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December

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windbourne

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Last month of 2021. It's been a pretty wild ride, but it's been nice having this daily touchstone to look back on. Also, it's been great to really dig into my BPAL collection and find a few things to downsize, a few things to upsize, and a lovely reminder of the many beautiful things that I haven't touched in a while. I may take a bit of a break in January -- not from wearing perfume, but from keeping myself to a BPAL-only agenda. 😂 I've definitely worn things from other companies (Arcana's featured pretty heavily in the background, for example) but aside from a couple of blips, I haven't really talked about them. I definitely want to keep exploring my (ridiculous) collection, but ...like, BPAL's not the only company I collect, just the biggest one. XD I may also actually go back and retest a few things that I've said I would! But first, December. I'm wearing Phoenixes until my Weenies get here, which could be anywhere from 2-7 days.

 

December 1: Pink Phoenix -- So sweet and sticky, but somehow not cloying on my skin, which surprised me a LOT the first time I tried it, because otherwise, after a brief burst of more distinct pear and honey and hint of sweet pea, this dries down to the odor you get when you open a fresh container of Dubble Bubble mixed flavor (original pink, watermelon, grape, green apple) bubble gum. Not the gum itself, but the lightly plasticky BLAST of fruity sugar that occurs when you peel back the seal. I actually really enjoy it. 😂 It is indeed a very silly, lighthearted scent, good for very fluffy days and when you feel kind of pooky. Pretty big throw, but it doesn't actually last that long on me, maybe 2-3 hours before all I can smell is the merest hint of sugar.

 

December 2: Copper Phoenix -- This needed a bit of rolling to reblend it. The first application it was much softer and powdery, but after rolling and reapplying, more of the orange and pink pepper and apricot popped up. As it dries, it still does become a bit powdery, which I am generally attributing to the amber. Later, it becomes much more woody, and yes, very smooth. At one point I liked this enough to own two bottles, but I think I sold one at some point, and that's not a bad thing. I still like it, it's still very lovely, but when it was younger, it was a lot brighter and shinier. Now it wears like copper with a bit of a patina. I'm still pretty into it, but it isn't quite as lively a scent anymore.

 

December 3: No. 93 Engine -- I'm pretty sure this is a repeat, but I really just wanted soothing, familiar, and comforting today. It's such a beautiful scent, golden and lightly waxy and a little woody -- and it lasts forever (at least eight hours and still going) with just enough throw to smell nice but not overwhelm people around you. It's perfect for most occasions, can smell both classy and just plain pleasant, (at least on me) and ....man, IDK, this has been a favorite of mine since I got a decant right after it was released. It's just that good. If I were forced to choose a signature scent, this would be in the running.

 

December 4: Pothôn Mêtêr -- Also a repeat. I've been at a comic convention all weekend and really needed mellow & familiar to counteract the stress of so much public time. 😅 This is another one that's been a favorite for years. It's so lovely, with a really beautiful rose note punched up by pink pepper and accented by a wonderful balsam note. It's not really fruity, though it has a fruity quality, it's not exactly spicy, though it is a bit peppery, it is floral, but not a Big Floral, just a super-smooth rose. This is another that would be a strong contender for signature scent status, if I were ever to actually make that kind of choice. It's a little bit on the pink side, but in a way that I find appealing. Moderate throw, though I could smell it through my mask, and I can still smell it clearly after almost nine hours of wear.

 

December 5: Purple Phoenix -- Still gloriously purple after all this time. :) This is possibly one of two or three grape/wine scents that I actively enjoy wearing? Halloween: Las Vegas and Saint Foutin de Varailles are the only other two I can think of off the top of my head. But this is cool and mellow and grape-y without ever verging into Dimetapp territory. It's a little sweet but not cloying as fig and plum can be on me, and never dusty despite having both violet and orris. It's funny -- if I were to look at this one now, with a firmer idea of my tastes, I'd probably skip it. But I'm really happy I own this, and it gives me such happy nostalgia when I look at it, since I got it quite soon after I started.


