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agnusdei

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About agnusdei

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    a little too imp-ulsive

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BPAL

  • Favorite Scents
    favorite scents (of the moment, of course!); hod, inez, O, morocco, beaver'versary, pink moon 07, lambs-wool, snake oil, alice, death cap, antique lace, egg'd mailbox, chimera, mead moon, pickled imp, bengal, shub-niggurath, chokmah, dana o'shee, haloes, saw-scaled viper, nahemoth, stimulating sassafras strengthener, frumious bandersnatch, queen alice, bakeneko, tarot : strength, bathsheba favorite notes; carnation, cinnamon & cassia, ginger, clove, pepper, amber, honey & beeswax, vanilla, oak, sassafras, skin musk, melon & most other fruits & berries, rose, gardenia, dandelion, chrysanthemum, tobacco, frankincense & opoponax & other yummy resinous/incense type things... notes to watch out for; narcissus (smells horrid to me), cedar & cypress (amp up strongly in most blends), coconut (cloyingly sweet & upsets my stomach when mixed with heavy notes, but is otherwise yummy), rice flower (reeks of meat?!), pine & eucalyptus (okay in small doses, but are otherwise iffy), anything strongly boozy (ick, not for me!), caramel/burnt sugar (reads as maple syrup to me, which is probably my least favorite & most gag-inducing scent of all time) ...

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  1. agnusdei

    Agapē

    Happy fifth birthday to the bpal.org forum! To commemorate five years of camaraderie, love, and unbelievable kindness, we present a scent comprised of notes that encapsulate the essence of friendship: carnation, apple, sweet pea, vanilla cream, passionfruit, sugar cane, tonka, and guava. I'm getting over a cold right now & my nose is still kind of stuffed up, so I apologize for this not being the most detailed review. Agapē starts out a blend of fruity & floral, very bright & cheerful. I'm picking up the guava & the passionfruit the strongest out of the bottle, with a bit of crisp apple & sweet pea coming through as well. At this point it is a lush & wet scent, almost a bit tropical in feel. Once it has been on my skin for a few minutes the fruit mellows out & some of the other notes bring out a softer edge. I can smell the vanilla cream clearly now, as well as the tonka & sugar cane. There is a bit of carnation peeking out too, contributing a touch of spice. I think the apple has overtaken the guava & passionfruit in terms of strength as well. The feel once it has settled is rather different from the wet stage, the juiciness from the fruit has given way to a creamier, smoother scent with the vanilla cream as one of the strongest notes on my skin. Overall I'm getting a fruit slices dipped in vanilla cream sort of vibe, with a light breath of florals in the background.
  2. agnusdei

    Olwen Foot Scrub

    You, too, can have flowers blossoming under your feet! Peppermint, vanilla, sandalwood, honey, and carnation. Texture wise, Olwen is fabulously rich & creamy with chunks of sea salt. The salt granules are a little bigger than any in scrubs I've previously used, but they definitely aren't too scratchy. The size of the salt was actually quite nice, because I felt like I didn't have to use nearly as much elbow grease as I'm used to in order for the scrub to do its job. After rinsing, it leaves behind skin that is crazy soft & moisturized without becoming too greasy. I have oily skin so the last thing I need is to feel like a slimy greaseball after a scrub down, and Olwen was perfect in that regard. I didn't use any lotion after because I felt like the scrub already added plenty of moisture, but it's also not so soft that it can't still beat down the dead skin on my toes & heels. When sniffing the scrub in its jar I get predominantly peppermint, a very light & cool scent that is refreshing without being overwhelming. Soon after I can pick out the familiar smell of carnation adding a kick of spice, & the vanilla, sandalwood & honey come together to create a creamy base for the mint that adds wonderful depth. The way the bright fresh scent of the peppermint & the smoothness of the other notes balance each other is completely complimentary. The scent that lingers after scrubbing still has a bit of peppermint, but I find that the other notes really come out more on my skin. I get more carnation & vanilla right after drying off, and then the honey & sandalwood show up before the scent meshes completely with my skin. This is exactly the kind of thing I was looking for in a foot scrub; brisk mint to refresh my feetsies & a gorgeous creamy skin scent to be a perfect partner for so many of my favorite BPAL oils.
  3. agnusdei

