Leanan-Sidhe: "A crush of Irish herbs and flowers, Gaelic mists, and nighttime dew." Unfortunately, as pretty as that sounds, and as cool as the name is...it doesn't smell like anything special on me. It's not bad, just generic. After a few minutes, it's a little less bland, but not particularly striking.
Montresor: "The black fruit and vanilla oaken notes of fine Medoc and De Grave, but not a hint of the elusive Amontillado." I heart this one's name. Luckily, it also comes out smelling pretty awesome on me. Sometimes just a bit rich and bitter, sometimes very sharp and almost musky, or maybe smoky. I'm not sure what exactly that scent is. It's also fairly understated rather than strong.
Tiger Lily: "A feisty bouquet of golden, warm, gently honeyed lilies." Pretty and flowery, but rather strong on me, I think.
The Hesperides: "Their perfume is that of sturdy oak bark, dew-kissed leaves, twilight mist and crisp apple." Smells like delicious apples in the bottle, but takes on a bit too much of a grassy note once it's on my skin. Not that bad, though. UPDATE: Once dry, a very sharp, bitter note--probably a combination of the oak bark and the apple--dominates too much for the rest to come through.
Aizen-Myoo: "Yuzu, kaki, and mikan with cherry blossom and black tea." Okay, I take that back about the Hesperides having a bit too much of a grassy note. I did not know what "too much of a grassy note" was until I tried this one. It almost smells like chives. Ugh, I think I'm queasy. UPDATE: When dried more, the grassy note fades enough for it to be tolerable, and a little more of the citrus aspect comes out, but it's still not very good on me.
Lightning: "The electric tang of ozone, marine notes, and a drop of sharp rain." Once it's on my skin, the ozone aspect predominates, but it's balanced out pretty well with the rain and a bit of those "marine notes." It's a little too bitter and strong for most occasions, I think, but it might be nice sometimes. UPDATE: Probably one of the best scents on me, so long as I'm careful about the strength; the rainy note comes out very well.
Frumious Bandersnatch: "Bandersnatch musk, redolent of spicy carnations, wild plums and chrysanthemum." The spicy carnations come out strongest on me, leaving it with a very potpourri-like scent on my skin. Definitely a strong scent; have to be careful with this one. However, the plum sweetness underneath it tempers it. Eventually, though, on me it just winds up smelling like strong potpourri.
Selkie: "The chill waters of the Orkney coast, tea-leaved willow, honey-touched Grass-of-Parnassus, sea aster, and Scottish Primrose." This smells soapy on me, but in a good way; it's definitely true to its claim to smell like coastal waters. Sweeter, though, which I guess is the primrose and honey and stuff. Very nice, very aquatic with just a hint of something salty, but with a good flowery edge to it. Only problem is it fades a little fast, so I might have to use too much of it.
Beatrice: "A fragile, winsome, poisonous blend of rare, precious and graceful flowers, rich blossoms and spicy perfumes that passes heavily, as a broken heart, across the borders of Time." The main note I get from this is that it smells very sweet on me. Unfortunately, that fades fast, and while it's great in the bottle, on my skin there's a bit of a Leanan-Sidhe effect: it winds up smelling a bit like commercial perfume. It's not quite that bad, though, and there's a nice spicy note to it.
Brides of Dracula: "...gleaming skin musk, honey and white amber, plum blossom, osmanthus, sandalwood, calla lily, and a light, sensual blend of Eastern spices." Wow, this one is sharp on me. Very wooden, not nearly as sweet as any of the others. There's a slightly green scent to it as well, and a hint of something nutty. I'm not sure how much I like it, but it's definitely different.
Fire Pig: "Peony, China's national flower, with bamboo for flexibility, plum blossom for perseverance, courage, and hope, tangerine for wealth, orange for happiness, lychee for household peace, pine resin for constancy, golden kumquat, pussy willow, and quince for prosperity, narcissus and King mandarin for good fortune, and peach blossom for longevity, with a splash of blazing red of dragon's blood..." This is an even sweeter scent than Beatrice, and very tangy and fruity. It smells good on me; I might try more fruity scents. Once it's dry, a more flowery note comes out, but the fruit smell is definitely still there.
Gibbous Moon: "Moonflower, Madonna lily, orris, white ginger, cucumber, hyacinth, and Irish moss." The moss, cucumber, and hyacinth are very strong at first, I think. They fade a bit in favor of the lily, but this is definitely a very green scent on me. Nice, though.
Centzon Totochtin: "Bittersweet Mexican cocoa with rum, red wine, and a scent redolent of sacrificial blood." This one is really strong. The main scent is a combination of chocolate and bitter incense, which is...interesting, to say the least. It smells kind of like a sharper, spicier version of a cocoa butter lotion I once had; I can't smell the "red wine" note at all. It does quiet down as it dries, though, and a slightly wooden, smoky note comes out (sandalwood incense?), along with the rum, so I'm not left smelling like I rolled in chocolate incense.
Caliban: "The scent of the salty seas, bittersweet wine, palm and tropical ferns." The plant scents are by far the strongest with this one, leaving it smelling like the fancier kinds of conventional perfume. After a bit, though, some of the aquatic notes come out. It's not quite as unique as some of the others, but it's not bad.
Megaera: "Orris, black amber, bergamot, plum and grapefruit." While it's wet, the grapefruit pretty much blocks out everything else. Not very befitting a Fury's dignity, really. As it dries, the amber comes out in a rather nice mix with the fruity notes. It's a rather pleasant scent on me, although not very Erinyes-like at all.
