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BPAL Madness!

sarada

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Everything posted by sarada

  1. "Beware the Jabberwock, my son! The jaws that bite, the claws that catch! Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun The frumious Bandersnatch!" Bandersnatch musk, redolent of spicy carnations, wild plums and chrysanthemum. This is SO GOOD! Plum lovers rejoice! This is the richest, sweetest, darkest plum -- brought to life with spicy carnation. The spiciness makes me think for a moment of a sort of craft store candle smell but that dark juicy plum twists it and instead of standing in a store of little old ladies buying candles and yarn, they peer up at you with twinkling eyes and you realize they are witches in disguise. I love plum and this is the sort of vivacious, bloody, deep dark jeweled plum that I love in Blood Countess...maybe even a little like Queen of Spades... I'm not sure if musk is an ingredient but I don't really smell anything musky...maybe a little bit dusty, but there is something throbbing beneath this that helps to keep all of the elements warm and alive. This is going to be a 5 ml so fast it won't know what hit it. I should have just ordered one at first based on the name!
  2. sarada

    Yggdrasil

    The World Ash. Nine woods, nine leaves, and three herbs each for Ratatosk and Vidofnir, with three final herbs to placate Nidhogg. I was very, very much looking forward to trying Yggdrasil and I ordered a 5 ml of this within about ten minutes of receiving an imp! I was not sure what woods it would wind up being, as I was disappointed to find that Hamadryad, another woody scent, came out like nothing but cinnamon on me. But Yggdrasil is that much dryer, lighter, airy wood that I had always hoped for. White light through a stand of tall, slender trees, a chily wind blows through the green branches, and in the center of the grove is the thick, knotted trunk of the World Tree. A cold, dry wood -- positively exhilarating. It smells like fresh, crisp air blowing through a forest thick with herbs and foliage, and crisp, white bark. Unlike darker woody scents, this dissipates very quickly on me, though the deepest woods cling on for a while...but it's worth putting more on, to get that blast of fresh forest air. Just when I thought I had smelled everything.....another masterpiece! Two year update: This oil lasts magnificently for a very long time. It still smells like I remember it the first time though a bit more powdery for the woods (I think I smell white sandalwood clearly), and there is a slightly menthol quality, perhaps a touch of eucalpytus or it might just be one of the herbs. Very dry pale wood, with a faint menthol blast of deep dark green.
  3. sarada

    Troll

    They call me Troll; Gnawer of the Moon, Giant of the Gale-blasts, Curse of the rain-hall, Companion of the Sibyl, Nightroaming hag, Swallower of the loaf of heaven. What is a Troll but that? A lurching, hateful, bitter scent. This is a gruesome blend of ghastly greens and blacks: vetiver, pine pitch, troll musk, black basil, clove smoke, and scorched cumin. I've been looking forward to this one. I don't know why, but the thought of a perfume called Troll is the most delightful thing on earth to me. It makes me think of the trolls that turned to stone in the sunlight in "The Hobbit," and how they sit there moss-covered and craggy for all time. This is truly the scent of black and green. In the Pine Barrens recently, I walked among the trees that had been blackened by fire, yet still grew fresh needles from the cracked bark, and fresh greenery sprang up from the ashes and coal-black wood on the forest floor. This perfectly captures that scent: the new growth of damp green among the brittle and dry burnt wood, and above all the scent of rich earth and fragrant deep pine sap. There is also a faint hint of spiced smoke -- the scent of cumin seeds roasting in a pan, a whiff of warmth as a single clove is dropped into the mix -- permeates as this dries. If I was walking in the woods (which I might do, in just a bit...) I have a feeling that the early autumn air would lift these scents and enhance them. A deep herbal smokiness throbs just under the crush of pine and earth. Somewhere in the deep dark forest, the trolls are throwing some delicious herbs (and goodness knows what else) into a bubbling pot. Fans of the Jersey Devil should love this -- it has a similar feel in some respects but without the crunch of berries. It's darker, but still recalls the pines to me. For those worried about musk, I really don't get too much of it from this -- it must be holding the other elements together and adding to the throw and staying power, but it is not an overwhelming element. A gorgeous, natural dark woods blend of smoke, herbs, pine and earth. I know there are other people like me out there who live for his stuff. Go buy it now!
  4. sarada

