Tuesday, December 9, 2014


To Marcia Yahn

Lakshimi EDP is one more customized perfume that I have created with natural perfumer Ane Walsh this year. Developed to be given as a birthday gift to a friend who is an yoga & acro yoga teacher and massotherapist the scent parted from the idea of a body splash and body lotion that she loved very much but unfortunately discontinued.

She wanted a fragrance that would be gourmand with notes of coconut and vanilla, surrounding a fresh green note of lemongrass. A perfume that is uplifting and at the same time fresh and sweet. 


Launch Year: 2014
Perfumer: Ane Walsh
Top notes: Bergamot, Persian lime; Middle notes: Coconut absolute, vanilla, bee wax absolute; Base notes: vegetal musk, ambrette, Thai sandalwood, Massoia wood.
Olfactive family: citrus-fruity, with a gourmand touch.
Gender: feminine

Lakshimi EDP was inspired by the beautiful landscapes of the Brazil.
The joyful aura of the North of São Paulo shores, its tropical weather and its exotic fruits.

Composed with notes of coconut and vanilla you will surrender to a holiday experience at the beach, feeling the skin warmed by the sun in a hot summer day. The smell of Hawaiian Tropic suntan lotion in the air will mix with the branny salty marine breeze.
After a day at the beach you will be brought to São Paulo’s countryside. The lemongrass note composed with citruses will take you to the roads that lead you to Paulistas’ farms and country houses.

The fragrance:
Lakshimi EDP is a game of contrasts. It is a relaxing fragrance that brings lemongrass, bergamot, vanilla and sandalwood. Calming essential oils that bring inner peace and comfort contrasting to an uplifting and energetic aura of Tropicalia.

The Brazilian aura was brought by the gourmet combination of vanilla, coconut and bee wax absolute. Coconut absolute notes were broaden with massoia wood and deepened with vanilla.The bee wax was added because my friend is nuts for honeyed scents. It gave a golden aura to the perfume and added more sweetness since the vanilla is a bit salty.
A sensual touch was brought with notes of sandalwood and vegetal musk.

The name:
Although the perfume was inspired by Brazilian landscapes the fragrance also brings a combination of essential oils to balance and calm vata-pitta doshas. By choosing Lakshmi for inspirations both perfumer and evaluator decided to add to this Brazilian inspired perfume the spirituality of the Hindus.

Photo credit of the Lakshimi Godess painting: Dory Hartley

According to Hindu specialist Subhamoy Das Goddess Lakshmi means Good Luck to Hindus. The word 'Lakshmi' is derived from the Sanskrit word "Laksya", meaning 'aim' or 'goal', and she is the goddess of wealth and prosperity, both material and spiritual.
Lakshmi is the household goddess of most Hindu families, and a favorite of women. Although she is worshipped daily, the festive month of October is Lakshmi's special month. Lakshmi Puja is celebrated on the full moon night of Kojagari Purnima.
Lakshmi is depicted as a beautiful woman of golden complexion, with four hands, sitting or standing on a full-bloomed lotus and holding a lotus bud, which stands for beauty, purity and fertility. Her four hands represent the four ends of human life: dharma or righteousness, "kama" or desires, "artha" or wealth, and "moksha" or liberation from the cycle of birth and death.
Cascades of gold coins are seen flowing from her hands, suggesting that those who worship her gain wealth. She always wears gold embroidered red clothes. Red symbolizes activity and the golden lining indicates prosperity. Lakshmi is the active energy of Vishnu, and also appears as Lakshmi-Narayan - Lakshmi accompanying Vishnu.
Two elephants are often shown standing next to the goddess and spraying water. This denotes that ceaseless effort, in accordance with one's dharma and governed by wisdom and purity, leads to both material and spiritual prosperity.
Worship of a mother goddess has been a part of Indian tradition since its earliest times.
Lakshmi is one of the mother goddesses and is addressed as "mata" (mother) instead of just "devi" (goddess).
As a female counterpart of Lord Vishnu, Mata Lakshmi is also called 'Shri', the female energy of the Supreme Being. She is the goddess of prosperity, wealth, purity, generosity, and the embodiment of beauty, grace and charm.
It is believed that on this full moon night the goddess herself visits the homes and replenishes the inhabitants with wealth. A special worship is also offered to Lakshmi on the auspicious Diwali night.

From more creations of Simone Shitrit & Ane Walsh: La Signora EDP ; Ofir EDP


If you haven't read the previous posts here you can find the links: PART ONE/ PART TWO.

My smell walk could have ended once I found myself under the lime trees. It would be considered an amazing olfactive experience of smelling scents in natura, after all I have encounter many sources of raw materials. Curious as I am and eager to find more beauty I continued to explore the park and its surroundings.

