Sumptuous florals, Monet’s famous garden at Giverny, Cartier’s jewels, florists, and Christmas — those are just a few of the subjects and inspirations for the roughly ten or so fragrances from DSH Perfumes that we’ll be exploring today. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the name, DSH Perfumes is a largely all-natural, artisanal brand out of Colorado run by the lovely, gracious, and very talented, Dawn Spencer Hurwitz.
She works extensively in collaboration with the Denver Art Museum and their exhibits, and several of the fragrances mentioned here are part of sets created for that purpose. For example, in last year’s Brilliant Collection, each fragrance was inspired by a particular Cartier piece and its owner, like Rubis Rosé for Elizabeth Taylor‘s ruby necklace, or Jacinthe de Sapphir which was inspired by Queen Marie of Romania. By the same token, this year’s Giverny in Bloom Collection is a quartet of fragrances released to go with the museum’s exhibit of Monet. Other fragrances, however, were created separately like Fleuriste which seeks to capture the scent of a florist’s shop or this year’s annual, limited-edition Christmas fragrance.
The reviews today will continue to be rapid-fire minis, and I’ll cover about 10 fragrances. I’ll focus only on a handful of releases from the two sets, in addition to Fleuriste, the Christmas special, and several other things. Some reviews will be detailed, and will include note lists, relevant links, and pricing information. Others, however, particularly for a few fragrances in the Cartier Collection, will have even less than that: merely overall impressions without a lot of background information or the typically massive DSH note lists for each scent, although I’ll provide a DSH link for you to follow up further for yourself.
There are a few reasons for this highly abbreviated approach. First, DSH Perfumes is currently having a 20% off sale, so the more I can get through in one go, the more it will help you to decide what fragrances to try. Second, Ms. Hurwitz creates a prodigious number of fragrances each year, often five or six in a collection, and several collections throughout each year. I can’t keep up, and often feel overwhelmed by the sheer number of releases each year. Some readers have told me that they’ve found the mammoth selection on the DSH website to be intimidating, and never know where to start; and I felt much the same way when I looked at it for the first time. So, my hope is that even a few simplistic, summary observations on a wider range of fragrances will help readers more than merely a handful of exhaustively detailed, comprehensive reviews. So, let’s get to it.
Fleuriste is a 2015 eau de parfum that seeks to capture the exact scent and feel of a florist’s refrigerated display of flowers, with carnations showcased above all others. The note list includes:
Bergamot, Carnation Absolute, Jasmine Grandiflora, Green Rose Leaves, Leafy Green (accord), Spice Notes, and possibly amber.
Fleuriste opens on my skin with sweet, fresh florals chilled inside a florist case, its arctic air cool upon your skin. Carnations that are fiery red but also delicately pink nestle next to tightly closed white rose buds, all of them dripping with dew and a floral sweetness, as though honeyed nectar were seeping out of cuts to their stems. Green leaves and frothy baby’s breath curl around the flowers like a protective barricade from the chilly air.
Hidden in the background lie several bridal wreaths made from the freshest, purest, but greenest jasmine grandiflora. That’s the sweet, occasionally fruity kind that almost never skews black, indolic, or camphorated in nature like jasmine sambac. Here, the floral headiness is natural, pure and fresh, like the jasmine growing in your garden, and their sweetness adds to the overall, primary sense of Fleuriste’s bouquet, a floral liquidity that’s as crystal clear and pure as a bell rung on the Swiss alps.
Within minutes, the carnation begins to unfurl, petal by petal, each releasing that peppery spiciness that is so characteristic of the flower. Yet, the fieriness is a quiet touch amidst the refreshingly chilled, nectared, leafy floralcy. That floral liquidity I talked about a minute ago is really the core essence of Fleuriste and feels like the entirety of a florist shop has somehow been captured in a bottle, creating a sense of a pantheon of flowers beyond even those listed in the notes. For me, that floral headiness, crystalline liquidity and nectared purity evokes more than just carnations; it also conjures up purple hyacinths, pale orchids, or sunny daffodils, each one a flower that I think bears the same narcotic sweetness, the same mix of floral nectar seeping over dewy spring petals while bitter green sap runs through its veins. It’s a beautiful opening bouquet that draws me back again and again for a very happy sniff in the first two hours. It’s refreshing coolness feels perfect for a hot summer’s day, but the narcotic headiness is suitable all year round, especially if you’re trying to recapture a sense of Spring.
Fleuriste changes in incremental steps. The roses become more of a backdrop after 40 minutes, while the carnation blooms front and center. The jasmine slowly retreats to the background, always smelling of a fresh, naturalistic floral sweetness more than a solid, heavy, clearly delineated “jasmine, jasmine, jasmine” note. I know some of you have issues with the flower, but I doubt you would here. It’s not only the furthest thing from indolic or ripe, but it really works indirectly more than anything else.
