Posts Tagged ‘Dawn Spencer Hurwitz perfumes’

I’ve been really, really busy this year.  I know it’s only mid March, but for the first quarter, it’s been crazy.  I mean, I’m always busy working on things but this is different.  I’m not sure if it’s just that the world is accelerating… or something in me that’s “making my bees buzz” even more intensely.  No matter.  I like whatever this is.  It also means that I have more Spring launches in my line up than I had originally planned.  But that’s ok, too.

Foxy (digital taxidermy) DSH 2017

I started working on a new animalic almost on the heels of Chinchilla.  The fur accords have really had me jazzed and I am sketching out two new ones with different textures now.  (WHAT FUN!!)  Exploring texture as well as ‘flavor’ in scent is something I really enjoy and get deeply involved in.  With Chinchilla, I wanted the design to feature musk / muskiness as well as a palpable coziness and intimacy.  With Rendezvous it was indolic jasmine and an even more explicit intimacy that I had in mind.  With the newest animal in what I am now calling “my menagerie”,  I had a textural shift and an animalic feature note shift in mind.

Foxy, which will be officially released on my site on April 1, has a few inspirations.  First, of course, is to portray and speak to another animal  note, this time ambergris / amber, which I felt spoke to the color of the red fox perfectly, and to create a slightly more rough and feral fur accord.  The second source came from the time I’ve spent this past winter watching Wes Anderson’s “Fantastic Mr. Fox” with Xander.  I REALLY love bringing my experiences with him into my art practice… he is a continual source of inspiration.  (See Vert et Noir for some more fun 4 year old inspiration in fragrance).  The movie is a delight, if you haven’t seen it.  And although there are some themes that don’t seem suitable to a 4-5 year old, there’s a lot to enjoy.  From my perspective, I loved the (always) attention to detail in the art direction that Wes Anderson movies contain.  I used some of these fabulous details in the design of Foxy and I think that they work well in telling the story of the smart, sexy, creative, wild animals that foxes are.  And stylish… always, intelligent and stylish.

As portrayed above, the very topnote is of the ‘golden star apple” / apple whiskey that Farmer Bean basically lives off of.  And the very next in the line up is Mrs. Bean’s famous “apple ginger snap”, which gives a wonderfully playful introduction to what becomes a much more sophisticated fragrance as it develops.  To balance what could be a densely sweet perfume, notes of mitti attar (a co-distill of baked earth and Indian sandalwood) and Oak co2 extract are brought in to give an effect of their tree / house and how foxes live underground. After all of this fooling around, as it were, in the topnote, it was time to get down to business.

This is where the third and fourth inspirations come in, which is the retro slang term foxy as in “Foxy Lady” (Not that Foxy is at all a feminine fragrance; it’s totally unisex) and a wonderful writer who is sometimes called “Foxy”  (classic fragrances are very much appreciated by him and I am delighted to say his nickname kept coming up as inspiration when exploring fur notes).   The animalics trend seems to have stemmed in part from the great interest of late in the perfume styles and classics of the past and with that comes a retro-nouveau quality that sticks to even new or modern versions of the animalic genre.  It’s difficult to talk about animalic perfumes without bringing up its historical context and pedigree.  And fur fragrances will have that reference to the much more commonplace and accepted practice of fur wearing in the past.  Nowadays, it’s faux fur that is chic; to wear the real thing is to many to condone animal cruelty, but this is not meant to be a political post.

Because I *DID* want a retro nouveau vibe in there (but less Marlene Dietrich and more Farrah Faucet, or even Jimi Hendrix), I gave Foxy a bit more leather, sweat, and skin in the accords I created.  I wanted you to really sense that this is a wild, sensuous animal that could be a bit scratchy in places.

At a time when I know that comfort is needed and longed for, I couldn’t help wanting to make something slightly more provocative.  I’m not sure how it will be received… but I think we can all use some smart, sexy, playful energy in our world, too.   ❤

image credits: some are my own images; other were found and gathered on the web; most were pinned to my “foxy” pinterest board .











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Something is happening to me.  I can’t seem to get my head (and nose) out of the woods these days.  It’s a trend that seems to be popping up in all parts of my creative world: in my own (paltry at the moment) design time at the studio, in my classes with private students, and even in terms of what I am wanting to photograph right now. Of course,  I have been working with conifers and fougeres in my studio for awhile now, but I think that this shift in my psyche really set in in 2011, right around the time I got pregnant (hmm…) with some more classical constructions as well as some more modern ‘abstractions’ in the making.  The thing is that while I have been dancing around this concept I have had few actual launches to show for this line of exploration.