December 6: Leather Phoenix -- Man, this one's intense, but also, has aged into something unbelievably good, provided you're into oudh, narcissus, and lightly smoky leather, among other things. I generally am not a big fan of most of these things (indeed, I was not a big fan of this when it was fresh), and the oudh is very indolic indeed, but somehow after the initial extreme whiffiness this manages to soften into matcha-rose-oudh glory once it's been on my skin for a while. People who don't like oudh should probably avoid this, since the one used is, if the description is accurate, 33 years old at this point, and very powerful. But if you like deep, intense scents that shift on your skin, this might be your jam. Good luck in locating a bottle. ;)

 

And that was exactly as many Phoenixes as I pulled out for this run. I have a lot more, but I also got my Weenie decants in today. :D So I'll be starting on those tomorrow.

 

December 7: A Skull, A Music Book, A Snuffed-Out Candle -- First, tulips, very strong and a little damp and overblown. Next, a bit of very soft leather and sandalwood, followed immediately by a very bright burst of beeswax. I really like this, actually. I don't think I'll buy a full bottle of it, because I have a few other woody beeswax scents and I'm not really a huge fan of the tulip note, but it's very pleasant overall. Throw is mild and mostly wax, and the lasting power currently isn't great, but it's also very fresh and will almost certainly age into something much stronger. (Lol, bought Ajevie's leftover partial bottle. I couldn't stop contemplating it over the last few days and took it as a sign that it hadn't sold yet.)

 

December 8: Chibi Skull with Last Will and Testament -- Starts as sweet red patchouli, ends as straight red patchouli. Not bad, and I like the way it smells from application to about two hours in, but I have the Sumatran Red Patchouli SN, and it's pretty great, but also not substantially different from the way this dries down. It does bear some resemblance to  Départ Pour Le Sabbat, which someone mentioned in the review thread, but that one has greater depth & overall complexity, imo. I'd definitely rec this to patchouli-lovers who might like a hint of gourmand. Decent throw, lasts quite a while, but I sort of tuned it out after ~4 hours. I'll keep the decant to see what it does in a few months. (eta: gave it to a friend on whom it smelled incredible instead of just okay)


December 9: Pandemic Vanitas -- What a goddamn strange scent. 😂 I got pure fries at first, hot oily potato GEH wafting off my wrists. It was really gross. That did fade, shifting slowly past fries into potato chips, and continuing into a slightly bready scent with a hint of cotton, but it eventually landed dead on in chocolate chip cookie dough, and that is where it stayed for the next few hours and I wanted to inhale my wrists. The last phase reminded me a bit of Trader Joe's chocolate chip pain au lait, which I love. So, to recap, it went from mildly nauseating to captivating. Which.... is not really common for me. 😂 I don't think I can handle the fries enough to want a bottle, but I'm really happy I tried it and will keep the decant for when I feel like making that journey and if anything else pops up with the raw cookie dough note listed, I will definitely be giving it a try.

 

December 10: Pyramid of Skulls -- HOLY mice. So this is a very glorious scent that is just slightly more than the sum of its parts. On me it's quite heavy at first, deep, incense-y sandalwood that shifts as I wear it. I'm pretty sure there's at least red sandalwood, white sandalwood, and something like the golden sandalwood from Little Wooden Doll. As it dries, it gets both thicker and drier, as well as a little smoky, as the tobacco slowly takes over. It ends up a very woody, warm tobacco close to the skin with a very solid, mostly sandalwood throw. I'm not sure I need a bottle, since I have an All-Time Favorite Chonky Sandalwood perfume in the form of Madhat Under the Shade of Santal (though that also has rose, cinnamon, & lime, among other things) but I am strongly tempted.

 

December 11: Pinched with Four Pumpkins -- I tested a decant of the original version of this back in January. It's a scent I like but I've never been desperate to get more of, in part because of the usual price it goes for and in part because it's nice, but not like, obsession-inducing for me. I was pretty curious to see how this fresh + pumpkin version would wear, and it turns out that it's fairly similar to the original (lightly coffee-scented woody cinnamon), but with that particular sweetened pumpkin note that I've gotten accustomed to in many Weenies. Aaaand I'm still pretty over pumpkin. 😂 I might buy a bottle of this to wear when I'm done being done with wearing pumpkin, but ...I might not. It's nice, but not obsession-inducing. 😉 Light throw that will probably strengthen with age, decent but not overwhelming longevity.

