Independent perfumer Dawn Spencer Hurwitz recently announced the launch of Fleuriste,* a carnation-centered "modern floral with just a few nods to the classical style." Regular readers at Now Smell This very likely know that I have a special fondness for rose fragrances, but I love other florals, too — violet, iris, and yes, carnation. Therefore I was naturally interested in Fleuriste, which includes notes of rose leaves, carnation, neroli, jasmine, rose and ambergris.
Fleuriste begins with a breath of chilled air and crisp greenery, as though you had just opened the door of the refrigerated display case in a florist's shop. There's a hint of moisture that lasts for a while, as though the flowers were misted with cool water — and the flowers in question are an abundance of carnations, with the rose and jasmine staying strictly in the background and lending a touch of creaminess. The carnation heart is fresh and "alive." There's a peppery undercurrent that segues into a very subtle woodsy musk in the base, but this is really a floral fragrance above all else.
Fleuriste stays semi-sheer throughout its development, which makes it a perfect carnation perfume for summer; I've worn it on a few very warm days without feeling overwhelmed by it. It has above-average sillage, particularly during its first hour, and average lasting power. I wish it lasted longer on me, because I like it so much, but I'm happy to reapply at mid-day.
So, where does Fleuriste fall on the carnation spectrum? It's not a cinnamon-tinged carnation scent like Dawn Spencer Hurwitz's Oeillets Rouges ("red carnations"), nor a spicy-clovey carnation like the dearly departed Floris Malmaison. On the other hand, it's not a nostalgic, powdery carnation fragrance like Caron Bellodgia (oh, how I miss you, Bellodgia!) or L'Artisan Parfumeur Oeillet Sauvage. It's true enough to the classical idea of a carnation perfume to appeal to vintage-lovers, but bright and sheer enough to please those with more contemporary tastes. Personally, I'm putting a small bottle on my wishlist.
Dawn Spencer Hurwitz Fleuriste is available as 10 ml Perfume Extract in a Presentation Flacon ($185), 60 ml Voile de Parfum spray ($225), 1 dram Eau de Parfum($27), 30 ml Eau de Parfum ($125), 10 ml Eau de Parfum ($63) and a matching Organic Shea Butter Body Creme (4.5 oz., $45). Samples are also available. For purchasing information, see the listing for Dawn Spencer Hurwitz under Perfume Houses.
*Hurwitz did offer a carnation fragrance named Fleuriste about a decade ago, but I never had the chance to try it, so I can't confirm or deny any similarity; the press release for the current Fleuriste does not mention an older version.