DSH Perfumes Pandora

First things first here. Yesterday was Dawn Spencer Hurwitz’s birthday, so I’d love to extend her a happy belated one and certainly hope she had a lovely day. Today, many of us bloggers are joining forces to review Dawn’s newest creation, Pandora, which to me feels like a precious gift. I’m always very honored to test Dawn’s fragrances, but upon applying Pandora, I knew I was going to experience an extraordinary olfactory journey.

From its inception, DSH Perfume’s Pandora was to be an exploration of all natural and botanical ingredients that have only recently become available to perfumers. Emerging co2 extracts and newly attainable raw materials have expanded the natural perfumer’s palette and Dawn was part of a project that intended to focus solely on those ingredients. Dawn ultimately fell away from the project, and found herself delving deeper into Pandora’s potential and added a small dose of synthetics- aldehydes and ozone- as well as “old school” essences like oakmoss and ambergris. As a result, Pandora evolved into a perfume that tips its hat to the great classic perfumes while exploring contemporary botanical extracts.

The classic perfume that Pandora immediately reminded me of was Jolie Madame as it has a classic aura and possesses a similar swirl of verdant violet. Both Pandora and Jolie Madame have mysteriously green topnotes, Pandora’s being particularly minty while Jolie Madame’s are curvier and noticeably sweeter. Jolie Madame is more of a violet pastille in its opening, but nevertheless, they both exude a mossy violet tone and an animalic undercurrent.

Although these vintage nuances are present, Pandora stands as its own contemporary beauty. Dawn’s use of patchouli and vetiver co2 explores new facets of these well known essences. As a co2, vetiver is even greener and reaches the entire composition from top to bottom, unlike the essential oil which is mainly a basenote. Patchouli co2 is less spicy but even richer and bolder than its essential oil counterpart which adds a new dimension to this familiar scent.

Some of the newly attainable raw materials in Pandora include Juhi jasmine from Northern India, which according to Dawn is even more indolic than the jasmines sambac and grandiflorum. Muhuhu (also know as African sandalwood) is another newbie on the scene and Dawn tells me she is loving its deep, smoky-resinous quality. These four essences meld so well together- merging the floral with the earthy- which is very apparent in the heart. The oakmoss in Pandora’s “mousse de saxe” accord provides even more green depth to the middle notes, but also a mineral quality which feels very DSH Perfumes to me.

All that Pandora has to offer is stunning. It’s equal parts inky violet, woody floral and mossy darkness. Save for the drydown, which becomes rather silky and buttery, like a favorite scarf imbued with hints of the aforementioned notes but is very much its own stage of the fragrance. Wearing Pandora is an aromatic odyssey that’s complicated and lovely, light and dark, past and present, but most of all, exquisite.

Leave a comment and you will be entered in the drawing to win a 3ml purse spray of Pandora. Tell us about your most beloved vintage perfume and/or your favorite DSH perfume. Drawing now closed. 

Pandora is made up of 97.5% botanicals and 2.5% synthetic and is available at DSH Perfumes in several different sizes and price points.

Please visit the following blogs for their thoughts on Pandora: DSH NotebookEauMG, eyeliner on a cat, This Blog Really Stinks, Perfume Pharmer, Esscentual Alchemy, Indie Perfumes, and Oh True Apothecary.
Image of Pandora by Henrietta Rae at artmagick.com

Disclosure: A sample was sent to me for consideration by DSH Perfumes. The opinions in this review are my own. I was not financially compensated for this review or any other.


My Blue Moon Review: Anya’s Garden MoonDance

I’m writing this review on the eve of the blue moon and the new year. This is also the day I decided to try MoonDance from Anya’s Garden for the first time. Coincidence? If it was, it was a subconscious bleary-eyed one this morning. Reaching for my sample I thought I was going to experience a heady tuberose fragrance as I remembered reading on NowSmellThis that MoonDance is an homage to tuberose. Well, there’s tuberose in MoonDance, but not in the way I had expected.

After applying this 100% natural perfume, the scent of violets radiated from my skin. If you’re thinking gentle and sweet violets, then MoonDance will hasten you to rethink your violet notions. We’re talking violets on steriods! The tuberose and jasmine heart of MoonDance supplies our little purple pansies with a hallucinogenic quality, more vivid and intensely sweet than any other violet fragrance in my experience. On my skin, the violet completely took charge of this perfume leaving tuberose and jasmine to lend their indolic fullness in a supporting role. The blend is balanced so harmoniously that the larger-than-life violet doesn’t smell like a tuberosey-violet, rather an amplified version of its inherent components.

MoonDance is a vivacious floral no doubt, but there’s an earthy haylike quality present from chamomile that I adore. The dried grassy aroma tempers MoonDance enough so it doesn’t become cloying or overbearing. After many hours of wear, the violet and white florals settle into a delicate bouquet with just a suggestion of woods. Anya McCoy of Anya’s Flowers isn’t quite satisfied with the use of florals and woods though, even if some of them are rare and exotic. She’s added the peculiar ingredient hyraceum.

I had no idea what this was until I corresponded with her to find out more. I wasn’t expecting to find out that it’s the fosslized pee and poo of the Dr. Seuss-esque named hyrax, pictured here. Apparently tinctured hyraceum has a scent akin to ambergris or oud and can also have a grassy scent due to the hyrax diet. (Who knew fossilized poop as well as chamomile would add that hay note I love so much?) There’s a very informative discussion on Basenotes regarding hyraceum and I encourage you to read it if you have any interest in learning more about it. Since it is fossilized from thousands of years ago, there is no cruelty involved when sourcing these critters’ rock-hard excrement.

(Never did I think I’d end a review with the words “rock-hard excrement”).

Moondance is $125 for 15ml of EdP and $75 for 3.5mls of Parfum Extrait at Anya’s Garden.

Posted by ~Trish

Red Orange Tan and Purple by Mark Rothko

Disclosure: A sample of MoonDance was provided for this review by Anya’s Garden. The opinons in this review are my own. I was not financially compensated for this review or any other.