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BPAL Madness!


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Everything posted by heartbeast

  1. heartbeast

    Graveyard Dirt

    A tribute to a somehat nefarious and truly notorious ingredient in New Orleans spellcrafting. It is employed in hoodoo rootwork for various reasons, primarily in spells of protection, “tricking” your enemies, binding, and even love magick. The graves are chosen based on the type of working, and are determined by the type of spirit that lies there and the manner of their demise. Payment is always required in the form of offerings to the deceased. This is the scent of pure graveyard dust, spattered with grave loam and dusted lightly with tombstone moss. Normally, I don't review a scent until I've had it sit on my skin for at least one day, to get to know all its nuances. Often, that's not really enough; after using a scent for weeks I'm still finding new facets of its personality. But in this case, even though I've only sniffed Graveyard Dirt on the glass wand in the tester bottle, I simply must make an exception. (I didn't purchase only because I'm on a very tight budget and forced myself to pick just one 5 ml, and Bacchanalia is discontinued so Bacchanalia it had to be. Next visit.) Graveyard Dirt is amazing. I'm convinced that actual bargaining with earth sprites must be involved here, because somehow Beth has captured that freshly turned loam, just before it rains scent in a bottle. Demeter's "Dirt" fragrance lies awake at night, crying, because it isn't Beth's Graveyard Dirt. She might have just as easily called it "Mother Earth". She might have called it "The Dark of the Grave and the Dark of the Womb are the Same Dark". It's rich, sensual, comforting; it's like chocolate cake if chocolate cake were made of earth. It makes me want to curl up in the bosom of the Mother and go to sleep. It's actually making me reconsider my wish to be cremated and scattered over the ocean as part of a fireworks display and look into green burial instead. Usually, when people invite me to a ritual to invoke a particular element, it's Water; but if anyone ever asks me to "do" Earth you bet your booty I know what I'm going to wear. In fact, I may use this in meditation and spellwork to deepen my connection with that element. I'll also encourage my students to do the same, if they can get the bottle out of my grasping fist without me biting their hands off. [description added & moved from black broom exclusives to limited editions after discussing it with beth ~qs]
  2. heartbeast


    Red musk, bergamot, black currant, mimosa, orchid, patchouli, and lotus root. Wow, wow wow wow! It's so awesome and such an honor to get to be a part of this project, and how Jenn managed to create a portrait that is so incredibly flattering and yet looks so very much like me, I will never know! I'm going to be a toothless old woman petting that portrait. On to the scent: At first it's all red musk; very reminiscent of Scherezade which is one of my very favorites, but more of a warm red than a savory yellow as Scherezade is made by all the saffron. I've noticed, if I dab this one on it stays predominately red musk all day, but if I apply generously and particularly in places that generate a lot of body heat, it goes through all sorts of gorgeous stages. Within an hour, the flowers bloom out in a big cloud that is so achingly beautiful, the first time I experienced it I actually burst into happy tears (which also, of course, had to do with how flabbergasted I was that this was going to be the stuff with my picture on it!). Later in the day, the sweetness of the currant and the lotus root come to the fore and the bergamot keeps an edge on them. (Although it's a very different scent, the way the bergamot asserts itself in the later drydown reminds me very much of Ides of March, also one of my favorites.) The patchouli is just barely evident to my nose, anchoring the whole thing with a faint warm earthiness. It's like when there are two low instruments playing the same line of music in unison and one is slightly brassier than the other, you almost can't hear the deeper one but you know it's there because it makes the sound richer--that's how the patchouli interacts with the red musk. I am very excited to see how the patchouli in this will age, though! The next morning, the sweet, soft skin musk still lingering in the crook of my arm is a thing of such barely-there beauty, in some ways it's the best stage of all. I am beyond honored to be associated with this scent.
  3. heartbeast


    This starts out a little sweeter than I usually like, but very quickly the bay steps up to ground the blend and render the scent spicy and slightly sweet without being foody. It really lasts for me, all day, and today it was perfect for our first chilly fall day. Non-foody foodies are one of my favorite BPAL tricks, and I love this one!
  4. heartbeast


    I'm not sure I can top that. This is a lovely, clean and fresh smell. You know those laundry products that claim to smell like a fresh ocean breeze? This is what they're shooting for, and missing. That is the source of the similarity, and that is where it ends. This is a definite favorite, and really nice on a cool, bright and breezy day with just a slight threat of rain.
  5. heartbeast


