One of the most unfortunate directions popular perfumery has taken is stirring far far away from real green scents. Somehow bitter galbanum and hyacinth with their jonquil companion don't seem to entice the average perfume buyer. It's a real mystery to me- why are fake citrus and stomach-turning melon and aquatic notes considered "fresh and clean" while the real thing has been mostly abandoned except by those of us hoarding backup bottles of vintage Chamade, Chanel 19, Fidji and Vent Vert?
Dawn Spencer Hurwitz of DSH Perfumes is one of us. She created Vert pour Madame, a take-no-prisoner classic green chypre on all its leafy glory. Vert pour Madame has it all- the flowers and roots, an uplifting opening, a crisp elegance that walks on haute couture heels, and as Donna on Perfume Smellin' Things said: timelessness.
I'm especially seduced by the opposites that rule this DSH creation: bitter herbs and sweet tonka, fresh spring flowers and bold animalic notes (oh, the civet!), airy aldehydes and grounding patchouli. It's all there as Vert pour Madame caresses the body and works with it the way only real perfumes can do: it's silk, chiffon and skin. Why did this style fall out of favor? Is it the bitterness and dirty animalics that pushed away the modern consumer? Is it the strange quality of a strong orris note that makes many feel these scents are too perfumy and dated? Obviously, my vintage loving self can't answer it, as these are exactly the fragrances that thrill me, break my heart and make it soar at their eternal beauty. I will not wear fresh body sprays and anti-perfumes just as I wouldn't be caught dead in Crocs or Snooki-wear, so I'm not really equipped to answer these questions.
All I can tell you is that Vert pour Madame by Dawn Spencer Hurwitz is poetry and high fashion in a bottle. It goes with my little collection of vintage jewelry and scarves and makes me feel more confident and true to myself.
Top notes: Aldehyde, Bergamot, Cassis Bud, Galbanum, Hyacinth, White Peach
Middle notes: Jonquil, Moroccan Rose Absolute, Muguet (Lily of the Valley), Neroli, Orris, Sambac Jasmine, Violet Leaf Absolute, Ylang-Ylang
Base notes: Atlas Cedarwood, Australian Sandalwood, Ciste Absolute, Civet, East Indian Patchouli, Moss, Musk, Tonka Bean, Virginia Cedar
Vert pour Madame by DSH Perfumes is available in Eau de Parfum ($23-100) or Parfum ($70-198). Bottles and samples can be purchased on dshperfumes.com. My sample was sent directly from the perfumer.
Photograph from Vogue, 1948.