Have you ever stepped into a store and felt like the owner created it just for you? Maybe it was a home decor boutique where every detail spoke to your aesthetic sensibility? Or maybe a vintage shop that was chock-full of cardigans sparked your yearning because all the ones you adored fit perfectly? From a crass point of view, getting this type of consumer response is a marketer’s dream, but even as a jaded shopper, this experience can rouse feelings of giddiness and excitement in me.
I had such an encounter not too long ago when I rediscovered the DSH website. Don’t ask me how it slipped by me that Dawn Spencer Hurwitz has so many natural perfumes in her line-up, but she does and it did. She has made them more visible with the Natural Perfumers Guild symbol, so searching for them is quite easy. She plans to make finding them even more effortless with a “naturals” link on her site that will take us directly to all of her botanical offerings within a week or two. So I mentioned feeling giddy and excited…this is no exaggeration. Go to her website and check out this prolific perfumer’s vast array of 100% (and nearly 100%) botanical perfumes. I felt like I unearthed a treasure chest of undiscovered natural fragrances and had to catch my breath. Where had I been?
Thankfully Dawn saved me from my ignorance. She emailed me, and offered to send samples that she will be featuring at the Vert exhibit in Venice, Ca. on Saturday October 24th. The Vert event is an extension of the Natural Botanical Perfume Exhibitions that Persephenie Schnyder has been hosting at her beloved scent haunt, Blunda Aromatics. Dawn Spencer Hurwitz will be at Vert from noon-6pm, and if you live in the area, I would not miss this extraordinary occasion.
As I mentioned, I have had the pleasure of sampling a few of the DSH perfumes that will be highlighted at Vert. One of these is truly special, as it is the first in her new Gaia Perfume Botanical Collection. Épices d’Hiver (Winter Spices) is so good, I feel confident in saying you lovers of cozy, spicy fragrances should put this on your holiday wishlist. It’s that likable. Although davana, stargazer lily accord and jasmine are listed in the notes, Épices d’Hiver has only a mere floral whisper. Davana is in the topnotes, along with pink pepper and nutmeg, and is a flower that I have not smelled. It is described as having a “fruity (apricot) odour of hay and licorice“, and also being “slightly woody with a hint of vanilla and a subtle camphorous note“. Intriguing no doubt! The hay, licorice and woody notes (not so much vanilla at the top) meld with the festive and familiar nutmeg and vitality of pink pepper.
The scent remains spicy and warm into the heart, but becomes slightly powdery and comfortingly but subtly sweet as benzoin wraps its loving arms around the whole affair. Woods, earthy patchouli and a botanical ambergris accord settle this fragrant experience into its base, but the spices are always present, like that warm cup of tea in your hands assuring you that as long as you’re taking in a deep breath of an aromatic essence, life’s is gonna be OK.
Rose Vert, another fragrance to be featured at the Vert event, has an unexpected dreamlike effect. It’s green and mildly citrusy at the outset, but the blend of four different rose absolutes and one rose otto create a swirling rosy haze that is mesmerizing. Fresh cut stems and crushed leaves are strewn throughout the heart and drydown of Rose Vert, so it never becomes a transparent floral. It’s substantial and grounded, even in its dreamy redolence. It would layer beautifully with another favorite freshly-cut rose fragrance of mine, Bonny Doone Farm’s Rose Creme Parfum.
Yuzu will also be at the event, and will be perfect for Los Angeleans to spritz. It’s loaded with all kinds of citrus; blood orange, fresh lemon, white grapefruit and yuzu in the top notes, followed by green mandarin, lime peel, pink grapefruit, and more yuzu in the middle. The base involves woods, Atlas cedarwood and Australian sandalwood to be specific. Yuzu is a citrus scent through and through though, as neroli and petitgrain finish things off with the (mildly) woody drydown. The citrus essences are very well blended, not one boasts loader than the other. It’s refreshing and the cedar/sandalwood duo gives the fragrance some woodiness of course but does not overpower it where you think “Aha! that’s cedar or that’s sandalwood!” Again, excellent blending technique by Ms. Hurwitz. Yuzu is reminiscent of another beautiful woody citrus perfume, Annick Goutal’s Eau d’Hadrian. How wonderful to have found a similar fragrance, just as winsome and appealing, but 100% botanical. Thank you Dawn Spencer Hurwitz!
Posted by ~Trish