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Naughty, and some Yellow

yellowAlert readers (which I assume describes all 6 of mine) may have noticed that though DSH has been a big topic in the past here at Unseen Censer, I haven’t talked about it a lot.

Partly that was because I had everything the brand had to offer, and had been a little less than wowed by recent experiences – I was happy to let it be. If you haven’t experienced DSH perfumes before, the size of the collection can seem overwhelming; but in fact the perfumer, Dawn Spencer Hurwitz, puts out new releases at a fairly sane pace these days and once I’d smelled my way through her collection, rich and diverse at it is, I didn’t feel a desperate need to “keep up”. I’ve been OK.

I was intrigued to hear through the grapevine that DSH’s new “Rendezvous” was intended to be a rich animalic (read: filthy) floral, and involved a lot of ingredients that today’s consumer is generally too timid for: castoreum, hyracium tincture, and civet being the most notable contributions. (If you don’t know what those are, you might not want to look them up.) A highly indolic jasmine was reported to be the least of it.

When I recently had a chance to try this on my skin, as I half-expected, it made me smile. OH THE FILTHINESS. If you are not the kind of person who enjoys the scent of sheets after you’ve had a lot of sex on them, you really will not care for this.

If you ARE, you don’t have to tell me; anyway, I won’t tell anyone. But my goodness, even if you ARE, I can’t imagine wearing this in public for at least half an hour. It is naughty and raunchy for quite a while.

Eventually on me it calmed down into a creamy rich floral and I bought the thing. I could see wearing it; I still might hesitate to wear it to work, but why the hell not? Life is short, and at least after the first half hour, this perfume is nothing to be embarrassed about. (Or is it? I doubt that co-workers would ever tell me. They might just be jealous of me.) It reminded me of Barbara Herman’s book “Scent and Subversion” and her point that she does not want to smell like a clean baby. She wants to smell like a grown woman.

Well, if you are wearing DSH Rendezvous, you are a grown-ass woman, and a lucky one at that.

The (extremely naughty) floral that it becomes is big and that indolic jasmine is quite glorious. I am saying indolic jasmine because if you’re reading this, you already know if you like your jasmine clean or dirty. If you’re the kind of person who never gets a jasmine deep and rich enough, you need to give this baby a test drive. This is the sort of jasmine that slaps you in the face and kisses you before you agree to it.

The dry down has a bit of “Dawnade” that I associate with DSH scents that I like from the past, a slightly spicy woody base that gives the brand more identity than it might otherwise have given the breadth of the collection. DSH certainly has perfumes that don’t share this base, but to me this smells like a recognizably DSH perfume. It is not an oriental. If you are a fan of vintage Fracas or Bandit you absolutely must try this.

(Postscript: there is no point of comparison with Atelier’s Rendez-vous, which I also own and like very much. That one is a lovely osmanthus with absolutely zero filth in it.)

Some samples came included with my bottle of naughty thoughts and I must report I am really loving Hansa. This one is part of Dawn’s Chroma collection. I don’t see it listed separately on her website but of course if you contacted DSH I’m sure they would sell you some. Hansa is the YELLOW in this collection of intense saturated-color inspired perfumes, and by golly, yellow it is. I am a sucker for honey and I smelled honey and yellow petals and I think I am going to want to wear more of this come spring. It isn’t juicy, it isn’t waxy, it isn’t dripping, but it is BIG (not in sillage, but in personality, in scent), and while it isn’t a soliflore and it isn’t shy, I have a hard time coming up with more positive statements of what it is. Yellow is what it is, that’s for sure. If you like yellow flowers and all the various lightweight mimosa scents out right now aren’t doing it for you, try some Hansa. I don’t think you’d be disappointed.

Image is “Yellow“, by Laura Favrow, via Flickr. Used under Creative Commons license; some rights reserved.

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What goes around

inacircleI wanted to do a “Perfume in 2015” post, but I didn’t. I haven’t been reading or writing much about perfume lately, as other hobbies/interests plus real life have taken up a lot of time.

It’s caused me to rethink my devotion to perfume. This blog’s been going on since October 2010, can you imagine? What on earth am I even doing?

Oo, patchouli.

That’s the thing: I think perfume has become a feature of life for me, like food, like water, like the cat. My day feels spare without it, and though sometimes I want or need to be spare, most of the time I do still like my luxuries.

2015 was so devoted to a ridiculous amount of work that I barely paid attention to my perfumes, yet I still managed to acquire a ton more, and investigated things I hadn’t investigated before.

My perfumes got more minimalist, and less snobby. I wore Gucci Guilty a lot. A lot. That lavender musk amber is never not right. Covet also got a lot of wear; in fact I bought a solid just to carry it around with me. I dragged out Natori and Adam Levine for Her, both always a pleasure. I looked for cheap thrills in TJ Maxx’s, honestly because I didn’t have a lot of time to consider perfume purchases. Vintage Bloom, nothing to write home about; Eau de Gaga, surprisingly good cologne in a year of good colognes. Dalal by Al-Rehab, four dollars and twenty cents of honey-sweet goodness. Awesome.

