Saturday, September 25, 2010

DSH Perfumes: Secrets of Egypt, Part 3 of 3: 1,000 Lilies and Megaleion

The mummy returns

Perfumer and aromatherapist Dawn Spencer Hurwitz collaborated with the Denver Art Museum on a set of special perfumes to accompany their 2010-2011 King Tut exhibit, The Secrets of Egypt. The perfumes are only available from the DAM and the DHS web site.

This is the third part of my 3 part review of the Secrets of Egypt collection. Read part 1 and part 2.

1,000 Lilies (aka Susinon)
Susinon was a luxurious and strongly scented lily perfume that was made by the Egyptians as well as the Greeks, but the Egyptian version was thought to “excel most’. This fabulous fragrance was also used by Cleopatra to scent the sails of her royal barge, perfuming the air along the Nile as she sailed, proclaiming herself as Goddess and Queen.
1,000 Lilies starts with spices, cardamom and cinnamon again as in the other Secrets of Egypt perfumes, but softer than they were in Cardamom and Kyphi. They are joined by a fresh lily. DSH has created a realistic top-to-bottom lily for this perfume, I can smell the oily pollen (narcissus), the thick petaled flower (Kenya lily), and the roots (orris root). Lily is not my  favourite flower but it's well done here. Although strong at first, 1,000 Lilies doesn't have much lasting power and disappears on my skin after 3 hours.

Top notes: Cardamom Seed, Cinnamon Bark, Fragrant Wine (accord), Galbanum
Middle notes: Kenya Lily, Narcissus Absolute, Orris Root, Pink Lotus, Saffron absolute, Turkish Rose Otto, Ylang-Ylang
Base notes: Australian Sandalwood, Honey, Myrrh Gum, Sweet Flag

By the time of Pliny the Elder, Megaleion had achieved a kind of celebrity due to it’s extreme cost, complexity of ingredients and the painstaking method of it’s production.
Megaleion has good sillage and lasting power. It starts with frankincense and cinnamon, then opens into a fruity rose with sweet grasses. The drydown has lots of great sandalwood and something sweet, almost anisic that I think is the sweet flag. This was one of my favourites from the set.

Top notes: Cardamom co2 Absolute, Cassia, Cinnamon Bark, Fragrant Wine (accord), Lemongrass
Middle notes: Australian Sandalwood, Balm of Gilead (accord), Spikenard, Turkish Rose Otto
Base notes: Copaiba Balsam, Costus, Myrrh Gum, Olibanum (Frankincense), Peru Balsam, Pine Resin, Sweet Flag

I enjoyed reviewing the Secrets of Egypt perfume collection. All were pleasant, but I liked Arome d'Egypt, Cardamom and Kyphi and Megaleion the best.

I find it romantic to pretend I might be  smelling the same as Cleopatra, fresh from her milk bath, anointed with oils and cruising down the Nile on a barge with perfumed sails.

House: DSH Perfumes, Parfums des Beaux Arts CollectionNose: Dawn Spencer Hurwitz

All I am - a redhead has posted a review of Antiu, check it out!


  1. I can't believe blogger ate my comment second time today.

    I'm now sorry I didn't order 1000 Lilies because it really sounds interesting.
    And it does sound romantic thinking we are trasnported through those scents into Cleopatra's time and scentful memories.

    Thank you for linking back to me. :)

  2. Thanks for your comprehensive reviews of these Egyptian perfumes!

    I wonder how 1000 Lilies compares with that Scents of Time frag, Nenufar? The DSH one sounds more complex and authentic, tbh - the Scents of Time interpretation was strangely contemporary. Lovethescents even thought it could have been a Body Shop fragrance!

  3. Ines: You're welcome!

    flittersniffer: I haven't been able to get a sample of the Scents of Time, but it sounds like I'm not missing much. DSH really does feel like it could be the authentic smell. Apparently she even gave demos at the DAM where she recreated perfumes with the old-school methods, using wine and macerated herbs.

  4. They sound lovely! I am really getting into DSH perfumes of late, she has some amazing scents

  5. I have samples of both of these, haven't sniffed them yet due to an attack of allergies. I can't wait to try them!


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