Thousands of miles away in Boulder Colorado, perfumer Dawn Spencer Hurwitz works her magic producing stunning and innovative scent. Dawn kindly couriered some scent samples to me and I was blown away by the quality. The first one I tried was Albino: A Study in White. I then went on try the rest of them, and found them to be seamlessly blended and bursting with innovation and flair.
Dawn has been making perfume since 1991 and her vast experience shows in the quality. The versatility of DSH perfumes amazes me: there’s botanical flowers and greenery, deep dark chypres, vintage style scents, animalic sexbombs, and innocent ladylike fragrances.
I’m going to give you a little tour of what Dawn very kindly sent me. Opinions are my own.
I reviewed this earlier and you can find my opinion here. An exciting and authentic animalic chypre that smacks of 1920s decadence and feminity. There’s a hint of sex too, and by hint, I mean sledgehammer- if you want subtle, look away. Chinchilla is up there with the greats.
By complete contrast, La Belle Saison is the purest most realistic lilac scent I have ever smelled, and I’m a big fan of lilac. Astonishingly, this is an all natural perfume and it really does smell as if a spring garden has been captured in a bottle. It’s like burying your head in the pale purple blossoms.
Mata Hari (Extrait)
Another daring chypre with a hint of animal. This is right up my street. Mata Hari is rich and deep with all the classical ingredients of a chypre: oakmoss, patchouli, amber, coupled with a fruity opening and deep, rich rose de mai. This deserves to be a classic. It reminds me of turn-of-the-century Guerlain. I would go as far as saying that this is one of best chypres I have ever tried.
Described as the epitome of sunshine, Hansa Yellow is a feel good scent full of spring time optimism and yellow flowers. It reminded me of the scent of daffodils and that uplifting feeling I get when I see the first ones peeking out after a long winter ( Daffodils are the national flower here in Wales and we take them very seriously). There’s banana like Ylang alongside neroli and lemon, giving this a playful radiance. What could be more spring like?
Albino (A Study In White)
This is supposed to be for men, but I would buy a full bottle simply because I am a junkie for grapefruit in fragrance. Albino is unique: many of the ingredients are white and the result is a bright refreshing fougere that opens like a gentlemne’s cologne. You’ve got albino raspberry and grapefruit in there alongside pale, light woods and light musky finish. It’s addictively good. I LOVE the grapefruit.
A cleverly constructed bright floral aldehyde that turns into a chypre. Deco Diamonds opens with a crystalline, metallic accord that made me think of chandeliers. The middle phase has all the big florals of a classic, with soapy notes at the heart and a mossy, civet finish that tells the story of a night out from start to finish.
Souvenir de Malmaison
A beautiful carnation soliflore, Souvenir de Malmaison is enhanced with clove and pepper giving this a spicy spikiness that is complemented by the softer roses in the heart of it. If you ask me, Carnation doesn’t get enough love these days, so I am pleased to see it showcased here. It’s the spiky, sober cousin to rose and I love the piquant nature of it alongside those dark aromatic cloves. Lasting power on this was filed under category WOW.
FiFi nominated, Pandora is a rich green chypre with a “dusty nuance”, which appeals to me enormously. Unfortunately, Pandora eluded me. I was anosmic to this. My skin seems to just suck it up and make it disappear! This doesn’t mean the same will happen to you. For example, when I reviewed Cartier Delices de Cartier a few years back, it never showed up on my skin at all- it was as if I was spraying tap water. However, other users reported 12 hour longevity. Go figure! My experience with DSH perfumes is that they are constructed from high quality ingredients and very long lasting, so this is probably just me. Perfume’s funny like that. My loss.
All of the above fragrances are available from the DSH website. You can buy all sizes, from sample size to large spray bottles, and many other scents too. I can’t wait to explore more of Dawn’s beautiful work. Samples provided by Dawn with warm thanks. Opinions are my own.
Photo credit: Top photo from cafleurebon, Lady in fur from Pinterest, Mata Hari from Klimbin, chandelier from fixmasters.net, Pandora’s Box painting from talesbeyondbelief.com, photo of Dawn Spencer Hurwitz from Cafleurebon.