Skip to content
Join our Newsletter

Big Time Sensuality

3 pairs of tickets to a Midsummer Tea Party and 3 $25 gift certificates! Ayala's perfumes, homemade chocolates and custom-blended teas. Ayala Moriel makes good scents.

3 pairs of tickets to a Midsummer  Tea Party and 3 $25 gift certificates!

Ayala's perfumes, homemade chocolates and custom-blended teas.

Ayala Moriel makes good scents. What started as a hobby in 2001 has since turned into a full-time job from her home-based studio in the West End. Using natural essences and oils to blend her own line of ready-to-wear fragrance and offering custom ones as well, Ayala offers her customers an entirely personal approach to perfume, one that left me feeling entirely intrigued after a visit with her recently.

She is undeniably passionate about the power of perfume, and as she describes what attracted her to this ancient art I can't help but be reminded of Tom Robbins excellent novel, Jitterbug Perfume. Her eyes light up when I mention this. "I love that book!"

"Everybody whose nose works has natural ability. I’m self-taught, but still a student of perfumery. It never stops. Every year I learn something new, it’s always exciting. If you can walk you can dance – if you can smell, you can develop that ability. But it takes a long time. It’s a long process."

One can't help but feel moved by the calm energy of her studio, and the display of her wares beckons like some sort of olfactory enchantress. Ayala takes me on a "tour" of her collection that awakens my senses; the freshness and potency of her potions are far more provocative than conventional scents. We chat about what makes a perfume special and why her creations are different than, say, something mainstream one might get at a drugstore. (As a child of the 80s I still carry the scars of Debbie Gibson and her "Electric Youth", which will forever be associated with the smell of damp locker rooms after gym class.) Ayala recoils at the comparison. "These are perfumes that are hand-blended. They are created only from natural and botanical oils. Whereas, if you go to the drugstore or get a mainstream perfume, they have very little proportion – if at all – of natural essences. What used to be a really beautiful art form became a mass production of scents. If you go to the drugstore and smell a few, they are very similar – and each one of a copy of a copy of a copy. I’m not saying that there are no original perfumes released but we get about 800 released a year, and most of them are just a copy of something else that smells very similar but with a different celebrity endorsing it and in a different bottle."


The range of scents Ayala offers or can custom blend is infinite and as we go through the bottles I find myself falling in love with each one for different reasons. Of course there is a difference between enjoying a smell and wanting to have it emanate from you on a constant basis - as much as I love the smell of freshly baked cookies, I do confess to gagging when I catch a whiff of some pretty young thing filling my nostrils with her chemical, faux vanilla airs (I am thinking of Thierry Muegler's "Angel", which seems to dominate much of Robson St.) "I think people can get really confused or overwhelmed when they look for a scent, and also a lot of salespeople really don’t have the training to help someone find something that they will truly love. My line is pretty big, too – I have 50 fragrances and all really showcase my style and what can be done with natural essences. There are many different fragrance families and sub-families. What I do is consult and help you find a scent you really love. When you come to me you get a really personalized service, regardless of if you buy something from the ready-to-wear line or something that is a custom blend. It’s a lot more personal. We all have different relationships with those different essences, and it can be hard to really put words to that. But when you come to the studio, I will work with you to find that. I try to find all those happy memories, emotions, and put them in the bottle in one perfume for you."

I couldn't help but wonder about what my own custom blend would comprise of. As much as I love the smell of vanilla, scents that are too "sweet" take me back to the days in high school when the Body Shop's Vanilla oil ruled. I do love lavender, but wonder about scents that are too heavily floral - isn't that what old women smell like? Ayala looks taken aback and surprised when I suggest this. Perhaps my own concepts and associations with scents has been perverted by chemical mash-ups of perfumes, distant cousins to the essences they were once related to.

