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La Belle Dame Sans Merci

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#1 Belladonnastrap


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Posted 17 January 2004 - 09:02 PM

The name translates to "The beautiful woman without mercy", and is the title of an old French court poem that was later revamped by John Keats. A bewitching seductive scene, rife with mystery and foreboding.

Inital thoughts:
POWER. Rich and heady. It smells like what I'd imagine Mata Hari (a famous exotic dancer who was accused by the French for spying for the Germans during WWI) would wear. Definitely strong...the scent lingers even after I've shut the bottle. It's a confident smell. I can't make out what exactly is in it...I think maybe cloves. It sort of smells like freshner. Doubt I'll be keeping it which is a shame I wanted to like it!

After wearing it:
It smells like cinnamon roses. The strongness definitely wears off after a couple of mintues (maybe 15) and the scent of roses kicks in. Even later then that it smells cinnamon with a hint of roseyness. I still stand by the fact that its a confident smell but more feminine. As in "I'm a lady who is beautiful and elegant but I'm not afraid to kick your ass if need be." Still not sure if I'm keeping it though.

#2 jj_j


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Posted 13 February 2004 - 02:41 AM

This is immediately green with an underlying sharp-edged floral that doesn't present itself as rose to me until much, much later. No cinnamon, either. Lightly aquatic, plenty of green ivy, and some sharp and bitter leafy green - almost like the stalk of a plant you'd pull from the flowerbed if it didn't have such nasty thorns on it.

The underlying soapy herb that's in some of the Voodoo blends is here, too. La Belle Dame sans Merci, though, has a very different sort of strength than those - this is pride, bitterness, anger, and a biting viciousness all in one. Hard and brittle, although I hadn't thought of green scents as cold before this, and certainly not those with a minimal rose note.

Even with wear, this isn't a soft scent. It's never overpowering or icky, mind you, it's just that this isn't a scent to wear if you worry about what other people feel or think. When they get close enough to you to smell this, they'll get a feeling of distance and a wall between the two of you. Regal, aloof, and full of disdain.

Edited by jj_j, 15 February 2004 - 02:21 PM.

#3 twistygirl


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Posted 12 April 2004 - 08:36 AM

Wet, this is very, very green, with (as jj_j said) that underlying soapy-clean smell that's common in the Voodoo blends.

As it has dried, it has retained it's greenness/cleanness, but with a touch of floral (yes, I do think it is rose) to add just a touch of unexpected sweetness. I don't detect anything spicy on my skin. This would be a good choice for somebody who really likes clean, green scents but wants something just a little different.

Even though it does have that green clean presence, this is a strong, somewhat cold scent, cold definitely as in "without mercy." As usual, Elizabeth has captured the intended mood perfectly.

#4 Fulltiltredhead


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Posted 07 May 2004 - 05:09 AM

I thought I was going to love this one, and I did. It's going on my BTBB list (Buy The Big Bottle). I love greens and it's very green, in the manner of Vent Vert, Ivoire, Chanel 19. Beautiful.

#5 Ura


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Posted 13 May 2004 - 03:46 PM

Initially has a sharp green twig note (same as Catherine) with a slightly soapy scent. Soon changes into rose with faint greenery. This is a sharp decisive scent that is not at all gentle.

#6 Dispatcherbert


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Posted 29 May 2004 - 04:12 AM

I received this with my latest Imp's Ear order and am still trying to put my finger on it. It's definitely "green" as stated by other reviewers.

Even with wear, this isn't a soft scent. It's never overpowering or icky, mind you, it's just that this isn't a scent to wear if you worry about what other people feel or think. When they get close enough to you to smell this, they'll get a feeling of distance and a wall between the two of you. Regal, aloof, and full of disdain. - jj_j

You hit it on the head with this! Actually, your review is why I ordered this particular Imp. I'm not "regal" by any stretch of the imagination but I like to keep a definite wall up and I have a certain "attitude" that many would probably take as distain meeting me for the first time.

I still want to wear it a few more times but I'm sure it'll be a keeper.

#7 Ina Garten Davita

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Posted 09 June 2004 - 12:01 PM

First Impression: Like jj-j said, a green, sharp edged floral. It smells watery with just a touch of lily of the valley in the background.

Second Impression: This lady is cold and crisp, nothing warm here.

Final Analysis: I thought that this would turn soapy, but I'm happy I didn't. A lovely scent, nicely potent but not over powering. Not a favorite, but I will enjoy the imp that I have.

#8 isyche


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Posted 09 June 2004 - 06:20 PM

I have a poster of the painting La Belle Dame Sans Merci by Sir Frank Dicksee on my wall, and I tend to keep my distance from people, and I love green/clean scents, so I love this. I definitely get that air of chilly disdain from it. It gets slightly sweeter and less prickly as it fades, but it's never cloying.

Edited by isyche, 12 June 2004 - 08:00 PM.

