DSH Three Kings


Because of its name, and the fact that this perfume was created for the holidays, I expected something familiar, like a yuletide blend of incense, spruce, and spice. Three Kings is definitely no such thing, but so much more. And what a pleasure it is when preconceived notions are dispelled, especially when something more interesting awaits.

Three Kings, the third from Dawn Spencer Hurwitz’s all natural Gaia Collection, is certainly interesting and took me by surprise upon first sniff. Its opening is rather bitter, like the sharp smelling sap of a young pine tree bereft of any aged softness. A bitterness from citrus is present as well, as if an orange or bergamot were picked too soon before its sugars had time to fully develop. The first time I wore Three Kings, the opening felt strange and a slightly disorienting. But now that I know what lies beyond its first few minutes, the edgy topnotes feel like a rite of passage into what becomes a gorgeous vetiver perfume.

Vetiver might not have been one of the original offerings of the three kings, but it should have been given the magic Dawn has created with this humble root. The vetiver progression begins just shortly after the bitterness fades, when resinous balsams of cedarwood, sandalwood, frankincense and myrrh reveal themselves, subtly for now and more substantially in the drydown.

The heart continues to develop as vetiver asserts itself with a piquant greenness that is a little nutty and a whole lot earthy. This is my favorite aspect of vetiver, its rich and fecund essence which calls to mind damp forests and dry leaves clinging to their branches. Vetiver also has hints of powderiness which Three Kings explores as it moves further into its heart. The powdery, leathery richness of labdanum converges seamlessly with the vegetal soil of vetiver, making the 180 degree turn away from sharpness complete.

In the drydown, vetiver rests in the unfolding expanse of woods and resins, fully softening any remaining edges. In the end, what began as a startling perfume, has now become one of the most gentle and lovely vetiver perfumes I have ever experienced. I was not expecting vetiver to be the central offering of Three Kings, but it is, and I am grateful.

Three Kings is available at DSH Perfumes. $55 for 0.25 oz EDP spray or $140 for 1 oz.

Posted by ~Trish

Disclosure: A sample of Three Kings was sent to me for consideration by DSH Perfumes. The opinions in this review are my own. I was not financially compensated for this review or any other.

Image: Three Kings by Joseph Christian Leyendecker (1874-1951)ย at CGFA


15 thoughts on “DSH Three Kings

  1. Trish, you posted this right as I was purchasing my very first perfumes from Dawn. I am excited to try them. This was not a part of this order, but will have to try it next round!

      1. I got (based on your review!) “Bancha”, “Espices d’Hiver”, “Almond Blossom”, “En Fleur” and “Jitterbug”. Very excited!

        1. Yay for Bancha and Epices d’Hiver! I love both of those so much ๐Ÿ™‚
          You’ll have to tell me about Jitterbug, I have been really curious about that one, but have never smelled it.

          Thanks for sharing your picks!

          1. Welcome! I will absolutely let you know what I think! I am very excited!

            Thanks again Trish.

  2. I’m quite surprised too that this is a vetiver fragrance. Not at all what I would have expected either. You’ve made it sound quite intriguing, so I will be sure to test some.

    1. I know! And such a compelling vetiver fragrance at that. It’s not “holiday-ish” in the typical sense, but perfect for the cold and dark weather that is upon us.

    1. Hey K, Let me know if you do and what your impressions are.
      BTW, just added your blog to my blogroll! ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. Always a pleasure, dear lady !
    Dawndear is such a talent.
    The more love- the merrier ๐Ÿ˜‰

    May you and yours enjoy all the blessings of this season .

  4. Mmmm, sounds amazing, Trish. Vetiver is my second fav earthy note after well-aged Patchouli. It even beats Antique Sandalwood in my book (*gasp!*). It’s such an underrated base note IMHO.

    Thanks for the thorough review — purchase-enabling as always. ๐Ÿ˜‰


    1. Hey SS,
      If you ever place a sample order with DSH, you must put Three Kings on your list. One of the most unique and complex vetiver perfumes I have experienced!


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