    Jacob's Ladder

    JACOB'S LADDER And Jacob went out from Beersheba, and went toward Haran. And he lighted upon a certain place, and tarried there all night, because the sun was set; and he took of the stones of that place, and put them for his pillows, and lay down in that place to sleep. And he dreamed, and behold a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven: and behold the angels of God ascending and descending on it. And, behold, the Lord stood above it, and said, I am the Lord God of Abraham thy father, and the God of Isaac: the land whereon thou liest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed; And thy seed shall be as the dust of the earth, and thou shalt spread abroad to the west, and to the east, and to the north, and to the south: and in thee and in thy seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed. And, behold, I am with thee, and will keep thee in all places whither thou goest, and will bring thee again into this land; for I will not leave thee, until I have done that which I have spoken to thee of. And Jacob awaked out of his sleep, and he said, Surely the Lord is in this place; and I knew it not. And he was afraid, and said, How dreadful is this place! this is none other but the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven. The meeting of Heaven and Earth: golden amber, galbanum, benzoin, ambrette, rockrose, costus and tonka. I was expecting something like Aureus for this blend, but it is quite a different take on amber actually -- fairly light and perfume-like in the bottle, a glorious amber color when I apply it, and an almost frosting-like sweetness when it first goes on. I'm not sure what the individual notes smell like other than amber, but I know that I like most blends that contain these ingredients....resiny, warm, slightly sweet. It is lightly sweet without being cloying or honeyed, and it is amber without being powdery (that's not generally a problem that I have with amber anyway, but I know some people do). I've only had this on for the morning but it has stayed strong so far and not morphed too much. The gentle, light golden sweetness is really what impresses me. I think this one will be a hit because it is a nice compromise between the people like me who are crazy for resins, and the people who like their scents a little sweeter. There's just a tiny floral hint that I can't quite place. Perhaps that's from rockrose? Oh yes. I think we might have an amber scent for almost everyone here! Think Haunted without the musk, Aureus without the gritty earth or patchouli notes, but then add a veil of pale, luminous sweetness. It's a little "perfumey" the bottle (and I really wish I could come up with a better adjective than that) but if your skin likes amber then this should do marvellous things when you put it on.
  5. sarada

    House of Night

    And by that light around the dome appear'd A mournful garden of autumnal hue, Its lately pleasing flowers all drooping stood Amidst high weeds that rank in plenty grew. The Primrose there, the violet darkly blue, Daisies and fair Narcissus ceas'd to rise, Gay spotted pinks their charming bloom withdrew. And Polyanthus quench'd its thousand dyes. No pleasant fruit or blossoms gaily smil'd, Nought but unhappy plants or trees were seen, The yew, the myrtle, and the church-yard elm, The cypress, with its melancholy green. There cedars dark, the osier, and the pine, Shorn tamarisks, and weeping willows grew, The poplar tall, the lotos, and the lime, And Pyracantha did her leaves renew. The poppy there, companion to repose, Display'd her blossoms that began to fall, And here the purple amaranthus rose With mint strong-scented, for the funeral. And here and there with laurel shrubs between A tombstone lay, inscrib'd with stains of woe, And stanzas sad, throughout the dismal green, Lamented for the dead that slept below. A sorrowful graveyard bouquet of somber blooms, funereal boughs, dismal green and laden with grief. Love this poem. In the imp, my overwhelming impression of this blend was that it was a lot like Medea. There was sort of a lingering wisp of a sort of cigarette smokey scent about it as well. I thought it would turn out a lot like Medea on me as well, but imagine my surprise.... When I put some on (I've tested like four things so far today but they've mostly faded so far)...and I walked outside and I swear I smelled Samhain, drifting around me. What?? I sniffed my arm, and sure enough, it was very much like the smokey fir/green smell that I get after I've been wearing Samhain for awhile. The smokiness is prominent but there's a wonderful green sweetness underlying it. Very surprising, as I was expected a more floral scent in the vial, and I have no idea why it came across so much as a smoky Medea. From the description I had thought it would be much more floral or have some of the graveyard dirt smell. I'm not going to say it smells LIKE Samhain, but when it first starts to dry on me it comes across like several of the notes in Samhain. How about that?? I will need to test this when I am completely unscented, to get a really good grasp of what it does, but I went from being kind of neutral on the oil in the bottle, to being VERY excited when it dried. Now I'm thinking this will definitely be a 5 ml purchase, but I'll have to test it a couple more times to make sure. ETA: Hours later, I get a kind of musky, dusky memory of darkly sweet florals still with a slight whiff of smoke. I still like it...definitely hoping to see what others might pick up from it!
  6. sarada

