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BPAL Madness!


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Everything posted by couscous

  1. couscous

    Meigetsu Ya

    I purchased this one based on Tom and Galen's video review! I was expecting a frigid cold, refrigerated blood orange, and it sounded so clean and refreshing. Had to get it even though it sounded simple. On the skin, it is not quite what I expected, but still pleasant. The frost on this one manifests as candy, almost like a sugar coated mandarin. It is sweeter than I expected and less bitter/astringent. It is *slightly* cleaning product on me, but not intolerably so. As it dries down, I am getting the barest hint of that powdery snow white note no one can place. It does kind of feel like one of the snow white hybrids offered a few years ago. This one is crying out to be layered. It is pretty and juicy on her own, but I feel like it needs something else to blossom on my skin. Maybe a sharp tea note or a yuzu? I am curious to read how other fans wear this and what they pair it with, if anything. Personally, I could really get into this with a more bitter citrus underneath. A little more herbal and green. This is a very girly orange, slightly nostalgic with a powdery candy undertone. It feels very young. Glad I got to try it!
  2. couscous

    Last Tavern at the Town Gate

    Ah, this was a disappointment. No red musk. No whiskey. No amber. Instead, it is pine. Pine to the eleventh power, with a bit of the lemon coming through on the skin after it settles a bit. I love lemon, but in this case she is quite unwelcome. Combined with the overwhelming pine smell, the blend becomes straight up floor cleaner on me. Red musk is usually a slam dunk on my skin, and Mad Sweeney is one of my favorite winter go-tos, so the whiskey note sealed the deal when I read the description. I really thought Last Tavern would be a no-brainer loved blend, but that pine-sol throwback...Naaaah. Can't do it. Won't wear it. I guess the "sleet" is the culprit? Super bummed! I hope someone out there gets the glorious bpal red musk smell from this. I am off to wash thoroughly and slather on some Sweeney instead. :/
  3. couscous

    The Carpathian Mountains

    Beyond the green swelling hills of the Mittel Land rose mighty slopes of forest up to the lofty steeps of the Carpathians themselves. Right and left of us they towered, with the afternoon sun falling full upon them and bringing out all the glorious colours of this beautiful range, deep blue and purple in the shadows of the peaks, green and brown where grass and rock mingled, and an endless perspective of jagged rock and pointed crags, till these were themselves lost in the distance, where the snowy peaks rose grandly. Here and there seemed mighty rifts in the mountains, through which, as the sun began to sink, we saw now and again the white gleam of falling water. One of my companions touched my arm as we swept round the base of a hill and opened up the lofty, snow-covered peak of a mountain, which seemed, as we wound on our serpentine way, to be right before us. Mountain air and the scent of crisp snow blanketing the mountain's flora: Scottish fir, beech, cembra and mugho pine, rhododendron, currant, honeysuckle, raspberry leaf, dwarf juniper, sedge, meadow grass, snowdrop, rose bay, lily of the valley, starwort, lichen and mosses. "My friend.--Welcome to the Carpathians. I am anxiously expecting you. Sleep well tonight. At three tomorrow the diligence will start for Bukovina; a place on it is kept for you. At the Borgo Pass my carriage will await you and will bring you to me. I trust that your journey from London has been a happy one, and that you will enjoy your stay in my beautiful land. -- Your friend, Dracula." Okay, fans of snow moon, snow bunny, and all those slushy-sloshy blends: you got your wish! The Carpathian Mountains defintely open up to me on a bracing wind of sweetened fir, pine, and/or wintergreen. In fact, this reminds me very much of what i remember as the openings of snow moon. Sweet mint ice. As it dries- well, you didn't really expect me to be able to pick out and name all the native flora of the mountains, did you? I hope not, because I'm completely certain that I couldn't do it- everything here is too foreign to my nose and too well-blended, which is probably the point. What I can pick out, once Beth named them: raspberry leaf (there is the slightest touch of bitter berry in here, much like the leaves of a berry plant), green grasses, a hint of juniper, and a bigger hint of ozone. It's slightly medicinal in the way that all pine-y scents feel to my nose, but it's the most wearable pine I've ever come across- very female, very clean. Unfortunately, it's also extremely faint, burning away to the smallest wash of wintergreen in just over an hour. I don't know how I feel about this one, as I normally don't wear anything that even remotely suggests "christmas tree"- but I will say that, if I were forced to wear a BPAL from the ozone-y/snowy scent family, this is the one I'd go for. She's gentle, and untouched by human hands. Very nicely done.
  4. couscous


