New artistic creations from DSH Perfumes: Metropolis, Scent of Hope and more
The prolific Dawn Spencer Hurwitz of DSH Perfumes is having an especially creative year, and that is saying a lot. Once again, she is showing us that no matter what the genre of fragrance or the challenge presented is, she will find a way to make Art from it, and I am in awe of the results.
One of my favorite new launches this year attained that status as soon as it hit my nose. Metropolis is nominally a masculine scent, but I fell in love with it immediately and I would recommend it to anyone who appreciates a truly modern perfume experience. Its character is elegant but not cold, an Art Deco piece translated into smell. Like a handsome vintage automobile, it's all about the lines; it has an easy grace and airiness that makes it sleek and streamlined, but with a sturdy underpinning of strength that gives it the power it needs. Along with such traditional notes as cedar, leather, oakmoss, musk, petitgrain, rose otto, and woods, it also includes “brushed steel, glass, concrete and motor oil” according to the official description. Because this is DSH we are talking about, these unconventional elements are abstracted and seamlessly integrated into the whole, so you know you are smelling something unusual but you can't really pin down what it is. If this perfume were a car, it would be one of those gloriously swoopy Pierce-Arrow, Bugatti or Delahaye classics, timeless and luxurious without seeming excessive in any way, just pure design for its own sake.
Another new sensation is the much-anticipated Scent of Hope, which was inspired by one of the rarest and most coveted perfumes of all time, Iris Gris by the house of Jacques Fath from 1946. I have never smelled the original – few people ever have, it seems – but I have wanted to try it for many years, having read much about its legendary beauty. Now those of us who missed out on it no longer have to search to the ends of the earth for it, because Scent of Hope is sublimely lovely and well worthy of the acclaim it is receiving. Had I the power to alter time and space, I would create an infinite quantum loop wherein I could smell the opening notes of this perfume over and over again, it is so so ineffably exquisite. The lightest puff of peach, an alpenglow cloud of delicacy, arises from the skin mingled with the most refined iris note I have ever smelled. This initial impression soon subsides but never disappears completely; the unfolding of the perfume proceeds with the slightly sweet and subdued peach in perfect harmony with the iris, keeping it from becoming either rooty or metallic, as iris is wont to do at times. It also lasts surprisingly well, which I did not expect – I put it on one evening and I could still smell it on my skin in the morning. If you need any more reasons to try it, here are two: 1. It is only available in perfume extract form, the strongest concentration, and 2. 30% of sales will be donated to Sense of Security, a Denver-based organization that helps breast cancer patients in need with their treatment and living expenses.
Amid all the excitement of such creative fragrances, it's easy to forget this perfumer's mastery of of another style – the soliflore. “Simple” florals are seldom as easy to pull off as they seem, and indeed the perfumer is expected to make them smell as close as possible to the real thing, in contrast to more abstract scents that allow for artistic license to be taken. I am very happy that she has relaunched one of her older classics that I had never encountered before, White Lilac. I always have high hopes for lilac compositions, but some of them fail to capture the fragile beauty of these blossoms. White Lilac is everything I could ever want in such a perfume, closer to nature than any other lilac soliflore I know, sweet and pure and true to life, and it remains fresh and vibrant throughout its development. I gave a bottle to my younger sister for her birthday since it is her favorite flower and she adores it. She is the strictest judge of lilac scents I know and this one passed her test with flying colors.
One of my own favorite flowers is the peony, and DSH Perfumes' new Peony is one of the best of the genre, highlighting the rosy aspect of these lush, showy blooms rather than the sometimes overly sharp freshness that characterizes most peony scents. It will not be mistaken for a rose perfume though; it is clearly a tribute to the unique aroma of the flower, which gives off a sweet scent with a nose-tickling undertone that is sometimes just a little indecent, which to me is part of its charm. If you are seeking a peony perfume that actually smells like the real deal, seek no further.
Image credits: The exceedingly rare 1933 Pierce-Arrow Silver Arrow, of which only five were ever made, from rarecars.co, orginal source unknown. Closeup photo of an iris flower from hdwallpaperpc.com. Vintage lilacs & roses wallpaper from the graphicsfairy.com.
Disclosure: I purchased the samples of Metropolis, White Lilac and Peony for this review. My sample of Scent of Hope was given to me my DSH Perfumes.