The Advent of Scent: Mega-Post 2, Weeks 32-40

I can tell I’m running out of steam for this project because I’ve gotten so irregular about posting. But that’s fine; the end is in sight.

. . . by which I mean that I’ll stop after a year and a day. I’ve counted, and not including the original set of seven that got me started on this journey, I have enough perfumes remaining to get me to 366. It won’t quite be a year and a day calendrically because I took a few days off to wear scents I’d already found that I liked, but that just means I’ll finish up in good time to wear the ones I think of as being holiday-scented for the Christmas season!

(Yoon, starting in Week 39 there are perfumes I got from a different friend; many of them have the kinds of fruity notes I know often pique your interest. Let me know if you want any!)


* Pure Applesauce
Described as “mashed apples with sugar and honey, slivered with tobacco tar and black tea.” As usual for BPAL’s apple scents, this starts off VERY apple. But it dries down to an unpleasant tobacco undertone (that being note I don’t like), so I passed this off to a friend.

* Zombie (Possets)
Described as “toasted marshmallow and oude, a bit of burnt stick, and the unmistakable fragrance of the crisp autumn air.” Apparently marshmallow + wood = sandalwood? It goes more marshmallow-y on application, but then shifts to a generic musk.

* My Lover’s Lips (Possets)
Described as “three apricots drizzled over five vanillas to make a seminal and delightful sugar crust on sweet tart fruit […] Hints of hawthorne, a bit of moss, and the ripe juice of apricot.” Fruity and woody for sure, but not in a way I really liked. I’m not sure if it’s the hawthorne or the moss that was bringing in the woody, earthy note or what, as neither of those are notes I know well.

* Hellfire
Described as “pipe tobacco, hot leather, ambergris, dark musk and lingering incense smoke.” Obviously ‘incense’ is a not terribly edifying word; initially it smelled like patchouli. The pipe tobacco was pleasant enough, but not my kind of thing, so again, it went to that friend.

* Old Demons of the First Class
Described as “Siberian musk, black clove, opoponax, tonka, black pepper, and neroli.” Not sure if I got opoponax or tonka first (again, not sure of those two); I think opoponax? Sweet and smoky, with pepper, and eventually musk. Same friend got this one.

* Cri de Coeur (Possets)
Described as “vanilla, nougat, coconut, sweet musk, tobacco flower, swirling cotton, a drop of nag champa, chypre, black musk and sugar cane. There is the essence of a very good dragon’s blood in it, a small amount of lime, and lime blossom.” Whole lotta tobacco in this run of scents! Buuuuut, I mostly got the coconut, before it turning generically warm with a faint edge of tobacco. Meh.

* Intrigue
Described as “black palm, with cocoa, fig and shadowy wooded notes.” In the early drydown it went way too fruity, but before and after it was sort of woody cocoa. I didn’t pay enough attention to how long the fruity phase lasted, so I kept this to try again.

* The Sweater We Buried You With Is Hanging in My Closet (Ajevie)
Described as “three different vanillas, resinous amber, Arabian sandalwood, a soft cashmere sweater.” To my surprise, the resin and wood dominated in the bottle, with only a hint of the vanilla. On me, it was much less sweet of a vanilla sandalwood than I expected, though in the end it was just vanilla amber. Nice, but I don’t need to keep it.


* The Antikythera Mechanism
Described as “teakwood, oak, black vanilla, and tobacco.” This one was surprisingly pleasant, given that I don’t like tobacco; the oak mitigated it early on, and then it was sort of spicy wood, making me think flavored tobacco. But since the aforementioned friend REALLY likes tobacco notes, I didn’t need to keep it.

* You or Someone Like You (Etat Libre d’Orange)
All they said for this one was “fresh” — how very helpful. Citrusy and aquatic, vaguely making me think of laundry; maybe linden in here? Very late, I think I picked up ambergris. Not my type.

* Juke Joint
Described as “Kentucky bourbon, sugar, and a sprig of mint.” What it says on the tin: yeah, I basically smelled like a cocktail. Not unpleasant, but not me.

* Strawberry Fields Forever (Hexennacht)
Described as “strawberries, fresh cut grass, and dirt.” Ditto about what it says on the tin. Early on it’s mostly the grass and dirt; later on it’s earthy strawberry. Less cloying than many strawberry scents have been on me, but I don’t especially want to smell like that fruit to begin with.

