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Santa Muerte

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#1 Caitfish


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Posted 08 April 2005 - 01:12 AM

Santa Muerte, Saint Death, is not a harbinger of doom and symbol of entropy. She is the Queen of Mercy, a source of motherly comfort, and a symbol to all sweethearts that love lasts even beyond death. She is a vision of beauty in her own right: glittering rings adorn every bony finger, she is draped in a cloak of the finest satin, and her grinning skull, beneath her cowl, is crowned by a bejeweled tiara. A deep, resonant scent, both comforting and soft: lovers’ roses, solemn chrysanthemum, dark vetiver and dazzling cactus flowers

Yay, first review!

In the bottle: Sooo earthy. The vetiver is green and mossy. I can't even smell any of the flowers, except perhaps a soft hint of the white scent of chrysanthemum.

On: It stays pretty earthy for a couple of minutes. It's so earthy that I swear I smell dusty cocoa. It's almost foody the way the sweetness of the flowers mixes with the vetiver. Then, quickly - the vetiver fades bigtime. I don't usually amplify rose scents, so this is an odd reaction. The rose rises to the forfront - and I'm gonna go ahead and say it, even though I know there's a troop of rose haters out there who won't ever give this the time of day because of it - but this is a ROSEY scent for at least a while.

My favorite stage is a few moments after the rose slays the vetiver, about 20 mins into the drydown. That's when the cactus flowers really shine. Cactus flowers are a wet smelling flower... they're much like the cacti themselves. They smell wet, lush and exuberant. In more solid terminology, I would call the scent of their flowers a "white" type floral, but truly like nothing else. They compliment the rose and crysanthymum very well, and make the final (and resting) stage of this blend truly breathtaking.

Final analysis:
Not for those shy of Rose or white florals. The vetiver plays heavily in the initial stages but all but disappears quickly. Its final effect is one that I would define as a "dusty" one. It makes the scent more like the desert, but not by much. The ultimate scent *is* dazzling, and strongly floral. It's in the same vein as kurukulla, I think - but even brighter and definately more unique. It lasts quite a while and has a good deal of throw.

Simply, I LOVE this blend. I am so happy that I bought a 5ml unsniffed!

ETA: Layered this with Dead Man's Hand today - OMG. Simply amazing - Santa Muerte plus DMH IS the scent of the west - cactus flowers, dusty cocoa, herbs and leather. GAH SO GORGEOUS.

Edited by Shollin, 14 September 2007 - 07:15 PM.

#2 shelldoo


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Posted 08 April 2005 - 06:55 PM

in the vial: cocoa? yes definitely a chocolaty cocoa note, not a sweet cocoa though.

wet: very very strong bitter cocoa (bitter in a nice way like unsweetened chocolate)
there is a slight hint of something floral in the background but the top note is definitely cocoa,

as it dries it still is mostly cocoa, w/ a hint of rose, a hint of something dry and herbal or grassy, i d not smell vetiver and i usually magnify vetiver, there is a hint of a floral i can't pinpoint but it is nice and mellow

this is rich, deep, slightly floral although not a "classic" floral nice, it kind of reminds me of a cousin to DDL but it is deeper and less floral, and frankly i am unsure why it reminds me of DDL

#3 anmorata


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Posted 10 April 2005 - 03:33 AM

Santa Muerte:
Wet: Vetiver. It was disguising itself as something similar to coffeebean, but it's vetiver.
Drydown: .. vetiver, with hints of florals. The vetiver is really overwhelming to me.. perhaps my skin is amping it up. It's not pleasant. :P
Longterm wear: Ugh. Pass.

#4 goddessrobyn


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Posted 12 April 2005 - 05:09 PM

I wasn't really a fan of this in the bottle... but on its just lovely...
the rose and the cactus flowers come out to play
I'd say this scent is on the dark side of feminine...
I don't like rose normally... but this one might just make me love it.
I really like this and will definately add it to my big bottle list!!


#5 janelle_hell


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Posted 13 April 2005 - 02:31 AM

This is GORGEOUS :P !!!

i would have purchased at least an imp of this because of the name alone,but i' so glad i ordered a bottle...it is PERFECTION!

The cactus flower is what stands out to me-bold,sweet,and juicy,almost more like cactus-flower candy than actual cactus flowers. Which is fine by me,because i LOVE cactus-flower candy. Behind the cactus flowers is the scent of a bouquet of velvety,deep-red roses...'lovers' roses',indeed. The out come the chrysanthemums...i've always wanted a perfume with chrysanthemum notes that have staying power,and this is it! Santa Muerte is like the hopelessly romantic sister of Dia de los Muertos...a fabulously warm,'autumn' scent,but all dolled up with roses as well...i can't rave enough about this scent...i can see my bottle of this being used up VERY quickly!

