There is nobody who I admire and enjoy spending time with more than independent perfumer Dawn Spencer Hurwitz. Our connection started with her perfumes, but it has deepened because we are perfume dorks when we are together in the same place. She is one of those people who is the kind of friend where we can pick up where we left off even if it has been a long time since we talked. Our talk is mostly about perfume. Which is why when I found myself in Colorado a few weeks ago I had to finally visit the Essense Studio in Boulder where Ms. Hurwitz works her magic. I spent a too short time with her but in the process, I had her walk me through her nine new releases. Upon my return home there was one which had burrowed into my consciousness and wouldn’t let go.
Perfume Dorks Dawn Spencer Hurwitz (l.) and me
That perfume is called Taj Garden. I have mentioned in my previous reviews, and to Ms. Hurwitz, that she seems to have an intuition when she is working on Asian inspired perfumes. My very favorites of all her perfumes come disproportionately from this. She has been successful in Japan with a line called Dawn Perfumes of which Taj Garden is one. If you look at the name you will realize this perfume is not of the Orient but the Indian sub-continent. Ms. Hurwitz wanted to capture the Paradise Garden which surrounds the Taj Mahal. That sounds too staid for what has ended up in the bottle. Taj Garden is more like a rollicking wedding ceremony where the participants wear these Indian floral garlands during the celebration. Taj Garden is a fragrance of exuberance as florals bust out everywhere which Ms. Hurwitz tames with the use of an especially inspired choice of spice.
Taj Garden opens with a citrus blast of orange as bergamot, mandarin, and clementine nestle inside a leafy green accord. The green is equal partner, not supporting, which gives it a very natural overall feel. Neroli begins the transition to the florals. First up are a limpid water lily paired with the green floral nature of marigolds. This picks up the leafy accord while transforming from citrus to floral. It explodes into life with an accord of three jasmines. Before this party gets out of hand Ms. Hurwitz employs turmeric to act as the wedding planner getting everything back on track. There is a giddy over-the-top quality as the jasmines, marigold, and some rose start to take hold. The turmeric dries out some of that as it desiccates the floral effect. Ruh khus accentuates the earthiness within the turmeric. This sets it up for the sandalwood base of Australian and Mysore versions. These have an arid quality which the turmeric brings the florals in line with; just in time to celebrate all night long.
Taj Garden has 10-12 hour longevity and average sillage.
The other Asian-inspired perfumes I like so much are more restrained. Taj Garden is the wild relative in relation to those. It still stands out among the best of Ms. Hurwitz’s work because of her ability to translate those influences so deftly. Taj Garden is a party where we are all wearing flower garlands dancing with joy.
As I mentioned above I came home with all the new releases there are others which I also think are remarkable. I’ll be writing about those over the next few weeks.
Disclosure: This review is based on a sample provided by DSH Perfumes.