DSH Perfumes Golden Poinsettia courtesy of the brand
It is the custom of award-winning artisanal perfumer Dawn Spencer Hurwitz to provide her fragrant audience with a newly composed holiday scent every year. The beauty of this annual event is that these perfumes aren’t purely seasonal; they are available around the calendar. Many of them are warming and hygge-like, but they also bloom voluntarily all year long, making them more versatile than one would surmise. Having smelt them all, I think it’s fair to say that the lion’s share of them venture into gourmand territory of some sort: they tend to be yummy overall, with an occasional dark horse thrown in for good measure, just to keep us on our toes and prevent boredom. This year, there are several new celebratory fragrances, each unique (including Bacchanal and Butterbeer) – but it is her latest Heirloom Elixir #31, DSH Perfumes Golden Poinsettia, which I chose to review for you.
Dawn Spencer Hurwitz of DSH Perfumes via the perfumer
“I just wanted to create something wonderful, unisex, deep, warm, and ravishing. The leather with the vanilla (and edges of warming spice) makes the whole affair gorgeously sophisticated and perfect for both men and women.”-Dawn Spencer Hurwitz
Very few perfumers compose a retro-vintage (or neo-vintage, if you prefer) perfume as effectively as Dawn does. My impressions arise from her reluctance to cut corners when it comes to quality: while many of her fragrances are created in a mixed media format, she places a premium value on quality materials – even if they are costly. Some things can’t be substituted, and no one knows this better than Dawn (and a few very choice other perfumers). DSH Perfumes Golden Poinsettia is a shimmering, gilded amber-kissed chypre that is a delectable choice for this festive season. Does it tiptoe around gourmandise? Absolutely [sic]. That translates as just enough sweetness to complement the charming complexity which underscores its radiant candlelit glow.
Elizabeth Taylor Color portrait of Elizabeth Taylor, Oct. 1948 Philippe Halsman wikiart
Everything about DSH Perfumes Golden Poinsettia is round and voluptuous; jagged edges are nowhere to be found. From start to finish, this fragrance is both tender and tenacious: it lingered even after hand-washing, bedtime ablutions and a full night’s slumber. The aldehydes themselves are gentle. Golden Poinsettia betroths realistic raspberry to a trio of rose otto and absolutes: raspberry intuitively adores rose – and crowns them with a bouquet of warm spices. The quietly indolic caress of Spanish orange blossom and jasmine grandiflorum feels like a seasoning of sorts, further cushioned with a soupçon of almondy heliotrope and a dash of buttery orris concrete (with its silvery mystery). What constitutes a gold leaf accord? Although it isn’t listed and its presence is very subtle, I wouldn’t be surprised if we discovered saffron in it. This perfume’s base is singularly cossetting and unique, in that a number of potentially dominating olfactory materials are present – and they play together symphonically; there are no soloists amongst them. All the tranquil voices contribute sweetness: vanilla, benzoin (sweet, spicy, and leathery), and Tolu balsam. Two varieties of oakmoss are judiciously employed, joined by the same treatment labdanum, leather, cedar, sandalwood, and musk are given. Ambergris simply makes everyone else look good (I think it’s amazing with roses). I love that there are no aromatic divas in Golden Poinsettia, that it’s a truly collaborative effort between all its components. That’s certainly appropriate, as we know that poinsettias have tremendous visual appeal – but no scent: in other words, this fragrance is a Dawn fantasy composition in which she gives full rein to her imagination, while evoking that intimacy which we cherish. Never was a chypre so incandescent and serenely compelling.
Notes: aldehydes, bergamot, gold leaf (metallic note accord), raspberry, Bulgarian rose absolute, Turkish rose otto, Damask rose absolute, orange flower absolute – Spain, jasmine grandiflorum, heliotrope, orris concrete, spice notes, Siam benzoin, vanilla absolute, Tolu balsam, brown oakmoss, green oakmoss, ambergris, Atlas cedarwood, Australian sandalwood, labdanum, leather, musk (Perceived notes: saffron, nutmeg)
Sample provided by the perfumer – many thanks! My nose is my own…
~ Ida Meister, Deputy and Natural Perfumery Editor
Thanks to the largesse of perfumer Dawn Spencer Hurwitz, we are offering one 7.5 ml flacon of DSH Golden Poinsettia for one registered reader in the USA only. You must be registered or your comment will not count. Please share with us what appeals to you about Ida’s review of DSH Perfumes Golden Poinsettia. Draw closes 12/4/2023
Enjoy Ida’s review of Heirloom Elixir No 30 Saku and No 1 Essenza dell’Ibisco that was brought back from 2006
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