    Mead Moon

    Okay, Mead Moon is just insane. Rich, sticky honey with an somewhat vanilla-like sweetness, rounded out by an undercurrent of deep bubbling fizz which is similar to root beer or cream soda. It actually reminds me of the kind of cream soda that I get for a treat occasionally, which is primarily flavored with honey & vanilla. When I imagine a drink made from honey, this is exactly what comes to mind as an ideal - all the thick golden sweetness without any of the alcoholic bite of actual mead. It's not necessarily a spicy scent, but there are hints of the spices throughout that add complexity to the honey. The rosemary & lemon seem to be completely absent to my nose... so basically, on me Mead Moon is a spiced honey soda delicious!
  4. agnusdei

    Pickled Imp

    I almost didn't end up with a decant of Pickled Imp to try because the pine sap scared me off, but the promise of spices & vanilla got me in the end & oh, am I glad. In the decant it reminds me of a perfume oil version of Villainess' Jai Mahal, all done up BPAL style. Lots of rich vanilla & cinnamon, a hint of clove, & maybe if I look for it, a touch of sticky sap off in the background. After a few minutes it loses the Jai Mahal likeness & becomes primarily creamy vanilla & cinnamon. The cinnamon is going all buttery as BPAL's cinnamon tends to do on my skin, which really seems to work with the softness of the vanilla. There's a pop of clove backing the vanilla & cinnamon doing a wonderful job of keeping Pickled Imp spicy & hot. Eventually the cinnamon & clove settle into equal dominance of the scent, with the vanilla adding a creamy sweetness & the pine sap still pretty much undetectable. It smells like yummy spice cookies & I love it.
  5. agnusdei

    The Illustrated Woman

    I am not a fan of pine, it tends to be overpowering & sharp on my skin & is just generally not something I want to smell like. But The Illustrated Woman, her pine is like nothing I've smelled before. She goes on predominantly pine, but it's gentle, sweet scent that I wasn't expecting. It feels chilly, almost like mint, but it completely lacks in any bracing sharpness and is instead light & cool like a welcome breeze. The pine pitch may be the most easily noticed top note, but the skin musk is most certainly the heart of the blend. It's got the smooth familiar skin scent & the personalization that it provides, mingling with tobacco smoke, softly spicy resins, & the subtle sweetness of vanilla & honey. I had totally forgotten there was even patchouli in here, because I'm not really picking any up. The pine never completely goes away, but after an hour or two it fades and becomes a delicate coolness to contrast the body-warmed feel of the skin musk. All the while, skin musk & friends are getting to shine, becoming stronger, sweeter & smokier, with a bit of a shimmering powdery quality. The Illustrated Woman is ultimately a lot lighter & softer than I was expecting, but is still such a gorgeous scent. I've already worn her a couple of times and each time have been impressed with how uniquely soft & sweet the pine is, an more importantly, have really liked that note. If I have any money left after buying a few thousand bottles of Inez I will be picking up a bottle of the Illustrated Woman for sure.
  6. agnusdei

    Carnations

    Maiden & Morocco are good choices, very different but both very carnation-y. Morocco took a couple months of aging to get to where it smelled 'right' to me though, so on the off chance you don't get anything spicy at first I'd cellar that sucker for a bit. Bathsheba is lovely & the carnation is rather strong to me, so I would recommend it! I don't know if you've tried it yet or want to, but Alice is another scent where the prominent note (to me) is carnation. Also in the GC, Desdemona went all carnation peppery in the drydown for me & Queen Alice settles to a spicy cidery carnation so they might be worth consideration. I haven't tried Brisingamen or Maenad yet, but the reviews for both seem to suggest that they'd be good choices. You'll definitely want Pink Moon 07 of course, it's pretty much just straight sugared carnations. I can't think of any other LE that I've tried that was as much about them as PM, but I did try The Masque recently & it goes all golden & yummy with carnation as one of the more powerful notes. And then there's Hod... which is my absolute favorite & seems worlds away from the other carnation heavy scents. It takes everything wonderful that I associate with carnations and amps it tenfold into creamy spicy amazingness, very worth it to try. Oh! & since I'm here, can anyone comment on the oomph of the carnation in Brisingamen, Maenad, & Carnivàle? They're the last few scents I need in my quest to try everything that might possibly smells like carnations.
  7. agnusdei

