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Posts Tagged ‘adventures in smelling good’

The Advent of Scent: Weeks 41-42


* Gobo
Described as “tangerine, lemon peel, sugared pink grapefruit, and vanilla cream.” As orange creamsicle perfumes go, this is an unobjectionable one; it’s less sickly than others I’ve encountered, and it’s very stable, not changing much over time. However . . . orange creamsicle.

* Green Tea and Lemon Peel
This might make a nice lotion, especially once it mellows a bit, but as a perfume, it’s a little too astringent and tannic.

* Comfort
No description I could find for this one. This has some hints of lavender and mint early on, but after that it mostly hits as white chocolate, which, meh.

* The Sun Rising
Described as “three shades of tawny amber radiating with orange blossom, Italian yellow bergamot, saffron, and mandarin.” In the bottle, a floral saffron with a slight zest tinge, the latter stepping up more on application. It mellows to a floral amber, which is not really what I’m looking for.

* Voyance (Alkemia)
Described as “a wreath of meadowsweet, elderflower, cornflower, verbena, waterlily, and other summer solstice flowers gently floating on seven ethereal waves of clean water musk.” Greenly floral at the outset, but it heads pretty rapidly to soap.

* Vanilla and Orange (Haus of Gloi)
Basically as described. Not much to say about this except that it’s the best of the orange creamsicles.

* Hēdonē (Hexennacht)
Described as “spiced honey, date sugar, tonka bean, red musk.” This is another one that presents pretty steadily; unfortunately, what it presents is basically burnt sugar. Which I find off-putting.

* Strawberry Ice Cream (Haus of Gloi)
Yep, what it sounds like: a nice, smooth strawberry. It’s probably not for me, but what the hell, I’ll try it again.


* Ocean Alchemy (Alkemia)
Described as “sea breeze, cotton, kelp, sand, freesia, juniper.” Pretty much anything from this general ballpark is almost guaranteed to go soapy. I’d gladly wash my hands with it, as I like the evergreen tinge, but it’s a no for a perfume.

* Hathor (Possets)
Described as “a simple confection of pink rose petals, simple syrup saturated with a sophisticated but delicate vanilla, and a wisp of [something I will never know because it’s no longer on their site this is all the Google preview for the page showed].” Since I really only got a slightly cloying vanilla from it, whatever the wisp was, it never came through.

* Blackberry Marshmallow (Haus of Gloi)
The blackberry actually manages to hang on here, which isn’t always the case with fruity perfumes. The marshmallow softens it without nerfing it, so hey, why not, I’ll try it again.

* Sweet Myrrh and Green Fig
In the bottle and late in the drydown, mostly myrrh. There’s a bit of green fruitness while it’s wet, but that doesn’t last. Inoffensive, but but uninteresting.

* Cotton Candy (Arcana Wildcraft)
Couldn’t find a description for this one, either. In the bottle, it smells like cherry-flavored things — which is not the same as smelling like cherries. On me, it was about halfway between Twizzlers and Red Vines before turning into a fruity sugar cookie. I don’t like the foodie perfumes enough to want that.

* Pink Saltwater Taffy (Arcana Wildcraft)
Described as “a candy pink blend of cherry, sugarberry, black and gold raspberry, vanilla fondant, white sugar, and a grounding touch of patchouli.” This one was almost really good: it’s quite tart, almost hitting more as cranberry than as raspberry. Unfortunately it picked up that chemical tinge that some of these perfumes get, and then the patchouli mingled with the fruit into something less engaging.

* Osculum Infame
Described as “crystalized sap, candied red fruits, raw wildflower honey, black amber, and sweet red labdanum.” Mostly hits as resin and honey, quite heavy at first, smoothing out later, but never becoming my kind of thing.

