August 18, 2013

Modern History - Iridum by DSH

Ballerinia Lubov Tchernicheva, appearing in Cléopâtra, 1918. Harvard University Collection
Every age creates its own take on the splendor that was Ancient Egypt.  Dawn Spencer Hurwitz of DSH has revisited and revised her collection Secrets of Egypt into a New Kingdom set of perfumes to bring them into a modern sensibility.  A new perfume in the set, Iridum, particularly reflects the ethereal cool ideal of modernity as it unites with the elegant simplicity, even minimalist nature of ancient Egypt's perfume spirit.

Iridum almost sounds like a mineral, but in this case it would represent something like the both the warmth of gold and the coolness of an evening blooming Iris' roots drinking in the Nile's water at the edge of a marsh, as electrified by a clarifying lightening storm.  A flash of beauty that reveals everything of itself in heightened detail.

The perfume is energetic and lively and uplifting, with an undercurrent of warmth in its woods and  incense base  Still there is also an inherent gentleness, the softness we much prefer today in perfume, as it acts like a fragrant breeze that carries the aromatic essences of orris-woody-incense impressions to us.

It works as primarily an aesthetic rather than an academically authentic experience, using modern perfume materials in combination with the old natural materials. More like the light of the full moon in the open air at night, light reflected rather than blazing out from the full sun, that would bake out the fragrance of the aromatic materials of nature.

Hapshespsut, New Kingdom, Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY
Egypt was about power and magic but also about the cool fullness of nature, the waterside flowers drinking deep from the Nile's edge, the romantic delicacy of emotion revealing itself over time even through the strength of a calm expression.  In this way the perfume rises from the skin holding a primarily iris nature that connects to a camphoraceous cedar wood and the upper register elements within a balsamic incense, to make an impression of sophisticated elegance.

I myself have not been much attracted to Iris as a note, but in this case it is delicately calibrated to act as a cooling veil of refined ornament that enhances the beauty of pleasantly warm skin with a refreshing drink at the fountain of an ancient and powerful source of aesthetic elegance. I can't get enough of it, yet I know it's not overpowering others in my wake. 

Lately I have been visiting the galleries of Ancient Egyptian art in the museums nearby, and I am  struck by the refined simplicity and power of the pictures sculptures and architecture that continue to transport us into the sacred nature of the most precious and timeless experiences of everyday life.

I am glad that DSH was moved to bring us the refreshment of quintessential Egyptian beauty to ornament our own everyday lives.

An Ancient Egyptian love poem says it best: 
"Sa'am plants are in it,
In the presence of which one feels oneself uplifted!
I am your darling sister,
I am to you like a bit of land,
With each shrub of grateful fragrance.
Lovely is the water-conduit in it,
Which your hand has dug,
While the north wind cooled us.
A beautiful place to wander,
Your hand in my hand,
My soul inspired
My heart in bliss,
Because we go together."

DSH Iridum is available on her website as a sample and in a range of sizes, in both perfume and EdT strengths.  The EdT sample was sent to me by the perfumer.

The poem dates from 1500BC to 1000BC.

Please follow this link to my prior post on the Secrets of Egypt Collection (Old Kingdom) by DSH which were made with authentic botanical ingredients based on the recipes and texts that survive.

Copyright 2013 Lucy Raubertas, All rights reserved.  



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