Well this ought to keep DSH busy for a few weeks!
'...The quality of superniche scent collections varies hugely. Filmmakers who shoot at their parents’ homes and produce on credit-card-financed shoestrings create, for the most part, erratic movies, and independent perfumers generally produce erratic collections. There are the political perfumes (”all natural! all organic!”), which tend to smell like bottled ideologies, and theme collections (”Japan!”), and the slightly trite “I hunt the planet for the most fabulous materials.” And if the scents are almost always inferior to the Diors and the Tom Fords, it is due to the fact that perfume is not do-it-yourself. It is an excruciatingly difficult art form that requires trained professionals with access to the materials and technicians. And even then they can bomb. Most niche scent makers do forgettable work.
One exception is Dawn Spencer Hurwitz... '
Read the full review - where Burr mini-reviews a bunch of DSH scents including Sienna (which I own and love), Celadon and Pamplemousse, here
Well this ought to keep DSH busy for a few weeks!
Actually Dawn's got a lot of good press recently.
I say, good for her! Maybe now she'll get enough $ to pair down her inventory and clean up that really-hard-to-navigate website.
"Most niche scent makers do forgettable work"
Oh come on, really? I'm very critical of many niche scents when they ratio of quality to cost verse designer is sometimes skewed, but to use such a heavy label as most is ludicrous! Unless he has a very different definition of niche than I do, I would hesitate to call almost any Montal, MPG, SL, Amouge, By Kilian, etc forgettable. Over priced? Sometimes. But forgettable? Hardly ever.
And the scents that he praises in the article don't really sound wearable. Smart? Yes. Artistic? Yes. Something I'd be able to wear to the office, a date, dinner, ANYTHING? Errrrr....
As keen as we all are on the concept of perfumery as art, the concept of accessability and wearability can not be sacrificed to maintain, well what exactly? The fragrance equivalent of indie record shop street cred?
I mean, has anyone READ this?
"Amico is a more complex, avant-garde abstract, a resolute contemporary (think of the smell of a Richard Serra sheet-metal work) that transcends l’Eau d’Issey’s clean water hologram and constitutes an eminently wearable olfactory sculpture. (If natural-world references are needed, the nearest I can come is salt water/cinnamon bark/the scent of the air in Kennedy Airport’s Terminal 1."
Ok, it's well worded but what the devil does it actually smell like?
It's seems strange to me, the are two contradictory themes here. On the one hand, here we are reading about niche scents in the New York Times. On the other hand, I have no idea what in the hell I'm reading. Instead of taking a possibly more boring approach and actually managed to tell me what I'm smelling (I'm sorry Issey to me smells like ice tea not a hologram, and what does a hologram smell like?) he instead manages to make me feel like an idiot. The phrasing of 'if natural references are needed' carries that implication that you are a plebian, nah, a goddamn country bumpkin if you actually care what exactly it smells like. He says a sheet metal sculpture and by god that should be good enough for you swine!
The man's knowledge and experience are vast, you mean to tell me he can't find a way to show it off and make the wording just a touch more plain?
Never hear of this company. May need to investigate.
"I exist for myself, and for those to whom my unquenchable thirst for freedom gives everything, but also for everyone, since insofar as I am able to love - I love everyone. Of noble hearts, I am the noblest - and the most generous of those that yearn to give love in return. - I am a human being, I love death and I love life."
Egon Schiele - Self-Potrait
My classics: Dior Homme EdT, YSL Rive Gauche PH, Helmut Lang Cuiron, L'Occitane Neroli (vintage), Davidoff Zino, L'Occitane Eau des Baux
It starts quite promising, and including the paragraph on that grapefruit perfume I enjoyed what I read. But everything else??!
Of course I have no idea what he thinks niche really is - too French to bother and explain the term to readers? And of course I am hardly more than amused by his keen definition of the 21st century perfume: "intelligent fragrances that melt subtly into skin rather than sitting egotistically on top of it". But one could find it worth discussing.
(mikeperez23, it always makes me feel miserable to write like that on your fine threads. Every once in a while I have to comment on that critic the way I feel. I do not hate Burr, the journalist and book author.)
Last edited by narcus; 14th February 2009 at 09:12 AM.
'Il mondo dei profumi è un universo senza limiti: una fraganza puo rievocare sensazioni, luoghi, persone o ancora condurre in uno spazio di nuove dimensioni emozionali' L. V.
The irony here about Burr's niche-bashing is that he's praised quite a few extremely niche fragrances ( Paestum Rose comes to mind ).