At the end of the second hour, the notes melt together into a floral bouquet that is predominantly carnation, quietly spicy and laced with a soft, musky cleanness. The crystalline clarity, floral nectar, greenness, and iciness of the opening have weakened substantially. Sometimes, those elements seem to have vanished almost entirely; at other times, occasional pops of a sweet, crisp, very hyacinth-like liquid floralcy are still noticeable. Up close, the carnation is prominent but, from a distance, the flowers increasingly smell as one, except for the jasmine which has vanished entirely.
Roughly 3.5 hours into its evolution, Fleuriste is almost entirely an amorphous, clean floral musk with glimmers of a soft, spicy carnation weaving in and out of the background, and an increasingly rare, ghostly note of nectared liquidity popping up once in a blue moon. There are no leafy, green, chilly elements at all. I don’t understand where the white musk impression is coming from, since DSH Perfumes is predominantly an all-natural brand, but that’s the sort of cleanness I detect here, as I do in the drydown of a number of fragrances from the brand. In any event, in Fleuriste’s final hours, all that’s left is a floral musk with a hint of spiciness about it. In total, it lasted just under 8 hours on my skin.
I truly loved the first 90 minutes to 2 hours of Fleuriste, and would have bought a bottle for myself had that opening lasted but I found the rest of the fragrance less compelling. There is something that I’ve noticed which happens with a lot of the DSH Perfumes on my skin and which I’ll be repeating with a few of the other reviews today: the first two hours are gorgeous, then the richness, the note clarity, the body of the fragrance and/or some other part that captured my attention essentially dissolves, leaving a very blurry composition that is flatter, thinner, frequently clean or cleaner with a soft musk, and overly discreet for my personal tastes in terms of sillage. That last point is definitely an issue of individual style: Ms. Hurwitz has told me in the past that she’s not fond of loud fragrances, and I love powerhouses, so we diverge there. The rest, particularly the way the notes lose their individual delineation and the bouquet blurs into something very simple that is centered on only one or two notes, is probably an issue of skin chemistry and the use of naturals. It may well be different on your skin.
Bottom-line: If you love the scent of a florist’s shop, or are looking for a crisp, refreshing, spicy carnation bouquet that is lightly laced with other flowers and greenness, I strongly recommend trying Fleuriste for yourself. Those first two hours… intoxicating!
Info & Links: Fleuriste ranges in price from $235 to $6, depending on concentration, bottle type, or size. For example, 10 ml EDP is $63, 30 ml EDP is $125, 3 ml of Voile de Parfum is $18. An EDP sample is $6. There is a body cream version, too. All of it is exclusive to DSH Perfumes. International shipping is available if you contact them first. The fragrance has a Fragrantica page, but there are no reviews there yet. However, Jessica on Now Smell This wrote a lovely review you can read if you’re interested.
GIVERNY IN BLOOM:
Giverny in Bloom is the centerpiece of the Giverny Collection, and comes primarily as an eau de toilette, though an even lighter “Voile de Toilette” is also available. The fragrance is described, in part, as follows:
An impressionist style perfume of green budding trees, wet dewy flowers and soil, that transforms to a rich floral bouquet as it wears. [¶] The inspiration for Giverny In Bloom is not only taken from actual information about Monet’s garden but also from the flowers found in the paintings of the exhibit.
The list of notes is gargantuan:
ambergris, australian sandalwood, bergamot, vetiver, bulgarian rose, cabreuva, carnation, civet, damask rose, soil tincture, indian patchouli, rose geranium, beeswax, lime (linden blossom), galbanum, jasmine, oakmoss, heliotrope, green leaves, lemon, mimosa, orris, parma violet, peony, petitgrain, pine needles, red rose, palisander rosewood, jasmine sambac, lilac, tunisian neroli, violet, violet leaf and virginian cedar.
Giverny in Bloom opens on my skin with green galbanum as dark and bitter as venomous sap, streaming and slithering like an emerald snake next to a pond filled with algae, wet leaves, watery flowers, and, yes, brackish water thick with sediment. All along the banks grow vetiver grass, their gnarled roots exposed and creeping along the damp, black earth, inching past mushrooms, past clumps of woody roses and carnations, to reach trees that appear grey-green from a coating of mineralized lichen or moss.
It’s a delicate but enormously intricate, multi-layered bouquet that is as evocative as its name, but it’s also olfactory genius in its symbolism, in my opinion. Mossy greens, grassy earths, spicy red florals, mushrooms, and roots embody the solid ground, and lie next to water elements redolent of a pond, of vase water after a day or two, and of everything in them. There is even a fleeting sense of an “air” component; I refuse to say “ozonic” because of all the justifiably terrible associations that word bears in the perfume world after fragrances like Davidoff’s Blue Water and its kin. But, yes, there is a subtle coolness that evokes misty air and foggy skies. It undoubtedly stems from the carnation because the note bears a minor similarity to Fleuriste’s chilliness, but it’s a very subtle element here.
