Quick reviews of two (happy!) indie fragrances for spring: Ayala Moriel Musk Malabi and 4160Tuesdays Urura's Tokyo Cafe.
Do comment if you have a favorite indie perfume we should all know about!
Ayala Moriel Musk Malabi
Malabi is a milk-based pudding topped with sweet syrup (I posted an image and link to a recipe yesterday) popular in the Middle East. Variations appear to be endless, but it is sometimes flavored with rosewater or orange blossom, and indie natural perfumer Ayala Moriel has used both flowers in her Musk Malabi perfume, which features rose and neroli in a composition grounded by cedar and botanical musk, and lightly sweetened with myrrh. The spices (cardamom and coriander) are mild, and it isn't at all foody or dessert-like — it's bright and cheerful, and perfect for spring. Very much worth a try for anyone, but especially recommended for neroli freaks. I would love to have a bottle of Musk Malabi, along with Moriel's equally cheerful Etrog Oy de Cologne (and both are unisex, to my nose).
Ayala Moriel Musk Malabi is available in 4 ml Extrait (shown, $48) or 15 ml Eau de Parfum ($120); samples are also available. For buying information, see the listing for Ayala Moriel under Perfume Houses.
4160Tuesdays Urura's Tokyo Cafe
Indie perfumer Sarah McCartney came up with an inspired brand name — 4160 is how many Tuesdays you will enjoy during your lifetime if you make it to 80 (and if you take care to enjoy all your Tuesdays). Her Urura's Tokyo Cafe, like Musk Malabi, is a fragrance with rose, but done here in a very different way, with bubbly citrus in the opening, then later, cushioned with violet powder and sweetened with raspberry jam. In the early stages, it seems like it's going in the direction of a boudoir violet-rose, but the flowers blur as it dries down, and green accents become more obvious, and just about the time when you expect the raspberry jam to start fading, it intensifies instead. The pale resinous base is apparently opoponax and tolu balsam. Urura's Tokyo Cafe is relaxed and easy to wear, and definitely leaning towards feminine although nobody should let that stop them. I'd love to have a bottle of this one too; it made me smile every time I wore it.
4160Tuesdays Urura's Tokyo Cafe is available in 30, 50 and 100 ml Eau de Parfum (there are also coffrets of 8 ml bottles, choose four scents for £36). For buying information, see the listing for 4160Tuesdays under Perfume Houses.
Update: Urura's Tokyo Cafe is now called Tokyo Spring Blossom.