"And you shall take on the first day the fruit of beautiful trees, branches of palm trees and boughs of leafy trees and willows of the brook, and you shall rejoice before the Lord your God seven days." (Leviticus 23:40)The Jewish High Holidays are approaching (mid September this year) so it's a good time to discuss two interesting perfumes that were inspired by the holiday of Sukkot, which is also the celebration of the harvest. Etrog is the Hebrew name for yellow citron (Citrus Medica), the "fruit of beautiful trees" in Jewish tradition, and is used during the holiday. The Etrog is presented and blessed alongside branches of palm trees, willow and myrtle. This is the background story of L'Etrog from Arquiste and Etrog by Ayala Moriel Parfums.
Arquiste's L'Etrog is a a light and airy citrus cologne. It's very bright, a bit soapy and well composed. There's no sharpness in L'Etrog and it smells preppy and pedigreed. It smells expensive and has nothing in common with cheap department stores citrus perfumes. It's probably one of the loveliest smells you could find and I want nothing more than a full line of L'Etrog home and body products so I can live in its clean and golden environment. However, as a personal fragrance it falls a little short, especially compared to the other five Arquiste perfumes. L'Etrog is a bit too pale for my personal taste, and my skin eats it up in record time. Most of the perfume's body disappears after the first 30 minutes and the rest is completely gone in two hours. I certainly understand why the perfumers who worked on L'Etrog (Yan Vasnier and Rodrigo Flores-Roux) didn't ground it in some heavy musk, but I wish there was something there to hold the other notes together a bit longer.
Then we have Etrog by Ayala Moriel Parfums. Perfumer Ayala Sender fondly calls this natural perfume her "Oy de Cologne", but don't be fooled by this. Etrog is actually an eau de parfum, and despite the reputation of many natural perfumes, it last for about four hours with some green and resin residue that lingers afterwards even from a tiny sample, so a full application must be even better. Ayala Moriel's Etrog feels almost meditative: uplifting at first and then calming. Like the rare and expensive Etrog fruit itself, the perfume is almost mystical. It was also a labor of love as Ayala Sender tinctured the Etrogs herself from fresh organic fruit sent by her family in Israel; also the rabbi of downtown Vancouver donated his family's Etrogs for 3 consecutive years. The result of the effort is a balsamic aromatic perfume even more than a citrus. The fruitiness of Etrog is not so much fresh pulpy as it's a delicious reminder of spicy citron jam. The incense in the dry-down is especially beautiful. There's a hint of sweetness and a cool touch of early evening breeze, and it lasts for several blissful hours.
Arquiste L'Etrog notes: Calabrese Cedrat (Citron in French), Myrtle, Date Fruit, Vetiver.
Ayala Moriel Parfums Etrog notes: Ambergris, Balsam Poplar Buds, Citron (Etrog) Tincture, Frankincense, Green Myrtle, Honey Absolute Japanese Mint, Lemon Myrtle, Olive Tree Resin Opoponax, Petitgrain Cedrat, Pomelo Peel Tincture.
Arquiste L'Etrog ($165, 55ml) is available from BeautyHabit, Aedes, Barneys and Osswald in NYC.
Etrog by Ayala Moriel Parfums ($48, 4ml. Other sizes and samples also available) can be purchased from ayalamoriel.com.
Samples of both perfumes were provided to me free of charge.