Giverny in Bloom has a mammoth note list and, yet, everything is so seamlessly blended that the overall effect is of fluidity and movement, where notes ripple one onto the next, like the movement of water across Monet’s pond. It’s masterful in its utterly effortless rendition of Impressionism into concrete, olfactory form. This version may be cooler, more bitter, and slightly more concretely earthbound than some of Monet’s tableaux (which seem to focus either on his pond or his gardens, but not both at once in quite the way that this fragrance does), and the technique may veer closer to a Pointillist “dot” painter like Seurat rather than Monet in the way the fragrance is so detailed, focused, precise, and layered up close, but it’s utterly brilliant either way. On a less intellectual level, though, I have to admit that the composition doesn’t move me like the opening of Fleuriste did, but that’s solely an issue of personal note preferences. I prefer the “florist bouquet” with that compelling, crystalline floral sweetness to the greener stylings here. Plus, I really dislike galbanum, particularly when it skews into green-black venomous bitterness, and vetiver will never be my favorite note.
Giverny in Bloom starts to shift after 30 minutes. The galbanum becomes softer, a hair less bitter; the brackish vase or pond water weakens; and the vetiver grows very pronounced. The carnation is beginning to bloom, radiating its chilly but warm, spicy but sweet aromas. The rose follow at a distance, while a new note of violet brings up the rear. All the flowers are spreading their dark leaves to weave around the grassy, woody vetiver. The result is a different sort of “mixed media” greenness than the sappy galbanum and pond water which originally dominated Giverny in Bloom. In essence, the focus is gradually shifting from green water to the green “earth” or “ground,” and all that grows from it.
By the start of the 2nd hour, the earth elements essentially take over. The vetiver becomes the dominant note, trailed by the galbanum, the mixed florals, grassiness, mossiness, and damp earth. There is still a certain wetness to the scent, but it’s increasingly muffled by woodiness that smells primarily of cedar. In short, Giverny in Bloom is now mostly the scent of the forest floor after it rains.
Giverny in Bloom grows simpler over time. By the end of the 3rd hour, the fragrance is really just grassy, green vetiver laced with the same carnation floral musk accord that dominated Fleuriste’s later stages, right down to the occasional blips in the background of a hyacinth-like liquid floralcy. From a distance, Giverny in Bloom is primarily vetiver with a rosy-ish floral musk. Then, 6 hours into its development, a plush, vaguely creamy softness appears and starts to seep over the main two accords, diffusing them like a Photoshop finish, blurring them, and slowly muffling them. The softness soon becomes the main focus, and it’s all that’s left in the final hours. All in all, Giverny in Bloom lasted 8.5 hours which is pretty good for a natural EDT on my skin.
Bottom-line: Brilliantly symbolic, masterfully composed, complex, and unisex. A must-try scent if you love fresh, crisp, green and very naturalistic, outdoorsy fragrances that are centered on vetiver, galbanum, mosses, and forest-like elements.
Info & Links: Giverny in Bloom ranges in price from $155 to $6, depending on size, concentration, or format. For example, 10 ml EDT is $42; 30 ml EDT is $80; 3 ml of Voile de Toilette (lighter than EDT in concentration) is $15; 60 ml Voile de Toilette is $155; and a 9 ml parfum is $155. You can buy an individual sample or opt for a Sample Set of all four fragrances in the Giverny Collection. There is a room spray and a body cream, too. All of it is exclusive to DSH Perfumes. International shipping is available if you contact them first. The fragrance has a Fragrantica page, but there are no reviews there yet. However, Jessica on Now Smell This wrote a lovely review you can read if you’re interested.
L’OPERA DES ROUGES ET DES ROSES:
This is a 2015 release that is part of DSH Perfumes‘ Giverny in Bloom Collection and is an all-natural fragrance that I’m reviewing in eau de parfum form, although other concentrations are also available like a Voile de Parfum and a Parfum.
The note list is extensive but includes, in part:
Multiple types of rose (Turkish, Bulgarian rose Otto, Moroccan rose, etc.), Bergamot, Green Rose Leaves, Peony, Jasmine, Carnation, Neroli, Orris Root, Myrrh, Siam Benzoin, Tolu Balsam, Sandalwood, Ambergris, and Vanilla.