Oneiroi: "Created to invoke the ancient Greek deities of dreams. On the shores of the ocean, somewhere in the West, they dwell behind their gates of horn and ivory. Soporific, dark, and unfathomable." This sets in not so much "dark and unfathomable" as...tangy. Really tangy and sour and kind of green. Seriously, I have no clue what's in it...no, wait, I'm pretty sure there's grass or some type of bark that doesn't go so well on me. The effect is similar to Aizen-Myoo and the Hesperides, but worse. Once it's dry, an identifiable scent finally comes out: lavender. Except it's way too thick and strong to really be a viable going-out perfume. It seems like that's not what it's meant for, anyway.
Seraphim: "A perfume sacred to the highest of the angelic hosts: calla lily, wisteria, white sandalwood, Damascus rose and frankincense." Eeee, lily. While it's wet, that's pretty much the only impression I get--that and a bit of something sharp. As it dries, the sharp note comes out more--possibly the frankincense? Plus something not very pleasantly green that I can't pinpoint; the effect is similar to Oneiroi, but not as bad.
Vechernyaya: "Three white musks with poppy and patchouli." This smells surprisingly nice on me while wet--a good combination of sweet and crisp, with an oddly subdued aspect. The poppy mixes well with the musks, I think; it gives just enough of a flowery scent to soften them. Unfortunately, as it dries, out comes the patchouli, and it eats my skin. I might as well just spend an hour in a poorly-ventilated New Age store. I'd get the same effect.
Aureus: "True, perfect golden light, refined into an incomparably glorious scent." This doesn't really work, I'm afraid. It comes off just too harsh and sharp--seems like it was supposed to be an amber scent, but either there's too much of it or some other note interferes and keeps it from gentling properly.
Juke Joint: "Kentucky Bourbon, sugar and a sprig of mint." Ugh, sorry, no. Why? It does smell like bourbon. More than anything else. And bourbon is gross.
Kabuki: "Compelling, complex, and utterly enigmatic: a luxuriant, exotic blend of cherry, red musk, and star anise." Yeah, I get no sense of the red musk at all. Just...licorice. Unfrotunately, I hate licorice.
Grandmother of Ghosts: "Her scent swirls with a high-pitched tumult of laurel, stargazer lily, splintered woods, peony, mandarin and white musk, and is spiked with pale pepper." This is mostly a rather dry, wooden scent on me, with a little of the pepper, I guess. It's not really interesting enough to keep.
Sea of Glass: "A scent of inimitable purity, crystalline grace, and limitless light." Tell you the truth, I don't know what this is. A little bit floral, a little bit sharp, and a little bit aquatic. It dries into something very clean-smelling, but in a nice way rather than the annoying soapy way. After a while of wear, a really interesting scent comes out--it winds up smelling exactly like its name. Somehow, they got something very sharp and crisp and a little salty, like seaspray, but cleaner.
The Bow and Crown of Conquest: "Nobility and haughtiness befitting the Antichrist: sage, carnation and cedar with lavender, vanilla, white musk and leather." Initially rather innocently sweet, with a touch of something sharper--I suppose that's the carnation and cedar. Then the musk comes out, and as usual with me, it gets rather overpowering. In the end, though, it's the leather that turns out to be too overpowering: it eventually drowns out most of the sweet notes, unbalancing the scent.
Olokun: "His ofrenda is the scent of the lightless deep: the glorious, unknowable gloom of the ocean floor." This starts off very aquatic indeed. As it sets in, though, there's a hint of that discordant tangy note that doesn't go so well on me. Something a little flowery, a little soapy. Fortunately that quiets down, but not entirely. It's still one of the less pleasant aquatics on me.
Hell's Belle: "Oleander with wet, sweet mandarin, lush magnolia, a rush of deep musk and a touch of spice." A fighting combination of the mandarin and the magnolia comes out first--rather pleasant, actually. Then the musk comes out, and the oleander I think, but fortunately not quite enough to drown out the rest. The spices are last. It's a nice scent, although I'm not sure if it really stands out.
Inferno: "The Dark Side of Fire: cinnamon, bitter almond, and neroli. Heavily spiced, torrid, and possibly conflagrant." This is an almost stickily sweet scent on me: lots of cinnamon and almond. As it dries, the sweetness drops off a bit, allowing for a more wooden spicy note. Still, it's awfully strong.
La Belle Dame Sans Merci: "A bewitching, seductive scent, rife with mystery and foreboding." This is a little bit floral, I think, but mostly musky and spicy--although if there is musk, it's less overpowering than usual on me. I think the dominant note is ivy, with maybe a hint of rose. It comes out green on me, but not in the unpleasant way that a lot of greener blends do. It's actually rather pleasant, once it calms down a little. It is rather strong and sharp, though. After a while to dry, though, the interesting ivy note goes away, as well as the sharpness, and it turns out that's what made it interesting. It's left smelling like a musty old spicerack with some faded flowers in it.
Eclipse: "A delicious blend of bitter almond, vanilla, frankincense and heliotrope, with a drop of cinnamon." The initial scent is a slightly fruity combination of the almond and vanilla--in other words, it starts off smelling like a marzipan cookie. That fades a little as it dries beneath the weight of the frankincense, and some of the cinnamon comes out as well.
The Deep Ones: "Black algae, drooping seaweed, salty brine, and crushed coral." So very aquatic. Sweeter than I thought it would be--that's probably the coral. It's got an interesting tang, and not in the unpleasant way that greener scents have on me. I think it mostly winds up with the seaweed predominating and the brine providing a nice salty note at the edges.
