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Dawn Spencer Hurwitz Souvenir de Malmaison ~ fragrance review

Souvenir de la Malmaison rose

Dawn Spencer Hurwitz recently launched several new fall fragrances, and my personal favorite of the bunch is Souvenir de Malmaison, “a new twist on a romantic classic: spicy carnation and rose meet in an ambery, wood fragrance.” Souvenir de la Malmaison is a floriental with notes of lemon, bergamot, black pepper, ylang ylang, rose, carnation, jasmine, cinnamon, clove, labdanum, ambergris, sandalwood, cedar, patchouli, tolu balsam and vanilla.

I have a weakness for good historical references in perfumery, and this scent has a few. First: Malmaison was the elegant residence of Napoleon Bonaparte and his consort Joséphine de Beauharnais, a château with a legendary rose garden overseen by Joséphine herself. Second: Souvenir de Malmaison is a rose cultivar created in 1843 and named in honor of the rose-loving Empress and her gardens. And in a related bit of recent perfume history, as perfume aficionados may wistfully recall, there used to be a carnation fragrance named Floris Malmaison

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Dawn Spencer Hurwitz Kaleidoscope & Wasabi Shiso ~ fragrance reviews

Farmers Market

For the past week, we’ve been coping with a heat wave in my part of the world. Most of my perfumes suddenly felt too smotheringly heavy and sweet, the olfactory equivalent of fluffy sweaters — I couldn’t stand to have them anywhere near my skin. There are a few tried-and-trusted exceptions that I turn to every August, of course: 4711, Diptyque L’Ombre dans L’Eau, Clarins Eau des Jardins. This week I also sampled two recent releases from Dawn Spencer Hurwitz, named Kaleidoscope and Wasabi Shiso. Both belong to the house’s Eau Fraiche/Eau de Cologne series.

Kaleidoscope is described as “a juicy and swirling, deliciously succulent ‘vegetable gourmand,’ citrus to floral, eau fraiche scent” with notes of neroli, green mandarin, lemon, pink grapefruit, orange flower, lettuce, citrus leaves, white flowers, rose de mai, sambac jasmine, grandiflorum jasmine, pink pepper, orris root, guaicwood, sandalwood and vetiver. The notes blend in ways that become more than the sum of their parts: the pepper and green notes combine to suggest tomato leaves, and the citrus notes are made earthy and complex by the surrounding woods…

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