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domingo, 6 de março de 2016

Scented Snippets Perfumed Journey With Dawn Spencer Hurwitz: From Boston to Boulder / The Creation of Rendezvous

03/06/16 04:48:35 (3 comments)


On March 1st, Ida broke the news of natural perfumer Dawn Spencer Hurwitz's latest creation: Rendezvous. In today's snippet, she follows up on that story, telling us more about the creation of Rendezvous.
 
When Dawn Spencer left the Rochester, N.Y. area to attend art school at Boston University in 1988, she was already interested in aromatherapy and grand European perfumery. She had fallen in love with the classic Lanvins, Carons, Guerlains, Coty perfumes - among others.
While wandering around Newbury Street in Boston's Back Bay [often off-limits for students in those days, as it was lined with expensive boutiques], she discovered a small shop called Essence. Another 20 year old student from Emerson College was working there: Sarah Horowitz, a performance major minoring in philosophy and religion. [Dawn knew a friend who had dated a friend; she'd already heard of Sarah ;-)]
The rest is history.
[You put a Virgo and a Taurus together, and business can be sweet indeed.]
Dawn and Sarah worked in the shop together from 1990-1992.
Newbury Street, Boston
The original owner Mark was a very kind and gentle soul who was in exceptionally poor health at that time; it was 1992, and Dawn and Sarah were 24 years old. He sold them the assets, inventory, gave them the existing customer files, even the 1-800 number. It was a gift they would not forget.
Dawn remembers borrowing from her parents [as did Sarah], and utilizing funds which she had saved up on her own.
Dawn was making perfumes, and she clearly saw perfume as an “endless art form” - a point of view which was greeted with a measure of derision at times when she attempted to explain this to others.
1992-1994 was a time which predated the “invasion of French niche perfumes”, Dawn recalls.
One particular boutique at the old Prudential Center sold Jean La Porte's wonderful array of fragrances; nothing she'd ever smelled resembled them [I remember frequenting that shop with an awed sense of olfactory wonder, as Dawn did.], and they provided ample inspiration.
Dawn had private students, even then. She'd take them to the Holy Grail on Brattle Street in Harvard Square: Joseph Botindari's Colonial Drug Store [oh, the black day that they moved to Newton!] for a fragrant field trip.
[All good perfumistas made a pilgrimage there when visiting Boston; you could find jewels such as Patou's Colony for a song, if you were savvy and peered around cautiously.]
In 1994, Sarah moved to LA to strike out on her own, and the business partnership ended.
Dawn continued to create perfumes for clients, hold perfume parties, etc.
She and Edwin Hurwitz [a musician she fell in love with who also studied at B.U.] married and postponed their honeymoon for a year [it took a whole year just to plan and save for all that travel!], moved to Boulder, Colorado in 1995 -
And there they have been, ever since.
Dawn kept flying back and forth to and from Boulder - Boston [Husband Edwin has family here in Massachusetts]. She created bespoke perfumes for her rapidly growing list of clients, including refills for the first five years. Word of mouth is a powerful thing, and she continued to meet new people; she created her own handmade paper catalogs.
And she was only 25 years old.
Look what's happened SINCE.

I admire Dawn's work ethic and sound business sense. It's clear that, from the very beginning – she was sharp as a tack, combining sound business strategy with prodigious creativity [Pick an arena: visual art, olfactory art, textiles, jewelry creation? Who knows what will follow?] and the ability to communicate harmoniously with other artists, perfumers, customers.
Dawn's NOT a diva; she's a cooperative and amiable perfectionist endowed with tact and dimples.
Her winning disposition is coupled with a steel-trap mind. <3
 
Now, to Rendezvous!
As I experienced Rendezvous [for my recent review, click here] last week, I thought:
“Hmmmmm. Lanvin?” I'd been busily reacquainting myself with my older bottles of Rumeur, Scandal, My Sin. So I decided to ask Dawn a bit more about the creation of her latest Retro Nouveau perfume.
She was kind enough to satisfy my prurient curiosity <3

Ida: Outside of the other materials, which are botanical, along with animalics [I know that you're using real ambergris; it smells marvelous! African stone tincture.], what about civet and castoreum?
 
Dawn: “I'm using a wonderful civet from Synarome, Civet 150 Smp. It's a great replacement for real civet; it has a salty background...
The castoreum is a 50/50 blend of natural Canadian castoreum in a 50% benzyl benzoate solution from IFF. As you can imagine, I'm on the fence about using this. It's so beautiful, and nothing smells quite like it. It's a real ethical dilemma for me.”

Ida: Rendezvous utilizes aldehydes in the opening. Which ones did you opt for, and why?
Dawn: “I used C12, and particularly C12 mna [Givaudan] for its rosy, soapy, waxy fattiness.
Also alpha- hexyl cinnamaldehyde. I wanted a very jasmine-centric fragrance with a period flavor/quality.”
[C12 mna is often referred to as imparting a “fresh amber aldehydic moss citrus tuberose metallic waxy coumarinic” quality ~ Luebke, William tgsc, [1984]. Alpha-hexyl cinnamaldehyde imparts “fresh floral green jasmin herbal waxy” notes ~ Luebke, William, tgsc, [1985]


Ida: When I first smelled Rendezvous, my initial impression was that of vintage Lanvin. What was your inspiration?
Dawn: “I try to leave a “calling card” in my fragrances – a reference to other perfumes. I had My Sin in mind, actually. I wanted to compose a balancing act: the ambery, salty floralcy and  animalic richness that comes to mind with My Sin – not the actual perfume, which is different.”
What is Dawn working on next?
“A different perfume based upon jasmine”, is what I'm told.
I'm patient.
I am certain that it will be worth waiting for.

P.S.: “tgsc” stands for The Good Scents Company :-) ]

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