“Pushing up and working under the earth” – A Perfume Review of Hiram Green Dilettante

Witness of Sense Hiram Green Dilettante Review

The Hiram Green perfume house is a brand that I admire from afar. I like that they use natural fragrant materials and that they do not release 10 new perfumes each year, they definitely do quality over quantity. Yesterday, I saw the announcement of their latest fragrance, Arbolé Arbolé, and it reminded me that I have yet to write a review about Dilettante, Hiram Green’s third fragrance which was released earlier this year.

As you may know by now, floral perfumes tend to be difficult for me. They are not the instant likes, instead, they tend to be prickly, loud and demanding. It is only after several wears that I discover their beauty, although even then I often refrain from wearing them. However, florals are also the most exciting perfumes for me. Maybe I am fascinated by difficult beautiful perfumes? I don’t know but I remember reading about Dilettante and becoming curious about the scent. With notes of orange blossom, petitgrain and neroli and other bloggers’ reviews that described Dilettante as a sunny, warm, happy orange blossom fragrance, I immediately imagined something along the lines of Francis Kurkdjian APOM Femme or Houbigant Orangers en Fleurs. Hmmm, I was hooked and ordered a sample.

The truth is, when I first tried Dilettante, I was almost appalled. This is what others consider liquid sunshine? Have they ever seen or felt the sun? Dilettante sat as a heavy soapy scent on my forearm while somehow also smelling dirty. There was something dark and musty covered under soap, like slightly damp, musty tree branches. Tree branches of an orange tree with oversized blossoms which infused the air with their indolic scent. There was nothing fruity in Dilettante, it rather reminded me of Hermes 24, Faubourg and Mona di Orio Nuit Noire, both fragrances that I consider “diva” fragrances with a classic vibe.  I know there are people who smell terrific wearing any of the two. But on me, they are wrong. Just wrong.

One splash of Dilettante and the whole room smelled like musty orange blossom branches. How does Hiram Green manage to create natural fragrances with such a sillage, I wonder? I decided to ignore Dilettante and wait until it had toned down a bit but I had to wash it off after an hour or so. Too strong, too soapy.

Since then, I have tried to find the beauty in Dilettante again and again. I now allow Dilettante to be something different from sunshine and see that the heavy indolic, almost animalic orange blossom of the head notes actually moves aside for a more creamy, green orange blossom. That the soap smells of high quality Aleppo soap and that the musty undertone can also be interpreted as a wooden eucalyptus scent.

About 2 hours after applying Dilettante, the scent warms up quite a bit and – who would have known – even shows a fruity-floral character. Do you know the moment when the sun is breaking through heavy, dark clouds and when suddenly everything around you is lit up? This is how Dilettante feels like. I can see why Hiram Green chose the quote of Frances Hodgson Burnett’s novel The Secret Garden (1911) as a part of the fragrance’s description text. “It is the sun shining on the rain and the rain falling on the sunshine” was used by one of the novel’s main characters, a 10-year-old girl, to describe spring. It is actually followed by “and things pushing up and working under the earth.” For two hours, Dilettante feels like it is working under the earth but what comes after is simply beautiful.

My Dilettante sample has lasted me several months because I never use more than one splash and I find that I rarely wear it – it simply does not feel like it suits me. For a highly artistic and pushing fragrance that is beautifully crafted, I still rather turn to Vero Profumo’s Mito Voile d’Extrait which is perfect for when I need a strong flower to lead me through the day.

Dilettante is available at different online perfume shops, I bought my sample at Aus Liebe zum Duft.


It’s your turn: which Hiram Green fragrance do you like? Is there an orange blossom that works for you?

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