Her scents make me smile, they make me curious, willing to explore like a child. They make me forget about time constraints, they re-introduce me to a world full of enchantments. They evoke memories and feelings. From the moment I started sampling them I have been overwhelmed by my own excitement and I’ve regretted not discovering them sooner. The scents I have sampled so far are not ones I can imagine wearing with a sharp suit, as I would for example something by Sisley. I did mean it when I said that these scents are unlike anything that perfectly fits my adult world. They are softer around the edges; they are moments in time, the part of a cloud where the sun breaks through, a memory, a strange object out of a treasure chest. I cherish them. There are so many things that I can wear with high heels and a crisp white shirt and so few that make my heart feel this long-lost delight with everyday beauty.
The first DSH fragrance I have chosen to review is Ma Folie de Noel, a scent that perfectly describes the wistfulness so many of the samples evoked inside me. In fact, it is a scent that coincidentally also describes Dawn Spencer Hurwitz’s own nostalgic childhood experiences, being an amalgam of Holiday scents from her past. I can’t say that it conjures similar Christmassy memories for me too – my own Christmases were filled with very different smells: spice, cinnamon, cloves, icing sugar, almonds, orange rinds and myriads of traditional Greek delights. This fragrance has nevertheless touched me with its beauty, even though the name does not fit my own view of the winter holidays. Ma Folie de Noel opens with a very prominent anis note of remarkable beauty. It does not feel thick or heavy, but transparent and watery, like a mist. Then slowly, it becomes candied, like boiled anis sweets. There is a certain chocolate undertone there, and indeed, every time I wear Ma Folie de Noel, this stage makes me think of eating good dark chocolate with lovely, crunchy, tiny anis-candy fragments in it. As the chocolate disappears, the anis remains for a while still, this time with a peculiar, nutty vein running through it. The scent intensifies, gaining momentum, becoming warmer and spicier as time goes by. Smelling close, I can clearly discern the base on which it is built – a lovingly built tier of resinous musk. It feels as though the base notes are flowing upwards, permeating the ceiling through the mezzanine. The anis note now entirely gone, we enter the most luxurious phase of this perfume. A gentlemen’s club, with the light smell of vanilla-scented cigarette smoke lingering in the air, desks topped with buttery leather and unfinished glasses of Rémy Martin Cognac littering the small round tables. I love how the boozy smell of cognac and vanilla smoke enfolds my skin... There is a certain masculine sense there, that makes me want to bury my nose in my own skin – I find it immensely comforting and sexy at the same time. I also find it strange that in this stage I perceive the opoponax as smelling of wonderful, sweet leather when combined with the cognac and vanilla. Is it just me? But I digress... The anis is resurrected in the drydown, this time very light, understated and tame. It flows seamlessly through as the cognac note dissipates, smelling faintly of the lightly aniseedic flavor raisin pips impart when crushed. It is now that the opoponax note truly shows its beauty. It is dark and sweet and ever so lightly smoky, blending gorgeously with the smell of the skin itself. It positively enhances the skin’s own scent, creating an ultra-seductive musky murmur. It imbues the skin with warmth, a veil of saturated darkness, lit from within with joyous flames. If I could only describe the feeling it gives me, it would be that of a happy winter heart. It is the feel of my skin, finding warmth under a cashmere-silk blend sweater, snug under a soft leather jacket, walking the silent wintry streets in the arms of my loved one. If I could describe the perfect occasion instead, it would be in front of the fireplace on a cold snowy night. This has definitely become my favorite comfort/sexiness blend. I must have it – I don’t think the sample is going to last me through the month, let alone winter.
Vintage buttons courtesy of www.buttonzjewelry.com
Picture of Anis de Flavigny candy courtesy of www.cadeaux.com
Image of winter night, courtesy of www.worldisround.com, made by Shahram Razavi.