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Red Lantern

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#1 Macha


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Posted 30 January 2006 - 06:07 PM

A tribute to the opium den cum bawdyhouses of Shanghai in the 1930's. Golden amber, blonde tobacco, Sudanese black coconut, rich caramel, black currant, white opium and delphinium laced with a sensual blend of Asian spice.

I'm reviewing VERY early, just so people can have a chance to make a decision on this while it's still possible to do something about it.

In the bottle: sweet ”” the caramel is a much stronger primary note than I would have expected. There is also a faint hint of what I would think was a sweet orange blossom.

On skin, wet: Oh goodness. Yeah, this IS the stuff. The sweetness dies off almost immediately, leaving a haze of amber layered over spice and a gentle tobacco (which to my nose ends up smelling like really good incense rather than tobacco.) There's something slightly astringent, but it's not unpleasant. Red Lantern is passing the first test, which is that I have my wrist glued to my nose while I inhale deeply (let me tell you, that makes it hard to type.)

This is a hard scent to review honestly. It's difficult to verbalize why I love it so much, except to say, you know "it's pretty."

What the hell: it's pretty!

Update: 4 hours later, this has turned into a slightly sweet and very exotic incense. Gorgeous.

#2 shayelea


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Posted 30 January 2006 - 07:31 PM

First of all: 16 days total to receive this order! Go team go!

In the bottle: Rich, sweet, but light. I smell the caramel and the black currant.

Wet: Oh. This becomes incredibly complex when it's on. It's got a whiff of something that reminded me of Eden - I'm asuming that's the coconut. It's lovely mixed with the caramel. There are also some other scents starting to emerge; I definitely still get the black currant, but it's also got a bit of that warm amber scent. This has a LOT of throw.

Drydown: Mm. The tobacco starts to come out, but it just adds a bit of structure to the overall scent. I still smell mainly the "wet" scent unless I put my nose right up to my wrist; then the tobacco gets overwhelming. The spice is coming out more, too. This is SO lovely. I can't believe I received it in time to buy another bottle! I don't get much of the delphinium, which is fine, because florals tend to go icky on me. And I'm not sure what opium smells like, but it could be part of that firm, spicy undertone I'm getting from the tobacco and spices. Overall, still rich and sweet, but very complex. Not TOO sweet. I LOVE this.

#3 kimmer


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Posted 30 January 2006 - 08:25 PM

My first impression is sweet buttery caramel.

Once applied, the caramel fades and ... this really is a complex scent.

This one reminds me a lot of Elegba, with a drydown of rich, sweet tobacco and coconut.

I like it, but I may have a difficult time wearing it (boo menopause).

#4 Tramp


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Posted 30 January 2006 - 08:47 PM

Amber and tobacco are the first things that jump out at me. (I am currently perusing my BPAL spreadsheet as the top notes of Red Lantern are so familiar but I can't place it! Aaarrrggg!) The caramel is quite distinctive but is not in any way over powering - it acts as a binder for the other scents. This isn't your mama's coconut either, for me it is VERY different from either Spooky or Elegba - it is a dry husky coconut. Underneath it it all are a blend of spices that I can't describe. Something incense. Sorry I can't be more specific!

#5 Belladonnastrap


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Posted 30 January 2006 - 08:59 PM

First Sniff: It's as if Midway and Elegba had a love child.

Wet: Ooh. Coconut and Caramel and Tobacco. Have any of you ever read Delta of Venus by Anais Nin? There is a story in there called "The Basque and Bijiou" and in it the character Bijou visits this 'clairvoyant' who basically has sex with her. ANYWAY the rambling is because I imagine this is what the room smelled like...heady and sweet and musky.

Drydown This is going to sound really weird, but the drydown reminds me of Virgo's drydown...woodsy and spicy. Tobacco tends to be a bit hit or miss with me and in this its very very much a hit.

I LOVE it.

#6 Cagedflame


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Posted 30 January 2006 - 09:56 PM

I think I'm the first to not really like it. :/

In the bottle it reminds me strongly of Yankee candle. Sage and Citrus scent and really buttery caramel. On my skin it smells... much like another Yankee candle. I can't for the life of me recall which one. It turns a very generic candley sweet spice on me. Then after a couple hours it goes very faint and smells like something between sweet hazelnut coffee and rum caramel.

#7 spanishviolet


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Posted 30 January 2006 - 11:16 PM

In the bottle, I get a lot of caramel. Second sniff, tobacco & coconut are there too.

