12 Days of Dawn – an AMAZING giveaway

It’s the Holiday Season and while I do not have Six Geese a-laying and I ain’t giving you mah fiiiiive golden rings  I DO have a stunning little Holiday present for one lucky Posse reader.

photo stolen: theredolentmermaid.com

First, though, lemmetellyou how this came to be.  So.  Awhile back I was fiddle-dee-deeing around, trying to get this package out of the mailbox.  Got it out and vi-ola!  Inside was a gorgeous little box, tied with a gorgeous aqua ribbon.  Dawn Spencer Hurwitz  of DSH Perfumes had sent me a lovely box of samples!  That’s my disclosure, right there, okay?  But the ‘gifting’ of those samples is irrelevant to this review; I don’t need to shill here  –  when Dawn sets to composing a scent…….. she does it beautifully!

I decided to take a Day-per-Scent, sort of a riff on the 12 Days of Christmas – but it took longer than that because her creations demand that you spend some time with them – it’s a rough job, I know.  But somebody’s got to do it! 😉  Plus, I kept going back to Une Robe de Zibeline.  Sue me.

If you go on Dawn’s lovely site you will immediately be drawn into her evocative prose.  And I am nothing if not captivated by evocative prose.   So I decided to go Blank – instead of reading about each scent beforehand I tested first, read second.  The funny part is, fully 2/3 of the words that came to mind as I sniffed showed up in the descriptions!

There are 12 scents (actually, there were 13 but I nearly drained one) and it would take forever to tell you about each and every one of them so instead I’m going to tell you about the ones that WOWed me, both the ones I loved and the ones that weren’t for me.  And yes – I can be wowed by a scent that is Not For Me.  So can you – think of all the times a scent you wouldn’t Love to wear has stayed on your olfactory radar.  Just cuz you don’t like it for you don’t mean it ain’t good, right?  Right.

Let’s get started:

Become the Shaman.  This one blew me away.  I would never wear it as a ‘pretty’ scent but Dawn’s copy is exactly how I felt when I first sniffed this. “In an uncertain world we seek a place of safety, comfort, and peace.   In troubling times we seek out protection”  I hadn’t read that so was surprised to find that the minute I rolled it onto my skin I was transported back to when I was 7yrs old (my brother was 5) – we used to get up at o’dark-thirty and turn the TV on (omg how much drama we were in for if we got caught).  Back in the late 50s there were 4 channels, maybe 5?  And they went off-air after..midnight, maybe?  And during the off-hours there would be this test pattern


– so we would get our Cheerios (another misdemeanor but hey – in for a penny, right?) and sit in our footie pajamas in front of the TV like zombies, waiting for the test pattern to go off and the day’s programming (aka cartoons) to begin.  There was something about that weird, crepuscular time, with the slight whine of the test pattern and the utter stillness in the house and the world around us.  Somehow, we just felt so…safe.  I get a faint hint of licorice and I wonder if that’s what triggered the ‘safe’ – licorice = Good ‘n Plenty to me and Good ‘n Plenty = the nice bits of childhood (remember Choo-Choo Charlie?).  This is an earthy, comfortable scent – not a ‘perfume’ – more of an aura.

Foxy.  Omg.  I laughed out loud because the very first word that came to mind was ‘boozy’ and the next thought was ‘omg.  March would LOVE this’ because she loves Idole so much – and if you look at Dawn’s notes legend she has a link that says …well, you know 😉 – it really is ‘boozy’, with a nice hint of vanilla and animalics.  Not ‘me’ but it’s really well done!

Une Robe de Zibeline (Sable Coat) – there are about 3 drops left therein and I would apologize but I ain’t a-gonna because O.M.G.  And yes.  All that.  It is a sable coat wrapped around a gorgeous woman who is wearing a violet/aldehyde perfume – she’s just come in from a freezing cold night and, in the warmth of the room, you can smell the subtle shift of scent from her coat (I know it’s not PC but omg, there is nothing more elegant than the smell of cold furs as they are regaining warmth) – it’s an Aldehyde so y’all know I love it – I’m sure there will be a FB in my near future.   I hope to be worthy of it.

Habibi.  I would’ve drained this one as well but that would just be mean.  Whoever wins this draw needs to experience this glorious scent.  Orange blossom and honey.  Habibi is Arabic for ‘Beloved’ and it is an apt description of this radiant perfume.

Fleurs de Soleil.  This is one of the happiest scents I’ve come across in a long while!  I was confused when I saw the name, thinking she’d taken sunflower (girasol)  and created a literal translation…getting the notes completely wrong.  Hah.  Abject apologies, Dawn – what I thought, olfactorally, is precisely what you intended:  a lush bouquet of tropical flowers – flowers of the sun.  Just thinking about how this smells makes me smile!

