When did cologne became a bad word? It is like the dirty secret of fragrance. There are perfume brands that turn up their nose at making a “cologne”. There are consumers that don’t want to buy a “cologne”. There are bloggers who won’t write about “cologne”. I suspect one reason is our male family members and friends wore too much perfume in the 1970’s and 80’s. The unfortunate part was anything a man wore in those days was called “cologne”. There are still some vestiges of that attitude floating around which has manifested in the I don’t make/buy/cover “cologne” constituency. Its too bad for them because especially over the past five or six years we have seen the humble cologne formulation be dramatically altered while still remaining true to being a cologne, without the quotes. Unfortunately, many independent perfumers shy away from cologne.Because of this most of the innovation has happened in a few specific brands. Selfishly I want some of my favorite small brands to take a shot at a cologne; DSH Perfumes Summer Cologne does that.
The very origin of cologne comes from an Alpine walk of the creator Jean Marie Farina. He wanted something he could splash on which would be as refreshing as a walk through a mountain meadow. The very simple formula of citrus, floral, and herbal components has been a staple of perfumery. Independent perfumer Dawn Spencer Hurwitz, who is also a lover of perfume history, has made Summer Cologne a perfume of summer activity, as well. Except she isn’t going for a walk in the Rockies around her Boulder, Colorado studio. She is working in the garden with her tomato plants. She uses tomato leaf as the keynote around which she builds her version of cologne.
Dawn Spencer Hurwitz
It opens with a traditional citrus trio of bergamot, lemon, and bitter orange. This is a time-tested top accord. Ms. Hurwitz adds a bit of ambrette seed for a bit of muskiness underneath; it picks up on the clean sweat ideal of working in the garden. The tomato leaf steps forward in place of the typical herbal part of the traditional cologne recipe. It still carries a greenness along with a tart acerbic quality. She uses judicious quantities of vetiver and blackcurrant bud to buoy up the tomato leaf. The orange blossom which has become synonymous with cologne provides the floral part. This is also supported with a nice neroli to provide a thread of green to connect back to the tomato leaf. The final part is to stake all of this into an earthy patchouli in the base.
Summer Cologne has 6-8 hour longevity and low sillage.
Summer Cologne remedies that bugaboo of filling up a room with your fragrance; it is a real skin scent. It was my personal perfume on the summer days I wore it. It was the ideal companion in the heat, refreshing without being overwhelming. If you are one of the people who are not interested in “cologne” give Summer Cologne a try you might find some joy in an unexpected place.
Disclosure: This review is based on a sample provided by DSH Perfumes.