Independent perfumer Dawn Spencer Hurwitz has just released Sharkskin, the seventh fragrance in her limited edition Heirloom Series.1 This one is timed for summer: it's "tailor-made to get you through the steamiest days of the year...a wonderful balance of sparkling lightness, luxurious depth, and ease. In my perfect fantasy, this is the scent that both Frank Sinatra AND Grace Kelly are wearing to be cool as a cucumber, the picture of elegance, and ever so fresh in the heat of the NYC summer, circa 1957."
This scent's name refers to the fabric called sharkskin, a lightweight wool material that's tightly woven with alternating colors of thread for a resulting smoothness and subtle, two-toned sheen. The members of the Rat Pack were often photographed wearing sharp-cut sharkskin suits in the 1950s and 1960s, hence the reference above! — but the material is still used in suiting for both genders.
Sharkskin's notes include lemon, lime, bergamot, petitgrain, neroli, lavender, aldehydes, fern, rose, musk, oakmoss, sandalwood, civet and ambergris. It's a twist on the classic Eau de Cologne, with hints of fougère, and it's certainly gender-neutral. I particularly like the fizzy lime note in its opening, the abundance of twiggy petitgrain that follows, and its raspy orange blossom. The vibrant citrus motif that runs throughout Sharkskin is prolonged and enriched by the woodsy and mossy-green heart notes. The eventual dry down is quiet, a soapier white-floral note that settles comfortably onto the skin. Overall, Sharkskin is a natural-smelling composition with a restrained but interesting textural effect, just like the material it's named for.
Sharkskin has low sillage and stays close to its wearer. Its staying power is a little less than average, about four hours on my wrists and arms, but I didn't mind reapplying. This week has been steamy indeed, and I need a little extra refreshment throughout the day. Sharkskin didn't magically transform me into Grace Kelly, but it lifted my spirits and made me feel a less sweaty and a little more chic. Dive in!
Dawn Spencer Hurwitz Sharkskin is available through August 31, 2019 as Eau de Parfum ($145 for 60 ml) or Parfum extrait ($96 for 7 ml or $115 for 5 ml in an antique-style flacon presentation). Sample vials and a matching body cream are also available. For buying information, see the listing for Dawn Spencer Hurwitz under Perfume Houses.
1. The DSH website explains, "Every two months per year we will release a new limited edition fragrance in numbered bottles. It will only be available for sale during the two month period and once it’s gone, it’s gone…with exception. If you get one of our bottles or are gifted one of our bottles, we will keep a record, and you can contact us for refills."
Note: top image is detail from Photo of Frank Sinatra and Grace Kelly on the set of High Society, public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.