Scarecrow: "The scent of a hot wind blowing through desolate, scorched, barren fields." This definitely starts off smelling as described: a hot dry wind. There's something a little bit spicy to justify it, I think. It's also probably the only grass scent I've tried where the grass doesn't go sour on my skin. Maybe the burnt note keeps it from doing so. It's also very masculine, smelling more like cologne than anything. In the end this is its downfall--it winds up smelling like nothing but sharp, sweet commercial cologne on me.
Midnight Kiss: "Eternal desire, unquenchable passion: red musk, cocoa absolute, Nepalese amber, red sandalwood, aged patchouli, nicotiana, and blood wine." The first note to come out is the musk, unpleasantly strong. But there's a weird undertone of something sweet, almost fruity beneath it--maybe the wine? It eventually balances out a bit--I think I can smell the sandalwood and the amber. It's actually surprisingly pleasant, and it does seem to signify passion and desire.
The Mock Turtle's Lessons: "Not quite Turtle Soup: blurry aquatic notes, with a confusing, contrary splort of iris, ambrette, green apple, vodka, white mint and a squish of lime." This comes on smelling deliciously wet and fruity. I guess that despite my experiences with the Hesperides, apple as a scent is all right on me, or at least green apple, because that note comes out great in this one. The mint comes out next. It starts out smelling like appletinis on me and eventually fades into a more flowery scent. I can't pick out the aquatic notes individually, but I think they provide a really nice base to keep the other notes right on my skin.
Othello: "Arabian musk with two roses and a bevy of Middle Eastern and Indian spices." Well, this one smells like what it's supposed to: exotic spices. Unfortunately, on my skin it turns swiftly into almost a nonentity: just the barest whiff of spice and rose. After a while, it settles down into spices again, but it turns out to be the sort of spices that I don't really like, and I almost can't smell the rose at all.
Miskatonic University: "The scent of Irish coffee, dusty tomes and polished oakwood halls." Delicious coffee quickly ceding to Bailey's. That lingers, but another scent comes out over it: something softly papery and, in combination with the other notes, almost buttery. This is really nice. It also lasts approximately forever on me, going through several changes, eventually settling into a very sweet coffee-like scent with wisps of the other notes lingering at the edges.
Eris: "A suitably disjointed scent, bursting with gleeful mayhem: wet fruits and sharp mimosa with Martial spices and a deceptive flash of floral." Instant fruitiness, though not as strong as I thought it would be. After a few minutes it takes on a softer air, I guess underpinned by the mimosa. The spices are almost imperceptible, but every so often I get a hint of them. It's nice, but unfortunately not particularly memorable.
Szepasszony: "A chilly, tempestuous whirlwind of clear, airy notes, slashing rain, and a thin undercurrent of white flowers." This initially comes off as sharp and bitter--aquatic, but not as good on me as most. The bitter note subsides, though, and the flowery note comes through in an interesting way. After a few minutes, it balances out nicely--for about an hour. Then it goes badly sour, sharp in all the wrong ways.
Schrodinger's Cat: "A paradoxical scent experiment! - tangerine, sugared lime, pink grapefruit, oakmoss, lavender, zdravetz, and chocolate peppermint." This just smells weird at first--the only identifiable thing is a note of citrus. I keep waiting for something else to pop up...but no such luck. There's a little bit of lavender, and maybe just a hint of the chocolate peppermint? It's hard to tell. This scent certainly lives up to its name: before putting it on, I can't tell whether it's going to just be weird and kind of lime-ish, or strange and interesting.
Doc Constantine: "Sheer musk, cedar smoke, fir needle, black amber and leather." Whoa, leather. I have an unfortunate feeling that leather is overpowering on my skin. However, it's quickly steadied by the fir needle and cedar smoke--not a bad combination. I can even make out some of the amber. It's very masculine, and I think it'd work best for outdoors-y things.
Perilous Parlor: "...the scent of soft white pear and sweet vanilla." I've seen opinion divided over whether this comes off as fresh or candied pear; on me, it's the latter, with underlying vanilla if you pause close enough for long enough. Still, after a few hours I start being able to catch occasional whiffs of something brighter and fresher. It's not the best fruity scent on me (I still stick with Megaera for that), but it's nice.
Chanukkiyah: "Olive oil, beeswax, glowing amber, sweet sufganiyot, pomegranate, and fig." On my skin, this comes off as some strange combination of a sweet, exotic fruit smell from the pomegranate and fig and a rich, sticky food smell from the olive oil and sufganiyot. The beeswax is pretty clear underneath that, and with a little effort I can catch hints of the amber. Which makes this one of the very few scents where I can identify all the notes. As it dries, there gets to be a bit more of a divide between the food-scents of olive oil and sufganiyot and the others, so I'll be sniffing away and noting the wax, amber, and fruit, and suddenly wham, donuts in my nose. Very strange, but not unpleasantly so. Unfortunately, something in it goes sour after a bit, turning bland and vaguely bitter on me--on retesting, I think it's the beeswax, since that's a little overpowering from the start. But I'll hold out hope that my skin chemistry will change and it'll smell nice on me someday.
Wicked: "A sophisticated, womanly scent: rich myrrh and jasmine draped in the subtlest rose." The jasmine and myrrh come out very strong while this is wet. As it dries, it calms down a bit and I can make out the rose. There's nothing really wrong with this scent--but I think it's a bit too strongly sweet and flowery for my taste. Especially since it starts to get that thick green scent I'm not so fond of (outside of La Belle Dame Sans Merci, anyway) as it dries, probably courtesy of the myrrh, and the rose and jasmine aren't enough to weigh down the bitterness.
