Scent Sample Sunday: DSH Heirloom Elixirs

My Valentine’s Day gift to myself was a subscription to Dawn Spencer Hurwitz’ Heirloom Elixir subscription for this year, all six releases. Dawn describes the origins of the idea:

Over the past few years we’ve had multiple requests for a “Subscription Service”… one that would automatically introduce you to a new DSH Perfume on a regular basis, filled with surprise and excitement.  With our creative new collection of Limited Editions, Heirloom Elixir, we felt that this was the perfect pairing of ideas to make that request a reality.

At the end of 2019, I took advantage of her end-of-year sale and bought the 2019 Complete Collection of six fragrances she released that year. They are, in order:

  • No.4: Love is Everything;
  • No.5: White Rabbits;
  • No.6: Wild Coyote;
  • No.7: Sharkskin;
  • No.8: Gold Leaf;
  • No.9: Lautrec.
Complete set of Dawn Spencer Hurwitz' 2019 Heirloom Elixirs fragrance subscription

DSH Perfumes’ 2019 Heirloom Elixirs Collection

CaFleureBon had a year-end review of Lautrec that included links to that blog’s reviews of all the Heirloom Elixirs as of November 2019. CaFleurebon has a special relationship to Lautrec: the 2019 edition is a modification of the fragrance Dawn created with Michelyn Camen for CaFleureBon’s first anniversary, in 2011. Dawn describes it:

This last Heirloom Elixir design for 2019 is a slightly modified version of an archival fragrance called Lautrec. Inspired by the inimitable French artist Toulouse Lautrec and his images of Parisian high-life in the 19th century. For this version, I have heightened the passionfruit accord and pushed the boozy cognac and absinthe accord just a tad further… Lautrec is a gloriously luscious fruity floral chypre Oriental that speaks of a nocturnal world filled with swirling gaiety and drunken frivolities at the Moulin Rouge. It is pure opulence, and indeed, I have nothing else in my collection quite like it.

I haven’t started working my way through the Heirloom Elixirs yet, including the recent delivery of 2020’s first issue, Snowflakes of Venice, because I spent much of January and the start of February enjoying my “January Joy Box” from 4160 Tuesdays. Now I have a head cold, so I’ll wait until my stuffy nose clears up! The description of Snowflakes of Venice is what lured me in, following on the heels of last summer’s first-ever trip to Venice.

Snowflakes, intricate and delicate, seemed the perfect theme to begin the 2020 Heirloom Elixir collection… the very stuff to fill a dream-like space to inhabit during January & February.   With their unique patterning, like that of Venetian Lace, snowflakes are floating wonders of weightless fluff when new.  The “Snowflakes of Venice” is a metaphor to speak to the famed Venetian Lace produced on the Island of Burano, and still beautifully hand-made with a mere needle and thread (!).  During the Renaissance and into the 18th and early 19th centuries, Venetian Lace was a prized luxury and signifier of affluence, power, and rank in European society.  Venetian Lace was a cherished heirloom, and even considered an investment for future generations.

Created to express the glory of the lace, the atmospheric perfume “Snowflakes of Venice”, has an equal softness and lighter-than-air feel as it opens.   It is an eloquently woven mix of chilled prosecco, iced Asian pear (Venetians love exotic delicacies!), cool cyclamen,  and the wispy stars of elderflowers.  The heart brings you directly to the lace ateliers with the delicate spindles of thread that smell faintly of orris butter, and the unmistakable aroma of starched fabric.  In the drydown, we find ourselves back with the cool, moist stones of Venice mixed with an inner warmth connoting the look of snowy fluff.


I applaud these perfumers’ innovative ways of involving their fans in the creation of new fragrances. I took part in 4160 Tuesdays’ crowdfunding of two sets of fragrances in 2019, Clouds/Clouds’ Illusion and Meet Me On The Corner/Christmas Concert, which was great fun. I love those fragrances and am happy to have been part of their launches, in a small way. I also love the sense of personal connection with these independent perfume artists, however small. Dawn and Sarah often include handwritten notes and samples, and I’ve actually been able to visit 4160 Tuesdays in their former location and meet Sarah. I’d love to meet Dawn in person some day, as well as Diane St. Clair of St. Clair Scents and Liz Moores of Papillon.

Have you taken part in any crowdfunding of fragrances? Do you have any fragrance subscriptions? If yes, what are your thoughts?

Subscriptions to Dawn Spencer Hurwitz' Heirloom Elixir fragrances.

DSH Perfumes’ Heirloom Elixirs

12 thoughts on “Scent Sample Sunday: DSH Heirloom Elixirs

  1. I too would really love to meet Diane St Clair as she’s one of my favorite perfumers.
    I don’t have any subscriptions and have never done a crowdfunding.


  2. I participated in the Kickstarter for Arielle Shoshana’s latest scent, Sunday. I have a lovey travel spray and I’m really enjoying it. I would love to try Dawn’s Heirloom series next year when I’m off my no-buy; I also want to have her create a bespoke perfume for me someday when I can visit her studio. (Once the kid is out of the house, I will make it happen!)

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I participated in the crowdfund for Arielle Shoshana’s Sunday. I have a subscription to Scentbird, a .27ml decant each month. Their selection isn’t stellar, but it’s a fun way to sample new to me perfumes.
    I am a fan of DSH, and I live in Denver metro, not too far from her studio in Boulder. I had the opportunity a few years ago to participate in a perfume group session with her, sampling many of her fragrances and learning about her inspirations. She is a wonderful perfumer, talented nose, and sweet person.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I have Scentbird too — it has been useful in letting me try fragrances by Montale, Amouage, ELDO, Arquiste, Eric Buterbaugh, and some others that are expensive for a full bottle or that I think I might not otherwise try. I’ve fallen in love with two of the Montales SB has offered: Intense Cafe and Roses Musk. To my surprise, I’m also very fond of some of the ELDO fragrances, such as Vraie Blonde and Like This. Another I’ve tried from SB and really liked is Roja Dove’s Elixir Pour Femme.


  4. Funny, I have chosen and enjoyed all of the perfumes you mentioned from SB! Intense Cafe and Roses Musk, Vraie Blond (love the champagne aldehydes), Like This, and RD Elixir Pour Femme (FB worthy). Eric Buterbaugh, histoire de Parfum, many mainstream. I feel the same, fun to sample perfumes that I wouldn’t buy FB but nice to be experienced. The decants are decent size.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I like the idea of subscription but with my success rate with any perfumes, unless one of my perfume twins decides to run such a service, I don’t think subscriptions are for me.

    I used ScentBird several times to get what I wanted (I think, I have 3-4 decants from them), but for a while now I do not see anything I’d like to get – so I cancelled it, but keep checking from time to time.

    Liked by 1 person

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