If New York is the center of American Perfumery for the big firms then the West Coast is the hub for independent perfumery. It seems there is a gathering momentum of collaboration and creativity coming from there. Which makes it all the more interesting to try the new brands as they produce their first perfumes. I became aware of Sam Rader and her brand Dasein towards the end of 2014. She has been methodically working through the seasons as she started with Winter and Spring and now we have Summer.
I mention this a lot when referring to independent perfumers like Ms. Rader. They have a particular affinity with making unusual notes work. There are times when it can be refreshing. There are times when it can be downright confounding. I have to confess Summer started out confounding for me before becoming refreshing. The cause of the divergence in my opinion was Ms. Rader’s use of cilantro as a keynote. Just as it does when used in food it has a quite powerful green herbal effect. Just because I wanted to know I looked up how many times cilantro has made it into a perfume listed in the Fragrances of the World database. That search produced 30 entries all since 2001. I would have to suspect that it must be difficult to work with and balance. This is where an independent mindset works wonders as Ms. Rader takes this very powerful note, finding an ensemble that harmonizes with the booming presence of the cilantro.
Sam Rader (Photo: via Dasein blog)
Summer opens with the cilantro and only the cilantro. It is an unusual note and I think having looked at the note list prior to trying it I expected the grapefruit to be more prominent. The cilantro carries a variegated greenness which seems impossibly deep. Over time the grapefruit does make its entry via the more sulfurous facets of the citrus matching up with the similar facets in the cilantro. As the grapefruit rises in presence it provides a more familiar fragrance note to ground me. The very first time I wore this I badly needed it. The second and third times it was more harmonic as well as anticipated. Summer eventually transforms into a jasmine and orange blossom floral but the cilantro is still there providing leaf and stem along with the flowers. This is where Summer lingers for most of the time on my skin.
Summer has 8-10 hour longevity and moderate sillage.
I have to warn you that the cilantro is a bit of a prickly note to embrace, especially on first sniff. I would really encourage you to give Summer a second chance especially if you like herbal green fragrances. Ms. Rader is working out on the frontier here but it is something perfumery needs from time to time. Third time I wore this was on the first truly scorching hot day of summer and the cilantro really worked in the extreme heat as well as my beloved vetiver did. Everything that is great about the West Coast perfume scene is on display here in Summer.
Disclosure: this review was based on a sample provided by Twisted Lily.