    Strangler Fig

    A glorious parasite! Once the seeds of the Strangler Fig find root in the bark of a tree, snakelike roots erupt and reach graspingly at the sky. The Strangler Fig then sprouts numerous epiphytic vines that strangles and surrounds its unwilling host, and finally snuffs the life from it. Rooty, woody, with deep green tones. As soon as I read the description for this I wondered if I should just order a bottle. Rooty? Woody? Deep green? All things that I love. I am glad I just went with an imp though, because this is a little different than I expected. Not bad, just different. The main thing that strikes me is the strong, unsettling sweetness. A bit like a thick cloud of pollen...slightly honeyed, a bit powdery and green though. Although it's a bit sickly-sweet in the vial and I think I can catch the scent of decaying vegetation, it works better on my skin. The sweetness becomes a more pronounced and delicate pollen/dusty honey. Although I don't smell the lab's usual fig note, I am guessing that some sort of fig could be present in here, lending the sticky sweetness. Underneath all that is a fresh, dark green stem scent though. A fresh, grassy, in-the-sun greenness. Darker, decaying tones run underneath but are alleviated by the sweetness. As I wear it, the sweet honeyed tones because even more pleasant and warm yet always with the crisp smack of freshly snapped stems and burrowing, deep earthy roots balancing them out. It is very NATURAL smelling, as it wears, and you feel like you are walking through thick, humid air where everything is growing, some things are blossoming, some things are rotting...but everything is very busy and alive. I don't think this will be a bottle for me, it's an interesting fragrance and one I'd like to wear occasionally when I'm walking in the woods or in botanical gardens...or maybe working in the yard...definitely a nice dark scent for spring/summer. It gives me great hope for this whole Garden category though as being full of surprises!
  7. sarada

    The Potter's Field

    Silas walked across the path without disturbing a fallen leaf, and sat down on the bench, beside Bod. "There are those," he said, in his silken voice, "who believe that all land is sacred. That it is sacred before we come to it, and sacred after. But here, in your land, they blessed the churches and the ground they set aside to bury people in, to make it holy. But they left land unconsecrated beside the sacred ground, potter's fields to bury the criminals and the suicides or those who were not of the faith." "So the people buried in the ground on the other side of the fence are bad people?" Silas raised one perfect eyebrow. "Mm? Oh, not at all. Let's see, it's been a while since I've been down that way. But I don't remember anyone particularly evil. Remember, in days gone by you could be hanged for stealing a shilling. And there are always people who find their lives have become so unsupportable they believe the best thing they could do would be to hasten their transition to another plane of existence." Rich loam, fragrant grasses, murky vetiver, wild herbs, and dry cedar bark. This is the first one I went for, in the Graveyard Book, it sounds custom made for me as a scent. The Potter's Field is definitely an earth-lover's dream scent, with a very heavy dose of dark, scorched vetiver. A damp, sweet earth so black and moist you can almost see the worms wriggling around in it, lingers as I sniff it in the bottle. It's the loamy green-brown scent you can catch in blends like The Premature Burial. The vetiver is similar to that in the Hessian of the Hollow - so dark it sparkles. I don't quite catch the herbs, but the dry cedar must be contributing to the overall scent of dry, burnt wood lingering over the damp, rich soil that you can just about feel your feet sinking into. A swirl of smoke over a desolate field, where hints of life sprout in the wet soil, constantly renewing itself. Bare trees and grey skies, wild things growing in the darkness.
  8. sarada

    Schrodinger's Cat

    One can even set up quite ridiculous cases. A cat is penned up in a steel chamber, along with the following diabolical device (which must be secured against direct interference by the cat): in a Geiger counter there is a tiny bit of radioactive substance, so small that perhaps in the course of one hour one of the atoms decays, but also, with equal probability, perhaps none; if it happens, the counter tube discharges and through a relay releases a hammer which shatters a small flask of hydrocyanic acid. If one has left this entire system to itself for an hour, one would say that the cat still lives if meanwhile no atom has decayed. The first atomic decay would have poisoned it. The Psi function for the entire system would express this by having in it the living and the dead cat (pardon the expression) mixed or smeared out in equal parts. It is typical of these cases that an indeterminacy originally restricted to the atomic domain becomes transformed into macroscopic indeterminacy, which can then be resolved by direct observation. That prevents us from so naively accepting as valid a "blurred model" for representing reality. In itself it would not embody anything unclear or contradictory. There is a difference between a shaky or out-of-focus photograph and a snapshot of clouds and fog banks. A paradoxical scent experiment! - tangerine, sugared lime, pink grapefruit, oakmoss, lavender, zdravetz, and chocolate peppermint. No cats were mistreated during the formulation of this paradox, or in the process of creating this perfume. First of all, this cat got a special bottle label that is just too cute for words! This is a colorful, playful, buoyant scent, as whimsical as kittens playing with balls of radioactive yarn. It has the crisp bubble of citrus, grounded in damp moss, disoriented by a swirl of lavender and then dunked in a bouquet of hothouse flowers. Actually, the floral aspect is not very strong, but it is present. For those wondering about "chocolate peppermint," I would say that I smell neither chocolate nor peppermint in this blend. There is the slightest hint of it, perhaps -- a breath mint washed down with a sip of sweetness -- but it is not a major player at least on my skin. The play of unusual citrus fruits recalls Croquet a bit, but is grounded in an herbal mossy haze. A cat wandering among strange plants in a greenhouse in the early morning fog, appearing and then disappearing among the foliage. I think that the elements in this will shift drastically depending on personal skin chemistry. For me, the citrus is strong at first and then burns off. Oakmoss lingers beautifully (it actually smells a bit like Spanish moss, even -- I think the zdravetz is giving it more of a humid floral edge). Lavender seems to appear somewhere off to the side, blinking into existence right when I thought it had vanished. And that elusive chocolate peppermint never quite makes its presence known to me, though...is that it there, just for a moment? I can't be sure. As it dries down I think I am getting a little bit of a whiff of it, a tiny bite of a chocolate mint. But then it's gone. A scent as complex and strange as the concept itself! ETA: In the locket, this is a little different, by the way! The citrus notes stay the strongest and the longest, mainly a key lime pie-esque soft bright lime scent, or something that reminds me of rainbow sherbet. While on my skin it dries down very mossy (Spanish mossy actually) there is very little of that element when it's in a locket, just a hint of a floral-moss underneath the creamy citrus that stays strong throughout.
  9. sarada