So.  This lovely box of samples.   It’s going to a new home!  One of you lucky Posseites will win this box o’ fabulous.  Drop me a line – tell me a Holiday story (pick a holiday – doesn’t have to be Christmas).  The Girl will poke a pawnail and choose a lucky winner!


And do go visit DSH Perfume’s gorgeous site www.dshperfumes.com  – there are stunning olfactory beauties therein.  I am eager to try L’etole de Vison (The Mink Stole).

Dawn Spencer Hurwitz is an olfactory force to be reckoned with – and I plan to reckon with a whole lot of her perfumes!


  • Koyel says:

    Oh good heavens, I hope I’m not too late to enter this lovely giveaway. Holiday story: it’s a sad one. A couple years ago, when I was living in France and my boyfriend was living in California with our cats, he was supposed to come visit me for Valentine’s Day. We were to meet up in France and then spend the “holiday” in Seville on a lovely, romantic little four-day weekend. Two weeks before he was set to depart, our cat was diagnosed with small cell lymphoma. A surgery and a cocktail of drugs (rightly) convinced my boyfriend that it was more important for him to stay with our cats than to traipse off to France to spend Valentine’s Day with his beloved. So that Valentine’s Day, I was all alone and felt extremely tearful and lonely, both because he was far away instead of with me and because I was worried about my cat’s health (and let’s not lie, I felt the teeniest bit resentful of the cat’s timing). So there’s a holiday story for you. (The cat is stable for now! It’s been almost two years since the diagnosis, and he is still on a bunch of drugs, but he’s gained weight and is just about normal weight again, if not as muscular as he used to be. He’s still exceedingly fuzzy, though.)

  • Senna Kory says:

    I’d love to try this! My favorite Christmas was when I visited family in the northeast and woke up Christmas morning to snow! As someone coming from a hot environment, it was magical

  • Dave says:

    I want so much to try Foxy. My Christmas memories involve listening to rock music albums at my grandparent’s house. Back in the 70s and 80s lp albums were a common Christmas present. My grandparents always wanted music playing on Christmas day and they always wanted to hear the albums that were gifted. I got “Tattoo You” by the Stones one Christmas and we put it on and everyone was dancing to “Start Me Up.” My grandparents liked lots of noise, political debates and arguments, kids running around, piano playing, dancing, TVs blaring….it was noisy and messy and sometimes gross, but it was ALIVE.

  • I love love love DSH and have only tried just a few and have been dying to try so many more. My Christmas story in my life is that with my youngest ten this year, this marks the first year in 18 years that I did not go into a toy store once this season, and I did not buy a single stuffed animal anywhere which makes me sad and kind of shocked how much my girl has changed in such a short period of time (last year she could not get through a day without several of her beloved stuffies at once) But also happy because she and my other daughter have new awesome interests and joys now, like books and music and perfume and makeup and clothes and cameras and technology. Thanks for the chance for these awesome ones, and Happy Holidays.

  • RoseMacaroon says:

    I’ve sampled just a few from DSH — they were all amazing. I must try more! I love the memory of the Christmas when I was 10 and my sister was 7, we were both given bicycles and she hadn’t learned to ride one. She learned the same say, with a family friend holding onto the seat and running behind her. It also snowed that year for the first time in a while on Christmas Day itself, and I remember how impressivelyrics fast Ramon could run keeping up with her, and how totally comfortable she looked on the bike, with beautiful snow falling.
    Thank you so much for the draw, i hope I’m not too late…!

  • Nadja says:

    I’ve been meaning to sample a tone of stuff from DSH, but I just haven’t gotten around to it for some reason. So I’d love to enter!

    Back when I was in my late teens/early twenties my mum ran a sled dog tour business, and Christmas and New Years were the busiest time of the year for her. So mum, dad and I usually spent the holidays in the middle of nowhere Eastern Finland, where there was snow, driving Russian tourists round in circles on a lake from before sunrise until after sunset. Then went home to a dingy motel to feed the dogs, heat some crappy fast food and hang our clothes to dry… Glamorous times!

  • VerbenaLuvvr says:

    This is going to be the best Christmas of my life. Everyone is happy and healthy, and I feel that my life is finally on track–now at 47 years old!

