I began writing this review on Winter Solstice, the Northern Hemisphere's shortest day and longest night of 2016. What better occasion to review a fragrance called Winter Nights? This unisex scent from indie house Dasein includes notes of "coastal forest, driftwood bonfire, cardamom tea, lavender flowers and wild musk" and was developed as a collaboration between Dasein perfumer Sam Rader and Josh Meyer of Imaginary Authors.
Dasein is based in Los Angeles, and its fragrances are all inspired by the seasons of the California landscape. However, you don't need to live on the West Coast to enjoy Winter Nights. This is the first Dasein release I've tried, and I appreciate its direct approach: just enough information, a focused theme and a fragrance that delivers what it promises. It's certainly unisex, perhaps skewing more masculine than feminine, and it does evoke the experience of a walk in a wintry forest with a bonfire in the distance. We're surrounded by pines and other trees, many of them sticky with drips of resin, and the frozen earth is crunching under our feet; the chilly evening air wafts woodsmoke towards us.
Wintry Nights is intensely aromatic, and initially it's almost too "photographic" and faithful to nature for me to enjoy as a perfume; it reminds me more of a high-end candle or home fragrance that I'd happily spritz around my living room throughout the Christmas season. (If you've ever wished you could wear your Diptyque Feu de Bois candle, for example, you may want to seek out Winter Nights.) Gradually, however, it mellows somewhat. The charred notes of the "bonfire" settle down, and the rest of the fragrance evolves into a resin-wood fragrance with hints of cedar and lavender.
Winter Nights has impressive longevity: when I applied it for evening wear, I was still able to smell a far dry down of pine-tree notes after a quick shower the next morning. I also liked smelling its traces on my coat cuffs later and feeling as though I'd actually been at some holiday bonfire gathering. Although Winter Nights never quite becomes part of me, it's an evocative scent-experience. I'll have fun wearing the rest of my sample when I'm home on these dark nights, drinking a cup of tea and reading a mystery novel. It will bring a little of the great outdoors into my East Coast urban nest.
Dasein Winter Nights is available as 50 ml Eau de Parfum ($95). It has been produced in a limited run of 400 bottles for the 2016 holiday season. It appears to be sold out already at the Dasein website, but you may be able to snag a bottle through one of Dasein's stockists (as of this writing, it is in stock at OtherWild).