Before I even start talking about Pandora, a new perfume by Dawn Spencer Hurwitz of DSH Perfumes I'd like to say something about the way we choose and buy perfume.
We've been trained to find our luxury products on department store counters. Glitzy packaging and sleek display, a calculated image that's created with ads, spokespeople and PR stories. Many of the people reading this review, even those who visit this blog just to hear about perfume, don't always get the appeal of buying perfume from small lines that aren't on prestigious well-known shelves . Indie is a little bit too homespun for many who seek an indulgent. If there's also talk about natural ingredients it often reeks from the crunchy granola way of life, or a of a bunch of essential oils of questionable origin one can buy at Whole Foods and mix. It's not the kind of stuff found at Saks 5th Avenue.
The thing is that luxury is not and should not be mass-produced. If you want to smell and wear something special that was created by hand, composed according to a perfumer's vision without consulting with a focus group and made in small batches from high quality raw materials, you need to stay away from Sephora and big designer names. Even if the idea is somewhat scary, give indie a chance.
Pandora by Dawn Spencer Hurwitz is a wonderful place to start, especially if you're a lover of hardcore vintage/big/perfumy perfumes and all your favorites of yore have been discontinued or reformulated. Pandora is the real thing and then some. The composition notes read like the perfumer has put just about everything into this blend. The result smells opulent, dark and thick. Pandora walks a line between a leathery chypre and a rich oriental, somewhat sweet but not gourmand. The woods and the patchouli have an incredible vintage vibe. It's almost feels like finding an old chest full of treasures- amazing couture gowns, silk scarves and Art Deco jewelry that you can just take and incorporate into your current wardrobe and feel more beautiful and stylish than you've ever dreamed.
It's that good.
Notes (from DSH Perfumes website)-
Top notes: Aldehyde/Aldehydic, Bergamot, Cassis Bud, Davana, Green Peppercorn, Ozone, Pink Peppercorn, Ruby Red Fruits (botanical accord), Spice Notes, Violet Leaf Absolute
Middle notes: Cabreuva Wood, Centifolia Rose Absolute, Green Tea Absolute, Juhi Jasmine Absolute, Linden Blossom Absolute, Orris Root, Yerba Maté Absolute
Base notes: Ambergris Tincture, Australian Sandalwood, Cyperus, Fossilized Amber, Green Oakmoss, Mousse de Saxe no.1 (botanical accord), Muhuhu, Patchouli co2, Tonka Bean Absolute, Vanilla Absolute, Vetiver co2.
Read other reviews of Dawn Spencer Hurwitz's Pandora on:
Eyeliner On A Cat
Pandora by DSH Perfumes ($60, 10ml EDP) can be purchased from dshperfumes.com. Other sizes, concentrations and samples are also available. The sample for this review was sent to me by the perfumer.