Sunday, June 10, 2012

Dorian & Dahl Perfume Oil Review

Dorian & Dahl images are used with permission.

I’ve had my eye on Dorian & Dahl since I first started hearing a buzz about it a few weeks back after the shop first opened. When Erin, the owner of Dorian & Dahl, offered to send me some samples for review, I jumped at the opportunity. I love perfume, and especially perfume oils. I always enjoy trying a new company, and I found Dorian & Dahl’s scent list to be quite intriguing.

Erin allowed me to select the three samples I wanted to review. To experience a bit of variety from her scent menu, I chose three different types of scents – a woody scent, a fruity scent, and a floral scent.

These are the Dorian & Dahl perfume oils I chose to review:
  • My Great Sin
  • Yummy
  • Magnetic

When I received the package from Dorian & Dahl, Erin had generously tucked in a fourth sample of Girls.

The perfume oil samples were packed securely, well-padded, and the package was very tidily presented with a lot of neatly-folded tissue paper secured with a cute Dorian & Dahl sticker. The four samples had been sent in a small zip bag, which is how I like to receive my perfume oils in case of a breakage or leakage incident. One of the samples did, in fact, leak a bit in transit, but it was a very small amount of leakage. As you can see in the photos, the oil did smudge the labels a bit, but I can still read each of them.

The samples are presented in a 1ml vial that has a stopper with a pen clip. The labels on the samples are, as shown in the photos above, handwritten on one side with the name of the scent, and the other side has the Dorian & Dahl logo printed on it. The Dorian & Dahl logo is simultaneously cute and sophisticated. I like the professionalism of the printed labels combined with the more personal aspect of the hand-written names on the labels. I like that the labels are small and I can see exactly how full the vials are. They are full to the base of the stopper, which is standard for a 1ml vial in order to avoid leakage as the oils may expand with heat.

A full size bottle (8ml) will vary in price from $12.00 - $13.00, depending on which scent you’re purchasing. 

Three sample vials (1ml each) of your choice are $5.00.

In addition to the sample 3-pack, Dorian & Dahl offers pre-selected sample packs from some of its scent categories: Four Belle Blend sample vials (1ml each) for $6.00, five Book Blend sample vials (1ml each) for $8.00, or seven Original Blend sample vials (1ml each) for $10.00.

The ingredients listing is the same for all of the oils: Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride (Fractionated Coconut Oil), Jojoba Oil, Rice Bran Oil, Cyclotetrasiloxane, Cyclopentasiloxane, Fragrance Oil Blend, and Tocopherol (Vitamin E).

I could not find anything on the Dorian & Dahl blog or shop that indicated the ratio of fragrance oil to carrier oil. 

Dorian & Dahl currently offers twenty different original perfume oil blends with a nice variety among the scent types/scent families, and according to the shop's blog, new scents are in the works. 

Dorian & Dahl perfume oil blends are vegan, cruelty-free, and each full size bottle contains a “best used by” date. Dorian & Dahl does not repackage or rename oil blends; each blend is original and handcrafted. Follow the shop’s blog for updates on Dorian & Dahl.

Following are my thoughts on each of the Dorian & Dahl perfume oil scents that I received. 


Scent Description: Intoxicating jasmine florals, fresh brewed hibiscus tea and powdery sandalwood embrace withdrawn vetiver and bawdy sage all surrounded by sticky sweet demon’s blood smoke. 

Preconceived Notions: I ordered this because I love all of the notes in this scent, particularly sandalwood and jasmine, and I was curious to see what type of sandalwood Dorian & Dahl uses, as I’ve found sandalwood varies so much among the various perfume oil companies. I’m always on the hunt for the “perfect” sandalwood scent, and thought I’d see if this might be it.

Wet Stage: When first applied, the sandalwood is the strongest note. I don’t smell the jasmine at all, and the tea is subtle, but gives the scent a bit of a dry woodiness that’s a nice contrast to the slightly sweet aroma of the sandalwood. Vetiver is a fragrance note that I dislike when it’s wet, but which usually dries down on me to a warm, smoky, beautiful scent. In this blend, it isn’t distinct at all in the wet stage, so I can’t help but wonder, considering how subtle it is, if it will warm up on my skin in the way I love. I have never heard of “demon’s blood”, but I imagine it to be akin to dragon’s blood, and I do detect a bit of the resinous sweetness of a dragon’s blood-like scent. The sage is also subtle, but gives the scent a bit of herbaceous earthiness that wraps up the scent into a nice, neat package. It’s a nice unisex scent – warm, earthy, and heavy enough to be worn well by a man without being overtly masculine.