Last year’s Matsu, which was a rather abstract, Japanese influenced ‘pine’ scent expressed a humid, green woody concept with a brilliant bergamot flash at the opening (and containing no actual pine of conifers) is really the only launch that I have managed.  Until (sometime close to) now.  Well, I’m not ready to launch this particular design just yet but I think that it is finished.  It’s a much more literal experience of a pine / spruce fragrance but it doesn’t read at all like pinesol or worse, in a way, a bad interpretation of Polo or Pino Sylvestre.



Something that may have spurred on this creative indulgence in the conifer arena has been a lovely friendship that has sprung up between myself and the micro-distiller, Eric Bresselsmith and his wonderful company that features *rocky mountain region* materials.  I have been getting new materials from him for years without having the space or time to really jump in and work on crafting the perfumes I have in mind when he shows me samples. Finally, I have little by little managed to get something going with some very wonderful and rare aromatics.  I want to take a quick moment to touch upon a few of my favorites that Eric has brought me: Concolor White Pine (distilled from recycled Christmas trees in Aspen, CO),  Common Juniper (a shrub that I have torn out of my own yard to make way for a rose garden but yields a lovely, GREEN take on juniper oil), Engelmann Spruce (a delicious, slightly fruity, airy, clear as a bell, spruce) and Great Western Sage (a dry, spiky but gorgeous sage scent.  If you like smudge sticks, this is for you!).  Eric also makes some very wonderful and creative co-distills using the woods, leaves/needle and cones of the conifers sometimes mixed with shrubs and sometimes different but similar species of evergreens.  I really like some of the juniper and cedar co-distills that I have tried.

One of the most incredible and very rare oils that I have gotten (and used in this new design) is an infusion of 50 year old resin crystals in pure pinion essential oil.  It is magical in the extreme.  It was also a labor of love as Eric told me that he was out with the ancient felled pinion armed with tweezers picking the crystals off, little by little, by hand.  As soon as I smelled it I just said, I want this.  I didn’t ask how much; I just knew that I needed to get as much as I could afford.  Seve de Pin (Pine Sap) is based upon this beauty.  There is wider story than just wanting to showcase a new material, but I had started this design years ago and it seemed to be waiting for this last ingredient to make everything fall into place.



Seve de Pin was partially inspired by the smell in the night air on my first overnight trip away from my parents when I was 4 years old and in pre-school summer camp.  *The trees were speaking to me all night long* and in this construction, there is the distinctive smell that was in the air (in the drydown) that night.  I would know this smell anywhere.  It is mysterious and ancient and all-knowing.  Like the earth itself.  And that there are secrets that may be revealed to those who listen (and smell it).  Along with this sense of peering into other realms, there is comfort and protection, too, inherent in this aroma.  Like lying cozily on a soft bed of needles, nestled in the trees with only the night sky above;  you are sure to see the shooting stars.



There is another inspiration, which was simply the incredible sensation of the first clear, oozing pine sap from the pine trees in my own back yard each Spring.  Maybe the reason this scent has been so long in the making is that I can only really work on it during a few weeks in Spring; I need experience that wonder first hand.  The new sap is unlike the aged sap that you find incrusted upon a more worldly tree and I wanted to really capture the airy freshness of that first exudation.

It has been interesting to construct this from almost all natural ingredients (99% botanical) with just a touch of green note accord in the top and an augmented resinous base to give the architecture something firm and stable.  Naturals have their intrinsic beauty but many times it is just impossible to get the structure to hold it’s form.  At least the form that I am working to sculpt or to use the former metaphor, build.  The tendrils of the naturals want to collapse on themselves and rush to be together in the middle.  It sometimes takes a lot of skill to get the pieces to confirm to the shape that you have in mind; something that is quite vertical as opposed to horizontal (landscape) or rounded / voluminous (a bouquet of sorts).  These few synthetic structure “poles” support the flickering nuances of the different shades of green leaves and needles, the cones and most of all the sap that dries into the crusty, delicious resin.  The fluidity of the design needs to be upheld.  It is sap and air after all.

I’m deliriously happy about the final result, I have to say.  Ask anyone who has been around me as I test it.  They will tell you of a crazy woman who can’t stop huffing the blotter (I almost NEVER do this) and swooning about, rolling her eyes in ecstasy.  I am that child again under the stars hearing the whispering murmurs of the trees and dreaming of the possibilities of life.


