Monday 23 May 2022


DŪMBO perfume bottle from the company called THE 5TH
The words “niche”, “wearable” and “fragrance” are not always found in the same sentence. Many fragrance fans delight in hunting out a perfume that isn’t on the high street but, in doing so, occasionally end up purchasing something that will rarely be worn. Yes, the craftsmanship will be appreciated and discussed at length with likeminded fans, but it may struggle to find its place in the purchaser’s everyday line-up. There’s nothing wrong with a niche fragrance being wearable, and it doesn’t always have to pack a boxer’s punch, so it was great to find exactly this combination in the recently launched DŪMBO from THE 5TH.

Wearability almost feels like a dirty word in the world of fragrance, and don’t even consider using the all-encompassing compliment of “nice”. Fragrance often becomes about making a statement, shouting across a room through the medium of scent, and subtlety plays little part in that scenario. Perfume is often thought of as an armour, protection against a world full of troubles, but it does feel that this can actually stop a person’s true character coming through. Finding a fragrance that amplifies rather than smothers your personality is definitely a route worth considering, even though it may be terrifying.

THE 5TH was founded by the brother and sister team of George and Hannah, and began life when they were both based in New York. The idea for the fragrance, and indeed the name, came about when they were sat in a hotel bar in the district known as DUMBO. They wondered whether it would be possible to combine the bustle of industrial New York life with the comfort of refined hotel lobbies, and weave all of this into a fragrance. This idea of extreme contrasts is nothing new in niche perfume releases, but it’s one that often misses the mark.

DŪMBO perfume bottle box from the company called THE 5TH
The company was formed in 2019 but, you probably don’t need me to remind you, the following two years caused an abrupt halt for many businesses. However, George and Hannah continued the project and, after a few false starts, eventually released DŪMBO on 5th July 2021. The fragrance is costly, there’s no skirting around that, but they’ve come up with a very attractive way for customers to take a chance. With every bottle you also receive a sample, which you can try first. If the fragrance isn’t for you then the unopened bottle can be returned for a full refund. However, my bottle and its eco-friendly cotton travel bag is going nowhere.

DŪMBO opens with exactly the effect that it was hoping for by cleverly combining the two different worlds. You’re treated first to a commuter-morning green cardamom but, very quickly a refined cedarwood note appears that starts to pull the fragrance in a different direction. This is then joined by a dry and measured hessian-like vetiver, anchoring it to a more industrial scenario again, before a delicate combination of frankincense and rose fills the space in the centre and unifies the scent. Wonderfully, the sandalwood and sweetened amber accord that arrives at the end doesn’t dominate, but a note of clove does adds a final intriguing metallic touch. DŪMBO should be worn and enjoyed, and I defy anyone to send their bottle back.

DŪMBO is available from THE 5TH website at priced at £95 for 50ml and £3 for 2ml. All orders are also dispatched with free postage. [Bottle provided by THE 5TH]

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