I think some of you know what a fan I am of Dawn Spencer Hurwitz’ creations. I don’t love all of them (some of them don’t work on me) but in general I find them at least interesting, and it’s always fun exploring in her extensive line.
But I hadn’t tried her color series because … oh, I dunno. The whole idea was too abstract for me? No good reason, I guess — probably I was too busy messing around in her comfort/spice scents that I adore. This is series 2, I still haven’t tried series 1. Notes and descriptions below are from the DSH website and my sample tags. (oh, and btw, remember our DSH brainstorming session earlier this year? She listened, and she now has sampler pack suggestions and smaller sizes.)
“Each aroma-color collection is a continuation of the color-into-scent exploration that I began in 2007. With these new aroma-colors, I have been able to deeply delve into a new realm of expression, the translation from one sensory experience into another and to create new art pieces with an abstract approach to the use of materials.”
Cyan – “Created for Sniffapalooza NYC Spring Fling 2009, Cyan is our newest ‘aroma-color’ interpretation. Inspired by this ultra-modern blue color with a slightly greenish tint, our Cyan scent is as light as air; an eau fraiche scent that wisps in like the freshness of Spring … an ultra-modern blue with a greenish tint; one of the primary colors that make up the CMYK printing wheel.
Top notes: Bergamot, Blue Chamomile, Crushed Mint, Yuzu, Middle notes: Cucumber, French Linden Blossom (accord), French Linden Blossom absolute, Jonquil, Orris, Orris Concrete, Base notes: Ambergris, Australian Sandalwood, Seaweed, Silver Fir, Wild Chamomile, Wood Violet.”
Verdict: Wow that’s pretty. Exceeded my expectations wildly, the words “airy” and “fresh” always scare me (so does “seaweed,” urgh), but I should have known Dawn wasn’t going to throw in any of Patty’s patented TFA.* The opening on me is VIOLET VIOLET and I love that, not too candied, with the citrus and the cucumber trotting right behind. Cucumber’s kind of a mixed bag for me, but it works beautifully here. I like how the linden, jonquil and cucumber give it a wet, green, buttery aspect but in a good way, I’m loving the linden in this… I went through a linden soliflore phase but linden all on its own can get on my nerves. I’m seeing sandalwood, fir, etc. listed up there, but this stays more in those top and middle notes on me. Girlier than what I’d normally choose, but not fey or precious about it.
Viridian – “Organic. Sultry. Enchanted. A true GREEN aroma that is deeply saturated and unmistakable. Based on a semi-transparent, green-blue-green artist’ hue (paint), Viridian embodies the concept of a rich foresty green color in aromatic form. A unisex fougere scent.
Top notes: Angelica, Artemisia, Bergamot, Celery Seed, Middle notes: Aloe (accord), Chrysanthemum absolute, Galbanum, Orris Root, Base notes: Australian Sandalwood, Brazilian Vetiver, Green Oakmoss, Lovage, Myrrh Gum, Patchouli, Violet Leaf Absolute
Verdict: Another pleasant surprise. I am not wild for fougeres and I was doubting the “unisex” part of this – to me, fougeres say MAN and that’s it. I love all the herbal green goodness of this, TON of galbanum on me, but it’s a nice balance for the herbs … it’s sweeter than I’d have expected, but I can’t decide what that is, and there is a definite medicinal edge to it – maybe the lovage? It reminds me of clary sage. Tingly, like mint and patchouli together. You know what? This is the way I wish Aveda stores smelled, instead of the heinous way they actually smell, how can anything that makes me back away from the door like that actually be good for you?)
Quinacridone Violet – “Neon. Shocking. Fantastic. This aroma-color, based on an intense, man-made fuschia – pink – purple artist hue (paint), is strangely wonderful and vibrantly modern in every way. Many artists find this color addictive…we feel the same about the scent. A fruit-infused floral scent.
Top notes: Cherry Blossom, Lime Peel, Plum, Quince, Middle notes: Aglaia Flower, Italian Neroli, Osmanthus, Sweet Pea, Violet, Violet Leaf Absolute, Base notes: Atlas Cedarwood, Cassis Bud, Incense Notes, Musk.”
Verdict: Wah. The only disappointment of the three. I love VIOLET VIOLET and I was expecting this to BE violet. But it isn’t, at least on me. I have the same problem with this that I do with Hermessence Osmanthe Yunnan – the osmanthus just gets bigger and bigger until it fills up the room and obliterates everything else. It’s not terrible, more a middling-sweet muddle, and I’m not digging the plum in this either and I like plum. Oh, well.
Here’s a link to Chandler Burr’s review of Viridian with some musings on DSH.
*Tampax Fresh Accord.
Cyan – wikimedia.org, Viridian – webexhibits.org, QV – dickblick.com