Ideally timed before my travels to Italy, I received samples of The Italian Splendor Collection by the talented and prolific perfumer Dawn Spencer Hurwitz.
Comprising six perfumes, each inspired by one Italian city, this collection had my heart and nose from the start. I love Italy after all. And so does DSH obviously, because she managed to capture its essence in liquid form.
“The ITALIAN SPLENDOR collection brings the glory and richness of the greatest cities and art of Italian Renaissance to life in fragrant form. “– DSH
The first two perfumes of the collection take us over the Alps into northern Italy with Alba and to the city of Milan with Adoration.
Alba (from Across the Alps) is a creamy delight of white alpine flowers, orange blossoms, olive flower and white truffle;
Alba includes notes of lemon, bitter almond, bergamot, elderflower, bigarade, orange blossom, olive flower, jasmine, white rose, jonquil, sandalwood, heliotrope, cedarwood and white truffle.
Alba smells lovely. Starting citrus-y and a little bitter, the intensely sweet and rich base comes through almost immediately. An opulent heart of innocent white flowers (the jonquil note comes through very beautifully at first, later jasmine is dominant) sits on a sumptuous base of heliotrope-sweetened wood. The white truffle note interested me as soon as I read about it, but I can’t say I can identify it. The base is a very well-rounded and smooth whole, where nothing stands out particularly.
Alba is a delightful mix of bitter and sweet. Especially in the early stages this is not a shy scent, but it doesn’t feel overwhelming either. Alba, like a globe, seems to slowly revolve on an axis, presenting slightly different facets every time I smell my hand.
Alba was inspired by woven tapestries of Belguim, France and Renaissance Italy and the texture and multi-colored intricacies of those works of art are very well represented in the perfume. I really like it. Alba is an EdP and lasts very well on me, sillage is minimal, but though close to the skin Alba is powerful and beautiful.
Adoration (Milan) a classic golden incense with a heart of rose and a touch of smoke;
Adoration includes notes of angelica, rosewood, immortelle, galbanum resin, frankincese, myrrh gum, sandalwood, cedarwood, madonna lily, red rose, Bulgarian rose, labdanum, vanilla and exotic woods.
Adoration – representing the city of Milan – was inspired by Bonifacio Bembo’s work Adoration of the Magi (ca. 1455-1460) and the city’s great wealth and influence.
Adoration smells of incense and myrrh, the gifts of the Magi to the baby Jesus. A smooth, cool incense lies over the entire fragrance like a veil through which we smell a heart of rose and lily. The base is resinous and balsam-y, woody and a little sweet.
Adoration evokes images of old churches, the smell of burning candles, air thick with incense, flowers on the altar, old wooden pews worn smooth with time. Adoration is comforting to me, a safe place, a familiar place, thanks to my catholic upbringing.
Adoration is meditative, slow, calm and deep. It offers sanctuary.
Both perfumes are rich, multi-layered and opulent. They convey the spirit of the renaissance, the awakening, the broadening of horizons, the appreciation of knowledge and beauty very well. I am impressed with these creations as well as emotionally touched. Those first two perfumes come highly recommended.