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terça-feira, 22 de março de 2016

Natural Fragrance Review: La Belle Saison Extrait by Dawn Spencer Hurwitz (2016)

03/19/16 08:14:04 (6 comments)Summary: From American master perfumer Dawn Spencer Hurwitz (DSH Perfumes)comes La Belle Saison (The Beautiful Season), a surprisingly sweet breeze of summer florals featuring lilacs and acacia honey set against an ambery base; a currently limited edition scent.

Try this if you like: Sweet aromas; honey, honey and more honey; off the beaten path florals; lilacs; 100% botanicals; acacia/mimosa blossoms; aquatic bergamot/neroli; perfume extraits; basenotes of sandalwood.
Reminds me of: This is a tough one as I can't really think of any other fragrances this immediately reminds me of. I'd like to think that this might be what L'Abeille de Guerlain smells like as they share similar notes. Interestingly, the rounded, aquatic sweetness of the neroli and bergamot in the first hour did immediately call to mind aspects of Luciano Soprani's Just Free. Though the florals are completely different and I can't say the general aromas are anything similar, I do find that I'm reminded ofFrancis Kurkdjian's Elie Saab fragrance. He also employed honey and orange blossom and I think that accord is similarly noticeable here in Dawn's La Belle Saison.
Pros & Cons: Ok, first a clarification as to what acacia actually is from Ehow.com:
"When the name "mimosa" is applied as a common name, any species in the Acacia genus may be called mimosa. In this application, there is no difference in mimosa and acacia trees. However, only when the common name "mimosa" is freely applied in a regional vernacular to multiple trees does the confusion start. For example, Albizia julibrissin may be interchangeably called silky mimosa, Persian acacia or silk-tree among various English-speaking nations or regions. Plants in the genus Acacia may be called mimosa, wattle, thorn-trees, acacia or prickly Moses."
I'm always amazed at the marked differences among "botanical" or natural perfumes. I recently received samples of incredibly expensive, "niche" naturals and they are murky, expected and downright uninteresting. But what a difference a perfumer makes; I'm constantly impressed by the skills and raw materials of Dawn Spencer Hurwitz. I don't think anyone would imagine La Belle Saison to be a natural! This is the kind of fragrance I might expect from a classic French house such as Caron.
I'm not typically a fan of mimosa fragrances often finding them to be overwhelmingly powdery and somewhat bitter. Dawn employs a note she presents as "acacia honey" so this floral is actually a sweetened variation and I find none of the typical powder associated with mimosa in scents like L'Artisan's Mimosa pour Moi, for example. So mimosa lovers should understand that La Belle Saison is anything but the typical creamy mimosa fragrance.
And though honey and beeswax fragrances can sometimes turn musty and even dirty on my skin, the expert blend of La Belle Saison with a wide array of other notes keeps it from ever heading towards skank. While one might not immediately consider this to be a "honey" fragrance, its presence is undeniable.
And finally, there are the lilacs. My own experience with lilacs has been a mixed bag. Ultimately, I have not gravitated toward fragrances featuring this floral as often as I have those featuring other spring blossoms such as hyacinths for example. But again, La Belle Saison is definitely not a soliflore but a rich composition that highlights the lilac blossom at the opening before developing to a warmer, richer base.
There's an interesting sweetness that I have to compare to classic bubble gum. I understand that this is not a sophisticated metaphor but sure enough, that's what I think of. It must be the ambrette, honey and neroli.
At $330 USD for a half ounce of perfume extrait, the price is both steep for the amount and also completely in line with pure perfume products from major designer brands. Longevity and is above average and the complexity of development, like many of Dawn's scents, is noteworthy.
Notes: The fragrance features lilac, ambrette (musk mallow), anise, bergamot, acácia honey, French beeswax, heliotrope, Mysore sandalwood, Sambac  jasmine, styrax, Tunisian neroli and violet leaf.
Designer’s Description: "The Most Beautiful Season: Late Spring in full bloom.
