As a perfume lover who will wear anything the term “masculine floral” seems silly to me. It is taken seriously by the large perfume purveyors. For most of the life of modern perfumery that phrase could be most descriptive of a dirty rose or a lavender fougere. Those were floral fragrances which did not challenge the traditional notions of gender. Almost ten years ago a new floral became part of this men’s floral group, iris. A set of new perfumes used the butched up rooty side of iris over the delicate powdery side. Pairing with other manly ingredients, iris has now been added to the rotation. None of this applies to the more dedicated perfume lover; we will wear any flower any time. Which brings me to DSH Perfumes Man Root which is this concept of masculine floral taken to a different level.
Man Root is the completion of independent perfumer Dawn Spencer Hurwitz’s Iris Trilogy. Her description on her website says she wanted to make this a celebration of all the root sources in fragrance. What that produces is a perfume of unusual earthiness centered around enhancing the rhizomal nature of iris.
It begins with iris present with its doughy carroty face turned towards the wearer. Like a time lapse video other roots begin to entwine themselves around that. Turmeric, ginseng, and a vegetal green accord. The latter is dubbed a “carrot greens accord”. It has the scent of those carrot tops with soil still clinging to it. It is a delightful complement to the symphony of roots. A floral intermezzo is spearheaded by rose. This is a literal dirty rose as it is covered in earthiness. That quality is deepened through oakmoss and ambrette.
Man Root has 10-12 hour longevity and moderate sillage.
The entire composition is very dry, and I was having trouble finding a way to describe it. Mrs. C asked me what I was wearing one of the days I wore this. She said it reminded her of her grandmother’s root cellar just as everything had been put into storage for the winter. Not a lot of root cellars in Florida so I had no frame of reference. Once she said it though I thought the idea of an earthen floored cellar containing roots was probably a good description. As for the masculine floral that is here but only for those who have begun to venture outside of the offerings at the mall. For those people this will be a revelation.
Disclosure: This review is based on a sample provided by DSH Perfumes.