Drydown: Upon drydown, the sandalwood mellows out, but still dominates the other notes. I still don’t detect any jasmine at all in this scent, which I find odd, as my skin tends to amp jasmine notes, which means that Dorian & Dahl’s jasmine note is different from any of the others I’ve tried. The sage has become a bit stronger and blends nicely with the crisp dryness of the tea leaves, and together, they provide the overall scent with a nice, semi-sweet herbal quality. The vetiver did warm up on my skin and turned into a the comforting, warm, smokiness that is the reason I love vetiver. The demon’s blood smoke is subtle, but there’s a sweet resinous facet to this scent that I can only imagine is the demon’s blood smoke. This perfume is really well-blended, is nicely grounded and, while it is definitely noticeable, is surprisingly subtle considering all of the notes it contains that, with my particular skin chemistry, can be quite powerful. 90 minutes after application, this scent is still going strong with a nice level of sillage. Three hours after application, it’s sticking much closer to the skin, but I can still smell it. Six hours after application, it has disappeared entirely.

Overall Impression: I have a hard time finding a sandalwood I love, but when I find the few sandalwood notes that I do love, I really, really dig them. This is one of the few that is making me crazy with scent-love! I would love to have all sorts of soaps, deodorants, linen sprays and other products in this scent. I would also love if my husband would wear My Great Sin – I’d be snuggling up to him all the time, just wanting to smell his skin. This is the type of warm, cozy, comforting scent that I love to wear in late-summer and autumn when the weather is cooling down, the leaves are falling off the trees, and the night air is tinged with a hint of chimney smoke. I fully intend to order a full-size bottle of this scent before summer is over.


Description: Crisp, cool pineapple, sticky sweet island mango and tangy white grapefruit all soaked in bubbly ginger ale to give it that effervescent sparkle and creamy rice milk musk for a smooth finish.

Preconceived Notions: I love tropical, fruity scents, especially for those involving pineapple. I also love effervescent scents and rice notes (rice milk, rice milk musk, rice flower, etc.) are never disappointing on my skin. For all of these reasons, I wanted to try this one more than any of the scents I selected. I love smelling like Hawaii!

Wet Stage: When first applied, this scent smells like a delicious pineapple tropical drink. It’s everything I was hoping for! The pineapple is sweet and absolutely dead-on. The mango is subtle, but adds to the overall tropical “flavor” of the scent. The rice milk musk is not evident at all when this scent is wet, and it’s not as effervescent as I had hoped; however, it still smells fresh, sweet, and absolutely delicious. I want to lick my arm!

Drydown: The pineapple is still the strongest note, but the mango has disappeared, which doesn’t surprise me, as my skin tends to quickly suck up bright fruity notes. There is also an odd, almost salty bitterness about the scent, which seems to be the rice milk musk behaving poorly with my skin chemistry. It smells a bit… “off”, like milk that doesn’t taste sour, but doesn’t taste quite right. The scent is strong, and when I’m not pressing my nose against my skin, I can’t smell the part of the scent that has “gone off”; I just smell a delicious pineapple beverage and it takes me back in my memories to a day when my sister and I sat at a beachside bar in Hawaii, enjoying a cool, frothy, pineapple refresher. 90 minutes after application, the scent is still present, but seems to have faded a bit. Three hours after application, the scent has become much more of a skin scent and I have to get my nose really close to my skin to detect it. Six hours after application the scent has completely disappeared.

Overall Impression: I really thought this would be one of the winners of the bunch, but it’s my least favorite because of the way the rice milk musk interacts so poorly with my skin chemistry. Often, when a scent smells good in the wet stage, but morphs oddly upon drydown, I will wear it in a scent locket. That is how I will wear this scent next time – put a little on a piece of cotton and wear it in a scent locket around my neck. Even if it works well that way, I probably wouldn’t buy it as I have other effervescent, tropical drink-type perfume oil blends that don’t morph oddly on me.


Description:  Creamy tuberose, bold ylang ylang and sharp mignonette-like basil with a hint of berries.

Preconceived Notions: I really love tuberose, and enjoy experiencing the variety of ways that tuberose interacts with other scent notes. I have several tuberose perfume oil blends that I adore, so I was curious how this one would compare, especially considering that I really like both basil and berries as perfume oil notes, but don’t care for ylang ylang very much.

Wet Stage: The scent of sweet tuberose and a bit of bitter, herbal basil are the opening notes. Just as I thought I may, I really like Magnetic! Tuberose can sometimes be sharp and cloyingly sweet, and with Magnetic, while the tuberose is pretty strong, the herbaciousness of the basil grounds it, keeping it from taking over and making the scent overly-heady. The ylang ylang gives the scent a distinct tropical flair of floral richness. The scent of berries splashes a sweet juiciness over the florals, pulling the whole thing together perfectly.