I’m not sure when I am releasing this new perfume BUT I would love to share~

So, I am offering a drawing for 3ml EdP deluxe spray samples to 3 lucky winners.  Please leave a comment about your favorite conifer, or evergreen scent or better yet a favorite scent memory.  The drawing is open until June 8 at midnight MST.  Good Luck!

* images are all my own.  you can view some and others by me at my instagram page.

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There are some very exciting things going on in my studio lately.  Of course, as per usual I have about two dozen designs (or more ??) written down in my working notebook for  2014, but after the last four new design launches, I have been busy working with a client on a custom / reproduction.  I should mention that I rarely do this kind of work anymore (reproductions) as they are VERY labor intensive and therefore time-consuming (researching ingredients, many times locating these ingredients is a task in itself; sniffing out and reverse engineering the design, creating samples and getting feedback….).  The cost in time alone can become exorbitant.  In the past, I used to take quite a lot of commissions to do this sort of thing just for the opportunity to see and feel what other perfumers had done, what choices they were making in the constructions, what materials produce what results, etc.  It goes back to the ‘copy a masterwork to learn’ method that I came out with from art school.  But those were the days when I had a fair amount more time to devote to that kind of learning and taking on those clients who just could not let go of their (discontinued) beloved.

I recently made an exception.  Not merely because my client is so lovely and I wanted to work with her, nor because she is battling cancer and this scent is her dream, but because the perfume she wanted to have made is a true gem.  I wanted to work on it purely from an artistic standpoint.  You know by the title which masterpiece of perfume history I am referring to, the incredible and so ridiculously hard to find, Iris Gris de Fath.  This perfume is one of legend among connoisseurs; the proverbial ‘white whale’ among iris / orris perfume lovers in the know.  Any vintage perfume collector can tell you how hard this fragrance is to come by and if you do, how expensive just a sample or decant can be.  I have seen mini *eau de tolette* bottles go on ebay for upwards of $300.  For less than 10 ml, that’s a serious investment.  I happened to get very lucky when I found a partial bottle of the pure perfume for less than an arm and a leg.  It’s one of my “preciouses” that I found for my little perfume museum and it is perfect.


Iris Gris_originalperfume


This commission, too, was really perfect for me in so many ways.  First of all, I love the behind the scenes work of developing my sense of history and working at becoming a perfume historian.  It gets right to heart of my geeky / hermit streak.  You know, I adore the thought of being hold up on a desert island with my museum pieces, notebooks and my computer to just spend countless hours exploring the ins and outs of what’s happening in these precious bottles of living history; what they meant and mean to us now, as well as their construction, materials (many now long gone from the market and use) and the artists intent behind them.  It’s like having conversations with Picasso, Shakespeare, Michelangelo… finding the avenues to their greatness on a trail of crumbs left behind.  It’s pure bliss and I can’t express how much joy these objects contain for me.  But I digress (as I often do).


Jacques Fath Perfumes 1949 Iris Gris French Ad vintage


Can I just say, Iris Gris is magnificent.  Truly.  It’s subtle and bold at the same time; elegant and cool but beneath that haute couture outfit lurks a real, sensuously warm-blooded being.  I love that it feels so timeless as well.  Yes, there is a vintage feel in that ‘they just don’t make ’em like they used to’ vibe but it’s so flawlessly constructed that I believe we would love to smell like this today (and every day).

You may be wondering how I go about deconstructing a perfume in order to create an original formula based on my research and smelling it on my ‘subject’.  Well, it’s just that: smelling.  I don’t use a GC or any kind of computer to detect the chemistry.  I have always felt that the key to getting reproductions right is in the smelling and the human experience that’s in the feel of the perfume, not just its smell.  Another key is to attempt to get into the head of the ‘lover’ (the person who is commissioning the perfume) to understand what they are smelling, experiencing and taking note of.  Everyone smells in a unique way, so what is important in a fragrance or aroma signature to you may not be the points of importance for someone else.  The trick is to get into another person’s heart and mind to find those sweet spots and be sure to hit them in the new design.  Not an easy task, but very worthwhile.  You will learn A LOT about people and fragrances…and so I have.




