This article was first published as “Oy de Cologne” in The Times of Israel.
It is common for ex-pats to miss their homelands. Some write about it; others cook homestyle food. Still others draw, paint or sculpt their memories. Ayala Moriel doesn’t evoke her homeland — Israel — through words, taste or sight. Instead, she creates perfumes to remind her of the scents of home.
Moriel, who lives in Vancouver, Canada, is a pioneer and standout in the world of artisan natural perfumery. Her company, Ayala Moriel Parfums (rebranded from Quinta Essentia Signature Perfumes in 2006), is known worldwide among independent perfumeries and perfume enthusiasts for the high quality of its products and Moriel’s expertise and creativity. Although Moriel has designed some 50 different perfumes, it is the ones that are inspired by her olfactory memories of growing up in the Galilee that are closest to her heart.
“Perfume is all about story telling,” Moriel recently told The Times of Israel in a phone conversation from her home studio in Vancouver. “But in my case it’s also about memory travelling.”
Moriel, 36, was born in Montreal, but she was raised from a very young age in Clil, a unique village in the Western Galilee founded in 1979 by a group of people wanting to get back to the land. “It’s an organic village that focuses on sustainable living, living from the land,” she explained. “We weren’t even connected to the electrical grid for a long time.”
Moriel grew up surrounded by natural herbs and plants. “My mom was a hippy type, so I grew up in nature,” she said. “My mom was passionate about medicinal herbs, she was always interested in the local plants, and I learned a lot from her.” As a child, Moriel’s favorites were lemon verbena, spearmint, fresh lemongrass, roses, jasmine vines, frangipani and orange blossom.
Moriel did not originally foresee using her knowledge of those plants professionally. However, when 14 years ago, she unexpectedly found herself in Vancouver as a single, 22-year-old mother to an autistic daughter, she was glad to have it to fall back on. In an attempt to deal with the stresses of daily life, she began burning incense and meditating. It wasn’t long before her interest in blending incense led her to learn more about perfumery.
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© 2012 Renee Ghert-Zand. All rights reserved.
Tags: artisan perfumery, Ayala Moriel, Ayala Moriel Parfums, Canada, Clil, Fragrantica, Gaia Fishler, Galilee, Ida Meister, Israel, Laurie Stern, Mandy Aftel, natural perfumery, The Non-Blonde, Vancouver, Yosh Han