Arkham: "A shadowy, unapproachable forest of maple, birch, dogwood, cypress and pine softened by a garland of New England wildflowers: bergamot, columbine, rue anemone, blue violet, creeping phlox, bloodroot, toadflax, and pixie moss." The first impression I get off this is lots of green--pine needles and cut grass. After a bit, the floral aspect kicks in too. It's a pretty scent, but it kind of bores me. I suppose it'd be useful if I wanted a very muted, subtle scent. Or it would have been, but the second time I tried it, all I got was a sharp, unpleasant green smell. Green really doesn't like me.
Hemlock: "...a dark, profound herbal blend to personify and honor this wicked little plant." When wet, this is a strange combination of green and sticky-sweet--there's definitely a minty note to it, and something very lemony as well. There's a hint of evergreen as well, but for me the predominant notes are something lemony and something menthol. This is one of the few "green" scents that actually comes off as nice on me for more than a few minutes, although it's still a bit leafy for my taste. As time passes, though, the lemon scent becomes cloying, and the green note starts to become unpleasant on me. Another one for the swaplist.
Salome: "Exotic and lush, brimming with grace and viciousness: almond with star jasmine, oakmoss, red sandalwood and Egyptian musk." As with Eclipse, the first impression I get off this is "what, marzipan?" But it takes a different path after that. The other scents, even though I have trouble picking them out individually, give it a sharper, more dynamic aspect, while the almond keeps it from seeming generic. I admit I wasn't expecting to like this one--musk scents usually bore me--but it's rather nice on me. The musk note gets stronger and the almond note gets weaker as time goes on, but the latter never quite disappears. Unfortunately, it does eventually get to the point where it smells kind of blandly musky on me, so despite it being nice at first, I don't think I'm keeping it.
Hunter Moon: "A blend of traditional lunar oils touched with dry leaves, autumn bonfires, warm mulled wine, feral, animalistic notes and the chill of approaching winter." This starts off smelling sharp and crisply musky on me, and while it dries down, it doesn't change much. However, the subtlety of the scent comes out in a very nice way. A cologne-like musk still dominates, but there's also a soft, almost powdery note. It does smell like what it's supposed to on me--a chill autumn night, sweet and sharp and smoky. Every so often I'll get a whiff that smells just as if I stepped outside in October. I think I'll be wearing this one a lot.
Hollywood Babylon: "...glittering Egyptian amber and heliotrope, infused with the sweetness of strawberry and vanilla - dragged into debauch by lusty red musk and a dribble of black cherry." Cherry bubblegum everywhere. That's what I get from this one--not an entirely unpleasant smell, but kind of tacky, kind of sleazy. If this were a subtle scent, that would work, but it's so not. It takes a good five or six hours to fade to something quieter and subtler, and it's very pleasant and interesting then, but, well...five hours. Not so convenient.
Macchu Picchu: "Sweet tropical fruits burst through deep, wet rainforest boughs, enormous steamy blossoms, over thin mountaintop breezes, mingled with the soft, rich golden scent of Peruvian amber." At first I was awfully unsure of this one. To be honest, I still kind of am. It's not the kind of fruity that's made for me, as I was hoping--the lime is too strong, the whiffs of coconut aren't quite to my taste, and the amount of green in it is worrisome, considering my trend with that sort of note. However, it does eventually dry into a scent that's pleasantly wet and vaguely tropical. I'll have to try it again sometime to render final judgment.
Baobhan Sith: "Grapefruit, white tea, apple blossom and ginger." Hello grapefruit. I can't smell anything else at first. As it dries, I start to get a hint of the other notes, well-blended--but the grapefruit is still pretty overwhelming. After a few minutes, though, I think the white tea grounds this scent in a really appealing way. And then there's this interestingly warm scent to it--I think I'm keeping this one, yes.
51: "...green mandarin, neroli, honeydew, white amber, guava, freesia, white and green musks hovering over desert scrub, smashed wood, and the dry, biting scent of night air over the Groom Lake salt flats." This starts out smelling crisp and wet and strongly of honeydew. As other notes come out, it does have a strangely desert-like scent to it--something sandy and sharp, but not unpleasantly so, under the scent of slightly fruity green things. Actually, I think this is one of the most aptly-named scents: the base makes me think of a desert night, but with something weird and unearthly in it. As it dries, it gets sharper and earthier on me--the musk coming out. After about an hour, it's hard for me to smell anything but musk, wood, and just a hint of something fruitily green. After two or three hours, I have to sniff attentively to even smell the wood. This definitely does not last long.
Glitter: "...white wine, heliotrope, d'Anjou pear, and lotus." First sniff, while still wet: light white wine with a strong fruity bite to it. It gets more boozy as it starts to dry. The overall impression is of an artifical pear-lemon-lime syrup, or a juicy candy or gum, but the lotus and the wine make it seem more real and less tacky, keep it from going the way of Hollywood Babylon on me. It works fairly well on me.
Embalming Fluid: "...white musk, green tea, aloe and lemon." As usual, the lemon comes out rather strongly on me at first. Unlike with some of the other lemon scents I've tried (particularly Hemlock), I can also make out other notes: the aloe is pretty strong, and before long it's well-blended enough that the lemon isn't overpowering. It's actually quite an interesting combination--it manages to smell clean-but-not-fresh without being antiseptic. Rather than being too strong on its own, the lemon just provides a nice citrus note that keeps the rest from fading away.
Crowley: "Infernal musk, red patchouli, lilac cologne, mahogany, lemon rind, oakmoss, leather, and vanilla husk." First impression: another one of those strongly musky, masculine scents like Scarecrow or Doc Constantine. I'm probably smelling the leather as well as the musk. There's a little bit of something else, something sweeter--the lilac cologne. But it's being buried by the musk and leather. This one goes the same way as Scarecrow, I think--too cologne-ish for me.