#6 darkling



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Posted 14 April 2005 - 12:27 AM

In the bottle: Santa Muerte is so sweet that I could drink the imp. It smells like a honey cake.

Wet: The sweetness remains intermingled with rose. The scent of rose is very light and not at all cloying.

Dry: There is a bit of a powdery element that is turning me off. However, the sweetness is so unique and tasty that I can't stop sniffing my wrists anyway. The rose has faded even further into the background. I am not smelling the slightest hint of vetiver.

Santa Muerte reminds me strongly of a sweet offering cake left at death's altar.

I am not sure if I can tolerate the powder enough to keep this one but I would pay good money to know what note is creating this exquisite sweetness.

#7 LiberAmoris


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Posted 17 April 2005 - 04:13 PM

I am not a fan of vetiver. So I was more than a little hestitant to try Santa Muerte, even though the description was so amazing. But I had the same experience that Caitfish had---the vetiver is very noticeable at first, but quickly backs off and then remains simply to darken up the blend a bit and temper the sweetness of the florals.

For me Santa Muerte quickly moved into a dark floral and stayed there. It was like a mixed bouquet of dried, withered roses and living, vibrant ones. Underneath, the current of the cactus flowers adds an aloe-y lushness to the blend, something green and watery. Yet there is also a dryness to this, a kind of arid wind that lifts the notes away from each other at moments so they are distinguishable on their own.

Comparisons to Dia de los Muertos and Kali come to mind...although Santa Muerte does not smell like either of those, I feel like I can smell elements of each of these blends in Santa Muerte.

The drydown is really different from the wet stage---I'm so glad that I waited a bit so that I could experience this Saint.

#8 Nepthys


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Posted 24 April 2005 - 12:44 AM

I honestly only tried this because Santa Muerte is cool; I wasn't expecting to like it much, given that rose and I don't mix. What a surprise, then, to discover that this is a very beguiling scent. At first it was all cactus flowers with just a bit of vetiver --in itself a dry, dusty, western kind of scent. Then a complex but subtle sweetness came through so it all rounded off to a soft, dry green floral. This isn't my concept of Santa Muerte and yet it very much matches the art I've seen of her, a desert skeletal goddess in velvet robes. This is one of those BPALs that actually deepen and enrich your experience of a deity. Lovely.

Edited by Nepthys, 24 April 2005 - 12:46 AM.

#9 Lucretia


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Posted 05 May 2005 - 02:46 PM

ooo, i get chocolate in here on my skin. Smoky, dark chocolate. A very lingering, sensous smell. Smoky and dark, with roses and a hint of sweetness (cactus flower?).

This is a very different rose scent from the others in the catalogue, this is neither innocent not sultry.. this is... hmm.. it does smell like things you would offer to a goddess. chocolate, clouds of incense (or maybe this is the vetiver?), and dried roses.

Very nice! Will finish my imp for sure.

#10 jj_j


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Posted 06 May 2005 - 09:30 PM

Santa Muerte smacks me with the vetiver out of the vial, and it takes a couple of minutes for it to retreat once I've put this on.

But oh, when it does ... ! The vetiver doesn't disappear, but it's not a dominant note. While I'm not a huge fan of rose scents, I can't rave enough about the combination of rose, crysanthemum, and cactus flower. I admit to having no experience whatsoever with the cactus flower, but I feel like it must be what juices up the lush, ripe - but not quite "overripe" of Whip - rose and fuzzy yellow of the crysanthemum. With the vetiver barely discernable underneath, you end up with a very warm, softly enveloping and oddly soothing floral that still exudes quiet strength (not throw, although this had good throw for such a soft scent).

I don't usually rave about florals, even though Beth makes the best rose and violets scents I've ever come across. Santa Muerta is so good that I'm buying a bottle as soon as I finish this review - I'm not even waiting for the next update to add it into my order.

Even if you don't do florals, I'd recommend you grab an imp of Santa Muerta and try it. This may just be the one that changes your mind.

Edited by jj_j, 05 September 2005 - 12:39 AM.

#11 requieminblack


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Posted 10 May 2005 - 12:09 PM

First sniff from the bottle-Vetiver and something cool and green smelling.

After 15 minutes- At first this is all vetiver and cactus flower on me. After awhile the mums come out and this totally starts to smell just like the inside of a mausoleum or a funeral parlor to me. As it dries the rose creeps out, but it is a fresh green smelling rose which is really mild. Now this smells even more like a funeral parlor!

