The creative collaboration between boulder, Colorado perfumer Dawn Spencer Hurwitz and the Denver Art Museum (DAM) has been a very successful one. Ms. Hurwitz is one of those perfumers who when inspired can compose amazing fragrances. The museum has provided her with the spark to fire up that imagination. She has just released her eighth collection in conjunction with the exhibit “In Bloom: Painting Flowers in the Age of Impressionism” which runs through October 11, 2015. For the exhibit she has created a scent experience called “The Impressionist Garden”.
When you walk through “The Impressionist Garden” it is meant to transport you to painter Claude Monet’s garden in Giverny, France. For the exhibit Ms. Hurwitz created three scents which would be wafted in the air mimicking a walk in a real garden with its pockets of different florals. Those three scents are Le Jardin Vert (The Green Garden), La Danse des Bleus et des Violettes (The Dance of Blues and Violets), and L’Opera des Rouges et des Roses (The Opera of Reds and Pinks).
The walk begins with Le Jardin Vert and it is that smell of green and growing things in the earth. This provides the foundation for the two very floral accords to come to take “root” in. It is unapologetically green with a sharp edge to it. This comes from combining galbanum and pine needle absolute. The next stop is La Danse des Bleus et des Violettes. I love the richness of violet in a perfume but Ms. Hurwitz was designing a scent to evoke a plot of violets in Monet’s garden. That requires a more subtle bouquet. Therefore Ms. Hurwitz works with a quartet of appropriately hued florals as heliotrope, lilac, and iris join the violets in this azure waltz. The third section of this olfactory garden tour is L’Opera des Rouges et des Roses. Here are the coloratura sopranos of the garden and Ms. Hurwitz allows them to sing with gusto. Rose, peony, carnation, and jasmine are the four distinctive floral voices. This is that moment when you walk into a garden when everything is in full bloom and breathing in the air is a three-dimensional moment in itself.
Dawn Spencer Hurwitz
All three of these can be worn on the skin or used as room sprays. Because of the necessity of these to be constantly cycled in the air there is a straight linearity to them which makes them simpler than a typical perfume. They are quite beautiful in that they achieve Ms. Hurwitz’s desire to evoke the garden experience within the gallery in the museum.
Ms. Hurwitz did not leave us without a real perfume. Giverny in Bloom combines aspects of the three fragrances in the exhibit. It recreates the walk through the gallery with a green set of top notes, a blue set of heart notes, and a rose colored base. Giverny in Bloom opens with the same sharp green accord of galbanum and pine needle absolute. I admired this by itself in Le Jardin Vert but as part of Giveny in Bloom it carries downward into the heart and combines with the same set of blue florals. The green and the blue form a striking garden accord throughout much of the early development. In the end the bombastic quartet of rose, peony, carnation and jasmine run roughshod over the green and the blue. It turns Giverny in Bloom into a proper Retro Nouveau fragrance as it feels like an older classic floral perfume.
Giverny in Bloom has 10-12 hour longevity and above average sillage.
Once again Ms. Hurwitz has produced a fabulous collection of fragrance. The three scents of the exhibit combine to form an excellent Retro Nouveau floral perfume in Giverny in Bloom. They made me feel as if I was walking with Monet as he surveyed his garden in search of subjects for his next painting.
Disclosure: This review was based on samples provided by DSH Perfumes.