    • Kerosene (article author) | 11th May 2010 15:15

      Wow, those scents sound wonderful, Espionage, especially. It will probably turn me into James Bond....without the cool accent of course!

    • Mimi Gardenia | 11th May 2010 15:24

      Great article ! Good to see an article on natural perfumery . :) Arbitrary sounds wonderful .

    • mochi227 | 11th May 2010 16:20

      very nice article. just yesterday I wore Ayala's Palas Atena and I was reminded of how AMAZING her creations are. the whole endeavor is of exceptional quality, from the ingredients to how they are blended. it's like Chicken of the Sea vs. a beautiful fresh red hunk of toro or some other metaphor that would compare "the norm" or what we have come to expect or accept to the ideal of the form. her technique is incredible, it is matched by her creativity, and and she is obviously totally focused on her mission of natural perfumery. Much respect to a woman who has truly carved out her own niche (no pun intended).

    • angiefunk | 11th May 2010 17:17

      Ayala has beautiful perfumes that are unique and stunning.

      Thank you Walker, such a fantastic article with spot on descriptions of her scents. I love to see her get the credit she deserves. So many natural perfumers go unoticed, while most create something infinitely more special than that of a factory perfume maker or a celebrity creator cash cow. Ayala is an entrepreneur in the natural perfume world, sharing her knowledge and creations with others. She has such an array of scents that she could meet anyones perfume desire. Ayala knows how to blend natural essenences to bring out this true beauty in the the world. To me there is no perfume if it is not natural and yes I am one of those whole wheat pasta eaters.

      My favorites of Ayala scents for a Women are Gigi~ stunning Gardenia scent that is very calming and centering; Moon Breath~ warm and inviting amber floral; White Potion~ beautifully sexy, creamy white floral; Viola~ eathy and powdery soft floral; Lovender~ wonderful lavender and vanilla; Fete d'Hiver~ scent of warm spices, wassel and a grand christmas tree; Chrisma~ bright sunny jasmine that will make anyone smile; Palas Athena~ warm and sexy scent

    • obscura | 11th May 2010 17:35

      I haven't had a chance to smell any of Ayala's perfumes yet, but I hope I get a chance! I've read a bit about her perfumes on various natural perfumery websites, and it's great to hear such positive reviews from others! I hope I am lucky enough to win the samples!

    • cbstarker | 11th May 2010 17:39

      Such a great article, Walker, thanks for writing it. It reminds me of many of the "encounters" I've had right here with many other BNers - in fact, the entire world of perfumes has as its foundation a sense of sharing and learning, which I've found to be the most important part. I first learned about Ayala's fragrances through the Memory and Desire experiment with Heather Ettlinger (http://www.ayalamoriel.com/index.cfm?PageName=New_Perfumes), where she created an olfactory version of Ezra Pound's poem In the Metro called Hanami. At that time, my nose was still fairly uneducated so it was a complete shock to me that anything could smell so profoundly affective. Hanami to me is like the strange smell of someone very familiar - although floral, it transitions into something uniquely urban and comfortable. Unfortunately, I haven't yet had the chance to try any of the other creations but you've convinced me to do something about that!

    • queen cupcake | 11th May 2010 17:40

      As I am just discovering natural perfumes, I feel lucky to have found your article at this moment. These perfumes sound so much more sophisticated than I have been assuming natural perfumes to be, in general. Thank you for your wonderful and detailed reviews; they really shed light on an area of perfumery I have been considering more and more, lately.

    • WillC | 11th May 2010 19:37

      Very interesting. I haven't yet tried Ayala's fragrances, but it would be great to have a sniff.

    • Zerby | 11th May 2010 19:53

      I've never even heard of them til now. I hope to be picked. I'd love to have a sniff of them.

    • saphiric | 11th May 2010 21:39

      I like the analogy to organic food.:thumbup: Often times I get the same impression that a 'natural' smelling fragrance has to be deprived of something. I'm glad you found a brand that gives you the full effect of a good smelling fragrance while still being natural.

