New month, time to test all the decants I accumulated during October. Maybe I'll make November All Decants All The Time. I certainly have enough of them!
November 1: Jiaolong -- Surprisingly smooth! The Lab's coffee notes can go kind of funky on me, but this one starts with a warm cup of very good coffee with three or four sugars and then blooms into an exquisite black musk. Black musk often smells a little citrus-like to me, and this is no exception, but it melds beautifully with the sugar (which also can smell a touch lemony) and the coffee bean. As it dries I lose most of the coffee, and it simplifies into a sweet black musk, still warm and almost a touch sweaty. I feel like this would make a really good layering scent to deepen and add some sweetness. Oddly, despite liking this one, I'm not sure if I'll buy a bottle. It's not quite my aesthetic, though I have some friends I think it might smell amazing on, and I have a few other coffee scents that stay more coffee, if that's what I'm after. But I might end up deathmatching one of my LE coffees; this one is really nice. 🤔 Hmm.
November 2: The Grindhouse -- On paper, this should be a great love for me. I like or love nearly all the notes and there's nothing in here that is solidly awful for me. On my skin, though it's really not my style. It's very mature, sexy and blossomy in a way I can't quite pull off. It has aspects in common with some other scents I do love -- Mme. Moriarty, Blood Pearl -- and others I'm not so fond of -- Smut, Hell's Belle -- but mashes them together in a way that mostly makes me feel very neutral about the entire experience. The florals are strong and fleshy except for the rose, which chills at the very back of this scent, but the iris and red musk are the strongest notes by far. It has a pretty solid throw for a while, but poor longevity, which is really odd for something with red musk at this strength. I'm used to that note hanging out forever. Hm, yeah. Glad I tried it, but not one I'll buy more of.
November 3: Jaawi -- Interesting. This is a pretty nice scent in the abstract, but really not suited to my skin and something in it is making my eyes itch to the point where I'm not sure I can really give it a fair review, tbh. I'm guessing it's the bay leaf? There's nothing else in there that I haven't worn in some other scent in the recent past that I can think of, and, of course, it might be some other environmental or internal factor, but oof. Anyway, before my eyes started itching it seemed like a pleasantly woody/champaca scent with an undertone of dark coconut husk and a very gentle waft of lavender wayyyyy in the back. It's a little ....raspy? It's not a smooth scent, it's rougher to my nose. Anyway, I'm going to go wash my hands and face and put this in the 'test again later' box.
November 4: Vanilla Cream & Pear -- If I didn't have The Vine, I'd be all over this, but I do and The Vine blows it out of the water completely in terms of how I want pear to smell on me. It's a soft, sweet, creamy pear, very simple, very basic, no surprises on me at all. The cream note isn't super distinct, but backs up the pear in a pleasant way, thankfully. Very poor longevity and throw, completely gone in less than an hour. It's fine, but also a bit boring.
November 5: Elderberry Flower & Sandhill Plum -- This is a no from me as well. It smells like expensive soap. I feel like I just washed my hands in a very fancy hotel. This plum is definitely a bit different from other plum notes, thinner and sharper, and I'm not really enjoying the way it smells on my skin. Throw is moderate, longevity is pretty good, but overall not to my tastes. Definitely passing this one along.
November 6: The Best Lies (American Gods) -- Another simple scent, but this one I like. 😂 Sweet pink roses with a waft of almost-citrus-like sugar and something that, on me, reads more as honey dust than liquid honey. A few of the reviews mention a makeup-like scent, and I get that too briefly, like the scent of some classic rose-scented face lotion or scented body powder or something like that. Urban Decay had a honey-scented body powder many years ago, and if that had a hint of rose, it'd be a bit like this. Eventually the powder fades and it becomes a lovely candied rose scent. I have quite a few of these kinds of scents, so I probably won't buy a bottle, but if you are lacking in that sort of thing, this is a wonderful example of it. Good longevity and moderate throw.
