Passport à Paris by Dawn Spencer Hurwitz for DSH Perfumes 2013

Hi there APJ Crew,

I have been slack, yes a slackard am I, but FINALLY I am getting to a beautiful set that Dawn Spencer Hurwitz sent to me through one of our fabulous APJ writers Willa Zheng. We had coffee and a sniff yesterday afternoon and she reminded me that I had to write up the DSH stuff immediately. So when I first sniffed the package here is the one that took my breath away immediately and I LOVE Paris, match made in heaven

Passport à Paris by Dawn Spencer Hurwitz for DSH Perfumes 2013

Passport à Paris DSH Perfumes FragranticaPhoto Stolen Fragrantica

Fragrantica gives these featured accords in one line:
Lemon, bergamot, lavender, palisander rosewood, mandarin orange, jasmine, Bulgarian rose, orris root, clover, Australian sandalwood, amber, vanilla, coumarin, ambergris, Indian patchouli, civet

From DSH Perfumes site: My fragrant ode to two perfume greats of Paris, circa 1885: Jicky and Fougere Royale. Inspired by Claude Monet’s “The Beach at Trouville”, this universal perfume could be worn by both men and women on their holiday as well as about town. Passport a` Paris utilizes aroma molecules vanillin and coumarin. considered quite modern at the time.

Sur les planches de Trouville oil on canvas 50 x 70 cmPhoto Stolen WikiCommons

Lovely, deep, burnished woods and resins lift off with a citrus side order. It must be Paris in spring or summer because while Passport à Paris is all of these beautiful things there is a dark and funky undertone. Through reading the notes I find that lavender is the component that I could smell but not identify, though now I know what it is I am smacking my head. Of course it is, a lightly sugared and vanilla’d lavender that is both charmingly warm and very slightly minty cool, a happy juxtaposition that keeps me on the edge of my nose wondering which way it will fall.

One of the lovely things Jin & I did in Paris in 2013 was have a hot chocolate banana waffle under the big Ferris Wheel, there is something here of that happy memory. The beauty, majesty, cool air and hot waffle: both cake and crispy caramelisation, the squished banana and drizzled chocolate. Jin was in heaven and when I had a little bit I could understand how happy he was in that instant, it was such a pure and unsullied moment that I had to capture it. One of those “God, I love him” snippets of time.

Jin Waffle ParisJin eating hot choc-banana waffle Paris Feb ’13

So while I can make out the correlation between Jicky and Fougere Royal what I smell when I’m wearing  Passport à Paris is my own special shared moment.

For those fiercely anti-natural you may find Passport à Paris, though full of courmarin and vanillin, to feel a little like the heft and deeper lay of a natural. This could never be confused with a mass market fragrance offering and I think Dawn never wanted it to. This is a beautiful, tonal, mesmerising fragrance that feels like it is still in touch with the earth and the power of natural perfumery. I love the soft, furry, powdery dry down too. What a beautiful ending, around 5-6 hours till I can smell no more…..

DSH Perffumes have EdP (which I reviewed) and Parfum strengths starting at only $5

Are you a Dawn Spencer Hurwitz fan? Do you have a favourite? Maybe you’ve tried Passport à Paris, what were your impressions?
Portia xxxx

15 thoughts on “Passport à Paris by Dawn Spencer Hurwitz for DSH Perfumes 2013

    • HAH! Yes a bathtub sized bottle would be very nice Sheila. Dawn is very delicate with her blending, I really like this departure from what I associate with her.
      Portia xx


  1. Awww, Portia, this was a really lovely review!
    I’ve tried only a few Dawn’s creations but I’m pretty impressed by the ones I sniffed. I’ve visited France so many times but never managed to have long enough time in Paris. Hopefully next time… I want to have a good perfume shopping there!


    • ThinkingMagpie,
      There is NEVER enough time in Paris. I have never felt that I have seen even 1% of everything on my list. I have a mate who lived there for 10 years and feels he only saw a snippet of the city.
      Perfume shopping is amazing.
      Portia xx


  2. I have the 3 item, 3 ml size, sample set of this group here, w/ the same item in Queen of flowers arriving any day….we are in L.O.V.E.!! w/ all of them…need perfumes in stoppered bottles YESTERDAY! 🙂 🙂


  3. Hi Portia,
    Dawn Spenser Hurwitz perfumes are wonderful! I am a total fan. I just don’t know where to begin with her fragrances. She has created so many over the years and there are so many available that it is hard for me to pick a favorite let alone chose something new. A few that come to mind immediately are Prana, Pandora, Mata Hari, Cafe Noir, the old Pamplemousse en Plus (discontinued on her site but available here and there), the Red series, the Egyptian theme group of museum fragrances…she is so creative. Can you recommend a short list (5) of your favorite DSH? We are usually pretty much on the same page with fragrances (except perhaps for her Mata Hari). You recommendations would help me a lot the next time I go to purchase from her site.
    Azar xx


    • Hey Azar.
      WOW!! You are right, it is hard from the sheer breadth of the DSH line up.
      I particularly love Cimabue, Ma Folie de Noel, Euphorisme d’Opium and 1000 Lilies are the four that spring immediately to mind. I would have to go searching for others but those plus Passport à Paris are the 5 I would recommend to you.
      Portia xx


      • Thank you, Portia!
        I put your recommendations in my wish list on the DSH website. Now I will have a good starting point the next time I place an order.
        Azar xx


    • Hi Azar, here is my shortlist of fragrances, as picked out for me by DSH, when I availed myself of her consultation service.
      – Ma Plus Belle Historire d’amour
      – la vie en rose
      – guimauve de soie
      – oeillets rouges

      If you like florals and have a neutral/slightly woody base odor, these are worth sampling!


      • Hi Willa,
        Thank you so much for your suggestions! I have a small bottle of Oeillets Rouges, part of the Le Rouges Collection Box (what I referred to above as the Red series). I use Oeillets Rouge often. I don’t know the other three … more for my own DSH wish list!
        Azar xx


  4. I’ve only sniffed a couple of the DSH perfumes, at FRAGments 2014 in LA, and Ma Plus Belle is one of the things I smelled that day that really stuck with me–a beautiful wisteria and linden scent. I wish I’d bought some. Maybe this year! There’s also a rave review of Euphorisme d’Opium at Kafkaesque. Thanks for the review, and your beautiful memory of Paris.


  5. Thank you for this delightful review, Portia! I’m so thrilled that you fell for Passport. 🙂 I’m also delighted to have transported you back to Paris through the fragrance and with such lovely memories; it’s an honor.


    • WOW!! Dawn, it is so special that you came to drop in to APJ! You’re amazing and yes Passport is such a romantic journey for me, it’s the good stuff.
      You’ve made my day.
      Portia xx


  6. Oh Dawn is one of the best perfumers, my two all time faves are Oeillets Rouges (one of the best carnation perfumes I think) and Mahjoun, that spicy delectable concoction perfect for Winter. Recently tried Pretty and Pink, and rather liked it. Now of course Passport is on my to try list! Thanks Portia for the review.


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