    Although there is no official description on the site, Wikipedia defines a bildungsroman as "a novel which traces the spiritual, moral, psychological, or social development and growth of the main character from (usually) childhood to maturity.” Commonly, and perhaps incorrectly, it is known as a coming-of-age novel. For that reason- the whole coming-of-age, puberty association- I'd never really considered it when I was looking for an oil to focus on being grateful, on figuring out what was important in life, and making the promise to "do the right thing", as it were. Forest told me that, in broad terms, this oil was meant to support personal growth and would therefore be an excellent choice for me. She's never wrong. Never! As it turns out, what I'm going through right now is very much like puberty. I'm 28 years old, right in my Saturn return, and I'm starting to feel the effects and pay for the adult I grew into. Time for major changes. I think many other life stages mimic puberty, as well, and so quite a bit of TAL's customer base would find bildungsroman applicable. As a scent, Bildungsroman reminds me a bit of Samhain. It's got either pine or fir in it, maybe both, plus a eucalyptus/menthol note, supported by murky woods. It's not a "mothers love" blend in the slightest. Instead, it's a bit harsh and bracing- perfectly evocative of the slight amount of pain that marks real growth. I'm going to love working with this one.
  5. couscous

    Carfax Abbey

    At Purfleet, on a byroad, I came across just such a place as seemed to be required, and where was displayed a dilapidated notice that the place was for sale. It was surrounded by a high wall, of ancient structure, built of heavy stones, and has not been repaired for a large number of years. The closed gates are of heavy old oak and iron, all eaten with rust. The estate is called Carfax, no doubt a corruption of the old Quatre Face, as the house is four sided, agreeing with the cardinal points of the compass. It contains in all some twenty acres, quite surrounded by the solid stone wall above mentioned. There are many trees on it, which make it in places gloomy, and there is a deep, dark-looking pond or small lake, evidently fed by some springs, as the water is clear and flows away in a fair-sized stream. The house is very large and of all periods back, I should say, to mediaeval times, for one part is of stone immensely thick, with only a few windows high up and heavily barred with iron. It looks like part of a keep, and is close to an old chapel or church. I could not enter it, as I had not the key of the door leading to it from the house, but I have taken with my Kodak views of it from various points. The house had been added to, but in a very straggling way, and I can only guess at the amount of ground it covers, which must be very great. There are but few houses close at hand, one being a very large house only recently added to and formed into a private lunatic asylum. It is not, however, visible from the grounds. The scent of abandoned places, of desolation and emptiness: heavy woods and thin dusty herbs touched by the wafting incense of a nearby chapel. If I had sniffed this knowing it was part of Order of the Dragon, but not knowing which one it was, I would have bet a significant percentage of my paycheck that this one was The Castle. It has only been on my skin a short while, but I'm already amazed by how accurately this captures my mythical idea of abandoned elegance. Beth tapped into some collective tool box here, for sure. Carfax Abbey is bone suckingly dry, austere, and very dusty. It is NOT, as many would imagine, our token resin-y incense-y blend. In fact, it doesn't have even the slightest resemblance to the church as most of us know it. Sorry, Midnight Mass fans, this is not our halloween stand-in. Instead, I smell... faded iris, a bit of sassafras (or is it a droplet of amber?), perhaps some dusted lilac, the driest white sandalwood, some cedar? The resemblance to dragon's bone is definitely noted, for it is the only other scent I can think of that feels this somber, this studious. There are some dried, faded flowers and herbs in this, for certain, but they don't smell at all like potpourri. They smell much more expensive, much more like the impressions of a bouquet on a back stairwell, in the direct line of the only light source. Floral haters- do NOT be afraid. The floral notes I'm smelling are so light as to be ghosts of their former selves- no accident on Beth's part, I'm sure The throw is minimal, and it only morphs slightly for me into something mildly sweeter- but never, ever anything cheerful or alive. I absolutely love it.
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    It was now midnight, and my task was drawing to a close. I had completed the eighth, the ninth, and the tenth tier. I had finished a portion of the last and the eleventh; there remained but a single stone to be fitted and plastered in. I struggled with its weight; I placed it partially in its destined position. But now there came from out the niche a low laugh that erected the hairs upon my head. It was succeeded by a sad voice, which I had difficulty in recognising as that of the noble Fortunato. The voice said – "Ha! ha! ha! — he! he! — a very good joke indeed — an excellent jest. We will have many a rich laugh about it at the palazzo — he! he! he! — over our wine — he! he! he!" "The Amontillado!" I said. "He! he! he! — he! he! he! — yes, the Amontillado. But is it not getting late? Will not they be awaiting us at the palazzo, the Lady Fortunato and the rest? Let us be gone." "Yes," I said "let us be gone." "For the love of God, Montresor!" "Yes," I said, "for the love of God!" A deep, rich sherry encased in dusty darkness, touched by oak, and damp catacomb stone. The scent begins with a sense of drunken glee, of orange peel, bittersweet berry and rose hip, and moves inexorably towards the dread and terror expressed in black patchouli. In the bottle, Fortunato reminded me of the often-overlooked masquerade out of the GC... or perhaps, in slight passing, to the discontinued carnivale. It has that same sparkling, festive feel, anchored by bitter orange. This isn't a creamsicle perfume, thank God! I smell a tiny, tiny bit of whiskey/cognac (description says sherry), which gives the scent some elegance, but it's mostly wonderfully tart and effervescent berries on me, with medium throw. It dries down to a surprisingly clean "baby" smell with a touch of rind. The patchouli cannot be explicitly identified as such- only the sense of it. Despite some of my review keywords- berries, babies, festive- this is not a girlish perfume at all. Good for both men and women, and excellent when paired with a black dress. Fortunato is something truly different, and he's my favorite of the maelstrom scents so far, by far.
  7. couscous

