After a quick accumulation of imps (and some decants), I'm starting to test them all -- one per day. My daughter has claimed the option to test as well if she likes it on me. Our method: she reaches into the box of imps without looking and pulls one out. We sniff it, and unless it's rejected right away I try it on my skin. Then, if she likes it on me, she puts some on as well. I'm keeping my notes here because I'm seriously unqualified to write actual scent reviews!
Here are our test results in order:
1 - Tweedledum: we both rejected it, I think it's the patchouli coming through. Re-pull! Final verdict: ✗
later that night I went to sniff it again and managed to get it on myself. we realized it was like the slightly medicinal but very sweet fruit candies they give us at the asian market. we like them at first but then no.
2 - Thalia: iffy; on me seemed soapy at first. She refused to try it. After several hours it got more floral but still eh. Like a nice hotel soap. Might try again. Final verdict: 2nd chance box 3 - Blood: in the imp we weren't sure, but I put it on first and we liked it; so she put it on too. We both loved it on. After a few hours, we both still love it. Spicier on me, fruitier on her. Final verdict: ✓ 4 - Cheshire Cat: liked it in the imp, but at first after putting it on it was just all weird. Kind of like....a papery old lady. But it mellowed out and I began to really like it after a bit. A keeper for me (but not the child), but might not make the ultimate cut. Final verdict: ✓ 5 - Grave Pig: rejected in the imp. Daughter said it smelled like IKEA in a bad way. Re-pull! Final verdict: ✗ 6 - Harlot's House: Iffy in imp , soapy at first. On me it went sweeter and more floral. Final verdict: ✓ Added bonus! Harlot's House came with a side of conversation about western culture's shaming language about female sexuality. +1 for learning opportunities.
7 - Bonfire: in the imp we liked it. On me, the kid said "no, don't put that on me, it smells like someone put something weird on that fire". After it started drying, the smoke smell got more prominent and either because I'm allergic to something in it or out of sheer psychological suggestion, my eyes started burning! Scrubbed until my wrists were magenta. Final verdict: ✗ 8 - Baba Yaga: Couldn't quite get a handle on it in the imp or wet, but dry it was just gorgeous. More herbal on the kid so she didn't like it as much. Final verdict: ✓ 9 - Jiggery Pokery: on me only as it was just a drop or two left. I liked the cotton candy note at first, but it dried and went all overly sweet creamsicle on me. I still like the smell but not on me. UPDATE: a second half-imp allowed the girl to test it and she adored it! On her it was a lovely orange-tinted cloud of cotton candy. Final verdict: ✓ 10 - Alice: again, just a few drops so a solo test by the kid. On her the milk & honey stayed prominent. I thought it was a bit odd on her but she loved it and wants more. Final verdict: ✓ 11 - Cleric: sadly, Cleric was the first bpal that gave me cologne headache. Bad. AND I got it on my sweater. ON the upside, I didn't really like how it smelled anyway (like, well, a basic cologne), so no big loss. Final verdict: ✗ 12 - Calaveras: on me only, from an aged bottle. I noticed that in recent reviews this was getting a definite baked goods smell for some people, and that was my experience. Sort of a smoky, chocolatey spice cake, but with something slightly off -- in a good way. Really liked it, not sure how much I would use it though. Final verdict: ✓ Lucky 13 - Bordello: on me only, the kid rejected it right away saying "I feel like if I smell that I will get dizzy". This might be the first one that smelled on me 100% the way it's described. A heady, rich winey fruit-and-nuts smell. Lasted FOREVER. Final verdict: ✓ 14 - Debauchery: Total head shop smell. Despite that, liked it, but not really for me. It smelled too much like guy, I think. Smelled lighter and fresher on the kid -- on me things definitely go slightly smokier. Not giving up on it yet though. Final verdict: 2nd chance box 15 - Bliss: kid only and this was not the chocolate she was hoping for. Instead of a milk chocolate, it was a dry and slightly burnt smelling cocoa powder. Very much like the way a scratch'n'sniff chocolate sticker smells. She's keeping it anyway, bc CHOCOLATE. Final verdict: 2nd chance box 16 - R'Lyeh: Me only, and I was really not sure about it at first. It was very vegetable-ish at first, almost like a cucumber/grapefruit salad. But it dried very different, to a clean, salty smell with a hint of something.....incensey? Final verdict: ✓ 17 - Sticky Eyeballs and Floppy Entrails: kid only, and a huge hit. It smelled exactly like we thought it would, which is a slightly more natural version of her favorite candies, Hello Kitty Strawberry Marshmallows. Plus she loves the name. Will be getting her a bottle! Final verdict: ✓ 18 - Phantasm: Mama only. I was worried at the strong lemon peel smell both in the imp and wet, but it dried to a really pretty sweet/sour jasmine. Unfortunately then it just up and vanished after maybe an hour. I may try again in the spring. Final verdict: 2nd chance box 19 - The Deep Ones: pretty disappointing to us both, pleasant but just really dull. Kid described it as smelling like "we washed our hands with some method soap called Ocean". We actually washed it off and did a re-pull. Final verdict: ✗ 20 - Euphrosyne: scary lemon oil smell at first, but it faded quickly, drying to a really lovely deep vanilla/gardenia. Will probably put away until Spring. Final verdict: ✓ 21 - Obatala: So fresh smelling! Went on like coconut candies, turned milky and sweet. Very pretty though. Final verdict: 2nd chance box 22 - Bess: mama only; very herbal in the imp, but flowers came up once it was on. Dry it was roses with a bit of citrus and rosemary -- lovely but a fast fader on me. Final verdict: ✓ 23 - Dana O'Shee: wet my daughter said it smelled like spice cake, which she thought was fantastic. It dried down to a lovely honey cake smell on her, but on me there was an almond note that wouldn't go away. Final verdict: 2nd chance box 24 - Elf: in the imp it smelled like a tiny bottle of the forest! notes came and went as it dried but it always smelled lovely. Final verdict: ✓ 25 - Nyarlathotep: Well it wasn't as chaotic as we thought it might be, but it was nice. Dried to a resinous but slightly citrusy scent, which is -- I think -- the frankinscence coming up strong? A bit masculine but we liked it. Final verdict: ✓ 26 - Aeval: it was an herby floral in the imp but just went all soapy. Kid rated it "seriously meh" and we scrubbed it. Final verdict: ✗ 27 - Good: it started out kind of sweet and floral but just went all powdery and again, "serious meh". Scrubbed.Final verdict: ✗ 28 - Jezebel: Mama only, kid was not interested (which surprised me because she loves roses and they love her right back). Started off sweetened roses, then dried to a dusty antique rose. Very slowly went slightly powdery as the sandalwood lasted longer than anything. At the 9 hour mark this was still going strong! Not sure I'd wear it again though. Final verdict: 2nd chance box 29 - Darkness: In the imp it was all sweet, heavy and spicy, but as it dried it went all animal on me. And not in a good way, in a feral-cat-got-into-the-garden way. Scrubbed it SO HARD. Final verdict: ✗ 30 - Pontarlier: from start to finish this was a lovely sunny cottage garden. Saving it for spring! Final verdict: ✓ 31 - Vasilissa: It took a weird journey from berries in the imp, candied incense on, to a