My admiration for independent perfumer Dawn Spencer Hurwitz is no secret. She has only a few peers within that community. I still wish I had moved to Boston a year earlier than I did so I would have found the little blending shop on Newbury St. that Ms. Hurwitz and Sarah Horowitz-Thran ran from 1992-1994. Ms. Hurwitz’s experience has only broadened as she made the move to Boulder, Colorado and founded DSH Perfumes. Ms. Hurwitz has created perfumes of all kinds inspired by almost everything. For someone who has been doing something for almost thirty years I am always pleasantly surprised when her new releases continue to push the envelope of her creativity. Her latest release DSH Perfumes La Belle Saison is another high point.
Dawn Spencer Hurwitz
If it was anyone else and I saw the words for a description of a new release say, “all-botanical lilac-centered floral perfume”, I would be concerned. One reason is there is no direct lilac extract to be used as a note. If you want lilac in a perfume the perfumer has to build an accord. The best lilac perfumes on the market are formed of synthetic and natural materials. To think that Ms. Hurwitz removed all of the synthetics in her attempt at an all-botanical lilac should give you an idea of the degree of difficulty being attempted here. An example of how smart she is, La Belle Saison is not a lilac soliflore. Ms. Hurwitz uses a selection of notes to provide an impressionistic version in lieu of realism. I would surmise her work for the Giverny in Bloom exhibit at the Denver Art Museum wherein she imagined the scents of Monet’s garden laid the foundation for La Belle Saison. This perfume carries much of Monet’s sensibilities within it.
Lilas au Soleil by Claude Monet (1872)
La Belle Saison opens with that slightly vegetal green quality I associate with flower gardens when I first step into them. It carries me to the blooms. The same thing happens in La Belle Saison. Ms. Hurwitz uses cucumber, bergamot, and anise to form this accord. The cucumber carries a slightly watery quality like I am in this garden just after the sprinklers have been turned off. Out of this greenness Ms. Hurwitz constructs her lilac accord; mostly of other florals. Neroli, rose and jasmine are all noticeable at first, as themselves. Somewhere along the line Ms. Hurwitz uses acacia honey to transform these into a lilac accord. The sticky mimosa tinged sweet glow of the honey captures all of the pieces into a single accord. Once the accord comes together I had to work hard to find the separate pieces because now La Belle Saison was all lilac. Next the moist earth is conjured into being with vetiver and ambrette. The spring milieu is complete.
La Belle Saison is an extrait with 8-10 hour longevity and moderate sillage.
I am so impressed with La Belle Saison. The ultimate challenge of creating an all-botanical lilac. The artistic way it comes together. This is everything that natural perfumery can rise to. This is already at the top of my Best of 2016 list. I think there will be few to measure up to it over the next nine months.
Disclosure: This review was based on a sample provided by DSH Perfumes.