The Illustrated Woman Act IV: The Interlude
Posted 30 March 2009 - 11:35 AM
I don't know how I missed reviewing this, this was I think the fifth Bpal I tried. I had no idea of the notes at the time. I still think this is genius, one of the best scents there is.
What do I think of?
A beautifully made up nude woman lay on a well-waxed pine table after really good sex, eating the finest vanilla ice cream whilst a cigarette smoulders in an ashtray.
Pine to me always said disinfectant, but this is more real and not at all sharp or burning. I now have a bottle and and it is obvious that this may sweeten with age- my first try was an aged decant, and my bottle is fresh. I prefer the older one.
I should wear this more.
Posted 30 March 2009 - 07:32 PM
As it dried down, the pine took a back seat to a warm smokey vanilla scent. Every so often the pine would jump back out to say hello. After another half an hour, I got a resiny tobacco smell like my father's cigar box. The next sniff, it was musky pine pitch. Now, at two hours, I smell smokey pine and musk.
Adding this one to my "get another bottle" list.
Posted 31 March 2009 - 04:14 AM
Wet on the skin, it automatically turns to patchouli and golden resin, freshened by pine. As it dries down, I can definitely see where this is heading: it definitely feels like an archetypal "Carnaval Diabolique" sort of scent. As it dries down it's got some decent throw. Smoky tobacco and vanilla darken and sweeten a resinous base that continues to feel very golden and amber-colored. I forgot that there was honey in here, but now that I reread the description that must be the sweet gold bit! It's got lots of character for about an hour and a half, and then it fades down to a vaguely tobacco-smokey sweet skin scent. It lasts for hours and hours close to the skin. If I huff my wrist, I can tell that the sweet musk also has tobacco, patchouli, and vanilla blended together.
It's nice, but it's not blowing me away! I wish there was more pine, less vanilla. I'm glad I got to try this, but I don't think I'll keep my decant because I have other oils to fill this general scent-niche.
Posted 06 April 2009 - 06:12 PM
On my skin: I knew there was a scent I couldn't quite place when I first sniffed it on my skin. After reading the notes again, I realized... tobacco! Definite tobacco. My grandfather used to keep packs of the stuff around and that's what I think of when I smell it. There's also the smoky quality that's mentioned, hints of vanilla that are deep instead of sweet. A definite hint of pine swirled in there. I'd say those are the three strongest notes on my skin.
Very nice. Not for me (which works out well, as it is a gift for someone else) but very nice, on the right person.
This post has been edited by sirensea: 09 April 2009 - 04:44 AM
Posted 09 April 2009 - 03:33 AM
I'll keep my imp, but won't need a bottle.
Score (1 to 5) - 3
Posted 11 April 2009 - 11:01 PM
When I first got my decant from when it was first released, I coughed from the overwhelming pine and cologne-scent. Trying it again about 9 months later? OH MAN. The pine backs off a LOT and the cologne feel goes away. I love what I'm left with, even though I don't know how good a *perfume* Illustrated Woman makes. It doesn't smell *beautiful* but it's arresting, charismatic, the way you just want to continue sniffing where you put it on. There are prettier scents that I like because I know it's likeable, and others will also find it pleasant, but Illustrated Woman is something I put on because I personally just want to smell it, not necessarily smell *like* it. But you know, if I were to smell like it? This, more than any other BPAL scent I tried, is the thing that screams SEX to me. The skin musk just melds with my chemistry, and the smoked vanilla and earthy pine/resins and tobacco dirties everything up--yeah, it really works with me.
There's definitely the smoky vanilla that rises to the top, but not in an obvious way--it works to reign in the pine, tobacco, and resins, and they combine to make a soft warm, soft patch of scent that rises a couple inches off my wrist. The honey is a very light touch, where you can just make out that golden lilt of it, just to the side of the pine's interesting character, the lightest glaze to the vanilla. The pine itself can be a punch at first (not straight pine--once everything has a chance to settle down and age, the *characteristic* of pine sticks around, not the pine itself, if you can follow what I'm saying)--but in a couple minutes, even that warms up and softens up with the resins. The vanilla is not foody, but it's lush and warm and tones down the brassiness of the perfume a lot.
Once dry on my skin, the aggressive characteristic of the scent softens considerably, and the scent is a glow of warmth and soft sensuality. I like how the pine gives the scent some backbone without becoming overwhelming at all--it gives it edge, and the softer notes all fall in line with it.