    Morocco

    Oh Morocco, we've been through so much together! When I first read the notes for this, I was head over heels. Carnation with spices? Cassia!? It sounded like the stuff my BPAL dreams are made of. Getting an imp to try first didn't even cross my mind, if Morocco didn't qualify for an unsniffed bottle purchase I have no idea what would. And so I eagerly awaited the arrival of my bottle, expecting to rip the cap off & float away in a cloud of carnations & spice... but I was in for a world of disappointment. Instead of the exotic & spicy carnation musk I was expecting, the bottle smelled faintly of vanilla & nothing else, a dry & sharp scent not unlike a shy & much more grumpy version of Black Lace. Not only was it not what I was expecting, but it smelled downright unappealing, & the dryness was so harsh that it hurt my nose to wear it, like the olfactory version of inhaling sharply through your front teeth. So with my dreams of a perfect carnation & spice scent in the GC shattered, I cellared Morocco in one last hope of getting something remotely wearable out of it. I'd check on it every few weeks, thinking I could smell a change but wondering if maybe I was just imagining it... Four months later, & I'm wearing Morocco 3 or 4 days a week. One day, it just started smelling right, & from then on it has just gotten better & better. There's still a touch of vanilla, but it's a delicate, sweet vanilla that's a far cry from the sharpness it once was. The carnation has finally come out, & it's so gorgeous that it makes all the disappointment & worrying in the beginning totally worth it. It isn't floral so much as it's a spicy & creamy confection of a note, with the smooth, slightly dusty sandalwood & swirls of heated musk & cassia supporting it perfectly. It reminds me of a lighter, more understated version of Hod; it lacks Hod's richness but has that same glowing golden warmth. It's a light scent but it sticks around, and after a few hours of wear it becomes an aura of almost pure carnations on me. Despite the rough start, Morocco is absolutely one of my very favorite scents now... I think it may have even beat out Alice as my #1 GC.
  8. agnusdei

    Hand of Glory

    My boyfriend got Hand of Glory for himself, but the notes appealed to me as well so of course I have to give it a test too. I get the beeswax the strongest, followed by the leather, sandalwood, & oak bark. The beeswax is wonderfully lush, so thick & creamy that it almost goes a little vanilla-like after a few minutes of wear. Behind it, the other notes mingle together in dry, smoky wisps. I'm finding this scent kind of difficult to describe, but what I do know for certain is that it's a perfect representation of its concept. There is definitely a feeling of having just blown out a candle - it's a little waxy, a hint of something charred, all hidden in a haze of smoke from a just-extinguished flame. You can practically see the ancient cracked leather of the hand, the smooth, almost dusty scent of sandalwood caked into its creases, & the strangely sweet allure of the flickering fingertips. After an hour ot two of wear the sweetness of the beeswax lessens a bit & the smoke becomes just a touch powdery, making the whole scent more subdued & slightly creamy. Altogether beautifully executed & intoxicating.
  9. agnusdei

    Strength

    I've been hoping to try Strength for a while, I have a lot of personal associations with the card's interpretations & imagery, & I later found out that it's my 'year card' for 2008 - very fitting. In the bottle & wet it smells like rolling hills full of sunshine & dandelions. Not as bitter & leafy as, say, One To Tie, Two To Win, but still green & fresh with a bit of milkiness. There's a slight herbal quality as well, & the background seems to be a lovely glowing amber. After a few minutes of wear the green dandelion scent fades & a citrus note emerges, possibly orange or tangerine? It's a very soft, warm orange-colored citrus, not at all sharp. I keep thinking there also may be an understated floral component, which makes me think that there is some orange blossom instead/as well? The amber that was in the background in the wet stage gains dominance the longer I wear it, & after a few hours Strength has become a gorgeous amber skin scent, rich & golden with a gentle resinous spice & a hint of that pillowy orange citrus. This is the kind of scent I would go to if I wanted to feel comforted, empowered, & to draw on inner stability. It feels regal, but in an unassuming kind of way - I think it embodies its card well & I'm very fond of it.
  10. agnusdei

    Bruised Violet Compound

    Bruised Violet Compound is a darker, paler violet than the other violet scents I've tried. It still has that classic violet feel, that sweet softness that almost seems dusty or powdery but isn't, but this violet seems more worn and rough. Aside from the violet, this scent is a bit peppery and herbal to me at first, with the patch and moss adding a gritty, grounded background. After a few minutes the herbalness fades away and I get more of a loamy, earthy feel. It doesn't exactly smell like dirt, but it brings to mind that kind of imagery while still being something wearable to me. I never really get much of a distinct currant note, but I can tell it's there, mingling with the violet to create lovely red & purple bruises. Bruised Violet Compound ultimately ends up as a soft whisper of a scent on me, a fragile violet cloaked in earth. It's different from my usual warm-spicy-creamy scent preferences, but I rather like it.
  11. agnusdei