Dawn Spencer Hurwitz says she created the scent by first asking, “What ever happened to those drama filled fragrances of the past? The kind that makes an entrance and any room more vibrant and alive…?” L’Opera des Rouges is her answer. And what an answer. The opening is a heady, narcotic, sumptuous, and opulent floralcy that feels retro-vintage in a very modern way. Rich, velvety, beefy, naturalistic red roses unfurl besides peonies, spicy carnations, green leaves, and a very definite “violet” note (from the orris) lie atop a richly balsamic, almost earthy base. It’s such an incredibly deep, heady scent that it conjures up images of the fattest roses and peonies exploding in the air, showering damask petals on your skin along with their honeyed nectar and a pinch of spices from the carnations. The sense of creaminess is astonishing, a tactile sensation and texture given olfactory form, as though I’d crushed hundreds of petals onto my skin, releasing their natural aroma.
There is a beautiful lushness and grand femininity to L’Opera des Rouges’ first two hours, a sort of sweeping classicism found in the very best of French haute parfumerie of old. Yet, what is striking about L’Opera des Rouges is that it never feels dated or old-fashioned. Yes, there is a heft to the flowers, but only in the most naturalistic way. While the rest of the scent nods to Guerlainesque florals of the past, L’Opera des Rouges isn’t weighted down by powder, muskiness, or other classical elements that some people today see as “old lady.” There is a radiance to the full-bodied, sumptuously extravagant flowers here that feels modern.
On my skin, DSH Perfumes typically have their greatest depth, complexity, and richness during the first two hours, maybe three at most, before they soften into something that is generally rather different. In the case of L’Opera des Rouges, it gradually turns into a delicate, pale rose scent framed by crisp green leaves, clean musk, and powder. There is a distinct violet note that is now very green, rather than the more flowery, classic sort derived from orris root. I’m not keen on sharp green notes (be they leafy or violet), clean accords, or powderiness, so the rest of L’Opera doesn’t do much for me personally, but I think it’s an easy, wearable, feminine scent that others may enjoy. General longevity on my skin is about 6-8 hours, depending on how much I apply; the sillage is moderate but soon turns more intimate.
Bottom-line: definitely worth checking out if you love roses, retro-vintage florals, and very feminine, Guerlainesque fragrances.
Info & Links: Prices for L’Opera des Rouges range from $230 to $6, depending on concentration, bottle type, or size. For example, 10 ml EDP is $58, 30 ml EDP is $120, 3 ml of Voile de Parfum is $18. You can buy an individual sample or opt for a Sample Set of all four fragrances in the Giverny in Bloom Collection. All of it is exclusive to DSH Perfumes. International shipping is available if you contact them first. The fragrance has a Fragrantica page, but there are no reviews there yet.
THE CARTIER or BRILLIANT COLLECTION:
The Brilliant Collection was created to go along with the Denver Art Museum’s Cartier exhibit. The press release states that the four fragrances are “about the effect of gemstones (translated into perfume) inspired by Cartier and some of the famous personages who donned those fabulous jewels.” They are all eau de parfums that were released in 2014: Deco Diamonds, inspired by the Duchess of Windsor; Jacinthe de Sapphir (Sapphire Hyacinth) inspired by Queen Marie of Romania; Rubis Rosé inspired by Elizabeth Taylor; and Fumée d’Or (Golden Smoke), the fantasy recreation of the imagined scent of a Paris goldsmith’s workshop.
I didn’t bother with Deco Diamonds even though it had a nice list of floral notes like neroli, tuberose, gardenia, honeysuckle, and jasmine. I had limited time and too many DSH perfumes to go through; I was put off by the idea of aldehydes meant to evoke the hardest gem of all; I dislike galbanum as much as aldehydes; and I have issues with the Windsor couple, even though I think Wallis Simpson gets the brunt of the blame that really belongs squarely on the shoulders of her vomitously repellent husband. (As I said, I have issues.)
I was far more interested in Jacinthe de Sapphir because hyacinth is probably my second favorite flower after tuberose. Well, the scent is not for me. It’s too sharp, hard, soapy, bitter, and green for my tastes. The elements that make hyacinth so intoxicating to me are drowned out under aldehydes, galbanum, and musk. (God, Ms. Hurwitz loves her galbanum.) None of the flower’s beautifully narcotic, sweet liquidity or its intensely heady lushness was on display on my skin. This is as steely and hard as a gem, which is the intended goal but it’s not my personal cup of tea.
I was surprised by how much I was drawn to Rubis Rosé instead, at least during its opening. As regular readers know, rose fragrances do little for me, and rose is one of my least favorite florals in perfumery. But I like the flower in nature, and that is what Rubis Rosé brought to life for me. The fragrance is meant to open with a raspberry note, but rather than the gooey molasses or raspberry Cool-Aid that I’d dreaded, Rubis Rosé opens with a wholly naturalistic and rather sumptuous rose that’s been taken straight from a garden in full bloom. The flower drips with its natural, honeyed nectar and juices, and this is where the raspberry comes in, because it recreates the authentic, berried sweetness of the very best, very richest roses.
