Posts Tagged ‘natural perfume’


It took over twenty years to finally get Onycha into ‘clear enough’ focus to start work on a formula.  One of the things that made it clearer was the arrival of traditional ‘Choyas’ on the aromatics market.  I am sure that in India and many parts of the ‘olde world’ these fragrant beauties were nothing new but to western artists, they were something exciting and new coming our way.  Choyas, like traditional ‘attars’ or ‘ittars’, are co-distilled essential oils.  Whereas, attars are generally co-distills with Indian sandalwood (Santalum Album) as the partner to flowers, herbs, and the like, choyas have charred Himalayan cedarwood (Cedrus Deodora) partnered with incense / resin materials, and in the case of Choya Nahk, seashells.  Yes, that’s right: roasted seashells.   🙂  The first time I saw this oil offered I immediately began considering it for Onycha.  Perfect, right?  Well, part yes, part no.  Choya Nahk has it’s beauty, but it is dry…really, DRY.  Intensely so.  I don’t generally like sugary perfumes, but this was a bit beyond the pale.  It was going to need some help.


partial: shells in a clay sculpture c.1992 – DSH

As I worked in some resins that I thought would balance the intensity of the charred nuances, and of course high doses of benzoin and labdanum as the other two notes in the “onycha” triad, I wondered if there were any aromatics sellers that had the actual seashells that were used, before they were roasted.  A quick internet search found some incense purveyors with something they were offering as ‘onycha seashells’.  SOLD.  I ordered them and began tincturing.  At this point in the formulating, I decided to make this perfume an ‘all naturals’ project instead of mixed media.  Not just because it’s depicting an ancient concept (the Secrets of Egypt collection is all mixed media, with the intent on creating updated interpretations of the ancient designs) but using an all botanical palette seemed to give the ‘antiquity’ feeling I wanted to convey and I wanted some of that murky, slightly inky quality that many all natural perfumes have.  (It’s not a bad thing to be murky / inky, at times).

After introducing the seashell tincture, I vacillated between a densely smoky incense perfume like being in a temple filled with burning censors…but this just didn’t work (nope, too much in the vein of Axis Mundi, which I also released last year) plus, it is way too easy to just make ‘smoky smoke and more smoke’.  And a sweeter, purely resin-based kind of incense scent seemed kind of bland.  Then the whim to just push it toward woods and amber came and I followed the impulse.  Choya Loban (cedarwood and frankincense) and Choya Ral (cedarwood and sal tree resin) both made their way into the design in subtle proportion as well as precious woods (eagleswood, Siam wood, more Himalayan cedarwood, and amyris) and ambery resins ( more benzoin, labdanum, and oppopanax).  Yes, this push of the ambery aspect brought out even more of the salty / umami and subtly briney aspects of Onycha that I was hoping for.  As well, I love what the woods did to build the space to allow the resins, smoke, and oceanic pieces to move around and ‘swirl’ in the way I later envisioned it.

“family” egg tempera on panel 1992, DSH

In creating Onycha, I had to dig deep into my past and remember all that had inspired me about the concept when I was first falling in love with fragrance and seeing it as the art form that it is now, generally, recognized to be.  It’s also allowed me to examine some of my early work, universally, and bring it full circle.  ❤

This post gives me the opportunity to give thanks for some of the lovely reviews of Onycha:
Thank you Trish at Scenthive for her wonderful words for Seve de Pin and Onycha;  and the immensely poetic review from Lauryn Beer at CaFleureBon.  I am blessed by your beauty.








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Something interesting is happening…  it’s not the first time that I’ve experienced this phenomenon of having some fascination or inspiration from my past circle around and make its way into relevant, “in the now” creative endeavors and projects.  Last Summer, when I started the design and development of Onycha, it was the coming to fruition of a perfume that I began contemplating way back in 1993 when I first read about it in some esoteric book on Kabbalah and aromatics.  (I was crazy interested in Kabbalah back then, before it became trendy, but that’s a story for another day).   I had just graduated from Art School and had begun my first perfumery with Sarah Horowitz-Tran (Gaia Perfumers – since we were both earth signs – known to everyone else as Essense on Newbury Street), and I was into reading anything that I could get my hands on about aromatics, essential oils, wacky New Age whatnot, Aromatherapy, Perfumery, Incense… I mean ANYTHING that had any info to be had about fragrance, I was into it.  So, this Kabbalah ‘perfume’ book was (and is) dog-eared all over the place.  The only thing that has stayed with me and commanded my imagination long-term was Onycha.