  • Rosemary says:

    So 21 years ago, I was 9 months pregnant with my first child, with a due date of early January. I was nervous about traveling for Christmas, so my husband and I stayed at our apartment, just us; being used to family gatherings, we were pretty bored. A cable TV channel was airing the Star Wars trilogy (IV, V, VI), so we watched it. Halfway through Return of the Jedi (VI), my water broke! Two weeks early, but we were gonna have our baby! Labor was longer than I wanted, about 14 hours, but our son was born Dec.26th…and I can’t believe he’s turning 21 this year, wow, time flies! It’s a good thing we DIDN’T go visit family that year 😉 Merry Christmas & Happy Holidays to you all!

  • Kandice says:

    I have just started to explore DSH perfumes. In fact, I wore her Vanilla Bourbon Intense today. Not what I expected at initial sniff but I like it. And I would love to try more of her scents especially Become the Shaman.

    A Christmas story: One year I had a new kitten. We had decided to get a real tree and had put it up one evening but hadn’t decorated it yet (TG!). During the night, we heard this ungodly mewling. I got up and looked and it was coming from halfway up the tree. There was just the tiny head of the kitten sticking out of the tree like an ornament. She had gotten halfway up and didn’t know how to get down. We got her out and the next day decorated the tree. The ornaments on the lower branches scared her so she never went near the tree again. A small story but one of my fond memories of that particular fur baby that I no longer have. She is missed. Happy Holidays every one!

  • audesko1 says:

    We always had christmas day at my aunt’s house. I would see family that I would only see once a year. It was special. Great food, company and lots of holiday drinking. I miss that. All the elders are gone and everyone is scattered around the world. Now we have our intimate family traditions. All is great but different. Nothing stays the same, but maybe that is good too.

    I love DSH perfumes and have only tried a few. One that comes to mid is Bohdi Sativa. A Patchouli based fragrance. Lovely.

  • ElizabethC says:

    This sounds amazing – especially the Habibi. Orange blossom and honey!!!!! Christmas and pets! My first very own apartment, my first very own Christmas tree and my first cat – there was a tinsel incident of which I will not go into details. Don’t worry – the cat was fine ;).

  • March says:

    I WANT ALL OF THESE I DON’T CARE IF I SMELLED THEM BEFORE but don’t send them to me lol. I love her stuff.

  • HeidiC says:

    Mmmm…that Robe de Zibeline sounds ah-may-zing! A holiday story that your story of getting up early to watch TV with your brother: my brother and I used to do the same thing! We had a hamster whose cage we often forgot to securely close after playing with her. But since we got up so early to sneak down to to TV, we were often the first to discover she was out, and could locate and catch her before my parents woke up. One day soon after Easter, we couldn’t find the hamster. We looked everywhere, but couldn’t find her before Mom and Dad came downstairs. Finally, my Dad found her in one of the armchairs, cozied into a nest made out of shredded Easter basket grass lined with sticky, half-licked jellybeans.

  • Cindi says:

    What a fascinating story from your childhood, and scent! The names of her scents are quite eclectic and meaningful! My dad and mom grow the original very tall and large flowering Cannas, that we dug up every fall, and replanted in the spring. During the summer, my friends and I would use that large flower patch; for tea parties… What fun we had!
    Thanks, Cindi

  • Jennifer S. says:

    When the kids were small our tradition was going to a large Christmas tree farm to pick out our tree. It would take HOURS as we walked through acres of trees only to spy what always looked like the perfect tree from far away was not what it seemed as we got closer to it! One year my son lost his new hat during a game of hide and go seek. We tried with no luck to find it, and for years afterwards when we went back to pick out our tree, we always joked that maybe we would find Jons hat as well!

    The first time I checked out Dawns website I never really payed attention to what the perfumes were as I was too busy reading the wonderful descriptions of them! She does a great job writing them up. They ALL seem so desirable!

    Happy Holidays to you and yours and as always, thanks for this opportunity!

  • Peppermoon says:

    Oh my, I’ve been wanting to try DSH since I got a sample of her Gingembre scent – so lovely. I’m in the US 🙂

