Tuesday, August 20, 2013



I have decided on a short hiatus from perfume testing, because I’m just not feeling it at the moment. I’ve got a lot of work stuff going on, and I’m not in the mood to pay attention to what I’m wearing and make notes about it and whatever. I just want to wear what I want to wear and enjoy it.

I’m intending this to be a break of no more than a few weeks. I’m not deserting my project, just taking a holiday.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Venus Libertina - Arcana Soaps

Venus Libertina
Arcana Soaps (bought from The Rhinestone Housewife)

Night-blooming tuberose, pink gardenia, wax myrtle, tiare, bay rum, sandalwood, cucumber, iris and a teensy spill of champagne. 

Don't those notes sound lush? I imagined this to be a gorgeous, rich white floral with a dry down warmed by the sandalwood - pretty much my jam. And yet what I got was... lemon toilet cleaner. I don't get it. There is nothing lemony mentioned in the notes. Could it be the bay rum? I know sometimes that can be a tad limey. The wax myrtle? Wax myrtle gives us the scent bayberry. Fine and dandy except I have no idea what that smells like. Is it lemon?

Not to put too fine a point on it, this was grooosssssssss for the longest time. I really wanted to scrub it off, but I wasn't going out anywhere so I stuck it out, hoping that somewhere along the line it would morph into the amazing white floral I'd been expecting. Nope. Never happened. Instead after about an hour the toilet cleaner finally went away and I was left with a very faint, generic pot pouri floral that was completely gone within 2 hours. I considered trying it again the following day to see if there was just something weird going on with my skin chemistry, but you know what... I didn't want to.


Day 224!

What Larks! - Arcana Soap

What Larks! 
Great Expectations
Arcana Soaps (bought from The Rhinestone Housewife)

A happy blend of English strawberries and salted milk caramels strewn across polished wood. 

Hmmm. The thing about caramel with me is that it often treads dangerously close to vomit. This perfume really teeters on the edge of that for quite some time. And maybe that's just me, because I know a lot of people love caramel scents and they are really popular in things like candles. The beginning is super sweet caramel and I never really did get a distinct note of either strawberries or wood.

It did mellow after a while, but never really changed all that much - the dry down was more of a sticky date pudding kind of caramel than the lolly kind. Perhaps that was the wood after all, warming it a little. The sillage is quite high, and I was pretty careful about only applying a smidge because it smelled so strong in the bottle. It lasts a really long time - it was still quite strong on me at the end of the day, and I could smell traces of it the following morning before I had a shower. I think I'm going to put this one away for a while and see if the sweetness mellows out a bit.


Day 223!

Little Flora - Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab

Little Flora
Turn of the Screw
Yule 2012
Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab

Peonies and cream. 

I've tried this out a few times since I got it late last year, but I've put of including it in my daily reviews because there just isn't much to say about it. This is a highly perfumey, super creamy floral. It doesn't change on me at all from go to whoa. It lasts for hours and hours - I could still smell it when I moved my wrists around 12 hours after applying. The sillage is high-ish, and when I tried it this most recent time I actually spilled a dab on myself while applying and it smelled really strong for a long time.

Little Flora is an ultra-feminine perfume in the vein of something like Wiggle Perfume's Buxom, though without that one's complexity. I like those kinds of perfumes, which is just as well.

As an aside, I find the label on this one really creepy. There is just something about pictures of old-fashioned little girls that makes me think of dolls, and there are few things that give me the heebie jeebies as much as dolls do.


Day 222!

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Catch Up Post #8

Delightful Rot Poisonous Dream - The blackberry musk of of a sweet dream, distorted by cool mint and black oud.
This is a synthetic smelling soapy perfume. It smells like an old lady rose-scented soap set that's been gathering dust on the shelf of a country chemist for at least 10 years. Sillage is fairly low and longevity is low to medium. It was gone in about 4 hours, and I can't say I was sorry to see it go. 2/5

Deep Midnight Perfume Nivens - Nivens will lead you down a rabbit hole to tasty helpings of sweet creamy pastries, cakes and sticky puddings, topped off with plump wild berries and a touch of spices and soft florals. Fresh, sweet, and delicious!
This smells really synthetic to me, as most of Deep Midnight's perfumes tend to do. The smell is nuts, coffee and cream to my nose and it's all a bit sickly. The dry down is a slightly sickly creamy milk scent. This was pretty gross, to be honest. And of course, because I didn't like it, it hung around for ages - about 8 hours. Thankfully the sillage was lowish, so I wasn't inflicting it on anyone else. 1/5