* Lady and a Baby Unicorn (Possets)
The description says “vetiver (that sultry, earthy, wild, and dominant part) becomes positively docile, sweet, and innocent…almost fruity in the presence of three vanillas (dry, fat, and sweet).” They’re not kidding about the fruitiness: it really did register as some kind of red fruit, basically a Twizzler on application. I have no idea how they managed to do that with vetiver, which elsewhere I shorthanded as “dental green.” Later the vetiver starts to become more recognizable, transforming this to more of an earthy vanilla, before it winds up basically at vanilla sandalwood (though I have no idea if there’s any actual sandalwood in here). Meh.

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!)


The Advent of Scent, Weeks 20-23

I haven’t actually stopped testing perfumes; I just got waaaaaay behind on posting about them. So behind the cut lieth an ENORMOUS dump of thoughts on what I’ve been going through! Some of these are from Codex friends — including a bunch from different perfumers — while others are a couple of freebies from BPAL that came with me ordering Black Rose (because of course I had to try that one); then I’m off into some of Haus of Gloi’s summer collection. Yoon, I think you might be interested in some of these!

(Reminder to everybody else: you are more than welcome to request anything I don’t say I’m keeping. Do you realize how many samples are sitting around my house these days???)


The Advent of Scent, Week 20

These are all from another friend, meaning that I am branching out into new territory! Not a single BPAL scent in the lot.

* Citrine (NEST)
Described as “lemon blossom, lotus flower, and freesia with the essence of morning dew and hints of precious woods.” The lemon freesia of its early stages was kind of nice, but it gets generically floral over time, so meh.

* psy_cou (Nomenclature)
Described as “coumarin (which is apparently used a lot in pipe tobacco), cardamom, juniper berries, coffee, incense, saffron, oud, and palo santo.” It’s sharp in the bottle, possibly from the juniper, but dulls a lot in application, and then I think I must have largely been getting the saffron and maybe the cardamom? Because I mostly smelled like Indian cooking. Overall I found this one hard to parse, and it’s not for me.

* Flowerhead (Byredo)
Described as “angelica seeds, lingonberry, Sicilian lemon, dewy tuberose, rose petals, wild jasmine sambac, fresh amber, and suede.” This goes into the category of “floral, but I don’t mind.” I never picked up much of the non-floral notes after the lemon faded early on, but I’m holding onto it to test against the other inoffensively floral scents I’ve kept.

* Special Moments (Catherine Malandrino)
Described as “citrus peel, plum, peach, honeydew, rose water, pink cyclamen, jasmine, white musk, amber crystals, and vanilla bean.” The honeydew helped hold down the floral here; it’s fairly clean-smelling, and I’ll try it again.

* Fantasia (Anna Sui)
Described as “pomelo, pink pepper, raspberry, praline, floral notes, cypress, and Himalayan cedar.” This one went SUPER mild, super fast; the pomelo vanished as if it had never been, and I was left with lingering traces of those floral notes. Doesn’t really have enough personality to be interesting.

* Like This (Etat Libre d’Orange)
Described as “Indonesian ginger, pumpkin, tangerine, immortal flower, Moroccan neroli, rose, spicy notes, vetiver, woody notes, musk, and heliotrope.” I forgot to take notes on this one, but I remember it being another sort of complex and confusing one, and while it wasn’t bad, it was also not really to my taste.

* Angel (Mugler)
Described as “Calabrian bergamot, red fruits, praline, ethylmaltol?, patchouli, and vanilla absolute.” Despite living in the Bay Area, I don’t really have a good grip on what patchouli smells like — or rather I didn’t, until I tried this perfume. My sister loathes the stuff and made faces every time she sniffed my wrist. I didn’t find it objectionable, but all I really got was patchouli and vanilla, and I find that unengaging.

* Gin Fizz (Lubin Paris)
Described as “bergamot, lemon, mandarin, juniper berry; iris, galbanum, orange blossom, rose, jasmine; lily, benzoin, iris, vetiver, oak moss, and white musk.” Another inoffensive but uninteresting perfume: it also fades quite fast, and is just sort of vaguely clean floral.

