Independent perfumer Dawn Spencer Hurwitz recently launched two new floral fragrances, Peony and White Lilac. I have to confess that I don't always stay abreast of this line's new releases and projects, only because Hurwitz is quite prolific and the line is still primarily online-only, so I was happy when these two samples came my way. In case you were wondering: no, I will never tire of feminine floral perfumes!
Peony is an evocation of an entire day in the life of this springtime flower, from a dewy bud at dawn to a duskier blossom at nightfall. In addition to peony, it includes additional notes of bergamot, Tunisian neroli, petitgrain, Bulgarian rose, Russian rose otto, Egyptian rose geranium, violet leaf absolute, green oakmoss, orris, East Indian patchouli, tolu balsam, ambergris and Australian sandalwood.
As you can guess, the fragrance unfolds from a citrus-tinged opening to a heart of peony and slightly musky rose, gradually reaching a woodsy-mossy dry down still strewn with floral petals. Thinking back to some other peony fragrances of recent years, it's more natural-smelling than Jo Malone Peony & Blush Suede; it has more in common with Penhaligon's Peoneve, but it feels more hand-crafted and more gracefully composed.
White Lilac is also spring-oriented, and it describes lilac well as "moist yet airy...fruit-nuanced...with the classic honey-floral drydown." It includes additional notes of ambrette, neroli, apple, clover leaf, violet leaf absolute, beeswax, honey and musk. I rarely wear lilac perfumes (En Passant being the notable exception) but I enjoyed this one, even if it's not as "me" as the Peony. This lilac has a fruity aspect from the apple and ambrette notes, and an almost humid feeling, as though it were subtly giving off pollen and nectar. It comes on more aggressively that I might have expected — it's ladylike, but not shy — and even when it softens a bit and its leafy and musky sides come out, it keeps its distinctive floral notes. If you're a lilac fan, you should certainly try it.
Peony and White Lilac are both very feminine soliflores that stay true to their floral inspirations. They also both have very good staying power (Peony, in particular, still clung to my skin after eight hours of wear). I enjoyed spending time wrapped in their essences this week, and now I'll remember to check the Dawn Spencer Hurwitz website more often and to place more regular sample orders.
Peony is available as 1 dram ($21), 10 ml ($35), or 30 ml ($80) Eau de Parfum. White Lilac is available as 10 ml ($33) or 30 ml ($70) Eau de Parfum and as 10 ml Essence Oil ($52.50), with matching body products. For buying information, see the listing for Dawn Spencer Hurwitz under Perfume Houses.