    Are bpal blends all-natural?

    Actually, I really loved The Rat King...
  8. couscous

    Devil's Claw

    Smoky vetiver, straight up. Cigarettes and motor oil! Yum for me, since I love vetiver so much, but I must confess...once you've found a few vetiver blends in beth's line, you really don't need all of them, since vetiver pretty much transforms every blend it's in to a variation on a single note. I liked Devil's Claw, but it's for fans of the single note only.
  9. couscous

    Black Hellebore

    This one was another great surprise from the RG line. Black hellebore is herbal and sharp, but there's a definite sweetness to it that makes it more than just an "experience" scent. It's almost like poppies or some other sweet, syrupy flower. It would be almost too much except for the fact that it wears very light. Another purple scent, though. Purple and green, sharp and juicy. I liked it.
  10. couscous

    Hairy Toad Lily

    I didn't think hairy Toad Lily was that sweet...I really, really love it! It's fruity and juicy in that very purple, grape way, without the bitterness that comes from wine. It's got a great herbal and green note to keep it from becoming too silly, and it never moves into that heady floral stage for me. It's one of the least "floral" botanic scents Beth has done. Thank you, beth! Very wearable, and a perfect scent for autumn...or for when i finally run out of my beloved purple phoenix. Worth a shot for fans of purple scents!
  11. couscous

    BPAL for Working Around or With Animals?

    Thanks, GC! Your taste is sleep scents is slightly unorthodox, but I like them!! I've got some Hades and MoEZ at home, actually. When we're up and running, I'll put a few drops in and see if they enjoy it. In the end, it's just a gesture among many small gestures we hope will combine to make life more bearable, but I figure as loing as I spend so much time debating scents for myself, there's no harm in taking a few minutes to consider one for the pups, too.
  12. couscous

    BPAL for Working Around or With Animals?