Some of my 2014 favorites carried over: In the City of Sin, how I adore you, you spicy peach gorgeousness you. I rediscovered things I had in my collection but had never loved: Bulgari Omnia, you floral spicy musk classic, I don’t know why I overlooked you but I’m glad we reconnected. I investigated a lot of rose. MCMC’s Talon didn’t excite me as much as I wanted it to; still don’t get why everyone else loves Neela Vermeire’s Mohur but it is more wearable than I originally considered it. I wore a lot of iris. Hermes’s Hiris found its way into my collection right before the gorgeous blue bottle disappeared from shelves forever. I continued to investigate vintage. The teeny bottle of Kelly Caleche in my glass cabinet is a spicy skanky powerhouse. I really did find a glorious patchouli: vintage Coryse Salomé Nuit d’Opera, highly recommend. I bought my annual Atelier: Jasmin Angelique is kind of perfect in a way I didn’t know I wanted, an androgynous dry all-purpose jasmine.

But weirdly, as I turn the corner into 2016, I must admit that I am going back to my original loves and re-investigating, or re-enjoying them, again. I never stopped loving tea. I will always be sad that Creative Universe by Beth Terry disappeared and took with it the glorious Element of Surprise. Le Labo’s Thé 29 was a nice interpretation, and I’m planning to try some Jennifer Lopez Still just because of the tea note too. I picked up some Omnia Crystalline to try, but still prefer my beloved Eau Parfumée Thé Blanc. Some of my favorite patchoulis and ambers feel weirdly heavy to me now, but still gorgeous (Psychédélique, you heavy velvet quilt of a thing!). Philosophy’s Amazing Grace was reformulated away and I did search out a few bottles of the disappearing original: a trailblazer with its floral tomato leaf. I tended to go back to old decants that I never drained and was so happy to carry them around with me, like a puppy that discovered a forgotten favorite toy behind the couch and was reunited with it.

My thicker, more complex perfumes seemed to just demand too much of me. I wore my Amouages, my Memoir and my Fate, a couple of times, but I didn’t have the brain space for them. I liked Sunshine but am sad to say that it is the first perfume I really had a noticeable respiratory allergy reaction to (I hate to say it but there it is). Journey has gotten more wear from me; it’s easier on my brain and pretty and that’s about where my mind is at. That’s as far as I have capability for right now.

I’m still waiting for No. 23 to come back into stock at Ava Luxe; I took a rollerball with me on the plane, I don’t know why, I know not to do that, and I dropped another little bottle and broke it, and this is one  of my all-time desert island standbys and I desperately need more. I wore Montale Vanille Extasy a couple of times as well. That apricot vanilla just never fails to cheer me up. I even went all the way back to Donna Karan Gold and wore that once, in the EDT to try to keep it light, and found it ridiculously huge. What must I have smelled like eight years ago. It is still, however, beautiful.

I noticed a list on NST that one of the readers had put together of the most-mentioned perfumes of the year. I had smelled almost none of them.

So 2015 was in many ways still a year full of perfume discoveries for me but nothing newsworthy or notable, perhaps. I’d still like to chime in from time to time to point out Stuff I Think, but it will have to wait its brainspace turn.

Image is “Living in circle” by Jen Son, via Flickr; used under Creative Commons license, some rights reserved.

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Copy love isn’t lesser love

I should write this post after I receive the bottle of vintage parfum Fleurs de Rocaille that I finally broke down and bought, but after all I decided not to wait.

Because it’s actually FLEUR de Rocaille that I love.

Yes, the one in the much cheaper pink (not Baccarat) bottle.

I bought Fleur de . . . → Read More: Copy love isn’t lesser love

Despite snob

Hi all, sorry I haven’t been posting (if you missed me); I’ve been busy and have to prioritize. I haven’t forgotten about my little survey either; since the point of it was for me to learn how to do a regression analysis, trust me, I’ll be back to it, but not right away.

But that . . . → Read More: Despite snob

What do you do in the heat?

There are a lot of tricks people pull out of their perfume hats when it gets hot. There’s the keeping it in the fridge trick, for instance.

I own a lot of light, sheer perfumes. I own several of the huge Marc Jacobs splashes (yes, they all dry down the same, but the initial impression . . . → Read More: What do you do in the heat?

Fun with research

***EDITED TO ADD: THANK YOU, THE DRAFT SURVEY IS NOW CLOSED! Stay tuned for more news on this project! ***

Do you like Undina’s posts about perfume stats of various sorts!? Of course you do! We’re perfume nerds and we love data about perfume.

As it happens some buddies and I are studying survey design . . . → Read More: Fun with research