2016 is winding down to its close, and I've just tried Dark Moon, this year's holiday fragrance from indie perfumer Dawn Spencer Hurwitz. It's named for one of the phases of the moon: according to Hurwitz, "The Dark Moon signals a new beginning… This Holiday Season, the New Moon/Dark Moon comes just after the winter solstice and in the northern hemisphere, the darkest day of the year." So it's timely, and heaven knows I've been eating more than my share of chocolate lately, which makes Dark Moon a perfect pick for my review this week.
Hurwitz describes Dark Moon as a "chocolate chypre" with notes of red wine, dark chocolate, bergamot, spice, jasmine, rose, resins, vanilla, and oak moss. Intrigued? Yes, me too. I went through a phase in the early 2000s when I wore any chocolate-based gourmand I could get my hands on them, and most of them were very dessert-like (Pilar & Lucy Exact Friction of the Stars! Lea St. Barth!) but my cravings for super-sweet perfumes have lessened over time.
Not to worry, though: I wouldn't categorize Dark Moon as a sweet gourmand. The chocolate is definitely the center of the composition, but it has the pleasing bitterness and depth of a high quality ("artisanal"!) chocolate bar. The surrounding resin and spice notes feel seasonal without slipping into potpourri territory, and they turn Deep Moon into an earthy cocoa blend. The "red wine" idea is subtle, with a tangy cassis note, and there's some oddly comforting oakmoss in the base. Dark Moon could definitely be shared by men and women who have a taste for something rich and mysterious in their fragrance wardrobe. It's offered in a Voile de Parfum concentration that stays close to the skin during wearing, and its staying power is average.
Hurwitz suggests Dark Moon as a scent for contemplation and private indulgence, especially at moments when the world seems literally or figuratively dark. That sounds right to me as I'm wearing this fragrance. I wish everyone a peaceful 2017, and I hope that bright things lie ahead for all of us. In the meantime, and even when things are going well, we all need to pause and look inward from time to time, and Dark Moon is an ideal olfactory companion for that mood.
Dawn Spencer Hurwitz Dark Moon is available in a variety of sizes and formats, including bath and body products; the 30 ml Voile de Parfum is $80. For buying information, see the listing for Dawn Spencer Hurwitz under Perfume Houses.