    This is my second light masculine blend in two days that seems to have aged into a beautiful fresh unisex scent. (The first was Mr. Qubit.) When I first put it on, it reminded me of Benefit's discontinued "Bathina" body balm--a scent I like, but not what I was expecting from the King of the Fairies! They have the bergamot and the white musk in common, so I think that's what was going on. Anyhow, I found Oberon to be ideal for a cool fresh fall day with the threat of more rain hanging over the cleanliness from yesterday's storm. I'd say the juniper dominated a bit after the drydown, but all in all it was just a smooth, fresh and subtle blend.
  6. heartbeast

    Mr. Qubit

    I haven't worn this in some time, and never reviewed it, so I decided to do both today. I was afraid it would be too masculine, but it turned out to be quite unisex and ideal for a rainy day! It's a lovely crisp ozone scent that's so fresh and slightly austere. This might sound odd, but its aesthetic matched not only the rain, but also my hands: I have a pale grey cream polish on at the moment, and today I wore a silver ring in a very spare, art deco-ish style, set with a large smokey topaz. It was just such a neat pleasure to look out at the rain, look down at my hands, and catch a whiff of Mr. Qubit!
  7. heartbeast

    Sexy, heady, incensey recs?

    I second Shub-Niggurath. Some people get gingerbread from it, but to me the ginger is non-foody, and just spices up the incense. I find it verrry sexy!
  8. heartbeast

    Sweet lemony floral?

    I can think of two that I liked, but unfortunately they're both old LE's and quite rare: June Gloom, which was a seasonal LE several years ago, and Chiroptera, which was one of the Oblation collection. I recall reading that Bat Woman from The Salon was very similar to Chiroptera--also discontinued, but more recently, so you might have a hope of finding it. All of them are worth looking for, you never know!
  9. heartbeast

    romantique delicate flower bouquets

    My favorite delicate florals are all Shakespeare girls: Juliet, Ophelia and Desdemona. Sadly, the last is discontinued, but you might be able to pick her up in a swap. Oh, and Maiden! That's another lovely one.
  10. heartbeast

    Lesbian/bi themed scents!

    You know...there are those who believe Anne Bonny and Mary Read were lovers. I'm not sure how anyone could ever say for sure that they were or weren't, but they were close associates and, fwiw, it appears that they did share a man. Which is nice for the bi-and-poly crowd; throw in Calico Jack and you've got the whole triad! (You could even make a case for Mary as trans; the tendency is to interpret historical female cross-dressers as doing so for purely utilitarian purposes, but what the heck do we know? Modern trans identity has a particular cultural context; similar people with similar feelings in the past would have handled those feelings with the resources that worked in their own time and place. Uh...Queer studies scholar stepping off; why am I typing this instead of the paper I'm supposed to be writing??)
  11. heartbeast

    Lesbian/bi themed scents!

    Anactoria! Oh, here's another one: The Arbor! (Both these poems are by Sappho.)
  12. heartbeast

    Blue Moon 2004

    The spirit of the full moon is capricious, intense and passionate, yet still distant, aloof and cold. Luna herself governs glamours, bewitchments and dream-work, innocent wonder, transient pleasure and delight, the Moment, impulse, mystery and veils. The Blue Moon is one of her rarest manifestations, and this scent is formulated to encapsulate her most complex and profound nature: Mugwort and bay, for psychic sensitivity... Juniper, for divination through dreams... Orchid and galbanum, for complexity, wisdom and noscere... ... with a potent lunar-charged blend of poppy, calamus, orris, wood aloes, moonflower, cucumber, and pale creeping buttercup. Wow, am I the first?? What an honor!! The first thing I think when I sniff it in the bottle is "Hmmm, this is the first BPAL I've tried that really smells like a magical oil and not a perfume oil." I wish I could explain better what I mean by that, but other magical oils I own, from occult shops and made by friends, smell lovely but are somehow not suitable as perfumes; they just seem too...I don't know...laden with intent? The fact that they smell nice is almost a coincidental side benefit. Anyhow, I digress. Once on, Blue Moon is much more soft and ethereal than I expected. It's definitely there, but I have to sniff hard to actually pay attention to it, to be aware of anything other than a vague aura. It's very peripheral, that's the word. I notice the cucumber right off, although it's a very sweet, soft, vague cucumber. There is something lending the cucumber more sweetness, but it's not a sugar sweetness or even a fruit or flower sweetness, it's a vegetable sweetness. Like bell pepper, but that's not what it smells like, that's just the quality of sweet. It's very nearly a soft licorice note, and I wonder if that's the orris root--it does remind me of Old Venice. Next the florals do steal in, and they're such soft, light florals--I've never smelled moonflower or buttercup on their own, and the poppies I've smelled didn't seem to have a scent, but I can't help thinking of the poppy field in the Wizard of Oz. If this is what they smelled like, no wonder Dorothy wanted to lie right down and go to sleep in the middle of them! I can't pick out the orchid, but I'm grateful that I love this--there's something in Queen Mab that I don't get along with, and I've been worried that it was the orchid. There's absolutely nothing in here that doesn't work for me. There's something familiar about this that I can't put my finger on--is it just the cucumber reminding me of other cucumber scented things, like Suave's cucumber melon shampoo & conditioner (much lighter and less obnoxious than other brands' take on that scent) or Love's Rain Scent from the 1970's? There's a thickness that reminds me of Oneiroi--probably the mugwort--and finally a tiny, tiny green prickle that I think is the juniper. But all in all, I really had to think hard to pull any of this out. The scent is softly sweet, ethereal, and flits off at the edge of your awareness. But, it does turn into something I will wear as a scent as well as use for magic, meditation and dreamwork. I wish I'd gotten a 10 ml instead of 5! This is love!
  13. heartbeast