I never thought I really LOVED this scent? But my decant is almost gone, so I thought it was time to order a bottle. I think this is one that calls for some aging, so the sooner the better to get a bottle.
This post has been edited by cinderfallen: 22 November 2009 - 04:24 AM
Posted 14 April 2009 - 07:03 PM
I like Skin musk, smoky vanilla, golden honey, and tobacco, but I despise pine pitch, patchouli, and I think the Indian resins.
Impession: oh gag; the three notes I hate are overpowering anything salvagable in this scent; sad for me
Posted 17 April 2009 - 01:24 AM
Wet: Wow. This is almost indescribable. It's... the word that comes to mind is sheer, not that it's faint because it's not, but it's transparent, see-through. It smells like soft, warm skin, exotic unburned resins and tobacco, and like the night air. It does the most amazing thing on my wrist; I will sniff it once and it will be an almost manly, cool-feeling blend of pine pitch and musk, and then twenty seconds later I'll put my arm to my nose again and it's sexy, womanly vanilla, honey, and resins. Indefinable, but incredibly beautiful. It smells like being outside, at night, with the most gorgeous, distant woman you've ever met in your life. I have never smelled another BPAL quite like it-- like I said, Buck Moon would be the closest but it's not exact. This is much more adult.
Dry: A little softer, but still the same amazing scent. Pine and musk and tobacco dominate, with touches of vanilla and patchouli and honey and resin. This is sex in a bottle.... I gotta say, I really hope that CD goes GC, because I don't ever want to be without this stuff.
Posted 01 May 2009 - 02:47 AM
Wet: The vanilla steals in, slowly at first, but then gives it a sweetness that is really nice. Don't get much honey, which is nice (I tend to amp honey to no end). The pine moves more into the background, and the spices don't overwhelm the scent at all.
Dry: Tobacco, pine, and vanilla, with a hint of spices warming everything! Oh, that's lovely. This is very appropriate for the illustrated woman. . . it's a tough scent, but has its own tender and warm side. This isn't so much a dark scent as it is a complex one . . . fascinating.
I bought this thinking that it wouldn't be me, but it suits the main character in the book I'm writing, so I had to try. Finally got my hands on a decant, and it's just lovely. Not my usual type of scent, but it definitely evokes the character.
Posted 02 May 2009 - 02:24 PM
As I often do, I overdid it, going through almost an entire bottle in a couple of months. I got a little tired of the scent and tucked it away in the back of my BPAL box, where I pretty much forgot about it until a few weeks ago. When I applied it, I could tell right away that the scent had aged and changed quite a bit.
The pine is much mellower than it used to be--in fact, the whole blend has mellowed. I can no longer pick out individual notes--everything is perfectly blended and smoothed out to produce a sophisticated, complex, rich scent. It's no longer masculine but utterly feminine without being girly. It's a grown-up scent, worn by a woman who's assertive, confident, mature, and a little mysterious.
It's not my "typical" scent at all, but I love Illustrated Woman. It gets lots of compliments and has significant staying power and throw. For others who are nervous about patchouli, I still don't find it overwhelming in this blend...I can tell it's there, adding depth in the background, but I don't really smell it as a distinct note.
I think I'll stash a few bottles of this one--I suspect more aging will lead to more awesomeness.
Posted 20 May 2009 - 02:01 PM
Wet: The pine stage is pretty strong right off the bat. I like pine so it's not a problem but it is a little difficult to smell the scent forming underneath. The honey and vanilla definitely get stronger.
Dry: Man oh man. Sweet, warm, soft skin musk tempered by this amazing vanilla/honey/patchouli over a really dense and smoky tobacco. The pine pitch is perfect in this--it keeps it from getting too sweet and cloying and adds an interesting savoury note. It's already an interesting, sensual blend but the pine really pushes it over the edge into freakin' perfection. This is one of my favourite scents; it's the sort of scent that I put on and it's like putting on my favourite pair of kickass pumps. It's impossible to feel like anything but the centre of attention when wearing this blend.
Throw: Actually pretty mild on my skin. Even with a generous slather you have to be pretty close to detect it.
Overall: Love it. One that I will miss sorely after the carnival rolls out of town.
Posted 27 May 2009 - 08:10 AM
Lemony pine? But not in a cleaner way . . . weird.
A dead ringer for the smell they pump out at you on Soarin at California Adventure (and possibly at the version at Disneyworld; I've never been.)
Still get the lemony pine smell from earlier, but it smells a bit drier. I get a hint of what I think is patchouli (which reminds me of peppery mashed potatoes on my skin — don't ask.) I also get a faint faint faint hint of musk.
