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#1 Penance


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Posted 02 May 2011 - 11:39 PM

All mystique and thrumming power: gurjum balsam, Sumatran dragon's blood resin, olibanum, galangal, oleo gum resin, and frankincense.


5mL from the Lab.

Preconceived notions:

I'll admit right off the bat that I don't know what everything in here is supposed to smell like. But I know enough to know that most of these are resins or incensey notes, with a bit of greenness thrown in here and there.

First sniff:

Definitely an incense/resin blend, but this isn't church incense. It's not headshop incense, either. Instead, I'd say it smells like a pagan or occult store. It has that sort of darkness and mysteriousness to it.

Wet on skin:

Slightly sweet, resinous incense. Mage is a little bit smoky, but mainly, it smells like a mix of unusual, mysterious-smelling resins. It does put me in mind of what a mage might smell like.

Dry down:

A tiny bit of balsam is peeking out now, adding some pine to the resins. It's still mostly an incense blend, but the balsam gives it an appropriate touch of woodsiness. This mage doesn't spend all his time cooped up working on perfecting his magic. He goes out gathering herbs and practicing in the forest.

The bottom line:

I like this one a lot. I could take or leave the balsam, but the piney note it adds is subtle enough not to distract me from the beautiful resins.

#2 Dark Alice

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Posted 04 May 2011 - 06:02 PM

Pine..resins...more pine...and frankincense. Not a fan of this one.

Mixed with evil...pine and resins are more balanced. Will have to track a partial of this one down.

Edited by Dark Alice, 04 May 2011 - 06:28 PM.

#3 Samuraibrarian


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Posted 06 May 2011 - 05:13 PM

I expected a "blow up the world with power/elemental mastery" type of Mage. The Mage I'm smelling here, with the dusty spices and resins, is more reminiscent of what I'd expect a magic user's library, lab, or shop of magical curios to smell like. My initial reaction on throwing it on was "It's the inside of a Faerun-ian antique shop!"

Edited by Shollin, 28 June 2011 - 04:45 PM.
Removed Lab description

#4 mistressfizz


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Posted 22 May 2011 - 11:56 AM

Sniff: Resin! And more resin!

Wet: Dragon's blood and olibanum are really prominent. Instead of a lofty, solemn incense like Cathedral, this is earthy and woodsy, full of roots and greens. I don't get much of a pine scent at all.

Dry: Stays pretty much the same, a soft dark resin with hints of dirt and wood. Definitely close kin to Arcana, a solid incense blend for those who dig that kind of smell (like I do!)

#5 Diva Urd

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Posted 06 June 2011 - 02:50 AM

In the vial: Wow, that is some powerful balsam! Balsam sometimes goes horribly wrong on me, but hopefully the frankincense and dragon's blood are going to keep it in check.

On: The balsam seems to behave, though it is definitely present. This smells very similar to "Magus", which may be due to the galangal/frankincense combo. However, this is not quite as fresh and more resinous than "Magus". It's also a bit sweeter. Not bad!

Later: Pretty much the same as when I first put it on. The scent still has a duller edge than "Magus", but if it didn't, it would likely not layer as well as it's supposed to. This smells very base-note-y to me and needs something a bit more high-pitched to really make it shine.

#6 braybrigade


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Posted 08 June 2011 - 11:58 PM

In vial: Resinous spice.
Wet: Dried lumps of dusty solid frankincense, kept in an earthenware jar. Nearby is a crock of †herby basalm, soothing and healing.
Dry: The resins I recognized swirled with the others into a haze, overpowering any hint of dragon's blood for awhile. Eventually the sweetness made its way through, blending well with the spice.

Verdict: I imagine a mage's desk, covered in jars and pots of exotic mystical elements and agents. It is rather intoxicating, I love the way it smells right on my skin- the sweetness doesn't seem to carry into the throw as well as the spice does. I keep saying this, but I can't wait to try layering with these blends!

#7 Iceblink


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Posted 10 June 2011 - 07:10 PM

Lots of notes here and they're blended together very well. It's hard to pick out much beyond sweet dragon's blood and a general "resin"...with a little bit of green-smelling balsam. I'm not amping the frankincense like crazy here, just this once. There's something on the drydown that's almost--spicy? It's making me think of spicy candles. This is ok, but not something I would try again.