 

December 12: Mystery Powder Fizzy Candy -- This is mostly whatever they use for their effervescent notes as in their soda/champagne scents + sugar. It's ...fine, I guess? I don't hate it but I don't love it, and it was surprisingly strong and lasted quite a long time, which was not super-great since I also am in the midst of a migraine developing. I thought it might be a little easier to handle than Pumpkinville but I was a little bit wrong. XD I'll definitely give this one a second sniff later.

 

December 13: Migraine, so perfume was a no go. ~_~;

 

December 14: Pumpkinville -- Finally felt better, so I threw this one on. I haven't tried Storyville. I've had the opportunity to get small amounts at reasonable prices and avoided it every time because it didn't sound like something I would like or wear and because the particular culture of overpricing certain scents makes my teeth itch a little, even if it's somewhat understandable at times. Still, it's hardly the only perfume that was released once over a brief time and will never be remade. That said, I disliked this for about thirty seconds while it pretended to be mostly made of fairly intense jasmine or oudh, and then immediately went for maximum huffing as soon as it dried enough to do so. The pumpkin isn't overwhelmingly sticky or vegetal, and it gets mostly buried under the wall of red musk and spices. It is sultry and it is sweet, and I do like it, but I also felt just a tinge annoyed by it. Very powerful throw & longevity.

 

December 15: Innocent Souls Turned Carrion Birds -- Soft and grey and also just a bit soapy on my skin. I kind of like it, but I'm also a bit underwhelmed. I've enjoyed quite a few of the Lab's grey scents, but this one winds up feeling a lot more like a somewhat classic aftershave on me. I do like labdanum & sandalwood, but I think the grey musk is a bit much for me. It's okay, I don't hate it, but it doesn't inspire me to either buy a full bottle or wax especially poetic about it. Throw is moderate and inoffensive, doesn't shift much, nor does it overstay its welcome. I may try it again in a few months, just to see if a bit of age shifts it at all. It did make me want to pull out The Grey Columns again, though, so kudos for that. XD

 

December 16: Her Mouth is Sinister and Red -- I tossed this into my order mostly on the strength of the idea of mugwort & roses, but on my skin it's all about the orchid and white musk and a whiffy bit of lilac-adjacent dragon's blood (daemonorops). Kind of laundry-fresh on my skin, with a hint of almost oily sweetness underneath. I expected this to be a much more intense and red scent than it is, but instead it's quite pale with the redder notes barely tinting the edges. The rose is extremely faint, and the mugwort doesn't really have much prominence late-late drydown, though it does lend a peculiar hint of mustiness that I kind of enjoy to some of the earlier stages. Overall, this is fine, but not something I'm likely to wear. Mildly soapy throw, unexceptional longevity. Might get better with a bit of aging, but it might not. ...The white musk is really strong here. >_>;

 

That's the last of my Weenie decants. I think I'll fill up the rest of the month with seasonally-appropriate Yules and a last couple of Lilith & Weenies I ordered direct from the Lab. That order should get to me in a few days. :)

 

December 17: A Breathless Chuckle -- ...Huh, this is actually a BPTP scent that managed to escape being put in with the rest of its fellows. It's still a Yule, though, so it counts. XD This is a foodie bomb of a scent, though my skin gives it a quasi-floral, almost rose-like quality while it's wet that is mildly baffling. I don't get a lot of chocolate from this, it's primarily marshmallow and a bit of background buttery shortbread. Later on it does give a sort of rice krispy treat-like impression, cereal qualities with sweet marshmallow and some vanilla. There might be a single chocolate chip in there somewhere. It's really soft, I have to sniff pretty deeply to even smell it on my wrists, and it vanished completely after a couple of sweetly pleasant hours. (full bottle)

 