First off, I was just blown away at how the word LOOKED and how do you say it anyway?  In the days before the internet you’d either have to screw it up, make it up, or find a scholar who could tell you for sure.  Now, you can just go online to see (and hear) it.   Amazing.   I also loved how the book spoke about some rare mollusc from the Sea of Galilee being used as an aromatic in…perfume?  WHAT???? Hold on, I love the ocean and sea air and Calvin Klein’s now infamous Escape had just launched to great success, but seashells?  Um, that sounded fishy to me (bad pun intended).  I really had to push the boundaries of what I thought perfume must have been in the ancient world, and what it could be, to imagine it.  ( I still couldn’t … which is part of why it stuck with me.  I really wanted to create a fantasy that fit how I was trying to imagine it ).




Yet another piece to this story is that during 1992 – 1994 I was painting lots of still life images with seashells.  Kind of like ‘family’ units.  I was into Sacred Geometry and the spiral was a big influence.  Ammonites, and seashells from the beaches of Cape Cod, found their way into my visual art and was moving, oddly, into my perfumery art.  At that time, there were WAY fewer materials to work with; especially as an indie perfumer.  The artisan / indie perfumery movement hadn’t really begun yet (that was later in the nineties) and there were essential oils, some absolutes, and perfume compounds to work with, if you were small-scale.  Now, there are more wonderful boutique distillers, distributors, and specialty molecule purveyors than you can imagine and it’s an INCREDIBLE GALAXY of nuanced ‘colors’ and textures to create olfactory art with.  It took over twenty years of ruminating around the idea (and waiting for the right materials to arrive) for “Onycha” to come.

Ok, I’m going to end there…with more to come of course.  Soooooon.  Have a great rest of your weekend ❤





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The Queen of Flowers by Svetlana Valueva

What an exhilarating evening it was on January 31 in Denver.  It wasn’t the snowstorm or the bitter cold but the hoards of people who flocked to Denver Art Museum to enjoy the first “Untitled” evening of the 2014 season.  And lucky, lucky me; I was there to share in the festivities and better still to present a new work of aroma-art commissioned by the museum for the event (Untitled #63: au naturel) that was a ‘translation in aromatic form’ of a painting in the museum’s permanent collection called “Young Girl with Flowers”, by Eugene Carriere.  This isn’t my first project with DAM but it may be the first time that I have been able to present a new work that has never been smelled before as well as to give a talk that is specific to my process as an artist (as opposed to presenting researched designs and speaking about the aromas from a more purely educational standpoint).  I have had the pleasure of doing this sort of thing at BMoCA (Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art) but this was my first at DAM and I liked it.  I liked it a lot.  It was right up my alley, as my grandmother used to say.  To invoke the historical content available in a visual work from the late 19th Century and to apply it to an aroma art translation allows me to delve into the concurrent themes in perfume history, materials in use, trends in art, culture and scent as well as to speak directly to the image and what it feels like to view it.  To bring all of this to play when designing is for me, instant love.  I can feel all of my senses engaged and it is like riding a delicious wave taking you to distant times and places.  I can feel myself there smelling the air and sensing the fabrics of the costumes and the bodies of the people around me (and what their skin emanates).  It is immersive and complete.

Young Girl with Flowers

Young Girl with Flowers by Eugene Carriere

When I first saw “Young Girl with Flowers” I knew that this would be my chosen subject for the perfume.  I have been asked many times how I come to find inspiration, or what makes me want to create perfumes and often I have answered that the name and scent come together or there is some sort of sensory stimulation that sends me down the rabbit hole in search of what the perfume story wishes to be.  With this perfume, the name came last.  I wanted to work purely from the image without a ‘product name’ potentially distracting me.