Pele: "...muguet and Hawaiian white ginger enveloped by warm, damp tropical blooms." Tropical flowers are definitely the first note I get off this. There's also a faintly spicy note, probably the ginger, but not unpleasantly so, as Othello was for me. Instead it just gives the scent a slightly foody aspect to ground all those flowers. As it dries, it threatens to fade into generic flower-scent; a slightly sweet, milky note is keeping it from doing so. Too bad that doesn't keep it from fading in general after an hour or so.
Al-Shairan: "...clove, peach and orange with cinnamon, patchouli and dark incense notes." It's a strong, tangled mix of cinnamon, orange, and clove at first. Maybe I smell a little bit of incense also. This isn't a bad scent, but I think it's not quite right for me--the cinnamon (and maybe the clove as well) blends with something else in a way that, while not precisely unpleasant, doesn't really appeal to me. The clove is also a bit strong on me as it dries. The scent certainly fits its namesake, though.
Fairy Wine: "An ethereal vintage, steeped with dandelion, honey, and red currants." This is a very light, fruity scent at first, with a background of something faintly flowery--the dandelion, I expect. The wine comes out next--still very light. And that's the problem here: it's a nice, light, feathery little wine scent, but the same amount I'd use for other scents fades spectacularly fast with this one. Let's try this again with more. There's something kind of bitter and green in it while wet; as it dries, a fruity scent mostly takes that over, but a hint of it lingers. I suspect it's a side effect of the dandelion, as it seems to be linked to the flowery scent. The wine scent is what lingers in my nose, though, and not unpleasantly. After about forty minutes or so, the bitter scent is gone, leaving only a fruity scent with a hint of flowers in the background--and a slightly boozy note in the aftertaste. Quite nice, but not particularly striking. Only problem? It fades too fast. After a couple hours, I can barely smell it.
Blood Rose: "...voluptuous red rose bursting with lascivious red wine and sultry dragon's blood resin." I haven't really tried rose scents before, so this is something new. My first impression is a very candied scent--a sticky wine with too many roses around it. It's not actually bad, though--just not at all subtle. I don't smell the dragon's blood at first, but it tempers the sticky sweetness well when it does come in. It reminds me a lot of Hollywood Babylon, but not as cringe-inducingly strong, and with more rose to temper out the tacky sweetness.
Devil's Claw: "A yellow-bright and smoky brown-black scent, horned, pronged and strange." Whoa. Very earthy at first, even a little nutty. A bit smoky. As vague and unhelpful as it seemed, the description is right on cue with this. I don't think it's my kind of scent, but it's fascinating. Glancing at the forums, I see someone's called it "the kind of smoke you get when you burn green wood," and I think that sums it up just about right.
Magus: "...galangal, high john essence, frankincense, cedar, and sandalwood." Wow. I don't know what all the notes in that sharp, sharp smell is, but it's strong. I can make out some cedar--quite a lot of cedar, actually--but there's something more...ceremonial underneath all of that. One of the first three notes listed, no doubt; I have no idea what they actually smell like. I think that I can also smell the sandalwood coming out. It's not a bad smell, certainly, but I don't think it's my type.
Kubla Khan: "Through sunlit caves of ice, roses unfurl amidst dancing waves of serpentine opium smoke and amber tobacco, golden sandalwood, champaca, tea leaf, sugared lily, ginger, rich hay absolute, leather, dark vanilla, mandarin, peru balsam, and Moroccan jasmine." I make out something vaguely sweet, both flowery and fruity (I think I can smell the mandarin there), tempered by various smoky and wooden scents. There are so many notes in here that it's hard to make out individual ones, but the combination of the sweet and the smoky is particularly striking. Unfortunately, it's very light on me--as it dries, the flowery-fruity notes all but vanish beneath the strange, faint smoke and a sort of generic green scent.
Hellcat: "...hazelnut, buttercream, honey mead, rum and sweet almond." As usual with anything with almond in it, the first scent I get is marzipan, and lots of it. With this one, though, there's a distinct boozy background. Beyond the almond, I get lots of sweetness in general, held by a little sharpness. The scent of mead sneaks up on me. This is definitely a boozy scent, but a good one, I think.
The Lion: "A golden, spiced amber, proud, regal and ferocious." Gorgeously sweet, fruity amber. And it's the right kind of spicy for me, too! I'm in love with this scent almost instantly. I can't make out specific notes--I've heard there's Egyptian amber in it, lots of it, and if that's so, I love the stuff. Other than that, I think cinnamon and some other, fruitier spices? The initial amber burst fades underneath the weight of the spices (especially the cinnamon) as it dries, but I can still make it out grounding the scent. After about forty minutes, the amber starts to balance out with the cinnamon again, and it's even better. I may have to get a bottle of this at some point.
Drink Me: "However, this bottle was not marked 'poison,' so Alice ventured to taste it, and finding it very nice, (it had, in fact, a sort of mixed flavour of cherry-tart, custard, pine-apple, roast turkey, toffee, and hot buttered toast,) she very soon finished it off." This smells at first like delicious buttery, fruity cookies. Cherry, definitely. There's a hint of vanilla, too. I suppose there's pineapple, but I can't pick it out individually. On drydown, it seems that the dominant note is the vanilla custard, with a hint of cherry or pineapple and still a whiff of that cookie-smell.
Gluttony: "Dark chocolate, vanilla, buttercream, and hops with pralines, hazelnut, toffee and caramel." Mmmm. This smells delicious when wet. The buttercream and vanilla come out first, along with maybe the hazelnut--but it's all such a blend of sweet, tasty things that it's hard to make out individual notes. As it dries, it begins to smell more like something wonderful baking. This stage is nice, but unfortunately, after half an hour to forty minutes, all I can make out are the hops. I'm keeping this in the hope that my body chemistry will change at some point and be able to retain the other notes better, because the early stages were great.
