DSH Perfumes Butterbeer

DSH Perfumes Butterbeer collage with Hermione Granger from the Half Blood Prince by Michelyn

 By now, anyone who hasn’t heard of Harry Potter must have been living in a cave (without LTE) for the last two decades. The Boy Who Lived, in his cracked spectacles, black cloak and long college scarf, is, of course, one of the greatest literary phenomena of our time. So popular has the pint-sized wizard become that he has generated an enormous industry of Potter-related toys, games, venues, even an entire amusement park. So unsurprisingly, butterbeer, the celebrated tipple of The Three Broomsticks Inn, has by now inspired countless recipes, soft drinks, ice creams and cocktails. Now I am no Madam Rosmerta ; I wouldn’t know one butterbeer version from the next. But I know a delicious fragrance when I smell one. Dawn Spencer Hurwitz’s delightful take on the Gryffindor set’s favourite bevvy is as yummy as its name suggests but is meant for grown-ups. It’s a wintertime treat that is toothsome and cuddly but also sophisticated enough to wear to your next Yule Ball. It And it won’t get your house elves drunk.

Dawn Spencer Hurwitz of DSH Perfumes

Dawn Spencer Hurwitz courtesy of the perfumer

There are very few fragrances that make me want to giggle like a little girl when I first smell them, but DSH Perfumes Butterbeer put an immediate smile on my face. It’s opening is pure joy: fizzy, bubbly lemon soda, ambrette and whipped cream take you straight to one of those grandmotherly tea shops where everything is homemade and there’s always a birthday party in the corner. JK Rowling describes butterbeer as tasting like a “less sickly-sweet butterscotch,” and the burnished brown sugar-butter aroma of that childhood sweet is, as you’d expect, the centerpiece of the perfume. But before you think this is a fragrance for first years, Spencer Hurwitz’s potion stops short of G-rated with tavern notes of roasted barley and rum and tempers the sweetness with a judicious squeeze of lemon.

Best Butterscotch perfumes

Butterscotch via istock

But this is no kiddie confection. Some rum bustles in right after, and there’s a moment or two of yo-ho-ho before Butterbeer starts to settle into its dessert notes. Buttercream – less sugary than the real thing – mixes with some irresistible roasted barley in the heart. A little later, chewy benzoin adds some texture to vanilla, and I can just perceive the raisiny aroma of tonka bean as they also muddle around together. As time progresses, I get some hints of beer – probably the combination of barley and coumarin – and the fragrance seems less Potterish and more adult. Wisely, Spencer Hurwitz does not overcomplicate things, adding just enough counterpoints to the richness of the butterscotch heart to temper it for more refined palates, and lets them rest on a bed of sandalwood.

DSH Perfumes Butterbeer

Still from Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, 2009, Warner Bros Pictures Ron center, Harry Potter middle

DSH Perfumes Butterbeer is not a complicated fragrance, nor should it be. It is adorable and very wearable, just the antidote to winter blues but also perfect for when you want to get out there and manage some mischief. I’ve been wearing it a lot and it makes me grin like George and Fred  Weasley every time.

Note: DSH Perfumes Butterbeer was an honourable mention on my Top Ten Fragrances of 2023.

Notes: Rum, ambrette seed, fresh lemon, brown sugar accord, butter co2, Tahitian vanilla co2, orris, caramel, grandiflorum jasmine, buttercream accord, Siam benzoin, roasted barley extract, tonka bean absolute, musk, Australian sandalwood.

Disclaimer: Sample of Butterbeer very kindly provided by DSH Perfumes. My opinions, as always, are my own.

Lauryn Beer, Senior Editor

DSH Perfumes Butterbeer

Thanks to the generosity of DSH Perfumes, we have a 30 ml bottle of Butterbeer for one registered reader in the USA. Please leave a comment describing what strikes you about Butterbeer based on Lauryn’s review and your favorite Harry Potter movie. Draw closes 2/23/2024.

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