December 18: Whoop -- I managed to poison myself with potatoes today, so I spent the largest portion of the day passed out on Benadryl. =_=; Having woken up a bit, finally, I'm putting on perfume. I've got a low partial of this oldie from 2010, and since I did a Scrooge scent yesterday, why not one today? Wet, this is aggressively seasonal, like so very HOLIDAY -- pines and both cranberries and bayberry and a bit of ozone and amber, plus just a far-off hint of pie. As it dries, the pine steps back and the amber, honey, and pie step forward. It isn't exactly foodie, but it's not ...not foodie? I'm one of the people for whom this scent yells CHRISTMAS, but not a Christmas I ever particularly took part of, like, that far-off idealized Victorian Christmas in a manor house with an enormous tree, garlands of berries and popcorn and way too much gold decor, snow falling outside and the promise of a sleigh ride. I actually really like it, which is why I have this partial instead of just a decant. It's incredibly strong at first, but fades relatively quickly, with a moderate throw that is mostly sweet pine and good longevity. I swear it's gotten stronger over the years. ...Kind of wish I'd saved it for the 24th, tbh, though there's nothing stopping me from wearing it again then. :3 (low partial bottle)

 

December 19: Sleipnir -- When I tested Plague-o-Ween I thought that Gunpowder was the only scent I had (I think, lurking in my decants drawers) that also had a carrot note, but I was wrong, this one does too, and it stands out much more. ...Honestly, this reminds me of the carrot cake cookies a local deli makes if someone kindly used elderberries and bilberries (a European blueberry relative, I've only ever had them in jam) instead of raisins for a tarter flavor. It has no particular spices, and as it dries the cookie-like aspect fades to honeyed berries and the hay comes out a bit more. Late drydown is honey & hay which, while not the most beautiful scent I've ever had softly wafting off my wrists, is still not bad. Low but present throw, moderate longevity. (~60% full bottle)

 

My Black Friday order made it to me today, so I'm putting Yules on hold to give commentary on the six new-to-me scents from that, three bottles and the BF frimps. :D ...Well, except for the 25th. :)

 

*caveat for the following few scents: these are fresh from the mailbox and will almost certainly shift over time. I may come back to them in a few months.

 

December 20: Still Life with Dooting Skull -- My only Weenie from this order, and the only one I went for without a decant first. I was extremely gratified to poke the review thread and see that multiple people got smoke from this because that's what it smells like, both in the bottle and initially on my skin. Smoke and a hint of sharp medicinal licorice. I like the licorice, but this isn't quite like any of the other licorice (or anise, or fennel) scents I own. People aren't wrong in saying that it smells a bit like root beer, either. There's one I like a lot, Virgil's, that contains both anise and nutmeg, as well as bourbon vanilla and clove, among other herbs and spices. I don't know if that's quite what Beth was aiming for here, but that's pretty close to how it smells after the smoke fades, a matter of perhaps ten minutes. After about an hour most of that fades and I'm left with a rather thick honey, similar to the one in several scents in the Lupercalia release, and a bit of rooty licorice. I never do get much in the way of coconut except perhaps adding a hint of creaminess in the background. I'm not disappointed in this, but it did surprise me a bit. I'm pretty sure the smoke effect is at least partly from the honey, since I got some similar (albeit lighter) aspects of that from some of the Honey Pot scents I tried. I keep wanting to think I dislike it, but then I huff and get more licorice and feel very satisfied. 😂 I really love licorice scents, and there hasn't been one that felt strong enough for my tastes in a while (Black Licorice Smut was too much Smut and not enough licorice). This one might be it, after a bit of aging to see if the honey calms down. Throw is a little bit weak but will probably improve over time, longevity so far is pretty good, I'm at about five hours and it's still pretty strong. Something I might pull out to contrast with it: Paduan Killer Swarm.

 

December 21: Tiramisu Funnel Cake -- Yuck. 😂 If it were just tiramisu, I'd be fine here, but I cannot stand the funnel cake note. It smells greasy and oily on me in the worst ways. So it's cocoa, coffee, a hint of booze, some cinnamon, and the oil used to deep-fry some dough. I put it on wishfully and washed it off immediately. Throw was pretty strong, but longevity is a mystery to me. 😂

 

December 22: Philopannyx -- Really beautiful enormous purple roses that I recognize from Flickering Lantern, champaca, and sweet, lightly powdery violets lead this one. The darker notes are currently just a low background hum, though I can tell they're there -- especially the black musk & myrrh -- because of the light sneeziness in the throw. The lavender starts showing up in later drydown a bit, but is never very prominent. The whole scent is very heady and velvety on my skin, very much something I could wear to the goth club. I'm pretty happy I jumped straight to a full bottle; it falls in a similar category for me as Flickering Lantern or Raptures and Roses of Vice -- big, sexy roses with deeper notes backing them up. It's not either smoky like FL or as aggressive as R&RoV, it's definitely (currently, anyway) more chill and a bit sweeter. This is exactly what I was hoping for -- a lovely, dark purple scent somewhere in the same realm as Purple Phoenix, but without the wine/grape notes or fig. Also, I really love those purple roses. I can't think of many things that's shown up in, and it is a very distinct note compared to the red, pink, or white ones. Throw is pretty strong, even for a fresh-from-the-mailbox scent, and it lasts a very long time.

