This new release from Dusita takes the brand in a slightly different direction, with a pared back scent which expresses a calm, quiet confidence.
Yuzu, jasmine, nutmeg, benzoin, myrrh, patchouli, vetiver, teak.
If you like to sniff the driest of dry woods then you’re going to enjoy the start of Moonlight in Chiangmai by Dusita. The woods are so dry in the opening few bars that they steal the moisture out of your nose and mouth – in a similar way to how a very, very dry gin does. The puckering of lips and nasal passages is pleasant, though, rather than assaulting, but it does give you a whoosh of sensation when you spray the scent on.
The woods in question aren’t yet spicy. They are instead very dark, very rich, a little dusty but in the sense of sawdust having been ground from their bones. There is a powderiness here, an interesting kind of grated deconstruction. As the scent goes on this resolves and properly shows itself as facets of the nutmeg, but for the start it feels like particles of a deep, hard, seasoned wood.
Interestingly, the yuzu wasn’t the first thing that we noticed in the fragrance. It enters – or at least becomes noticeable – a little later, in order to balance the desiccated woodiness out and lend a touch of juiciness, and it does just that very nicely.
At first the yuzu appears as a thin seam of ribbony yellow citrus which grows rounder and more abundant as the fragrance matures. At this stage in the scent’s evolution there is a really pleasing harmony between the dry and the juicy, the zing of the citrus and the deeper hum of the woods. This is then amplified by the resolution of the spicy nutmeg which provides a beautiful foreground buzz and which seems to unite the citrus and woody elements quite harmoniously.
I found it hard to detect much jasmine in the fragrance personally, but there was a pleasing soapiness which lingered around the edges of the scent and somehow made me think of men in the 1980s all suited and booted and ready for a night out. It is fair to say that there is a vintage/retro feel about the way Moonlight in Chiangmai wears, but it doesn’t feel dated or old fashioned, just like it is nodding to the past but still staying in the present.
The base of Moonlight in Chiangmai continues in much the same dry woody, spicy vein. There are hints of earthiness which appear at times, at others hints of the nice soapiness. This feels like the sort of scent which would be best worn on date nights and for special occasions – it has that “scrubbed up nicely” feel about it throughout.
When worn on skin, as opposed to tested on a blotter, there is a really lovely softness that pads out the base, just smoothing the edges off the woods and spices, and making everything feel that little bit more refined and that little bit more relaxed. This was a particular highlight of the scent for me and felt like confident perfumery.
The other stuff
Moonlight in Chiangmai feels more pared back than some of the more recent Dusita releases, but that isn’t a negative at all. To me this feels rather more confident than some of the blousier, showier scents and it has an appealing wearability which makes me think that this one is likely to be one which finds a wide and appreciative audience.
The longevity of the scent is solid, but not as “loud” as you might expect. It lasts a comfortable eight hours or so following application. At first it feels like a very well projecting scent – going to beyond handshake distance easily – but that seems to reduce fairly quickly to about handshake distance or thereabouts.
Moonlight in Chiangmai is the sort of fragrance that will wear year round, but the warmth of summer will really get the spices singing. This would be a fantastic pick for a date on a summer evening.
Dusita have been around since 2015. They’re often hyped; their fusion of Thai influence with the sensibilities of French perfume often finding favour amongst the community. We have previously reviewed Splendiris, La Douceur de Siam, and the fabulous Melodie de L’amour. You can also read our interview with the brand’s founder, Pissara Umavijani.
Moonlight in Chiangmai is available from the Dusita web boutique where it is priced at €170 for 50ml. If purchasing via this route, at the time of writing you could also claim a free travel size and three samples with each purchase.
We received a sample of Moonlight in Chiangmai from the brand. Thank you to them for their kindness.