None of it feels hard as a rock or gemstone, at least not initially. It’s not even velvety so much as the concentrated essence of a perfectly plump, juicy, fruity, honeyed, and pollinated rose that’s smudged at the edges with greenness and a subtle woodiness, as if slivers of the leaves, thorns, and woody stem had been included in the distillation process. It doesn’t feel purely feminine, per se, but universal in sense that the embodiment of the best roses in a garden appeal to people of both genders.
I don’t like the rest of Rubis Rosé quite so much. After 40 minutes, it begins to grow darker, harder, and woodier with a subtle smokiness wrapped around its base. By the end of the first hour, there is a note that feels like bitter galbanum instead of plush, naturalistic, mossy greenness, and I pretty much loathe galbanum. The fragrance now displays the hardness I had dreaded with the whole gemstone theme, rather than the essence of a voluptuous nose in nature. Again, its’ a personal thing and if you’re a rose lover who also adores galbanum (shudder), then you should check the fragrance out for yourself.
Another surprise for me was Fumée d’Or. It’s described as bringing together “odd ‘bedfellows’ and materials to achieve it’s aim. Among them are birch tar, metallic aldehydes, indolic jasmine, neroli, and a big dose of civet.” But there is also immortelle, tobacco, leather, rose, incense, and the overall effect is to create a smoky, golden warmth that trumped the dreaded aldehydes for me.
Fumee d’Or opens with a gorgeous birch tar note that is nothing like the ghastly smokefest horrors found in so many semi-synthetic fragrances today. These smoky, lightly singed woods are redolent of a BBQ or fireplace, then coated with immortelle golden sweetness, sprinklings of dry tobacco, and only a light touch of aldehydes. The latter are more like sparkling silveriness than anything smelling of soap or cleanness.
Roughly 10 minutes in, Fumée d’Or begins to shift. While I can’t detect the neroli, jasmine, rose, or civet in any clear way at all, a subtle muskiness emerges that hints at animalism (and civet), though it never smells dirty, raunchy, or “skanky” in any real way. More noticeable are tiny pops of something vaguely citrusy and orange-ish that slowly appear on the sidelines, but they’re nebulous and muffled. What I don’t understand is a strange scratchiness in the background or where it comes from. The incense or civet, perhaps? Over time, the tobacco becomes the woody BBQ smoke’s main companion on center stage, while a heavily muffled, amorphously rose-ish floralcy looks on from the sidelines. A subtle resinous does eventually emerge in the base, but it’s as muffled as everything else and never smells of real leatheriness on my skin.
Unlike some of the other DSH fragrances, this one just gets better with time. It slowly dissolves into a simple spicy, golden warmth that is laced with nebulous immortelle-ish sweetness, a soft floralcy, a subtle smudge of smoky darkness at the edges, and only a whisper of vaguely aldehydic cleanness/silveriness at its edges. It was utterly delicious, cozy, comforting, and appealing, one of the standouts amongst all the DSH fragrances I tried, and one that I’d enjoy wearing for myself. Major thumbs up!
Info: Prices for the fragrances depends on size and format. They’re all between $235-$6. Links: listing of all the fragrances in the Brilliant Collection; specific links to Rubis Rosé and Fumée d’Or; the Brilliant Discovery Set of samples for $24. Fragrantica page for DSH perfumes; Ida Meister’s Fragrantica Scented Snippets summary for the set.
NOEL ENCHANTÉ (HOLIDAY FRAGRANCE #15):
Every year, DSH Perfumes releases a different version of Noel Enchanté (hereinafter spelt without the accent) as a limited-edition holiday special. This year’s version, #15, is very accurately described as:
A rich tuberose floriental chypre. Noel Enchanté starts with a green hit in the topnote as it moves into a tuberose heart. Amber, spices, and a deep oakmoss finish, vintage style, in the drydown.
The note list is long:
bergamot, bitter orange, brown oakmoss, galbanum, tuberose absolute, tuberose accord, Bulgarian rose absolute, jasmine grandiflora, gardenia, neroli, spice notes, patchouli, Siam benzoin, Tolu balsam, amber, and vanilla.
Nutshell: Caron‘s much-beloved Nuit de Noel given a twist through tuberose mossy greenness.
Longer description: The first few minutes aren’t appealing, thanks to a muddy tableau of brown and green that smells very musty and musky, but the scent rapidly morphed and solidified into something that made me do a double-take. Heavy, dark spices (clove and nutmeg) suddenly take shape next to spicy, woody, patchouli atop a mossy green base layered with resins. More importantly, the tuberose appears, smelling both floral and like a vista of green, chypre-ish mossiness the way it was in Bogue’s MAAI (but without any that fragrance’s animalism).