* Remarkable People (Etat Libre d’Orange)
Described as “grapefruit, champagne accord, cardamom, jasmine, curry JE, black pepper, labdanum, sandalwood, lorenox.” I was leery of this one given my past awful experiences with champagne, but here it stayed out of things. Sort of a citrus-y cologne at first, then something leathery and ambery that I think may have been the labdanum + lorenox. In the end, I suspect it was largely the lorenox. Pleasant enough, but when you’re more than two hundred perfumes in . . .

* Yes I Do (Etat Libre d’Orange)
Described as “lily-of-the-valley, jasmine, orange blossom, aldehydes, amber, patchouli, cocoa, musk, marshmallow.” Heavily but not unpleasantly floral; something grounds it as it dries, though I can’t tell what’s doing that. Not bad; not me.

* Bluebonnet
A single-note perfume I was contractually obligated to purchase because I am a Texan. It’s very greenly floral, a bit less green as it dries. I probably wouldn’t go for it in the normal way of things, but dammit, Texan. It stays.

* Cthulhu
Described as “a creeping, wet, slithering scent, dripping with seaweed, oceanic plants and dark, unfathomable waters.” On me? ‘Ocean mist’ soap. BLECH.


* Silver Roses (Possets)
Described as “floral, vanilla, charming, scent locket, feminine, home scent, long lasting.” (Possets’ descriptions get very unhelpful.) Oddly fruity in the bottle, with a touch of rose, changing balance on the skin. And then . . . it smells like an actual! fresh! rose! Slightly bubblegum-y in the end, but I’ll keep it for now to try against the other rose scents I’ve held onto.

* Nosferatu
Described as “desiccated herbs and gritty earth brought to life with a swell of robust and sanguineous red wines.” Basically this is sangria with a whiff of dirt — the people who told me that BPAL’s dirt note means business were right. Meh.

* High Tea (Possets)
Described as “lemon, sugar, milk, and that indescribable scent of the best starched linens.” Lemon cookie, more or less; the hint of linen doesn’t last past the bottle. Generically sugary in the end.

* Vernal Sun (Possets)
Described as “lemon and lightest vanilla like the rays of the welcome spring sunshine. A tiny amount of white musk to make it last for a while, a very very light whiff of the fruits to come in the summer, just to give it a solar tang. A pinch of borage, and drop of carrot but mostly blessed lemon and smooth sweetness.” This goes from vanilla lemon to vanilla musk to musk. Boring. (I get so tired of perfumes that race straight to boring musk.)

* Block Buster
No description for this one. In the bottle, cinnamon and maybe floral? It’s faintly sweet without being cloying, and spicy. Goes more herbal on application. I’ll keep it for now.

* Le Lèthè
Described as “red musk and sweat-damp golden skin musk with labdanum, golden amber, nutmeg, tobacco absolute, black orchid, and hemlock accord.” For something with no patchouli in it, this manages to smell a hell of a lot like patchouli in the bottle. Heavy and thick on the skin, with a hint of something floral lifting it; I guess the orchid? Plus some nutmeg.

* Vial of Holy Water
No description. Overall, it’s a sort of faintly green soapy laundry smell — not offensive for clothing, but not at all what I want to wear.

* Mouse’s Long and Sad Tale
Described as “vanilla, two ambers, sweet pea and white sandalwood.” Profoundly sweet and amber-y at first; maybe sweet pea shows up briefly at the start of the drydown? But just vanilla sandalwood after that.


* Blood Kiss
Described as “lush, creamy vanilla and the honey of the sweetest kiss smeared with the vital throb of husky clove, swollen red cherries, but darkened with the vampiric sensuality of vetiver, soporific poppy and blood red wine, and a skin-light pulse of feral musk.” (Oh, BPAL.) This starts out kind of confusing, simultaneously fruity, spicy, and earthy. Wet, it’s cherry and wine, with a tannic edge from I think the clove; later it’s definitely clove wine. For a bit later on it took on an unpleasant chemical tinge before fading to spice musk. Meh.

* The Ghost
Described as “white iris, osmanthus, Calla lily, tomb-crawling ivy and a coffin spray of gladiolus, lisianthus and delphinium.” In the bottle, thick, heavy floral, with a faintly fruity tone, altogether registering almost as cucumber. Becomes a very green and fresh floral, smoothing out as it dries. I’m not sure I would keep it if I weren’t playing a character named Ghost, but since I am . . .