    Holiday story:
    My extended family usually gets together on holidays for an all day feast, but this year we were having trouble planning a day where everyone was available (my cousins all had new babies, which also complicated the planning). This year we decided to have our “Christmas Dinner” on the 16th.
    Now, our family has a tradition of sitting around the fire after dinner, reclining on couches, enjoying the Christmas tree and perhaps sipping on some rum eggnog. We have a slightly odder tradition of playing “hide the pickle” – I think it’s a German game – where we take turns hiding an acid green, sparkly pickle shaped ornament on the Christmas tree. My father is a chef, and had spent three days before the dinner preparing a feast (beef short ribs au jus, cauliflower mash, glazed carrots, bleu cheese wedge salads with heirloom tomatoes and bacon, and lemon possets with raspberries for dessert. Dinner was perfect. My father, bless him, is an amazing cook but he often gets carried away and tries to serve us some really…questionable things. The sugarless(?) tofu cheesecake of ’04 and the tried-to-make-a-salad-fancy-by-dyeing-a-piece-of-cabbage-to-look-like-a-rose-but-using-dayquil-as-the-dye-and-making-everyone’s-mouths-numb incident of ’06 are memorable standouts. After the dinner, we were all stuffed and sitting with glazed eyes around the dinner table. He comes out with a tray of sherbert glasses…filled with pickle juice. He was immensely proud of his “German aperitif”, which was a mixture of pickle juice, vinegar and ginger. No one wanted to take him up on it. He looked crushed. I, the youngest daughter, decided I would give it a try just to make him feel better. As soon as I took the glass in my hands, I knew I had messed up – a wave of vinegar hit my sensitive nose. Ugh. I took it like a shot and it burned all the way down. Not to be shown up by their baby cousin, my three boy cousins decided they would take one too. My dad looked markedly more cheerful. “Anyone want to play hide the pickle now?”, he said. In a chorus, we all said “NOOO”.

  • malsnano86 says:

    Love Dawn’s stuff! DNEM please as I will probably go scoop up some samples for myself, but just wanted to say that she’s lovely, her fragrances are lovely, and if one is determined to persevere, the website is navigable 🙂 . I might have to check out the Robe de Zibeline, fellow AldeHo.

    A vaguely-Christmas-ish story from my childhood:
    Picture 9-year-old me and my 4-year-old sister talking in the living room about our wish lists. Hers says, “baby brother,” and I tell her scornfully that it’s of no use to ask Santa for a baby.
    (Mom in the kitchen, waiting to hear what’s coming next.)
    Me: Santa doesn’t bring babies. You gotta ask God.
    Amy: We pray for one now?
    Me: Okay. He might not say yes, but we can ask.
    (Mom, still in the kitchen, smugly trusting in birth control and amused by kid theology.)
    Fast forward to May.
    Yep. SURPRISE!! Mom got pregnant. Unintentionally.
    Baby brother was born on Valentine’s Day.

  • Taxi says:

    I’ve never been lucky enough to try a DSH fragrance. Maybe someday?
    One memorable Dec. 23, a power line went down leaving the 2 houses on our unmarked private road in darkness. Due to heavy rains, repair wasn’t possible for 3 days. Luckily, with a gas stove, lots of candles & flashlights, and, best of all, a small fireplace in my bedroom, my daughter & I weren’t unduly inconvenienced. We ate by candlelight, had hot cocoa & read by firelight before bed. We awakened every morning with our cat & (big) dog sleeping on my bed with us. It was crowded but warm.
    Never before or after did the pets sleep on my bed.

  • Sapphire says:

    I have never tried any DSH scents, but have heard so much about them that I’d be thrilled. I don’t have a lot of Christmas stories, but most are centered around kids that still believe in Santa. One year, we cut a “footprint” out of cardboard and put it on the floor and then sprinkled baking soda around it for snow. Flipped it over and moved it toward the coffee table and sprinkled again. Repeated until we had Santa’s tracks back and forth to the cookie plate. The kids were bowled over!

  • eldarwen22 says:

    My favorite recent Christmas story is when one of my Labs, when she was a puppy, she would steal Christmas ornaments and hide them while we decorated the tree. It was so funny chasing her around the house trying to get them from her. It was so hard to get mad at her for it. She has since passed on and we got the memory of that.

    • Musette says:

      those memories are the best! I try to keep myself in the ‘moment’ with my babies, so that the memories I have are ‘mo betta’, if that makes sense 😉 xoxoxoxo

  • AnnieA says:

    Last year I had Christmas at a friend’s house. It had been so many years since I had celebrated the day with a child and it was delightful.

  • ScentSpirit says:

    The Christmas that I got my table hockey set even though I was pretty sure my parents wouldn’t give me a “boy’s toy” was pretty great, but this Christmas with my 6 grandchildren (5 under 6 years old) will be fun too since I’m giving a table hockey set to the oldest one. It would be even better if I won the contest!

  • Ann says:

    I ordered one of the DSH Holiday sample packs this year, instead of getting an advent beauty calendar, and have enjoyed sampling them through a December!

    Story: Christmas Morning, 1982
    I see two identical shaped boxes next to one another under the tree, one addressed to my older sister, the other for me. Knowing that Kate always gets the better gifts, I switch the tags. (!!!!) when we open the presents, we see the Madame Alexander dolls Santa brought us: Kate gets the pretty pink princess in the fancy dress. I get the simple peasant girl in the folk dress. You can guess which one I really wanted – Instant karma, ha!

