Tag Archives: Dawn Spencer Hurwitz

Deep into Flowers: My favourite DSH floral perfumes.

Photo of Dawn Spencer Hurwitz  from The Perfume Magazine

I was recently lucky enough to receive a little bundle of samples from the genius perfumer Dawn Spencer Hurwitz. I liked every single fragrance.  However, some of them took hold of my heart and wouldn’t let go.   Despite the Non-Spring weather here in  chilly Wales I’m going through a big floral phase at the moment.

There were so many beautiful floral notes in these fragrances that  it felt like a little olfactory tour of an exclusive florist.

DSH Perfumes Fleurs du Soleil

Fleurs du Soleil takes tuberose to the tropics and introduces it to new company. This is the kind of tuberose I am always seeking. I last found it in By Kilian Good Girl Gone Bad, and how I swooned!.  It’s borderline vegetal, but at the same time, it feels like plunging your nose deep within the  heady petals of this unique flower that always makes its presence felt.  Around the tuberose is sweet honeysuckle, and a touch of citrussy fruit to stop everything going too flowery. It’s beautifully balanced and  I keep getting little wafts as I move. Wonderful!

photo from bhg.com

DSH Perfumes April

April smells exactly like playing in the garden  as a child. The most prevalent note to me, is sweet pea. I remember the scent so well from my childhood. The olfactory memory is extraordinary and I remember garden scents from over forty years ago. Don’t ask me what I had for breakfast earlier today though.

April has just about every note you would expect from a Spring scent . It evokes green grass, spring flowers and tiny bunches of violets (which have no scent in real life, sadly). Also in here is sweet clover, which I used to actually eat when I was about five.  If you pluck a juicy petal out of the flower, at the base you will find nectar and it tastes as good as it sounds.  I also used to eat fuchsias and daisies,  although this was not encouraged.  I suppose I was rather odd, looking back.

What I like about April is that so many flowers are here, but somehow it smells clean and fresh, rather than sweet and overpowering, like some florals can smell. This is everything you can smell in a spring garden, buds, grass, moss and all.

DSH Perfumes Bluedaisy

I think of this as a daisy and blue sky all in one, such is its lightness and airiness. This comes from the grapefruit, which opens the fragrance, and the delicate flowers that follow the citrus notes. This would fit into the fruity floral category ( it has grapefruit, yuzu, passion fruit, oranges), but I still think of this as primarily a floral. The fruits here seem to frame the flowers and make them  sing louder, almost like  a conductor waving a baton.

I noticed the passion fruit, but then I thought- isn’t that perfect with sweet pea? I noticed the almondy, waxy petals of frangipani and the clean, almost herbal background of fresh, very green grass. This is a happy,  Zippety Doo Dah feel good scent that really makes you appreciate how beautiful nature is.

Stockists

All my samples were kindly supplied by Dawn herself, for which, warmest thanks. There were no conditions or obligations attached. The good news is that Dawn ships all over the world (with a few exceptions) so UK fans can order and enjoy these nature friendly scents.  Here’s the website link.

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DSH French Lily: Happiness is a perfect flower

A lily from my very own garden.

Dawn Spencer Hurwitz  shows her versatility, talent  and love of nature through her wide range of beautiful fragrances.

You may have read some of my previous reviews of Dawn’s fragrances: Chinchilla, Vanilla ChantillyFoxyDeco Diamonds, Dark Moon, Musc al Madina, Hansa Yellow, Souvenir de Malmaison, Pandora, Albino and Giverny in Bloom. I guess you could call me a fan.

Just the other day Dawn sent me a collection of her fragrances that I hadn’t tried yet. You can imagine my excitement. There were so many that I made notes as I sniffed.  It was very hard to pick a favourite and a blog post containing reviews of all of them would be too long, so here is the DSH fragrance that jumped out and shot me with cupid’s arrow. Please make way for DSH French Lily. (Don’t worry, the other reviews will be along soon!)

DSH French Lily has that wonderful soapy/green accord that lily often has in perfume. However, sometimes lily can teeter over the edge into vegetable soup powder territory (Frederic Malle Lys Mediterranee had this effect), but you’ll be pleased to know there’s none of that here. The lily here is light and floral and draws me in like a bee to a flower.  It’s almost clinically clean, but then something rather interesting happens. You know when you smell a flower that’s growing outside and there’s a kind of earthy background to it? Well, that’s what happens here. There’s the beautiful purity of the white lily scent, and then a hint of the earth and the bulb from whence it came.

