I spend a lot of time advising new indie perfumers to simplify instead of adding too much to their early fragrances. I advise if you can create a single memorable accord you will be better than 95% of the others in this sector. I know one of the best at this is independent perfumer Dawn Spencer Hurwitz. She has just released three excellent examples of this in her DSH Perfumes Les Fruits Defendus Vol. 1.
I had the opportunity to speak with Ms. Hurwitz about this collection when I was in her home base of Boulder, CO. It was meant to be a collection of forbidden fruit; which it is. It is also a collection of how a simply constructed accord can be great perfume.
Dawn Spencer Hurwitz
Bakul Medjool has dates as the fruit at the center. Ms. Hurwitz wanted something to cut the sweetness of this dried fruit. Her choice was to source Bakul attar from India. That ingredient is a co-distillation of bakul flower and sandalwood. It is a richly floral-woody ingredient which sets up opposite the dates in equality. Incense wraps it all up in a beautifully resinous embrace.
Ms. Hurwitz and I both share an antipathy to the syrupy adolescent way cherry has been used in fragrance. As she investigated the concept of forbidden fruit she realized she might have to make a cherry entry. Eau Cerise is the result. This is not that viscous fruity treacle; her cherry is a ripe black cherry including the bitterness of the skin. She surrounds it with floral and Oriental accords to produce a floriental with a cherry core. It opens with the bitterness of cherry made green with violet leaf and galbanum. A pungent champaca along with spicy Bulgarian rose provide a floral layer. Oakmoss and cedar provide the Oriental layer. It comes together around the cherry in something that feels uplifting. This is going to be on a scarf, or two, as the weather cools.
When Ms. Hurwitz handed me Figue Interdite I was surprised at what I smelled on the strip. She told me she wanted to create a full spectrum fig. This is much more than just that description. She adds in enhancers to the fig I am used to encountering until it all meshes together in something beautiful. It starts with the wood of the tree before it works outward to the leaves and then the fruit itself. Cedar provides the woody trunk. As it flows from that you smell the green creaminess of fig leaves then the lilt of the flowers before you finally arrive at the fruit. Fig is one of those fruits which represent sexuality. The fig here is sensuous because of the fleshiness of it all. The effect is created with a precise use of coconut to add even more of that quality. Most of the time coconut comes off as a tropical drink here it provides some oiliness while complementing the sweetness. It is a gorgeous accord.
All three perfumes are 100% Natural and have 8-10 hour longevity and very little sillage.
Ms. Hurwitz always display her talent to me in many ways. With Les Fruits Defendus Vol. 1 it the incredible accords which represent the fruits of her labor.
Disclosure: this review is based on samples provided by DSH Perfumes.