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Dancing Koi

Lupercalia 2011 Shungas 2011

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#1 cfrancesca


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Posted 05 February 2011 - 05:54 PM

Brown musk, leather accord, toasted sandalwood, clove, labdanum, and champaca.

Lots of frankincense, toasted sandalwood (mmm...), oh no...here comes the champaca to ruin the party, my skin amps the champaca within seconds. After a few minutes, the brown musk peeks through but remains soft and warms up the blend, I start getting a bit of the labdanum too. I think the champaca is overpowering the leather and clove because I'm not getting much of either. The final dry-down is toasty sandalwood, frankincense and lots of champaca. I find the overall scent warm, woody and just slightly smokey.

I really liked Dancing Koi (it actually reminds me a little of last year's Prosperity of a Country) but I was hoping for a lot less champaca, sadly my just skin amps it too much, it would have been a keeper for me if hadn't been so overpowering.

ETA: After testing it a few days later, I decided it's a keeper. I love the warm, toasty, woody goodness that the frankincense, brown musk and toasted sandalwood create, so much so that I can tolerate the champaca (I think it has already mellowed out in just a few days) and actually like it in here. :wub2:

#2 Penance


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Posted 09 February 2011 - 11:00 PM


5mL from the Lab.

Preconceived notions:

This is the Lupercalia 2011 scent I was most excited about. Everything here is made of win or has the potential to be. I love musk (just not white musk or the other clean/powdery varieties), sandalwood, clove, labdanum and champaca. Leather can be hit or miss, but it should work fine in combination with the other notes. So excited about Dancing Koi! :yum:

First sniff:

Mmm, this smells so good! In the bottle, it's soft, brown leather (yes, brown leather smells different than black leather to me...I can't really explain it other than to say it smells softer and less bad-ass...more like a well-worn pair of boots than a motorcycle jacket), musk and subtle spices and resins. Lovely.

Wet on skin:

More or less the same as in the bottle, but with a touch more musk. It smells masculine/gender-neutral, but soft. Broken-in and well-loved and earthy. Not in the sense that it smells like dirt (it doesn't), but in the sense that it smells down-to-earth. It's not rugged, really, just comfortable.

Dry down:

Dancing Koi gets better and better the longer it sets on my skin. Once it dries completely and has time to do its thing, I end up with a gorgeous combination of super soft (brown) leather, gentle spices, warm musk and incense/resins. It's beautiful and comfortable. It's a calming scent for me. Something about it just makes me feel peaceful.

The bottom line:

Without a doubt, this is the standout of the 2011 Luper scents. I was hoping I would like Dancing Koi, but it exceeded my expectations. I was anticipating something rougher and drier, more rough around the edges, but I love the softness of whatI actually get. It's just such a comfortable scent.

I'm definitely going to be ordering more bottles of this just as soon as I can afford them because this is a real beauty. I think Dancing Koi is going to have a permanent home in my favorites box. :heart:

#3 Herb Girl

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Posted 13 February 2011 - 12:25 AM

This is definitely a keeper. :)

Wet: My brain tells me I smell lots of Frankincense (could this be the Champaca?) and soft Leather.

Drydown is amazing - warm, spicy, not heavy on the clove (thank goodness) and I'd even call it uplifting.
The Sandalwood becomes more prominent after about half an hour, and this Sandalwood is GOOD (creamy).

5/5 - I love this. :wub2:

#4 Edens Sixth Day

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Posted 14 February 2011 - 08:21 PM

Dancing Koi - This is just soooooo nice! I've been looking for the perfect sandalwood scent for years, and I finally found it. It's predominantly sandalwood that smells a little dry and raspy when I first apply it, but as the blend dries on my skin, the brown musk and champaca work together to really warm up the sandalwood until it reaches absolute perfection on my skin. The brown musk lends a bit of sweetness to the blend. While the leather is noticeable when I first apply it, once it dries down, it blends so well with the other notes that it's virtually indistinguishable from the other background notes. This is a beautiful scent that's quite well-blended and will likely just get better with age. I'm going to need to buy at least one backup bottle of it!

#5 Venneh


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Posted 14 February 2011 - 10:08 PM

First off, I have to say that the label made me do a double-take. I would totally love to have those koi in a pond. XD

In the bottle, I get brown musk, labdanum, and champaca. On my skin, much the same.

#6 Megank4


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Posted 16 February 2011 - 07:54 PM

Love the bottle. Yay for penis-fish!
Starts off as a nice brown sugar scent. Awhile later, the champaca arrives, but luckily it is not overwhelming. A definite keeper.

