Wednesday, October 01, 2014

DSH Perfumes- Minuit

Night Landscape: Cypress Trees by Amanda Friedman
(Have a look at her other night photos. They're haunting)

Do you dream of spicy chypres? This is how perfumer Dawn Spencer Hurwitz describes her creation Minuit:
"At Midnight, the winter moon shone.
Waves of light, beaming through the dark night sky.
This is when we dream."
The first thing I smell in Minuit is a holidayish blast of cloves and carnations (the holiday might as well be Rosh Hashannah with its spiced honey cakes). I experience clove as having a contrasting hot/cold effect. Spices in general tend to create a warm effect, but clove oil is also the smell of the dentistry clinics of my childhood (my paternal grandpa was a dentist and his hands seemed to retain that scent years after he retired) . But Minuit quickly deviates from the Christmas template and surprises me with layers upon layers that change from familiarity to aloofness and back. Like falling into a dream world where you've been before, but still have no idea what's waiting around the next corner.

There aren't enough perfumes with a good hazelnut note. Mechant Loup (L'Artisan) is a notable exception, as is Minuit. The layer of hazelnut dacquoise that emerges just below the clove feels like that dream where you're diving right into your thick comforter and feeling yourself land into its warm embrace while still mostly asleep. But as you continue the dream you suddenly find yourself in the garden of live flowers from Through The Looking Glass, where the rose and tuberose take the somewhat contrarian role of the tiger-lily and her companions.What kind of floral perfume is it, anyway?

A chypre, that's what. The lush and dark base appears almost out of nowhere. Mossy, balsamic, and vintage-like, this is a blast from our collective perfume past. The enchanted forest illuminated by silver moon slowly turns into a not-too-sweet oriental. The wood darkens, the light turns ambery and all of a sudden you're back in your childhood bedroom, just in time for an afternoon tea and cookies. It's delicious.

Notes: cassis bud, hazelnut, silver fir, carnation, rose, jasmine, tuberose, brown oakmoss, olibanum and agarwood.

DSH Perfumes- Minuit (from $33 to $425, samples also available) can be purchased from I probably received a free sample at some point, but have since bought a bottle. My recent collection re-org unearthed the little bottle to my great delight.

1 comment:

  1. Great review - really captured the complex magic and beauty of Minuit. One of the great joys of organizing perfumes is coming upon forgotten gems. Minuit was one of the first perfumes I bought from DSH and one of the ones that convinced me she was a truly genius perfumer and, at that time at least, underappreciated. Just went and got out my bottle of Minuit - very little left and need to get another bottle and try her new Seve de Pin.


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