    I volunteer for Animal control here in NY, and we were thinking of maybe putting a diffuser with essential oils in one of the rooms where we keep the "holding" dogs- cruelty cases and seizures in progress. These poor guys, mostly pits, stay with us for weeks or months. Naturally, everyone is defaulting to lavender straight up, but I of course can't resist picturing one of Beth's blends in there. Anubis is waaaay too strong (I love it, but it's the strongest bpal I've ever worn , ever), and so is fenris Wolf. The dream blends are the choice of champions, but are there any others you've found particularly snuggly and soothy?
  13. couscous


    Strong, tart lime. very refreshing, with a nice white musk drydown. Can go play-doh and soapy during certain times of the month, but most days the musk behaves and it's a sour, mouth puckering lime. I also agree about the citron, very subtle but definitely smells like a bit of bitter citrus in there somewhere.
  14. couscous


    wow wow WOW I love this one! I really needed an almond scent, too! I love Dana O'Shee, but I've always wanted something with a bit more throw, and Beth's stronger almond blends like hecate and Black phoenix worked horribly on me for one reason or another. port Au Prince has a strong Anise note up top that stays for most of the drydown. It combines with the almond and clove to make a very alcohol tinged smell, almost like almond extract, bitter and astringent and nearly medicinal. I know you're thinking "and that's a good thing?" , but it really is! Port Au Prince's bitterness is what saves it from being too aggressively foody, and it makes the drydown- as sweet an almond as you're likely to find- all the more striking and rewarding. Too much sweetness is what ruins so many awesome scents. Port Au Prince is a masculine, bracing gourmand, very satisfying. Honestly, I just feel like no one can go wrong with the wanderlust series. Take a look at the notes, and unless you absolutely loathe one or more, you're going to be in for a treat.
  15. couscous


    London is strongly tea rose, very potpourri-like and very powdery. These are pink roses, not fresh, green ones. It's a very old-fashioned scent, and it's obviously for fans of rose. Very proper, very nicely done. Not for me, but nicely done.
  16. couscous


    Bengal might be the only cinnamon BPAL i can wear. Everything with cinnamon or cassia turns to red hots or big red bubblegum on my skin, and so i automatically avoid any blend with those notes listed because I just hate that smell so much. Bengal and Red devil are the notable exceptions to this rule- and, in bengal's case, I think that maybe the clove took over and married with the cinnamon so that i could finally, finally get the bark-y, rooty cinnamon I've always wanted instead of the cheap candy. It's pepper-y, strongly spiced, and indeed very chai-like. It's almost too literal to wear, like you really have been baking all day, but I really liked it.
  17. couscous

    Hollywood Babylon

    Hollywood Babylon is a must for red musk lovers. It's undeniably red musk, very sugary but thankfully not syrupy. I get the definite idea of cherries and strawberries, but without the cough medicine of the former and the stickiness of the latter. It ends up being more of a general berry candy smell, with an incense quality to it on the drydown. Thankfully, the incense is not overtly head-shop and is very light and sheer. It's a very young fragrance, totally tarty and fun, but it's very wearable and pretty. One of my my all-time favorites.
  18. couscous


    I am ashamed for not reviewing this one until now. I've burned through close to 25Ml of this stuff since 2004, and I love it now as much as I ever did. Beth's description may be leaving some things out, but what she gave us is pretty much all you need to know. Very amber, intensely creamy berries, and lovely, solemn iris. The berries are not tart AT ALL, they are not "crafty" or candle-like...they are jammy and rich and sweet and burnished gold. Mildly sweet from the amber. Honestly, this is just a gorgeous scent. So opulent , but so wearable and feminine. It's an absolute essential BPAL experience. 5 million stars.
  19. couscous

    Blood Lotus

    This one is a no brainer. I love dragon's blood, I love lotus, I LOVE Blood Lotus. if you hate either one of these, you probably won't like this. And if you hate both of these... honestly, why even bother? Sheer sweetness with the unmistakable Dragon's Blood resin base. The lilac and bubblegum overtones of each compliment wonderfully. YUM. Blood Lotus is simple, but it's addicting, and it feels like such a logical pairing, too. I don't know what I'd do if this one ever got DC'ed.
  20. couscous


    Sundew is a fresh, green floral, and it smells like it may be in the Lily family. It's pleasant enough, but it smells extremely cheap, like a prepackaged FO that should have ended up in shampoo but snuck in under the gate and got into a BPAL. Generic in the extreme, for me.
  21. couscous