    Destroying Angel

    One of the deadliest mushrooms to ever pop through Gaia’s soil. Papery white notes evoke the grace of this fungi, grounded by thin, crisp soil. I am very excited by the mushroom fragrances that are popping up in the garden, because I imagine they will be kind of musty and dusty, earthy -- sometimes moist and damp, sometimes dry and dirtlike. Destroying Angel is one of the dry, dusty ones, but not without some sweetness. Actually it is very, very much like The Rat King from the Yule line of 2005. In the imp it is a light, slightly sweet dirt/soil smell, sort of Graveyard Dirt and then some, but it sweetens on my skin. Dust and pale woods are two things that definitely come to mind, hence the Rat King comparison. Today is a little bit colder out than spring should be so I can't get the full effect of how this warms on my skin...but so far it is staying strong and not fading away like a crushed, powdery dried mushroom. I am leaning towards a full bottle of this although it is very similar to the Rat King, but it is a little less sharp and there is no musky bite. A glorious, pale sweet dirt scent.
  10. 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).
  11. sarada

    Robin Goodfellow

    Now the hungry lion roars, And the wolf behowls the moon; Whilst the heavy ploughman snores, All with weary task fordone. Now the wasted brands do glow, Whilst the screech-owl, screeching loud, Puts the wretch that lies in woe In remembrance of a shroud. Now it is the time of night That the graves all gaping wide, Every one lets forth his sprite, In the church-way paths to glide: And we fairies, that do run By the triple Hecate's team, From the presence of the sun, Following darkness like a dream, Now are frolic: not a mouse Shall disturb this hallow'd house: I am sent with broom before, To sweep the dust behind the door. Dark musk, moss-covered wood, ragwort, heather, and sage. I had to go right ahead and order a bottle of this because I love moss and wood blends, I love dark musk and sage scents are just amazing. I thought this might be something like Carfax Abbey, which also prominently features mossy wood, and yes, it is just a bit! Dark musk actually has a tendency to sort of sweep scents up and add to their throw and staying power, so I am immediately surrounded by a dusty cloud of pale mosses and paler woods. It is not a wet, earthy moss, but rather the dry pale moss that clings to the sides of trees -- and the dusty pale trees we also see in scents like Yggdrasil. It is beams of dusty light illuminating a quiet grove, and coaxing bursts of fragrance from the herbs that grow along the edge of the forest. Sage is also pale and dusty in this blend, lazily floating on the air, blown in on a breeze. It is the dry, herbal scent I have been waiting for -- set against a backdrop of an enchanted wood. While Carfax Abbey brought to mind an abandoned wooden church covered in wood dust, this is purely an outdoor scent, though similar in feel as far as the muted, dusty tones. Solemn and dreamlike, with herbal flourishes that are the olfactory equivalent of a movement in the woods that you catch just out of the corner of your eye.
  12. sarada

    Silk Road

    A panoply of cultural treasures, spanning the herbs, flowers, oils and balms of the Romans, the Byzantines, the Mediterranean, the Levant, Northern China, Eastern Europe, Iran, the Bulgar-Kypchak, Mesopotamia, the Crimean Peninsula, Anatolia, Antioch, and North Africa. Doesn't this sound incredible? It is! The color is a pale and slightly rosy amber, and the scent of this oil immediately perks me up. It's like walking into a store that sells all kinds of incenses and oils...just lovely! I really wish I had a better idea of how to describe the individual notes in this, because I love it -- but I have no idea to describe it! But in the interest of contributing a review, I'll do my best. This is like a light, spicy incense -- the spices are subdued, and although I have a full spice cabinet at home and a good idea of what smells like what, I have no idea what is in this! Slightly woody, extremely complex, I don't get a strong sense of cinnamon but I think I can smell it in there somewhere...not a foody spice scent, and not overwhelmingly strong like Scherezade, which was something I was wondering, about this scent. Subtle, but compelling. I will definitely be ordering a full bottle of this, though I don't think I will ever figure out exactly what's into it! I can't think of any other BPAL blend that this is similar to. It is not extremely floral or extremely herby but you can catch a glimpse of some sort of exotic bouquet or spice kitchen. I imagine it is like walking into an ancient Eastern or Middle-Eastern market, and the swirl of scents (just the good scents...not the other smells that might have been circulating in ancient times!) in the sun, with a swirl of incense smoke.
  13. sarada