Summery- I have Demeters 'Funeral Parlor' and I like it a lot. This smells even more like one, so I think this is a keeper.

#12 Soli


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Posted 13 May 2005 - 12:25 AM

In the bottle and first application: Ooooh, honey! And a slight baby-powder undertone

Drying: Some kind of exotic flower I couldn't tell you the name of. Very nice, not overpowering.

Dry: A lesser scent of the exotic florals. Ah, if only it lasted longer. I do enjoy this scent!

#13 VelvetSky


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Posted 15 May 2005 - 12:04 AM

I have truly hit the BPAL jackpot today....along with Nuit, I ordered Santa Muerte untested, hoping I'd be as happy with the scent as the description sounded. I'm so happy to report that Santa Muerte has not only not disappointed me, but she has made it onto my Top Ten.

Vetiver....Great Goddess how I love vetiver....opens strongly in the topnote of this blend. As the scent warms, the beautifully sweet but dry scent of cactus flower pushes through. This is a fleeting, but gorgeous note, and sticks around just
long enough for me to realize how perfectly it blends with the dirty smell of the vetiver.

Santa Muerte morphs rather strongly into deep, bold, powdery honey-rose. Quite a strong basenote that lasts and lasts on my skin. I can't wait to make lotion out of this to layer it. If you don't like bold, ballsy florals, you probably won't be into this scent. Luckily, I love bold, ballsy florals.

Yep, Top Ten. Beautiful.

#14 fragrantgrasse


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Posted 21 May 2005 - 04:05 PM

Santa Muerte wasn't even on my radar screen - and then a freebie appeared in my latest order. The first note out of the vial is vetiver and I love vetiver - so deep, dark and rich... along with cool and soothing.

Blending with the rose & cactus flowers makes Santa Muerte equisite on & very unexpected! To me there is a common scent thread somehow linking the rose and vetiver - maybe it is simply their opposite natures....one the queen of the garden & fully evolved....and the other primal, marshy, green.

I didnot expect to find this one intruiging but it is! There is a soft spiciness coming out on dry down and I am going to buy a bigger bottle of this....:P

#15 Witch's Dagger

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Posted 12 June 2005 - 11:05 PM

Santa Muerte

Preconceived notions: Somewhat worried about the flowers, but I love vetivert, and the description makes it sound like something perfect for me, intent-wise. I'm very intrigued by Santa Muerte due to what I've glimpsed briefly in one of my spiritual sources - very powerful and wise.

In the vial: This reminds me strangely of a sweeter, more floral, and sharper Santo Domingo. I could swear thereís rum in this - of the kind in Santo Domingo, not the kind in Hellcat. Itís a very intriguing smell.

On me:

Oh, this is heady and provocative. A dangerous woman in the jungle with black eyes (no, Iím not susceptible to the power of suggestion at all!). The flowers donít smell like a ďfloralĒ to me - they are dark. Like Santo Domingo again, this is a floral that doesnít smell like a floral. Clearly the flowers are dominant on my skin, but they arenít girly, garden-like, romantic, or anything else I normally feel about flowers. These are poisonous blooms.

In 10 minutes:
I swear Iím getting some citrus here - maybe one of the flowers is orange blossom. Itís very smoky, sharp, and powerful. On my right wrist, Iím getting something like vanilla in there. Itís still more floral than I was hoping for, but strangely, I donít mind so much. Iím really liking it.

In 35 minutes:
Definitely smoky, in a dangerous kind of way, with a hint of water or lush rainforests (not that Iíve been to one - itís sort of a humid greenness) and these flowers. I still havenít gotten any vetiver from it. Darn.

This is lovely. Definitely keeping the imp, may spring for a bottle! I do wish I got more of the vetiver, though.

#16 Aredhel


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Posted 20 June 2005 - 02:27 PM

Rating (on skin): 1/5
Summarised in a word or two: Vetiver.

In the imp/bottle: Heavy, warm vetiver and cactus flowers.

On skin, wet: A soft rose, along with cactus flowers and vetiver. The rose and cactus flower balance out the vetiver fairly well.

On skin, dry: As this dries, everything but the vetiver fades, which results in a dark, heavy, bitter vetiver.

Conclusion: Didn't win me over; vetiver rarely turns out well on me, and this was not an exception.

Edited by Aredhel, 17 December 2005 - 09:23 PM.

#17 Nisaba


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Posted 09 July 2005 - 09:51 PM

My skin has a habit of picking up roses, and unrelentingly throwing them back at me. Guess what happened with Santa Muerte...

