The Advent of Scent, Week 1
I actually started my “perfume advent calendar” on the thirtieth, because the perfumes were there and why not. So this is eight days’ worth of perfumes — and in fact, I’m likely to report in eight-day increments, for silly reasons that have to do with numerical magic in Rook and Rose. >_>
All scents from Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab unless otherwise specified.
* Lemon Peel, Marshmallow, and Orange Blossom
Wow no. In the bottle, it smells like an orange creamsicle; on me, it smells like an orange creamsicle with something musty that I think is supposed to be the marshmallow, but if so, it’s gone off in the back corner of the pantry. This one was unpleasant enough that I looked online for advice about how to remove perfumes. The remedy I tried was olive oil — which didn’t actually remove it, but did, bizarrely, make it smell better. Still like an orange creamsicle, but more recognizable marshmallow. However, I don’t like that combo enough to want to go dousing myself in olive oil just to make the perfume work.
* Peach Brandy
Holy monkeys, in the bottle this smells like the world’s most cloying cough syrup. It got a lot better once applied, with hints of spice to go with the fruit . . . but it also faded fast and lost its interesting factors along the way, until it just smelled like I’d used some vaguely fruity hand soap.
* Honeyed Apple
This was very pleasantly seasonal! There was a brief moment as it dried where it had a kind of chemical tinge to it that I didn’t like, but it mellowed out into something sweetly apple-y, i.e. exactly as billed. I would use this again.
* The Wish
Described as “An incense of candied smoked fruits, Oman frankincense, red oud, labdanum absolute, sheer vanilla, patchouli, red musk seed, osmanthus, and datura accord.” I mostly just got florals from it, with traces of the frankincense and vanilla, with no fruit at all. It eventually dried down to an incense-tinged floral, which in my book makes it better than most things that feature flowers, but still not my speed.
* Honey Taffy Smut
The listed tags for this are “booze, honey, musk, smut, sugar, taffy.” I have no idea what BPAL means by “smut;” the overall effect I got from it in the early stages was a kind of burnt caramel or maple. Later on it dried to musk with a trailing edge of honey — and man, I can already see myself developing the weird idiosyncratic vocabulary necessary to discuss scent, because to me the honey really was this thing that only came through at the end of my inhale and sort of registered on the top of my soft palate. It’s not a bad perfume overall, but not as appealing as some others in this batch.
Described as “A gentle white scent, breezes laced with the scent of springtime blooms and citrus. Lemon, lemon verbena, neroli, white musk, white florals, white sandalwood, China musk, bergamot and a drop of vanilla.” It starts off being sweetly floral with maybe a brightening touch of citrus, but when the sandalwood and musk come through, they wind up being the only thing left. And I don’t mind that combo, but having already begun to discover how interestingly complex some of these can be, it’s kind of boring.
* Flutterby (House of Gloi)
Described as “Clean cotton, warm summer winds, and linden blossom.” Pretty firmly in the “laundry detergent” category for me, or maybe “dryer sheet” would be a better description, but not nearly as obnoxious as Wolf’s Heart was — I wouldn’t refuse to wear my clothes if they smelled like this. I got a bit of a citrus note off it, and have no idea if that’s the linden blossom or what, since the description is profoundly unhelpful. Not one I’m likely to wear again.
* Mad Hatter
Described as “A gentlemen’s lavender-citron cologne unhinged by the feral pungence of black musk and a paroxysm of pennyroyal.” HELLO PAROXYSM OF PENNYROYAL. That’s in the mint family, Wikipedia tells me, and in the bottle it smelled like BPAL was trying to beat me to death with a candy cane. I maybe got a hint of the citron when it was wet, but after that it was just sort of minty lavender with a hint of musk. Which is certainly interesting (see above re: Zephyr and me finding it boring), but it wasn’t the sort of interesting I’m inclined to keep.