warm, comforting, ember-like scent dry. A new love for sure! Since Baba Yaga is already in my top list I thought that was pretty cool. Also makes me want to try the whole Vasilissa series! Final verdict: ✓ 32 - Roses, Pearls and Diamonds: This yummy rosy scent was another that was very different on us. On me it vacillated between roses and musks and literally alternated between wonderful and meh. But on the daughter it was yummy milky roses all the way. Final verdict: ✓ 33 - Blood Amber: well since so far ambers and dragon's blood are two of my best notes this was a no-brainer, and it didn't disappoint. Warm and delicious. Did not even share with my child, I'll be hoarding this imp! Final verdict: ✓ 34 - Tweedledee: Mama only -- I should have known not to put it on my skin as it was all orange candies in the imp. But I did it anyway, and while at first the sweetness seemed to lessen, the strong artificial orange candy smell was just too much for me. My daughter will try it, I think it'll be up her alley. UPDATE: no shocker, on the girl it was an amazing gourmet candy. Final verdict: ✓ 35 - Battle Fairy in Training: Girl only -- pretty much exactly as described! She's basically a walking cloud of sugar. And my girl loves to be a walking cloud of sugar, so she wears this with Boo in her hair. And a dab of Sticky Eyeballs alongside. She's my little living candy shop! (note: I think it's lovely, but the sugar smells are really not for me, so the candy smells are 100% girl testers now) Final verdict: ✓ 36 - Morgause: Mama only (we are often split testing now) -- wet it was floral and fruity, but as it dried the incense came up wonderfully. A definite keeper. Final verdict: ✓ 37 - Siren: Mama only -- heavy jasmine was slowly taken over by woody foody smells. Not a new love, but a keeper. Final verdict: ✓ 38 - Comparison of Celebrated Beauties: Mama only -- I'm always a little nervous about LE scents, who wants to fall for something that'll be hard to get? Not a problem here, this started off like a weird cream soda and suddenly went all overpowering industrail almond on me. An actual scrubber. Final verdict: ✗ 39 - Eat Me: tested together! A fresh, spicy cake, with fruit that shows up during drydown. Went a but odd on me but delicious on the kid. Final verdict: ✓ 40 - Temple of Dreams: We both liked this, but not as a wearable scent. I'm going to mix up a pillow spray from it to try instead. Final verdict: 2nd chance box 41 - Wrath: Mama only. I thought I would love this based on the description, those are all notes I love. But something rootlike and medicinal came up immediately and it dried like a plastic bandaid. Weird. Final verdict: ✗ 42 - Shub-Niggurath: we both loved this tasty ginger cookie of a scent. On me the cinnamon went a little Red Hots but it still smelled great. Final verdict: ✓ 43 - Chimera: After the previous day's cinnamon success I was excited to try this but I think the cinnamon was too strong for me -- the smell was overwhelming and my skin started to itch so off it went! Final verdict: ✗
NOTE: at this point our testing begins to diverge a bit as the girl-child develops definite preferences and has actually accumulated her own set of imps to test without me! She still smells and comments on everything she declines to test herself though.
44 - Skadi: Mama only - this one evolved a lot; from fresh minty berries, to a blizzard of minty snow, to a cool dry wintry pine forest. Lovely, but to be honest the chill factor with this one is real and I pretty much hate being cold. Special occasion only. Final verdict: ✓ UPDATE: Well, when your Yule in the North ends up being 70°, a chilly feeling might be what I need! Wore Skadi for our surprisingly warm Xmas and it was perfect. Highly recommended for anyone having a winter celebration in a warm climate.