* Une Amourette (Etat Libre d’Orange)
Described as “neroli, iris, vanilla absolute, and akigalawood.” Mostly this is an evergreen woody scent, with a short-lived bit of floral at the beginning. I’d call it a pleasant forest, and I’ll try it again.

* Spice Must Flow (Etat Libre d’Orange)
Described as “Turkish rose, ginger, pepper, cardamom, cinnamon, and saffron.” There isn’t a drop of labdanum in here, and yet that’s basically all I took away from it?

* Death Cap
No description. In the bottle, fresh dirt, a little dusty, with an aftertone of resin or patchouli. Wet, the same, a little more evenly balanced. Fortunately the dirt faded as it dried, but . . . meh.

* She Was an Anomaly (Etat Libre d’Orange)
Described as “iris, sandalwood, cedarwood, vanilla, fresh white flowers accord, green tangerine, orpur (which is what exactly?), musk, and ambergris.” This didn’t change much; throughout it was mostly a vanilla sandalwood cedar, with an earthy bit I think is the iris. (I’m not much a fan of iris, if so.)

* Lipstick Fever (Juliette Has a Gun)
Described as “violet absolute, raspberry, iris absolute, patchouli essence, and vanilla absolute.” Violet and raspberry, with again what I think is the iris. Meh.

White Lady (Juliette Has a Gun)
Described as “tuberose, jasmine, sandalwood, and ambroxan.” HI TUBEROSE. Slightly tamed by the wood as it dries. The ambroxan comes through eventually, but more pleasantly than I usually expect from it. I’ll try this again.


* Anteros
Described as “throbbing red musk and shimmering chypre with saffron, sweet patchouli, Italian bergamot, red currant, and vanilla bean.” Patchouli with a bit of saffron? And then just musk. Far less interesting than it could have been.

* Malediction
Described as “red patchouli and vetiver.” Well, I think I finally know what vetiver smells like! ‘Dental green’ is how I flagged it in my notes; the patchouli only came through at the end. I’ve got a friend who adores vetiver; I’m going to send this one to her.

* Iago
Described as “black musk, wet leather and vetiver.” Green leather, and then what my sister termed “the stock room of a shoe store.” The friend who likes tobacco notes also likes leather one, so this is going to them.

* Archives 69
Described as “pink berries, tangerine, pepper leaf, orchid & prune JE, benzoin, camphor, incense, patchouli, and musk.” A lot of camphor, I think; it was something sweet without being sugary. The pepper and tangerine notes showed up very briefly, and that was it.

* Bram Stoker
Described as “bourbon vetiver with opoponax, Italian bergamot, and hay absolute.” Starting to get a sense of what opoponax is like — kinda sweet/spicy. The vetiver made this cleaner and greener, though, and I’ll try it again.

* Linden Blossom Tea (Possets)
No good description for this one. It’s a nice laundry smell, sweetly green and fresh, and quite stable; the only real change is that it fades pretty fast. I’ll try it again, mostly for the variety it brings.

* Exit the King (Etat Libre d’Orange)
Described as “soap foam, pink pepper, timur, jasmine, rose, lily of the valley, patchouli, moss, and sandalwood.” I was leery of this one because of the soap aspect, but what I got was rose at first, then a more jasmine/lily of the valley/pink pepper mix. Keeping to try again.

* Jasmin et Cigarette (Etat Libre d’Orange)
Described as “jasmine absolute, tobacco notes, apricot, tonka bean, curcuma, cedarwood, amber, and musk.” The tobacco-liking friend happened to be over at my house when I tried this one, so I passed it off almost immediately: it was apricot/jasmine with an undertone of cigarette, which, ick.


* Another Oud (Juliette Has a Gun)
Described as “bergamot, raspberry, oud wood, norlimbanol, musks, and ambroxan.” Citrusy wood becaue citrusy OUD, then faintly fruity, before going away entirely. Meh.

* Aureus
No description for this one. It was interesting! Fresh-cut wood, maybe cedar, every so faintly sweet, with a smoky trace that rose over time. Will definitely try again.

* Bayou
Described as “Spanish moss, evergreen and cypress with watery blue-green notes and an eddy of hothouse flowers and swamp blooms.” The bottle smelled like very pleasant soap, a floral aquatic; wet on me, I wonder if the “hothouse flowers and swamp blooms” were gardenia, because it had that heavy, thick quality. The floral got milder and then went very faint, so nah.