Location 07: Hortensias.
Even that they were beginning to bloom I caught one that had a hint of fragrance. Truth is that these flowers have a very delicate smell that is almost imperceptible. Slightly flowery, they are more beautiful to look than to smell ;(.

Location 08: Sweet Alissum.
Although Sweet Alissum is a border/edging flower from the Mustard family and said to glow in the dark (I have never seen it) it does not smell like mustard at all!
What a joy to the senses is to experience the sight and the smell of these beautiful little flowers! Originally from the mediterranean region they bloom beautifully in Brazil. And the scent? OMG the scent! Pure golden sweetness!
It is very floral - gourmand mixing notes of honey dew, honey comb and pollen. 
By far my favorite honey note of all flowers.

Location 09: Plumeria.
Most commonly known as frangipani these flowers are natives here, found in white, dark pink, light pink and pink and yellow.
Although it releases most of its scent by night in order to attract moths  (their pollinators), here in São Paulo you can smell these flowers from far. They are everywhere and right now it is an endless display of beautiful trees in the entire city!

I am surrounded by them. All my neighbors have at least one tree in their garden. My right neighbor has a tree that is almost the size of her house.
I smell these beautiful flowers from the time I wake up till I go to sleep feeling blessed by this gift from Nature.
It evokes a sweet tropical scent of sunsets at the beach and picnic under trees. It is a sensual and alluring fragrance reminding tiare and jasmine with fruity undertones. 
When I close my eyes under a frangipani tree and smell the scent of its flowers I feel elevated. It is a mythical experience for me.

In perfumery the fragrance of frangipani varies according to its extraction method.
The British brand Ormonde Jayne has a beautiful Frangipani perfume that I recommend to every person who likes the scent of this flower.

Location 10: Magnolia Champaca.
Here in Brazil they are not yellow at all. In fact they are dark orange, almost red.
Heady-floral, creamy, warm, exotic, Joy-ish (by Jean Patou), magnolia - like fragrance with a hint of a tea note and a apricot undertone, it is by far the most beautiful scent I've encountered in the park. 
Champaca is loaded of carotenoids, ionenes, jasmonates and indoles which are some of the main ingredients of its brilliant scent.
Although lime blossom was equally amazing somehow Champaca is more luxurious, more chic.
Finishing the smell walk in the park I could not be happier to close my fragrant experience with the scent of green mangoes!

Outside the park, near to the place where I parked my car I found 3 mango trees.

Final location: Mango trees.
Unripe mangoes, what a scent!
Luxurious, ethereal, fresh, green-ish floral, delicate with a fading metallic hint (due to acetone molecules). It is a perfume ready to be bottled and sold.
Just like frangipanis, the mango trees are to be found all over town. In my neighborhood I have seen many, but not with this quantity of mangoes.
Yes, it screamed JEAN CLAUDE ELLENA loud and clear!

In my next smell walk you are going to take a walk with me and discover why São Paulo in a way is similar to NYC and the versatility of cultural backgrounds and how they influence in the general olfactive experience. Stick around because it is...

To be continued...

Thursday, December 4, 2014


My smell walk in São Paulo City starts with an olfactive exercise of trying to decompose the general smell that is particular of my city. 
Unfortunately the stench of Tiete & Pinheiros Rivers is growing stronger as we approach to Summer, added to the fact that the air is denser and dryer due to a long and severe period of drought. We are facing an increasing amount of dust in the air and also in the level of the city's pollution. The result is a stronger odor of sewer discharge (consisting of industrial and domestic waste) combined with the stench of abrasive metallic pollutants and the smell of a haze of urban dust which is a mix of fine particles of residual concrete, paint, wood and many others materials used in the construction of buildings. 
These 02 rivers with high concentrations of sulfides flow through the city bringing a smell of putrid waste and rotten eggs all together.
It is indeed a very difficult task drift away from that stench, but a trained nose must be succeed by focusing in something else.  

The way I did it was by looking for different olfactory perceptions and experiences and provoking different stimuli dissociating from the nasty stench. 
I set my mind to explore beauty by making the transition from urban concrete to Nature. From gray to green.

Here is how I did it:

An EUCALYPTUS PATH seemed to be the easiest way to find clean air and reset the nose. Due to its deodorizing and decongestant properties, eucalyptus clears the respiratory system and the mind. So my journey started inside the eucalyptus forest.

Location 01: The eucalyptus forest.
It was planted in São Paulo in the end of the 20's and the beginning of the 30's to border the Park and block the dispersion of gases of the avenues surrounding it.
The species planted found today are: E. camaldulensis, E. cinerea, E. citriodora, E. goniocalix, E. resinifera and E robusta.

