October 17, 2016
Carole Lombard in the film Twentieth Century, 1934
Think of chinchilla and you might immediately recall old George Hurrell photos of movie stars wrapped in glamorous grey and white cocoons, gazing come-hither into the camera. While the white room in the background is filled with lilies, gardenias, roses and gladiolas, the scent of the dazzling siren in the image is musky, honeyed, seductive. It is Chinchilla by DSH Perfumes.
Marilyn Monroe, photo by Bert Stern, 1962
Dawn Spencer Hurwitz, Cafleurebon’s Perfumer of the Year 2015 (along with Geza Schoen), has created a retro-style oriental in Chinchilla which hearkens back to the sexy animalic perfumes of the 1930s, such as Weil’s Secret de Venus. If you’ve ever inhaled the aroma of vintage fur, its luxurious scent is unmistakable if hard to define: densely musky while almost woody with an undertone of ambergris. Chinchilla captures this redolence with eye-opening accuracy.
Photo by Aaron McPolin
Despite an absence of wood in the listed notes, Chinchilla starts with the same sensation as breathing in old fur and combines it with flowery, waxy honey. Anyone who has ever dabbed on one of the great orientals from the 40s or 50s will recognize that woody, dusty top note. This often lasts for a good half hour, as it does with Chinchilla. Smelling the perfume in its early stages, it is hard to believe it was created in 2016.
Greta Garbo in a Chinchilla wrap, photo by George Hurrell 1930s
While the vintage feel of Chinchilla never diminishes, it is very much a honey perfume. During the middle stage, Chinchilla’s retro quality takes a back seat in the limousine to honey and beeswax. After the opening begins to recede, an amalgam of seamless floral and mossy notes merge to create a velvety backdrop for the honey. About 20 minutes in, the honey becomes the star. Honey is a feisty note in perfumery; so often, it turns sugary or urinous. Here, the balance is delicious: rich but not overly sweet, animalic without tipping into vulgarity.
Veronica Lake, photo by Eugene Richee 1940s
As it enlarges, the syrupy notes are matched by a dark, filtered musk. This is Veronica Lake sulkily eating honey from a jar as she waits for Joel McCrea.
Loretta Young and Tyrone Power, photo by George Hurrell
Wearing Chinchilla is like stepping back to a time when nice girls in evening gowns wore naughty perfumes to soirees. Lie back on a velvet divan littered with silk pillows, dim the lights and wait for your leading man to kiss your neck.
Notes: Africa stone tincture, ambrette seed, bergamot, Brazilian vetiver, brown oakmoss, Carnation, castoreum, centifolia rose absolute, cinnamon leaf, civet, French beeswax, gardenia, honey, musk, spikenard, tonka bean, white pepper.
Disclaimer: I received my sample from Dawn Spencer Hurwitz. –Thank you. Chinchilla has above average longevity and above sillage. My opinions are my own.
— Lauryn Beer, Editor
Editor’s Note: CaFleureBon believes that wearing fur is a personal, moral and ethical choice.
Thanks to the generosity of Dawn Spencer Hurwitz and DSH Perfumes, we have a 10 ml EDP bottle of Chinchilla for a registered reader in the USA or a dram perfume flask worldwide. To be eligible please leave a comment with what appeals to you about Chinchilla based on Lauryn’s review, where you live, your favorite Old Hollwood Glamour icon and if you have a favorite Dawn Spencer Hurwitz perfume. Draw closes 10/20/2016.
We announce the winners only on site and on our Facebook page, so Like Cafleurebon and use our RSS option … or your dream prize will be just spilled perfume