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BPAL Madness!


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About sarada

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    dirty hippie
  • Birthday 11/08/1973


  • Location
    Houston, Texas
  • Country
    United States

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  • Interests
    Gothic, ethereal, psychedelic and dark ambient music. Legendary Pink Dots. Singing and playing in the bands Stone Breath and Crow Tongue. Painting Halloween and fantasy scenes. Sewing. Bad/weird/cult/art film. Tarkovsky. TEA! Cats. Giant robots. Silent Hill, Katamari Damacy. Creepy dolls. Vintage fashion (19th century, 1960s, etc.) Decadent, supernatural horror and late 1800s/1900s fantasy literature. Japanese, French and German language. Candles, incense, all manner of delicious scented things.
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  • Favorite Scents
    Woodsy, earthy, stone/clay, resins, incense, tea, red wine, patchouli, vetiver, cedar, evergreens, smoke, ice/snow scents, plum, pomegranate, honey, rose.


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  1. sarada

    Lilith's Tea Party

    Although my tastes do not run toward the sweet side of the scent spectrum, this is a sugar-dusted, not-too-sweet cake scent that really appeals to me, as a person who likes my sweets to have a touch of the savory. I do not smell strawberry as strongly as many other reviewers do, but there is a mixture of floral and fruit that I would best express by recalling that scent when you open a tin of sugar-powdered fruit pastilles. There is a cloud of faintly sweet dry sugar dust with the colorful fruits just beneath. The cake itself seems to have a touch of anise, to my nose, and the tartness of the strawberry blends nicely with the faint dusty sweetness of the other notes. I think the only way I can take cake scents is when they are like this -- dry and without a hint of butter; and the way I prefer floral scents is when they are blended with something sweet that gives them a little extra body. But the idea of "flower cakes" is wonderful and I can imagine candied flowers or whorls of chalky frosting made to look like petals, and this makes me quite happy. I happen to be testing this later in the day after applying the Mlle Lilith Fortune Teller scent and this happy accident works out very nicely, giving a hint of incense to the blend as well.
  2. sarada

    Yew Berry Infused Honey

    This is my favorite of the honeys that I have tried. It has just right mix of notes -- there is the dry wooden evergreen scent of sun-warmed pine needles and warm tree resins, and a faint kick of fruitiness that lingers as a hint of golden honey. I wouldn't think "honey" if I smelled it without knowing the notes, but there is a lingering sweetness that catches those other dry evergreen notes and makes them sing. The slight tart fruity splash of a berry scent when it is first applies, mellows quickly, but the dry boughs and glossy sweetness linger on and on. Ever after bathing it stays strong on my wrist. You don't need to apply a lot of it, but it is marvelous. I don't associate it with any particular time of year, because I don't remember when I obtained it, but it really works well in these warm southern autumns where the sun is stlil bright and warm in the forests of cypress and evergreen and I am really enjoying it in that context! It is not overwhelmingly evergreen to me in the traditional sense, but another reviewer remarked on the astringent, sap-like quality and that is what strikes me as well. As a person who likes to rub tree sap on my wrists, I approve!
  3. I got this about a year ago in a swap and it is one of my favorites in the past three or four years that I have tried -- it manages to be unlike any other wood scents I can recall. Glossy with resins and infused with a deep tangy smokiness, I wouldn't think there was honey in it except for the faint sweetness and shimmer that suspends the other notes in a golden haze. The impression I get of this scent is of a man in a smoking jacket in a wood-paneled room, years of pipe smoke staining the rich wood, with prints of Japanese art in the walls and interesting curios on ornate tabletops. It is both natural and refined, and although it is definitely masculine, it has that glowing halo of sweetness about it that lifts it from being a purely brown, wooden scent. I'm very glad I was able to obtain some since I have so many wood scents I might not have otherwise tried to go out of my way to get another.
  4. sarada