Solstice Scents Violet Truffle - Dark chocolate, violet, violet leaf and vanilla absolute.
This is a sweet chocolate floral that reminds me a bit of Serendipitous. It goes a wee bit dusty in the first few minutes but doesn't stay that way for too long, maybe 10 minutes or so. I was just starting to decide that I didn't like this at all when it morphed into a vanilla base and became quite perfumey and pretty. The dust note was still there, but low key. In the end I liked this one quite a bit after the first half hour, but I doubt I'd buy a full size. 3/5

Possets Lovechild: Sweetbaby - Vanilla concentrated with lavender and amber.
At first this is sickly sweet - all lollies and baby chunder, and I almost washed it off. However, I stuck it out for the cause and it mellowed after half an hour or so to a sweet, creamy vanilla - somewhat similar to Courtly Love though more foody and not quite as perfumey. This one had average lasting time on the wrists - maybe 6 hours - but I also dabbed a little in my cleavage (oo-er missus!) and it really stuck around in there.  I was catching whiffs of it 12 or more hours later. This one's a clinger. 3/5

Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab - Regan A deceptively sweet orchid vanille with a faint trace of stephanotis.
A very heady powdery floral, pretty and old-fashioned, but nothing remarkable. I feel like I've smelled versions of this a million times. Sillage is highish and it lasted most of the day - not really an office perfume. Meh. 2/5

Days 217 - 221!

Monday, August 5, 2013

The Shadowy and the Sublime - Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab

The Shadowy and The Sublime
Gothic Literature Vol 1
Halloweenie 2010
Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab

A sudden and shocking insight into the vast, ineffable, overwhelming power of Nature, stirred by a vision or experience of perfected beauty and perfected terror, that changes the soul irretrievably. An epiphany: Moroccan amber, wisteria, ambergris accord, white rose, magnolia, white mint, angelica, bergamot, and myrrh.

When I first got this, I adored it. This is what I wrote about it back then. 
Anything that includes wisteria, white rose, magnolia... I'm there. It doesn't disappoint either. This is a gorgeous creamy white floral with no really dominant notes that I could distinguish. It's beautifully blended, with a medium throw and reasonable staying power. I wish BPAL would do more of these gentle florals, because they're obviously really good at it.  

Unfortunately, once this perfume had aged a year or so, the amber became really prominent and pretty much took over the 'gentle floral' entirely, and I'm a bit devo because it was so, so beautiful before. Although I can still smell the floral notes, it's mostly just amber, and a really heady kind that makes me feel a bit headachy and nauseated after a while. It's been a long time since I last wore it, but I pulled it out to compare with Estella, hoping that further ageing had mellowed it somewhat. Not to be. This perfume has very high sillage and lasts for ages - I put a teeny amount on my wrist in the morning and when I woke the following day I could still smell traces of it. It's a clinger. I loved you once, lady, but you got old. :-(


Day 216! 

Estella - Arcana Soaps

Great Expectations
Arcana Soaps (bought from The Rhinestone Housewife)

Quietly stunning ambre blanc and vanilla bean with a kiss of cognac.

I bought this unsniffed after reading rave reviews about it. I bought several other bottles at the same time, two of which were also perfumes I'd not tried before, and since I received the order I have not given those other two more than a cursory sniff, because I am obsessed with this. I've been wearing it most days at some point, even if at night just as an excuse to sniff it. It is so beautiful - I thought at first that it was a lot like BPAL's The Shadowy and the Sublime, but I dug that out to compare and it's not really that similar. There are elements that make each remind me of the other, but Estella is in a world of its own.

I was a little concerned that the amber would be overpowering but it's not at all - it's smooth and mellow and blends gorgeously with the vanilla. This is a very warm, comforting, girly perfume. A snuggle scent, if you like. The cognac is detectable, but it's not a boozy smelling perfume - that note just adds a grown up element to it.

Lasting power is fantastic - I've put this on first thing in the morning and I can still smell it after dinner. Sillage is medium - if you splash it on you'll probably be announcing yourself for an hour or two, but if you apply subtly it's just enough to let people know you're there without screaming it in their face. I freaking love this perfume - I am definitely getting another bottle before it disappears. Possibly even two.


Day 215!