On me, it's caramel again at first, and the really strong, dark dry coconut. This scent has the same feel that Miskatonic University did on me, with the woody notes replaced by caramel.

I liked the sound of about half the notes listed, and was optimistic about the others because tobacco usually works for me, but ... this is not me at all. As a coffee, it would be yummy, but I'd want to add cream to get rid of a slight plastic tinge. If Misk U was kind of harsh on you, this might be too. Ah well, off to sniff the others ...

Edited by spanishviolet, 30 January 2006 - 11:16 PM.

#8 UltraViolet


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Posted 30 January 2006 - 11:20 PM

Posted Image
In the bottle
This immediately smells like rum and caramel and coffee. Yumay.
The amber and tobacco smell like caramel and coffee.
30 minutes
Its more like deep lushious currants and golden resinous amber now. Still great.
Yes indeed.
Scent category:
This is rich and toffeish initially and dries to a more currant and amber goodness but still dark, thick and foody.
Purchase again?
1-5 rating (5 being best)

Edited by UltraViolet, 31 January 2006 - 08:39 AM.

#9 Shollin


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Posted 30 January 2006 - 11:26 PM

First sniff: Red berries and caramel. Itís warm, sultry and sweet.

Wearing: Itís still predominantly caramel, but the fruitiness stays underneath. After the initial wet scent-burst fades a bit, the amazingly gorgeous coconut shows up.

My guyís reaction: ďCan I get my nose surgically attached to your neck?Ē :P So yeah, I think this oneís a keeper.

#10 ivyandpeony


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Posted 31 January 2006 - 12:05 AM

At first, this one was nothing but caramel on me! As it dried down it has become a gorgeous, warm scent, sweet, spicy and ambery with a hint of something that could be coconut combined with the caramel. It is difficult for me to describe, but it is a really lovely scent, just as lovely as I had hoped it would be.

#11 shriekingviolet


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Posted 31 January 2006 - 01:31 AM

Initial Impression:
Good lord it's caramel! Smoky caramel with maybe a hint of berriness from the currant.

After Wearing It:
Wet this smells of caramel and tobacco goodness. The caramel is very rich and sweet without smelling toothachingly sweet, and the tobacco is just gorgeous. Smells sweet, deep and smoky, without a trace of any stale cigarette stench. There's a whiff of something like coffee too, that gives the caramel a bit of bite to it. For the first hour, Red Lantern is very foody, yet it's not quite dessert-like. It's like if the essence of food snobbery was condensed into a smell this would be it. It's the caramels that are too good to give to children or anyone who finds any satisfaction eating anything made by Kraft. :P

Very slowly, other notes start to show up to the party. The coconut is the first to join up and it's acclimated into the circle quickly. The tobacco, caramel, & coconut combination makes Red Lantern smell very reminiscent of Elegba, but it's far less boozy and much lighter. The next to come to play is amber, heating the scent and fuzzying it up. There's something like hazelnut next that's a wisp of a thing. Leaves an impression and a texture, but otherwise not much of a presense. The opium and the spice doesn't kick in until at least 2.5 hours into the life of the scent, but when they arrive they subtly turn the blend into a cloud of sweet incense smoke that's richly appealing.

From the onset, Red Lantern gave me an impression of an intimate gathering in an opulent setting. Hushed voices whispering together, heads bent close, enthralling each other with their knowledge and wit. It has a feel of a intellectual salon for sensualists rather than a brothel. Information and secrets are the aphrodisiac here, the intoxicant, and not the promise of flesh. It's sensual in that it's luxurious and langourous, with its dim lighting and the plush velvet cushions. It's even sexy, but in a more intellectual sort of way. Like being attracted to a plain looking stranger for the depth of knowledge he carries, and can share with you if you can entice him. But it's not carnal and it's not bawdy, it's... deeply promising.

Final Thoughts:
I love this so much! Very tempted to go snag another bottle of it right now. Quite possibly one of my favorite scents ever. A must buy!

#12 RaraAvis


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Posted 31 January 2006 - 02:42 AM

My nose wonders if it can get any better than Red Lantern...

This one morphs and I don't think I can actually write full coherent sentences (well, I usually can't do that anyway, but I digress..). Here's my stream-of-consciousness impression:

Caramel, coffee, opium smoke, dark wine, booze, vanilla, cocoa. Velvety. Fruity. Nutty. Red. Coconut and moist tobacco. Lush and dry at once. Asian spices (whatever those are). Leather? Sweet and musky. Sex. Sexy. Exactly in the center of masculine and feminine. Mysterious, intoxicating, seductive.