The Advent of Scent, Week 19

* The Apothecary
Described as “tea leaf with three mosses, green grass, a medley of herbal notes, and a drop of ginger and fig.” I keep wanting to like scents in the “green” category more than I do, simply because it’s my favorite color (and yes, I’m aware that the color and the smell are not actually related). This one was only temporarily green, though; it goes from “lemony ginger tea” through the green phase to being just too floral for me — not sure which element that was coming from.

* Gingerbread Wolfman
Described as “gingerbread, honey, molasses, pulverized chestnut, powdered sugar, nutmeg, and hazelnut.” Ugh, no — this mostly came through as molasses, and the more time passed, the more burnt the molasses smelled. It would have been okay but not amazing without the burnt note; with it, I wanted to get away from my own arm.

* Last Tavern at Town Gate
Described as “vivid red musk streaked with sleet, hearthsmoke, a glimmer of lemon rind and yellow amber, and oak-aged whiskey.” This was very complex! I had a hard time teasing the notes apart, except for the usual pattern of the musk dominating after a while. It’s interesting, but it wasn’t for me.

* Kitsune-tsuki
Described as “Asian plum, orchid, daffodil, jasmine and white musk.” Starts off plum and daffodil, maybe with some jasmine later on. It’s floral, but surprisingly not off-putting?

* Event Horizon
Described as “black opium, labdanum, opoponax, black orchid, and benzoin.” It reminded me a little of Darkness, in that my sister again said that I was clearly going to the opera; I think that’s the opium note. It’s heavy, a little sweet, a little floral; later on she called it “very very fancy bubblegum,” which I think might be the opoponax? It’s interesting enough to try again later!

* Maiden
Described as “white tea, carnation and damask rose.” Somehow this manages to smell almost lemony in the bottle, turning into tea + rose as it dries. The scent is fairly steady, and I kind of like it?

* Paladin (RPG Series)
Described as “white musk, sweet frankincense, bourbon vanilla, white leather, and shining armor.” Like Gingerbread Wolfman, this got more ugh over time. It’s generic cologne at first, and then I think basically leather frankincense later; I did not like it. (I’m starting to think leather notes will just be not for me overall.)

* Blood Rose
Described as “voluptuous red rose bursting with lascivious red wine and sultry dragon’s blood resin.” I’m not positive if I’ve encountered dragon’s blood before; people on the BPAL forum theorized that it was in Wolf’s Heart (the one that smelled like laundry detergent on me) and Sanguinem Menstruum, but the official descriptions don’t say for sure. So I can’t tell whether the sweet aspect here is coming from that, or from the red wine. But it sheds the oddly sugary effect it has early on to become quite pleasant; this and Maiden are two rose scents I actually kind of like, at least enough to hold onto them and compare again later.

. . . and in looking up Blood Rose, I discovered BPAL has a perfume called Black Rose, which of course I have to try. I’ve ordered a sample!

The Advent of Scent, Week 18

* Bengal
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.

The Advent of Scent, Week 17

Some adventures this time with a new-to-me perfumer!

* Liquid Illusion (Juliette Has a Gun)
Described as “heliotropin, tuberose absolute, iris absolute, tonka bean, and cetalox” (which the internet tells me is synthetic ambergris). I can smell the almond at the outset, but it’s kind of earthy/salty in a way that I think might be the cetalox (and possibly the iris, depending on whether that’s supposed to be the flower or the root), but it rapidly goes to a slightly soapy tonka/cetalox blend. Do not like.

* Rose Cross
Described as “purest rose with sacred frankincense.” At first it’s exactly as billed. Then it PUNCHES YOU IN THE FACE WITH ROSE. Eventually that dials back to a more faded rose, and it isn’t terrible, but I do not like that note enough to want this.