      One thing I'm curious about is this line: "...as if the savages in the forest have a beautiful secret flower garden they maintain tenderly while taking a break from grunting and fighting." I'm not sure if this is some kind of ironic use of the word "savage" done in a joseph conrad kind of way or not. I mean you could just have used the term 'native' :rolleyesold:

      Other than that, great article. You should check out black phoenix alchemy lab perfumes if you haven't already. They have some very natural essential oil based fragrances there too. :D

    • kastehelmi | 11th May 2010 22:02

      Great article Walker! You give us a good warning to be kind to our noses-sillage and longetivity are not the only determinants of "strength"-our nasal passages do need clean air to appreciate new smells-olfactory fatigue is a very sad experience! Not only does the Ayala Moriel range sound wonderful-the names are great-Espionage, Bon Zai, Lovender, Arbitrary....It's hard to tell from your descriptions alone which fragrance would be most suitable for my wearing-I totally want to sample her perfumes-just haven't done so yet, as the cost of samples is high for me-but eventually I will have a better-paying job, surely. I would love to experience more natural fragrances, and this line seems full of great examples...I'm inclined to think I'll like them, since your analogy about wholemeal pasta to white pasta is especially interesting-since I'm the odd one out who likes the taste of whole grain pasta and bread much more that more refined versions-I don't always feel the same about fragrances, but the more natural ones I try, the more sensitive my nose is to not-so-natural accords and weaknesses of synthetic fragrances.

      Read more: http://www.basenotes.net/content/412-High-Fibre-Fragrances-(or-How-I-Discovered-Natural-Perfume)#ixzz0nen4qMGY

    • Dutchy | 11th May 2010 22:08

      ooooooo!!! me! me! me!! ;)

      I bought her fragrances for my borther who is allergic to alcohol , or at leasts reacts badly to it for some reason. We both loved espionage and zohar. Her perfumes and additional information on her smellyblog are both fascinating. If it wasnt so far away i would immediately sign up for her perfumers classes. keep up the inspiring work!

    • Niles | 11th May 2010 23:01

      I have sampled several of Ayala's creations and have marked many of them as fragrances I will get a full bottle of eventually. I would love to win this sample set.

    • Myke | 11th May 2010 23:12

      I've only had the pleasure of using one natural perfume, but I loved it. I was initially reluctant to try because I assumed the longevity would be very short. Turns out I was right, but the astounding coherence and smoothness of the scent more than made up for it. It would be wonderful to win this set to find out another perfumer's use of natural scents.

    • luha | 11th May 2010 23:50

      i haven't tried anything of hers, and now I want to. I hope I get picked.

    • driftwood | 12th May 2010 01:10

      your whole meal pasta analogy made me laugh (even though I am guilty of eating whole grain pasta multiple times..:). I love the earthiness of natural perfume. I love 'smells' so with natural and 'not-so natural' perfume, it isn't an either or for me- I want to smell them all!!

      I have been dying to try Ayala's perfumes so would love love to win this giveaway!

    • driftwood | 12th May 2010 01:14

      your whole meal pasta analogy made me laugh (even though I am guilty of eating whole grain pasta multiple times..:). I love the earthiness of natural perfume. I love 'smells' so with natural and 'not-so natural' perfume, it isn't an either or for me- I want to smell them all!! I have been dying to try Ayala's perfumes so would love love to win this giveaway!

    • smeller (article author) | 12th May 2010 01:14

      My knowledge of Ayala Moriel is restricted to her insightful comments in Basenotes and at her blog. I always had the feeling that her opinions have a strong basis, even when I disagreed in a first sight (how pretentious I was). Natural perfumery is a complete novelty to me. The descriptions sound like a true olfactory experience...

    • jessica1000 | 12th May 2010 01:49

      Beautiful review. I am also a big fan of Ayala's perfumes. The first time I smelled them, I also sat up and paid attention. She is a true artist and skilled at her work. Her Espionage is on my wish list! Would love to win the set....

    • Raquel8 | 12th May 2010 03:45

      As a fledgling perfumer i LOVE to read about other peoples opinions on natural perfumes...Ayala is a fascination woman...I read her blog religiously & would love to sample her perfumes!

    • belleotero | 12th May 2010 04:02

      I have the good fortune to live in Vancouver and have been planning for months now to visit Ayala's table at Portobello West Market and smell some of these perfumes ... this article has just whetted my appetite once again. I answered the Perfume Consultation questionnaire on her website and her response was most detailed and generous. It would be so delightful to have some samples to play with!!

    • actiasluna | 12th May 2010 04:24

      The small perfumer trend toward naturals is a lovely thing indeed, and if anyone can succeed with this, it's Ayala. I am enchanted by the article and amused (as the previous poster) with the mention of whole grain pasta... the point being, when you work with natural ingredients you still have to hit the right note, the right texture. The natural oils running around out there in the market stalls and faire carts aren't always lovely and definitely (more often than not) resemble the scent version of whole-grain pasta... a little too rough to take.