In the bottle I got heady white florals, with a sharp tang on the end. Wet it was smoky vertiver, which overwhelms everything, as vertiver is wont to do. But that fades pretty quickly, and I was left with roses. Powdery talcum roses too. I actually do like rose, but I have enough scents that do the rose thing for me, and powdery rose is far from the nicest.

#18 emmacrew


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Posted 10 July 2005 - 07:11 AM

At first this smelled like cocoa and flowers, then the vetiver came out and overpowered everything. Vetiver does not play well with my skin chemistry. :P Off to the swap pile.

#19 velvet


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Posted 15 July 2005 - 07:16 PM

luckily this isnt very rosey on my which makes me quite happy
it smells so familiar-- grounded(not quite earthy) and maybe some sort of church incense. a bit of sandlewood and something else a bit sweet which i am guessing is the catus flower

i must note that i do like vetiver pretty well, though not every blend.
this smells almost like the sweet religious sister of blood kiss

this is a beautiful blend

the imp is staying in the box :P

#20 UltraViolet


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Posted 17 July 2005 - 08:32 PM

In the bottle
Wow, sweeter than I thought. But not too sweet, pretty and fresh.

Yes, I totally smell rose in the same I smell it in "Seraglio". Similar but more bitter with the cactus flowers and the vetiver.

30 minutes
It's doesn't morph a whole lot which is nice I guess.

a bit more than average

Scent category:

At first it's almost a resinous floral but the thick sweetness turns to an almost bitter lime quality.

Purchase again?
No, a little too bitter and astringent.

1-5 rating (5 being best)

#21 zenvodunista


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Posted 20 July 2005 - 10:17 AM

i was happy to obtain an imp of this in a swap with Graycat.

roses are one of those things that i love, but often turn soapy or powdery on me. Santa Muerte is an exception to this rule. i don't know if it's because it has the vertiver grounding it, but it actually stayed as roses with *extra* on my skin. roses after a storm so there's dirt on the petals, but then the sun comes out and dries the petals but the dirt is still there, so you are smelling the earth and the intense sun and the warmed scent of roses.

and something else. something else that's bright and kind of bubbly and flirts with the roses and the dirt. and something that lays languidly under the brightness too.

i really like this scent a lot. right now though, i don't think i can afford it and the other million bottles i want. :D i am seriously thinking of investing in one for lotions and the like. or, especially for winter, when i miss the scent of june, terribly.


it's been a month since i got my imp of this, and i keep finding myself going back. i've fallen in love, and Santa Muerte has shot up to the top of the 10ml list. next order, i'm getting it. i love it. it's earthy, and rosy, and sparkly all at the same time. love it! :P

Edited by zenvodunista, 23 August 2005 - 06:50 PM.

#22 inkstone


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Posted 20 July 2005 - 12:47 PM

A freebie from the Lab!

In the imp: Desert roses. No, really.

Wet: Sweetness, which I assume comes from the roses. There's a faint darkness in this that probably comes from the vetiver. It's not that strong though, which is all right with me! Vetiver tends to give me problems.

Drydown: You know, I don't think I've ever smelled cactus flowers but for some reason, this smells to me exactly like what cactus flowers should smell like. So odd. It's like a faint memory that I never had. Or something.

Final thoughts: In the end, though, this is not for me. It was an interesting experience though and I'm glad to have gotten the chance to try it.

#23 magdalene


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Posted 29 July 2005 - 05:02 AM

in the bottle: hmm. I can't really identify any particular notes, except maybe for vetiver. It's very earthy.

wet on skin: this is such an odd blend. I know there's roses in here somewhere, but it's so faint that I'm half convinced I got a different oil on my nose from sniffing my other imps. I'm not entirely sure what cactus flower smells like, so that could possibly be some of the floral I'm smelling. It's very sweet.

dry: More rose shows up, but it's largely vetiver and this unknown note. I'm so disappointed because I really wanted this to be a favourite. I'm rather obsessed with Santa Muerte and would have loved wearing the namesake. Sadly, this goes into my swap pile.

#24 tempete


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Posted 30 July 2005 - 07:01 PM

Santa Muerte is very earthy when wet, since vetiver is asserting its presence during this stage. Almost immediately, however, the rose and other florals push their way forward and the scent becomes an unexpectedly lovely, earth-tinged floral. Santa Muerte reminds me a bit of Zombi, except the rose in Santa Muerte is definitely a lush, living flower and the presence of the other florals really adds to the character of the scent. I am keeping the imp!

#25 Lilithlefay


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Posted 03 August 2005 - 08:28 PM

vetiver and floral, initially I didn't like this but after about 30 minutes of wear it drys down to soemthing really pretty, but maybe still a little too floral for me. t has a little sweetness to it that I absolutly love though so I will definately use my little imp up :P

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