November 7: Today's a migraine day. I kind of looked at my decants and winced, so I'm not even going to try. >_>; Hopefully it'll be done by tomorrow; I got things to do. x_x;;;;
November 8: Yeaaaaah, no. v_v;;;;;;;
November 9: The Small Brown Cat (American Gods) -- Huh, I probably could have handled this one yesterday, it's extremely mellow. Cedar isn't a big favorite of mine, as it tends to go pencil shavings on my skin, but this has a very lovely fluffy fur musk (similar to those in deer-related scents like Ivanushka or Buck Moon prior to 2021) and cardamom-scented vanilla to smooth the cedar out to the point where it really is just a touch, and a nice, more live cedar tree touch rather than processed and shredded wood. I don't necessarily get 'cat' out of this scent, but it's very laid-back and calming. I like it quite a bit! I don't know that I'll need more than this full decant, but I'm happy I went for it. Very low throw, it stays close to my skin, but solid staying power. I can still smell it on my wrist several hours later, at which point it's a soft furry vanilla. I'm also a bit curious about how this is going to age. It's maybe a month or two old at this point, but I'm betting it'll be either gorgeous in a year or two, or the cedar will take over and it will be less to my tastes. Definitely going to keep it and find out!
November 10: The Silver Dollar (American Gods) -- First: wow, iris!! Followed rapidly by gently tart and slightly bitter white tea, a very clean and laundry-like white musk, and a faint hint of actual citrus from the bergamot. The benzoin primarily makes it a little smoother than it might otherwise be, though that does make it an essential part of the blend because whoooof this would probably be screechy without it. I like it, mostly? There was a particular phase of my collecting experience where I would have been all over this, but the fact is that I don't like wearing most tea scents very much. White tea in particular smells real funky on my skin, and not a lot like tea at all. The iris is very big here, giving it a lot more throw than I might have expected, but it starts fading out after maybe three hours. Six hours later, it's just a dusting of slightly tart iris. Very interesting. I'll keep the decant for now, but I don't think I'll buy more.
November 11: Bast (AG) -- For me this starts with a powerful hit of myrrh and some of the dry desert note that I love in the oldest bottles of The Ifrit. I haven't bought or sniffed a new one in years, but there were *definitely* batch variations for that one, and, I suspect, for this one, based on the variance in reviews. There's a very perfumey aspect to it, mostly from the amber, but the cardamom is playing assist there, too. As it dries it gets sweeter, though, and the honey/cacao combo gives it a kind of weird undertone on me, one that I'm not sure I entirely like. Eventually it all blends together into a warm, sweetly resinous fragrance that hovers over my skin and just smells lovely. This is another I feel is probably going to age well, but possibly into something I don't like. I'm definitely holding onto this one, because I love that desert note and there's not much that has it.
November 12: The Forgettable God (AG) -- I'm having a bit of an allergy problem at the moment, so perhaps a scent that is described as being faint and light both in reviews and in the actual description was not a good choice for today. But here I am, wearing it anyway! It is indeed aquatic, a lot fresher than I normally prefer, but also I'm pretty sure contains some of what composes their glass accord (as in House of Mirrors) ... actually, having pulled out House of Mirrors (description: Antique amber frames a series of distorted, eternally warping clear crystal and glass notes), this remarkably similar. HoM is a little sweeter from the amber component, while this has an almost vegetal note that I suspect may get stronger over time. Interesting. I'm definitely going to test this again when my sniffer is back in complete working order. Others I might test this against: Sea of Glass, maybe some of the misty scents, though it doesn't have the pear-like quality, it does have the slight citrus tang that some of them do.
November 13: Coin Trick (AG) -- Wore this yesterday and then forgot to write it up. ^^; This sits somewhere between Media and The Forgettable God for me -- it does smell like something you might pick up at a department store, but it's also got some distinctive BPAL flair that Media worked hard to cover up. It's got moderate throw, though not overwhelming at the amount I typically use, and is very clean and bright, but there's a bit of the metal note and a touch of citrus, possibly grapefruit or bergamot rather than orange or lemon. Longevity is lacking, though. Overall, it's fine, but I probably won't keep it. It's just not really to my tastes.
November 14: Zorya Polunochnaya (AG) -- I was really expecting to love this, and I somehow don't. A few people in the review thread mention that it goes powdery or play-doh-like on their skin, and I am unfortunately in that group. The white amber ("pale amber" ...yeah, it's white amber.) is very strong and doesn't mesh well with the other notes on my skin. I can tell this would be lovely on someone else, pale and hypnotic and wispy, but unfortunately, on me it's pretty much just loud white amber with a fragrant floral background. Even the ambergris, which normally takes over on me, can't compete in this one, at least until almost ten hours on. Throw is potent, longevity is good. (See also: The Girl, to which it bears some similarity.)