Walking into this forest I had a multi sensorial experience. I closed my eyes and focused on the crushing sounds of the dried leafs spread all around. The crackling sound under my feet made me relax and smile. I love to crush dried leafs since I was little. 
I reconnected to my childhood.
Hugging an eucalyptus tree is also a mystical way of receiving energy. The secret of the healing power of these trees are long known by Indians, africans, Australian Aborigines, Celtic Druids, among others.

Once I felt my body filled with energy and my mind clean of thoughts I took a long breath to consciously smell my surroundings. The smell of fresh green leafs combined with dried ones. The smell of the decay of humid leafs and soil...the sun warming up the tree branches exhaling a woody scent.
Refreshing, slightly camphoraceus or lemony, the oil of the eucalyptus contains eucalyptol, cineol, pinene, limonene, citronellal ... and 250 of other components. 
In a nutshell it is a relaxing and uplifting fragrance  - A very delicate smell of sauna is spread in the air.

Location 02: Bamboos.
Following the track I found myself surrounded by high bamboos. 
Technically bamboo is a grass. Some are delicate, some are more woody and sturdy. In the park they are simply huge. The smell of the bamboos in the park is fresh, green-grass-y and the dried leafs have the smell of straw. 
Bamboos can have a foul smell if they are infected with fungus and bacteria. I have once encountered this stinky smell, but not at the Park. Here they are healthy and well treated. There was a hint of decay on the ground, but only if you bend your torso and look for it.

Location 03: Agapanthus garden. 
Continuing to walk I found myself surrounded by Agapanthus flowers. Although known as or Lily of the Nile is not a lily. It is a flower from the Amaryllidaceae (Amarillys) family and although it is not a flower of Brazilian origin they are fully adapted to our weather and soil conditions so it grows beautifully here in São Paulo.
I must confess I am crazy about these flowers, so walking in a huge garden full of them, widely open in their full bloom, is a dream come true for me. These purple-blueish little cornets are so delicate, so nicely displayed that all that could cross my mind that day was The Walt Disney Fantasy.
Unfortunately they were not scented, but the entire area had a fresh green grassy smell that was pleasant.

Location 04: Climber plants corner - Honeysuckle/sweet peas and jasmines.

The wind brought to me a whiff of a combination of flowers composing a bouquet. I followed it and to my surprise I encountered Caprifolium (or best known as Honeysuckle) climbers. These are beautiful flowers with the shape of little creamy forks that is a treat to every child who loves flower nectars. Frankly I did not have the courage to break and squeeze the honeysuckles to experience their taste. 
Truth is that its diffusive sensual fragrance shouts one word: Summer! 
It is a combination of a solar flowery bouquet with honey notes. 
The scent of the honeysuckles was such a treat that this journey could end at this point and yet, I felt another whiff of a similar honeyed note coming from a different direction. I turned to my right side looking for that perfume and I found the vines just 5 paces from me: Parallel training vines of sweet peas were neatly planted running like a hand caressing the skin.

Sweet peas have a classic scent of fragrances from the 19th Century.
It is intoxicating, romantic, sensuous in a delicate way.
Although native of Italy it smells very English, slightly honeyed with hyacintenite orange blossom notes.

Next to the vines there are also climbers running on pergolas and fences such as Madagascar jasmines, know as Bridal Wreath (Stephanotis floribunda). 
Its fragrance is strongly reminiscent of true jasmines. 
They are quite big flowers and at this time of the year they are in their full bloom. 
It was a hot day so the scent was really intense, warm, narcotic & intoxicating, sensuously feminine, slightly waxy.
It has tropical smell...different from the Caprifolium, which is more "Mediterranean" or even different of the sweet peas that are so British - vintage.
Continuing to explore the beauty of white flowers I found a path of lime trees in full bloom.

Location 05: Lime trees path.

One of the most beautiful spots in the park is a street with lime trees (citrus aurantifolia) on planted both sides. The scent is so strong and diffuse that you can trace it for very far. The tree branches display little bouquets or florets that are not only a treat to the nose, but also very delicate to the sight.
Rich, luxurious and citrusy honeyed this uplifting fragrance smells like a finished perfume itself.
Lime essential oils have a lactonic and woodsy undertones combined with spicy flowery ones. It smells very tropical due to a coconut-coumarine underlayer.

From all the white flowers I've encountered in this smell walk till now they were by far the most fantastic ones.