    All about plum!

    I want to give a special shout-out to aged Dionysia. My skin has a tendency to amp one sweet note in some blends in a really flat, monochromatic way, and when I first got Dionysia it was the raspberry. It was pleasant, but no big whoop. I tried it again about a year later, and the incense really stepped up in the blend, along with the plum, and the raspberry played much more nicely with the other fruits. Wow! So smooth and complex! It's now one of my favorites.
  14. heartbeast

    The Perfect Lavender

    Two lavenders that are smoky in a metaphorical sense (by which I mean muted, sophisticated and a little sultry): Paris & Yvaine. I love lavender but it usually has an herbal sharpness that I associate with soap or aromatherapy blends for relaxation. Not what I want when I'm aiming for sophisticated and/or sexy. I never imagined before that a lavender scent could pull that vibe off, but those two do.
  15. heartbeast

    Which oils say, cool detached authority?

    I love Szepasszony for exactly the mood you're trying to convey! I'm also going to chime in on the Manhattan love, and Yvaine to a degree, although to my nose Yvaine is definitely more at the approachable end of that spectrum; the lavender is almost cuddly though not as much as in, say, Lilith Victoria (def. not what you're looking for, IMO). Same idea in other lavender scents: Paris, though that conveys a smooth sophisticated elegance with it too, and Pontia, which is just a little more remote in tone than either but still has a similar vibe. (Why yes, lavender has been my go-to note this summer; why do you ask?) Also, this might seem like an odd choice, but to my nose Doc Constantine is very unisex and conveys a similar feel to Manhattan. I'd say it's just a touch sexier, but still very no-nonsense.
  16. heartbeast

    Scents for late summer into autumn

    Not really contributing to the current conversation, sorry, but I just wanted to give a shout-out to Manhattan. It's crisp and fresh for the hot hot weather (for us) we get here in SF from late August through October, yet it has that feel of sophistication that I associate with fall fashions. I can't wear most of those clothes until November, but at least I can smell classy!
  17. heartbeast


    Oh wow. This is a new favorite. It's funny, when I first put this on, I absolutely didn't get the wet slap of patchouli that shriekingviolet describes, but I happened to be wearing arm warmers and so I didn't put it on my wrists like I usually do. Later I took them off and put some Clémence on my wrists, and I got that patchouli then--but it didn't last long. I've noticed this, scents smelling different on different parts of the body; I think my body heat just morphs a scent really quickly in some places. Anyway, at first the cardamom and clove utterly dominate the blend, with the carnation giving it a sweetness that's almost honey-like. I can't really pick out the patchouli and pepper, but I know they're there because without them this would be too sweet for me; they give the scent depth and backbone. But that carnation, oh my goodness! When I was in my big victoriana phase I used to wear Crabtree & Evelyn carnation single note, but BPAL's carnation tends to go a little powdery on me, and I've liked it best in blends where it doesn't stand out. But this! As the blend settles down, it becomes the most predominate note. It's that lovely floral with a slight spiciness that I remember, very true to the flower, with the spice oomphed up and the patchouli making it sexy. So good! Very late in the day, it does that greater-than-the-sum-of-its-parts thing that so many BPALs do; it morphs and settles in to the skin like the most sexy, indolent spicy body dusting powder you ever smelled, slightly incensey. My my my. This is like the indolent, pampered love child of Spanked and Bengal. It's more ladylike than Spanked, more sophisticated than Bengal, and more ladylike, more sophisticated, and less foody than Three Witches, but it's definitely in the same family as all three of those. If you love them like I do, you will love this too.
  18. heartbeast

    Pronouncing "BPAL" and scent names!