I could list the notes here, but the above description is my experience and I’m not sure that listing the notes would make any difference to that. I did notice beeswax, aldehydes, lily of the valley, but most of all, that white lily that I can smell on my skin and see so clearly in my mind.

I cannot stop smelling my skin when I wear this. It really is a feel-good fragrance that makes me remember that in a world of technology and pressure, there is nothing as beautiful as a single natural flower blooming away above the ground and the dirt.  Nature will win through even on a dark day.

Thank you Dawn for the beautiful samples. This is my honest opinion and is not a sponsored post.

Stockists

All of Dawn’s beautiful fragrances are available from this website and yes, she does ship ot the UK.

 

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Fantastically Foxy: Foxy by DSH Perfumes

foxy pic

Funnily enough, my children and I  were halfway through Roald Dahl’s Fantastic Mr Fox when this arrived in the post.  I have been reading this book since the mid-seventies and it kept me company during several commutes in my twenties too.  This utopian story in which handsome Mr Fox overcomes adversaries brings both adults and children back to this classic story.  Also, it marks the only time in my life when I ended up with a bit of a crush on a charismatic fictional wild animal.

mr fox original
The original book I grew up with

As if she can read my mind, or hear the funny voices when I read in Farmer Boggis’s voice, Dawn Spencer Hurwitz posted me a trio of samples all the way from Boulder Colorado: you know, where Mork and Mindy lived.

So what does Foxy smell like and is it as fantastic as Mr Fox himself? Well, read on.

tygertale
Photo from tygertale.com

Foxy instantly smells like a vintage scent. I don’t know how Dawn does this, but usually you have to buy fragrance that’s about 70 years old to get this kind of ambery aged lushness.

The amber smells almost rusty, which seems appropriate when you think of the name of the scent.  There are flowers, although they don’t dominate. I detected jasmine and spiky, peppery carnation. There are spicy herbs and a little heat from ginger, and a fun note of apple brandy, made by and drunk by Farmer Bean from the book, who drinks only cider and never eats.

foxy samples

The final flourish has definite notes of oak moss mingling with the amber, to give this an animalic, rustic heat.  I am often to be found with my face buried in the flank of a sleeping cat and this warm fuzzy finish certainly reminded me of that.  The big star here though, is amber. It’s there at the start, in the middle and at the end. The amber adds a cosy warmth and showcases all the other notes within its embrace.

Foxy is fantastically Foxy.  Let it transform you into a twenty first century fox with a retro twist and a crafty twinkle in your eye.

Stockists

You can buy Foxy from the DSH Perfumes website, which also provides an excellent sample service. My sample was from Dawn herself, for which, my warmest thanks. Opinions are my own.

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DSH Musc al Madina: This Musk Deserves Classic Status

dsh_1oz_silver_2014

A parcel from Boulder Colorado always lights me up like Christmas (Remember Christmas? It was SO last year!) It usually means that the very talented perfumer, Dawn Spencer Hurwitz has sent me some samples to see what I think. Dawn is an independent niche perfumer who works with natural materials to produce a diverse and high quality range of artisan perfumes.  Each one is created by Dawn herself in her lab.  She answers to only herself and her loyal customers, new and old. I like that in a perfumer.

dsh-face

For the past few days I have been wearing the fabulous DSH Musc al Madina.  This is a musk with a supporting cast that really showcases its talents and brings out its very best.  As you know, the musk genre is a vast spectrum that starts with clean and tidy laundry musks and  reaches the nether regions of dirty animalic musk such as Serge Lutens Koublai Khan, to name the most notorious example that springs to mind.

DSH_im3hr_hs-300x300Musc al Madina danced with gossamer veils for me, dropping each one like a tease.  Firstly, my impression was that this is a wonderful 70s style musk that goes with denim flares and flicky hair. It’s how my primary school teachers and my Mum would have smelled when I was 6 in 1976. (Don’t do the maths. I’m young, OK?) This is a fuzzy blanket/soapy musk that reminded me strongly of talcum powder. But then it changed. Then the vetiver  came out and this became a masculine woody musk, full of spices (My beloved myrhh) and peppery geranium.  All change for phase three when this settles into a Middle Eastern delight. The oud emerges but with soft smoky  edges tinged with Ambergris. This is seamlessly blended so the musk stays centre stage whilst the backdrop changes.  Longevity is excellent at around eight or nine hours.