#9 Laurel the Woodfairy

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Posted 23 June 2004 - 01:39 AM

I admit I got the imp solely based on the name--I love the poem and the poster looks down on my bed. But I have now decided it is going to be my very first Big Bottle. It's the first one I reach for when I pick an imp each morning--I have to remind myself to try the others. On me, this didn't smell "cold" or off-putting...just softly floral, entrancing as its "faery's child" namesake. I can't pick out individual floral notes, although I can see what everyone means by "green". I got big compliments from the boy ("ooo, you smell good!"), so don't worry too much about it being an ice-queen fragrance--unless, of course, you're working the attitude to go with that! :D

Random art-related side-note: I know several of the Pre-Raphaelites painted this subject, but to me this fragrance most resembles the Waterhouse one--the one where she's in a purple dress and she looks sweet and pleading, like she's almost sorry to captivate the knight, but goshdarnit she's just too beautiful! Oops, naughty girl! :P The blend smells beautiful and wistful to me, rather than cruel-spirited.

#10 Emu Nymph

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Posted 30 June 2004 - 06:49 AM

In the bottle~ Dark and flowery. Sweet yet not. tempting you to put it on.
Wet~ Dark green and earthen. Yet there is that soapy smell that so many of you said.
Dry~ Ivory soap with a hint of some flower like rose or honeysuckle.

I wanted to like this and it seemed like it wanted to like me. But it just couldn't make up it's mind if it wanted to smell like flowers or soap and kept changing her mind. In the end she chose to be flowery which I like but in the end the soap was just not want I wanted. I may keep an imp around just because but not one I'm likely to wear soon.

#11 rdeadline


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Posted 05 July 2004 - 05:43 PM

I bought this a couple years ago and didn't really like it. A couple months ago I tried it again and fell in love. It smells like what I'd imagine a strong, sexy confidant woman would wear. And that woman is me! :P

#12 FireInCairo


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Posted 02 January 2005 - 09:44 PM

Oh what a green..herbaly scent this is.... rather sharp at first- but this sharpness does not last on the skin. The dry down is quite pleasant. This reminds me of spring... very nice indeed :P

#13 Lit Chick

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Posted 15 January 2005 - 12:08 AM

Wet: This reminds me of something. I want to say it smells old fashioned somehow... it's very ice-queen. I want to stand up extremely straight and look down my nose at people. I feel haughty.

Initial dry - something starts to change - my skin is pulling out a note that is very discordant. The perfume is fighting with itself.

Dry - After a long streak of perfumes staying true, I've hit another soapy one. All the regal, elegant, snobby floral has been chased away by my uncooperative skin.

It's probably a good thing... I felt like a royal bitch while wearing it. While I was fine with that feeling, I'm sure others would not have taken so kindly to my utter disdain for the rest of humanity.

#14 UltraViolet


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Posted 03 February 2005 - 07:12 AM

Oh my, this is nice. I smell rose, and a bitter herby note, and spice in the background, must be the cinnamon but I can barely smell it so it;s hard to tell. There's sweetness that is coming out now and/or maybe lily of some sort.
It's what I sould call a fresh, clean, floral, green, herby, astringent scent.
I think this is one that people will either love or hate.
When it dries the rose becomes more primary on me, it's a medium rose, not too strong like Rose Red but not too light like Hymn.
It's a lively littly imp, the scent has changed three times and all of the incarnations were good. :P
I wouldn't buy a big bottle of it but I would use the imp when I wanted to feel feminine in a classic poetry way. :D

#15 shelldoo


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Posted 22 February 2005 - 01:06 AM

hmmm in the wet stage i didn't smell rose at all, i thought maybe carnation...or possibly lily but it has a harsh green edge as it dried it became rosier which was nicer, but still i am unsure if i like the green edge....will try again before deciding.

#16 britgeekgrrl


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Posted 24 February 2005 - 02:06 AM

In the imp: sharp and green but quite light. So green as to be a bit intimidating.

Immediately after application: the sharpness recedes - to my relief - although that green-and-floral tone remains and gets a bit more complex and assertive.

15 minutes dry: I have no idea what's in this, but it's coming together as a slightly powdery, green scent with a hint of sweet flowers. I like it, but it's not knocking my socks off. One to keep the imp of, perhaps, but not "omgwantabottle!"

I think this would be a good 'daytime' scent for someone who likes lighter florals.

- Johanna

#17 Penance


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Posted 15 April 2005 - 07:41 PM


Lagniappe from the Lab! :P

Preconceived notions:

I've been curious about this one, but never got around to ordering it because there weren't any notes listed and I'm quickly learning that I've got several scent allergies, but since the Lab chose to gift me with this I fully intend to try it out. :D

First sniff:

How odd...I don't know what flower this is, but it's familiar. When I hold it far away from my nose, it smells like honeysuckle (something I'm noticing more and more in BPAL - the way they smell different depending on how far away you are) but up close it's...sort of astringent, smoky and fruity but definitely floral. This one's lost on me since floral notes aren't my forte.

Wet on skin:

I know I've smelled this before, but I can't remember what flower it is. It's one that I've only smelled in BPAL scents and never in nature, I know that much, but I can't remember what it is and it's somewhat annoying. It's definitely a unique floral and definitely not me.