Red Lantern grabs you, pulls you into a dark corner, and makes out with you. I imagine it only gets better with age.

Again, when I'm all out of Red Lantern and my heart breaks they will have to pry the empty bottle from my cold, dead hands.

ETA: The second time I tested I noticed that for the first 10-15 minutes RL smells strongly of BUTTERSCOTCH. Yum.

Edited by paradoxicaljlb, 31 January 2006 - 02:33 PM.

#13 LiberAmoris


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Posted 31 January 2006 - 04:34 AM

Red Lantern is indeed very pretty. In the bottle it smells a lot like Elegba, but once I put it on, itís literally an explosion of different notes. The caramel note reminds me of the caramelized edge in Miskatonic U. Just as in Misk U, it has a facet thatís almost like candle wax on my skin, in a good way. The tobacco bears a resemblance to the sexy tobacco note in Perversion, although here itís lighter and warmer. I canít smell any of the other listed notes, although I catch a ruddy note every once in a while that I suspect is the black currant.

The drydown is really the best part of Red Lantern on me. Itís predominantly black coconut and tobacco, with that caramel rounding everything out. So lovely. Thereís a tracery of what smells like beautiful florals with exotic spice that works in the very, very background, like a whisper.

There's something very tropical about this to me (must be the coconut) that is making me long for warmer weather. Until then, luckily I have my bottle of Red Lantern. :P

#14 Voleuse


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Posted 31 January 2006 - 06:06 AM

On first application, this does remind me of Misk U a little bit. There's rich, creamy caramel and a faint boozy note. The overall blend is rounded by the fruits--the black currant is what I notice first, but gradually, it's smoothed out by the coconut. They never take over the blend, though.

This is a light and sweet scent, but smoky as well, and complex enough that I'm hard-pressed to stop sniffing my wrist. It's not cloying, and it's not overpowering. It's warm and spicy, with the barest touch of cream. It's intoxicating. It's sensual. I love it.

#15 Jasper


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Posted 31 January 2006 - 06:13 AM

In the bottle, this is very strong caramel.

First on, it's carmel and coconut. Very sweet and strong to the point of making my mouth water! The sweetness and caramel went into the background very quickly and the tobacco scent came forward. At this point, I have been sitting here for not sure how long with my wrist pressed to my nose. This is such an interesting scent. Very sensual and rich without being too overpowering.


#16 nineveh


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Posted 31 January 2006 - 07:04 AM

In the bottle, this smells almost exactly like Misk U to me, which turned into peanut butter on my skin. Uh oh.

Wet on my skin, it's offensively sweet caramel with a sharp chemical note.

It gets a lot better once it dries, thankfully. The caramel is still there, but it softens. A very nice smokiness comes out along with a bit of coconut. I can't smell what it is, but something is giving this a lot more depth on my skin than Misk U had.

This is very heady, sweet, and darkly golden on me. I'm not utterly in love with this, but I'm not a foody scent person either. Sniffing it makes me want to wear it during rainy weather, so it's a keeper.

#17 Diana


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Posted 31 January 2006 - 07:55 PM

I was a bit scared of this one. Aside from having fantastic notes, it has opium in it. That note turns into screaming hell on me. But now that I've been wearing it all day, I can say with confidence that I'm SO SO SO glad this package got here before the Lupercalia scents went away, because I need another bottle of this STAT.

In the bottle: sweet & spicy. I can tell that there's caramel in there, but there's something sharper in the background, sort of perfumey-like.

Wet, on: HOLY HONKYBISCUITS. Rich, sweet caramel, luscious coconut and just a touch of the amber + tobacco notes. This is so sweet and sexy and naughty and yummy and I just want to drink it.

Initial dry: The caramel & coconut are still there, the tobacco gets a bit stronger and slightly overtakes the sweeter notes.

Drydown: just a hint of the drier golden notes and a wee tiny bit of sweetness. Absofuckinglutely beautiful!

Edited by Diana, 31 January 2006 - 07:56 PM.

#18 Thorne


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Posted 03 February 2006 - 11:55 PM


HA! Awesome.

Well, in one word, this scent is rich. Rich, sweet caramel. Rich, heavy tobacco. Rich, decadent coconut. Rich, exotic sandalwood. You could OD on this scent, if you weren't careful, but it would be one hell of a way to go. Deliciously, overwhelmingly swoonworthy.

