Magnificat Anima Mea – Review: DSH Perfumes Pandora

Pandora, Dawn Spencer Hurwitz’s newest creation, has gotten a lot of attention already. And not only because a new DSH perfume is always interesting, but because it is a GREAT new perfume. Many have already written about it, so what is there left to say, that hasn’t been said already, what can I add to the canon of great smelling bloggers?

Well, what I can always add, my own perspective.

What is different for me, in comparison to other bloggers who have years of experience, is that I never wore the chypres of old. When I entered Perfumeland, most of the greats had been reformulated into something entirely different, had morphed into a new perfume, bearing only the name or not exisiting at all anymore. I have no experience with vintage scents, I have smelled one or the other, but I have no intimate knowledge, that comes from living in them. I never wore the original Mitsouko for example and I don’t particularly enjoy what is sold under that name today. While that makes me a bit sad, there is nothing I can do about it, and looking back is not helpful. Fortunately that is not necessary, looking forward, looking in the right places is all it takes.

Chypre is therefore a category I am not very familiar with. Funnily enough, I began re-investigating that particular genre with a renewed vigour, a few weeks before Pandora arrived at my doorstep, because I fell in love with Le Parfum de Thérèse, a fruity chypre and Parfums MDCI Enlévement au Serail, that impressed me with its oakmossy depth.

And then came Pandora

Opening that particular box of perfume, presented me with an astounding creation. A rich, plush, multi-layered work of art opened slowly before my nose.

The notes listed on DSH ‘s website are Aldehyde/Aldehydic, Bergamot, Cassis Bud, Davana, Green Peppercorn, Ozone, Pink Peppercorn, Ruby Red Fruits (botanical accord), Spice Notes, Violet Leaf Absolute, Cabreuva Wood, Centifolia Rose Absolute, Green Tea Absolute, Juhi Jasmine Absolute, Linden Blossom Absolute, Orris Root, Yerba Maté Absolute, Ambergris Tincture, Australian Sandalwood, Cyperus, Fossilized Amber, Green Oakmoss, Mousse de Saxe no.1 (botanical accord), Muhuhu, Patchouli co2, Tonka Bean Absolute, Vanilla Absolute and Vetiver co2.

There is a lot going on in Pandora, it is like an intricately woven tapestry, rich, colorful, but expertly woven, nothing is superfluous here, everything in its place.

Pandora is like a symphonic piece of music, masterfully executed by an orchestra, not only technically perfect, but loving the piece they are playing. High musicality and flawless technique combine to make this piece of music sublime.

Likewise the fragrant notes, in the magical hands of composer and conductor Dawn Spencer Hurwitz, arrange themselves to an operatic whole that is transporting and entirely satisfying. Out of a complicated and intricately woven fabric, emerges a thing of beauty.

Pure and simple.


See other reviews:

The Non-Blonde

Scentless Sensibilities


Eyeliner On A Cat



This Blog Really Stinks

Image source:
Disclosure: a sample was provided by the perfumer for review.

About Olfactoria

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This entry was posted in Chypre, DSH, Floral, Fragrance Reviews and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

25 Responses to Magnificat Anima Mea – Review: DSH Perfumes Pandora

  1. Joey says:

    My exposure to vintages is limited as well – I can’t really tell you about anything pre-1980 – so reviewing Pandora was hard for me too. You did a masterful job, though! I love the image of an orchestra joyfully playing these notes.

    Simply put, this fragrance is a work of art!

    • Olfactoria says:

      I liked your Pandora review as well, it is wonderful that something created today was able to conjure up your Grandmother in your mind.
      I really hope Pandora gets all the recognition it deserves and becomes a classic.

  2. Undina says:

    Today I’m wearing Pandora for the first time so even though I read most of the reviews you listed, your review is the first one I can truly relate to. And for me – a person who has hardly worn any vintage chypres at all, – your review expresses the best how I feel about this perfume.

    I had the perfume on for the last 3 hours and it hasn’t faded away much. I’m really happy that Dawn was able to use some synthetic materials for that perfume – so it will last longer.

