Italian Journey – Review: DSH The Italian Splendor Collection Part III

The third and last part (see Part I and Part II here) of our Italian Journey takes us to Venice, La Serenissima – the most serene, where we explore the perfume of courtesans and to Siena in the heart of Tuscany, where the ancient Roman Gods themselves are evoked in all their debauchery, sensuality and decadence.

Secreti di Belle Donne (Venice) inspired by the courtesans of Venice with notes of exotic oranges, saffron, spices, rich florals and a base of honied musk;

Secreti di Belle Donne – Secrets of Beautiful Women – includes notes of melon, bitter and blood orange, cured fruit, cardamom, orange blossom, damask rose, jasmine sambac, osmanthus, orris, ylang, ylang, clove, cinnamon, benzoin, honey, amber, vanilla, musk and civet.

Secreti di Belle Donne comes at me right out from the vial like a wild cat. The civet is there from the start and it means business!

After a few minutes the perfumes begins to settle and the dirtiness recedes and perfectly melds the spicy and fruity notes that are now apparent to my skin. I was horrified at first (I am a wimp when it comes to civet, castoreum and company), but then fell for Secreti di Belle Donne with a vengeance. Reading the notes list, smelling the first blast of skank, one is tempted to run, run fast, but this perfume only smiles and waits because it knows you’ll be back in a minute purring and ready to submit to its many charms. This is one aptly named scent! I don’t smell much of the fruity-floral top and heart, this is all about the base. A warm, honeyed, dirty to the end musk that will delight lovers of this kind of perfume.

Secreti di Belle Donne is a classic perfume, a “human” perfume. I can’t stop thinking about Jean-Baptiste Grenouille when wearing it, I have a feeling he would have loved it.


Venus and Cupid (Siena) a luscious fruity floral inspired by the intense sensuality of the ancients; notes of vine and fig leaves, wisteria, jasmine, sandalwood and acacia honey.

Venus and Cupid includes notes of grape vine, neroli, cassis bud, fig leaves, acacia honey, centifolia rose, wisteria, essenza dell’ ibisco (hibiscus), sandalwood, amber and oakmoss.

Venus and Cupid opens stringently green, I could swear I smelled galbanum, but it is not listed, maybe the grape vine note provides this similar GREEEEN feeling that galbanum usually gives me. But soon the green softens and sweetens, like unripe fruit taking on color in the sun smelled in fast forward. Honey, rose and something fig-like come out to play now. The entire perfume has a light and playful feel, a happiness, an unfettered, not a care in the world feel that is infectious. The drydown is smooth, sandalwood and sweet amber smooth.

If that was the perfume of ancient roman Gods, I long for a little immortality myself.

All six perfumes of The Italian Splendor Collection are incredibly good. It is unheard of that I like every perfume in a collection, but here I cannot find one I don’t like and admire. There are some I like more than others – my favorites are Medici and Alba – but there is not one scent in the bunch I curl my nose at.

Available at Dawn’s website, a 5ml flask of pure perfume is 45$ and a 10ml bottle of EdP is 60$. My reviews are based on samples of the EdP graciously provided by the perfumer.

Image source: Titian Venus of Urbino, Venus and Cupid by Allessandro Allori

About Olfactoria

I'm on a journey through the world of fragrance - come with me!
This entry was posted in DSH, DSH Italian Splendor, Floral, Fragrance Reviews, Fruity, Gourmand, Musk, Oriental and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to Italian Journey – Review: DSH The Italian Splendor Collection Part III

  1. jedennard says:

    I am slowly learning to appreciate civet. I love musk, whether it’s clean or dirty aspect is played up. But civet was a tough note for me to appreciate for quite a while. And I love experiencing something new that I keep thinking about and trying to figure out like you are with “Belle Donne”.

  2. Tara says:

    It’s a testament to the perfumer’s skill that you admire all six, even one with civet – a perfume that Jean-Baptiste Grenouille would have loved no less. I find that fascinating and a little scary!

    • Olfactoria says:

      It is both fascinating and scary!!! 🙂 Dawn impresses me a lot, she is very versatile, often perfumers are very good in one particular genre, Dawn seems to be perfectly at ease in many categories.

  3. Suzanne says:

    I had a delicious giggle reading your review of Secrete di Belle Donne (awesome name!), as I imagined one very ladylike perfumista carefully tiptoeing her slippered feet up to a civet perfume (I imagine her pinching her nostrils just a bit as she gets close) and then, after her initial horror has passed, falling for it “with a vengeance.” 😉

    Oh my, my…by the notes alone, I can tell that’s some kind of sexy perfume. If it managed to ensnare you, it must be downright beautiful. (And by your description, I just know that it is!)

    • Olfactoria says:

      Lol, Suzanne, that is quite near the truth, although I am a lot less elegant and a lot more prissy than people including myself tend to think! 😉
      That aside, Secreti di Belle Donne is awesome and totally your kind of thing, I believe.

  4. Pingback: Italian Journey – Review: DSH The Italian Splendor Collection Part I | Olfactoria's Travels

  5. Pingback: Italian Journey – Review: DSH The Italian Splendor Collection Part II | Olfactoria's Travels

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