Sugandaraja: Now In Blog Form. Latest:
Rue des Lilas: Ashen Lilacs
Despite Burr's schizophrenic review, I happen to love the way Viridian smells.
A kind Basenoter sent me a sample of it, and I tested it once many months ago and I am giving it a full wearing today. Neat juice! It is super galbanaum-esque green in the top notes, almost like cutting into a fresh shallot or breaking a weed with your hands and getting a bit of the leafs natural juice on your skin. The celery seed is nothing like the one in Yatagan, this one is much more alive and raw, not so chalky and dried smelling. Then it's quite astringent (I think it was Galamb_Borong who mentioned on the 3x3 blind sniff that it reminded him of witch hazel toner - spot on!) which might be the aloe vera note. And then I can distinctly smell the Brazilian vetiver mixed in with that gassy violet leaf note.
All of your vetiver fans out there, should check this one out. It is everything that I wanted Vetiver Sport by Guerlain to smell like...but wasn't. Probably one of the most complex natural fragrance I've ever smelled. I think I might need a mini bottle of this (it's only $27 for .25 oz EdP spray) when Spring arrives!
The official notes from the DSH website are:
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
Last edited by mikeperez23; 24th January 2010 at 06:33 PM.
The only other ones I've smelled are Celadon (Vibert sent me some a long time ago, I thought it was ok, but didn't intrigue me as much), Sienna which I LOVED, it was a gift from my sis' ComDiva and it's a cinnamon lovers dream, it had this wonderful smell of steamed rice that made it irresistible. And Piment et Chocolat, which I got when I was looking for a spicy/chocolate scent, but when I tested it it honestly grossed me out a bit. Blech.
Her line is a bit more cleaned up (I looked at the website this morning) and easier to navigate. Good for her. Her newest release, Kohl Gris, sounds very nice.
'...Most niche scent makers do forgettable work.'
I hate it when people I respect say really, really, really dumb things.
Nathan Branch - one of the best blogs around - speaks quite highly of DSH
The notes certainly look promising...
As for Burr, what can I say? He's just being himself. Over the top exaggerations and cynical 'observations' are just so Chandler Burr; he's just marketing himself. Wishy-washy political correctness don't really sell column spaces...
Looking back at my Viridian review, it seems to me you're completely correct. I should have made this (and should make other) wording more plain and my descriptions more tightly tethered to the earth instead of the stratosphere. The stratosphere is fun to write in, and I think Scent Notes does need some conceptual observation. But one of the greatest challenges of the column is, without resorting to some idiotic, mechanical listing of raw materials that is as uninformative as listing the instruments Ravel used for a given orchestral piece, writing an understandable, accurate, useful description of the scent. best, Chandler
After reading Mr. Burr's review, I ordered some samples of DSH scents. I tried the first -- Feuilles Vertes -- today and was really impressed. A green, earthy scent that has some substance and staying power. Twelve hours after initially applying, it's still with me -- at this point a damp patchouli. It's a good one. I'm looking forward to sampling some of the others as well.
If this scent is the standard issue at DSH, I expect full bottles in the near future. I'm surprised that I haven't heard more on these pages about DSH.
Christian Dior VetiverPatou Pour HommeChristian Dior Leather OudOrmonde Jayne Ormonde ManSerge Lutens Chene
I am wearing Viridian again today and this stuff is amazing. Sort of a more wearable version of No. 19 by Chanel, but with a softer more vegetal approach and not so nails-on-chalkboard. There is even something in this, that conjures up the feeling of aldehydes - I have no idea which natural ingredient can do that. Magic! This sample makes me smile when I wear it. Highly recommended.
"Seize opportunity by the beard for it is bald behind"
Mike, I know that this was recently on Dawn's "Fond Farewell" page. I don't know how much is currently available.
"Mom, why does the cat smell like Chamade?
Thanks RHM for the heads up. I still see it for sale, on the site, but now I will place it a few notches higher on my To Buy list.
I am still trying to figure out which I like better: No. 19 vintage EdC or Viridian.
"Seize opportunity by the beard for it is bald behind"
They are a few miles from me, I stopped by recently and got samples of:
Umber: Bois de Rose
Memory and Desire #1
Those were my faves out of the couple dozen or so I sniffed. She does have a lot to sniff... maybe too much.
I have only tried Bacha Extreme so far, and it is a citrus/woody frag with a hint of florals and incense, smells very natural and very high quality. It has a refreshing quality and seems like it will do well in the summer.
Also, for fans of Vetiver, Patchouli or Amber dominant frags, hers are seriously good and WELL worth trying.