Tilt-a-Whirl - Darling Clandestine

Darling Clandestine

Already, at dawn, you can tell it's going to be one of *those* days. Those blissfully hot, brilliantly cloudless days, when the heat creeps in gasoline hues over the empty, waiting midway, and ignites with the bustling crowd. Already you can feel the sun crackling at the back of your neck, and you know that tonight, as it sets, you'll be jumping hand-in-hand, giggling, off Wunderkammer Pier into the cool golden river. But right now, at dawn, these grounds belong to you. The yawning operator spots you and smiles, stands and lifts the gate. You scramble into your favorite car, Number Six, the one where if you lean just right you're set into startling motion, spinning and spinning, in rainbows of balloons and sliced-orange parasols and watermelon wedges and lemon shake-ups and tart cherry ice. Growing up is nice, but summer is yours forever. Fire it up. Throw your weight into it. Enjoy the ride.

This is a fizzy fruit drink of a perfume. It makes me think of orange sherbet or Fruit Tingles. Apparently there is passionfruit involved too, and though I would not have picked that, once I knew it was there, I could smell it. There's not a whole lot to say about it - it's a sweet, fizzy, fruity summer perfume - best suited to someone younger than I am. Sillage is lowish to medium, longevity was about 5 hours. I think I'll pass this one on to Noodles.


Day 214!

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Catch Up Post #7 Solstice Scents Summer Sampler

I don't have a lot to say about any of these, because I didn't really like any of them. A rare miss for me with Solstice Scents, but I guess we can't all love everything. 

Coquina - Sandalwood, Orange Blossom, Clementine EO, Beach Sand, Plumeria Absolute, Coconut, Ginger EO, a splash of Sea Spray
Reading that list of notes this sounds like a fun, bright scent, but on me it was just a fruit cocktail. It smelled a teeny bit synthetic too. I didn't hate it, I just thought... meh. It didn't last long either - it had gone entirely within two hours. 2/5

Hand of Darkness - Oceanic Accord, Rain Accord, Woods Blend, Black Pitch, Buddha Wood, Lime, Coriander, Tarragon, Amber
I would have bet money there was sage in this - what I smelled was sage and dirt. After a few minutes there was a peppery note. Longevity was about 6 hours or so, sillage medium. I was surprised when I came to write this and saw what the notes actually were because I did not get any of that. 2/5
Note: For an alternative view, Rachel was more appreciative of this one than I was. 

Cardamom Rose Sugar - Brown Sugar, Cardamom EO, Moroccan Rose and Bulgarian Rose
At first I get burnt sugar and rose petals, pretty but unremarkable. The rose disappeared after 10 minutes or so and all I was left with was burnt sugar. And that's pretty much it. I find cardamom to smell quite distinctive and I never for a moment picked up any of that. Disappointing. 2/5

High Noon - Worn Holster Leather, Tobacco, Whiskey, Woods, Sand, Gunsmoke, Musk and Soft Ladies' Perfume
This was the one I was most looking forward to, and it was just... ehhhhhhh. Really, all I smelled was leather. There was maybe a tiny bit of musk there but that was about it. I tried it a couple of times to see if it was just a quirk of the day or something, but nope. Same deal the second time. For such usually strong notes, it was surprisingly close to the skin, too. Longevity was about 6 hours. 2/5

High Desert - Desert Sage, Ceremonial White Sage, Sandalwood, Mitti, Cacti, Indian Tobacco, Prickly Pear Cactus, Hay, Smoke, Labdanum
At least I correctly picked the sage this time. I hate sage, and that note was overpowering on me, to the extent that I couldn't pick up anything else specific. This was a total scrubber for me - I had to wash it off after half an hour because it was making me feel a bit sick. One thing I will say is that it is extremely good at mimicking actual desert scents, and now I know why I don't like the desert - it smells like sage. 1/5

Sirocco - Moroccan Spices, Sandalwood, Hot Baked Earth, Myrrh Resin, Precious Saffron Threads and Oud
To me, this smelled like a less nauseating version of High Desert, which is odd since they don't have the same notes. There was more of a sweetness to it, almost-but-not-quite floral. I assume that's the Moroccan spices, which lean towards sweetness. Sillage and longevity were quite low with this one; it was gone in about 3 hours. 2/5

Tropical Moon - Coconut, Tuberose, Tahitian Gardenia, Lime Essential Oil, Pink Lotus Attar
If I went to the Reject Shop and bought a candle that was called something like "Tropic Delight" or "Hawaiian Nights", this is exactly what I would expect it to smell like.  Diappointingly cheap and synthetic smelling. Conclusion: much as I love Solstice Scents, their summer perfumes are obvously not for me. 1/5

Days 207 to 213!