The image is striking, no?  It’s dramatic and rich, but playful and sweetly innocent.  I love this girl playing with flowers in her hair (with that shock of red, they would be roses.  Or maybe geraniums?  Let’s use both).  And that porcelain face so light and smooth.  Is she playing dress up?  Is she the Queen in her own heroic story?  Is she working out how to be a woman and how she wishes to be perceived?  There are many ways to come to this image and decide what it’s all about.  What came for me was to speak to the drama, the sense of light and dark as well as the playful innocence paired together with the woman she will ultimately become.   I made this perfume for her to wear.  She is the Queen of Flowers.


this image perfectly evokes the rich texture of La Reine des Fleurs

Anyone who has studied perfume has come across the concept that “jasmine is the King of flowers and rose is the Queen”.   The image itself sets up the first impulse to make this perfume with a rose dominant heart.  And as geranium comes to mind as well (plus it has so much in common with the chemistry and aromatic signature of rose) it’s a natural pairing.  Now the 19th Century influence…yes, it must be a more classical construction and yes, it will contain mostly naturals as this would have been the norm for the time.  But, the dawning of synthetics had begun and this perfume must have a modern element.  There is youth mixed in this after all.  Peach…oh yes, that face speaks to me of peach, but a soft note; it can’t be a juicy, jolly rancher of peach.  Aldehyde c-14 can do that soft, fuzzy, creamy note that is that smiling face that comes out of the image and floats on top.  The base needs to be dark and rich.  The blackness is there and this says that the perfume must rise up and float at places and plunge into depths as it dries down.

What I chose is ultimately an oriental base (balsams, resins, vanilla and civet) but winks at chypre with just a little moss.  The effect is something that I personally adore: a rich, luxurious velvet of a dry down that is kept from being too sweet by the balsams and civet but keeps you coming back for one kiss after another with just the right amount of deliciousness.


Rose perfumes are not usually my *thing* to wear for myself.  They don’t really smell good on me, with the exception of Rose Vert, which I love.  La Reine des Fleurs is the second exception.  It unfolds like the opening of the most sensuous flower and seems to last forever on my skin (until the next day).  I can’t stop smelling my arms when I am wearing it.  In fact it makes me feel like the heroic queen in my own story, too.


In case you’re interested to read more about the perfumes that I created for DAM and the Passport to Paris exhibit, you can check out the interview I did for their blog.  I also created some pared down versions of La Reine des Fleurs with recipes that you can check out on their DIY tumblr.  There’s some great shots from the Untitled #63 to check out on flickr , too, in case you’d like to take a peek.

Lastly, I’d love to share by giving away three 3 ml deluxe spray samples of La Reine des Fleurs!  Please post a comment and tell me about your favorite roses, rose perfumes and/or 19th Century paintings to enter.  The draw will be open through February 25.   oxox

image credits: queen of flowers image by svetlana valueva found here; young girl with flowers image was generously allowed by Denver Art Museum.

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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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Amazing!  Another year has screamed by and we’re here again reviewing what made 2011 a stand out year for us.  This year was filled to the brim with diverse projects and more exciting events than I can even recount but there are some highlights I’m happy to share.  As a perfumer and not really a ‘blogger’ in the sense of being a writer about perfume in the way so many of my friends and colleagues participating in this joint blogging event are,  I always find it a bit challenging to come up with a ‘Best of” list.  So, I hope that you will enjoy my funny little list.  But before I begin, I’d like to thank so many who have made a huge impression on me this year; who have supported my work and others who are producing wonderful works of art and love. This past year a much greater sense of community has grown up in through my own work / creative life and I am eternally grateful for that.  I look forward to 2012 and beyond with this new community and feeling of sharing.  I felt a tremendous amount of love this year and I just want to say thanks.

So, here’s my Best of 2011 list:
*best natural perfume I smelled this year: Riverwalk by Liz Zorn for the PLAP project.  To me, Riverwalk was a lusciously rich and deep chypre creation more so than a patchouli… but who cares?  It’s fabulously long-lasting, sensuous and just what I would have expected from my first Liz Zorn experience.  ( I loved it ).

*perfume I wish I’d had the chance to sniff but didn’t in 2011: Mona di Orio Oud.  Everyone, but everyone(!) loved this perfume and I for one will be on a mission until I get a sample or a decant to enjoy what has been called the ‘end of the story: perfect oud’ perfume.

*vintage perfume discovery of the year: Golliwogg de Vigny.  I know… it’s horribly un-PC.  It took me YEARS to get over the name and all, but I ultimately came to terms with my discomfort and dove in for the sake of my little museum.  I’m so glad I did.  While Heure Intime is probably the best known from this house, Golliwogg is the most surprising.  It is a wonderfully, *delicately balanced* fougere – eau de cologne with the kind of herbal twists and turns in the topnote that made Francois Coty famous.  My apprentice Amber and I have been exploring the variations of this design to our heart’s delight and it never ceases to please.  It has that perfect balance of naturals and synthetics mixed with modern and classical elements that make it a sadly forgotten classic.   I *love* this scent.