    I don't like Caterpillar either, I think it's the jasmine and other floral notes in that that make it disagree with me since I mostly think of that as being a mossy floral headache scent. (It's the first BPAL I ever bought, too -- it took me a couple more months of experimenting before I found the right blends for me!) But jasmine has a distinctly...er, septic aroma to my nose as well, although I do like it in fruity blends it really doesn't work in other contexts for me. I think you'd like a lot of the blends that are all wood/vetiver notes in that case!
  5. sarada


    vetiver is my favorite note; i find that the limited editions are probably the best source for it, and many of those can probably be found at cheap prices in the sales section of the forum since we vetiver lovers are apparently in the minority. although since i especially love it paired with patchouli it's hard for me to remember which actually don't have patchouli prominent in the blend as well. the ones you listed above do not have enough vetiver in them for my taste (except for Death Adder, but the coconut puts me off a bit in that); the others have more of a cologney feeling for the most part and lack the deep earthiness that i crave. i like to smell rich, deep, thick loamy soil -- or sweet, damp, muddy earth. here are the ones that are earthy/vetivery enough for my taste but most of them contain patchouli. i find that it merely accentuates the earthy, sweet qualities of the vetiver though so it might be worth a try for you: A Countenance Forboding Evil was probably the best for my purposes although that is also patchouli, i really only notice the vetiver. Sloth (if you like Myrrh as well) might fit the bill though i never really clicked with it. Malediction (again, it lists red patchouli, but it's largely a vetiver scent to me) From the Salon scents, you might want to try Mad Meg, which is a nice earthy vetiverness to it. from the LEs, Hessian of the Hollow from last year comes to mind in particular, and from Carnaval Diabolique: The Grand Inquisitor's Heretics Fork. From the Neil Gaiman scents, The Potter's Field (Graveyard Book) is another one. "Dirt" is another favorite note of mine, but again that might be because I find it to be simialr to patchouli in many cases. Many of the best dirt scents also have a strong floral note (Zombi, Deep in Earth) so finding some Graveyard Dirt from last year's Halloween line might be a good bet if you don't want the floral. althoguh another good earthy scent is Penny Dreadful, or Death Cap, come to think of it. good luck! i find that vetiver is a note that positively sings -- it is a deep, glossy polished wood, with a sweet (almost chocolatey sometimes) earthiness. but on the other hand, if it's in a blend with a lemon or citrus note, it becomes bitter and cologney so i try to mainly look for it in earthy or woody blends to accentuate its best qualities. eta: oh yes and Samhainophobia is my favorite scent of all.
  6. sarada

    Cake Smash

    This is going to be a short review but I just had to throw my thoughts in here, since I notoriously don't care for foody or 'cakey' scents, so I wasn't sure how this would turn out for me. Cake Smash is very much like the original Beaver Moon when I sniff and first apply it -- it has a sparkling sugary bright cake scent, not something cloying and thick. That is precisely what I was hoping for! At first I thought it was going to be a near-dupe for the original Beaver Moon, which would be fabulous, but as it dries, the Snake Oil and a hint of the bright warmth of Dorian peep through. Absolutely marvelous. As someone who doesn't care for foody scents, and who has a lukewarm relationship with Snake Oil in general (love it in combos, but not so much on its own)...this is fabulous. I am very glad to have some because it will become the default scent to wear on birthdays now!
  7. sarada

    Velvet Bandito

    In the bottle this starts out strong with fresh-cut cedar, dark woody tobacco, and faint but bright notes of clove. I was in this for the cedar and tobacco notes -- it promises to be a bold, dry and dark wood and an inviting, incensy tobacco on first sniff. On my skin, a note like clove comes out and now it smells like some of my favorite clove incense (Airs used to make some...it was great), burning on a cedarwood stick. A bit heavier on the tobacco-y clove than anything else as it dries down. I would say it is most similar to the clove/wood/tobacco notes in Count Dracula, but a bit more dry and dusty, and less menacing. I agree that it is not smoky, but it is more of a tobacconist's shop as far as that note is concerned -- but clove incense in a cedar box is my main impression. I breathe deep to get my cedar fix -- I am looking specifically for it since it's one of my favorite notes, so I can't tell how prominent it would be for someone who doesn't like that. I'm just lookin' out for myself! And I am quite pleased!
  8. sarada

