DSH CHROMA: color series 2

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.”

Cyan2Cyan – “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.

viridianViridian – “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 VioletQuinacridone 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

  • Nina Z. says:

    And I’d like to know which of her spicy and comfort scents you adore!

  • aubrey says:

    I’m a huge JCE fan, and I see that Chandler Burr compares DSH to him. If I like Jardin sur le Nil, Rose Ikebana, YSL In Love Again, Pamplemousse Rose– will I like her line too? Any thoughts? I haven’t tried any DSH frags, at this point…

    • March says:

      Um… well… hm. I should admit up front that the Hermessences I tend to admire more than really love, they just don’t come to life on my skin. However… you have roses/fruits, and DSH does a glorious rose for people who like rose… her sampler packs would give you a taste of what her line is like, and you could decide whether it was worth pursuing any further.

      • Musette says:

        Hahahaha! When I read Aubrey’s list I wondered how you were gonna be able to deal with that (for the record, Aubrey, I like a whole lotta JCE frags, including Pamp Rose which I like a lot, even though I hate Hermes on general principle:-)

        Okay, that does it. I’m going to have to figure out some DSH. I have a few samps here – haven’t given them the love and attention they obviously deserve, from all the smoochies on this blog!

        xo a chastened >-)

        • aubrey says:

          Now you’ve peaked my curiosity… what makes you hate Hermes? I always love hearing perfumistas talk about the various houses.

          • March says:

            Because they were heinous b!tches to us in Chicago. Unless she’s got another ax to grind…

          • Musette says:

            Nope, that pretty much sharpens that axe to perfection!

            – well that and the fact that it chaps my cheese to have to pay 4 figs for a purse.


            xo >-)

          • aubrey says:

            Rofl! Gotcha. Someone just recently told me what happened (I’m sooo jealous of everyone who has gone to sniffas or will go in the near future, but putting that aside…) and I would have been heartbroken and mad. I’m a small town girl and intimidated in stores like that enough… But it sounds like THEY were intimidated by YOU GUYS.

  • Olfacta says:

    The Quinacridone Violet sounds right in line with the color itself — I’ve heard this called “Car Paint.” It tromps all over everything else in the palette. It is extremely modern, and the quinacridone can be made up into all sorts of other colors (red, orange, etc.) The perfume sounds very much in keeping with the pigment. I love this idea!

  • Shelley says:

    A kind and generous friend sent me a large hit of Celadon last summer, and I loved it…was really impressed by how a scent that had a quiet voice both developed in an interesting way and gently but clearly turned up the volume by increasing both depth and volume. Never became loud, mind you….oh, I’ve got to go back and try it again. I just remember being happy.

    I tend to like “greens,” in perfume for sure and somewhat in color. Sounds like I would like trying Viridian.

    Your comment about Aveda stores cracks me up, though I have to admit I kinda like it myself. Or am I just thinking about the shampoo?

    • mals86 says:

      Celadon was the only one of the Chroma series that appealed to me – on the basis of listed notes, anyway; I haven’t tested any of that series. Website’s like a big Willy-Wonka-style candy store, and I keep getting distracted by all the pretties! I think I need a bottle of The Silk Road; maybe I’ll request a sample of Celadon with it.

    • March says:

      I actually use their shampoo and conditioner, but the collective miasma in the store makes me gag … it’s so STRONG. Like pouring tea tree oil up my nose… I know, I keep looking at her samples and small bottles! I want some!

  • Divalano says:

    Thanks for sharing your impressions, I was wondering how others fared with these. I got the samps at Sniffa & was frankly underwhelmed by them but not surprising, the notes aren’t quite me & the color thing? I don’t get the color thing. I have a friend who experiences scents as colors so I know the idea isn’t some PR construct but for me it may as well be. I absolutely, 100% don’t get any color impression when smelling things. I can try, I can make something up but really, nope. Nothing. It’s a smell. So yeah, this whole thing was very arty-abstract for me.

    • March says:

      I don’t get color impressions in general — sometimes that makes me happy. I mean, I don’t smell something with oranges and think “orange.” Every now and again a scent will conjure a color — but usually a texture too, like bottle-green velvet.

      For me the problem with smelling things at Sniffa is it all gets lost in one giant bubble in my head.

  • Melissa says:

    I tried samples of all of these some months ago and if memory serves, I liked both Viridian and Cyan. And who can resist Dawn, who spent a lot of time with me last spring, sharing her creations and making suggestions. I have a couple of her florals, one very summery, the other a dupe of a discontinued scent. Now I’m tempted to order a scent or two for autumn. Nourouz in the gourmand/oriental line maybe?