    The Masque

    I smell the honey at first, backed with the smoky, slightly dirty scent of incense. The patchouli, tobacco, and resins make a slightly bitter scent, but there is just a hint of sweet petals and green stems from the florals that balance the cacophony of darker notes wonderfully. After a few minutes the mild sourness from the wet phase disappears and the carnation comes out in full stride. The scent now is much more creamy, it almost seems milky in its softness. A spicy, honeyed carnation with a whisper of smoke and resins. The amber is detectable as well, but the rest of the notes blend together into a single slinky, smoldering entity. The drydown is more of the same, mainly spicy carnations with honey and amber... which is exactly what I was hoping for. It has the same glowing second-skin quality that most of my favorite blends seem to have in common, and indeed I could see this being a favorite for sure.
  12. agnusdei

    Malkuth

    With all the mentions of fruit & berries in other reviews I thought Malkuth would have an obvious fruitiness, but it doesn’t for me. In the bottle & wet Malkuth is a little bit of spice over a grounded and earthy base that I can’t quite identify, though I keep thinking I can smell a hint of patchouli or possibly vetiver. There’s a touch of something that reads as ‘nutty’ to me, though I’m not sure what it could be because it doesn’t actually smell like any sort of nut I’m familiar with. Given a few minutes though, and the odd nutty tone disappears and allows the spice to dominate. I’m pretty sure what I’m smelling is cassia, as it feels more robust and raw than just cinnamon. This is a unique spiciness because it reads as earthy and a little gritty, not at all the same kind of spice you’d use in cooking. The fruit that was so elusive in the wet stage has finally started to show itself, though it’s different fruitiness than I’m used to for sure. It feels deep and thick like a mixed berry preserve, its sweetness mostly neutralized by the other darker notes in the blend but still present enough to add the slightest edible quality. The nut scent has emerged again at this point, but this time it’s a lot more understated and integrates itself better instead of resting above the other notes. It might even be some sort of bark and not a nut, I picked up a similar scent from the walnut bark in Leo 07. I agree with the mentions that Malkuth reads as a fall scent rather than spring; to me most fruit blends have a level of liveliness and seem crisp and fresh to a degree befitting of the start of a new year, while Malkuth is more muted, complex, and mature. It recalls the dried leaves and earth of autumn to me, but seen through the window of a toasty bedroom. If I had to sum up my experience with this blend I’d say it was wonderfully evocative of the earth without necessarily being ‘dirty’, mixed with concentrated berries (possibly strawberry or cherry?), and a heavy dose of cassia/cinnamon. Malkuth was one of the first of the Sephiroth/Qliphoth I tried & it still remains one of my favorites.
  13. agnusdei

    Binah

    Binah starts out as green and herbal over a base of sticky resin. The herbal element sort of reminds of me lavender, but not as sharp as lavender can sometimes be, more fresh and slightly bitter. Perhaps something more along the lines of sage or rosemary? Whatever it may be, the herbal phase seems to only last a few minutes before I'm left with a beautiful incense smell. Thick and dark and sweet, with just a bit of a spice. It very much reminds me of church incense, a swirl of smoke over softly smoldering resins in a divine atmosphere. I can pick out myrrh for sure, and I think there may be a very understated floral (rose?) mingling with the incense and adding a little sweetness. With time it becomes gentler, more powdery and translucent, and the sweetness becomes more apparent. It reminds me a bit of an understated, less rose-dominated version of All Saints; they bring to mind the same kind of church associations to me. The wet stage had me a little unsure, but when dry Binah is really gorgeous. Another winner from the Sephiroth!
  14. I think you've got the right idea, perhaps give Phoenix Steamworks a try? To me it has a slightly different vibe than Mechanical Phoenix (I think Mechanical Phoenix is a bit more bold and cologne-like), but even if they're not twins, they're certainly siblings. If I remember correctly a few of the reviews of Steamworks mentioned similarities and made comparisons between the two, which could be helpful as well.
  15. agnusdei

    Down the Rabbit Hole Atmosphere Spray

    The orange marmalade in Down the Rabbit Hole can seem just a little overpowering and sharp in the spray bottle, but once it's out in the air the magic happens. The marmalade becomes sweet and bright and a touch tart, with a beautiful background of dry dirt and a bit of smooth green floral from the daisies. It's wonderfully rich and earthy but there's still something creamy and addicting within the sweetness of this scent that I just love. Like others have mentioned, this spray smells natural and embodies the outdoors very well, like you're in a garden kicking up soft soil and crunching through the debris. It just takes a couple of sprays to fill up the bedroom, and I can smell it for quite a while after (right after spraying the room I can usually pick up the scent more clearly than whatever perfume I'm wearing!)
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