*most fascinating accord of the year: The Osmanthus / Tuberose concept devised by Mandy Aftel and myself for our “Letters” series.  When we started out, we were both less than enthusiastic about our choice, but by the end of the design, I found a real simpatico between the notes.  The leathery aspects of Osmanthus are coaxed out when paired with the heady, green waxy Tuberose note and if you wish to play on this field, it’s magic. The trick is, as is so often the case, in finding the perfect balance.

*best fragrant flashback moment: Candid by Avon.  My mother used to wear Avon’s Candid when I was a small child.  I didn’t understand it AT ALL when I was little but I did understand that it was ‘perfume’ which meant something sophisticated, grown up and beyond me.  I think it is actually the only green, aldehydic (sort of) chypre my mother ever wore and it made a huge impression on me, although I didn’t realize it at the time.  After that, my mom seemed to quickly move on to (and stay) at the fruity – floriental which I did, somehow, understand and with that move *her* perfumes lost all mystery for me.
When I saw and bought this little vintage bottle of Candid for my museum this summer, it was like I was propelled back to that mysterious land of ‘grown-ups’ and what perfume really meant.  This time I knew what I was smelling and it solidified in me that love for ‘true perfume’ and the unseen magic that it portrays.  (**disclaimer: Candid by Avon  is NOT, in any way, a long lost masterpiece of true perfumery.  This sense of it’s being “true perfume” is purely idiosyncratic and based on my childhood impression.  I think that most might find it, well, lacking.  My nostalgia is based on the imagination of a 4-5 year old).

*best new line of perfumes I came across in 2011: Nobile 1942.  I had the pleasure of sampling these perfumes at MiN in NYC at the Sniffapalooza Spring Fling 2011 and found them all lovely; very traditional and palpably “Italian”.  I love that!  I loved the traditional use of citrus / fresh eau de cologne topnotes that sometimes moved into leather, others into spice and others staying right there on the Sicilian Coast.  So often I shy away after a few samples of a collection finding something that turns me off (hey, I’m picky!) but I really enjoyed each of the scents I tried from start to finish.

*the most fun I had this year with fragrance: creating the bespoke design for Carrie Meredith.  I have been creating bespoke perfume from my beginning in 1991 so you wouldn’t think that creating a bespoke design would necessarily be on a list of superlative experiences some 20 years later.  But working on an idea forged from the creative mind of Carrie Meredith (of eyeliner on a cat blog) and expressed so beautifully on my blog when she entered my anniversary contest, immediately transported me.  So, I was thrilled when random.org chose her as the winner of the perfume creation.  Her concept was perfectly designed for a synesthete: a sense of texture was always there and of color and tone.  Something sensuous like silk, and a little gauzy, blue-violet-grey, a little melancholy in tone; with dominant violet / orris notes as well as gourmand and animalic underpinnings.  The result is launching in January, so you won’t have to wait long to try it.  The perfume design came in only a few adjustments because working with Carrie was like having the ‘Vulcan mind meld of Spock’.  I felt like I could read her mind and she could read mine; like the perfume alone was a language and we both understood it perfectly.  This doesn’t always happen with a client or even a friend for whom you are designing.  This experience was easily the most fun I had all year in perfume.

* most disappointing line I tried this year: Jovoy, Paris.  I had such high hopes for this collection, as an amateur historian and burgeoning curator of a perfume museum.  There are such great historical pieces from this line from it’s former glory days. Sadly, the resurrection of the name and (sort of) bottle are about all that’s fabulous about it.  I thought that for  the price that they are asking for their perfumes, they could have spent some cash on good materials.  The fragrance designs themselves are not bad but it was so evident from smelling these that they would be immeasurably improved if some costly (or not so costly) naturals had been used instead of plasticky synthetics.  The presentation is still very beautiful but the juice… not so much.

*best perfume experience of the year: a tie: the PLAP (Peace, Love and Patchouli) and the Clarimonde project.  Both Monica Miller (of Perfume Pharmer) and Lucy Raubertas (of indieperfumes) outdid themselves this year in creating two of the most wonderfully creative and enchanting projects of the year.
First came the ‘PLAP’ project, as it became known, in the Summer with a full on competition as to which perfumer could come up with the most creative and enjoyable all natural patchouli fragrance using at least 25% patchouli in the mix.  No small feat.  And what came from this was a host of incredibly diverse patchouli designs as well as a full fledged community of perfumers and supporters.  It was miraculous and something that has stayed with us.
Next came the Clarimonde project in October and as the seasons changed, so did the mood.  We got the ‘brief’ which was the short story “Clarimonde” by Th. Gaultier filled with luscious imagery, color, texture, gothic themes, opulence beyond all measure and an otherworldliness that Lucy herself manages to embody in her 21st Century person.  Creating for Clarimonde was atmospheric and delightful (even though the perfume itself is quite rich and oriental).
For me, the PLAP project was earthy and sun-filled and Clarimonde was like walking on clouds.  Each was pure pleasure and some of the best perfume experiences I’ve had this year or at any other time.