#8 patina


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Posted 11 June 2011 - 01:24 AM

I can't pick out any particular reisens, but on my skin, this blooms into something incredible. It's very soft-edged and a little sweet. Not sugary though. Somehow I'm a little reminded of Event Horizon even though there isn't any opium or orchid here.

Edited by patina, 11 June 2011 - 08:18 PM.

#9 astarinel


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Posted 11 June 2011 - 04:52 AM

I didn't like the smell of this in the imp, but it's one of those ones that definitely blooms after you put it on.

It's resinous, bright, spicy, and a little sweet. It definitely makes me think more of an alchemy or magic shop rather than a practitioner, it smells like exotic spell components or something. It's actually quite nice, and reasonably straightforward a scent.

#10 Little Bird

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Posted 11 June 2011 - 01:38 PM

I'm surprised that this doesn't have cedar in it, because I get a very dry, peppery, cedar-like woodsiness from this blend. It starts off cedary and also with a very sharp, perfumey note that reminds me of drugstore white floral (not sure which note here is doing that, unless it's bpal's dragon's blood, which sometimes turns floral and blech on me). As it dries down, it's still sharp, peppery, and cedar-esque, but with a little bit of sweetness coming in from the resin and frankincense.
Mage makes me think of old, dusty wooden cabinets full of jars of herbs, resins, spices and odd potions, with emphasis on the woods and dust, as this gets dustier/more powdery smelling on me over time.
Not my favorite bpal for woods&resins.

Edited by Little Bird, 29 August 2012 - 06:36 PM.

#11 tkannon


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Posted 29 June 2011 - 04:47 PM

I feel like I am walking through a forest holding a bottle of the most wonderful smelling resins. Dragon's Blood is a complete favorite of mine and this has just become my favorite blend with it. The balsam grounds it and keeps it from the overwhelming sweet note that other blends (Blood rose for example) can amplify.

Now I have to put mage on one wrist and ranger on the other and see which I love more....

#12 DarkSinestra


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Posted 26 July 2011 - 07:36 PM

In the imp, this is very sweet and resiny, pretty much like a metaphysical bookstore, that blend of sweet incenses that combine to give that distinctive scent.

Wet this is really lovely. I am dragons blood, and this is no exception. It's got a very light, almost playful vibe. This particular mage isn't doom and gloom, all work and no play. There's a slightly woodsy thing going on, but it doesn't just scream PINE.

Dry down this is flat out delicious on me. I've always liked incense type blends, and I've had enough good experiences working in metaphysical bookstores that this puts me right back there, polishing the shelves, listening to the amazing music, and puttering about while interesting people come and go. I can't be more specific on most of the notes because I'm not familiar with them. I can say they play together very nicely. I'm not amping the Frankincense to headache inducing levels which I sometimes do. There is nothing remotely church-y or liturgical about this. It's pure magic. I didn't expect it, but it's my favorite of the RPG blends to date.

Decent throw, decent lasting power.

#13 angelicruin


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Posted 09 November 2011 - 11:43 PM

Not skin tested as this is a gift for someone, but sniffing the decant it's strong pine and frankincense.

#14 dreamingjune


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Posted 23 November 2011 - 05:32 PM

In bottle: I can't help but think of these lovely spiced, dried and very bitter orange slices that I got from an Asian market when I sniff this. Hmmm..

On skin: This is very well blended. No one note is popping out, but I am getting a fresh, sweet, and green incense feel from it. I suspect this is the balsam and dragon's blood combo working some sort of magic here.

Dry: The sweet, green incense feel is still there but it is becoming for clean and citrusy on my which makes me think the olibanum/frankincense is coming out. This almost wants to go soapy but the balsam seems to be keeping it in check.

Overall: I like it, but it is just a bit too fresh for me. There are some really interesting notes that peek out here and there in this that make it stand out from other incense blends I have tried. Though, I feel like I would love it more if there were just a bit more dark, smokey notes along with a bit more sweetness.