    I think it's Sih-BAR-us and SIH-buh-rite. But I don't know why I think that. My brain is great at retaining everything but its source materials.
  19. heartbeast

    The secret Old Spice lovers club!

    What you want here is Spider. Also worth trying: Whitechapel, Villain, Old Scratch. Old Scratch has no lime, but it does do that fresh-but-spicy thing that regular Old Spice does (only much better, of course). I sometimes wonder if it's a cute joke on Beth's part.
  20. heartbeast

    The Emathides

    Straight out of the bottle, I got a delicious smoky purple scent--the lavender and violet dominate on me, and it's a nice soft lavender, too, not a sharp herby one. I am normally not a slatherer, but I loved this one so much and it was so soft that I put on quite a bit more than I usually do. True to the theme, it made a normally articulate woman run around the house flapping her arms and shrieking--with joy. I'm glad I was home alone! Later it turned into a crisp, slightly peppery herbal/floral, which was nice for a hot day running errands. I was a little disappointed to lose my smoky purple cloud, but it was very pleasant; I was thinking "hmmm, scent locket?" though. But then. Oh, but then. In the middle of the night--that's right, a good 18 hours after I first put it on--I woke up absolutely surrounded by this warm, herbal amber scent. I was dreaming I got a big box of BPAL and had several different scents on, and when I woke up I was like "what the hell is this smell?? This *can't* be the Emathides; it's too warm and spicy!!" But after a while as I sorted out dreams from reality I remembered that I hadn't actually put any scent on before bed, and there was nothing else it could be. It's not exactly the same amber that's in the Ides of March, another favorite, but it's similar and it interacts with the herbs and florals in a similar way. Normally I'm annoyed by my insomnia, but I was so happy to just lie there in that sensual cloud of smell! A very big win here!
  21. heartbeast

    BPAL Fruit Blends - the many variations

    I second Al-Shairan, but Lord, you want Shango!! It's got apple, banana, pineapple and pomegranate with chili powder and sugar cane, but on me it's mostly wet, red, juicy apples and spicy chili!
  22. heartbeast

    Daffodils, Narcissus, Paperwhites... and Hyacinth

    Oh my gosh, Asphodel!! It's a light, delicate, spring-bulb-flower smell. I think you'd love it; it smells like all those flowers you mentioned. Plus it's still got goth cred. And it's a GC, too (Rappacini's Garden)!
  23. heartbeast

    Doc Constantine (2006)

    Wow, this is a pleasant surprise! I was expecting it to be too masculine for me to wear, but on me the good doctor is very unisex. The fir brings freshness, the amber brings sweetness, the musk is perceptable but is exactly as the description says, *sheer*, and the smoke and leather--especially the leather--step right up in the middle of all that fresh sweetness and infuse the whole thing with *spine*. So, masculine, but not in a rugged butch way--this is exactly what it should be: A beautiful angelic blond man with a quirky smile. However, it could just as easily be a stern, commanding woman in a very expensive suit with an excellent quality leather coat, shoes and handbag. Her hair is up in a bun that looks professional and elegant, not severe, and as she cocks one eyebrow at you, you suspect she might be a dominatrix in her off hours--but you would never dare to ask!
  24. heartbeast

    I need more Cherry!

    French Creole, if you can get your paws on it. It's discontinued, but rumor has it that it may be resurrected as a TAL. To my nose, it smells like cloves, white cake, baby powder and cherry coca-cola!
  25. heartbeast

    Pronouncing "BPAL" and scent names!

    Back to the topic of silly nicknames for scents...I was having a terrible time remembering the name of "Kajuraho". I kept thinking of it as "that-Indian-temple-with-all-the-erotic-carvings-starts-with-K", until it popped into my head to start pronouncing it "'cause you're a ho". Does anyone know what the actual pronunciation is?