#7 Dark Alice

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Posted 19 February 2011 - 02:25 AM

Honestly...based on the label art I was expecting this to smell like a leather penis. Not that I know how one smells personally...but anyways...:ack:

This is actually quite nice. The leather accord behaves well with the toasted sandalwood. I foresee at least 2 bottles of this b/c it is a gorgeous subtle leather scent that I can wear when it gets warmer.

#8 angelicruin


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Posted 19 February 2011 - 09:54 PM

I'm not sure what's happening on my skin, but this is definitely not behaving well. It's gone very sour and actually is beginning to smell like jasmine notes do on my skin. This is one for the swap/sale pile.

#9 strahlend


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Posted 20 February 2011 - 01:21 AM

This is far and away the very best scent out of all of the Lupers for me. It keeps feeling familiar, but I can't figure out what it reminds me of. I barely stop huffing my arm long enough to write this.
Brown musk, labdanum, sandalwood and champaca seem to blend together to provide the base of this scent. It's soft, rounded, musky and sensual. It's just a little incensey and sweet. It's one of those "your skin but better" types of scents. If there's any leather in here it might be the very soft book binding kind of leather like in Buggre Alle This Bible - it is definitely not sharp or chemical. I'm not getting clove as a distinct note, which I appreciate because I sometimes find it to be too sharp.
It's a beautiful scent and I will absolutely, without a doubt require this scent in my collection.

#10 Gryphon


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Posted 22 February 2011 - 02:55 PM

With rare exception, the Lab's leather note hates me. Sadly, Dancing Koi has kept that streak going. On me, it smells like new and highly processed leather (think cheap boots) when first applied and for a good two hours afterward. Then it quiets down a bit to something sweet next to the unpleasant, chemical leather scent. :(

#11 Drarra


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Posted 26 February 2011 - 12:42 AM

In the bottle: This is smelling slightly sweet in an incense way. They different notes are blended together in such a way that I just barely can make out the leather accord. It smells slightly toasted.

Wet: Wet on my skin, the brown musk comes to the forefront. It slowly dries, and I can smell the sweetness of labdanum mixing with the toastiness of the sandalwood. It's funny, I can usually pick out clove pretty well, but it's very nicely blended into this scent.

Dry: This is a beautiful, warm mixture of scent. It doesn't throw off my skin powerfully, and I almost feel like it's my little dancing secret. :) I can smell this about 8 hours after initial application. It's hugging my skin closely, a faint musky sandalwood scent.

I think I need a full bottle of this.

#12 calivianya


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Posted 27 February 2011 - 02:17 AM

I had initially avoided this scent due to the lack of obviously sweet notes, but upon reading reviews I knew I had to give this a try.

This scent is so well blended that I have trouble picking out individual notes. This is definitely a musky leather scent. The champaca and incense sweeten this up enough that I love wearing it. It is not by any means a "sweet" scent, but it is quite delicious. I may have to get a bottle of this.

Added 5/31 - I'm retesting a bunch of stuff and thought I'd add my 3 months aged impression. The little bit of sweetness I originally got from this scent has been totally destroyed and stomped upon by the clove and other bitter notes. It is just extremely bitter at this point on my skin. :(

Edited by calivianya, 01 June 2011 - 01:24 AM.

#13 Little Bird

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Posted 28 February 2011 - 11:31 PM

I almost feel like I have the wrong scent with this one :/. I don't get any leather here and I can't really identify any musk, clove, or sandalwood either. I'm not sure why, but something in this smells very sweet and heavy on me, with a resinous edge, almost like a mix of opoponax and maple syrup. I asked my husband what it smelled like to him and he said "a bit like candy." :huh?:

I wish that I could smell this on someone else, because I don't get all of the love for this blend.

#14 Lydialove


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Posted 03 March 2011 - 04:09 AM

I was really exited to try Dancing Koi but I was a little worried about the sandalwood which usually turns to soap on my skin.

What a fascinating morph this one does on me! At first it's incensy and a little nutty, then as it dries the sandalwood comes out (smelling delightfully of wood and not soap for once!) and then on full dry down there's the leather. I agree that it's a brown leather, not black or patent.

This is so warm and deep and lovely - I can easily imagine it getting better with time.

I really love this one!

#15 hkhm


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Posted 05 March 2011 - 05:45 PM

bottle: musk and sandalwood with a touch of leather.

wet: very leathery. this scent is an instant blast to my childhood, an intricately worked leather purse i was given when i was five... this smells exactly like the day i received it, the leather of the purse and my mother's perfume. wow.

dry: faint leather, warm sandalwood, whiffs of clove and an undertone of musk. simply beautiful.