      A sensitive hand and nose is apparent in Ayala's work, so I give this article my Nice! rating. (okay, so this is the first ever appearance of such a rating.) :thumbsup:

    • LauraZ | 12th May 2010 04:25

      Hmmm. I thought I had commented, but I don't see it! Delete this if it's a duplicate.

      Ayala's work is lovely and she is just as lovely in person. I’ve been fortunate to have sampled many of her scents. My favorites are Song of Songs, Espionage, Bon Zai, Ayalita, Rebellius, Autumn, and Libra.

      Two things stand out:

      1. I never liked florals until I smelled hers. Hers are exactly like how flowers should smell – spicy and earthy and real. So much deeper and more interesting than those inspid synthetic scents!

      2. If the scent doesn't appeal on first sniff, give it a bit to develop. Her scents are complex. Film Noir didn't appeal to me at first, but it became beautifully rich and pleasant after a few minutes. I was surprised at how much I liked it. The concept is interesting, too.

    • Yuko | 12th May 2010 06:54

      My favorite perfumes as a teenager were 1000 by Patou and Bal a Versailles by Desprez. I was attracted to these scents, because I had read somewhere that they contained a lot of natural fragrance material, and of course, I loved the smell. These perfumes also didn't give me the sickly, plastic feeling I got with some other perfumes.

      As I had children, I moved more and more towards natural scents or no scents at all. Most everything I use now is unscented; if they are scented they are scented with natural oils. With my interest in aromatherapy and essential oils, my interest in perfumes returned, but this time I wanted something that only used natural fragrance materials, something that was an extension of your own scent, not something that screamed for attention.

      Ayala Moriel is an inspiration to anyone interested in natural perfumes. I've spent many hours pouring over her website trying to imagine what her creations might smell like. I've learned so much from her Smellyblog, too! I love her unassuming style and would love to experience first hand the works of this prolific master.

    • bloodflower | 12th May 2010 08:30

      i have never tried her creations, they sound so interesting.

    • sunnybrett | 12th May 2010 10:36

      I wish I could find retailer who carry “the fruits of you imagination” Ayala…are your natural perfumes available in California? Lots of love! Brett :D

    • Ankica | 12th May 2010 11:03

      I haven't tried many Ayala's scents, but I've noticed that many natural perfumes have that "natural touch" which is not always positive, but Ayala somehow manage to wrap it so wonderful that everything is in harmony...

      Because of her creativity, I am more interested and motivated to make natural perfumes myself...

    • m.francisco | 12th May 2010 12:11

      I'm interested in trying something natural like this, so far everything I own pretty much falls under the 'synthetic' category.

    • SpringfieldXD9mm | 12th May 2010 12:11

      Wonderful article. If the fragrances are anywhere near as beautiful as their creator they will be a delight to the winner of this contest.

    • HJS | 12th May 2010 14:18

      Fantastic article!

      Ayala is a sparkling gem in the world of natural perfumery, I find her work inspirational. Its natural perfumers like Ayala that keep me dabbling at my own blending desk! :engel017:

    • Sarahsaurus | 12th May 2010 14:20

      My life would not be complete without Ayala Moriel perfumes! Cmon, my miniature collection NEEDS them!

    • mjcr | 12th May 2010 15:20

      Nonsense! Wholemeal spaghetti is vastly superior to standard spaghetti. :laugh:

    • mr. reasonable | 12th May 2010 16:02

      Great article and commentary on these natural works - you have no idea how reassuring it was to read 'it is difficult to care when it smells this good' re. longevity and sillage.

      I also find it ironic that the once 'demure, polite, hippie dippie' realm of naturals is looking more and more like the true 'cutting edge' radical area of development for perfume as the industry smothers itself in regulations against "shock, horror". . . natural ingredients!

      My only experience with 'alternative' perfumery is some of the work from Mr. Dubrano (profumo.it) and, if I understand it right, some of the Aveda stuff - I have a few tiny bottles from a range they had a while back. I would love to try some of Ms. Moriel's work at some point.

    • wicozani | 12th May 2010 17:09

      Thank you for the wonderful article! A try of these fragrances has been on my radar for quite some time, but now that desire is greatly intensified!

    • Jitterbug | 12th May 2010 17:30

      You made the best point with the pasta, as im sure you've heard. I am one of those long haired whatevers, and and now I get the other side, I couldnt for the life of me understand why everyone didnt love whole.wheat pasta. Now if I could just understand those scents, I always get such a picture in my head from descriptions, but to smell the smell myself, so different.