    Enraged Bunny Musk

    I can't believe I passed up the opportunity to review this back when I had 5 bottles of the stuff! Enraged bunny Musk was the first scent I ever ordered more than 2 bottles of unsniffed, on the grounds that I'd never be able to get anything like it ever again. I was right- there's nothing in the GC as soft, powdery, and as unabashedly childlike as Enraged Bunny Musk... even though this bunny's got quite a nice musky base on him! The scent is a clover and baby powder bottle of joy, and it dries down to a sheer, musky bubbblegum powder with clover . My only problem is that EBM smelled a bit too simple on me, and it also had very poor throw. It's a slathering fragrance. Absolutely lovely- a bit young, but lovely- a must-try for very girly girls and people who love baby powder.
  22. couscous

    White Rabbit

    figured I'd be one of the only ones who hated and then liked White Rabbitt- but it turns out that I'm not even close! We must form a team of researchers to figure out exactly how many months this one takes to reach its full vintage, because it morphs over time to something that barely resembles the original bottle. I ordered an imp of white rabbit as soon as Beth relased it way back when, and I was crushed to find that it was all linen on me- and that real ozone-y, fabric softener linen smell I cannot stand. I got a bitter black tea smell over the whole thing, but it was mostly screaming fabric softener. Not good at all. Recently, I got an imp of this from a swap, and smelled it for the novelty, expecting to wrinkle my nose yet again, but NOW this white rabbit smells like EXACTLY those white rabbit candies they sell in chinatown, and I LOVE it. I love it. I don't think i'll be able to stop thinking of this smell until I have a bottle ( it wears just as great as it smells). It's milky, and plasticky in the peculiar way that all really cheap candy is...but it doesn't smell cheap or unpleasant, it's whimsical and fun and nostalgic, and it's a totally new type of gourmand scent for me. It was worth the wait!
  23. couscous

    Midnight Kiss

    Wow...just like the manga this may have been inspired by, Midnight Kiss is surprisingly heavy under a veil of pretty susbstantial sweet. It starts out with that sharp, sour red wine note that you can find in Nosferatu or Centzon Totochtin . It's also got a strongly medicinal smell to it at this point, almost like juniper but not quite. Is that the patchouli? As it dries, I'm getting undeniable pipe tobacco, much like Dia de Los Muertos 05. It keeps threatening to become too sweet and headache-inducing for me, but so far, so good. There has been an impression of cocoa running through the scent the whole time. It never quite gets to the front of the line, but it's always there. As far as raisins go... I wouldn't have said so, but I can see it now. Yum, raisins! Finally, it dries down to a sweet patchouli blend- but this is 6 hours later, and you should know that Midnight Kiss smells as potent on me now as it did early this morning. That's a long time to stick around at nearly 100 percent! Put this on with a micro drop, because if you hate it you're going to have a hard time getting it off you. I bought this scent hoping for a cousin to my beloved Cerberus, and this one just barely slides in to fit the bill. It's no replacement, but there's some resemblance here somewhere- enough to make me really glad I got it. This one shouldn't be a surprise to many. Beth is pretty much putting it out there- patchouli, nicotiana...this isn't a blend for the faint of heart! Hopefully, you know whether or not you enjoy these types of fragrances. If you do, this one is lovely , and definitely worth your money.
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    The Flower Song

    The Flower Song is a lovely fruit blend- If I didn't know the notes beforehand, I doubt that I could absolutely identify said fruit as pomegranate-but if you told me it was I would have agreed with you. Truth be told, I was REALLY looking forward to this one, being a fan of both pomegranate and lotus, but the lotus was overwhelmed, I think, and I was left with a happy, pretty wearable fruit with good staying power. Very nice..but little underwhelming, and very much like The Fruit of Paradise on me. It's definitely worth a try if you can find it- but I'll be sticking to the awesome Hymn to Proserpine for my pomegranate fix!
  25. couscous

    Beltane 2008

    Beltane 2008 is a wonderful green herbal-floral, very dry -and, surprisingly, extremely light. I think of the scent as a sheer, dry sister to Ostara, and I'm thrilled with it. I, too, get impressions of clover and grass. I LOVED 2005 Beltane but hated 2006, and I'm happy to say that 2008 is much more like the greenery of the former, and so much less heady than the latter. I'm not getting any strong resins from the one, but there's definitely a wood base to this, and it's not a sweet or pine-y wood. Very blonde wood, if that makes sense. I wish it were a bit stronger on me, but that's my only complaint. It's totally lovely