November 15: Kind of a loss, I've been sneezing all day because I was cleaning and there was a lot of dust, so my nose is laughing gently at the idea of being able to wear anything and have it smell like ...anything, really. I put on The Carousel (AG) but it's a kind of greenish-ambery muddle to me right now. Time for a nasal rinse, then trying again tomorrow, probably the same thing, since I'm determined to get through these American Gods decants and this is the last one. As of right now, it kind of reminds me of The Apothecary, but I'm 90% sure there's some subtleties I'm missing because I am full of ooze. I'm expecting it to remind me a bit of Eve, and right now it doesn't. ^^;
November 16: The Carousel (AG) -- Yeah, that's better. It really does remind me of Eve (OLLA), with less rose, a gentle hit of cinnamon, and more ozone in amongst the mishmash of green and earthy and resinous notes. I don't really get much in the way of the blood note, but it's got a bit of sweetness that brings dragon's blood to mind. Overall, this isn't bad. I do already have two bottles of Eve and they're definitely different scents, but similar enough in overall effect, as well as the feeling of age and mystery that I probably don't need to buy more. I'm keeping this for sure, though, I have *got* to see what this does as it ages.
November 17: Calligraphy Practise ('12) -- This was a 1/2 decant the decanter kindly included with my AG requests, but I feel somewhat certain that I've got one somewhere lurking in my Lupers drawer, or at least, the notes seem mostly like the sort of thing I'd want to try. Under any circumstances, this is primarily a woody/resinous herbal scent on me; the beeswax surprises me by being extremely tame and sitting wayyyy at the back under the sandalwood, oud, and sage. As it wears, it develops into a very incense-like scent, completely with a hint of smokiness. Overall, it's ...nice. I didn't really have a strong reaction to it, either positive or negative. I don't hate it, it's pleasant, but man, I have at this point smelled so many variously similar scents that I'm just like, yeah, pleasant, shrug? A bit of throw, lasted for a few hours before my nose tuned it out, but if I sniffed deeply ~six hours in, traces of lightly waxy wood were still pretty clear on my wrist.
November 18: Eleutheria (TAL) -- This isn't really a perfume, by my lights. It's bright and herbal and feels ...thoughtful. It doesn't smell like something I'd want to wear to smell nice, it smells like something I'd use to dress a candle or put in a diffuser to bring a particular energy to the table. I've got Road Opener and a couple of other inspiration and rebirth types of TALs (including Libertas, which feels a bit like a rougher, more active and brilliant sister-scent to this), but this one really does feel gentle, milder than the others, even though the scent itself is somewhat pungent. ...I might actually want to buy a bottle of this one, actually, for various reasons, I feel like it might be a really useful thing to have around next year. Hm.
November 19: Apparently this month is a two migraine month. =_= I feel pretty awful, so no perfume today.
November 20: Geek.Goth -- All-decant November continues with some event exclusives I haven't touched in a while, and some I completely forgot I owned. This is, by the description, intended to evoke Mtn. Dew or Surge or similar, but what I get from it at first is lime-scented champagne. It doesn't quite smell sugary enough to be a soda pop, and on my skin it's just a bit dry. Curiously, what that note does after a short time (and this is almost certainly the same carbonation note that gave most of the fizzy Tiki & Champagne and... scents their oomph, as well as the same effect) is turn into something that reminds me of a particular incense. This isn't weird aging, this is just what that accord smells like on my skin and to my nose. So this turns into a peculiar limey incense on me and ...it's okay? No throw, doesn't last too long, but it's interesting, at least, even if it doesn't exactly say 'geeky goth' to me.
November 21: Loli.Goth -- The throw on this smells like a particular strawberry shampoo I used for about a month in or slightly before high school. The up-close sniff smells like gummy candy, but really good gummy candy, not like gummy worms or gummy bears, plus some very light woodsy notes and a soft hint of iris. I don't actually like this very much but it's not awful, I guess? It does seem like it would be nice to wear if you happened to be into that style of clothing, particularly if it were a high-end dress with real soft cotton lace and maybe a print of a tea set with strawberries on it. Definite throw, lasts an acceptable few hours before fading into a wisp of pink.
November 22: ....Honestly, I was too wiped to wear perfume today, much less talk about it. Don't work retail during the holidays with nebulous exhaustion-related body problems, kids. It really doesn't feel very good.
