Dawn Spencer Hurwitz calls her Mirabella a grand floral chypre and she's not exaggerating even a little. Mirabella is a dramatic perfume, dense and unapologetic. It's here to be savored and adored, as it deserves. The premise for this fragrance is set as the perfumer says: "Mirabella perfume the energy of a mature, sophisticated woman. ...This is not a perfume for a young girl". You get a general idea of what to expect, yet it still catches me by surprise, and I've had my bottle for a year now.
Mirabella opens with spice, plum, and a hint of expensive booze: something aged and smooth served in crystal tumblers that reflect the light from a magnificent chandelier hanging overhead. You get a glimpse of grand rooms, beautifully dressed people engaged in a witty conversation. The space, the light, expensive flower arrangements that give intoxicating scents-- when you're the one wearing Mirabella you belong there, you're part of that scene and you smell better than the flowers in the huge antique vase because you radiate warmth, passion and a promise for the way the night will end.
There's a moment in Mirabella's development that reminds me of vintage Tabu. The spice-to-civet and oakmoss is assertive and sexy in a similar way. Mirabella is as shockingly animalic, sweet, and dark as the old "parfum de puta", and that's a very good thing. She might be slightly more refined, better dressed and made up, but the bold sensuality is unmistakable. She's up to no good in the best possible way.
DSH Perfumes are usually very high on natural ingredients. Mirabella is no different: it's a 90% botanical fragrance, and it shows. The depth and density of the honeyed floral notes creates that intoxicating sensation that goes up to your head and almost gives you a light buzz. Dawn Spencer Hurwitz is a sorceress when it comes to chypre accords. They send you down that old rabbit hole into a wonderland of smells and sensations long gone from modern perfume counters. If you've been lamenting the disappearance of the grand dames of perfumery you'll do wisely to try Mirabella. It's a limited edition (as far as I know sourcing the raw ingredients is quite a task) and a real treasure.
Notes: Bergamot, Broom, Orange Flower, Spiced Plum, Centifolia Rose, Damask Rose, French Beeswax, Grandiflorum Jasmine, Juhi Jasmine, Osmanthus, Sandalwood, Castoreum, Civet, Patchouli, Green Oakmoss, Labdanum, Leather, Orris, Siam Benzoin, Vanilla.
DSH Perfumes Mirabella is avaialble in various sizes and concentrations including samples ($4-$225) from dshperfumes.com.
Photo: Lillian Bassman for Harper's Bazaar, November 1968, via myvintagevogue.com.