Dragon's Tears: "...salty aquatic notes and bursting with dragon's blood." When it's wet, the combination of the thick, heavy dragon's blood and the strong aquatic notes is very interesting and quite pleasant. There's this sharp, resiny note that on its own wouldn't work, but dripping with aquatics is perfect. As it finishes drying, the sharpness fades into a softer note, then eventually a sweet, almost powdery one, and it's lovely. It's been a while since I found an aquatic scent that worked just right on me, but now I'm reminded why I love them.
R'lyeh: "A hellishly dark aquatic scent, evocative of fathomless oceanic deeps, the mysteries of madness buried under crushing black waters, and the brooding eternal evil that lies beneath the waves." Sweet, dark aquatic notes, first and foremost. I also get a whiff of the grapefruit that I've heard so much about in this scent, but it doesn't overwhelm the aquatic notes or the faintly briny scent that comes with them.
Midway Resurrected: "A bombardment of edible carnival indulgences. Funnel cake, caramel apple, cotton candy, salt water taffy and sugar tart." Sigh. This starts out as fluffy cotton candy and something slightly cake-like, but quickly winds up smelling like Play-Doh. After a few hours, the plasticky note goes away enough for a caramel scent to come out, but by then it's mostly faded.
Diwali: "Lotus root, mango, tamarind, cardamom, clove, almond milk, cashew, rice flower, coconut, supari, raisins, and incense crafted from aloeswood, red sandalwood, cedar, and spikenard." The initial scent I get is sweet and heavy on the incense--not unpleasant, but not particularly special either. As it dries, more of the clove comes out, and hints of other faintly exotic things. Other than that, I can't really identify individual notes. Alas, the clove is just too strong on me.
Queen Mab: "...black orchid, sandalwood, night-blooming jasmine, osmanthus, Somalian rose, and Chinese musk." This is immediately sweet and flowery on me--I like this variety of rose. I can smell hints of the other flowers, too, although they're not as easy to pick out. This is one scent where the musk doesn't drown out the other things, at least, although that might just be because the flowers are so strong. It dries into a strong floral scent with spicy hints, I suppose courtesy of the sandalwood and maybe the musk and osmanthus. This is definitely one of the better florals on me.
Terpsichore: "...vanilla and carnation with neroli, iris, stephanotis, sweet pea, apple blossom and palmarosa." Wet, this smells absolutely delicious in a very airy way. The vanilla blends beautifully with the florals. As it dries, a really nice hint of something fruity comes out, and that blends with the vanilla to form much of the scent when it's dry. Only problem is it doesn't last as long as I'd like.
Mandrake: "(No notes given.)" This is similar to Devil's Claw on me--way, way too green and earthy. There's also a chalky note to it, but anything more you're going to have to figure out for yourself, because I'm not smelling more.
Rome: "...cypress, juniper, chamomile and rose." Green, green, green. Wet, it's just on the verge of going the usual too-sharp-and-sour way on me. I'll wait a bit to give it a chance. It starts to pick up a bit of the juniper as it dries, but I still can't smell much if any of the rose. Now it has a soapy smell--maybe the chamomile? It hasn't gone sour the way green usually does on me, but it's not exactly pleasant, either.
Love's Philosophy: "Vanilla, saffron, and cream." Whoa hello exactly what the notes say. Vanilla, cream, and strong spicy saffron. I could do with a little less of the latter, but wet, it still smells pretty good. As it dries, the saffron starts to smell as much like exotic silks as it does a spice, which is an interesting effect.
Earth Rat: "Peony, China's national flower, with bamboo for flexibility, plum blossom for perseverance, courage, and hope, tangerine for wealth, lychee for strong family relationships and peace in the home, orange for happiness, pine resin for constancy, golden kumquat and quince for prosperity, narcissus and King mandarin for good fortune, coconut for longevity, and candied melon for good health, with a splash of blazing red of dragon's blood..." Like Fire Pig, my first reaction is, "eee, fruity." It's always hard to make out the different notes in these; it just smells delicious. It's balanced nicely by something not quite as edible--the hint of dragon's blood, maybe? It fades rather a lot as it dries, though, which is unfortunate.
Moon of Ice: "Frost-crusted winter flowers, white pine, eucalyptus, and traditional lunar oils." The first note I get is a sort of sweet, delicate floral scent, but the eucalyptus is fast on its heels. It's an interesting combination--not my usual thing, but rather nice. As it dries, it picks up a sweet, clean scent; something to do with the oils, I imagine. I might be able to make out a hint of the pine--something a little bit earthy, but not too much--but it's hard to tell. It takes on a rather tangy aspect as it dries, but doesn't quite go sour.
Hymn to Proserpine: "The darkening amber of faith's sunset, deepened by the dark fruits of Proserpine." This starts out muskier than I was hoping; apparently amber and pomegranate aren't the only notes. It doesn't take long for the pomegranate to come out, though. As it dries I finally start to make out the amber--it may just be a particularly musky-smelling variety. Unfortunately, whatever it is, while it's not exactly unpleasant, that musky note does its usual thing and dominates the rest of the scent.
Bliss: "...the serotonin-slathered scent of pure milk chocolate." Exactly what it says on the bottle. On me, it smells like fresh-baked brownies, with a hint of candy bar.
Akuma: "...blood orange, neroli, and raspberry." Raspberry and orange! Mmm. And then there's something greenish that I guess is the neroli--it's not quite as pleasant as the other notes. It mellows out into a pleasant, just a bit soapy smell as it dries, though. Too bad by that point I can't smell much of the raspberry. As it dries more, though, the raspberry comes out again.