What I loved was a fleeting Opium-like vibe, created through a merging of accords. For a few brief moments, there was a glorious mix of spicy, smoky, woody, lightly boozy patchouli with cloves, smoky balsamic resins, mosses, and a rich, musky ambered warmth. The vintage Opium-like similarity is given heft by the bitter orange and citruses that appear after 10 minutes, momentarily overwhelming any tuberose which drops to the background. The orange smells like the bitter, fragrant oil of the rind when you cut into it, except this orange is studded with cloves and nutmeg as well. The cumulative, sum-total effect is far closer to vintage Opium than anything else that I’ve tried from DSH, but it only lasts 5 minutes at best. Then, the notes realign themselves and the fragrance veers sharply back to Caron territory.
30 minutes in, Noel Enchantee is solely a tuberose-chyprish version of Nuit de Noel. The tuberose weaves in and out, increasingly smelling more like mossy abundance than a pure floral note. What I don’t like is how intensely over-spiced, musky, and musty the fragrance is becoming. There is a heavy thickness that bears a certain sharpness and fiery edge. Ambergris adds to the muskiness, while the spices feel more like the dried, earthy, powdered sort you’d find in a spice cabinet. In essence, it feels as though a spice cabinet has exploded over Nuit de Noel. After 90 minutes, the notes soften, the mossy, vaguely chypre-ish elements weaken, and I’m left almost entirely with Nuit de Noel.
I never liked that fragrance much, heresy as it is to admit, though perhaps it was wonderful in vintage form as everyone seems to claim. If you’re one of Nuit de Noel’s legion of fans (which includes Karl Lagerfeld, by the way), then you should give Noel Enchante a sniff. It’s wholly unisex, so don’t let the word “tuberose” put you off.
Info & Links: Prices for range from $135 to $6, depending on concentration, bottle type, or size. For example, 30 ml EDP is $70, 10 ml Parfum is $125, 3 ml of Voile de Parfum is $18. There are accompanying organic bath and body products as well. You can buy an individual sample of EDP for $6. All of it is exclusive to DSH Perfumes. International shipping is available if you contact them first. The fragrance has no Fragrantica page, but Ida Meister wrote a Scented Snippets column on the DSH holiday releases that includes a small discussion of Noel Enchante.
Ms. Hurwitz sent me a lot of other new releases as well. Fou d’Opium was another play on vintage Opium which regular readers know is one of my favorite fragrances. This new tribute didn’t do much for me. Yes, it bears some Opium similarities, but… eh. I preferred her earlier Euphorisme d’Opium which felt more like a granddaughter to Opium than this one. It had a much bolder, stronger, more richly spiced opening than Fou d’Opium. The new one has a microscopic sliver of animalism that the prior tribute didn’t have, but also more thinness to my nose. It lacks that thick, bold crescendo of bitterly intense orange/bergamot, major clove spiciness, smokiness, balsamic resinous darkness, muskiness, incense, and heavy patchouli that her Noel Enchanté recreated so well in its opening moments. That fragrance had some of the heft and power that were as much a characteristic of vintage Opium as its actual notes; the Fou d’Opium doesn’t. Namby-pamby stuff, if you ask me. But if you’re looking for a sheer, fresher, citrusy-floral version of Opium with barely a spicy bite, smoky resinousness, or might, you may want to check it out. (Make sure you try the Euphorisme as well, if you haven’t already. That had far more character to me.)
In the quirky but definitely interesting and distinctive category: Albino, subtitled “A Study in White.” The description for this one is definitely worth the read, especially for its intellectual theoreticism and the symbolism of its goal:
a fascinating modern fougere with a crisp fruity – citric start that dries down to a creamy wood and musk drydown. Basil, rhubarb, and white cognac add surprising elements.
What is it to be without pigment? There seems to be a kind of quality; a luminosity and sense of lightness. So then what? “White” materials…and a questioning: what does white feel like?
Albino takes an abstract look at white from a synesthetic and textural stance. The textures being crisp, pithy, and creamy; shifting from fruity crispness to pithy to a creamy feel, with blond woods, and musk at the final drydown.
That last paragraph accurately describes much of the textural and olfactory bouquet on my skin. What I found utterly fascinating was the way Albino’s opening really, truly, and genuinely smelt of grapefruit pith on my skin, that white inner part that clings to the rind and fruit. I don’t know that I personally would describe Albino as a fougère (it certainly doesn’t have the traditional olfactory elements or focus of that genre to me), but I kept going back to sniff Albino again and again in the first hour. It’s intriguingly different and distinctive. What I found fascinating was the tart crispness of the grapefruit next to its creamy pith and the way the white cognac was sprinkled all around. The latter bore a subtle cacao note that reminded me of the way that cocoa pods are actually white and pithy inside. Minutes later, it turns to a soft white sweetness that isn’t really boozy, and yet, there is something about it that feels nebulously liqueured. And it’s utterly delicious atop the grapefruit creaminess! Really, I couldn’t stop sniffing my arm to get more of it. At the same time as the cacao-cognac really begins to shine, gossamer light wisps of fresh basil start to weave around the background, along with an even more subtle rhubarb note. As a side note, quantity impacts Albino’s nuances and depth because the rhubarb and basil weren’t really apparent when I used only a small amount of fragrance. Then, the scent was mostly grapefruit and grapefruit pith with a few drops of white cognac sweetness.