I was afraid I would love this one, which would suck as my sister-in-law is deathly allergic to anything involving pine. Lucky me that it doesn't smell amazing with my chemistry!
Posted 04 June 2009 - 10:35 PM
Imp: Pine pitch and patchouli....but good!
Wet: The pin again with a bit of non-scary patchouli...and something really *pretty!* I think vanilla, but Snake Oil style. That's probably the resins giving me that idea. Tobacco's pretty pleasant too!
Drydown: Still getting a snake oil vibe, but with a lot of really cool extras. The pine pitch is just happily playing along with the vanilla and resins instead of taking over. It's rough but sweet at the same time. Not what you would expect from such "grrrr" notes like pine pitch and patchouli
Overall: I think I like it. It's kinda dirty and gruff in a really sexy way. Like I said, it's way out of my comfort zone, so it remains to be seen if I'll get much use out of it
Posted 11 June 2009 - 11:03 PM
On skin: WOO HOWDY CHRISTMAS TREE. Oh, and vanilla.
It smooths out pretty fast, though, and the musk comes through. Then, whoosh, it sucks itself in close to the skin, with a sweet vanilla throw and patchouli emerging.
INTERMISSION HERE while I take a half-hour walk to pick up O Kid from school, during which time Illustrated Woman does what she does and when I get back I pronounce her ...
Dried down: Ultimately, nothing competes with that pine pitch. Behind it I smell something that might be vanilla cigars, and the honey; now I love honey, but squashed between pine pitch and vanilla cigars it takes on a funny almost-medicinal, off kind of tang. I know prevailing wisdom is that aging this one tames the pine pitch, but I'm not really sure, personally, that vanilla cigars is worth aging and taming for. I might keep the imp and see how it changes.
Posted 20 July 2009 - 05:47 PM
But pine is definitely at the forefront in this scent. However, either the labs pine note works well on me, or is just amazing in this blend. I've not had much experience with it, so I can't say.
It's a very earthy scent. That's most certainly the patchouli and pine working wonderfully together. Where patchouli is earthy and dirty and twiggy, pine adds this sort of freshness and lightness that really makes the scent full, blooming, and beautiful. It's... almost sweet. and a little wet. Wet as in, juicy. It reminds me of Honeydew melons. o_O. Yet the resigns add this dustiness over the rest (don't read that as "omg it goes to powder" its a good dust.) So it really is like a sexual woman smoking. It's so interesting to me.
The skin musk is faint, there, and just really makes the scent feel natural. I've always adored the "skin musk" oils from BPAL. Like Bengal, Velvet Nudie... but this one takes the cake because it's just so natural, hippy-esq without being headshop, and really fitting.
Like others had said, this is a scent for a woman not afraid to be tough, yet still embraces her femininity. It's sexual power, in a natural sort of way. The throw is perfect. Not in your face, but not faint on me either. It also appears to last a while as well.
ETA: Hm. Hours apon hours later, this gets... floral. And it loses a lot of the glam and pop I loved before. Enough that it makes me consider trading a scent that earlier I was thinking "bottle time!". Hm.
This post has been edited by CaffinatedAngel: 22 July 2009 - 07:58 PM
Posted 24 July 2009 - 10:33 PM
However....... on me it has this almost chrome note in it, very similar to the one in Torture Queen. The honey is softer and the vanilla is more an undercurrent of sweetness, with which I am so down. I am so impressed with this; it's not at all what I expected. It's a very warm, sexy, deep scent. DH loves it as well, which helps.
Posted 08 August 2009 - 07:12 PM
Posted 21 August 2009 - 03:28 PM
Snap Judgements: Disclaimer: this is a review based on Illustrated Woman that has been aged. I actually purchased a bottle of this unsniffed about a year ago because I love love love pine, vanilla, and skin musk. When I first tested it, I really didn't like it. It smelled horribly acrid and weird on my skin, almost like bug spray or oven cleaner mixed with playdough. However, I figured that I might as well let it age and then give it another shot, since it seems to be a crowd favorite.
In the Bottle: This is very dry in the bottle, with the pine and patchouli being most prominent. It smells like a forest with a covering of old leaves on the ground.
Wet: Promising. The pine is a little sharp during this stage, but the patchouli and tobacco work really hard to add some grounding. The vanilla also starts to make an appearance, which lends a hint of smoky sweetness.