Amsterdam: "Tulips, peony, fresh flowing water and crisp green grasses." Erp, green-green-green. The grass isn't going sour as green stuff usually does on me, but it is kind of drowning out the other scents. And...as it dries, there's the sour, bitter note. Whoops. It's not as bad as in some of the greener scents, but still not exactly pleasant. Oddly, later on, the sour note goes away and is replaced by a soapy one. Still not one of my favorite scents, though.
Eternal: "Stephanotis, cyclamen, heliotrope, white rose and gardenia." Well, the gardenia is nice enough, but something in here is triggering a "too green, too strong" reaction, and rapidly at that. Oh well!
Alice: "Milk and honey with rose, carnation and bergamot." The first notes I notice are the milk and honey, and they're very delicious. Then the bergamot kind of starts swallowing everything up--it's a nice smell, but I hope it balances out a little. Then the carnation comes out, and the notes start to balance. It's very pretty--the milk and honey give it a great foody base, and the other notes make it rather sweet and flowery.
Hanami: "...sakura, ume blossoms, and wisteria." Yup, sakura. I definitely get cherry blossoms off this one. Unfortunately, it fades to a sort of generic floral scent with a woody greenish underlay far too fast.
All Night Long: "(No notes given.)" First impression: this smells like wood, spices, and something sticky. Which I suppose is appropriate. There's definitely some cinnamon in here, which does its usual cinnamon thing and takes over my skin. It's not as bad as it could be, though, and the woody note grounds it nicely. Still, I'd probably give it a miss for regular wear.
Dana O'Shee: "Offerings of milk, honey and sweet grains were made to placate these creatures, and it is that the basis of the scent created in their name." My first impression is of sweet pastries. Is there a hint of almond to evoke marzipan, maybe? Whatever it is, it smells delicious. Mmm, lots of honey and milk.
Kumari Kandam: "Thick incense, clay, stone, and hothouse blooms with a spike of frost, a hint of decay, and heavy, dolorous aquatic notes." Green green green--not in a bad way, but knowing my skin, it's not likely to stay like that. But hey, here come the aquatic notes, and those are nice. It winds up being kind of sweet and green, but not going sour the way green usually does on my skin--I'll have to try it again to be sure.
Event Horizon: "Black opium, labdanum, opoponax, black orchid, and benzoin." I can't recognize most of these scents, but I definitely get something dark off this one. Dark, sharp, just a little bit thick and soapy--a hint of floral, maybe? It's hard to tell. Not a bad scent, but not really my style, although it might be appropriate for some occasions.
Cockaigne: "...milk and honey, sweet cakes and wine." Mmm--baking things. Let's hope it doesn't go sour the way Gluttony does on me. I can smell a little bit of the honey and wine, too. So far, the honey and the wine, at least, and maybe the milk seem to be keeping the baking scent from going sour, even if it's still the strongest note. It's definitely not a bad kind of strong, though. I think there's some of the wine note as well, but mostly it's the sweet cakes.
Port Royal: "Spiced rum and ship's wood mixed with the body-warmed trace of a prostitute's perfume and a hint of salty sea air on the dry-down." Wood and musk on first application--antique sleaze is the first impression I get. And as it dries a bit, there's the spiced rum. There's something faintly rose-like, in a sticky, artificial way--that'd be the "prostitute's perfume," I imagine. As it dries, the spicy, woody notes come out more, with, yes, a hint of sea air. For what it is, it's a rather neat scent, but it's definitely too bawdy for anything formal.
Dragon's Milk: "Dragon's blood resin and honeyed vanilla." The dragon's blood drowns out the vanilla at first, but that's okay; I know from experience that it settles down after a bit. Sure enough, there's the honeyed vanilla. It's...an interesting mix, with the dragon's blood. It winds up smelling almost fruity, and very sweet.
Whip: "Agony and ecstasy: black leather and damp red rose." What it says on the bottle. Considering how overpowering leather is on me, I wasn't sure about this one, but when wet, the rose seems to balance it out nicely. Even dry, while the rose fades somewhat, it keeps the leather from being too strong.
Tempest: "A crisp ozone-tinged breeze. The scent of the first gentle rain before the storm." Ozone, definitely, and wet, sweet air. This is a lot like Lightning on me so far, but sweeter. As it dries I start to get a grassy scent--it's getting dangerously close to going green-sour on me. In the end, though, it doesn't quite--at least in small quantities.
Shattered: "A blend of white champagne notes, grapefruit, lotus, slivered mint and crystalline aquatic blooms." Grapefruit and mint, mostly, and a hint of what I guess is the champagne. The mint just gets stronger as it dries. I can make out just a bit of something aquatic, too.
Upa Upa: "Spiced rum, coconut, pineapple, and vanilla." Wet, I get a strong whiff of vanilla off this, then a lot of tropical fruit and a hint of sticky spiced rum. It's not bad, but hopefully it'll mellow out as it dries. Unfortunately, the fruit and vanilla (which were why I got the scent in the first place) seem to vanish as it starts to dry, replaced entirely by the spiced rum...which, in this concentration at least, smells way too artificial, almost like makeup. That unpleasant artificial scent fades as it dries more, but the fruits and vanilla come back only as the barest hint.
O: "Amber and honey with a touch of vanilla." Pretty much what it says on the bottle, wet: something sweet and sticky, in a pleasant way, but with a hint of something sharper underneath. It'll take a bit to mellow out enough for me to make out how the overall blend comes off, I think. It's a very interesting blend--the combination of amber with the honey and vanilla is kind of surprising to me, but not bad at all. This lasts a long time, which is a plus as it's a very nice scent. However, it is rather sweet, and the amber and honey blend somewhat oddly on my skin, so it's not for all situations.
