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BPAL Madness!


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  1. Josh

    Oak King v4

    First on this smells 100% identical to ether - about 10 seconds later it morphs to almost an entirely pure wintergreen.. a few minutes later it's wintergreen and candy. Also, after a few minutes there are red bumps on my wrist where I applied and a slight burn.. never had this happen with any perfume before. After another few minutes I'm left with a faint, powdery sweetness and bright red, barely painful bumps on my wrist, a cluster of 4 or 5 right where I applied. I didn't get anything close to resembling wood from this particular scent. 15-20 minutes later and the redness and pain is gone... left with a barely-there sweet scent on my wrist.
  2. Josh

    Mr. Edward Hyde

    Hence it came about that I concealed my pleasures; and that when I reached years of reflection, and began to look round me, and take stock of my progress and position in the world, I stood already committed to a profound duplicity of life. A discreet men’s cologne of juniper, cumin, verbena, bergamot, mint, and basil splattered with dregs from apothecary bottles. That selfsame gentlemen’s cologne corrupted by base, dissolute musk, bitter tobacco, sour bourbon, sweat, and a splatter of blood. I tried this one on earlier but it was so strange to me I couldn't come up with any kind of coherent review so I'm testing this one again tonight, maybe my brain and nose will have a better time making sense of it. From the bottle, my initial impression was of something like Kabuki meets Count Dracula, which makes no sense given the notes of those two and this. I wish I had a bottle of Jeckyll here so I could see what the "stripped down" version of this is like, but alas I don't have that luxury. On my wrist it smells like... sparkling, sour clay.. traces of mint and basil top notes that disappear within the first few minutes clearing the way for the tobacco and musk here, I'm guessing the 'sparkle/clay' type scent at first was a mixture of the musk and blood, and I swear I'm getting the faintest hint ever of cassia and something definitely sour. The lab note lists it as sour bourbon. To me it's sour clay (Which can smell like dirty skin, not B.O. -- there is a difference.) This is really bizarre and complex. Whereas the other oil I received today (Erik) is a simple, well mixed and comforting skin scent, Mr. Hyde is a spiky juggernaut of grey/red/brown tinted notes jumping out from every which way, definitely fitting for the namesake. The weird thing is the first time I wore this earlier today it seemed to last forever, but after showering and putting it back on (in the same place no less) the scent seems to fade from my skin very quickly so I'm not sure what's going on here. While Hyde is no Erik (nor does it try to be), it's a very unique scent in its own right and proof the lab's scents keep getting better and more original with each new release/set/series. Sparkling/cassia-ish clay/skin and sour musk. This one requires an adventurous personality for sure.
  3. Josh