The first thing I learned was about the construction.   Barbara Herman wrote beautifully about Iris Gris on her blog, Yesterday’s Perfume, and also listed some of the ingredients based on the expert Octavian Coifan’s notes from his now (sadly) defunct website, 1000 fragrances.  Octavian is an amazing resource for the perfume lover / historian and it’s so lucky that Barbara listed the notes that Octavian had published about Iris Gris.  This is what Ms. Herman quoted from Mr. Coifan:

“[C]lean but not soapy, rich but not old-dusty…The perfume (a floral woody fruity but in fact an orris soliflore) is constructed around 2 ideas: orris notes + peach. Because orris and violet molecules are in general metallic/cold and usually express melancholy, the perfumer avoided this tendency with a soft peach note (undecalactone) that evokes a girlish skin complexion. The orris note is composed with all known orris notes (ionones, irones, methyl ionones, natural orris more than 35%). The woody note is mainly cedar-vetiver (their acetates for a light woody note). All other notes (jasmine, lily of the valley, heliotrope-lilac) are delicately drawn to support the floral-orris note and not to show their presence. There is an almost hard to detect chypre note (oakmoss – but I’m still not sure for that) and a light celery note (tuberose aspect and another trendy note in the 40-50’s used in traces) still to check. There is of course musk and a very light carnation like that in l’Air du Temps.  Iris Gris is the breath of angels!”
(From Octavian at 1000Fragrances.)

As I began working on my formula, I did find that some of the true notes in the original formula were not available: the musks would have to be replaced by some slightly more modern musk notes and the civet would need to be synthetic as well.  So, I set to work making a skeletal structure to test on my clients skin…

And that’s where I’m going to leave you for now.  Stay tuned for part 2.  🙂

I hope that imagining what’s happening on the skin sparks your creative juices for today.  I’ll be back with more before you know it. oxox


image credits: photo image by jennie marie schell found here; iris gris drawing found here; iris gris perfume bottle image found here; iris gris perfume ad no.1 image found here.


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There are always new designs that I am working on.  I never seem to feel completely satisfied and ready to put my materials down for any extended length of time.  I realize that I have way, way more designs available on my website than any reasonable person should have from a business standpoint but it seems that the artist gets her way just about all of the time where that is concerned.  I just can’t help myself. { So be it }.

Right now in my studio I am creating my own “little Springtime” while it’s still officially winter on the calendar.  And since time matches on, faster and faster it seems, March 20th will be here before we know it.  (Woah, this week!!!!  😀 )

Some of the work that has really been on my mind is re-habing or re-thinking old designs or even old design names that I still love; to breathe new life into them.  I started doing a lot more of this inward gazing at some of my formulations last year and now I wonder if this is a form of art therapy for me… as a parallel to the sense of re-creating my work and creative life post baby and post trauma.  There is something to taking a work apart and shaping it anew.  Or maybe this is just what Spring does to me.

It’s interesting too, that many other makers, from the big players to niche artisans have also been re-vamping and re-launching their work as of late.  I seem to see it everywhere I look.   There’s new interest in older works or maybe the big makers are just looking for winners from the past to be remade for new audiences.  One might think that this shows a great lack of creativity but I don’t really think so.  I actually think that it can present a greater challenge to remake something great from an old design and not get stuck with what the former once was, but to transform it, while remaining true to some form of the original inspiration.  What I can say is that I have been enjoying this work of redesign, in perfumes at least, and I am trying to find joy (truth? goodness? authenticity?) in the other more personal work of “coming back” trough transformation.

So, here’s a sneak peak at some upcoming Spring delights.  These lovely flowers are among the first sensations of Springtime, once the snows have truly gone for another year.  They are the harbingers.  And I feel they are some of the most beloved of the Spring florals.


Peony is as classic a Spring scent as there is.  I have been creating and selling a relatively simple, straight forward peony perfume for my clients in Japan for the past 5 years or so.  It’s a very important flower to both the Japanese and Chinese as a symbol of health and prosperity and this “simplicity” is really quite approachable.  Plus,  I love fresh peonies when they blossom in my garden.  Their elegant presence speaks of utter beauty and femininity.

So, for this new Peony design I wanted to do more than just create the flower.  I wanted to give the wearer a sense of experience.  Peony starts at dawn with the dew still on the bud that hasn’t yet opened.  The deep green leaves of the plant and a bit of grass are present.  Then the peony opens and releases it’s delicate yet definite aroma and we experience the fullness of a fresh blossom.  As the perfume dries down it is dusk, and the peony has turned a bit more rose-like as the sun sets and a shadow covers the blossom as night falls.


White Lilac .   This *IS* one of the quintessential Spring aromas although not everyone has experienced white lilacs as opposed to the traditional light purple or even dark purple lilacs.  White lilacs tend to take on a more ethereal, dewy quality and even exhibit a subtle, sweet fruitiness in the first wafts.

