Each year Dawn Spencer Hurwitz releases a special limited edition fragrance for the Holidays with a more definite festive and Christmas-y flavor. This year the theme of inspiration is derived from exotic dark fruits and spices incorporated into an unusual, both spicy and gentle brew called Tamarind Paprika in her upscale collection titled Parfums des Beaux-Arts.
Spencer Hurwitz is an independent artisan perfumer based in Boulder, Colorado whose creations are noteworthy for their consistently high quality and variety of sources of inspiration ranging from "études" on a perfume material to the olfactory renditions of colors and even historical reconstitutions. Her most recent endeavor, about which we would like to talk more at a later date titled "The Perfumed Court", after the nickname given to the court of Louis XV, is a recreation of 18th century perfumes based on the biography of perfumer Jean-Paul Fargeon and his royal patron queen Marie-Antoinette written by Elisabeth de Feydeau, A Scented Palace and which we reviewed last year.........
DSH counts the jet set among her customers, including "Kate Hudson, Goldie Hawn, Cher, Madonna, Donatella Versace, Demi Moore and many others". Spencer Hurwitz uses a high proportion of natural ingredients in her creations, between the higher digits of 90% and 65%. Synthetics she admits using for animalic notes and rare vegetal notes that are usually extremely costly and moreover reserved in advance by growers for big corporations.
Tamarind Paprika is a deep medley of dark spicy fruity and spirituous notes that lets out a relatively lighter, softer, greener spring-like impression by contrast escapes from its midst like an anticipation of a spring breeze in winter; it makes one think of the softness and greenness of angelica.
The pulp of the Tamarind fruit has naturally a prune-y, sour taste that warrants the addition of sugar making it a popular candied fruit in South Asia. Paprika is a priori fiery but here it is used not to devil the perfume so much as to add sophistication and a little bit of nervousness and sexiness to the rich concoction.
The velvety darker texture is created by such notes as a pomegranate accord, tamarind, red wine notes, oppoponax, tobacco absolute. It is sweetened by vanilla absolute. The tart, wine-y and prune-y aspects of pomegranate, tamarind, red wine, and osmanthus are sought out but tamed and made gentler at the same time. Floral notes of Bulgarian rose otto, orris, and osmanthus seem to contribute to a subtle lightness and airiness contained within the folds of the deep, almost black Burgundy-colored perfume (in olfactory terms).
The perfume is equally comforting and sexy, the latter seductive aspect revealing itself with time more as the development of the scent refines the sensations overtime, also gaining lift with time as the beginning is more like a deepening movement into the hinted-at sweetness of candied roses and vanilla flanc with a subtle leathery undertone and more present red-wine overtones (Côtes du Rhône). It started more on the gourmand and quirky side with a complex of edible sensations including a savory tonality bordering on the faint smell of dried fish (we do not practice any hierarchization of smells and all are a priori interesting as the goal is to become a two-year old again in this respect and as far as we are concerned) and continue into the next day as an elegant amber-y oriental; one is reminded both a bit of Opium and Chanel No. 5 as general references. The perfume has a life of its own, imposing its presence on you and catching you unaware each time as to being the source of true olfactory pleasure.
The scent is available both in eau de parfum and parfum versions. This review is for the parfum version. It retails $42 for a 0.25 oz. refillable purse spray, $145 for the 0.25 oz. parfum extract, $125 for 1 oz. edp. You can sample the edp for $6.50.
There is a promotional code running from now until the 5th of January. With HOL7, you save 20% off your purchases.
You can also read our review of DSH Wild Honeysuckle