* Hermann a Mes Cotes Me Paraissait une Ombre (Etat Libre d’Orange)
Described as “blackcurrant buds, black pepper, galbanum, calypsone, geosmin, frankincense, pepperwood, petalia, rose absolute, patchouli, and ambroxan.” Overpoweringly woody at the outset, and then overpoweringly ambroxan with a short-lived hint of fruit. This is the first time in a while I’ve rated something 1 on my 5-point scale — and that’s not the good end of the scale, y’all.

* Grog
No good description. Basically smells like butterscotch at first, with a bit of a rum edge and later clove (I think — it was certainly some kind of spice). And then, as usual, boring musk.

* Spellbind (Siren Song Elixirs)
Described as “blackberry, chocolate cake, buttercream icing, white chocolate, and cream.” Wow was this one foody. VERY BERRY for a bit, and then just cake. Not at all my cuppa, but in getting the description for this one I saw they have many others that sound interesting; I may be tempted into buying a few.

The Black Rider
Described as “black leather, oppoponax, tobacco, and black amber.” With that list of notes I expected ot loathe it, but I think the opoponax reined in the tobacco and leather. For this type of scent it was remarkably not off-putting — but since my friend was almost certainly guaranteed to like it more, I gave it away.

* Twilight
Described as “lavender and jasmine, with a touch of glowing honeysuckle.” Oddly lemony! And then the lavender and the jasmine; I didn’t get any honeysuckle that I noticed. Nice, but not me.


Described as “sugar cane, molasses, oak wood, and honey.” Complexly sweet — much more so than most really sugary scents. And then a green note comes in; not sure if that’s the cane or the oak. It’s different enough to try again.

* Van Van
No description. It’s kind of a confusing and not very successful lime-patchouli blend until it turns into musk. Bah.

* The Obsidian Widow
Described as “pinot noir, dark myrrh, red sandalwood, black patchouli, night-blooming jasmine, and attar of rose” (and also a fabulous name). Strong wine and a hint of patchouli, with something resinous — I suspect the myrrh — coming in on application. As it dries, well hello there jasmine/rose, please don’t punch me. Those don’t last, though, because the sandalwood and patchouli take over. Not awful, but meh.

* The Caterpillar
Described as “heavy incense notes waft lazily through a mix of carnation, jasmine, bergamot, and neroli over a lush bed of dark mosses, iris blossom, deep patchouli and indolent vetiver.” But it comes across as patchoooooooooooouli with some bergamot/neroli, and then a veil of jasmine. Too much patchoooooooooooouli for me.

* Cherry Blossom Vulva (oh BPAL)
Described as “cherry blossoms, cream, honeysuckle, plum blossoms, and gardenia.” This is another floral interesting enough to try again: a green, slightly fruity flower, with the gardenia keeping it from taking on that grating note I get from more white florals.

* Depravity (Haus of Gloi)
Described as “clove, nutmeg lurk amongst the sweetest offerings of coconut, on a bed of rich golden amber, laden with dustings of sandalwood and spilled wine.” Wine and a bit of wood; my sister evoked craft store wreaths. Got clovier and became rather like mulled wine, though the spices outlasted the wine. Could work for Christmas! I’ll try it again in December.

* Vice
Described as “a deep chocolate scent, with black cherry and orange blossom.” Cloying chocolate with a hint of cherry, and then some orange. It’s not badly balanced, but it’s not what I want to smell like.

* Eat Me
Described as “three white cakes, vanilla, and red and black currants.” I’m always dubious of notes like ‘cake,’ and with good cause; this has that nauseatingly buttery touch at the outset, and then just becomes generically sweet. Nope.


* Tom of Finland (Etat Libre d’Orange)
Described as “aldehydes, lemon, birch leaves, pine, safraleine, pepper, cypress, geranium, vanilla, tonka bean, iris, vetiver, suede, musk, and ambergris.” ‘Aldehydes’ is such a useless thing to say! I think iris dominates at the start, as it’s kind of earthy woody, but with a chemical tinge. More woody later on, but bleh, not great.

* Cashmere (Cristiano Fissore)
Described as “bergamot, jasmine, rose, lily-of-the-valley, myrrh, musk, amber, vanilla, and Virginia cedar.” Surprisingly clean and bright! And then almost nonexistent, turning into mild laundry. My skin more or less eats this one.

