Sunday, October 02, 2011

DSH Perfumes- Pandora

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:
Indie Perfumes
Scent Hive
Eyeliner On A Cat
Perfume Pharmer

Pandora by DSH Perfumes ($60, 10ml EDP)  can be purchased from Other sizes, concentrations and samples are also available. The sample for this review was sent to me by the perfumer.


  1. I completely agree - Pandora is really All That, a glorious throwback to an elegant era of womanly perfumes. My favorite part is the drydown and that wonderful botanical Mousse de Saxe accord. One could be forgiven for thinking this was a vintage Caron! This exactly the kind of fragrance for someone to try if they are wary of indie scents and want a modern classic.

  2. "The thing is that luxury is not and should not be mass-produced."

    Yes, yes, and more yes. Gaia, you have a talent for cutting straight to the point. Pandora is a true luxury, and it's even more precious (in my opinion!) because it's indie, because it's hand-crafted.

    I am wearing my little sample of Pandora to death. It will be a real gift to myself when I spring for the full-size - and I will be doing so, for sure!

  3. I'm already an ardent fan of Dawn's work and this new one sounds nothing short of amazing. I can't wait to try it!

  4. I think that the indies are the only ones, save for the truly classic houses like Caron, who make real perfumes now. The celebrity scents out in the major shops are at best disgusting, and all smell alike in one way or another. The problem is that only a few people are interested in the smaller houses perfumes, or even know about them; the rest of the population follow the popular ads and buy what the magazines tell them to.

  5. I tried Pandora for the first time yesterday and was astonished at it's beauty. Dawn is a talented perfumer-but I'd never tried any of her other creations; this perfume is a masterpiece. Rich, dark, complex and lovely. I was smitten from the first moment I sniffed the beautiful retro oakmoss/leather vibe. By the time I hit the ambergris/orris phase I was in pure heaven!

    I knew there was a serious buzz on the blogs about Pandora but I decided to ignore it as I wanted to enjoy the discovery for myself. Probably selfish but I'm so glad I did.

  6. Your comments on the world of perfume r so interesting to me, as I've never tried any indie brands. Btw, what a beautiful image you've chosen to head the review!

  7. Gaia,
    I couldn't agree more about your assessment of true luxury! So few people realize that hand made is real opulence. Joey is absolutely right about you: you cut straight to the point. :)
    Thank you for your gorgeous review of Pandora! It's always the greatest pleasure to be her at the Non Blonde! I am honored and very touched that you love Pandora as I do!

  8. Hi Gaia, I'm so glad you agree about the Vintage feel of Pandora!I am just in love with this perfume!

  9. I agree, I love Pandora. I didn't fall in love with it immediately. I had to understand it. I don't always fall in love with a perfume until I explore everything about it, and give it a chance to cut through my standard tastes. Once I did, I fell in love with it. Love your review.


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