Riding the ferries throughout the San Juan Islands is a memory that conjures up fresh marine air, gorgeous vistas of the northernmost Cascade Mountains and tall evergreens that meet the water’s edge. I find it challenging to describe the feeling of being on the water amidst the Pacific Northwest’s humbling beauty so I’m going to rely on my trustiest source for help, National Public Radio.
So I was listening to NPR the other day, Here and Now to be specific, and Robin Young was interviewing the writer Touré about his recent essay in the New York Times on writers writing about tennis. In the interview, which captivated me as I am an avid tennis player, Touré read David Foster Wallace’s description of Roger Federer’s style of play:
“Inspiration, though, is contagious, and multiform — and even just to see, close up, power and aggression made vulnerable to beauty is to feel inspired and (in a fleeting, mortal way) reconciled.”
When I heard those words read aloud, I nodded in agreement, not only because Federer is such an incredibly powerful yet balletic athlete, but also because these words can be applied to most anything sublimely beautiful. His quote embodies my feeling of being on that boat, surrounded by the overwhelming grandeur of nature which as Wallace said, is made vulnerable to its own beauty.
Orcas by Ayala Sender, is an homage to the unique land and seascapes of this region and the Wild Pacific Trail in particular which runs along the westcoast of Vancouver Island. Like all of Ayala’s fragrances, Orcas is expertly blended and as a result the natural materials move like water over a stone, seamlessly and fluidly. The opening is the one moment you’ll take notice of a singular note, as a bitingly green burst of lime initiates the Orcas encounter. Quickly though, after just a few minutes, the remaining notes begin to swell.
Spruce, moss, rosemary and seaweed tumble together in an herbaceous and slightly salty wave, ushering in exhilaration, and renewal. Another passing wave brings forth violet leaf and cedar which heighten the herbal and basalmic aspects of Orcas in their own unique way. Violet leaf is deeply green and leafy thereby ramping up those tones in the rosemary and seaweed while cedar’s smooth and dry quality imparts the spruce and moss with warmth.
In truth though, all of the notes complement each other and meld into one another making note deconstruction feel a bit insignificant. In the end, Orcas stands as a gorgeous, all natural oceanic fragrance that bathes the skin in a maritime-woodland dew. But for those of you who are drawn to vetiver and ambergris, I will say that the drydown has something very special in store for you.
Above is a photo of Ayala Sender in her studio. I took it two summers ago when my family and I visited the San Juans, Vancouver Island, and Vancouver BC where Ayala lives.
She has graciously offered to give away a EDP mini to a Scent Hive reader. Just leave a comment and you will be entered. If you have a favorite from her line, please share it! Drawing is now closed.
Orcas is available at ayalamoriel.com $120 for 15ml splash/spray bottle or a 4ml mini for $45.
Photo of ferry and Mt. Baker is from Panoramio.com
Disclosure: A sample was sent to me for consideration by Ayala Sender. The opinions in this review are my own. I was not financially compensated for this review or any other.