As one tends to do when they speak from their heart's passion, Ayala is both effusive and steady when she talks about her art. "I was really fascinated by the concept of bottling someone’s personality, their essence into a bottle. There’s a whole lot of... magic behind the development and the history of scent and I thought it was really neat to reflect that, not only in how you distill an essence but also how you can combine them to translate the “essence” of a person into a perfume. Perfume and personality are really related. There are two aspects to it: one is your personality. Different personalities need different stimulation, and there is a relationship between say, colour and lifestyle choices that are related to scent. The other thing that is more interesting to me is personal history, and what someone gravitates towards and what they are really attracted to. Let’s say your mom makes a special cake with certain spices in it – when you smell something like it, it just brings up those memories. So maybe you really love the smells of Sunday brunch with your parents, of waffles and maple syrup – these are smells that you really love, regardless of whether you are extroverted or introverted."

Ayala's fragrances are available at these locations in Vancouver and through her site.

Dream in Gastown

The Velvet Room

Gentille Allouette

Portobello West

Ayala is hosting a Midsummer Tea Party at her home on Sunday afternoon. Tickets are available through her site and are $10. They include everything mentioned below.

Vancouver is Awesome has three pairs of tickets and three $25 gift certificates to give away to this afternoon of delicious goodies, scent education, and socialization. What is the name of the novel Ayala loves so much? Leave your answer in the comments section to enter. The first three correct answers are winners and will be contacted via email for confirmation. Contest closes Saturday, August 7 at 5:00 pm.

The Official Word

You are cordially invited to a Midsummer Tea Party! Sunday August 8, 1-5 pm.

This weekend is the very middle of the summer, and there's no better way to celebrate than with your company and by spoiling you with fragrant teas and treats, made with market-fresh ingredients grown locally! The party is a great occasion to reveal to you some of the upcoming fragrances for the next season (including some limited editions that no one have ever smelled before!) and Ayala's upcoming body care line, which will be launched in the fall. You will be privy to these luxurious yet light-weight anointing body oils, sugar scrubs and revitalizing bath salts with tantalizing aromas that are as original as my perfumes. These will be offered for sale for the first time in affordable trial-size packaging for your convenience.

Doors open at 1:00 pm.

Presentation at 3:00 pm.

Scents from the Ocean: Creating Orcas perfume. Ayala will reveal to you the different mods of Orcas - her upcoming natural marine scent inspired by the scenery of Tofino.

Studio sale at 4:00 pm.

Farewell and goody bags at 5:00 pm.

Also featuring

Dancing Leaf Design - unique jewelry designs by Noriko Kobune, who uses traditional Japanese beading technique to create modern, upbeat one of a kind pieces.

Karin Baruch's Preserved BC Sunshine: fine wine jellies and fruit preserves will be also for sale (and on the menu!).


Fine teas from Ayala's tea caddy, and gourmet homemade treats.

Tea Selection

Charisma Tea House Blend (Jasmine green tea with fresh spearmint), King of Jade Oolong, Lavender Earl Gray, Flowering hand-tied white tea with jasmine and lily

Other Beverages

White Wine, Tea Sangria with Magnolia, Pomegranate White Tea (from Shaktea tea), Homemade Limoncello lemonade

Tier 1

Tea Sandwiches; Savouries, Cucumber + Mint tea sandwiches, Polenta with tomato + Basil + Bocconcini ***, Red Pepper + Goat Cheese Tea Sandwiches

Tier 2

Lavender-Rosemary Scones served with Devonshire Cream + Jams by Preserved BC Sunshine

Tier 3

Fresh Seasonal Fruit Platter **

Tier 4

Desserts, Petit Fours; Jasmine Tea Tarts with Lemon Curd & Fresh Basil Brownies with Raspberry Sauce **

Classic Madeleines (vanilla bean and lemon zest)

Tier 5

Black Summer Truffles*

Guilt Truffles (orange blossom and wild orange)* , Saffron Robe Truffles (saffron salt and orange flower)*

* Wheat free

** Wheat and dairy free

*** Dairy and/or wheat free substitute options available upon request