    Velvet Panther

    Dark musk, star anise, agarwood, styrax, vetiver, gaiacwood, King mandarin, violet leaf, and black vanilla. I took a chance with this one, since I don't like vanilla, but I thought the many woods might be worth it. So far, I think it's worth it for me. To those who don't care for woods: I don't think they are so strong and pronounced as to dominate. The soft sweetness overlays them like a caress -- beneath that smooth sweet surface, a core of the glossy woody notes glisten and sparkle. None of the other notes push forward into the foreground: I don't smell anise, I don't get a strong sense of mandarin or violet, there is just a general soft, purring sweetness with a dark core. In the bottle I do smell the mandarin as a top note -- bright and glossy, sunlight reflecting on dark fur. It may be a feline cousin of Hellhound, without whatever notes in that one smelled like chemicals and burning hair to me. Strong, muscular purring softness. Not an overly masculine blend, I think it would work fine on either gender (though personally I favor masculine blends myself).
  9. sarada

    Velvet Cthulhu

    Wasabi, pu-erh and Touareg teas, green cedar, myrrh, white sage, khus, frankincense, and coriander. A perfume with pu-erh tea notes is the kind of thing that would make me wake up panting and sweating -- add in all of my other favorite notes lined up neatly in a row and I definitely think I'm still dreaming. For all of the dark and woody or incensy notes listed it is a very green scent -- think the swirling green globby glow from "That! The Thing Over There!" or "...Vampire from Planet X" but with a nice deep base. As it dries the initial ectoplasmic blast begins to throb with the warmer resin and woody notes beneath though they are always understated. It is like walking into a glowing, phosphorescent stand of cyclopean tree trunks on an alien planet. The wasabi electrifies my nasal passage when I sniff it close -- ZOOM! It's amazing! Kind of like that shock of sensation you get when you touch your tongue to it. Electrifying is the best way I can describe it. But that is short lived and now I am having tea in a glowing forest. The wood notes are not, however, prominent -- they are very much simmering in the background. An almost lime-like greenness continues to shimmer for some time, with the soft buzz of wasabi keeping it aloft. Stunning, an instant favorite, just as I expected.
  10. Number smeared on label -- XX (20) is clearly visible but it looks like there might have been more numbers before or after it that were erased during its travel. In the bottle: something bright and lemony, perhaps herbal, with an undertone of musk. On my skin: incensy, strong black musk -- definitely, absolutely black musk. Which I happen to love. The lighter herbal tones are an interesting contrast. It's bright, stimulating and still sultry, sinuous, sweet and with an undertone of that sort of 'mothball' musk feeling. Fascinating. I really like this. Yeah, I'll definitely be doing this again! I don't like Snake Oil on its own but I like variants -- this is unlike anything else I've tried in the Snake Oil family.
  11. sarada

    Chaos Theory V: Recursive Self-Similarity v3

    LXXX (80) Penitence is a favorite blend of mine -- frankincense and myrrh are two of my favorite notes. So it's easy to please me with variants on this. In fact I shuddered at the thought of how many bottles I'd "need" in order to feel satisfied. My ultimate dream would be a piney Penitence. The one I got is quite undefinable though. I don't really smell the base in it at all at first, though as it dries I get a hint of something resinous. I think after testing this several times over several days that the top notes are fruit. It's a wet fruit -- perhaps melon, or pale apricot, or just a splash of fruit cocktail. Then again maybe it's got a dash of a floral. But I am leaning toward a melony fruit. It's not really me but since it's got Penitence in there somewhere I'm thinking it could grow on me. It's surprising how well the deep resins can be masked by the lighter notes, but it does deepen and mature a bit as I wear it. edited because I randomly inserted the word "not" where it didn't belong, completely changing the meaning of a sentence. SORRY!
  12. sarada