    • Warum | 12th May 2010 17:52

      I cannot stand whole grain pasta and prefer to eat no pasta at all! This analogy is perfect, since I am not at all sure about all natural perfumes either.

      I loved your description of an urban quest for the right address with a 21-century web 2.0 industrial mail system induced urban happy ending. I thought Ayala was super nice for sending you a sample set and having a giveaway here.

    • Jitterbug | 12th May 2010 18:03

      Argh, i cant wait, the end of may cant come soon enough!

    • bebenurse62 | 12th May 2010 18:56

      As a natural perfumer in the making, I was very encouraged and creatively inspired by this article. I, too, thought that "natural" equated with smelling like a hippie from the '70s until I smelled some botanical scents for myself. I had the same reaction as some other's here. The depth in them goes way beyond merely "smelling good." They are somehow a connection with the deepest sensuality of life itself. The complexity (in the hands of a skillful perfumer) can, in my opinion, reach heights not obtainable with synthetics. There is something beyond words there. I have read some very good things about Ayala's scents and would love to experience them first hand.

    • tmp00 | 12th May 2010 19:08

      I really love her wares. Really beautiful stuff.

    • Sam_ENFP_ | 12th May 2010 19:11

      What an absolute gem of an article! I could imagine every scent you described and it just made me want to bury my nose in those vials exactly as you did before you knew better and gave yourself a sensory overload!

      Just like you, I love the thought that the ingredients list in a fragrance actually came from the materials stated, and not merely conjured up in a flask in a sterile lab. I've only just been recently introduced to Ayala's shop, and alas, have not had the luxury of sniffing any personally yet. I can't wait to get my hands on some samples now, after your wonderful descriptions!

    • SuzieQofTX | 12th May 2010 19:47

      Thanks Walker for sharing your story of how you discovered Natural Perfume. The Fragrance Foundation FIFI Awards need Natural Perfumery category; Ayala scent’s would be a top contender and has my vote.:thumbup:

    • Ayala | 12th May 2010 20:41

      Dear Walker,

      Thank you so much for a wonderful article!

      Hopefully I'll get to meet you in person when visit Vancouver next :-)

      Dear Basenoters,

      Thank you so much for the wonderful comments and ongoing support. If it wasn't for you I would have never been able to be where I'm at now - this forum has always been so much fun with your fresh (mostly) male perspective on the world of fragrance. And you've always been very kind to me.

      I just wanted to clarify something about the giveaway - it's not a sample set, it's a coffret of 8 miniatures (4ml each) of the scents that Walker experienced and wrote about here. They come in an adorable little rectangular splash bottle and easy to carry around. Epice Sauvage might be a good choice if you are worried about running into a savage bear in the forest (just splash it in their face and run for your life ;-).

    • Ayala | 12th May 2010 20:43

      P.s. I'm sure you won't be shocked to learn that I love whole wheat pasta ;-)

    • alethiometre | 12th May 2010 21:04

      I've already ordered some samples but a whole set would be fantastic!

    • tott | 12th May 2010 21:13

      I don't eat grains at all, so no pasta... But I do like perfumes.

      It's wonderful that natural perfumery is getting more attention as a viable alternative!

    • Twitchly | 12th May 2010 21:32

      Thanks for the detailed descriptions. Clearly I need to rethink natural perfumes.

    • b3t0_1972 | 12th May 2010 22:23

      Really love the description of all the frags, I'd really love to try Vetiver Racinettes, and then the rest of the line. Hope I can win this one.

    • mlake | 12th May 2010 23:28

      Walker, thank you for the terrific article. I haven't smelled any of Ayala's perfumes in person, but I have been to her website and dreamed of the way they smell. Your descriptions and impressions help me to 'see' how each fragrance lives - starts, finishes, fades....

    • mlake | 12th May 2010 23:30

      Thank you for the lovely article.

    • Ranger | 13th May 2010 02:26

      These are scents whose descriptions and lists of ingredients I would enjoy sampling. I respect, even from a distance, people (in this case, Ayala) who obviously take pleasure and care in their work.

    • Hatman101 | 13th May 2010 04:35

      These scents sound very intriguing, I'd like a chance to try them out!

    • merwest | 13th May 2010 04:47

      Wonderful, wonderful read....

      I totally agree with your reviews of Arbitrary and Bon Zai. I'm wearing Arbitrary right now as a matter of fact.

      I'm a fan of Ayala Sender's perfumes, and this article reminded me that it's time to try a few more. Maybe I'll get lucky and win this sample package...

