Just The Juice: Brief Fragrance Reviews – Albino (A Study in White) and The Voices of Trees by Dawn Spencer Hurwitz

Today marks the start of a new series of brief perfume reviews called Just The Juice. Why “Just The Juice”? I want to talk about fragrances that I’ve come across, both new releases and older ones, and I want to keep it focused on the perfume (the “juice”) itself. So often I write about the background, the history, the sociological and psychological significance, etc. etc. of a smell or a perfume. But in the interests of pure perfume prose, in this series I’m going to write about the juice, in 300 words or less per perfume, and include relevant artistic/conceptual notes from the perfumer too, if I can. I hope to introduce you to some wonderful perfumes in this series.

Today I will be reviewing two recent releases by Dawn Spencer Hurwitz of DSH Perfumes, both in VdP (voile de parfum) strength.

Albino (A Study in White)

white-painted-concrete-wall-888895_1280Dawn Spencer Hurwitz of DSH Perfumes says of her recent (2015) release Albino (A Study in White):

“What began as a fascination with the albino raspberry soon became an exploration from the real to abstraction.

What is it to be without pigment?  There seems to be a kind of quality; a luminosity and sense of lightness.  So then what?  “White” materials… and a questioning: what does white feel like?

Albino takes an abstract look at white from a synesthetic and textural stance.  The textures being crisp, pithy, and creamy; shifting from fruity crispness to pithy to a creamy feel, with blond woods, and musk at the final drydown.

Meet Albino.  He’s gorgeously unusual.”
Source: DSH Perfumes website

What I Think

Albino is indeed gorgeous and unusual. I was drawn to this fragrance, one of five samples of recent releases that Dawn Spencer Hurwitz sent me, due to the synaesthetic concept that underpins it. I plan to review the Chroma Collection (inspired by colour and synaesthesia) by Dawn later this year, so I thought I’d give Albino a quick test drive as a way of warming up to that longer post. Albino, categorised by Hurwitz as a modern fougère, is luminously citrussy at first, then mellows gradually (though never losing its zestiness) as time ticks on. It opens with a vibrantly tart albino raspberry accord underpinned by sharp basil and bright grapefruit. The grapefruit (actually a grapefruit pith accord) becomes more apparent and also more rounded as time passes, adding a layer of earthy bitterness to Albino. Rhubarb, a sweet-tart note that I personally find so interesting in perfumery, plays a complimentary, fruity duet with the grapefruit about half an hour after spraying. At this point I also smell musk starting to emerge, which balances the blindingly-bright zestiness of the citrus and fruity notes. Does Albino smell “white”? That is a highly subjective question to ask, but to me, yes. Although I am a synaesthete, sadly I do not have colour-smell synaesthesia, as I believe Dawn does. Nevertheless, the idea of the (non) colour white as possessing bright, luminous, and light qualities definitely come through with Dawn’s choice of appropriately equivalent perfume ingredients. Albino is a refreshing and unusual take on the fougère genre. This would be great to wear on hot days or when you need a bit of an energy boost.

You can buy and read more about Albino at the DSH Perfumes website.

The Voices of Trees

pine-1011267_1280I’ve been dying to try this fragrance since I interviewed Dawn last year for my Thirteen Thoughts: Perfumer Interview Series. In that interview, Dawn told us of an early scent memory of hers and how it inspired The Voices of Trees:

“…I have just completed a perfume based on a couple of similar, or I should say interrelated, memories from my childhood. The Voices of Trees is a new natural perfume that expresses an experience that I had when I was 4 years old and had my first overnight sleepover. It was with my preschool summer camp and we slept in a grove of old, very tall, pine trees. As I lay on the needles in my sleeping bag and smelled the warm resin and bark I distinctly heard the trees murmuring to each other. The aroma of the trees and the sounds that they made are intertwined in my consciousness. One summer later, I was learning to swim at our town swimming pool which happened to be very near the river that ran through our town and I noticed a scent coming from a very dark, almost black thicket of woods near the river. I also heard a ‘song’ with the scent. It was mysterious, dark, and humid, layered with warm and balsamic. Much later I learned that this was the fragrance of sycamore trees. To this day that aroma stops me in my tracks and beckons me to come closer to fully appreciate the scent wafting in the air. I can never get enough of that olfactory intoxication.”

What I Think

The most realistic, green, fresh, warmly woody and intense pine note strikes me when I first apply The Voices of Trees. I also detect airy cedar wood and a subtle incense. A hint of neroli adds a syrupy sweetness. Camphoraceous lavender compliments the pine. It is a magical fragrance and I can’t stop inhaling my wrist. Voices of Trees is invigorating, uplifting, comforting and grounding. I can’t help but associate the smell of pine trees with fresh air, forests and robust good health. Despite having a small sycamore tree on my property, I’m not overly familiar with the smell of the tree as a perfume ingredient, or what part of the plant is used in perfumery. Fragrantica states that sycamore smells nutty, woody and earthy, and I definitely smell all of those qualities in Voices of Trees, but to me, it is the wonderfully rich and realistic pine note that forms the heart of this magnificent fragrance. Voices of Trees will appeal to those whole like natural, realistic-smelling and uplifting scents.

You can buy and read more about The Voices of Trees at the DSH Perfumes website.

I hope you’ve enjoyed the first post in my new Just The Juice series of brief perfume reviews. I hope that these reviews have inspired you to go out and try these two lovely new releases from DSH Perfumes.

Many thanks to Dawn Spencer Hurwitz for providing my samples free of charge. Both samples reviewed were Voile de Parfum strength; please note that they may or may not differ in smell from the other strengths that are available for purchase.

To read my perfume review philosophy, visit the About page and scroll down.

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