Perfume Notes: topnotes: wild blue chamomile, immortelle,
pressed violets, golden champaca
heart notes: faded flowers, candlewax, oriental lotus, black orris
basenotes: sable fur, fossilized amber, myrrh gum,
bloody sweet accord, mitti
In the words of the perfumer Dawn Spencer Hurwitz, herself:
Just as T. Gautier was inspired by the luscious colors of Delacroix, I found the sensuously atmospheric descriptions throughout the love story to evoke otherworldly perfumes and luminosities.
The phrase “ A twilight blue oriental perfume” most captured my imagination from the first time I heard it along with the image of faded flowers along side a bed of gold and silver, attended by a negro page wearing black velvet holding an ivory cane; and the satiny hand of “Clarimonde” as she lay dying. This cool, almost misty scene that might have been a last glimpse of Clarimonde paired with an alternate universe of warm opulence in Venice were always shimmering in my mindʼs eye as I created “Paradise Lost”.
( As you can tell, I do not want to give away too much of the story for those who have not read it).
The colors always flickering and wafting about my mind were cool periwinkle blue, the rich cobalt of “the blue hour”, faded terre verte earth & faded pinks, golden naples yellow, vermillion, deepest black velvet and oxblood.
This Bronzino portrait was also a great source of inspiration. (Thank you Alexis Karl for bringing it to my attention).
There is a strong sense of movement and development from the initial symphonic combination of all the notes to the separating out into individual ones. Fleeting moments of the metallic blood accord, and the violet and dry immortelle reach out, and then the fragrance moves on to the dry down and a sense that the skin has been perfumed clear through. As if it had soaked in, and become part of the wearer’s identity and signature.
I exist in this borderland of blue, suspended between day and night, between life and death, and you are here, I cannot question the flower-filled air I breathe, I cannot doubt the vision that has appeared before my eyes.
It is you, beloved, you yourself in every fragrant flower wreath that dances in your gleaming golden hair as you move around our chamber, costly, exotic flowers you thought nothing to buy as you desired when you lived, to wear or to clasp between us, you in this heated heart of perfumed candlewax that scented our desires, sweeter far than any joys of spirit I had hitherto ever known, sweet as the heady, opulent air that always pulsed above your skin, another aspect of my Clarimonde to breathe and to savor and to desire as no woman had ever desired, as no woman was ever desired before nor since.
There is a moment in the story where Clarimonde lays dying , waiting for Romauld to come to her castle. The room is misty and silken, there is a page with an ivory cane keeping his vigil by her side. In her bedchamber, there are quilts of gold and silver and a vase of faded flowers. Clarimonde herself is pale and wan, slipping quietly in between the dreamlike veils of life and death. Into this scene wanders the innocent and love stricken priest. DSH’s Paradise lost is gossamer and beautiful, the scent of that bedchamber, of that lost innocence. He kisses her and is lost within time and space from that moment on. Paradise Lost is full of amber, sable, chamomile, candlewax and so many other luscious accords that give this lovely perfume the aura of an oriental opiate. The effect of Paradise Lost on the skin is akin to a robe of soft velvet and rich brocade , forming a cloak that pulls you seductively through the bedroom door and forever into her unforgettable and unfathomable world.
The perfume’s topnotes are all sweet love ignited: wild blue chamomile, immortelle, pressed violets, golden champaca. The heart notes begin to tear, rip, and cry with oils and scents of faded flowers, candlewax, oriental lotus, black orris. The base notes resound from memory, like finding an old letter: sable fur, fossilized amber, myrrh gum, bloody sweet accord and mitti.
The above art nouveau limited edition flacon and a sample size of the perfume are available at DSH Perfumes