    Chaos Theory V: Recursive Self-Similarity v1

    LXXXIX (89) I admit that when I first sniffed this I couldn't distinguish it from regular Dorian, though comparing them one after the other now, there is a difference. But what is it? I think it might have a strong bergamot note. In fact it's a bit as though someone splashed The Dormouse over Dorian. Overall the feeling is a sort of Dorian Earl Grey. The bergamot is very light, a refreshing splash...and then, well, the Dorianness of the blend is a bit stronger than my regular bottle. Since I like Dorian and have made a big dent in my 4-year-old bottle of the same, I like having a back-up bottle of something slightly stronger and with that nice hit of bergamot. Seriously, if I just convince myself it's Dorian Earl Grey I am very happy.
  13. sarada

    What do bottles and labels look like?

    whoa, i haven't ordered a GC bottle in a long time, i had no idea the labels had changed! the last one i got was Rumpelstiltzchen. i am tempted to 'upgrade' some of my favorites for new labels now since my old (non-glossy) labels on the 4+ year old ones are generally stained. thanks for the Irish bards photos! i hope i get mine today!
  14. sarada


    The combination of bitter, smoke-tinged vetiver; a clean, green ivy/vine/stem scent; the whisper of sweetly resinous dragon's blood and a hint of metallic tears is definitely something to sit back and try to wrap your head around. While i like the scent, it does command your attention for a bit as you comprehend how all of these disparate elements are interlocking. Like many BPAL scents, it tells a story as it unfolds. That clean ivy/stem scent constrasts sharply with the darker, bitter ashen/smoky vetiver. It is both clean and dirty at the same time. The 'clean' note suggests innocence; the salt and dragon's blood connote sadness and tragedy. But the darker, ashen notes add an additional ominous touch. I normally find vetiver (one of my favorite notes) to be a smooth, sweet deep polished wood, but this particular perfume comes a cross a bit more like dampened ashes. Sweet, almost fruity dragon's blood constrasts nicely with the salty "tears" and gives it a metallic tinge. It is more of a conceptual scent than something for everyday wear, I think. The odd juxtaposition of salty, fresh and resiny notes with the woody/burnt background is not exactly something I'd find wearable, since I always find myself a little annoyed by dragons' blood, and I don't like salty notes at all. I would wear it for walking in the woods on a winter day, or to a meeting in a wood-panelled room. Although I prefer masculine scents, personally, I find this blend to be almost a little too serious for me.
  15. sarada

    The Witch's Garden

    It's nice to see that after all these years I can still try an imp of a new GC scent and immediately race to the computer thinking "I need a bottle right now!!" -- and that, true to form, about 15 minutes later after it's dried and I've had some time to think, that I calm down and realize that I might not need one after all. The Witch's Garden contains some favorite notes of mine (sage, parsley) along with some that I am eternally curious about (carrot -- I always want more things with carrot in them), and anchored with some interesting earthy, rooty or green notes like hemlock, wormwood and mandrake. The immediate sensation is a fresh, wet, heady bouquet of herbs. Some medicinal, some fragrant, some floral. That first rush of wet greenery and disorientating, medicinal herbs is quite lovely. As it dies the main note that captures me is very similar to a pungent, soporific jasmine. Jasmine makes me fall asleep. I feel as though I am falling facefirst into the wet garden while bunnies look at me curiously, chomping on carrot greens. I have to assume this is what morning glory contributes to the blend. The jasmine-like odor becomes overwhelming as I wear it, and then the sneezing begins. I went from wanting a bottle of this, to feeling a bit woozy, very quickly in this case. The pungent, almost medicinal floral aspect is just a little strong when I was hoping for more of a wet, fresh herbal scent so it will probably stay in the imp case for now as a curiosity.