I have been trying to write this review for eons and every time I start I get so much anxiety! How do you review a perfume that tries to snatch your very soul, every time you twist the cap on the little sample?
Well. I don’t know. But I’m going to try.
Back in late Autumn a delightful little package arrived on my doorstep. Wrapped in the loveliest aqua tissuepaper, that little package contained 3 new DSH Perfume samples. I tried Chinchilla first because everybody and their mother was raving about it – and with good reason; it’s an amazing honeyed animalic that goes on growly and softens to a sexy purr – yeah, yeah. Portia wrote about it fabulously here. I loved Chinchilla but by the time I got around to doing a review it’d already been done wayWAY better than I could’ve (see Portia. And Donna Hathaway’s evocative review in the Portland Examiner)…..
…and I got busy.
But…I had to pull out Chinchilla again for the Best of Winter (or 2017, perhaps) and in doing so, took a look at one of the other little samples in her lovely package.
Souvenir de Malmaison. Carnations/dianthus (or, as the English call them, pinks). Even as I am writing this I’m sitting here, trying to describe what happened to me when I unscrewed that cap. I didn’t gasp (as I did when I opened a little perfect vial of vintage Coty Chypre). I didn’t swoon. I….I dunno…I think I went into some sort of fugue state. Not a ‘real’ fugue state, to be sure – more a sense of forgetting myself in this current time and place. In fact, I don’t think I was even on a physical plane! Rarely do I get so caught up in the throes of a perfume that I can’t figure out where I am but I swear to you, every time I smell Souvenir I just lose myself. The funny thing about it? I’m not a huge fan of carnation – I quite like the smell but I don’t gravitate towards it, y’know? My mother wore L’Origan, which is the quintessential carnation scent imo (yes, yes L’Heure Bleue but my mother was Coty); I loved it on her. Feel no need to wear it. Dawn’s Souvenir came and I thought it was a rose because which I grew and loved before a Polar Vortex killed it stone dead. So imagine my surprise when I opened the little vial, expecting Rose…and got…omg. This dark, plush, opulent, spicy Carnation.
Not the cute little frilly carnations at the florist, this carnation has a hint of post-coital sweat and a little bit of black dirt in there.
I….I dunno….I dunno how to describe this swoony, deep, dark, rich (but not overwhelming) scent. One of the things that makes pinks so seductive is that peppery undertone atop the cheery little floral sweetness. Pinks, in their cheerful faces, trill fun! and frolic! ..but sniff a little deeper…and suddenly you start to wonder how such a simple little flower can be so intriguing…and sexy!! There’s not a moment that I wear this where I don’t feel that tumbao of dark, rich dirt running beneath. And the dirt has the mouthfeel of those little shards of dark chocolate you get at the bottom of a bag of bittersweet discs. Everything about this scent is a chiaroscuro, with the happy little flower heads bouncing atop the vegetal dirt – yet it has no vegetal smell to it at all – but when you sniff this, somehow the world goes black and primeval for a minute! I was going to say that if Idris Elba wore this…but Idris Elba could wear Polo and I wouldn’t care. So here. Ya wanna know how much I LOVE this? If Bill, the guy who helps me back the trailer into its slot, wore this I would probably have to snuggle up. Bill has (and I am not kidding) a total of 4 teeth in his entire mouth and he and the shower are rarely on speaking terms.
I don’t know how Dawn did this – but I do know it is one of the most compelling scents I have ever smelled. And I’m scared to death of it – in a Very Good Way (and because omg. what if Bill ever found a bottle and spritzed it on? I’d have to kill myself!
The lovely Dawn Spencer Hurwitz has kindly offered a 10ml voile as a giveaway (and reward for listening to my insane blatheration). Tell me: how do you feel about carnation? Is there one that you have fallen in love with? Do you hate it? I guarantee – if you hate it, you won’t hate it after sampling this. It’s that gorgeous. She’s also going to throw in a couple of other samples – and if you have not tried any of the DSH Perfumes line, this is a perfect opportunity – these are rare and wonderful offerings, indeed!