Musc al Madina is intriguing and clever and I can think of few people that it wouldn’t suit. The powdery finish gave me the vintage style hit that I always seek,with a hopeful heart.  The spicy, soapy, woody finish left my nose firmly glued to my wrist.

Musc al Madina deserves classic status.

Stockists

You can buy DSH Musc al Medina from the DSH Perfumes website. My sample was kindly supplied by Dawn Spencer Hurwitz, for which my warmest thanks. Opinions are my own.

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Dawn Spencer Hurwitz Chinchilla: Animal with a Capital “GRRR”

chinchilla

Dawn Spencer Hurwitz very kindly sent me a batch of samples recently. I was delighted to receive them and delighted to review one of them here. There’ll be more reviews to follow, but I felt an urge to get stuck in when I wore the stunning Chinchilla today.

Chinchilla was inspired by olde worlde glamour: a world where women still wore chinchilla stoles and their best diamonds to dazzle suitors. Chinchilla has a vintage feel to  and I mean that in its most literal sense. You know when you open a bottle of vintage perfume and it’s gone amber? That’s what chinchilla smells like. But it’s more than that. Chinchilla packs an animalic punch that puts this straight to the top of the “Perfumes That Smell of Sex” Top Ten.

plymouth_auction_1086Containing civet (secreted from glands of the civet cat), hyrax (from hyrax urine crystals) AND castoreum (from beavers), this animal note is unmissable and written in bold. There’s honey too, which always reminds me of the smell of skin. Like all the best vintage scents, this has a wonderful chypre feel with oakmoss, bergamot, musk and vetiver. It reminds me of scent from the 1920s and 30s. If you yearn for the olden days when perfume smelled like perfume and came in heavy glass bottles, then Chinchilla is for you. Personally, I adore a classic vintage-feel chypre with a hint of Grrr, so Chinchilla is for me, too.

PS My cat Danny the Ginger Ninja went MAD for this.

Stockists

You can buy this and other DSH perfume from the website. Sample kindly supplied by Dawn, with warm thanks from me. Opinions are my own.

DSH Giverny in Bloom: Bringing art alive

dsh bottle

Dawn Spencer Hurwitz is an early pioneer in the world of indie perfumes. US based, Dawn (or DSH to fans), constantly innovates and has a wide fan base worldwide. In fact, I’m astonished I took so long to get here.

monet-gvI was recently sent two samples of DSH scents by friend of the blog (and friend of me!) Patsi, who is always very generous and supportive of my perfume habit, having a serious habit herself. Thank you Patsi!

Today I am reviewing Giverny in Bloom. It seems appropriate to look at the pictures of Monet’s gardens in Giverny as I sniff them since this scent was created to go alongside the “in Bloom” scent experience at Denver Art Museum.

This scent will be instantly recognizable to anyone who remembers playing in the garden as a child. Did you ever pick flowers, snap ferns and sniff leaves or was that just me? If so, you will easily imagine how transporting this earthy, realistic fragrance is.

bridgeThis was almost astringent on first spray, like rubbing a broken fern between your fingers. After that the flowers come in. Not just petals, but stems, stamens, buds: the whole shebang. It smells like a very good florists: it’s flower heads, yes, but seeds and leaves too. It is springlike and abundant. There’s lilacs, carnations, mimosa, roses, jasmine, neroli, violets, linden blossom- it’s all there. But what makes this stand apart from a good spring floral is the addition of the greenery and earthiness. There’s soil tincture, oakmoss, galbanum, ambergris, and patchouli. All this works not against, but alongside, the prettiness of the flowers, giving a dose of realism that makes this really stand out. A good gardener knows you have to get your hands dirty and that’s what this smells like: a real garden, with all the flowers, the sharpness of green leaves and a woody, earthy base. Like the strokes of an Impressionist’s brush, the blending is cleverly done to give an artless feel that allows each note to blur into the next without losing itself.

Viewed alongside the legendary paintings, this makes for a wonderfully uplifting experience.

I shall be seeking out more DSH after this. Thank you Patsi for this fabulous intro.

Stockists.

All scents are available from the DSH website.  This just in-I have it on good authority that  DSH does indeed ship to the UK! There is also a good sample service, and free samples with every full bottle purchase.

Photo credits

Top photo from Fragrantica. Middle photo from www.famousartistsgallery.com. Bottom photo from www.lifo.gr