    The Isles of Demons

    Twin islands near Newfoundland, now lost, that were believed to be gateways to Hell. The scent is of wet, dark greenery, carnivorous flowers, volcanic gas, and the hot black musk of the demons and wild beasts that populated the islands. Love the name of this one! Yes, the idea of "volcanic gas" was a little alarming in this but it's not scary at all in the imp. It is a thick, dark, damp floral -- I don't specifically smell the musk at first but I know it's in there, sort of amplifying everything. Damp and musky at the same time, but overall very much like walking into a tropical greenhouse. There is a hint of something smoky snaking through, like a ritual fire sending out a beacon of smoke from afar. As it wears, the musk definitely takes form and emerges from the green gloom. You know what this is?? The perfect scent to wear when you're watching "Lost"! Something dark moves in the lush damp jungle, something with dark and sparkling eyes dissipates into a column of black smoke. I don't know that I'd want to smell like this normally since the thick tropical blooms are a bit heady for me, but I just love the imagery it evokes!
  14. sarada

    The Shivering Boy

    Cold, cold forever more. A winter storm roaring through empty stone halls, bearing echoes of despair, desolation, and death on its winds. The scent of frozen, dormant vineyards, bitter sleet, and piercing ozone, hurled through labdanum, benzoin, and olibanum. When I sniffed this at will call the main impression I got was a snowy scent with a hint of cold grape or wine and perhaps a touch of ivy or greenery. Testing it now that I have a bottle, it is even more complex and varied than I expected. There is a sharp, cold feeling to this -- that wonderful BPAL snow note that we've seen over the years (in this, I'd say it's closest to the snow in Snow Moon or Death of a Gravedigger) but it's a little more piercing and "perfumey" because of a blast of ozone wafting over a snow-encrusted stone tower. There is an interesting effect produced by ozone and resins like labdanum and olibanum that creates a staticky aura of "perfume" over the other notes. The vineyard aroma comes out as it dries and the crackle and fizz of that sleet and snow starts to fade a little. It's a pale, frozen grape wine, just barely there, to give a slight blush to the blend. I'm imagining frosted, frozen bundles of grapes lost in the snow in a stone courtyard. Very evocative. The image and story surrounding it really make it for me -- if this had been given a more generic name I might find it too perfumey but looking at the picture of the stone tower on the label and thinking about a ghost and a snow storm, make me very eager to wear this out on a bleak winter day. Hopefully it will be a few more weeks before we have one of those in these parts though!
  15. sarada

    Odin

    Odin is highest and eldest of the Æsir: he rules all things, and mighty as are the other gods, they all serve him as children obey a father. The All-Father, Lord of Wisdom and War. Odin’s name itself translates to "fury", "excitation" and "poetry"and that is the core of His essence. He is the God of Victory, and holds sway over hunting, verse, war-lust and berserkers, magic, illumination, foresight, death, plots and machinations, and He dispenses the Mead of Inspiration to poets from his sacred vessel, Óð-rœri. He gifted mankind with runes, both sacred and mundane, and the ability to use them for both communication and magical work. He grants glory and madness, inspiration and courage, power and wisdom. He commands the einheriar of his Hall, Valhalla, and the Valkyries that claim the souls of valiant warriors. Lord Odin’s favored weapon is the spear Gugnir, which he uses to claim those chosen to die in battle. He is accompanied by his ravens, Hugin and Munin [thought and memory], and his wolves, Geri and Freki [the Greedy], and rides an eight-legged horse, Sleipner, that is, in itself, symbolic of death. His scent is dry elm bark, amaranth, warrior’s musk, and Odin’s Nine Herbs of Power. Dry, but sweet. Musty/musky, but spicy. What an incredibly complex scent. You want to think it would be a masculine but this is very much at home on a female wrist (though, okay, I do favor masculine scents). There's something in this that reminds me of Haunted. It's got this golden wisp of amber (could that be amaranth playing tricks on me? I don't know what it smells like on its own), backed up by musk, which pushes it forward and gives it some power. The herbs are a melange of sweet, fragrant and spicy notes, laid out in the sun, drying and slightly dusty. A pale wood base never dominates. This is very hard to pin down and I will have to spend some time with it to get a better idea, but it is a very stately, powerful, evocative fragrance with complex layers of dry, dusty wood, aromatic and spicy herbs (a 'spice rack' kind of feeling but nothing in the cinnamon/clove family, just a general dry and pleasant mixture of fragrances) and something sweet that makes me think of amber even though it probably isn't. A fitting tribute to Odin, and I will probably need more as I keep trying my imp to experience all of its many facets and layers.
  16. sarada