* greatest perfume sadness: the loss of Mona di Orio.  I was not fortunate enough to meet this great artist in person as I had wanted to but she has left a legacy of grace, immense creativity and beauty behind her.  I am very grateful to at least know her work and hope that she is flying with angels as I write this.  Rest in Peace and know you are missed.

Thank you Trish at Scent Hive for organizing this blog event and inviting me to take part. I am glad to continue to be welcomed into the community of perfume bloggers with another wonderful joint blogging adventure:

Another Perfume Blog


Perfume Shrine

Scent Hive

Smelly Blog


The Non Blonde

I hope that 2012 will be an exciting, creative, prosperous and health-filled year for everyone! I am looking forward to incredible new things!  oxoxo

Thank you Roxana Villa for the gorgeous image! ❤

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"le muguet" mixed media on rice paper, 2011, DSH

"le muguet" mixed media on rice paper, 2011, DSH

Now that’s a seriously long title! But it says everything that I wanted to say. I *have* been dreaming in muguet for months. Ever since Trish from Scent Hive conceived of this wonderful event to celebrate May Day and its beloved symbol of Spring, the Muguet (aka lily of the valley).
Out in Boulder we’ve had a long, cool Spring, so the lilies of the valley that my neighbor shares with me have popped up their perfectly vertical leaves but no buds or blossoms have shown themselves yet. You can imagine that I have been spying on them for weeks to no avail, hoping to catch a glimpse of their ascent and minuscule bursting forth. nope. no dice. (Their close friends in the yard, my violets, are the only early flowers I’d heard from so far until just before I left for Sniffa. It wasn’t the muguet yet but the purple and blue grape hyacinths are out now in full force sparkling at every turn in brilliant vibrancy!) I guess these friendly harbingers won’t really “see” each other this year. Oh well. Even if the violets can’t wait around, I can.

"dreaming lilies" acrylic on canvas, 2011, DSH

"dreaming lilies" acrylic on canvas, 2011, DSH

For this May Day extravaganza, Trish wanted to know if I would create an all natural (botanical) muguet perfume to be reviewed & discussed? and otherwise commemorate the day when this most loved flower of the season reigns supreme. I, of course, said yes but not without some trepidation and contemplation, as anyone who knows about lilies of the valley would, since they 1) don’t yield an essential oil so synthetics are pretty much the standard for this note and 2) even with the use of synthetics, to produce a beautiful and original take on muguet is a tall order indeed. But I like a challenge and so once again, jumped off the cliff. (I also like this metaphor a lot, as I’m sure everyone has noticed, because it’s truly like that: You don’t know if you’ll land at all, and if you do, how you’ll land or what you’ll land ON). Plus as an artist, I believe you’ve got to be game to try anything to ‘go further’. So I go all in.

"muguet cologne" mixed media on rice paper, 2011, DSH

"muguet cologne" mixed media on rice paper, 2011, DSH

As per usual, I set out to create just one botanical muguet but two differing concepts came equally strong, so I ended up with two perfumes: Muguet de Mai (perfume) and Muguet Cologne – for men (technically an eau de toilette). And as I began working and “dreaming in muguet” in earnest, other muses showed up which inspired me further, to the point of creating these mixed media and acrylic paintings that you see throughout this blog post. (These days “the juice”, as it were, all flows together and I just follow).
So, here is the presentation of my “Muguet May Day project” (aka 2011 special project no.4). In lieu of a review (hey, that rhymes :)) I’m going to include all of images and the ‘brief’ I sent to the other bloggers for the event explaining my thoughts and inspirations while creating the fragrance designs. I hope that you will enjoy the series and have a very Happy May Day!
oxo~ DSH