#15 archergrl


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Posted 05 December 2011 - 11:15 PM

Ok so I like to burn incense in my room so I figured that I would really like the incense type smells. Kinda on the fence on this one. First incense one I have tried so maybe its just the blend?

Anyway I do like how this one settles on my skin. Very sweet incense scent to me. It seems like this is the dragon's blood from reading the other reviews.

The downside for me is that while it is still wet on my skin it is VERY overwhelmingly intense so much so that I got a headache when I tried my standard oil application(dab on both wrists, both elbow creases and below and slightly behind both ears). I ended up washing it off my wrists to kill the headache. So fair warning people I learned the hard way try one wrist first THEN try full application lol. Tried this again only on the wrists(now wearing it this way) and I definitely like it better this way (get wiffs of it while I type yum).

Like I said still on the fence. Maybe the solution is to try a different dragon's blood blend?

I got a scent locket so I will try wearing it that way too and come back to comment on that method of wearing the scent.

Edited by archergrl, 05 December 2011 - 11:16 PM.

#16 scott_russell


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Posted 05 March 2012 - 04:42 PM

This is a great scent. I really smell pine and dragons blood when it dries. It really smells like an old library(in a good way) deep in an enchanted forest.

#17 zankoku_zen


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Posted 26 March 2012 - 06:54 PM

Sweet resins, hint of pine. Actually, I ended up liking this more than I thought I would. I am very excited to try this layered with Evil, Chaotic and Lawful.

#18 Melissa Della

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Posted 09 May 2012 - 02:59 AM

Wet: Resinous; frankincense definitely, but others too. Slight hint of dragonís blood.

First on: Dragonís blood, frankincense. Burning incense at an occult shop.

Dry: Light and foresty incense. The dragonís blood is gone.

#19 symbiosis


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Posted 14 June 2012 - 05:06 PM


In the imp: This is a very, very green smelling incense. This isn't smokey or spicey, this is fresh and clear incense and resin. Delightful.

On my skin: At first the balsam jumps out with it's green and slightly cedar-y smell. Unlike cedar though, it doesn't smell powdery on me. It *almost* smells like a yule-type blend, as if there was a christmas tree nearby, but it lacks the spice and heat of a holiday scent. None of the resins are too powdery or smoky on me. I had to look up what galangal was - a rhizome of a plant in the ginger family, that supposedly tastes stronger than ginger. I don't get much ginger smell, but now that I think of it, I can identify a smell that I recognize from thai curries using galangal - a slight heat and tingle, something akin to lemongrass but without being citrusy.

In short, I love this scent. It's green and mysterious while still being resin-y and incense-y, without all the things that incense and resin do poorly on my skin (like going smokey or powdery.) Might have to get more of this!

#20 Rocza


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Posted 26 September 2012 - 05:52 AM

In the imp: too 'perfumy.' On the skin: spiced incense. It sweetens up a bit and gets more juicy as it dries. Interesting. Not a favorite, but not bad.

#21 starfish327


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Posted 27 January 2013 - 02:37 PM

I completely forgot the notes list when I first put this one, so that may or may not be a good thing for reviewing purposes.

in the imp: musky herbaliness.

wet: more musky herbaliness. This is a bizarre one because there's a scent I really like lurking underneath a nasty medicinal quality I very much don't like [big surprise there. this is a dragon's blood blend].

dry: short drydown is the same nasty top scent but the longer it's on, I start getting the resinous ambery quality I love so much from Nephilim. I'm still getting whiffs of dragon's blood which is a really hard note for me to wear.

If the dragon's blood were fainter or held more in check this is would be a definite keeper. Right now I'm thinking I don't love it enough to keep-not with having a bottle and a half of Nephilim, which works much, much better on my chemistry. I think this one will end up in my friend's enabling box.

#22 JazzieCazzie


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Posted 25 March 2013 - 01:30 AM

A slightly older imp which I can't recall if it was a decant (I only know I got it at the same time as Gnome) or a Lab purchase or a purchase from Dark Delicacies. I am thinking it was from DD. It's not the "typical" Lab label.

