New Perfume Review DSH Perfumes Shimotsuki- Moonlit Snow

Independent perfumer Dawn Spencer Hurwitz has such a diverse imagination I am always impressed when I receive a new package of her latest releases. Within are usually three very different types of perfume. I must admit for the past year one of the seasonal releases has been more anticipated than the other. Last spring Ms. Hurwitz began her Haiku Series with Gekkou Hanami capturing the cherry blossoms of spring under the moonlight. Since then with Tsukiyo-en and Tsukimi she has provided similar moonlit vistas for summer and autumn. Which meant winter had to be coming. When my package arrived, I opened it and looked for the vial with the Japanese name, what I found was called Shimotsuki.

I have mentioned in my previous reviews within this series how much I have come to appreciate Ms. Hurwitz’s Japanese aesthetic. Of any of the four Haiku releases Shimotsuki might be the most equivalent to the actual poetic inspiration. Shimotsuki is meant to capture the diffuse light of a full moon on the snow. The way moonlight interacts out in the Maryland countryside has always been an enjoyment as I spend time on my back porch during full moons. The winter version on a snowfall is special as the moonlight is doubled by the reflection off the white stuff. It is the ultimate light diffuser and amplifier. It is also coming in the depths of winter when the smell of the outdoors is scrubbed clean of all that vegetal green floral interference. The light comes with a diffuse cleanliness. This is all captured in Shimotsuki.

Dawn Spencer Hurwitz

The chill is provided by yuzu and a familiar Hurwitz ingredient, rice. In the past when she has used rice it is accompanied by steam or powder. In Shimotsuki it is accompanied by the citrus making it seem frozen in place. The moon is represented by artemisia which is named after the goddess of the moon. Ms. Hurwitz adds seaweed underneath the sage-lite nature of artemisia to provide a light green patina. Out of that arises the slightest hint of the spring to come as a lilting hawthorn arrives along with the sturdiness of hinoki wood. As the moon moves across the sky allowing the light to dim and fade with the dawn sandalwood, orris, and white musk combine to form an accord heralding the changing of the light.

Shimotsuki has 8-10 hour longevity and moderate sillage.

There are only a few perfumers from whom I would want a bespoke perfume from; Ms. Hurwitz is one of them. If you had asked me when I first discovered her fragrances I would have desired something spicy and floral. Now after this final Haiku I realize I would desire something Japanese-inspired and simple. Shimotsuki is as good a closing of the loop of the Haiku series as I could have imagined; austere perfumery which leads to beauty.

Disclosure: this review is based on a sample provided by DSH Perfumes.

-Mark Behnke