A few years ago I started growing roses and lilacs specifically for research into the live plant scents as well as for their glorious aesthetics.  I have to admit that the white lilacs and the Persians are two of my most anticipated blooms.  I can never get enough of them and get just a little sad when they start to recede (even though that means Summer’s right around the corner here in Boulder).   To make a perfume based on these delicate flowers makes me really happy…I could get lost in this luscious but light, sweet lilac haze for sure.


Oranges.  Yes, it’s oranges.  Kind of the odd man out in terms of ‘getting into Spring flowers’ but there it is.  And these are fresh AND spiced.  No, it’s not a pomander (which is so Autumnal and looking toward the Holidays).  This is a new kind of Fire Opal.  It’s ORANGE; a bit fiery still but fresh, juicy and most of all lively.  Not that the older version wasn’t lovely and yes, lively, but I have wanted Fire Opal to be something more.  I guess I want to watch it blossom again.

The reworked Fire Opal is a fresher take; spiced and still tea – laced but with a whiff of warm earth and a noticeable green edge that the first version of Fire Opal didn’t have.  Strangely, it’s the whiff of warm earth that makes it all the more Spring to me. And the fresh juicy-ness mixed with green leaves.  It makes me feel elated and ready for adventure the same way that Springtime does.

Of course, there are even more Spring floral designs that I am still working on so I suspect that they will have to wait to bloom for another Spring.  Well, it’s great to have something to look forward to…right?    Happy Spring everybody!

** PS: We’re celebrating Spring with a SPRING SALE at the site .  Use coupon code bloom14 for 15% off through April 10.

image credit: I found the spring bike image here; peony image found here; white lilac image here; oranges image here

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Now that a new year has come, one of my biggest resolutions is to write more. I’ve missed it, missed interacting through this blog and missed you, my readers.  And in the past year or so I’ve missed great opportunities to talk about some of the amazing Art and Perfume events that I have had the good fortune to be a part of.  It seems silly now to go back and try to recapture time but from now on I want to get out and discuss what’s happening in smell culture, the arts and even the very cool current that seems to be bridging art and scent.  I find that last bit especially exhilarating: that artists are bringing aroma into their work as an interactive element as well as tapping into the deepest recesses of the mind / body to get people to feel even more as they view / smell / touch/ walk through and walk around what they are experiencing.   I just love what’s been happening in the last few years and even more what’s coming up.


Last October I started work on three new designs to speak to, and launch concurrently with, the Denver Art Museum’s opening of their Passport to Paris exhibit.  The show itself is quite large and spans quite the timeline, from the 17th Century to the dawn of the 20th.  It is actually three smaller shows in different galleries:  Court to Café, Nature as Muse and Master Drawings.  I am lucky enough to have developed a great relationship with DAM and was asked to create scents for this exhibit.   As usual, was given carte blanche to create whatever I wished.  Since I love to incorporate the currents of perfume history that run along side that of art history and culture, I decided to speak to the 19th Century and Belle Epoque elements in the show and bring to light some of the technological breakthroughs in chemistry that came at that time and how they influenced the great creative surge in perfumery that spurred the first perfume renaissance at the fin de siecle.  My chosen aroma molecules were: aldehydes (specifically strawberry aldehyde and hexyl cinnamaldehyde), ionones (alpha and beta), vanillin and coumarin.  From these the Passport to Paris collection was born.  I am really pleased to say that these design have received some wonderful critical acclaim ( you can read what CaFleureBon, Perfume Shrine (Passport a` Paris), Now Smell This (Amouse Bouche)  and The Non-Blonde (in three reviews: Passport a` Paris, Vers la Violette, and Amouse Bouche) had to say about them.  I’m happy to say that the Passport to Paris Collection was among the Non-Blonde’s Best of 2013.


Now, on January 31, at Denver Art Museum, I will get to present another new creation designed with inspiration from their permanent collection (on the 6th Floor Gallery; I chose the striking image of “Young Girl with Flowers” by Eugene Carriere)  for their “Untitled #63” event and talk about French perfume history during the 18th and 19th Centuries.  Of course, I will be there to discuss my process as an aroma artist and how the painting (as well as visual art and aesthetics in general) influenced my work.  It’s going to be  great evening and I urge anyone who will be in the Denver area on the 31st to come and spend some time with us.   It’s also exciting because the event will be kind of like an unveiling: the museum goers will be the first to smell a new design created especially for the Untitled.  (How cool is that??)  I don’t want to give too much away in this post but I am really thrilled by what I have developed so far.  I’ll have to share more about it after I have presented it next week.  To learn more about DAM’s untitled series you can check out the untitled facebook page.

