2018 First-Half Recap

Before I plunge into the fall releases starting to show up in my mailbox I want to recap the world of perfume for the first half of 2018. Especially here in the Poodlesville HQ of Colognoisseur.

For those who have followed my writing for the over ten years I’ve been doing reviews I am sure you’ve tired of my whining about too many spring roses. Guess what? This year I got my wish. I’m not sure what caused the change but even a perfume called Miu Miu L’eau Rosee was not a rose. That one was a very nice lily perfume. I got Bvlgari Magnolia Sensuel. I got Nest Wisteria Blue. I got the neroli of Commodity Nectar. I got the crazy blackberry of Gucci Guilty Absolute Pour Femme. I got Jo Malone Jasmine Sambac and Marigold. Yes, there were plenty of pretty roses, but the spring of 2018 found new perfumed ways of celebrating the season.

One of those ways was the return of the classic ambrette-iris-musk so embodied by Chanel No. 18. There were many of these, most of which I liked. There were two which stood out for taking this classic accord in a modern direction; Diptyque Fleur de Peau and A Lab on Fire Hallucinogenic Pearl. Perfumers Olivier Prescheux and Emilie Coppermann, respectively, found a way to freshen this triad up. In Mme Coppermann’s case it was by incorporating the De Laire base Iriseine; which made this one of my favorites of the first half of 2018.

Christine Nagel

Christine Nagel continued her strong showings for Hermes. If there was a last question left for her it was, “How would she make the Hermessences her own?” She released five in the spring. They were all good, but it was her move towards an “essence de parfums” oil-based formulation where she confirmed her stamp on this collection. Cardamusc is another favorite of 2018, so far.

The independents also thrilled me in the first six months of the year. Dawn Spencer Hurwitz finished her Haiku Series for DSH Perfumes with Tsukimi and Shimotsuki. Among the very best work of hers I have experienced.

Hiram Green Slowdive was a textural marvel as a tobacco accord traverses a viscous mixture of honey and others.

Sarah McCartney’s 4160 Tuesdays Freeway is So Cal car culture in search of an exotic sorbet. Sounds odd but it is fabulous.

Andy Tauer provided a contemporary version of the “golden age” in Tauer Les Annees 25.

There were three other perfumes which really caught my attention so far in 2018.

A Lab on Fire And the World is Yours by perfumer Dominique Ropion is perhaps my favorite from the brand ever. The opening bergamot, neroli, and cumin accord is spectacular.

Louis Vuitton Nouveau Monde is the leather perfume which should have Louis Vuitton on its label. I may be a bit let down by the others in this collection, but Nouveau Monde, and perfumer Jacques Cavallier, gives me the leather I wanted.

The leader at the midway point of 2018 is Neela Vermeire Creations Niral. The collaborative energy between creative director Neela Vermeire and perfumer Bertrand Duchaufour has always produced excellent perfume. Niral is better than that. The iris shimmers over a subtle leather accord. I still haven’t got enough.

This covers what I was able to write about in the first six months. Just in the next couple of weeks I have some reviews coming which are also among the best of 2018.

As always, thanks for reading.

Mark Behnke

New Perfume Review DSH Perfumes Tsukimi- Universal Meditation

I’m sure it has become redundant but my admiration for the breadth of independent perfume Dawn Spencer Hurwitz never flags. If you need evidence just look at the number of top 25 perfumes of 2017 lists her DSH Perfumes brand made. Then look and see that they are different perfumes from her prodigious output. I was with everyone else in naming one of her perfumes “Best of 2017” but I also was attracted to a particular series she released this year; the Haiku Series.

It seems like when Ms. Hurwitz works with a Japanese aesthetic at the forefront that it is what appeals to me most, too. In the spring she began the Haiku series with Gekkou Hanami which captured the cherry blossoms under moonlight. It is among the best work Ms. Hurwitz has done and was my choice as the fifth best perfume of 2017. The second Haiku was Tsukiyo-en capturing a moonlit Japanese garden in summer. The third Haiku which was for autumn, Tsukimi, arrived in the fall; but the pattern was already full for the end of the year. So now I’m finally getting around to writing about it.

Dawn Spencer Hurwitz

Tsukimi is subtitled “Moon Gazing” continuing the moonlight theme of the previous Haiku. It is inspired by the autumn festival in Japan where you gaze at the moon. It is a meditative kind of gaze which Ms. Hurwitz turns into a more meditative style of perfume it centers around a resinous central accord of CO2 extracted frankincense and oppopanax. This is the full moon upon which the rest of the perfume gazes.

Ms. Hurwitz has constructed the Japanese wooden shrine accord in other scents inspired by that region. It consists of cedar and hinoki along with sandalwood to make it less raw. It is a place to sit and cross your legs while breathing in deep breaths. What you experience in the first breath is a mixture of light floral, amyris and rosewater. A creamy peach skin accord provides a lilting fruity floral effect. Fig intensifies the fruity character. The frankincense and oppopanax come together as a focal point quickly after that. From there it is a series of different spices and musks both botanical and synthetic which bring you to a final accord around vetiver and benzoin.

Tsukimi has 8-10 hour longevity and moderate sillage.

Tsukimi reminds me very much of a previous release in Ms. Hurwitz’s perfumed Japanese shrine, Bancha. Tsukimi has the same beautifully calming effect as that earlier perfume does for me. In preparing to write this I wore it for the second time on a single digit moonlit night recently. As I looked up into the vault of the sky Tsukimi gave me scent to meditate on the universe. Which is a glorious place to enter 2018.

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

Mark Behnke