45 - The Lion: Mama only - ah, the perfect antidote for chilly Skadi; this warm spice ambery lion was just gorgeous. Like your best fuzzy sweater. I smelled so lovely the child regretted her choice of Battle Fairy for the day. Final verdict: ✓ 46 - Ladon: Mama only (the child was overdosing on layers of sugar) - started off pure fresh apple but dried down and everything else came out. The combination was beautiful but it was a bit of a fast fade on me. Love it but may have to carry it with me to refresh it if I wear it. Final verdict: ✓ 47 - The Little Wooden Doll (Mama): Finally I got to try another Vasilissa scent! Sadly, the Little Wooden Doll didn't bring me much comfort. Sandalwood and amber in the imp; dried all dusty sandalwood. No roses at all. Either this is the rose note dying on me or an aged imp that lost its rosiness. I may try a fresher imp someday! Final verdict: ✗ 48 - Wicked (Mama): started out all jasmine then went suddenly and horribly wrong like a cheap baby powder. Final verdict: ✗ 49 - Dirty (tested together): We were worried about a hint of soap at the beginning, but it ended up like freshly washed fruit. Saving for Spring. Final verdict: 2nd chance box 50 - Hellcat (Mama): the honeyed nuts in the imp went all sweet and spicy-smoky. I worried about the almond as it can be nasty on me but here it just went delicious. Final verdict: ✓ 51 - Aelopile (Mama): we both liked this a lot but it seemed too masculine for me - started off glorious ambers and then a cedary citrus came on board. I'll keep it but probably won't wear it. Final verdict: 2nd chance box 52 - The Great Sword of War (Mama): A nice scent but way too gritty for me. Final verdict: ✗ 53 - Aglaea (Mama): This wet musky amber had no peach to it as reviews say - it was definitely an older imp though, so maybe it had just faded. I like ambers but it did nothing for me. Final verdict: ✗ 54 - Muddy Puddles (girl-child): never made it onto her wrist, she dislikes the chocolate/cocoa note in here intensely. After sniffs on a few different days I started a box for bottles we won't be keeping. Final verdict: ✗ 55 - Little Lady Macbeth (girl-child): started off with a whiff of something rose-like, then went a bit spice-cake. But once dry it mainly smelled like she had sprayed extra Boo on her hair! Final verdict: ✓ 56 - Muse of Fire (girl-child): a sweetly floral scent in the bottle which really did explode into a bundle of flowers dusted with sugar! Final verdict: ✓ 57 - Redoul Honey (girl-child): an artisanal honey that slowly got heavier and more floral, but always smelled strongly of honey. She loved it, personally I think I prefer the sugars on her to honey, but it's her arm! Final verdict: ✓ 58 - Dragon's Milk: delicious, sweet and cherry-like in the imp; dried to a lighter and sweeter version of our beloved Blood. Final verdict: ✓ 59 - Baobhan Sith (Mama): wet all apples and grapefruit; dry it smelled like the most delicious tea ever. But it was a very fast fader. Final verdict: 2nd chance box 60 - Old Demons of the First Class (Mama): wet spiciness gave way to a bundle of cloves and pepper. Not bad but not for me. Final verdict: ✗ 61 - Ode On Melancholy (Mama): the floral sandalwood scent came right out of the imp, settling to sadly faded flowers on. But then as it dried the flowers seemed to revive, weirdly, before doing a slow fade. Very pretty, but I recently saw a rec for this as a sleep scent and may repurpose it for that. Final verdict: ✓ 62 - The Antikythera Mechanism (Mama): we really liked this one at first, the girl-child saying "it smells like a ship at sea!" But as it dried the tobacco came on strong and I couldn't handle it. Final verdict: ✗ 63 - 13 (Nov 2015) (girl-child): I got this to give her as a birthday surprise, thinking all that honey and sugar would be right up her alley. But that was before I knew that the Lab's chocolate was like death on her. It dried to what I thought was a lovely powdery donut, but she disliked it. Heartbreaking! Final verdict: ✗ 64 - Cockaigne (girl-child): this one was a hit though, because the Lab's milky notes are a thing of beauty on this kid. A sweet milky smell dried to a delcious cake. Final verdict: ✓ 65 - Isidore's Phoenix (Mama): too fruity, on me it went all high-end soapy. Violets, plums and incense didn't play together well on my wrist. Final verdict: ✗ 66 - Le Clerc's Phoenix (Mama): in the imp it smelled