November 23: A Noiseless Patient Spider -- My Lilith decants arrived! Time to test 'em! Some of them will definitely fall under the category 'needs rest before final judgement' but mailbox sniffing is a time-honored tradition in my house. This one is very interesting, at least at first, mostly lavender and sandalwood. If it had a fruitier aspect, it would remind me a lot of Drow Yoga Instructor. The rest of the notes are pretty mild at this point, but after a while the lavender starts fading out and it becomes surprisingly sweet. Late drydown is mellow woods & resins and very gentle hints of cardamom and iris. It didn't have much throw, but it's also quite fresh, relatively speaking. I deeply suspect this one will age into something very lovely. I'm at about four and a half hours of wear and I can still smell it clearly. Pretty good!
November 24: A Place of Seeing -- Definitely needs some time to meld, right now it's pretty but a little bit too disparate, the notes aren't quite harmonizing. This isn't as sweet as I was expecting, the sandalwood and amber are much stronger than the marshmallow and vanilla bean notes, and the bergamot clashes a bit with the rest of it on my skin. It often reads as soapy to me, and it, probably combined with the lavender, lends the whole scent a really weird, almost medicinal tone that I'm not very into. I don't get any rose at all. I'm definitely going to let this sit in a box for a while, but I suspect this is not a bottle scent for me. Throw is pretty mild, but will probably get a bit stronger over time. I've been wearing it for about two hours now, and it's still going strong, so based on my general experiences, I expect this will have good longevity. ETA: it lasted ~6 hours, so ....yep, decent.
November 24 pt 2: Cerberus'ish -- Days at home means testing two perfumes in one day. >D Gotta do a little catch up somewhere, and I'd like to get at least 6/12 tested before the end of the BF frimps. I love looking at reviews and marveling at the way the same perfume can smell so different on different people. This, for me, is solidly and distinctly extremely buttery buttercream when wet. The spices are very background. As it dries, the buttercream melts away and it becomes first warm, then slightly burned honey. The marshmallow and stick are both mild, but complement the other notes. Endgame is smoky honey, which was not what I expected, but is pretty nice! As with all of these so far, it is very fresh and has little throw. This one didn't stick around very long, it was fading quick at ~2 12 hours and gone by four.
November 25: The Empress and Their Heckhound -- I really liked this, mostly. It's pleasantly nutty, with a gentle lavender and cozy cardamom. Somehow over time it becomes sharper and sharper on my skin, and honestly I'm not sure what outside of the lavender might be causing that. It's not something I'd generally attribute to any of the listed notes. Perhaps there's a hidden white musk in there or something. It'll probably mellow out over time, and the first hour or so was perfect, but ....idk. This is one I'm sitting on to retest in a week or so.
November 26: Lights, Camera, Something -- Look, more lavender, vanilla, and cardamom! 🤔 Actually, I loved this. I'm going to test it again to be certain about it, but this will probably be joining my to-be-bottled list. Very simple, but really nice, calming and mellow. No hidden soapiness or mystery sharp notes. It lasted for hours and ended in a mild waft of sweetened lavender. I could probably wear this as a sleep scent (if I didn't have Sopor which I love) but I'd miss the journey and huffing my wrist. Throw was moderate, I could smell it as I typed, but it didn't leave a trail.
November 26 pt 2: Lavender Lightning -- I....huh. This was way sweeter than I expected it to be from the notes. On me this is a very floral, almost honey-like lavender, brilliant and intense ozone (similar to the one in Becoming Thunder, which I love), and a hint of feathery greenery. Absolutely fascinating and kind of hypnotic. I'm pretty sure I don't own anything exactly like this, but I think I want to. 💜 Humorously, this was already in my wishlist because I forgot I'd gotten a decant, so it'll just stay there and when I do my add-all-to-cart in a day or so, I'll get a bottle. I might think about it a little harder, but I'm pretty sure I need more of this in my life, if not now, then before the Liliths go down. It is indeed a pretty loud scent, with very solid lasting power, and it remains pretty true through the whole weartime.
November 27: O Hushed October Morning Mild -- Intriguing. On me, at its current level of aging (not very) this is a warm, bright, very green scent with just a hint of garden-fresh dirt. I'm having a hard time deciding if I like it or not, though. I like the green, I like the wisps of thyme and fig, especially, but I'm not a very big fan of grass or dirt scents. There's something about it that's reminding me of some old Lush scent, as well, though I can't think of which one. I don't think it's Grass, but it might be. The lavender and coffee notes weave beautifully with the rest, never really coming to the front, but noticeable in the throw. ...Yeah, I think this one is not for me, but my SO might like it very much. If it had a deeper green, galbanum or something like that, I think I'd like it more.