Dry: The final touch here is skin musk doing that skin musk magic. I've seen scents with this note described as "smells like me only better." Yeah. Totally this. There is a very natural, earthy quality about Illustrated Woman that makes me think of running on my favorite trail: the deep scents of a slightly damp forest mixed with the musky-sweet scent of skin after a good workout. Pine still sits above all the other notes on me, and that's perfectly okay. Everything else - the vanilla, patchouli, musk, and tobacco - flow together beautifully in a supporting role. This stays close to the skin, as a me-but-better scent should, and it has a moderate (4-5 hours) wearlength.
Final Thoughts: Wow. Just Wow. I am amazed at how a year of aging could transform a scent from bug spray playdough into amazing sexy perfection. I think that time really mellows the pine and pulls the rest of the notes together - like they are comfortable old friends now rather than awkward new acquaintances. I am so thrilled that I gave Illustrated Woman another chance, because it has just rocketed into my top ten. I rarely buy backup bottles, but I will need at least one (or two...) more of this before the Carnaval packs up.
This post has been edited by millicurie: 21 August 2009 - 03:32 PM
Posted 24 August 2009 - 11:40 AM
Wet on skin - Mostly pine and a bitter tobacco with a tiny undertone of skin musk.
Dry on skin - Wow, just wow. Everything has melded together perfectly. The pine and tobacco have melded with vanilla and honey become a sweet complement to the skin musk. This is pure sexy, pure gorgeousness. This is my raison d'etre, my holy grail... I think it will become my signature. Just brilliant.
Posted 11 September 2009 - 09:13 PM
When I put it on, it was all cologne on me. Not unpleasant, but REALLY masculine. I am not a girly-girl, but this was even a bit much for me. I kept inhaling my wrist deeply through the dry-down, and the pine came out a bit. So I waited, and waited.
This is so well blended, I don't think I could identify the notes if they weren't in front of me. Fascinating. Complex, and I'm not sure how I feel about it yet. I'm dying to put it on my husband, to see it if smells different on him...
Posted 26 September 2009 - 07:30 PM
I finally got around to getting a bottle fresh from the lab, and the fresh scent is much more pine and men's cologne. It is acrid enough that it burns my nose, though I detect my beloved aged scent beneath it, which comes through more with longer wear. However, in it's current state it is too much burning pine musk for my taste.
The throw is still incredibly strong, this is something I would wear to a crowded bar or when I'm hanging out by myself.
I feel really fortunate that I got to experience the aged version of this first, as I will be stashing this bottle away and trying it again in a month or so and keep aging it until it gets heavenly. If I had just tried a lab fresh bottle I would probably be passing it on. My most beloved BPAL scents all have benefited from aging, and I have no doubt that this one will be included in that elite group.
Posted 28 September 2009 - 12:17 PM
i was placing an order in a bit of a rush - i forget why - but i ordered this instead of Torture Queen which is what i really wanted. but because it came my way, i tried it.
and were it not for the pine and honey, this would be glorious!
also, it smells remarkably similar to a cologne (Realm for men - the original in the red/brown bottle with black cap) that my old BFWB used to wear, and it smelled SO GOOD on him.
Posted 29 September 2009 - 07:45 PM
In the Vial: Whoaaaaa pine! And yes, unmistakable scent of patchouli.
Wet: Loads of pine. Yes, it's a slightly sweet pine, but it's still a strong pine note and I'm really not a fan of pine. How disappointing!
Drydown: Starts to morph like others have mentioned and the sweeter "gentler" notes come forward. Definite smoky note and the slightly sour sweetness of the honey. I can detect the tiniest bit of the musk and unfortunately for me, not much tobacco. I absolutely adore tobacco and was desperately hoping this blend would be all about the vanilla and tobacco. Alas.
Verdict: The final drydown is a strange and yet, strangely compelling scent. Like others have mentioned, not necessarily something I'd choose as my personal perfume, but such an intriguing scent that it's nearly impossible to keep from sniffing and resniffing this oil. It's nice in the end but I really can't stomach that much pine for so long. I wonder how this would smell in 3 or 4 years. Unfortunately, I'm not Oprah-rich so I don't think I can justify purchasing a bottle of this to age for years and years in hopes that it'll become something I hope for.
Posted 21 October 2009 - 08:08 PM
I liked it, somewhat. I used to wear a patchouli oil when I was younger, so I'm rather sick of the smell of it now. It has excellent staying power on my skin, and good throw. I'll probably end up using up the my decant, but I don't see myself buying a bottle.
Posted 28 October 2009 - 10:53 PM