    • kevinz4444 | 13th May 2010 05:09

      I have long believed that the cure for cancer lies somewhere in nature -- a root, a bark, the toenails of a Madagascar insect, or some such. I also believe the best smells are in nature -- grilled meats, roasting peanuts, cake baking in the oven, etc. It is about time that more people get involved in aromatherapy, IMO, and the more natural the scent/scent ingredients, the better! Congrats, Ayala for bringing nature into your products!

    • BlackAmberMoon | 13th May 2010 12:28

      Wonderful article - I'm anxious to try this line! I hope the trend toward natural fragrances continues; there is something so primal about our reaction to pure scents from nature. Thank you, Ayala, for your dedicated passion!

    • triplex | 13th May 2010 13:06

      Love the concept. Dying to try them. Hope this gives me the chance

    • bodo | 13th May 2010 13:29

      Only good words. Now I want to try Ayala's perfumes.:vrolijk_26:

    • nenugal | 13th May 2010 14:05

      Nice article! I'm curious to try them too :)

    • RoyalBlue | 13th May 2010 16:54

      These sound really interesting. I've always been interested in trying natural fragrances, but was worried that the individual raw ingredients would combine into fragrances that would be way too overpowering. Your review of Ayala's seem to suggest otherwise. I'm especially interested in Espionage. I hope I win the giveaway!

    • mammamia | 13th May 2010 18:07

      Loved the article, very curious on trying Ayala's fragrances. I hope I'll be the lucky one to win the fragrance set:thumbsup:

    • RCavs | 13th May 2010 18:28

      Another great article by Walker! Although I haven't tried any of her fragrances, I wonder how nice they must be!

    • fqgouvea | 14th May 2010 00:01

      I've had little experience with natural perfumes, so this set would come in handy... It'd be interesting to explore this new world.

    • floralista | 14th May 2010 00:07

      The fragrances sound lovely. How strange that we've gotten to the point where the idea of smelling what we smell, made from the real thing, would seem novel - I love that idea!

    • elizabethames | 14th May 2010 01:18

      I'd love to sample these alongside the article! Thanks for introducing me to Ayala's line and blog.

    • Borushka | 14th May 2010 02:05

      Cool article. Would love to sample these scents.

    • lightgreen22 | 14th May 2010 03:54

      Ayala I love your fragrances, I even brought a sample of Song of Solomon to my Pentateuch class. I really love it and i'm now happily saving up for a full bottle:thumbsup:

      I really must go to Vancouver again I went as a child and it was BeautIFUL

    • Tourbillion | 14th May 2010 06:40

      There is no reason why natural perfumes shouldn't be just as good or better than synthetic ones. If you get someone who is a good enough nose the scents could be masterpieces.

      I have dabbled in natural perfumery myself, and would love to try some of Ayala's scents.

      Interesting article, I wonder how my picky nose will perceive these fragrances.

    • Martika | 14th May 2010 07:23

      Natural perfumery is always a hit or miss with me. Reading this article on Ayala's natural perfumes, I am sure they are a hit, I would love to sample them.

    • MsCrow | 14th May 2010 09:10

      I liked the article very much; I found the descriptions hugely helpful since for me and many others, natural perfumery is merely a great idea but harder to find done well. In my quest to move away from the larger commercial perfumes I have been wearing Penhaligons but this is just the start.

      Over the years I have become more aware of the ingredients we put on our bodies and how many of them are questionable (that's saying it mildly) for having read that perfume houses can hide up to 28 ingredients under the name 'fragrance' which is just another word for concealment. Many of these ingredients are either totally unethical or just plain nasty. I've been curious about this ever since I started to develop allergies to fragrances I have previously worn for years and having gone back to them, have spent 2 days sneezing and with headache. One criminal for this is Coco Chanel, also top of the list for most undeclared and questionable ingredients.

      My other reason is the growing sense that commercial fragrances in their quest for mass production are producing fragrances with a certain lack of realism. One reviewer picked up on a rose scent as coming over as plastic like; when would rose ever smell like this? So the only answer seems to be the sensitive development of natural fragrances which respect the rareness of some ingredients, instead seeking different elements to use.

      Lastly my quest for a pure spice perfume goes on and I believe will only be found in natural perfume. Spices provide such wondrous, quality and lasting notes, when I crush and cook with them, I wonder why it's never been done well before. Maybe it has, I shall make a note to find Epice Sauvage. Somewhere, someday I will find perfumes which reminds me of the spice markets in Delhi and the tea stalls in Luxor.