* Platino (Omnia Profume)
For this one I had to rely on a site where people list what they think they smell in it, which is whipped cream, coconut, caramel, almond milk, mimosa, jasmine, vanilla, and white musk. It basically smells like amaretto, and I love amaretto, so I’ll try it again.

* Yuzu (J-Scent)
Described as “lemon, orange, bergamot, yuzu, thyme, grapefruit, lime, rose, mandarin orange.” It’s very sharp and distinct, but it’s one of the citruses that angles too bitter for my preference — you get the zest rather than the juice.

* Hanamizake (J-Scent)
Described as “sake, cherry blossom, incense, and musk.” Very fruity boozy at first, then less boozy, a touch floral. But this is another one that goes mild extremly fast; it fades too fast to be worth it.

* Pink (Morgan le Fay)
Described as “bergamot, orange fig leaf; tuberose, gardenia, tiare flower, jasmine, carnation, ylang-ylang, lily-of-the-valley, osmanthus, geranium; iris, musk and vanilla.” The citrus unfortunately doesn’t last; you just get the heavy, thick tuberose/gardenia, then some more jasmine, going earthier later. An inoffensive floral.

* Escentric 01 (Escentric Molecules)
Described as “pink pepper, lime peel, and orris incense.” I literally had to slather this on FOUR TIMES to get anything out of it, and then it was mostly the orris (which as I understand it is iris root, and I suspect perfumes that say “iris” mean the same thing).

* Sumo Wrestler (J-Scent)
Described as “orange, eucalyptus, anise, cinnamon, heliotrope, violet, orange flower, labdanum, sandalwood, patchouli, and jasmine.” Kind of generically perfume-y in the bottle, and then it more or less goes straight to sandalwood and heliotrope. Meh.


* Le Voyager Indiscret (L’Antichambre)
Described as “lavender, cinnamon, nutmeg, cedar, and sandalwood.” I cannot for the life of me place what medicine this reminds me of in the bottle; it isn’t an unpleasant one. Maybe Tiger Balm? Something more green/not quite minty. Wet, it’s more cinnamon and nutmeg with an undertone of cedar, and then an odd lavender sandalwood. Not successful.

* Roasted Green Tea (J-Scent)
Described as “coconut, peanut, laver, jasmine, mint, winter green, iris, cedarwood, vanilla, and clover.” I think the wintergreen must be the “cold” bit in the bottle, and an earthy bit I think is the iris. Then a sort of mild, tea-like vanilla, with a faint mint tone. Meh.

* Hydrangea (J-Scent)
Described as “violet, leaf green, hyacinth, jasmine, rose, iris, muguet, cedarwood, and musk.” In the bottle, something green and violently fresh, before the rose comes up. After that, inoffensively floral and then mild musk. Sigh.

* Yawahada (J-Scent)
Described as “pear, green note, milk, rice powder, rose, jasmine, musk, sandalwood, and amber.” I have to assume the rice powder is responsible for the kind of dry and roasted and bitter thing that dominates throughout; my sister termed it “piss wood.” Which about sums it up, yeah.

* Hanamachi (J-Scent)
Described as “lemon, bergamot, ylang ylang, rose, violet, iris, jasmine, heliotrope, agarwood, vanilla, musk, cherry blossom leaf, and peach.” The violet and the lemon are fighting in this one, with floral trying to referee. Sororal verdict was “fancy soap puked on your wrist.”

* Jour de Fête (L’Artisan)
The internet guesses almond, wheat, vanilla, and iris for this one. Chemically earthy at first (the iris, I presume), and then a faint, burnt vanilla. Blech.

* Poudre de Riz (Huitième Art)
Described as “damask rose, tiare absolute, coconut, vanilla, rice powder accord (caramelic, burnt toast and maple notes), sandalwood, iris, cedar, tonka bean, tolu balsam and benzoin resin.” For that list, it was oddly fresh and astringent in the bottle. But on application, much sweeter — coconut, vanilla, and then I don’t know tonka bean, tolu balsam, or benzoin well enough to tell what I was picking up. Generically warm and sweet in the end.

Honey and Lemon (J-Scent)
Described as “lemon, orange, peach, rose, jasmine, musk, sandalwood, and honey note.” In the bottle, lemon smoothed by probably the peach and the honey. Lemon-orange on me, followed by rose, but it faded very fast.

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