The Antikythera Mechanism: "Teakwood, oak, black vanilla, and tobacco." Wow, this smells really wooden while wet, in a very dark way. Something juicy also comes out very quickly--I guess that's how the vanilla reads in this blend. Unfortunately, it then picks up a commercial-cologne-ish scent, and the juicy note fades entirely. This eventually settles down, though, and in the end it mostly winds up being a sweetly wooden, very masculine scent--but I actually quite like how it goes on me.
Obatala: "...milk, coconut meat, shea butter and cool, refreshing water." Oh hey, coconut. And yup, water. I don't like the taste of coconut, but the scent of it comes off beautifully here, at least while wet. Something unfamiliar that I think is the shea butter comes out next. The coconut's definitely still there, though. If there's milk in here, it's blended in too much with the water and the shea butter for me to make it out. Overall it's a really nicely refreshing scent; it makes me think of the little tropical waterfall exhibits in museums and zoos. It also has a very nice sweet coconut throw.
Jezirat al Tennyn: "...smoke and fire, earth and wind. The rage of the elements blasting over a primordial paradise." I get an initially sharp, slightly musky scent off this one, but not in the cologne-y drown-out-all-other-scents way musk usually goes on me. In fact, there's also a hint of something ozone, and maybe something green but not overpoweringly so (which is rare on my skin)--it is, as the description indicates, a very interesting mix of elements. Something slightly spicy and resinous, perhaps? I get a little of the fern scent that so dominates Caliban on me. Whatever's in it, it definitely fits the description, and it goes very well on me.
Snake Oil: "A blend of exotic Indonesian oils sugared with vanilla." The "exotic Indonesian oils" come off much like musks on my skin at first--blandly perfume-y or cologne-ish. They've got a sharpness that musks usually lack, though, and once the vanilla kicks in it becomes a very interesting blend of sweet and sharp. The sharpness eventually starts to fade, and it winds up smelling simply sweet and kind of exotic.
Blood Amber: "Slivers of warm, pulsating blood forever crystallized in golden amber resin." First impression: that sticky-sweet scent that shows up in 'blood' mixes. There's definitely something resinous beneath it...but I can't make much of it out underneath all the sweet "blood" note. Let this be a lesson to me: blood-based blends love my skin too much. There's just something about dragon's blood--sometimes it's quite nice on me, but mix it with certain things and ugh. Apparently one of those things is whatever is mixed with it to create BPAL's usual "blood" note.
Merquise de Merteuil: "Opulent galbanum and amber, glistening peach, and a bouquet of French florals, with a merciless undertone of jonquil and heartless vetiver." Something green and floral, in quite a pleasant way--it's not going sour on me (yet, anyway). It is, however, somewhat sticky-sweet while wet, and it only seems to be headed more in the direction of "generic sweet commercial perfume" as it dries. Okay, no, I take that back--the peach comes out a few minutes later and makes things more interesting. For a while, it settles into peach over a lot of hints of green and flowery things; then, finally, some of the amber creeps out. This winds up being a little too generic-perfume for me, in the end.
Santo Domingo: "An exotic, sultry blend of tobacco leaf, bay rum and heady Caribbean blossoms." This comes off immediately as soapy on me, then becomes somewhat musky as well. A little like aftershave? It's not a bad smell, but I don't make out much in the way of individual notes in it, other than maybe a little of something salty. I think that's probably the bay rum. Actually, as it starts to dry, it becomes quite a distinctive scent, and not a bad one either, but something in it reacts just wrong enough to have the faintest cloying scent on me, and that throws the whole thing off. Within fifteen minutes it smells like the combination of aftershave and the antiseptic/animal funk you get in a vet's office.
Chaos Theory II: The Butterfly Effect CCXCI: "(No notes given; said to be powdery floral. Have also seen it described as foody.)" It's definitely something floral, all right, although when wet, there's also a faint hint of something juicy. That settles into a strange combination of berry-like florals and something sharp and faintly resinous--maybe a dash of dragon's blood? There's also just a hint of something like cake. In the end, though, it boils down to flowery berries and a hint of resin for me--not bad, but not my favorite combination either. It also gets a little soapy on my skin as time goes on. I'll probably be putting this one up for swapping.
Chaos Theory III: Strange Attractors MIC: "(No notes given; said to be vanilla, sugared lemon, and amber.)" Whoa. Instant mix of lemon and amber. Unfortunately, there's also something that comes off as sharp/musky/green in all the wrong ways on me--let's hope that goes away as it dries. After a few minutes, that unpleasant sharp note is mostly gone, and it's an interesting blend of amber and lemon. Unfortunately, there's still a somewhat generic musk note to it that keeps it from reaching the delicious citrus-amber heights that Megaera does, and the vanilla isn't as prominent as I'd hoped it would be.
Not BPAL: Artiztic Oils: Spiced Lemon Cookies: "Lemon, cake, French vanilla, nag champa. Frankincense, yuzu with a hint of sweet orange and blueberry." Initial impression: lemon everywhere. If I really concentrate, I can make out a hint of the vanilla and spices, but it's not easy. The lemon also starts off smelling closer to how you'd find it in cleaning agents than in cookies or pie. It starts to settle down after a bit, though, and I can make out a slightly weird interjection of cake and maybe a bit of vanilla. As time passes it turns into a rather mellow blend of citrus, predominantly lemon, with pleasing hints of spice and cake and just a touch of vanilla.