 

December 23: Urban Undine -- Salty! As it dries, salty + lavender! After it dries, ambergris! ...because that's what ambergris does on me almost every time. 😂 I really like this, though really only the lavender sets it apart from my fairly large collection of oceanic aquatic perfumes at this point. It does fill a niche, though, in that it's a bit brighter and more refreshing, without going into beachy vibes (for me, anyway). It settles comfortably about where I'd expect it to -- kayaking in summer -- and stays there. Lasts several hours, throw was pretty big for something as fresh as this is.

 

December 24: Iced Apple Dumplings Plopped Into A Sweet Potato Pie -- Whew, a whole mouthful for one tiny imp. 😂 It's nice enough, but I like the bright spicy apple throw more than I like the up-close pastry-and-sweet potato scent. I'm not sure about the iced aspect, nothing here seems to reflect that. It's just warm apples, sweet potato, spice and pastry all the way down. As it dries, it develops a kind of raw dough effect that I find almost stomach-turning. Overall, this is fine but not something I'd have purchased on its own. Throw is massive and strongly reminiscent of apple pie filling, but the scent as a whole it doesn't last more than a few hours.

 

December 25: Père Noël (2015) -- Sweet oranges that fade to quasi-milky lavender & anise candies. Pleasant, mild, and nice to wear to a small dinner party. Minimal throw, relatively short wearlength. (bottle, Lab purchase, personally decanted from)

 

December 26: Cafè de Olla Fried Ice Cream Jammed into a Coconut Cream Pie -- ...There's that fried note again. >_>;; Plus sweet vanilla and a frosty note that almost comes across as fizzy. ....So, uh, this smells a bit like a cream soda float with a sidecar of fried dough for a while. The coconut shows up a bit later, and it's a very light, sweet coconut, almost floral in tone -- I haven't seen this one in a while, but it reminds me of the coconut in Tiki Princess? That phase is better for me, but the fried note never completely goes away and I really am not a fan. :))))))) Throw was weak, and I'm not sure about longevity because I stopped even trying to sniff it after about an hour, and then took a shower.

 

December 27: Pumpkin I (2007) -- I know, this seems a bit odd to have in here, but it was a frottle with my most recent order. :) ....Despite being grape, pumpkin, and jasmine (tea), plus pear. .. . . . I'm digging this. The pumpkin is pretty laid back and the grapes are fresh and not overly wine-y, while the jasmine tea adds a light breath of floral to the otherwise very sweet & fruity scent. The pear's very nice, maybe a little more cooked than I usually like my pear, but not so much that it feels sticky. I do think I'd really love it without the pumpkin,  but even with, this is pretty great. The pumpkin does stand out a bit more after it dries, but it sort of comes and goes, playing hide and seek with the fruity notes. It doesn't have a lot of throw, nor did it last an especially long time, but I enjoyed the ride & will probably keep the bottle, at least for a while.

 

December 28: Mother Shub's Spiced Lait de Chèvre -- Thick, creamy eggnog with a faint hint of coffee and some spice (mostly nutmeg) that blooms up after a few minutes on the skin. Slightly plasticky at first, which is not uncommon for me with the goat milk note, but it fades. I wish it had a little more oomph overall, but it's a pleasant, if uncomplicated scent. Low throw, doesn't last more than a few hours. ...I wish I had some eggnog in the house now. XD (partial bottle)

 

December 29: The Shivering Boy (2012) -- This is a big blast of the ozonic version of the Lab's frost/cold note at first, with some of the stone note (pleh) and a bit of distant greenery. As it dries it warms up some and the stone fades out, but it still maintains a slightly nose-tingling hint of ozone and something like eucalyptus leaves. There's a fruity note that pops up later, but it's never very strong on me, and some of whatever the Lab uses for thorny vines. It's ... fine, I guess. I can't imagine really wanting to wear this over some of my other snowy scents, but it's not offending my nose or making me want to wash it off. This was a frottle from the Lab with an order last March and I haven't dug it out until now, though I might consider trying this out during warm weather as a cooling scent. Hm. Only a little throw, lasts several hours before fading into oblivion.