    "Then he hissed at me. 'Ah, I frighten you, do I? ... I dare say! ... Perhaps you think that I have another mask, eh, and that this ... this ... my head is a mask? Well,' he roared, 'tear it off as you did the other! Come! Come along! I insist! Your hands! Your hands! Give me your hands!' And he seized my hands and dug them into his awful face. He tore his flesh with my nails, tore his terrible dead flesh with my nails! ... 'Know,' he shouted, while his throat throbbed and panted like a furnace, 'know that I am built up of death from head to foot and that it is a corpse that loves you and adores you and will never, never leave you! ... Look, I am not laughing now, I am crying, crying for you, Christine, who have torn off my mask and who therefore can never leave me again! ... As long as you thought me handsome, you could have come back, I know you would have come back ... but, now that you know my hideousness, you would run away for good... So I shall keep you here! ... Why did you want to see me? Oh, mad Christine, who wanted to see me! ... When my own father never saw me and when my mother, so as not to see me, made me a present of my first mask!' "He had let go of me at last and was dragging himself about on the floor, uttering terrible sobs. And then he crawled away like a snake, went into his room, closed the door and left me alone to my reflections. Presently I heard the sound of the organ; and then I began to understand Erik's contemptuous phrase when he spoke about Opera music. What I now heard was utterly different from what I had heard up to then. His Don Juan Triumphant (for I had not a doubt but that he had rushed to his masterpiece to forget the horror of the moment) seemed to me at first one long, awful, magnificent sob. But, little by little, it expressed every emotion, every suffering of which mankind is capable. It intoxicated me; and I opened the door that separated us. Erik rose, as I entered, BUT DARED NOT TURN IN MY DIRECTION. 'Erik,' I cried, 'show me your face without fear! I swear that you are the most unhappy and sublime of men; and, if ever again I shiver when I look at you, it will be because I am thinking of the splendor of your genius!' Then Erik turned round, for he believed me, and I also had faith in myself. He fell at my feet, with words of love ... with words of love in his dead mouth ... and the music had ceased ... He kissed the hem of my dress and did not see that I closed my eyes. Resin-coated wood, kerosene, oil, leather, musty velvet, and dust from the Grand Drape. A little hard to decipher at first. First impression is that this is very well blended, very comforting and soft, good on the skin, not sharp or cloying or anything that could be remotely offputting. Something about this seems nostalgic somehow, and I soon realize a small part of this actually reminds me of the soap at my grandparents house when I was a kid, I always really liked that smell and later found Dove Cool Moisture soap smelled quite similar. Erik almost has a smoky cucumber note mixed with a very soft (I presume this was the velvet note) wood fragrance and, at least to my nose, what smells like a type of leather I've not noticed in any other bpal scent -- a very clean leather, not sharp like a shiny black leather and not well worn like rawhide.. something more light and clean. The more this dries down the more I like it. A slightly sweet smoke -- and while the overall scent is somewhat on the darker side, there is something slightly aglow in the background (again, I'm just going to refer to it as a very warm/smoky cucumber note.. pale green, not crisp, mellow and really "melted" into the overall scent). This is a really good one. Not sure if it's the nostalgia or what but Erik is a really cozy and intriguing scent, perfectly gender neutral (or possibly leaning slightly toward the masculine) and neither too strong nor light. ETA: A couple hours later and all this has really been is a sort of smokey cucumber scent.. slightly clean but still pretty dark, a really unique scent. I really like this one a lot, it demands a certain attention. Final edit (swear!) -- Just had to come back and say I really like this scent. It's not at all offensive or annoying in any way.. it's subtle enough to be worn on its own but would be fantastic to layer with as well. This is a really well done oil!
  4. Josh

    Are bpal blends all-natural?

    Well then, color me completely surprised. I'll just assume then that it's official, 100% no synthetics. Thanks emzebel.
  5. Josh

    Are bpal blends all-natural?

    To the best of my knowledge, the full list of prototypes in circulation that may contain aldehydes are Toxin, Nihil, and Zero. They were involved in the forum fundraiser raffle last year. Nothing currently on offer from BPAL contains synthetics, or the Lab would be very clear about saying so. Yeah, I wasn't trying to be difficult about it or anything.. I wonder if the lab has used synthetics after sales of their synthetic line prototypes? Things like cotton candy, booze notes, fruits, butter, etc, etc... all of those would indicate to me some sort of synthetic or EO/synth/aromachemical blend. Granted, you might be able to sketch out a less than convincing replica of blueberry or green apple with pure EOs, but like the Bush's Baked Beans commercial goes.. only one person here knows the secret, and she's not saying a word I respect that.. and as I said earlier, I'm not bringing up synthetics as though they are a bad thing. I think synthetics are a very effective and powerful tool for a perfumer and will never understand those who frown on synthetics in perfumery. If the lab isn't using synthetics I can only hope that someday they will.
  6. Josh

    Are bpal blends all-natural?

    Where did Beth say this? Maybe there was a misunderstanding somewhere? I'd be stunned to read no bpal oils for sale contain any synthetics.
  7. Josh

    Are bpal blends all-natural?