November 27 pt 2: Painted Scars -- This is just kid's grape Dimetapp on me. I can tell there's some other, more perfume-like notes underneath the thick syrupy wine accord, but the way the plum & blackberry meld on my skin is ...yeah. grape cough syrup, for almost an hour. After that it destickies a bit and the sandalwood comes up a bit more but this is a no from me. Of course it has good throw and lasts probably well-past the three hour mark at which I was tired of smelling it wafting around the room and washed it off. I've said before that I have trouble with blackberry, and it's still definitely a thing. It is a very purple scent, which makes me a bit sad that I don't like it more, but at least I have Purple Phoenix already. (I should do a few of my anniversary bottles after I'm done with Liliths! It's right about that time of year. :D)
November 28: Plague-O-Ween -- Fruity! It makes me think a bit of a much less buttery Jack. I never get a specific carroty note (though I should dig out Gunpowder, which I think might be the only other scent I have with that note, to cross-ref), but the cranberries, pumpkin, and orange blossom are all quite distinct at first, then meld into a bright, tart orangey (the color, not the fruit) scent on my wrist. It didn't have a lot of throw, and didn't last very long, and I am still so very pumpkin'd out, but I might keep this for a bit and see where it lands after six months or so.
November 28 pt. 2 -- Ring of Light -- Can I get a hell yes? This is a gorgeous, warm, absolutely brilliant scent, very pale and glowy with a nice hit of that aldehyde pop. The artemisia (mugwort) sits underneath, giving it a pleasantly green undertone, and the fragrance as a whole really reflects the appearance of a ring light. The lavender here is much milder than the purple lavenders in most of the other scents I've tried this year. I'm a little surprised this isn't sharper, but it's quite mellow on my skin, scintillating, even. I'm definitely buying a bottle. I want to compare this to White Phoenix, which also manages to pull off a bunch of white or pale notes while remaining very wearable for me. I don't think that they'll be that similar, largely because of the strong magnolia & florals in White Phoenix, but they have a similar warmth and bright aura. Good throw, mediocre longevity that I bet will improve with time.
November 29: Rite of Passage -- ...........It smells like a diet version of Pumpkin Latte. 😕 Hits all the same notes on me, but with 30% less density and a weird aspartame-like tang (the vanilla powder? the whipped cream?). I don't like it much. I didn't wash it off, as it faded very quickly, and it wasn't bad, but I really prefer the darker, deeper, spicier Pumpkin Latte.
November 29 pt. 2 -- Thirteen: LVB -- What a glorious muddle. A lot of the Thirteens are a bit like that, and this lives in the same space as them without actually being similar to any of them. As most of the folks in the review thread commented, this shifts around pretty wildly, with different notes being stronger, then receding, then returning. For me, on first wear, it started with a fruity blue note, like Blue Raspberry flavored slushies, then evolved into lavender chocolate chip cookies, strawberry ice cream, and a little bouquet of honey-doused carnations. Things only got more jumbled from there. It was a pretty fun ride, but not actually the sort of thing I'm likely to wear often. I do enjoy sweet scents, but mostly simpler ones that are a bit more distinct. No throw, moderate lasting power.
...And that's it for my Lilith decants this year. I ordered five total bottles -- Urban Undine, Philopannyx, Ring of Light (which I am wearing again), Lights, Camera, Something, and Lavender Lightning. Feels like a pretty decent year for me.
November 30: White Phoenix -- ...Have I just not touched my Anniversaries at all so far? How startling! I have quite a few. I did just get notification that my Weenie decants are on their way, which is nice, but still. Phoenixes! I got this one at a meet'n'sniff fairly early on in my collecting days. The person who had it had a few bottles up for grabs and I sniffed this, then sniffed deeper, and asked if I could snag it. I really love this perfume, both for the memory of generosity and kindness (which I have passed on more than a few times since. ) and because it's just a beautiful scent. You would think, with all the white florals involved, that I would dislike it, but no. It doesn't smell like a classic Big White Floral, it smells soft and clean and feathery and a little woody and a little sweet and a little musky and just so good. I did pop a bit of Ring of Light on the backs of my wrists to compare, and indeed, they don't smell much alike, and they do give off similar auras -- but Ring of Light is like a neon halo, and White Phoenix is like an actual halo. Big, beautiful, but somehow mellow throw, lasts a very long time, fades very gracefully. This was the perfume that said, hey, you like magnolia, and it was right.