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The year is almost complete and I have missed being here sharing with you the roller coaster ride that is life, perfumery, business, and creative drive these days.  I still long to have more time to be in my studio painting, drawing and designing but I 2013 wasn’t without it’s creative moments and discoveries.  There were some strides forward in terms of taking on a couple more private students with plans to start doing monthly workshops (and maybe even a couple more students) in 2014.  The biggest thing that we have ramped up to start jumping back into for 2014 is work on the ArtScent Museum.  Sadly, very little work managed to get done on this fabulous project in 2013 but we’ve managed to set things up to be able to dive right in and continue cataloging and mounting some new shows starting in Spring of 2014.


I feel very grateful and fortunate to share that some really superlative designs came out of the Essense Studio this year and DSH has been recognized on a few of the blogs we most cherish as having created some of the best fragrances of the year.  Here’s what CaFleureBon, Perfume Shrine and The GoodSmellas had to say about Iridum and / or Passport a` Paris.  Thank you Mark and Michelyn at CFB, Elena at PS and Carlos at TGS for this honor!  It’s very exciting indeed and it spurs me on to attempt even greater creative endeavors!

I am hoping to spend much more time here and sharing all that’s going on in my creative world in 2014.  Let’s all hope for greater freedom, peace, health and love for us all in the New Year~

With Love~~~ xoxo

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In the last post I mentioned that a theme that has been showing up for me is the “remix” and now I am ready to let the proverbial cat out of the bag (cats were BIG in Egypt, right?) and reveal that the first launch of 2013 at DSH Perfumes will be for the Secrets of Egypt collection.  Yeah, yeah, I know.  No one wants a “collection” after last year’s plethora of collection releases, but you know how I do.  I can’t help what wants to come out of my head and therefore, my studio.

And I have to say that I am excited by these perfumes.  Not only because I loved the first incarnations but with the addition of new materials they feel fresh and full of life.


Back in 2010, when I was first asked to create something for a lecture event at the Denver Art Museum in conjunction with the KING TUT exhibit, I was really inspired to research authentic ancient formulae and make them as true to the spirit of the original scents as possible so as to give the “smeller”/wearer as clear a vision of what these perfumes would have smelled like in their heyday.  The first “Secrets of Egypt” collection did have a few modern adaptations and original works (1, 000 Lilies, Arome d’Egypte, and Cardamom & Khyphi) but most were meant to be purely based on early ingredients, ancient methods of extraction and even early formats (the “Egyptian oil” or “Unguent”).  As any one who has read the posts about the Egyptian perfumes from 2010, you know how fascinated I was by the brilliant galbanum/bitter almond (Antiu), incense / lily (1,000 Lilies)  and marjoram/oreganum/spice (Sampsuchinon) accords that come to us from the ancients.  They knew their stuff for sure.

Yet, there was something academic about a few of these designs to me.  I wanted more.  Now I’ve got what I wanted but didn’t know it until now.  Welcome back Antiu, Keni and Megaleion. Plus, I went ahead and created the design idea that I had edited out of my collection back in 2010.  Welcome Iridum.


What’s the big deal you ask?  New materials and a true fusion of ancient and modern.  These perfumes are fully mixed media instead of nearly all-botanical and the feeling and energy that this shift imparts is a cleaner, clearer, more modern sensibility.  I’ve also shifted the emphasis notes to push and pull on different chords and brought these perfumes out of the “oils and unguents” and into the world of alcohol based sprays.  There is a greater coherence that makes them a true collection.  The tonality of the perfumes all resonate harmoniously and they also have a common “chord”, which is that all of the ancient perfumes have (at least) three sacred essences : cinnamon, cardamom and myrrh.  Every one.  So, there is some similarity that is palpable yet, I hope each stands alone with a unique vibe.  ( I’m sure you’ll let me know).

