It is this time of year when I get reminders of time passing by. Most of them come via those update letters which accompany Holiday cards as you find out the young child you last saw has graduated law school. A much more pleasant reminder of the passing days comes courtesy of independent perfumer Dawn Spencer Hurwitz. Every year since 2000 she releases a Holiday perfume; for 2017 the release is called DSH Perfumes Chataignes du Bois.
Chataignes are chestnuts and this perfume strongly reminded me of my first Holiday season running around Manhattan. In 1984 I had just started my first real job in September. One of my best friends from college was living in the City and I could go in and spend the weekend. It was an ideal situation for a young man. I was looking forward to the Season in the City because I knew there would be amazing things to see from Rockefeller Plaza to the Empire State building lit up in red and green. My friend and I drank it all in as I dragged him all over experiencing everything we could. If there was a scent to the city streets during those days, it was the street vendors roasting chestnuts. As we waited to cross streets or were running somewhere to catch something the predominant smell was chestnuts roasting. Whenever I smell it I am immediately transported in my mind to December on 5th Avenue. Which was exactly what happened when I sniffed Chataignes du Bois.
Dawn Spencer Hurwitz
Ms. Hurwitz has become very textured within the accords she creates and the chestnut accord at the heart of Chataignes du Bois is one of her most accomplished. When I talk about smelling chestnuts on street vendor carts I am also talking about there being a charred undertone which goes with that. Ms. Hurwitz captures that by using the pure chestnut and wrapping it in burnt sugar which provides the char and the sweetener. The dual woods of cedar and sandalwood provide the promised bois in the name. Stitching it together is a gorgeous co2 frankincense and patchouli. It gives the scent of resins and earth for everything to grow in.
Chataignes du Bois has 8-10 hour longevity and moderate sillage.
This year with Chataignes du Bois Ms. Hurwitz made me feel my age and remind me of my youth. A present wrapped in a perfumed bow of roasting chestnuts on an urban Christmas Day.
Disclosure: this review was based on a sample provided by DSH Perfumes.