  • Francesca Belanger says:

    What a great post! I’ve been wanting to explore DSH forever, but like a previous poster, I find the richesse of offerings a little daunting. Several of the ones you mention are on my radar, and Foxy, which wasn’t, sounds completely up my alley. I am bookmarking this article for future reference.

    I can’t think of any particular holiday story, but I did always love Christmas midnight Mass. The church I attended as a child was very beautiful, built in Gothic style, the Church of the Annunciation in Harlem. At Christmas, white branches were put up in front of the screen behind the altar, and blue lights strung throughout. It really was magical. And my very favorite part of midnight Mass? The incense!

  • Kathleen S. Thank says:

    I’ve had the pleasure of meeting Dawn at her studio in Boulder, CO and sampling and purchasing some of her fragrances. I adore Chinchilla. I love your description of sable coat, on my wish list. I will be studying her website and ordering some more samples in the next couple weeks. DSH is one of my favorite to send sample gifts to friends, the ladies are so good st putting together gift sample sets based on likes.

  • Clarissa says:

    These all sound amazing. DSH is very talented

  • nicevulady says:

    Its been the most difficult holiday season my family and I have ever had. We won’t make it through without crying our eyes out. Even still, I can appreciate that DSH has made many beautiful fragrances for the holiday season every year. Each offering is distinctive and evocative.

  • Sarah says:

    Don’t know much of Dawns perfumes because like shiva-women I too become overwhelmed by the vast array of possibilities.
    My favorite memory of Christmas was the smell of all the pine scents marching into the house (as rope, wreaths and tree) all going up after the early church service. The magic of scent, lights and beauty created in what felt like 5 minutes makes me wish I were a child once more.

  • Tiara says:

    Dawn is simply amazing! So many wonderful scents to choose from. Holiday story? As a teenager, it took forever to get our tree up as we attended to my brother who had a broken…no, make that crushed…ankle and the parade of visitors coming to see him. Dad and I were taking the ornament container to the basement after finally finishing the tree when we heard my mother yell, oh no, oh no, HELP! We ran upstairs to see her sitting in a chair with the Christmas tree in her lap. The stand had cut through the tree’s pole and chopped itself down. So wish we’d taken a picture.

  • LaDona says:

    Everything about this is evocative of a better time, to me. Maybe it’s the Cheerios…maybe the white noise or maybe, the descriptions of the perfumes. All I know is, they sound like a holiday gift from heaven. I’m coming
    Off a divorce, and perhaps one of the most comically bad dates in the history of woman-kind. He turned into a tool, and another guy turned into married. I don’t need that kind of nonsense in my life, but I do need perfume. The sweet scent of flowers, and anything that can take on Idole in my pantheon of rutty smutty favorites, I am down with. Here is to a new year, and a solo trip to Catalina to shake off these bad men, and find some new sense of beginning. Or at least smell really good as I speed solo across the canopy on the zip-line…leaving the scent of “fabulous” behind for whomever follows.

  • shiva-woman says:

    I have tried many houses but I have not tried hers yet because it is so utterly daunting. When I have gone to the website and perused all the different scents and samples I’ve been really quite overwhelmed. So I’ve been taking my time with other houses but am determined to scale the DSH wall soon! They all sound quite lovely and I know that she is an incredible force in the indie/niche perfume world in which I can barely keep up. I’ve wanted to try Chinchilla for so long along with “Shaman”– the later because it was part of an exploration of spiritual scents by different Indie houses here in the United States. These all slings beautiful.
    No real holiday story here except to say that we purchased tickets to fly out of state up to Portland to visit family and we’re now eating the tickets because we’re in the process of moving and decided the time was better spent packing boxes, not opening… LOL

  • Tara C says:

    Ironically, I just ordered Become the Shaman and wore it this morning. It was gorgeous – I have a thing for palo santo. I need the body oil in this scent. And the Hinoki. Because I am an incense fiend. Would love to smell the others you mentioned.

    As for a holiday story, we all loved the time the white cat got into the fireplace the morning after a big yule log fire and rolled soot and ashes all over the carpet. Well, except my mom, who had to clean it up. :-0

  • Gina says:

    I tried a ton of DSH samples back when she was starting out. She is amazing and a sweet person. Holiday story. Hmmm. So many to tell. I think the best is when I wrote the check for my horse the day before my 28th birthday. I am 48 now. We’ve been together a long time and come a long way. We saved each other.

    • Musette says:

      I love that. And I believe that. I always wonder – do we save them or do they save us? Probably both. Many more years together, in health and happiness. That is my Christmas wish for you. xoxox