* Mari Lwyd
Described as “Welsh cakes and ale with a smattering of dried lavender.” In the bottle it had that cloying, sort of buttery note I’ve encountered before, which fortunately didn’t last. Unfortunately, it pretty much just went to cake after that, which I think might partly have been built from musk. I never picked up anything ale or lavender. Meh.

* Invisible Gingerbread Man/Gingerbread Invisible Man
(BPAL appears indecisive about which is the correct name.) Described as “champagne-soaked gingerbread, candied ginger, lemon, and white sugar.” I got the ginger and lemon initially, but I also got soap, and it just got soapier the longer things went on. Blech.

* Oatmeal and Apple Spice Cookies
What it says, plus “brown sugar, nutmeg, and walnuts.” This also had a hint of that cloying note in the bottle, but that went away on application in favor of being very, very apple. The spice comes through later, but I never really got the oatmeal or walnut, and overall it’s just meh.

* Oil Fiction (Juliette Has a Gun)
Described as “tuberose, saffron, and amber.” It amuses me that my reaction to some things is “this smells like perfume” — there’s just sort of a generic, kind of floral effect to some blends. This one wasn’t bad as floral things go, and the amber comes through a bit later, but it’s still not for me.

* Wheatstacks, Snow Effect, Morning
(This is one of the BPAL scents named after a painting, in this case one by Monet, hence the odd name.) Described as “hay, white peach, opalescent musk, orris root, pink carnation, osmanthus, and rooibos.” This once again featured that effect I can only describe as cold — no idea what does that — along with peach. The carnation showed up for a while in the early drydown, and then eventually became peach fading into musk. Not bad, but not interesting, either.

* Bon Vivant
Oh HELL no. This is described as “an effervescent blend of crystalline champagne notes and sweet strawberry,” but there was nothing effervescent about it, and very little strawberry; I smelled like flat champagne. And this one had significant throw, too, so I kept getting gusts of flat champagne coming off my wrist, to an extent that was borderline nauseating.

The Advent of Scent, Week 16

Yoon, at this point I’ve finished all the things I acquired off my own bat and have gone back to trying ones you sent me, so once you weigh in on these, I can send you the things you’ve requested!

* Violet Elixir (Haus of Gloi)
Described as “sweet violets, fresh grass, petitgrain, and bergamot.” Well, now I know what violets smell like! I’m not sure I’ve ever encountered the flower in person, but this smells incredibly purple — not quite like grape so much as what “grape-flavored” things smell like. The grass tones down the violets a bit, but I never pick up the citrus elements; it’s just VIOLETS the whole way through. Which is educational, but having been educated, I don’t need to try it again.

* Tonic #5 (Haus of Gloi)
Described as “sweetgrass and aquatic notes with lavender, tea tree and rosemary.” I’m beginning to think I don’t like aquatics. This has some astringent notes (probably the tea tree) and maybe the sweetgrass, but on the whole the aquatics dominate, to which I say “meh.”

* Tonic #3 (Haus of Gloi)
Described as “a clean and green blend of: parsley, peppermint, ho wood, petitgrain, kaffir leaf, bergamot and dry gingergrass.” From bottle to wrist it goes from citrusy green chased by mint to gingergrass chased by mint, settling down to citrus ginger. I’m keeping it for now, just for variety.

* Tonic #4 (Haus of Gloi)
Described as “yuzu, basil, lime leaf, lemongrass, and raw sugar cane accord.” It’s mostly sweet lemon, though there’s a green undertone from the basil early on. It’s a lot like Lemondrop, so I’ll hold onto it and compare them against each other later.

* Anubis
Described as “holy myrrh, storax, balsam, and embalming herbs.” I think the spice-like element in here is either the storax or the unnamed “embalming herbs.” It’s very incense-y; I’ll keep it to compare to Penitence (which is just frankincense and myrrh), as part of the “educating my nose” part of this project.