Drydown: The scent doesn’t change much from application to drydown. The initial headiness of the tuberose settles down and the basil dissipates significantly, but it’s still in the background, grounding the florals with a bit of herbaceous earthiness. Otherwise, it doesn’t morph and change on my skin. 90 minutes after application, the scent has faded significantly. Three hours after application, I have to put my nose right up to my skin to catch the scent, and it’s very faint. Six hours after application, the scent has completely disappeared.

Overall Impression: People who like tropical fruity-floral scents should definitely give Magnetic a try. I like it, but don’t need a bottle of it, as I already have several tropical floral/tuberose perfume oils. If I didn’t, I would probably put this one on my wish list. I just wish it lasted as long as thought it would based on its strength and headiness in its initial wet stage.


Scent Description: Roses pressed in a leather bound book, buttery vanilla, and freshly squeezed lemon with a seductive Egyptian musk and tonka bean base.

Preconceived Notions: One of my favorite perfume oils that I’ve loved for many years now is a red rose and black leather scent. With the leather and rose in this, as well as several other of my favorite notes (vanilla, tonka, Egyptian musk), I have no doubt that it will be a winner!

Wet Stage: When first applied, all of the notes are evident, but they’re beautifully blended and none of them hog the limelight. The lemon is probably the most subtle note, but I can still identify it since I know it’s there. Egyptian musk (one of my favorite scents of all time) grounds the scent and creates a warm and velvety base for the other notes in the blend. The rose is the centerpiece of the scent – not dominating the other notes, but working with them to create an aromatic synergy. The rose smells exactly like a fresh-cut red rose, without the talcum powder-like after-scent that often accompanies synthetic rose fragrances. The leather is subtle, and brings a nice level of depth and darkness to the fragrance, but it’s not an all-consuming darkness, as the buttery warmth of the tonka bean and the sweet, creamy vanilla lift it and provide the perfume with a soft, feminine appeal.

Drydown: Once this scent has dried down, the leather takes a few steps back and some of the other notes take center stage. The fresh lemon note is almost intangible – the minute I think I’m zeroing in on it, it disappears altogether…and then fleetingly pops back up when I’m not expecting it. The Egyptian musk and tonka are the stars of this scent, with the rose playing a solid supporting role. There is a thin ribbon of creamy vanilla that weaves its way through the scent, pulling everything together. Girls is a subtle scent that sticks close to the skin, but three hours after application, I went outside and was delightfully surprised that it smelled really fresh and pretty as the breeze lifted it from my skin and swirled it around me. Six hours after application, it has become a skin scent, and only someone getting really close to me would notice it.

Overall Impression: This is an incredibly beautiful, feminine scent. I love how the musk melds with my skin chemistry to create a “my skin but better” fragrance. Its warm muskiness blends beautifully with the natural scent of my body, with the rose, leather, and vanilla amping it up to something much prettier. I need a full size bottle of Girls!


Overall, I am very impressed with Dorian & Dahl. While I buy and wear perfume oils based on the quality of the oils and the way they smell on me, I can’t help but also be impressed with Dorian & Dahl’s prices, design, packaging, and presentation.

My favorite is Girls. While Erin may have created Girls with herself as the inspiration, I can definitely see Girls becoming my own unique “signature scent.” I like that Girls has such great staying power. Perfume oils tend to wick from my skin quickly, so I’m impressed that at the six-hour point, I could still smell it.

My least favorite of these four fragrances is Yummy. I wanted to like it so much, but something about it went awry with my skin chemistry. I have literally worn and reviewed several thousand perfume oils by various perfume oil companies, and I’m familiar with perfume oils and the way they uniquely work with each individual’s skin chemistry. For this reason, I know that what I experience with any frangrance is not necessarily what others will experience when wearing the same scent. I also can usually tell when I simply don’t like a particular fragrance versus a poor reaction of a particular note with my body chemistry. With Yummy, I it's not a matter of disliking the scent; it actually has a bad reaction with my skin chemistry, which is unfortunate.

I will be buying a couple of full sizes (Girls and My Great Sin), and will be adding a sample pack or two to that order, as well.

*Products were provided for consideration. All opinions are my own. 


  1. What a lovely and concise review! :D I got 10 vial samples and 3 full size, and I was also planning on a review, but I seriously just don't have your way with words for the scent descriptions. This is fantastic!

    1. Thanks so much, Jeni! I would love to read your thoughts on all of the scents you got.

  2. Wow, what a great review! You have a way of describing the scents that draws me in. I need to place an order now. I demand more perfume reviews! :)