    • laurinha | 14th May 2010 11:11

      Thanks for this excellent read; I haven't been fortunate enough to sample any of Ayala Moriel's fragrances, unfortunately, and this article makese the yearning worse by listing fragrances based on some of my favourite smells: Vetyver and Lavender. Argh... This is saying how much I'd love winning the set... fingers crossed!

    • torooo | 14th May 2010 14:22

      I enjoyed reading about Ayala's perfumes and I would love to try it.

    • scentsitivity | 14th May 2010 15:09

      This is a great article. Thanks for enlightening me!

    • Patty | 14th May 2010 15:24

      Um, I like whole-wheat pasta. So much better than the white-flour, Wonder-bread-like mushy stuff. I'm not a long-haired hippie either. And I certainly don't carry any prejudices against so-called "natural" perfumes just because they carry that moniker.

    • akshay03 | 14th May 2010 16:09

      I'd love to try something from her line!

    • infinitive | 14th May 2010 19:57

      Thank you for this unique opportunity! I hope I'll be winner! I lust for this sample set of Ayala!

    • donniekaterina | 14th May 2010 20:28

      I love the real smell captured in a bottle and whoever does that is a real magician!!Well done! :thumbsup:

    • Kelly38 | 15th May 2010 19:15

      Wonderful article. I hope to sample Ayala's work someday!

    • strifeknot | 16th May 2010 05:36

      I've never sampled anything from this house. Would like to win the drawing so I can rectify that.

    • MrFragranceReview | 16th May 2010 08:05

      I haven't had the pleasure of sampling her fragrances but, I definitely would like to do that in the future.

    • Renee M | 17th May 2010 07:02

      I can't wait to try some of Ayala's perfumes and have read about them in the past (maybe from Etsy)? It's inspiring to see successful perfumers who keep natural!

    • Mondrian | 17th May 2010 07:41

      Great read, thanks for the article.

      Definitely need to try out the vetiver from the sounds of it.

    • 50_Roses | 17th May 2010 18:00

      Great article! I have to say, my own experiences with natural perfumes have been underwhelming--usually they smell nice, but rather simplistic. Generally they seem to be just 3 or 4 essential oils mixed together, something which I can easily do myself much cheaper. These, however, sound wonderful. I wouldn't know which to choose to try, and the price is unfortunately a little steep for my budget, so I would l LOVE to win this set!

    • lightgreen22 | 17th May 2010 23:44

      I brought a sample of Song of Solomon to my Pentateuch class

      I love your fragrances :)

    • chloeasha | 19th May 2010 01:10

      Was it Torah-worthy? :)

      I have just recently gotten into natural frags and I am loving them. I only have tried a few and would love to try more. They are much more calm to my nose--as in less headache-inducing. Wonderful!

    • icy | 20th May 2010 20:27

      Les Nuages de Joie Jaune sounds wonderful.:rolleyesold:

    • the_good_life | 20th May 2010 23:22

      Ah yes, Ayala is still terra incognita to me, which really needs to change. Thanks for reminding me of how interesting and competent her work is - and now I want to win that set, of course, like everybody else :).

    • mumsy | 24th May 2010 12:33

      My research in naturals led me to here by chance. I am a beginner in the greater scheme of things and I have a natural reluctance to go towards the aromachemicals when there is so much to be learned within the natural sphere. I would be most interested to smell and learn from the work of someone who has the longer experience and dedication to this than me.

    • Tony the Tiger | 29th May 2010 22:30

      Very interesting article. I appreciate all-natural fragrances a lot and it would be great to have a sniff and samples of Ayalas wonderful creations. I haven't tried any of them yet, but if I'm lucky now I have chance to try them. Keep up the good work!

    • Ambrosiawomble | 31st May 2010 10:51

      Nice to see you've finally stepped out and discovered how wonderful naturals can be!

      Lat time I read one of your posts you were insisting it couldnt be done...grin!

      If you want to try some more, I'll happily send you some more little bottled adventures from down under Australia!

      Ambrosia

      my online natural perfumery

      my natural perfumeing blogspot

    • Ambrosiawomble | 2nd June 2010 00:13

      My apologies, it seems I confused the author of the article with another I'd had a long (and conflicting) conversation about naturals with some time ago.....

      I am delighted to find people happily blogging about naturals now though! A few years back we were still the outcasts of the perfume world!

      Your description truly brings Ayala's lovelies to life! I can almost smell them off the page!