Am working my way through my entire BPAL collection (imps, frimps, big bottles, lagniappe, etc.) A-Z to revisit and re-review, re-organize and come up with both one complete swap list and a wishlist for more. Plus to see if I can figure out what works on me and why.

This was a puzzler ...

IN THE IMP: The first thing I thought was FIG! But ... I know, I know. There is no fig in this. But it reminded me SO much of Nemesis and Nephilim, for some reason (and coincidentally, I just made my first reasonably big-for-me big bottle purchase in awhile -- four 5 MLs -- and got both of those Ns!).

Daubed on wrist and in crook of arm.

WET: I am still getting N&N. Dark slightly fruity, sweetly resinous and herbally woodsy. I don't think I'm getting any Dragon's Blood at all, which is odd because it's one of my favorite notes and usually amps on me a lot. (Also surprised how light the color is, a pale amber, for a DB blend). Rather I'm getting sweet, almost sharp and ever-so-slightly metallic woodsy resin.

DRYDOWN: This is a very comforting though strong scent and oddly familiar in a "I can't quite put my finger on why" way. It's got a ton of long-lasting throw. As it dries more and more I get the resin but I STILL, dammit, keep thinking "fig! figgy figgy fig!" Got figure (hahahaha no pun intended).

OVERALL: I really, really love this. It's outstanding. So why do I keep thinking that for some reason it was mislabeled? I'm just not recognizing ANY of the notes as listed. But whatever it is, I love it.

On a scale of 1-5, a 4.8

#23 ApothecaryScribe


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Posted 16 June 2013 - 07:39 PM

I bought 5 mL of this (along with Lawful, Cleric, and Fighter) from ThinkGeek during their RPG oils special. It's growing on me; I wore it yesterday accompanying a multimedia online voyage with my Learned Spouse through the versions of the Child ballad "Lord Randall".

Initially: sweet, thick, somewhat murky multi-incenses. I had hoped for the sharp/ethereal notes of actual burning frankincense but it's the sweeter smokier midrange. Mage's incense seems quite different either from Cleric's or from a liturgical incense aroma.

As it incubates on my wrist the sweetness disperses a bit and it's a spicy, smoky incense.

Eventually, maybe an hour or 2 in, a pungent note comes out that reminds me of the sharp sulfurous vapors after a fireworks display or sparklers have burnt out. After several wearings I eventually placed this as galangal. It's the most original and interesting bit in this blend and also an effect I would not have predicted from how galangal smells and tastes in culinary use.

Finally the drydown becomes spicy, resiny, almost powdery, and very reminiscent of that darkened circle on the ceramic incense burner after the cone has burned out. This residuum was very tenacious, detectable ca. 9 hours after application. It's my second favorite aspect of Mage after the feral galangal.

I want to experiment with layering to add a higher register and counterbalance the early sweetness (eg, Lawful) or to resemble burning incense more (eg, Smokestack to add a background of combustion products?)

#24 mymymai


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Posted 03 September 2013 - 12:24 PM

ITB: What a lovely and deeply brooding set of resins. The frankincense, olibanum, balsam, and oleo gum resin are distinctive and prominent, although the dragon's blood resin functions nicely in the background to add some depth.

Wet: The dragon's blood is almost bubble gum-y in quality on my skin for some reason, but the other resins keep it from being too sweet. I'm still loving the woodsy balsam and frankincense here.

Dry: After 12 hours, it's lightly resinous - frankincense and olibanum with a faint hint of dragon's blood resin. Lovely!

#25 tdiym


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Posted 17 October 2013 - 05:14 PM

when I open my box of BPALz, THE most wonderful smell comes out -- a mixture of all my oils and for years now I've wished for a scent that smells like that. So much so that I've even considered taking one drop of each and every one of them and putting them all into a bottle (great idea, right? :eek: ).
And then I got a frimp of Mage from the lab with one of my orders.
O!M!G! this is IT! It's that smell when I open my BPAL box!! Yeah, it's resinous and deep and has patchouli and maybe even dark orange in it.
My BPAL box is heaven in a box. This is deep, dark heaven in a bottle.

Edited by tdiym, 17 October 2013 - 05:22 PM.

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