    Death of the Grave Digger

    Death of the Grave Digger, Carlos Schwabe.Snow, soil, opoponax and myrrh. I bought a bottle of this unsniffed because of the art, and because of snow and soil -- two of my favorite types of scents. This was the first bottle that I opened in my package, I was so eager to see how it turned out. Slush. Crisp, fresh, slush. Pine. Faintly minty-limey pine and a deep, pale blue breath of frost. This is very much like Skadi or Snow Moon...a touch like Talvikuu or Snow Bunny. In other words, if you love the snowy/slushy scents that the lab does so very well at winter time, here is the year-round version! The earthy-woods element reminds me a bit of the trees in Nocnitsa, but covered in crystalline snow. This is gorgeous. I love every one of the snowy/icy scents and this is no exception. I think that the opoponax and myrrh might be helping this to be even a little bit stronger and longer-lasting than its more ethereal, misty counterparts. As it dries the initial flurry of crushed pine and snow notes give way to a gritty, crystalline and slightly spicy earthy scent that must be those resins, spiked with cold pine. Absolutely gorgeous!
  17. sarada

    A Countenance Forboding Evil

    Thy gloomy features, like a midnight dial, Scowl the dark index of a fearful hour. Patchouli, ylang ylang, blood orange, and vetiver. I do so love the patchouli/vetiver scents. Woody, glossy, and slightly burnt -- sweet upturned earth, scorched or scattered with incense dust. This blend has some pretty forceful components and I think it might cause some to back slowly away, but if you like patchouli and vetiver, do give it a shot. The blood orange gives it a glossy sheen that makes me think of whorled wood, polished to perfection and set in the wall of a smoky study. It is a striking, powerful scent, but carries itself with dignity. I'm not a fan of ylang ylang really but I don't particularly smell it here. Perhaps, as in Tisiphone, it matches so well with the patchouli that together they become something else -- fragrant, crumbling earthy incense. Still, the vetiver glossed over with throbbing orange is the main player here, set against the dark backdrop of the other scents. Patchouli slowly moves to the foreground as it dries, emerging from the shadow. It is fairly simple overall but makes its point quietly without a lot of fanfare. If you like these types of scents as much as I do, you'll want to try it.
  18. sarada

    Agnes Nutter

    The mind of Agnes Nutter was so far adrift in Time that she was considered pretty mad even by the standards of seventeenth-century Lancashire, where mad prophetesses were a growth industry. Gunpowder, charred wood, smoke, and rusty nails. I sniffed Agnes at Will Call and enjoyed sniffing it throughout the night on my skin, where it lingered the longest and strongest of all, changing slightly as it dried down. At first it is a strong smoky burning wood like Malediction or Brimstone, very rich and gritty, sooty and ashy, woody and a bit like charcoal. I get a hint of that scent that fills the air after the end of a large fireworks display (a scent I was reacquainted with last week, on July 4!). The gunpowder and burning scent calms down to a rich dark burnt wood, a strong vetiver (sorry, folks, but I love vetiver!) and some other strong woody scents. The faint metallic note of rusty nails does make a brief appearance early on, but it is fleeting. I can almost taste it when I smell it. If you like your scents smoky and burny this is the way to go. I LOVE it. This is a new favorite for sure, and it combines what I love from scents like Djinn, Malediction and Brimstone in a new and exciting way.
  19. sarada

    Chintamani-Dhupa

    Pound well together sandal-wood, Kunku, costus, Krishnaguru, Suvasika-puspha, white vala and the bark of the Deodaru pine; and, after reducing them to fine powder, mix it with honey and thoroughly dry. It is now known as Chintamani-Dhupa, the "thought-mastering incense". If a little of this be used according to the ceremonies prescribed, he who employs it will make all the world submissive to him. A fumigation for fascination! A strangely sensual blend, exotic, compelling, and commanding, adapted from an incense recipe found in the venerable sex manual, the Ananga Ranga. The softest, sweet, pale dusty sandalwood, sprinkled with flower petals and warmed with honey. Powdered incense at first, but it grows in strength in minutes as soon as it hits my skin. For a little while it reminds me of Lotus Moon without the lotus -- in other words, that faintly sweet dry woody pine and amber with a touch of a sandalwoody rose. But then the powdered honey note kicks in and sends this into the stratosphere. It becomes a gorgeous, pale woody honey incense, shot through with a hint of incensy floral. Very pure, quiet and calming -- I would think soft incense was burning in the room if I walked past someone wearing this. I don't know what the individual notes are, from reading the description, but I imagine pale and fragrant woods, with sandalwood taking the center stage, and maybe a touch of resin (I thought I smelled something like frankincense for a moment). With just a few minutes' wear I can already see this heading for my favorites list! eta: Drydown hours later, sandalwood and resins seem to be lingering beautifully...I would swear one of my favorite resins is in there, maybe frankincense but a little lighter. I keep getting wafts of it and it just keeps getting better!
  20. sarada