"Muguet de Mai" acrylic on canvas, 2011, DSH

"Muguet de Mai" acrylic on canvas, 2011, DSH

April, 2011
Muguet project : brief
When I was approached about creating an all botanical muguet (lily of the valley) composition I was simultaneously excited by the challenge and intimidated. For not only is muguet notoriously elusive to begin with, even utilizing synthetics, I don’t know of any botanical that is used to simulate all of the delicacy and complexity that muguet exudes. I hope that I have done this most beloved of all Spring flowers justice and managed to capture some of its true essence while remaining true to the mission to work with an all botanical palette.
What came from this exploration were two different impressions, as I felt that an “impressionist style” (as in the Impressionist painting style) would be most suited to a spring floral and one that is difficult to pigeon-hole into any kind of clear ‘portrait’. What I wished to capture was some essential nature of the flower. These are my impressions:

Muguet de Mai Perfume is a floral bouquet centered around lily of the valley; not a mere soliflore taken from the ground and placed, sequestered, in a bottle but perfume that brings the atmosphere of May, warm and sunny with blooming flowers everywhere, green grass and warm, wet earth. Muguet de Mai is also very feminine and sweet; slightly girlish and womanly, too. She is a maiden of the fields covered in lily of the valley.
I also found inspiration for Muguet de Mai from some early 20th century soliflore designs in my perfume museum, most notably: Muguet Composé (c.1930’s) and Muguet des Bois (c.1940’s) by Francois Coty, Illusion oil, Lily of the Valley (c.1940’s) by Draille and of course Diorissimo by Edmond Roudnitska for Dior (c.1970’s). (note: The dates are for the versions I looked to, not the launch dates). I wanted this design especially to have a slight vintage feel and homage to the great muguet perfume designs that have come before.

Composition notes of:
bergamot, lemon, galbanum, violet leaf, freesia accord *botanical, hyacinth accord *botanical, Tunisian neroli, linden blossom, cyclamen accord * botanical, broom, boronia, sambac jasmine, rose otto, ylang ylang, jonquil, lilac accord * botanical , orris co2, cassis bud, honey beeswax, aged East Indian sandalwood, Virginia cedarwood, tolu balsam, olibanum and styrax resin.


Muguet Cologne (for men) came about while considering which way to go with a botanical muguet : is it “green and white” and stark, as so many synthetics lilies are, or flowery and wet? or even animalic as anyone who has bent down to smell those lilliputian bells can attest, it’s got a bit of honeyed-civet in there… And as I worked this all out in my head I thought about how delightful it would be to make something bright and green to start and dry down woody and in the earth the green stalks grow in along with those fragrant bells? This idea led me to a more streamlined approach which seemed a little reminiscent of a classical ‘eau de cologne’ structure and then it hit: why not make a kind of ‘eau de cologne floral fougere’ with muguet as the dominant feature? Has it ever been done, exactly? A muguet for men? I couldn’t think of a direct reference, although the violet / chamomile of Fahrenheit by Dior came to mind as did Grey Flannel (with all that galbanum and violet) but those perfumes are not essentially looking to muguet.

So, here is my Muguet Cologne, stated for men but really it is for anyone. The concentration is lighter and the overall feel is woodier and greener but for me there is something about it that rings very true to an element of muguet… kind of stylized like an art deco figure. It’s fresh and refreshing and I feel very approachable and easy to wear.

Composition notes of :
lemon, bergamot, white grapefruit, galbanum, coriander, chamomile, hyacinth accord *botanical, Tunisian neroli,
geranium, jasmine sambac, orris co2, linden blossom, rose otto, violet leaf, Australian sandalwood, Virginia cedarwood, olibanum, tolu balsam, vetiver, patchouli, and oakmoss.

As I am a multi-sensory, aroma and visual artist, I have been working on visual art pieces along with the fragrant compositions. I will have images completed for this project and will get jpgs of the drawings and paintings for you soon. It’s been wonderful to express this project in multiple forms. I hope that you will love the work as I have enjoyed creating it. Thank you for your time and talent and interest in writing about this series.

All my best, Dawn Spencer Hurwitz

** To check out more about the May Day Muguet blogging event, click on these links:

Scent Hive
The Non Blonde 
Perfume Shrine

ps: if you are interested in experiencing Muguet de Mai or Muguet Cologne, a very limited edition was produced and are available at the DSH Perfumes website. 9 / 5 ml Antique Presentation bottles of Muguet de Mai PERFUME as well as 9 / 30ml, 9/ 10 ml bottles of Muguet Cologne were created along with some 1 ml sample vials.

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