    • March says:

      Funny you mention Nourouz… I need to ask Dawn about that. I *think* it’s a reissue of Tamarind/Paprika, under a new name, only to me it smells different — more complex? I really like it, TP was great in the bottle but did not play nicely on my skin at all, and usually that sort of thing is a hit for me. And I always look forward to her winter/holiday scents.

  • Francesca says:

    Another snork the tea out the nose LOL March. The Viridian sounds like good stuff.
    Every year around summer solstice, my street is bathed in the scent of the blooming linden trees from Riverside Park a block away. Sometimes I pick them to dry for tea. But for me, it’s way too heady and intense a scent to wear.

  • Musette says:

    As a painter I love working with viridian – it’s a slightly fugitive color, which can be more fun than frustrating, depending upon the day/mood/canvas…Cyan is lovely but I always wonder why it’s considered ‘modern’ – it’s just light aqua (IMO).

    Both of those sound like definite possibilities for me – can’t wait to try them!

    Heck, now I’m going to have to hunt up something interesting to wear apres-shower. I was going to go ol’ standby (something vint) but …….??? Perhaps I’ll go by color!

    xo >-)

    • March says:

      I love Viridian… I love most greens, though. Cyan, I hear you — although there was a GREAT graphic illustrating the color composition of cyan with relative color values (where the colors ran together) but I couldn’t get it to upload properly for the post. And you’re the hardcore … gah, I just forgot the word! My mind is a sieve… synaesthete! I wonder if I just made that word up. It’s a good one, though.

      • Musette says:

        Nope! you got it right! After I dashed off my original, exhaustion-based reply I thought “d’oh! you are Synaesthesia Queen, you Moron! why did you not consider that in your response!! Moron.”

        So, my apologies for a Very Lazy Reply.

        However, this post prompted me to consider something different for an upcoming show (not ‘my’ show – just a piece for a grouper). I think I’m going to randomly pick a fragrance from the bazillion samps I have and do a painting based on that scent. Since I am a figurative painter this orta be interesting!

        wish me luck!

        xoxo >-)

        • Masha says:

          Musette, that sounds wonderful. I’m also a perfumista/artist (how many of us are out there??) and I’m going to try an abstract while wearing Mitsouko! Thanks for the terrific idea.

          • Musette says:

            Masha, I have a feeling there are a whole lot of us across many disciplines. March is an exceptional writer and Shelley is a writer/filmmaker (yes, I’m outing you both here – deal with it!) Patty is a wonderful photographer and we have several pro photogs on here as well – I think even those of us who are not in the ‘arts’ have an artistic bent – perfume requires it, in my opinion. Even if it’s not ‘artistic’ per se I think it requires a sensual appreciation that is closely aligned with the arts.

            For the record, painting is not my livelihood, as I am too lazy and too expensive an >-) to want to trust in the arts to keep me in champagne and Mitsouko. I own a machine shop! Probably as close to a 180 away from painting as you can get, if you don’t count painting parts! LOL!

        • March says:

          PAINT MITSOUKO. That is all.

          What … orangy umber? I am trying to decide.

          PS You paint Britney or Lola, I don’t want to know about it.

          • Musette says:

            No – Mitsouko (in my jangled brain) is a bronzey-green. Not green-smelling, just bronzey-green in coloration. Mostly bronze, with hints of gold and silver but a green (and the green is a yellow-olive) running through.

            YMMV – which is the coolest part of synaesthesia!

            xo >-)

          • March says:

            Reeeeeeaaaaaaaaalllllly? Bronzey green? Hmmmmm….. oh, my beloved Mitsouko. I’d go put some on right now if I didn’t reek already…

          • Exactly right. Mitsuko is a bronzey green. We must have the same level of synaethesia. Nice. I keep art journals–so I write and use watercolor pencils and have done a few of these, where I create a page of what I smell. It’s fun. No surprise there are all these creative people here–perfume is an art.

        • Shelley says:

          Yes!! YES!!! Paint the something. (Like March, I’d love to see your Mitsouko, but then again, I love this idea so much I’d love to see your any perfume.)

    • DSH says:

      Thank you March for your review and your great comments! It’s always such a pleasure to be here with the Posse!! I’m thrilled to see how many painters there are among you; why should I be surprised?! Love the idea of painting Mitsouko (one of my personal faves as well). It’s really great fun to explore this kind of creative ‘cross pollination’. I hope there’s a way to see some of your expressions; that would be very cool.