    The Fruit of Paradise

    While Persephone visited the realm of Hades, she tasted one single pomegranate seed, an act which compelled her to remain connected to the Land of the Dead for all eternity. Demeter's grief over her beloved daughter's absence that brings on the bleakness and barrenness of the winter months. The Fruit of Paradise, the Nectar of Death: bittersweet pomegranate. The story of Persephone was what first made me love pomegranates when I heard it as a child, and as the cold months begin and they start appearing on store shelves (in ever increasing quantities!) I cannot resist them. The rich, blood red, dripping fragrant juice is a delight, and I love perfumes in which it is a prominent note. This is a deeper, stronger pomegranate than something like Swank or Persephone, but it remains true to that sweet red almost berry-like scent. It's given some depth and strength by...well, I'm not sure but it makes me think of amber. I was wondering if maybe this would have a strong earth or dirt note, but it is mainly pomegranate sweetened and deepened perhaps by amber or some other sweet, golden pale resin. A few notches different from something like Hymn to Proserpine, but it does recall a Yule time red sweet berry-fruit scent. On the drydown there might be a hint of a rich, darker note, but that clear, bright red fruit is always on top.
  21. 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.
  22. sarada

    Lysander

    The course of true love never did run smooth. Lilac musk, tonka, wood violet, and urbane lime rind, with a Venus-kissed tangle of myrtle, blackberry leaf, and benzoin. Sniffing this, I could not remember any of the notes except tonka, which is strong and sweet in this blend with its peculiar smoky vanilla tones. It has a slightly roasted quality to it -- but tonka is foremost. That, and a powdery note that I had thought might be apple blossom but now I see: it is lilac musk. Yes, that's definitely the sweet, powdery scent of lilac, but it is strengthened a bit by musk, that amplifies and disperses it a little higher and stronger. It does remind me of the lilac note in His Station and Four Aces, though overall this blend is more dominated by the roasted smoky vanilla-like scent of tonka. Some dark green notes emerge later, which must be the myrtle and blackberry leaf -- and I'm guessing benzoin adds a little to the smoky feel while adding some of the staying power and sweetness of a lovely resin. There is an underlying fruity sweetness as well that never quite makes it foody, but does create an appetizing blend of sweet, tart and smoky scents. If I had wound up with a full bottle of this instead of just an imp I'd have been perfectly happy to keep it. Fans of the Dogs Playing Poker series might enjoy this because it combines some of the elements from those, in a less tobacco-filled setting. I'm really digging the idea of smoke and lilac playing together, but the tart fruits and sweet tonka really ground this in almost edible tones.
  23. sarada

    The Cracked Bell

    How bittersweet it is, on winter's night, To listen, by the sputtering, smoking fire, As distant memories, through the fog-dimmed light, Rise, to the muffled chime of churchbell choir. Lucky the bell -- still full and deep of throat, Clear-voiced despite its years, strong, eloquent -- That rings, with faithful tongue, its pious note Like an old soldier, wakeful, in his tent! My soul lies cracked; and when, in its despair, Pealing, it tries to fill the cold night air With its lament, it often sounds, instead, Like some poor wounded wretch -- long left for dead Beneath a pile of corpses, lying massed By bloody pool -- rattling, gasping his last. A winter's horror: smoke and stillness, faded incense and the metallic tang of blood. Am I the first?... This was the first Yule blend that I opened, partially because it was the first alphabetically and parly because it was the one I was the most curious about, wondering how smoke and blood would come across and excited about the incense. In the bottle (which is lovely, by the way), it is a perfumey incense smell -- I think that the "metallic tang" is what gives it a slightly static, perfumey scent, rather distant and sophisticated and a bit like a very dark commercial perfume. When I wear it, the pleasant scent of and incense store starts to develop more -- I don't get any one particular kind of incense, it's just that kind of "occult store" vibe without any one element dominating. It is muted and slightly dusty, as though cloth had been soaking up the scent of many kinds of incense for years and is now being hung out in the cold to air out. This warms up nicely on my skin, which loves incensy smells, but it's not an overwhelming scent. Could there be a faint breath of nag champa in there? Maybe something amber or musky as it dries? I may add more to this as I wear it but those are my immediate impressions...this might not be an every day scent for me but I think that on cold winter days, especially, the chill air will contrast nicely with this dusty incense-soaked tapestry.
  24. sarada