* Gingerbread Witch
Described as “gingerbread, pumpkin pulp, Arkansas black apple pulp, rosemary, and lemon peel.” The sort of buttery whiff I get in the bottle vanishes on application, which is good; on the other hand, so does the gingerbread. So this begins as pumpkin and ends as more or less straight-up apple. Meh.

* Meigetsu Ya
Described as “red mandarin dusted with frost.” For once the mandarin note lasts! But it mellows from the juicy, sharp orange of a Starburst or a Tic-Tac to an orange creamsicle, and neither of those is really my thing.

* Wild Fig, Blackcurrent, & Neroli
The orange note from the neroli doesn’t last long. For a little while this is woody and earthy, but when it dries it just kind of goes to soap. Fancy soap, and I wouldn’t object if my hands smelled like this after washing them, but as a perfume, no.

The Advent of Scent, Week 15

* Port-au-Prince
Described as “buttered rum flavored with almond, bay, clove and sassafras.” In the bottle, it’s sweet almond with clove and herbal touches. The sassafras comes through on application; it’s basically alcoholic root beer. The once it starts to dry, it suddenly becomes CLOVE, with the sassafrass undertones coming back through later on. It’s different and interesting enough to keep for now.

* Elf
This is one of BPAL’s RPG series. Described as “pale golden musk, honeycomb, amber, parma violet, hawthorne bark, aspen leaf, forest lily, life everlasting, white moss, and a hint of wild berry.” I quite liked how this one smelled in the bottle — bright, clean, sort of green, but sweetly so. I think the floral that comes through on application is the violet (haven’t smelled enough violet perfumes to be sure), but in the end it just goes to sort of musky amber. I found the beginning more interesting than the end.

* Darkness
Described as “blackest opium and narcissus deepened by myrrh.” My sister and I decided that this perfume declares you are Going to the Opera: Verdi at first, but she granted that I might be seeing Puccini after it dried down a bit. It’s heavy and sweet without being sugary, lifted a bit by the floral note; there’s a moment while it’s drying that gets harshly resinous, but that goes away and it returns to how it started. Not really my thing.

(The next batch of perfumes are a mix of ones I ordered and some freebies. Haus of Gloi had a spring collection that looked interesting, and I realized I was close enough to having tried Imaginary Authors’ entire catalogue that I might as well finish it out.)

* Saint Julep (Imaginary Authors)
Described as “sweet mint, tangerine, southern magnolia, bourbon, grisalva, and sugarcube.” Very magnolia at the outset, with maybe a hint of mint; the tangerine appears briefly as it dries; but then it just goes sort of . . . green, which I think is the grisalva. Green may be my favorite color, but that doesn’t mean I really want to smell of it.

* Imp (Haus of Gloi)
Described as “peculiar passion fruit mingling with sun cured apricots, perfectly pink grapefruit juice and innocent whispers of wet mimosa blooms.” This one is SUPA FROOTY! Gets a little tarter on application, and then picks up a floral lift, but it stays generally fruity overall. Yoon, I suspect you might want this one, if you don’t have it already . . .

* Telegrama (Imaginary Authors)
Described as “talc, lavender absolute, black pepper, teak, amyris, vanilla powder, and fresh linens.” Based on the example of this and A Whiff of Waffle Cone, amyris seems to just steamroll any perfume it’s in that I try on, at least the way Imaginary Authors uses it. It’s kind of rich and warming, but not in a way that I really like.

* Every Storm a Serenade (Imaginary Authors)
Described as “Danish spruce, eucalyptus, vetiver, calone, ambergris, and Baltic sea mist.” The internet tells me calone is a compound developed to give stuff the scent of watermelon; well, it works! The whole way through, this one is basically watermelon with an undertone of evergreen. Again, not my thing.

* Capy (Haus of Gloi)
Described as “tart lemon, crushed lavender, white tea, and green moss.” The bottle scent is very refreshing! My sister tried this one as well; on me on me it was more lemon and lavender, going to tea, while with her it went more to tea and lavender, and then to soap.