I have always loved this name, borrowed from an early Houbigant perfume that was meant to evoke an exotic Summertime floralcy, so I wanted to create something special around it.   I have also wanted to engage the challenge of creating an all botanical, Lilac-centric fragrance, and with this new design these two visions came together.  I hope that you will enjoy this Impressionist style perfume that evokes the elusive aroma of French lilacs surrounded by verdant breezes carrying with it the scent of new growth, promise, and happiness.   Because for me, Spring is the most lovely time of year." DSH
La Belle Saison by Houbigant: launched in 1924, created by Robert Bienaime. Bottle by Lalique. HoubigantPerfumes.blogspot.com
Number of times tested: Twice over the last 2 days.
Number of sprays applied for this review: 2 generous dabs to the back of hand from a sample vial sent to me by Dawn Spencer Hurwitz (2016).
Fragrance strength: Extrait
Development: (Linear / Average / Complex): La Belle Saison is a walk through a summer garden in the late afternoon. The visitor is first greeted by the heady aroma of lilac blossoms. Eventually, sweet acacia creates a canopy overhead as bushes of jasmine and heliotrope release their scent. A tea pavilion greets the wanderer with pillars of beeswax candles. One can sit and enjoy a cup or bergamot tea with honey as the blue sky turns golden, the sun sets, and sandalwood incense fills the air.
Longevity: (Short / Average / Long-lasting) Modest dabs from a sample vial lasted a surprising 6+ hours on my skin; the first three were sweet and floral while the final three were ambery-woody.
Sillage: (A Little / Average / A Lot) No need to press nose to skin, Le Belle Saison quickly filled the space around me throughout its first two hours.
Note about the packaging: As seen above, Dawn currently offers this limited edition in an antique presentation perfume extract glass flacon.
Where can I buy it? A 15ml Perfume Extrait retails for $330 USD atDSHPerfumes.com. 5ml is $130 USD and an individual sample is $23 USD.
The Bottom Line: Dawn Spencer Hurwitz creates ravishing works of art. Visit our Fragrantica main menu and look for articles using her name as your search terms. Just look at the treasure trove of reviews from Fragrantica's own Ida Meister. I've been enjoying Dawn's work for almost 20 years now and her unfailing dedication to perfumery - often in response to art, fashion and history - is impressive.
The release of a new fragrance from DSH Perfumes is always cause for celebration. And though the American northeast is bracing for ice and snow, weather here in south Florida is decidedly summery. Though not even spring yet, the heat of March encouraged me to explore La Belle Saison. And what a season it is.
Had I first read the notes of Dawn's newest scent, I might have skipped it and moved on to one of the other samples she so kindly shared with me. Lilacs and mimosas are not exactly my cup of tea, and honey can be challenging.
"Wow," was literally my first reaction, "what is THAT?" Not surprising as this often happens when testing Dawn's perfumes. La Belle Saison is nothing like I could have imagined. I immediately went to her website to discover that she introduces this fragrance as lilac-centric. Hmmmmm. Yes, there is the lilac...but it's bold and sweet.
As I read the list of ingredients, I kept nodding my head, "yes! I can smell that!" Violet leaf and bergamot? Yes! There is an almost aquatic lift in the first few minutes.
Acacia? I think I might have smelled acacia once in my life while in France and I recalled that mimosa and acacia were one and the same. I worried that La Belle Saison might head towards powder. Nope. No powder in sight, er, sniff.
And the sweetness, oh my the sweetness. I admit that I like my fragrances sweet, and vanilla, amber and tonka are three favorite notes. When combined with florals such as neroli, I'm in total heaven, and this is one reason I so love Le Belle Saison. Yes it is lilac and acacia but it is also so much more.
Here's the best part: Like a summer day's change from sultry afternoon to breezy evening, La Belle Saison is a chameleon. As I noted above, the opening of the scent is the afternoon stroll through the garden; the drydown is the evening tea ceremony by candlelight and incense. The breath of sandalwood that lingers on my skin is simply beautiful. It's amazing how Dawn manages to create this development and a testament to the quality of aroma materials she chooses to work with.


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