    The Magi

    Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him. When Herod the king had heard these things, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he demanded of them where Christ should be born. And they said unto him, In Bethlehem of Judaea: for thus it is written by the prophet, And thou Bethlehem, in the land of Juda, art not the least among the princes of Juda: for out of thee shall come a Governor, that shall rule my people Israel. Then Herod, when he had privily called the wise men, inquired of them diligently what time the star appeared. And he sent them to Bethlehem, and said, Go and search diligently for the young child; and when ye have found him, bring me word again, that I may come and worship him also. When they had heard the king, they departed; and, lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy. And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh. And being warned of God in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed into their own country another way. And when they were departed, behold, the angel of the Lord appeareth to Joseph in a dream, saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and flee into Egypt, and be thou there until I bring thee word: for Herod will seek the young child to destroy him. When he arose, he took the young child and his mother by night, and departed into Egypt: And was there until the death of Herod: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Out of Egypt have I called my son. Then Herod, when he saw that he was mocked of the wise men, was exceeding wroth, and sent forth, and slew all the children that were in Bethlehem, and in all the coasts thereof, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had diligently inquired of the wise men. Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremy the prophet, saying, In Rama was there a voice heard, lamentation, and weeping, and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children, and would not be comforted, because they are not. But when Herod was dead, behold, an angel of the Lord appeareth in a dream to Joseph in Egypt, Saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and go into the land of Israel: for they are dead which sought the young child's life. And he arose, and took the young child and his mother, and came into the land of Israel. But when he heard that Archelaus did reign in Judaea in the room of his father Herod, he was afraid to go thither: notwithstanding, being warned of God in a dream, he turned aside into the parts of Galilee: And he came and dwelt in a city called Nazareth: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets, He shall be called a Nazarene. An offering of frankincense, gold, and myrrh, with coriander, cumin, ambergris, white wine grape, and vanilla bean. Now as at all times I can see in the mind's eye, In their stiff, painted clothes, the pale unsatisfied ones Appear and disappear in the blue depth of the sky With all their ancient faces like rain-beaten stones, And all their helms of silver hovering side by side, And all their eyes still fixed, hoping to find once more, Being by Calvary's turbulence unsatisfied, The uncontrollable mystery on the bestial floor. Wow, that's a long description. I almost can't get to a keyboard fast enough to record my impressions on this one. Frankincense and myrrh embrace me right out of the bottle and knock me over with a gritty golden punch. Oh rapture! It's different from Midnight Mass though, and many other resinous scents -- there is a light, bright fruitiness to it, and an incredible freshness that I will attribute to the coriander. Bright, scintillating and slightly sweet. It smells like the little bags of resin (frank/myrrh) that I buy at the occult store to burn on charcoal, but it also smells of cold winter starlight, or of golden light pouring in through a stained glass window. Crisp, fresh, glowing warm embers when outside is the bracing chill of winter. I would never have thought to pair my beloved resins with such a strange assortment of fragrances but they all play their part. A jolt of freshness and brightness from coriander, a bit of a warm smokiness from cumin...the golden amber light, sweetness of vanilla paired with the sweet-sour-crisp white wine grape. I may write more as I wear this. It feels too early in the season to be indulging something so very wintry in tone, but I will be inseparable from this one for awhile.
  25. sarada

    The Twisted Oak Tree

    Blackened, rotted oak wood blanketed in moss and choked by a cloak of grasping ivy. My reputation precedes me, as a lot of people guessed this one would be in my order! I'm not sure if this is different from the version I smelled at Will Call but it definitely fits the bill for a scorched tree scent. It is different enough from the other woody blends that I've tried so far this year to set it apart in its own perfect little blackened, damp alcove. First, the label: love blue labels! A beautiful dark midnight blue scene complete with bats. Oh how I love twisted trees. It is a different sort of smoky, blackened wood from that which we smell in some other burnt wood blends -- it is not the smoke of Brimstone or Djinn, for example. It is not the smoky gunpowder burn of Agnes Nutter or Bonfire Night. It is more like a trunk where the fire was long ago extinguished, and it is now damp, rotted and caked with moss. It also reminds me of a darker cousin of October, with the crackle of dusty dried leaves and the refreshing blast of autumn air. The ivy is surprisingly strong in this as it dries. A crisp, green almost watery flourish of ivy growing out of the charred trunk. Ivy fans would do well to try this out, and wait for the initial smoky wood to dissipate to get the full effect of ivy. ETA: Fans of the Black Tower take note, this is similar in tone when it dries down, without the wine note. I'm still waiting for the longterm drydown on this, I'm just testing it quickly out of excitement. This year's crop of woody autumn scents is everything I could wish for.
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