An Advent Calendar of Scents

I posted the other day about testing the BPAL samples I picked up at DragonCon, as an early stab in the direction of training my nose to pick out the different notes of perfume. In response, Yoon Ha Lee offered to send me some of the samples he was getting rid of . . .

. . . and today, fifty-seven perfumes showed up at my door.

So, uh, 1) thanks, Yoon!!!! and 2) I have (more than) enough perfume to do an advent calendar. Which I will probably drop the ball on because I’ll miss days here and there, but hey, I might as well give my experiments some structure. I won’t post every single day, though; more likely I’ll collect them into weekly reports.

But first, let me report on what I had before the bonanza arrived! I’d grabbed seven random bottles from their booth, and attempted to do the organized thing of sniffing each one in the bottle, then immediately after application, then about ten minutes later, then about twenty minutes after that, to see how the scents changed. Huh, people are not kidding about that latter part! There’s a definite modulation over time. As for the scents themselves:

Incubus — musk, musk, and more musk. In theory this has lots of other notes; in practice, I don’t think I could smell a single one, and neither could my sister. The best we could do was theorize that they were taking the edge off the musk, as it smelled fairly “gentle.” Also, holy crap, I could still smell this on my wrist twenty-four hours later; in fact, a lot of these last on me a very long time. Not bad, but also not interesting.

Seraphim — started out as PUNCH YOU IN THE FACE FLORAL (I’m not yet anywhere near the point of being able to tease the different flowers apart), then later mellowed to sandalwood with floral. Only much, much later could I maaaaaaybe tell there was some frankincense in there. I’m not very keen on florals, so this is also probably a no.

Wolf’s Heart — in the bottle? A little spicy and maybe citrusy. On me? LAUNDRY DETERGENT. Mellowing to baby powder hours later. Firm NO. But I’m curious to put it on my sister and see if skin chemistry does something different there.

R’lyeh — my sister dubbed this “the potpourri aisle;” I’d say it mostly comes across as evergreen, with some citrus coming through in the middle stages, and possibly some musk very later on (this is one where BPAL doesn’t list the ingredients, so I’m wildly guessing). It also had an interesting element that I can only describe as salt — it produced a dry sort of feeling in the back of my nasal passages, like I was breathing sea air. Interesting, and I might try it again.

Vasilissa — very floral to start; after a while I get a little bit of the warmth of the sandalwood and I think the resin of the myrrh. Still way too floral-heavy for me, though.

Thieves’ Rosin — I smell like Christmas! Starts off incredibly sweet and reminiscent of baking spices; then something like pine starts to come through, and maybe a bit of musk. It doesn’t last as long as most of the others, but I can see myself using this during the holidays.

Bastet — HELLO WINNER. It’s golden and sweet in the bottle; immediately after application, it’s almond and something a little brighter (might be the saffron or lotus?). Then it mellows into musk, cardamom, some almond sweetness, and just a touch of floral. I seriously kept sniffing my own wrist because it made me happy. 😀

So that’s my first sally into the world of perfume! In a week or so I’ll report back with my initial dive into the enormous stash I’ve received. I’ve put them all in a sack and am going to draw at random, without looking up what they are first. 🙂

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