Dry down:

Smoky, slightly astringent flowers. I keep thinking of Black Dahlia when I smell this although I don't think they're really similar...something about this just reminds me of Black Dahlia because I remember it being referred to as smoky and floral.

...Okay, there's rose in here, too, for sure. It's suddenly just popped up out of nowhere and its really making itself known. Unfortunately, I don't like roses, so this is even more definitely not for me now.

The bottom line:

Totally not me by any stretch of the imagination. This would be better for someone with a penchant for florals, especially rose. :D

#18 Eros


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Posted 30 April 2005 - 02:00 AM

Have had this one for....3-4 yrs and apparently, never tested it. Full 4ml shorty(I think?)...

Upon opening bottle....jasmine?? With a subtle, spicy bite. Only slightly green to me & only tested off the rim but it stayed w/me for a looong time :P Didn't really pick up anything other than what I've mentioned, well, maybe a touch of something citrusy. Slightly sweet but not extremely so. Very nice & smooth. Kind of like a lovely courvoisier(sp??), not in the scent so much but more in the description. If that makes any sense...warm is what I get from it. Stayed true all the way from open bottle to dry down to wearing. Really like this one but there are others I like even more so I believe this one will go into the swap pile :D

#19 yummysushitoo



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Posted 12 May 2005 - 10:19 PM

I wanted to love this so badly, because it's one of my favorite poems.

I put it on, and sniffed my wrist. It smelled familiar, but I couldn't place it. And suddenly, it hit me: it smelled like a bar of Dial soap.

That phenomenon became more apparent as the gaggingly overwhelming taste of soap filled my mouth. It took three washings to make the smell go away, and a burrito and French Onion chips to make the taste go away. :P

So. Disappointed. :D

#20 Gin


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Posted 25 May 2005 - 09:07 PM

La Belle Dame Sans Merci is a strong floral - very green and sharp. And from there, it goes bit soapy. As I'm not a fan of sharply-floral or soapy, I'll pass this one along to someone else.

#21 Witch's Dagger

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Posted 05 June 2005 - 12:41 AM

La belle dame sans merci

This was part of my French order

Preconceived notions: Unsure - dark floral, disdainful green, sounds interesting.

In the vial:
Oh wow - I love the way this smells. Darkly, seductively green with spice. I think thereís definitely some lavender in this, but what else, I donít know.

On me:
Dark green floral. There are definitely a lot of flowers in this, sweet and sharp, but itís shaded and green, mixed with an herb I know very well but canít place. I still think there might be lavender, but Iím not sure. And rose. Definitely some rose here, of the wild type, and maybe some peony. We are definitely far from civilization.

In 10 minutes:
The herbs are hiding, I know it, because it still feels like we are way out in the forest somewhere on a path, and not in a well-manicured garden. Still, I canít smell them directly anymore. Itís all flowers, mostly rose and peony, mixed with something I can only call ďfresh airĒ. This is a very lovely, summer floral.

In 15 minutes:
Today Iíve been doing ďmarket placeĒ reviews: If Harlot is sashaying around the flowers by the spices, and Sudha Segara is testing oranges near the spices, La belle dame sans merci is standing right in the center of the flowers, almost hiding in them. It is shy and secretive, and very fresh.

In 25 minutes:
Still about the same, though itís beginning to fade a little. Not a lot, though, itís still pretty strong.

In 1 hour:
No change, other than the usual fading that occurs, but itís still there. Iíll definitely keep the imp for a warm, summer, floral, but probably wonít get a bottle, since I like darker, more mysterious scents.

#22 cricketshay


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Posted 06 June 2005 - 06:13 PM

In the vial~ Soapy! With light floral undertones
Wet~ Sharp and green with soft florals in the background. I'm not sure which notes. I've seen people mention rose but I'm not quite sure.
Dry~Still strong green. I don't really like it. (even for a room scent)

:P smiley fragance~up for Swap/sale

#23 Janie


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Posted 10 June 2005 - 05:55 AM

Unrelentingly green, with pleasing astringency and a slight floral accord well hidden by the green main notes. I am a big fan of green scents such as Vent Vert, Chanel #19 and Ma Griffe. This bears a passing resemblance to those.

It lasts well, it has reasonable sillage and is quite lovely.

#24 quikslvr


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Posted 10 June 2005 - 01:35 PM

Powerful, bright at first. Something astringent to it. I think of this as yellow rather than green, as others have called it. There's a soapy herb-y floral underneath, though. Settles down into a pleasant, very clean floral with rose or lily, I think. Kind of distant-seeming.

#25 zankoku_zen


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Posted 22 June 2005 - 03:05 AM

In the Bottle: Green. Like sharp little plants.

On Skin: Still sharp. Still very green. I can smell something floral underneath. It's very herbal. :P

On Drydown: The sharpness remains, and now its a soft herbal scent. For odd reasons, it makes me think of sauteed mushrooms.

Verdict: It's a very interesting scent but its not me. I'm not really into the herbal scents. Plus it makes me really really hungry. Off to the swap pile!


ETA: Tried this again, and it struck me as smelling very similar to Sta. Eularia des Riu.

Edited by zankoku_zen, 17 November 2014 - 01:56 PM.

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