I enjoyed Albino in its first two hours enormously, but then that weird thing happened again that occurs with so many DSH fragrances on my skin. It lost all its complexity and nuances, and flattened into simple grapefruit scent with barely any creaminess but with a distinct freshness. No basil, no rhubarb, no woodiness, no cognac. Had the opening bouquet remained, I would bought a small bottle for myself. Yet, despite its eventual change, I thoroughly enjoyed testing Albino and experiencing something different. In the first two hours, the fragrance was genuinely original, which is not something I frequently encounter or say. Maybe you’ll have better luck with the rest of its development on your skin.
So, if you love grapefruit notes and you’re looking for a crisp but sweet, aromatic but freshly fragrant scent with a fascinating debut, give Albino a try for yourself. That quirky, cool opening was one of the most intriguing and appealing amongst the gazillion or so things that I tested from DSH.
DSH PERFUMES’ SALE:
If you’ve lasted this long, thank you. I know that was a massive amount of information to process, and quite a spectrum of fragrances. As I said at the start, I wanted to give you a range of options and choices because of the 20% off sale that DSH Perfumes is currently offering. It lasts until Saturday, DECEMBER 19th at midnight (presumably Central Standard Time or Colorado time). Use the following coupon code at check-out: sparkle15.
To the best of my knowledge, DSH Perfumes doesn’t offer sales at other times of the year, so this is your best opportunity to explore the line while saving some money. And, again, shipping is available overseas. DSH states, “International customers: please call us to place your order.” Full contact and phone information is available here.
As a side note, I’ve covered several other fragrances from the brand that you may want to read about if you’re trying to decide what to explore. One that I recommend trying is Le Smoking, part of the Yves St. Laurent Retrospective Collection that Ms. Hurwitz did for the Denver Art Museum. It’s a scent that I think has unisex appeal as it’s a chypre-ish leather with retro-cigarette tobacco and a very dark side. I recall Christos of Memory of Scent later raved about it as one of the few fragrances that moved him profoundly and got to him on an emotional level, so it definitely is worth checking out by people of both genders. In addition to the Euphorisme d’Opium mentioned earlier, there are also reviews for:
So, that’s a wrap. I hope I covered a few fragrances that intrigued you, and that you’ll find a new love amongst them.
Disclosure: Samples of the DSH fragrances were provided courtesy of the company. That did not impact this review. I do not do paid reviews, and my opinions are my own.
Wow. Thanks for all these reviews! I went back and skimmed the other (previously read) DSH perfumes.
I’ve got a cart full of 1 dram bottles right now. I’ll look at the cart in the morning. At least in this case, I don’t have to worry (I think!) about the “Kafka effect” because it’s not just one fragrance!
It’s interesting that I wish Ms. Horowitz would narrow down her offerings. I’ve received a few samples of her fragrances from friends, but every time I’ve gone to her website I am so overwhelmed that I wind up purchasing nothing and feeling terribly neurotic to boot!
Cheers to you for reviewing so many scents. I love both your long in-depth reviews and these kinds (which are still more analytical than average). That’s why your followers love you, of course!
The website is just… well, in dire need of revamping, imo, because I hear identical comments to yours again and again and again. The very first time I looked it the website, far before Ms. Hurwitz ever knew me or sent me stuff, I got so frustrated and overwhelmed, I just gave up and bought nothing. You said you felt “terribly neurotic” after wanting stuff but buying nothing, but a *LOT* of people do that, I think, or feel the same way as you. The gargantuan selection combined with the organisational messiness is truly a huge deterrant to sales, and I honestly believe that Ms. Hurwitz would see a massive spike in orders if the website were fundamentally overhauled. And it’s not just the organisation which needs to be streamlined and simplified, but the whole tagging system. I hate those damn tags. There should be clear note lists for each scent to give just one example of the clarity that is needed.
The other issue, of course, is the sheer scale of the selections. It feels as though there are 20 releases a year, and it’s utterly overwhelming. (Heaven only knows how many fragrances there are on that site in total!!) For me, as a reviewer, when I receive 4-6 fragrances in a single go, I choke, in the sense of freezing up or feeling paralysed. There is so much time involved for someone like me who takes a lengthy approach to both testing and reviewing, so sometimes it’s easier just not to review any of them. That’s a real shame and pity, imo, and definitely MY loss, so I should just pick and choose as I did here. I’ll try to do that going forward but, still, 6 fragrances in one go is really too much, let alone when there are several of those sets in the year. All this grumbling feels a little churlish on my part, but I truly do relate what you and so many others (here and on other sites) repeat so often.