I am very proud to be releasing these new ‘remixes’.  They didn’t have to go into the afterlife to breathe again.  They have been reborn into the modern age.

image credit: Ra and Osiris images found here : http://4esoalbagautier.blogspot.com/2011_12_01_archive.html

Cairo images found here : http://www.skyscrapercity.com/showthread.php?t=449673

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First: Happy, Happy Thanksgiving to everyone!  ❤    I, for one, can’t believe that the Holiday season is here, but I say that in every post just about.  I guess I still have no handle on how to perceive time.  Fast or slow.  All I know is that it feels like yesterday that I posted about Happy New Year, 2012, and another new year is almost here again.  One thing that IS different when compared to last year is that I have a new NEW, functioning (yay!) website and I think it’s even better than ever!  It’s very interactive, with facebook likes, reviews and even a button to email a scent idea to a friend should you find the perfect suggestion for the ones you love… or want to make sure that they know what’s perfect for your wish list.  Please do check it out.  I sure had some fun “liking” things when I first saw those buttons.  🙂

What’s even more to like?  The return of a beloved and longed for beauty: Mata Hari Perfume.  This perfume was and still is talked about with reverence and adulation; like a long lost lover who has never been forgotten.  It was originally released as a very limited edition, as I used materials in the formulation that were vintage and many from my personal “stash”.  I hadn’t exactly expected that I would be receiving calls and emails asking for samples, drops even, of this precious liquid for years after the edition was sold out.  So, I made it a personal mission to re-source new materials that would match as closely as possible the oils that I had used in the original.  And I am happy to report that after about a year+, I have found what I need and made a new batch with the new materials and it came out just as beautiful as ever.  Hallelujah!  I still love it and she holds all of her seductive charms.

Now, Mata Hari is back and with plans to have her be a permanent addition to our offerings; glorious flacon and all.  I have missed her.  I hope that Mata Hari is a welcome sight (and smell) for those who have wanted more and those who have only heard the legend of this beautiful creation.  Happy Holidays indeed.

image credit: Mata Hari Image found here

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That’s just how it is around the studio these days.  You might think by the title that we have christmas music playing and elves in the windows, no, but we are getting into a vibe.  We’re, of course, making new batches of many, many things to be sure to have everyone’s beloved scents in stock for Holiday gift giving but the most dominant aromas are those of our Holiday offerings.

Part of the fun for me, has always been, creating our Holiday perfumes each year.  I look forward to it and I try to come to a design concept that is not only true to the spirit of the season but also is unique in some way.  I mean, who needs the same sugar cookie or christmas tree scent every year?  This isn’t always easy but since Christmas is my favorite holiday, I don’t dread it like some of my friends.  I have many happy memories to work from and growing up in the country, many outdoor and indoor aromas that permeate my reveries. And maybe it’s having a baby for the first time at the Holidays that sent me into a warm, cozy, serene place with one of my favorite aromas, caramel.  In fact, caramel is right up there with chocolate for me as a treat.  I. LOVE. IT.

I don’t always love it in fragrance, mind you, as it can be cloying and rather plasticky (since most of the construction for caramel comes from synthetics).  I  have been working on a mixed media (naturals and synthetics) caramel base that is really warm, creamy and delicious while not going completely over the edge into a saccharin lake of fire.  It wouldn’t be like me to stop there, though.  While contemplating the construction, I swung to the other side of the gourmand pendulum (and into more adult territory) and started thinking about something boozy.  A sort of wassail or toast of good cheer.  Yes; I like this.  So, that’s what I did.

Cordial, a little play on words, has a friendly feeling and a warmth implied in it’s name and also gives a hint to the booze reference.  I wanted to convey that kind of happy golden light that surrounds Christmas in old movies; like the original Reginald Owen version of ‘A Christmas Carol’.  Golden candlelight, bells ringing and a happy hearth and home.  I suppose that is my sincere wish for myself and everyone: for a sense of comfort and warmth.  I hope I have conveyed it.

And as if this caramel delight wasn’t enough, we had to bring back our Coffee Absolute.  Oh yes, dry, rich coffee without sweetness added.  It is so sexy.  You would potentially think that it would be like spilling a starbucks on yourself but, oh no, it’s smoldering and delicious and COFFEE.  If you are a coffee addict or know one, this is for YOU.

We have some other treats on tap for the Holidays, too, but I think that I will share more about that in another post.  For now, I’ll just recommend that you check out the newly updated “top picks” page for our current faves and suggestions.

Lastly, shall I finally announce the winners of the draw for paradise lost solids??  everyone who commented! 🙂  Please contact us via email: dsh@dshperfumes.com and give us your address to ship to.  Congratulations!

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I wish I were in NYC tonight.  Something magical is happening… a rare event that I imagine will be like walking in a dream.  The Clarimonde Masquerade hosted by MiN New York, produced by Lucy Raubertas, is taking place and if only my perfume, who will attend in my stead, could send me a post card from beyond the mighty river to tell me of the delights.