December 29 bonus: Arcana Köstlich (GWP Winter 2021) -- So, for the last week or so, once I've finished testing whatever bottle I've been testing, I've been wearing this. The notes are: roasted coffee beans, ginger cakes fresh from a warm oven, tobacco-gilded German amber, sweet vanilla, chai spices, and black Ostfriesentee. (I had to look that last one up, and it's apparently a particular blend of very strong black tea from Northwestern Germany, usually drunk with a rather large chunk of sugar and a dash of heavy cream, and emphatically not stirred.) It's somehow one of the best things I've ever smelled, at least to my nose right now. All of my Arcana Winter scents were winners, but this one beat them all by a large margin. It's somehow exactly what it says it is, all the notes in approximately the order listed, strong but not too strong, with a good throw and excellent longevity. I love it, and I hope it comes up for general purchase sometime so I can recommend it to people!

 

December 30: Budding Realization -- This is a scent I got recently from the Rosebud Tarot Kickstarter. It's quite fresh still, but absolutely lovely. The rose is, predictably, the strongest note, but it's tempered by the clove and sandalwood, plus a rather great shock of pink pepper. As it dries, it warms up and the amber bumps up a bit. The atmosphere here is welcoming and open, even a bit calming, but not in a sleepy way. Later on, it becomes a beautifully woody rose-amber scent, though it's interesting, but because of what clove does on my skin, it ends up smelling a lot like carnation & reminds me a bit of both the BPTP Red Rose from the Unity set and, from what I recall of the last time I dug it out, Hod. I really like this, and I'm super-happy I went for the Kickstarter. Solid, very rosy throw, and good longevity for the relative age of the perfume. I fully expect this to become an extremely gorgeous, even more full-bodied rose scent as it ages.

 

December 31: Exalted Sol: Confidence (Sphere & Sundry) -- My midnight perfume tonight is Eleutheria, because calm, soothing road opening is exactly the vibe I'm hoping for in the next year, but I put on this one before work this morning to give me the oomph I needed to face the day. It ...probably worked? I was able to successfully work through a migraine while I waited for my meds to kick in and then while they borked my equilibrium as they worked. I'll give it a real road test later on, but oh my GOD it smells so good. Beautiful wax and a very sturdy frankincense backed up by some sweetness, a hint of citrus, and later on a gorgeous hit of Balm of Gilead. Most TAL & related creations of Beth's I don't tend to judge very much on how they smell, but this one is a stack of my favorite notes blended into a golden aura. It's also got quite a lot of plant matter floating in it. I wasn't paying attention past the point I put on my mask except for a brief bit while I was at lunch, so I can't comment on throw or longevity (though it was certainly there after ~2 hours of wearing it while I worked, and gone after 8 hours) but ..man, I'll wear this again, for sure.

 

....And that's a wrap on 2021. I could go count up all the missed days and doubled days and the few repeats, but let's just say I think I wore at least 365 unique perfumes this year (including some OCYL perfumes I didn't talk about), sometimes two or three different ones each day. It got me to really dig into my collection in ways I haven't before this. I posted a few reviews in the relevant forums, though not many (but all the OLLAs!) and helped me choose a few to eliminate as well as added a few scents to my personal wishlist. It also gave me an even deeper insight into what I actually like to wear and let me know that, yeah, actually my sense of my own taste is pretty accurate.

 

Also, it was really fun.  :) In ten minutes from this writing, it'll be a new year, and a whole new set of perfumes to dig into. As I've commented, I could probably fill another two (maybe three??) years with the rest of my BPAL collection, including decants and Lab imps, but ...I do love other companies, so January will feature them, probably starting with Arcana, because I really love Julia's blends and have quite a few.

 

Thanks for reading!

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