Between the provocative name and the list of notes, Espionage by Ayala Moriel is not what the uninitiated might expect from a natural perfume. Leather, tobacco and musk in a sensual dark blend- Espionage is as seductive as it sounds. It's also nicely long-lasting: I get about 6-8 hours even with light application, and quite a bit more if I use argan oil on my skin before dabbing this extrait de parfum.
The opening is smoky and tarry, all film noir and heavy eyelids. I don't get much or any proper top notes, but that's perfectly fine- who needs fresh and bubbly notes anyway, especially when we can have leather? And possibly a glass of hard liquor somewhere in the mix. Then it turn into the smoothest driest cedar (still with a side of tobacco) and stays this way for a while, until things sweeten up and I find myself surrounded by a sensual musky wood with just a touch of vanilla.
Espionage ends up a lot softer and curvier than it begins- from Angelina Jolie in a black trench coat to Sophia Loren playing spies wearing Dior. And it's utterly fabulous.
Espionage by Ayala Moriel Parfums ($65, 5ml parfum extrait in a roll-on bottle, other sizes, samples and formulation available, including an Espionage-scented chocolate bar) can be found at ayalamoriel.com.
Photo of Sophia Loren and Gregory Peck in Stanley Donen's Arabesque (1966) from stirredstraightup.blogspot.com