Location 06: Lilies plantation.
We can find in the park has many types of lilies. The most fragrant I have encounter were the white ones, or Madonna Lillies ( lilium candidum). 
Sweet, penetrating, heavenly scent flowers that bring a duality of good and annoying, of beauty and chastity.
Its heady white floral note is sensuous and sultry and although beautiful, they are not my favorite white flowers' scent to tell the truth.

Apart from white flowers, the park offers many other treats. walking around I got to a hidden place with a disturbing sign saying "entrance for staff members only". Uf! Disappointing!

Although closed for visitation during the weekend's the herbal garden can be enjoyed outside its fences. The aromatic smell of thyme, mint, lavender, sage, rosemary and other herbs is intense. In terms of quality one cannot compare to the ones I have found in the Mediterranean Region, yet still fragrant.
Fennel aroma is the one that I could capture the most from far. The scent is similar to anise-licorice; it is herbal and semi-sweet.

Thyme was also very close to the fence and blooming.
Thyme contains thymol, carvacrol, cymene, terpiene, camphene, borneol, linalol, menthone, geraniol, citral and thuyanol, besides many more constituents, but with those listed, if you are introduced to fragrances and chemistry, you can understand the aroma of this plant.

The only herb that I was able to reach with my hand was sage, which is in the mint family. Its aroma is very spicy, uplifting, herbaceous, and minty. Needless to say the flowers are beautifully growing upwards like purple sticks.

If you are enjoying this smell walk, please kindly wait for part III!
In the next chapter I will bring more beauty of tropical flowers and scents found in the park!! 


For more articles on fragrances and scents and places:

Smell in the City - Israel 1
City themed fragrances
Hamman - a Moroccan experience
City themed fragrances trend
City of Kyoto by Della Chuang
The scents of New Zeland
Passeio Olfativo por Nova Iorque I e II e III
Miller Harris and Salty memories - Búzios - BR

Wednesday, November 26, 2014


Dedicated to VICTORIA HENSAW (1971 - 2014)

In a world of globalization and virtual living we have developed a lack of emotional connection to what is local. We are less aware of our surroundings and we are not fully experiencing the "materiality" of things. Being less contemplative and less emotionally connected to a local environment although it may sound very modern and hip it is also drifting us away from our origins. We are loosing our identities as urban citizens. Where we come from and who we are. We no longer recognize the smell of "home" because we became urban nomads, modern gypsies.

Photo credit: Elle Sweden - November issue 2014

This nomadism social pattern has influenced creations of fashion designers and brands such as Etro brought to fashion week recently in their winter 2014/15 collection a cultural ethnic - boho style. 
Also another example of the nomad style was highlighted in Elle Sweden in their November issue with a complete fashion journey to furs and ponchos.

Photo credit: Tom Ford

Tom Ford is showing this trend in perfumery.
This Holiday he is presenting Patchouli Absolu with an iconic note of the 70s, evoking louche sensuality and late-night glamour. Ford’s new fragrance is composed with three different types of patchouli: patchouli oil, patchouli coeur and a breakthrough iteration of patchouli called clearwood – used for the first time in perfumery. 
Other key ingredients are bay leaf, rosemary, moss, woods and amber.

But mostly in perfumery these days, except for the fragrances surrounding patchouli or roses in a new boho- hippie style, we have been spotting the SEARCH FOR THE LOCAL IDENTITY. BEING LOCAL MEANS BEING GLOBAL.
City themed collections, such as the niche brands Le Labo, Bond Nº9 are around quite a while, but the epitome of the theme is found more recently in the project Scent of Departure. 
Outside the niche perfumery world brands like Ermenegildo Zegna are also promising fragrances using local beautiful raw materials. As an example let's check the new fragrance PERUVIAN AMBRETTE, their latest creation for the ESSENZE collection:

"As its name suggests, Peruvian Ambrette features ambrette harvested from a very small yield of seeds derived from the San Martín region of Peru’s Amazonian rainforest. The seed produces an essential oil – described as a sweet, rich musk with nutty undertones – which is considered the only natural non-animal musk ingredient in the fragrance industry. The region’s farmers handpick the seeds, and then separate the ambrette seed shell from the seed itself, as the essential oil is mainly localized within the shell. After distillation, a small amount of oil – which has the thickness of concrete – is obtained.
A further extraction process to eliminate fatty acids yields ambrette absolute – the most pure and premium quality of the ambrette seeds. To achieve the highest quality composition, Zegna’s perfumers intensified the muskiness of the ambrette seed, by combining the absolute with complimentary ingredients to lend a cleaner and lighter characteristic exclusive to the Peruvian Ambrette fragrance according to the brand." (extracted from Moodyreport.com)

Photo credit: BYREDO

Another recent example of the SENSE OF PLACE-LOCAL TREND is presented by the niche perfume house BYREDO. Their newest scent is called Mojave Ghost.  