#16 Invidiana


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Posted 07 March 2011 - 09:18 PM

I'm kind of split on this one. I really had high hopes, but I mostly get a one-sided leather and clove with a bit of sandalwood. I'm not really surprised about the clove because I do tend to amp it, but I'm going to give it a second try before my final verdict.

#17 DifferentDances


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Posted 10 March 2011 - 11:23 PM


Imp: Warm leather and wood.

Wet: Warm leather and wood and a touch of something else...

Drydown: A perfumed rubber eraser, slight leather.

Dry: Plastic leather.

My rating: 2/5

Not my thing...

#18 dreamingjune


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Posted 10 March 2011 - 11:44 PM

In bottle: Slightly sweetened sandalwood or cedar type note. Not really jumping out at me and it took a few days until I wanted to actually apply it.

Wet: More sweet woods, slightly incensey but not very dark in tone. Definitely not the usual overpowering leather note, but maybe something in the background that makes this feel dusty or antique. The musk note in this is light and reminds me of something like Hunter Moon 07.

Dry: Oooh, the woods are becoming more sweet and oddly fresh. I think the champaca is to thank for the clean yet awesome incense nature to this. I still don't get much in the way of leather, and not really any clove. Dancing Koi is amazingly well blended. Sexy too, in a very dignified kind of way.

Overall: I am in love. It is in the family of scents like Magus or Cathedral, only mixed with some of the qualities of Hunter Moon 07 or Coyote. This stands out as being very unique and very wearable. I could see it being quite unisex too. My favorite of all of the Lupers so far.

#19 dawndie


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Posted 11 March 2011 - 06:05 PM

In bottle: dusky sandalwood

On skin: not much different than wet in the bottle, lots of sandalwood

Half-hour later: a bit more floral from the champaca

In conclusion: dry incensey sandalwood with champaca (which I love in most blends). Not too musky or woody, and no clove appearing to overpower everything else. This turns out very pleasant and wearable on me.

#20 Deek


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Posted 11 March 2011 - 06:10 PM

Bottle: I don't normally go for leathers, but this smells like toasted leather goodness. Excited to try it.
Wet on Skin: A lot more sandalwood, some leather.
Dry: Stays pretty much the same for me.
Overall: 4/5. A very well blended scent, and I usually don't go for ones that are less than sweet. I think I will be picking up a bottle of this.

#21 crebbsgirl


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Posted 11 March 2011 - 07:00 PM

Ok, this seemed to mellow a lot during wear. When I first put it on I almost immediately went to scrub it off. The leather note was very in-my-face. But the champaca comes out and smoothes this nicely, the toasted sandalwood does lend a smoky vibe to this. Not that it smells like smoke, more the impression of it. It stays a little sharp on my skin, and the champaca is a little too in the foreground for my tastes.

#22 violetblue


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Posted 12 March 2011 - 05:00 PM

First applied this is warm but bright and I loved that I could easily smell the champaca and musk (not much leather though). Within just a few minutes of drydown, this turned into powdery sandalwood on me. Not horrible, but don't think I'll be getting a bottle. Was hoping it would stay similar to how it smelled in the vial and wet. :(

#23 doralice


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Posted 12 March 2011 - 06:39 PM

Very sandalwood wet in the bottle. On skin, the leather comes out at first, then it melds with the other elements to create a scent that smells very high end, like a Tom Ford scent at Bergdorf's. It smells sophisticated, dry and unisex. I think it's very beautiful. In fact, I think this might be my new favorite BPAL. I might even buy an extra bottle.

I'm really liking these Shunga scents. When I smell Dancing Koi, I imagine walking in the woods in Japan and coming across a small but elegant shrine of dark wood, and walking over a small bridge with bright persimmon colored koi flashing in the shadowy water beneath.

#24 zankoku_zen


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Posted 14 March 2011 - 03:16 PM

I was worried about the leather accord in Dancing Koi, since I amp up leather and it ends up being the synthetic kind.

I am happy to report that Dancing Koi is dark clovey musk, with the sandalwood being a predominant player. It tends toward a slight powderiness toward the drydown on me but compensates as more smokiness comes out. Much more mellow than expected.

I find this very gender neutral actually, and I think a man could pull this off to devastating effect. I quite enjoy it, since it was exactly what I was hoping for (ie - little to no leather), but I can see how others may have been hoping for different results.

#25 Midnight Aeval

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Posted 22 March 2011 - 04:18 PM

Ohhh sandalwood! Why must you always steal the show :( Sadly I smell no leather or clove. It got just a tad sweeter the longer I wore it, but too sandalwoody for me. I shall let the husband try it out as he rocks that dry old wood scent :lol:

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