    I'm pretty certain bpal uses synthetics, and for that I say GOOD. The all natural thing is just a flashy tag to impress those who don't really know how useless "all natural" really means in terms of perfumery. A perfumer who blocks out using any synthetics is basically denying themselves a vast library of scents and does nothing but shrink down the box in which they can be creative. Besides, you're far more likely to have a nasty/negative reaction to an all natural fragrance than one balanced with synthetics and aromachemicals. I guess we live in an age of "going green" and "organic" where any and everything deemed as "all natural" is expected to be better. It doesn't work that way with scent.
  8. Josh

    Herr Drosselmeyer

    Boy am I glad I tracked down a bottle of this stuff. For the record, this is the 2005 version not 2006 (which I heard was cherry-ish, so I avoided) This stuff is fierce in attitude but perfectly restrained on the skin.. a slightly ashy/aged leather, something that smells like a warm/mellow peppery smoke and old, old, old aged wood -- like opening a dusty wooden trunk in the attic - the paint cracking and the varnish peeling. For whatever reason this has an old school, black & white, gentleman noir kinda vibe to it.. not at all cologne-ish, instead a more introspective and somewhat dark scent that any guy could pull off (unlike, say, Djinn or Lucifer which requires a certain type of personality). This dethrones Geek as the #1 "masculine" bpal oil. A shame it's LE and the 2005 version is so rare... A resurrected of this is desperately needed. For any fragrance snob this is one of the few absolutely 100% essential bpals... no excuses. I can't vouch for the 2006 version, my review is soley for 2005.
  9. Josh

    Ichabod Crane

    To me this smells exactly like rotting flowers (great for people like me who don't care for traditional florals) mixed with a creamy/waxy base, wide/warm and nearing the edge of sweet, and a barely there fragrance of rubber gloves (a tempered Laudanum note). I would not call this sour at all as there is no tang or tart.. it smells full in the nose, not hollow like some other perfumes. The floral (smells like a disjointed lily) burns off quick, leaving a wax scent not unlike a more complex Hanerot Halalu. Ichabod is perfectly done, easily my 2nd or 3rd favorite scent from this company and definitely the best of 2008.
  10. Josh

    What scents are masculine? Gender-neutral?

    Yeah that's how I think of Snake Charmer too, a feminine version of Snake Oil. I always put Snake Oil first, then Mme, then finally Snake Charmer but I still love it, just not on me. I gave a SC decant to an ex and looooooooooooved the way it smelled on her. I think the right guy could pull it off just as well.
  11. Josh


    I spent 10 minutes trying to remember what this smells like, but quickly perusing previous reviews quickly helped jog my mind: dish soap! Although, in all fairness, the best dish soap you ever smelled. Still, not something I would wear, but would be a nice way to scent a room or possibly paper, rugs, etc.
  12. Josh

    Dragon's Hide

    The leather note burns off quite quick (a shame, as it was quite complimentary to the scent) and I'm left with little more than dragon's blood, no hints of smoke or remaining traces of leather. Dragon's blood is a very particular scent and seems to dominate anything it's paired up with. I would suggest anyone looking for a great dragon's blood scent to try Wolf Heart (bpal not tal) and Dragon's Milk.
  13. Josh


    To me, anise is usually a thin and 'tinny' scent, but the vanilla here really fattens things up & makes the anise feel like it has a warm and almost cream-like consistency to it. Vanilla is a base and anise is a heart/base so the way this smells when it goes on is how it's going to keep smelling, there's very little change as it wears (which is good if you hate the perpetual morphing of particular scents) and, of course, on the skin this stuff lasts and lasts; your wrists will glow vanilla until at least the next day.
  14. Josh

    Le Père Fouettard

    Wet: Exactly as described, bold leather and sweet pastry with mild licorice hanging back. Dry: This has become sweeter and sweeter. I keep forgetting the notes in this and as my wrist passes my face all I think of is "why are you wearing something so sugary?!" Then I remind myself: gaufrette. It seems to be the dominant note no matter the stage. This would probably be great for someone who likes foody stuff, but this bottle isn't working for me.
  15. Josh

    Snow, Glass, Apples

    Prototype review I was fortunate to receive a prototype decant of this from a most awesome forum user on here... ! This smells more like the fresh skin of an apple than the sweet meat within. It kinda reminds me of The Hesperides... that moist apple skin scent... underneath that is a floral perfume that is definitely not something a guy could pull off imo. It smells very nice.. the throw was better than smelling it directly and each time I caught a whiff I thought how pleasant and well blended it was. While I'll pass on a bottle of this as it would not be something I'd wear, I have no doubt this will be a massively popular scent, not for how rare it is but for how great it smells. It's really quite good.. and I'd imagine the real deal is even better than this prototype.