"In the xeric wilderness of the mojave desert, trees and vegetation more ancient than many civilizations defy conditions that prey on human vulnerability. The ghost flower is a rare species that dares to blossom above this baked, hard ground. Despite its arid surroundings and inability to produce nectar, the ghost flower, or mohavea confertiflora, maintains its perfect, majestic beauty and thrives year after year. In an astonishing feat of ingenuity, the flower uses mimicry to attract the pollinators of a neighboring plant species by developing markings that resemble those of a female bee, therefore attracting it and duping the male bee into following suit. This moving human-like behavior and captivating tale of survival lies in the foundation that inspired ‘mojave ghost’, an homage to this most bewitching flower. 

Mojave Ghost opens with a familiar yet mysterious fruit note, like a pear grown on another planet. Languid and almost buttery ambrette and sandalwood facets smooth and stretch these slices of fruit into a golden desert sunset, with petals of violet and magnolia basking in its diminishing light. Warm woods and ambergris remain on the skin for hours, prolonging a magic desert twilight." 

So let's take a deeper look in this trend!

In a multidimensional world where contrast and diversity rules, we want to find our individualism and emotional conection. We are work in progress kind of beings and now to understand who we are in this co existing macro space, we turn to micro, to local, to origin to redefine who we are. We suddenly have a need to recognize familiar smells. To empower what is local. 
To explain it better I think I need to evoke the work of Mrs.Victoria Hensaw (sadly recently deceased this last October), city planner and an odor specialist at the University of Sheffield, who once said that cities are loosing its peculiar smells. She also referred to the fact that brands are expanding globally, bringing their smells with them

Photo credit: site DermaPost 

This introduction of foreign smells is blurring the local smell identity.
A good example in my city, São Paulo (Brazil) is the very unique smell of the International brand LUSH, of English origin, that can be sensed in one entire block of Jardins neighborhood in São Paulo City. Or the coffee aroma coming from Nespresso  store a few meters from Lush.

An example that we all can recognize is the very old American smell of Mc Donald's - sensed around cities of this planet.  Most recently we can add to this chain smell phenomena The Starbucks coffee smell, that seems to proliferate in many cities around the globe like mushrooms after rain.

Japan is an exception in a way. Although eager to have food chains like any other country, according to the specialist it is the country that has one of the most advanced attitudes towards the olfactory sense and its relationship to place, going as far as declaring “One Hundred Sites of Good Fragrance” across the country. 
From the sea mist of Kushiro to the Nanbu rice cracker of Morioka, not to mention the distinct smell of glue that hangs in the air around the doll craftsmen’s homes in Koriyama, all now have protected status.

Well, no wonder! We all know that Japan is one of the countries that cherish the most its traditions and culture.

The questions that are popping out my mind right now are: If cities are loosing their olfactive identity and our olfactive knowledge is changing within time, from generation to generation and globally from culture to culture, is it possible that we are also loosing this local olfactive reference becoming globally olfactive noses? Are we loosing our personal locally scent database?

Adding something to the subject of olfactive identity and odor lexicon Dutch researches of the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics in The Netherlands found out that the richness in vocabulary to describe smells is also influenced by culture and location. 
According to them a group of hunter-gatherers from Thailand can describe smells using at least 15 different abstract expressions. They organize them in categories according to their pleasantness and dangerousness. They go even further saying that neuroscientists can also draw valuable conclusions such as that the structure of this group lexicon of smells can indicate that pleasant and dangerous smells are processed differently in the brain.

Another question raised: if we became modern nomads and we are loosing our local identity and becoming more global, is it possible that we are expanding our olfactive lexicon? According to the researchers English speakers have more difficulty to name odors. even familiar everyday odors such as coffee, banana and chocolate can be named correctly by the smell only 50% of the time! The researchers also proved that this is not true for all languages. By studying that group they understood that it varies from place to place and from culture to culture. So if there is a biological limitation for our ability to name smells, being global can improve our ability? If so, although we are loosing a bit of our olfactive identity we can also be improving our olfactive vocabulary. Interesting!

These questions lead me to another one: What scents shape a country, a city or a neighborhood? Have you ever thought the smells surrounding you?

In my neighborhood at this season (Spring) the most present smell is the smell of HADROANTHUS ALBUS or Ipê tree.  
These trees exhale a beautiful delicate smell and it is everywhere.

I decided last weekend to do a Smell Walk a bit far from my home and register for a post that is coming soon. If you stick around you will go on a surprising fragrant journey in the heart of a city.

See you soon! :)

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