    • Olfactoria says:

      Thank you, Undina, that is a lovely thing to say! I’m very happy that Pandora is how it is, including synthetics, Dawn believes it makes the difference, and like you say, it wears longer and it has a sparkle and lift that would probably not be possible with all-natural materials.

  3. vanessa says:

    Well as you know, when it comes to my tastes in perfume I am more Steve Reich than Beethoven or Wagner – or Bach, indeed! – but your review, together with the others I have come across, have confirmed Pandora a must try. From the rave responses, could we be talking the next Mitsouko, even?

    • Olfactoria says:

      Steve Reich – what a perfect metaphor, indeed. 😀
      I really would love for DSH to get really, really famous for creating the new Mitsouko! Only time will tell.
      For now, I think you should look into a sample, but I’m not entirely sure you will love it. Although it is not Wagner, Bruckner or Beethoven, rather Bach or Händel. 😉

      • vanessa says:

        Thanks for this – I reckon Bach would be my upper limit in terms of “stuff going on” in a perfume. Still, some things just have to be tried, and this sounds like one of them.

  4. civava says:

    I love that there is a lot going on in perfume, especially in positive way. That always keeps me interested. And that kind of perfumes suit me. Mostly ;-).

  5. Tara says:

    I have debated whether to go down the road of trying vintage chypres with real oakmoss as I love the modern versions so much but decided not to. What’s the point of most probably breaking your heart of over something that is not readily available or hugely expensive when you do find it? I tell myself I can’t miss what I havn’t known! Anyway sounds like Dawn has created a great addition to the genre with Pandora. I’m so glad you decided to give us your perspective B because I don’t keep up with that many blogs and would have missed it otherwise.

    • Olfactoria says:

      I agree with you, Tara. And if you are happy with some of today’s chypres, there is really no reason to go looking for heartbreak.
      As for Pandora – it is EXACTLY what I believe you might like. And as long as inspired perfumers like Dawn strive to make such perfumes, I think we are good.

    • masha7 says:

      Don’t worry, Tara, you can find lots of chypres with real oakmoss out there right now, and it won’t break your bank account. Even Niki de St. Phalle EdT is still made with real oakmoss I think (it’s Swiss), or you can buy older bottles, and get a real feel for the true weirdness of chypre. Several natural perfumers still use oakmoss, and there’s an allergy-free version in use now. In fact, the tests used by IFRA may not have even included real oakmoss! I’ve never heard of a real oakmoss allergy. Or you can make your own base simply by blending bergamot, oakmoss, and labdanum (with or without patch). I make a holiday chypre every winter, a little different each year, for friends, it’s a great hobby. Don’t be afraid!

  6. Suzanne says:

    Pandora sounds breathtaking! A “let’s spring Chypre free from the box she’s been kept in recently” perfume? Sign me up.

  7. annemariec says:

    That’s a lovely performance of the Magnificat, and it’s wonderful to watch the ease with which the conductor keeps it all together.

    The orchestra is using period instruments, and here your ‘orchestral’ analogy is especially interesting. Dawn appears to be using ‘period’ ingredients (such as real oakmoss) in Pandora. Still, one can go to extremes with anything – period instruments, period ingredients, natural ingredients, whatever. What I really admire is the the blending of the best of the old and the new, and from what I hear, Dawn is vert good at that..

    I have not tried any DSH perfumes yet because the shipping is kinda expensive. Later this year or early next year I am going to keep a good slab of the perfume budget free, just for DSH.

    • Olfactoria says:

      The conductor is Austrian Nicolaus Harnoncourt, he is amazing – a bit crazy, as geniuses tend to be, but truly gifted. He is an advocate of “Original Sound”, playing on period instruments, like it was intended to sound by the composer.

      I am totally with you, every extreme is bad, the art is creating the best by using all that is there to use.
      I hope you get to try some DSH soon, Annemarie.

    • malsnano86 says:

      I noted the period instruments, too!

      It has been a very long time since I have sung Magnificat, but it is such a joyous thing. A lovely performance there, too.

  8. malsnano86 says:

    I’m awaiting a sample of Pandora and very much looking forward to it. I fell so hard for Dawn’s recreation of Coty Chypre – but that, of course, is a blunt sort of thing (and not at all my usual style).

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