#19 CapricornSister


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Posted 03 February 2006 - 11:55 PM

Whoa buttery caramel!! It hit me in the face when I opened the bottle. Wet, it's all that. As it dries, on me there's a dusty top with something soft and creamy underneath. It's strong with good throw and it's blended well, but sad to say that I can't do most foody scents :P

Off to swaps!

#20 GirlfriendInAComa


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Posted 04 February 2006 - 12:37 AM

I was expecting something more incense-y or spicy, but I was immediately put off when I opened the bottle and smelled nothing but caramel/butterscotch. I'm not fond of smelling like food, but especially sweet baked goods. Granted the sweetness toned down a bit after drydown on my skin and the spices have come out, but it still smells overwhelmingly like the Yankee Candle Co of Hazelnut Coffee--a smell I liked for about 15 minutes before it just became too sweet to tolerate. My body chemistry must like the caramel (go figure).

I'll try it again tomorrow, putting more on and wearing for longer...but I'm going to wear it on a Saturday so I can bathe or change clothes if it gets super annoying.

ETA: Upon applying it a little more and smearing it around a bit more, the baked good smell has mostly gone away, but it seems like I can still sense that sweet residue underneath currant and spice. I'm still dissapointed with this one.

Edited by GirlfriendInAComa, 04 February 2006 - 04:36 PM.

#21 brownbear


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Posted 04 February 2006 - 12:55 AM

This is one of those that when I open the bottle I audibly make nummy noises and swoon a little bit. It starts out with the caramel and smoky opium. Then it got peppery. Something like pink pepper. As it dried there was a wave of burning smoke. Then it all just kind of mellowed together. Very nice.

#22 Kittyflop


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Posted 04 February 2006 - 01:53 AM

Upon opening the bottle, aroma of caramel and butter. Sweet, decadent, dark butter - as opposed to the pumpkin patch butter, if that makes sense.

As it dries, it's definitely still rich but not sweet. Smoky. Burnt caramel and smoke. No more butter. Still waiting for the coconut.

Dry... I can hardly smell it 'cuz I've had my nose glued to my wrist. Breathe... stick my nose in a glass of scotch, and....

Dark, smokey, rich, decadent, illicit, shameful. Coffee and caramel and booze and dark wood stained with ages of smoke and grime.

Oh lord this is good.

edited to add: good? what the... this is sinful. it's just getting better and better by the minute. for the first time in history I'm contemplating a 3rd bottle.

Edited by Kittyflop, 04 February 2006 - 02:49 AM.

#23 shelldoo


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Posted 04 February 2006 - 03:45 AM

in the bottle: the most obvious note is the caramel, but w/ a deeper sniff i can detect a hint of amber,and a bit of the opium scent, as well as something slightly green.

wet: still very sweet, caramel. it reminds me of elegba a bit but there is also a green something. not green like fir, and not really an herbal smell. more like a green flower stem. i am wondering if this is the delphinium.

as it dries: interesting the caramel sweetness is burning off a bit, and it is becoming spicier, i almost am thinking something pepper like. it also has a definite amber note and a nice tobbacco scent. this is gorgeous and my second favorite of the valentines scents.

#24 AliBabble


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Posted 04 February 2006 - 04:00 AM

wow - this is a highly unusual scent. out of the bottle, i do get the miskatonic reference, but on my skin it becomes way more complex and interesting: the coffee/caramel thing recedes fairly quickly, and the smoky, spicy and almost astringent notes come out more. there is a definite smokiness, which i can only assume is the tobacco. i also detect leather, although i don't think that's listed as a component...it's very evocative...dark, dusky and mysterious. there is the coconut - yes, but it's one of those very well-blended scents where nothing pokes out awkwardly...it just all mixes into one thing. so i don't think it has the..."obviousness' of elegba - which is pretty much straight up coconut/rum - or of miskatonic - which is pretty much butterscotch/irish coffee. red lantern has more subtlety, complexity and mystery. i think it's the "asian spices" that are characterizing it the most, for me. nice!

#25 Nepthys


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Posted 04 February 2006 - 05:31 AM

:P Exactly what I hoped for, but better. In the bottle it is this intoxicating exotic richness of spices and honey and amber and caramel and smoke... and it initially goes on me like that... And the caramel comes blazing to the top, seconded by what smells like patchouli. I guess that's the tobacco. It's over-the-top sweet, like that gooy caramel stuff you make at Halloween to dip apples in, and yet it's complicated and exotic. Maybe it's just the opium den association, but the scent really does remind me of that rich, langorous bliss you get smoking really good dope.

Eventually it lightens and the amber comes back, with just a hint of coconut... and then it's just perfect.

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