It was nearly a year ago that the first unveiling of the Clarimonde project perfumes and sundries happened.  I was just beginning the pregnancy and a bit preoccupied, so didn’t really get the chance to talk about the project, the wonderful concept and inspiration or the perfume when it first came out.  So, what am I waiting for?

The Clarimonde Project is the brain child of the wonderful Lucy Raubertas (of indieperfumes blog fame) and again she is the same visionary who put tonight’s Masquerade together.   But what or who is a Clarimonde?  you might ask.  Well, to begin Clarimonde is a who and the starring  persona of an incredibly beautiful, haunting gothic tale of an obsessive, passionate lover and his object who commands his very soul… until she reveals herself as an act of true love and he rejects her and thus their paradise is lost forever.  I don’t want to give away too much as it’s a wonderful read or even to listen to and you should, you really should take the time to either read or listen.  Please go check out Lucy’s blog dedicated to he project to get the whole story : http://clarimondeproject.wordpress.com/   and here’s a link to a very special version of the story:  http://soundcloud.com/ondynesdemise/clarimonde-recitation

Lucy got this image perfectly right in it’s color, sensual feel and mysterious glance when choosing an image to speak to the perfume that I created to tell the story of Clarimonde: Paradise Lost.  It really does feel like what I had in my head as I was designing it… although this Bronzino portrait an integral part of my design as well.  It was my original visual inspiration, as well as the many visual images, colors, spacial designs, textiles and textures alluded to in the story itself.

Paradise Lost, of course with the other literary reference to Milton, seemed the perfect to fit the story for me.   An ardent love is indeed a paradise until something comes to break the magic spell.  Then all is lost.  It can never be the same again.  There is a sense of loss  in this perfume; an opulent yet melancholy tone.  It speaks to the time in which the story is written, during the first decade of the twentieth century, as well as the otherworldly and altered sense of time and space woven into the story. I would describe Paradise Lost as an Oriental perfume, as there is an exoticism and spiced warmth about it but it also has a distinct animalic nuance in the drydown and a very unusual twist in the opening notes.  I designed a number of accords to accommodate qualities in the story that I wanted, such as “sable fur, pressed violets, faded flowers, candlewax and bloody sweet”.  Certainly there are no essential oils or even compounds readily available of such notes.  This was half the fun of the design and a challenge: how to create these accords and then stitch them together to make a tapestry that is complete and distinctive.  (I have to admit that the bloody sweet note did double duty as it found it’s place in some multi-sensory art works I did for the Dairy Center for the Arts at Halloween last year as well…but that’s another story).  The proof will be in the pudding as Lucy and the lovlies at MiN show the perfume to the party goers in NYC tonight.  We’ll see what is said at the Masquerade.
Here’s the little bit of verbiage that I state at the website about Paradise Lost: “The phrase “A twilight blue oriental perfume” most captured my imagination from the first time I heard it along with the image of faded flowers along side a bed of gold and silver, attended by a negro page wearing black velvet holding an ivory cane; and the satiny hand of “Clarimonde” as she lay dying. This cool, almost misty scene that might have been a last glimpse of Clarimonde paired with an alternate universe of warm opulence in Venice were always shimmering in my mindʼs eye as I created “Paradise Lost”.  Paradise Lost is a limited edition.

Paradise Lost won’t be alone on a mantle at beautiful MiN… the stage will be shared by a singer, a dancer and number of other Indie Perfumers: Ayala Moriel, Alexis Karl and Maria McElroy, Mandy Aftel and lip stain by Monica Miller of Perfume Pharmer.  If only I could transform into a butterfly myself tonight and flit my way through the ethers.  I would land on a lace mask and sip champagne from my hosts glass.  I believe I will have found my paradise.


Now for the commercial AND a little draw:

Paradise Lost in a limited edition that found it’s way into two antique bottles: one a Parisian charm bottle with an Art Nouveau motif that is wearable on a chain and the other our classic French 5 ml flacon.  Both are lovely and available at our site. 🙂

Now, since you’ve read so far, I thought that it would be fun to create a limited edition of three Paradise Lost solid perfumes and give them in a draw.  To enter just post a comment about your favorite part of the Clarimonde story or a favorite aspect of the Clarimonde Project blog that Lucy has so beautifully created.  Three winners will be chosen at random on Halloween, October 31.

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