like a beloved old box; and it dried nicely at first but then the woods became overwhelming. Final verdict: ✗ 67 - Statius' Phoenix (Mama): sweet incense with a nice but of old polished cedar. In some ways seemed like a weaker version of Philostratus' Phoenix though. Final verdict: ✓ 68 - Philostratus' Phoenix (Mama): the girl-child thought it smelled like sunlit Blood. Spicy and incensy with a sweet comforting note. I am considering a bottle of this one before the deadline. Final verdict: ✓ 69 - Tamora: this one was pretty consistent on the two of us, with a slightly nicer finish on me. A flowery amber went vanilla spice; more vanilla on the girl-child, more snuggly spice on me. Final verdict: ✓ 70 - Black Pearl (Mama): as it dries the white musk comes whooshing up through the faint coconut. Super-delicious, will probably be great on the girl-child. Final verdict: ✓ 71 - Dorian (Mama): I was super-excited to get this frimped; it's delicious in the vial but slowly went a bit play-doh on me. I might try a fresher sample or a later test. Final verdict: 2nd chance box 72 - O: really lovely but the edge went to the girl-child; on me the honey went a little odd but on her it became this very warm vanilla honey. Final verdict: ✓ 73 - Faustus (Mama): On paper it sounded great, but it went rank on me. I think violet is not a good note for me. Scrubbed. Final verdict: ✗ 74 - Dragon's Blood (Mama): Very spicy cherry! We liked the smell, but not as much as the dragon's blood blends we already love. Will keep for playing with. Final verdict: 2nd chance box 75 - Fresh and Blooming As A Rose (girl-child): I'll try this eventually but she's the Rose Princess so she wanted to try it right away. There was a bit of greenery along with the roses at first, then the green smell faded as a snuggly amber note came up. Lovely at every stage. Final verdict: ✓ 76 - The Rose (girl-child): speaking of roses, we never took notes on this one, but it was a success! Very much like her Rose Red HG, a lovely red rose with its leaves and stem. Final verdict: ✓ 77 - Whip (girl-child): more roses for the Rose Princess. We both loved Whip on her, it works as a less girly rose. Final verdict: ✓ 78 - Hollywood Babylon (Mama): wet it was rich and fruity, almost wine-y; dry it was a vanilla amber with a touch of cherry. Really liked it but I kept thinking it smelled like something I already have. Final verdict: ✓ 79 - Season of Ghosts (Mama): It's citrusy goodness warmed up and went incensy, but then it did a fast fade. Liked it, wouldn't get more. Final verdict: ✓ 80 - Stage Blood (Mama): A thick, rich cherry version of Blood, we liked it but not as much as other Blood-y blends we have. Final verdict: ✓ 81 - Ivory Vulva (girl-child): Ugh, why did I ever let her try on an LE I may never get more of? She loved it and it was delicious -- sort of like if you scraped frosting off of a spice cake, picking up the faintest hints of sweet spices mixed in with the creamy sweet vanilla. All I can do is hope and pray it comes back around some day! Final verdict: ✓ 82 - Dormouse (girl-child): starts off a yummy tea, then on the skin the peony blooms! Faint but very pretty. Final verdict: ✓ 83 - Anubis (Mama): We were (pleasantly_ surprised by the fresh greenness of the herbs once this hit my skin! We both thought the herbs would be dry and dusty. And the incense notes worked, as always, for me. Final verdict: ✓
, Harlot's House, Baba Yaga,
Sticky Eyeballs and Floppy Entrails
, Euphrosyne, Elf, Nyarlathotep, Pontarlier, Vasilissa,
Battle Fairy in Training,
Tweedledee, Little Lady Macbeth, Muse of Fire, Redoul Honey, Dragon's Milk,
, Tamora, O,
Fresh and Blooming as a Rose, The Rose, Whip
(Also: Boo HG and Rose Red HG)
: Tweedledum, Grave Pig, Bonfire, Cleric, The Deep Ones, Aeval, Good, Darkness, Comparison of Celebrated Beauties, Wrath, Chimera, The Little Wooden Doll, Wicked, The Great Sword of War, Aglaea, Muddy Puddles, The Antikythera Mechanism, 13 (Nov 2015), Isidore's Phoenix, Faustus
Thalia, Debauchery, Bliss, Phantasm, Obatala, Dana O'Shee,
Jezebel, Dirty, Aelopile, Baobhan Sith, Dorian, Dragon's Blood
BONUS TEST: we did some experimentation with dilution in carrier oils, details are here but the tl;dr - clear jojoba vs fractionated coconut came out basically a tie with a very slight edge to coconut. Other parents have done 1:3 scent to oil, I'm thinking 1:2 will work best for my kid.