The Advent of Scent, Week 14

A day late, but not a dollar short!

* Jack
Described as “true Halloween pumpkin, spiced with nutmeg, glowing peach and murky clove.” Okay, based on previous perfumes, I had theorized that mallow was creating the really cloying, semi-creamy effect I got off a few bottles — but here it shows up again, with no mallow in sight. So I got no idea. Fortunately that faded quite quickly, leaving behind a warm, pumpkin scent with some hints of spice. Nothing wrong with it, just not my speed, especially not with how it starts.

* Black Forest
Described as “thick, viscous pine with ambergris, black musk, juniper and cypress.” I think I’m starting to get a sense of what ambergris smells like — kind of salty, though that’s not quite it; this is one of those places where vocabulary fails me. The evergreen doesn’t hold its own for very long against that, and then in the long run (as it so often does) the musk wins out. I might like this better as an incense than as a perfume.

* Dracul
Described as “black musk, tobacco, fir, balsam of peru, cumin, bitter clove, crushed mint, and orange blossom.” Orange blossom, we hardly knew ye; I smelled it in the bottle, but never again. Starts out what I dubbed “mintergreen,” with a hint of tobacco; turned into what my sister dubbed “the living room in your great aunt and uncle’s house.” Sort of musky spicy tobacco, and not in a good way, at least not for my taste.

* Dana O’Shee
Described as “milk, honey, and sweet grains.” Given my track record with dairy notes in perfumes, I wasn’t expecting anything good out of this — but I was pleasantly surprised! We dubbed this one “diet amaretto,” not derisively; it has the almond sweetness of that drink, but not nearly so heavy. There’s a slight milkiness later on, without being cloying, and then it finishes up as a light honey and musk. It reminds me somewhat of Bastet, and at some future point I’ll try them both for comparison.

* Harlot’s House
Described as “angel’s trumpet, violet, white sandalwood, oude, copaiba balsam, angelica, white tea, olibanum [which apparently is just a different name for frankincense], and oakmoss.” It started out almost citrus-y in its brightness, slightly floral once applied, with a green note coming through that might have been the angelica or balsam. As it dried it became sweet and green with a trailing edge of resin, but in the end, the resin was really all that was left, in a very meh fashion.

* Queen of Hearts
Described as “lily of the valley, calla lily, stephanotis, and a drop of cherry.” The cherry, though not super strong, seems to blunt the floral notes in this, bringing them down from that kind of grating edge they so often have for me. It’s briefly medicinal-smelling when it’s applied, but that fades rapidly, leaving a remarkably constant scent that doesn’t change too much over its life. I just don’t like it enough to want to keep it, is all.

* Xiuhtecuhtli
Described as “copal, plumeria and sweet orange and the smoke of South American incense and crushed jungle blooms.” As usual, the orange doesn’t last long, though it’s nicely sweet at the outset. Mostly this turns into a sweet, musky resin — but a different resin than the usual suspects of frankincense and myrrh. I used to burn copal incense when I was writing Mesoamerican stuff, and now I’m tempted to do that again to compare it against the perfume. Anyway, this one is different enough to keep around for now!

* Pele
Described as “muguet [which I believe is just lily of the valley by another name] and Hawaiian white ginger enveloped by warm, damp tropical blooms.” For once, the perfume actually smelled to me like the flower instead of floral; I could very much see using this scent in a soap, which is not the same thing as calling it soapy here. It gets a little more conventionally floral over time, but stays reasonable. Nothing wrong with it; just not something I’m likely to wear.

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