Described as “skin musk with honey, peppers, clove, cinnamon bark and ginger.” This is a perfectly pleasant spice-based scent, mostly dominated by the cinnamon — I only ever got the clove at the outset, and a slight astringent hint from the ginger. Nothing wrong with it, but not enough a standout for me to feel it needs keeping.
* Not a Perfume (Juliette Has a Gun)
The name of this one refers to the fact that it’s just straight-up cetalox, which is one of the forms of synthetic ambergris out there. So, uh, if you want to know what ambergris smells like, here you go? I haven’t been a huge fan of it in blends, and I certainly don’t like it enough to want that to be the only thing I smell like.
* Gentlewoman (Juliette Has a Gun)
Described as “neroli, bergamot, coumarin, almond, orange blossom, musks, ambroxan” (that last being another synthetic ambergris). This one goes into the not-sweet orange family until the ambroxan takes over. Interestingly, although my sister has not generally been a fan of ambergris, she turned out to like this one.
* Decisions, Decisions (Imaginary Authors)
Described as “tuberose, sarsaparilla, geranium, labdanum, jasmine sambac, raspberry, and sweet suspense.” With this, I have reached the end of their catalogue! I have literally tried every perfume Imaginary Authors makes (barring any which were discontinued before I started this project; some of the ones I’ve tried have since vanished from their website, so that’s a possibility). I think this was dominated by the labdanum — that’s a note I hadn’t really learned to recognize before trying this, but there was something sort of bitter and sort of warm, in a way that reminded me of chocolate without actually being that. Maybe the raspberry came through a little, too? But I’m not sure that wasn’t my brain grasping at straws, trying to figure out how to label what was actually the labdanum.
(I’ve managed to induce a remarkably vivid scent flashback in myself just writing this one up.)
* Marshmallow Snow
Described as “soft poofs of chilled marshmallow,” which honestly isn’t very helpful. In the bottle it’s evergreen, which somebody on the BPAL forums opined was probably spruce, and something almost . . . fruity? The fruity note persists for a bit as just a ghost of sweetness in the evergreen, and then some baking spices arrive to join the party, with the spruce or whatever it is staying around to keep this from becoming too cloying. I don’t know yet whether I like this or Thieves’ Rosin better, but either way it’s a very good scent for the Christmas season!
* S.C. 59 (Phlur)
Described as “mint, lemon zest, orange flower, and amber.” Unfortunately, this one wound up unpleasantly floral, though it started out very promisingly as mint and lemon. Might be fine for them as likes floral, but that ain’t me.
* In Dubiis Libertas
Described as “golden amber, smoked vanilla, benzoin, and blue cypress.” In the bottle and wet, this had a hint of something sharper that cut the vanilla and amber — possibly the cypress, but benzoin is one of those notes I don’t really grok yet — but alas, it lost that and just became vanilla and amber. Like Bengal, this is perfectly pleasant, but at this point in my sampling that isn’t enough to make me say it’s a keeper.
* Hanami (Phlur)
Described as “fig, bergamot, hazelnut, white florals, sandalwood, vetiver, and musk.” Another that’s fine but forgettable. Floral citrus at the outset, picking up an earthier note for a bit that was too faint for me to be sure whether it was the fig or the hazelnut, and then it predictably settled down into the warmth of sandalwood and musk.