Ultimately, though, it’s our loss because Ms. Hurwitz is incredibly talented, and she takes a very intellectual, thoughtful, and highly sensitive approach which really comes through in the scents themselves.
And I’m really starting to fall for Fumée d’Or, despite the odd scratchiness that lurks about in the first few hours. The drydown is really inviting, cozy, and delicious. I think I may buy that one for myself.
Okay, a huge part of it is the website, of course, but I didn’t want to write that since my hubby is a website designer (there – I’ve said it). I shop at online stores with way more selections, of course! You’re right about the tags: they make the site seem more like a disorganized blog than a store, and shopping on the site is like going to a library with no card catalog and a computer that barely works – in other words, it’s hard to navigate or find anything and it turns what should be a pleasure into work. It would be great if Ms. Horowitz could work with a website designer who would help her with the organization of the site. That is part of their job, and if she does has someone doing that job, s/he isn’t doing it properly.
I was going to skip purchasing any DSH fragrances but changed my mind after your reviews. Like juliehrose above, I tend to get overwhelmed by the website. I’m not suggesting that she limit her offerings but perhaps it could be better organized or easier to navigate? Thanks for the reviews!
I hear you, and fully agree. In fact, I just wrote a long response to Julie about the website and about how overwhelming it is in conjunction with the sheer number of fragrances. I notice the same comments from many other people on other sites, too.
Thanks for the great reviews, I love seeing DSH getting attention! I adore her Seve De Pin, one of the truest pine scents I’ve ever come across. I also love the white floral Wedding Bouquet…stunning!
HOWEVER…..that website is really quite awful, hard to navigate or find anything, not updated often, which is a whole other level of frustration! It reminds me of websites from the dial-up era, woefully out of step with the times.
And the sheer number of selections makes my eyes roll back in my head. I usually get so frustrated that I leave without any purchases. Last year I tried to compare the multitude of Christmas scents and finally threw my hands up in defeat. Which is so sad b/c Dawn is so nice and SUCH talent!!
End of rant. It’s reviews like yours that allow me to go snag what sounds appealing, without looking at anything else. I’m already compiling my list from your suggestions.
Thanks for these reviews! I had just ordered several things from DSH Perfumes and now, after reading this, will definitely go back for a few more! I have long been a fan of Dawn’s work, and am happy to see her get some (more) attention here. She is indeed a talented artist and lovely person.
For multiple reasons I have been exploring more natural perfumes this fall. This is GREAT. Thanks 🙂
I just went on the website. My GPS wasn’t able to get a reading and I had to abandon ship!
LOL! Use the specific links in the post to get to any fragrance that interests you, dearest. Much easier that way.
I’m afraid I will blow a gasket if I have to go back into that Dantean Mess of a website. Too Bad as she seems quite talented from what you wrote……
That was great K, and I’ve gone on DSH’s site only to wander aimlessly from page to page; wanting, wanting; only to go away without even sampling anything because I was simply too confused. I will definitely go back and try some of the ones you suggested. Thanks 🙂
I have been a DSH fan for a long time, although many of the scents lacked the body and depth that I crave. Now, to my intense dismay, I find that at least some of the scents are no longer available in edp form at all and are only available in a form called “voile de parfum,” unless you are able to pay a bomb for the pure parfum. I ordered a couple of old favorites in small vials of voile de parfum, and what I have received smells like water with a little hydrosol swirled in, fades below the point of detection within 20 minutes, and is altogether more consistent with Demeter scents than with something that I would pay actual money for. In fact, some Demeters have more body and staying power. I am very saddened that a house that I’ve loved since I discovered perfume has gone in the barely detectable direction.
I have not tried the ones that you mention here, Kafkaesque, but in general will spend my sampling money on scents more likely to satisfy my scent cravings. I continue to think that Ms. Hurwitz is quite an artist and wish that sheer, vague wispiness didn’t seem to be her new style.
How unfortunate that they’ve weakened so much. I did notice that it was harder to find EDPs on the list of the new ones I reviewed, but what I noticed most of all was the plethora of Voile de Toilette which, as you know, is one of the weakest, lightest, sheerest concentrations of all. I could believe how many fragrances seemed to come in a multiple of Voile de Toilette sizes but barely any EDP sizes. Maybe 1 at best, and many fragrances didn’t even have that. EDT, Voile de Toilette or the pure Parfum.
Not my style any more. Which is sad to me, because I continue to feel that she is a perfumer of real genius.
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