Friday, 3 December 2010

Longing to try Indie perfumes

For quite some time now I have been visiting the websites of, and reading about, a number of so-called Indie Perfumers. In particular I've been checking out Neil Morris, Anya's Garden, Roxanna Illuminated Perfume, and DSH Perfumes. I like the idea that many of these people are trying different things and not afraid to express themselves outside of the constraints of the IFRA regulations. Now that is a massive subject in itself, and much debated, so I am not even going to attempt to add my two pennies worth!

I do have a dilemma though - I want to order some samples from some of these perfumers, but damn, they seem to have so many different perfume ranges that I find it totally confusing. I'm particularly fascinated by some of the perfumes on offer at DSH Perfumes. Dawn Spencer Hurwitz has a vaste range of perfumes, divided primarily between her Parfum des Beaux Arts line and what she calls her Essense Oils. However, within each of these categories lie further subdivisions, plus essential oils, aromatherapy products, you name it. Is it just me, or is this totally confusing?

Now, the purpose of this post is not to criticise DSH Perfumes by any means. In fact, I like the fact that there are so many fascinating products to try. However, for an Indie newbie like me who wants to dip his proverbial toe in the water, it is extremely difficult to decide what to try first. I can purchase various sample sets, or individual samples, across numerous ranges. Yikes.

Now usually the question I'm going to ask is better directed at a public forum, like say on MUA or basenotes, but as I trust the judgement of you, dear reader, I am instead going to pose the question here - if you have any knowledge of DSH Perfumes, please could you give me some recommendations of where to start? As some of you might already know, I like earthy, animalic accords, so for example ambers, leather, musk, oud, patchouli, deep woods, spices and incense are all up my  alley.

Incidentally, I'd enjoy reading your experiences of Indie Perfumers to date, and whether there are any you'd particularly like me to try.

Image credit -


  1. I had the same problem when starting to get to know Dawn's work. The site is very confusing if you don't know exactly what you are looking for and where to start and choose appropriately.
    My suggestion would be to go with her sample packs - she has them arranged in meaningful groups. You can start with the winter/christmas one, I love almost all of those in that one (those I don't love, I really like). :)

  2. hey there !
    I'd love to send you some indie stuff , so e-mail me - I'm a DSH fangirl , even more than Ines !
    Neil Morris , you'd love his Gotham . I can send you a samp of that too .
    kafa at aug dot com

  3. Waft/Carol IS the most generous person!! BTW, Carol if there is ever anything that I post that you need a sample of, PLEASE let me know.

  4. Ines, thanks for the comment. I do recall you writing about some of the Egyptian ones, if I'm correct. My inclination is to start with a sample pack too, to get an initial feel for her work.

    Carol, I'd love to take you up on that offer and will email you shortly. Thanks for taking the time to comment on my blog.

    Frida, the feeling is mutual, so please don't hesitate to ask me for something too, if you've seen something you fancy.

  5. Michael, you are not alone in your confusion. In fact, when I was with Dawn at her her studio in September, I let her know how overwhelmed I was by her line. She indicates receiving this feedback often.

    While it is not a criticism, it is something that indie perfumers would be wise to take into consideration. I've stated this before; perfumes released in volumes cheapen their appeal and the masterpieces get lost among them.

    Having said that, and because you are a perfumista after my own heart, I know you would appreciate the following DSH perfumes:

    Vetyver (OMG - beautiful leather, animalic, smoke - my favorite of those I've tried so far)
    Memory & Desire
    Vintage Patchouli
    Dirty Rose
    Three Kings

    I must be honest and say that even though the formulations are brilliant, they lack staying power and sillage - at least on my skin. You should know that going in. But in terms of a lovely scent experience, you can't go wrong with DSH.

  6. Hi Michael, Perfect time to discuss DSH fragrance confusion-just two days ago I ordered a 6 sample set from The Posh Peasant! All 6 sounded interesting, especially Cimabue and Celadon. Looking forward to reading your reviews on the Indie fragrances.

  7. I enjoyed The Color Orange. That's all I can remember. :)

  8. Hi Michael,

    You are using my art on your Blog without my permission. This image is copyrighted. Please contact me directly for my policies and fees if you want to continue using it. Also remember that many images on the internet are copyrighted material and so contacting the creator before using them can reduce legal ramifications.


    Greg Spalenka

  9. Hi Josephine, Cymbaline and Chicken Freak. Thanks for the recommendations. I'll certainly consider them!

  10. Greg, I apologise. I've removed the picture from this post.

  11. Hi Michael,

    DHS is running a special right now, Coupon Holiday10 (I found out from a Non-blonde posting)...20% off until December 13. I don't know if Cimabue would float your boat, but it is an amazing scent (I'm graduating to a full bottle before the 13th! :) )... someone (I think on either NST or Perfume Posse) wrote about it being like "Warm Rice Pudding", but it's got a great presence..saffron and cardomon are awesome in this... if you tried and liked Saffron Troublant by L'Artisan, you might really like this one.
    Also, Dawn will respond to any inquiries you might have... I emailed her this week, and she responded within a few hours.
    I have to note that I have no connection to DSH, I just love her work.

  12. Geordan, thanks for the tip and background info. That is a very good offer!



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