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BPAL Madness!


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About marared

  • Rank
    1/32 too few
  • Birthday 07/24/1976


  • Location
    Wilmington, NC
  • Country
    United States

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  • Favorite Scents
    BPAL: original Dionysia, Banshee Beat, Mad Meg, Lady Una, Mead Moon, Morocco, Unicorn & Ram, Penumbra, Medb, A Spirit Katie, La Calavera Catrina other: Tom Ford Plum Japonais, Serge Lutens 5 o' clock au gingembre & Sidi-bel-ebbes, Hermes Un Jardin Mediterranee, Tokyomilk Bittersweet & Everything and Nothing


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  1. marared

    The Temptation of St. Nick

    Dry spiced cacao, and - shockingly - it does NOT go sour like most spiced scents do! This is not especially *chocolatey*, but I definitely get the chili pepper and the clove. I am NOT sorry I got a bottle.
  2. Leafy vetiver. It's not as sharp and smoky as fresh vetiver can be, nor as rich and gooey as the aged sort, more like what I would expect a vetiver *plant* to smell like. I would never have known there was any vanilla in this, but I think maybe that's what's softening the vetiver and the dead leaves, both of which can be a little harsh, especially fresh.
  3. marared

    Dead Leaves and Vanilla Incense

    One day, I will find my perfect dark, not-too-sweet vanilla, but this isn't quite it. It's a nice dusty sweetness (I actually kinda sorta get that bell pepper impression someone else mentioned, although I wouldn't have thought of it that way) and it's got medium throw that doesn't announce itself, but it doesn't really have a whole lot of personality, either.
  4. marared

    Dead Leaves, Sweet Oakmoss, White Sage, and Chaparral

    Smoky sage. Nothing identifiably oakmoss, and I don't know what chaparral smells like on its own. Mellow, slightly sweet, easily masculine if someone leans that way.
  5. marared

    A Boar and a Goat

    18th century Russian lubok, illustrator unknown Red amber, frankincense C02 absolute, green fig, labdanum, King mandarin, Atlas cedar, and bitter almond. I got this because it has some similarities to a long discontinued favorite of mine, Mad Meg. Almond is usually a straight up NOPE before it even gets to my skin, but MM surprised me, and I hoped Boar and Goat would as well. And the almond is very definitely prominent at first. It settles down quickly, though, and then the frankincense/cedar/labdanum peek through just a bit. The fig and the mandarin blend together into a high-pitched, light-fruity note. Juicy, not jammy. The amber is undetectable, which is strange because I usually amp amber like crazy. After it's been on my skin for a while, it starts to remind me of ... Swank, maybe? I don't have an imp anymore to cross-reference, but it has that alcoholic fruity thing going on now, and the almond has disappeared.
  6. marared

    Two Sheep and Two Goats Resting Together in a Field

    I have barely tested any of my decants, but this is almost a guaranteed bottle purchase. It reminds me a lot of Unicorn & Ram without the leather, and the sweetness of the cardamom is replaced by the vanilla here. If you aren't a fan of vetiver but it isn't an instant death note, this is a good one to try - while it is pretty strong when freshly applied, it eventually fades into the background and doesn't dominate the scent. The vanilla peeks out after a while and the whole thing morphs into a much gentler scent.
  7. marared

    Proverbs 24:11-12

    Rescue those who are being taken away to death; hold back those who are stumbling to the slaughter. If you say, “Behold, we did not know this,” does not he who weighs the heart perceive it? Does not he who keeps watch over your soul know it, and will he not repay man according to his work? Blackened oudh, leather, labdanum, and oakmoss. While obviously this is a blend that will benefit from a few months or even a couple years in the closet, obviously I wanted to investigate it immediately upon arrival. And this is a lot .... *fresher* than I expected from the notes. At a distance, there's an ammoniac funk that I am almost certain is the leather note, and it's very similar to what I get from jasmine. But held close to my nose, the funk is almost not noticeable and it's fresh and airy. I cannot particularly smell the oakmoss or the labdanum, but the woody-incense oudh is definitely there at the bottom layer - it's the last note my nose picks up. There is a decent amount of throw, and you don't need much. Will have to review again at a later date, because this almost definitely is going to change with age.
  8. marared


    2017 review: not at ALL like the original. Dionysia was My Girl - everyone loved it on me, from famous musicians to bus drivers. Fierce and obnoxious with a ton of throw when fresh, smooth and mellow but still salacious with some age on it. I went through a LOOOT of bottles. This? Is some faded reminiscence of what she used to be. The scent is so faint it's barely detectable in the bottle, never mind on the skin. Even with six months of age, there's still no personality to this new version of the scent. It's not a bad scent, but it's now a generic low-key fruity-patchouli-wood that has no layers or depth. I have a sad.
  9. marared

    A Hailstorm of Knitting-Needles

    Travel shock usually isn't a big deal for me, but this scent suffered badly for some reason - several days after arrival, it's completely different from what I remember when I first opened it. And I'm glad, because I was looking forward to this one in particular, and I was kinda horrified at first, but it's improved substantially. Vanilla tea (not vanilla AND tea, but specifically vanilla tea where the vanilla is just an overtone that you can't really even taste once it's brewed), and a certain sweetness that my nose is associating with the mahogany specifically. Sweet cozy woody tea. Yeah.
  10. marared

    The Naturally Possible and Impossible

    Leather with a hint of vetiver, and the cigar appears in the mix after it's dried down. Unfortunately, the leather also has a whiff of ammonia to it. It's strong when it's freshly applied, but even after it's dried down and sat for a while, there's still a slight undercurrent that makes my nose twitch every time the scent reaches it.
  11. marared

    Psychodynamic Discharge

    I should have known better. I amp red musk like CRAZY - it literally dominates over every other note in any blend on my skin. I hoped there was enough of a variety of other notes to keep this one under control - I can smell the coconut/patchouli in the imp, but as soon as it his my skin, it's straight up red musk.
  12. marared


    So Orion is basically confirmation that BPAL's fig is a NOPE with my skin chemistry. Nasty Woman smelled like nasty fig syrup, and while Orion smells like leather, cedar, pepper, and just a bit of cardamom (in that order) in the imp, on my skin it's overwhelmed by nasty fig. Nasty Woman never aged out of that stage, so I'm not confident this will either, but I'll hang on to it and see how it is next year or so.
  13. marared

    A Spirit, Katie

    I don't know what I expected of this - I ordered it as an oddball, considering my usual tastes. Bergamot is usually too sharp, liquor notes tend to go sour, and I amp the crap out of rose. But every now and then I've been surprised by things I shouldn't like, and this is one of them. I ended up liking it the best of ALL the decants I tried, and went straight to the site and bought a bottle. I have no idea why I smell vanilla, but I do. Sweet, feminine, girly rose vanilla. I have to inhale deeply to get an undercurrent of sharp greenness. This is a LOT like Symmakhia, which is the only other BPAL rose blend I like enough to order, except without the pear. Edit to add that after 20-30 minutes, I start getting that sour tang from the cognac, but it's not too offensive. I think maybe it'll let up with some age.
  14. marared

    La Calavera Catrina

    2017 edition: Backstory: I was a little nervous blind-buying this one, because I tried Flor de Muerto many years ago and for about ten minutes it was FLAMAZING, and my skin chemistry turned it disgusting and vile. But I loved the initial green marigold scent so much that I decided I wanted to try this to see if maybe the components were different enough. Happily, the marigold does NOT go sour, and the rose (my other concern) does NOT amplify this into floral hell. It's marigold and chamomile with *some* rose - I don't really smell any of the vanilla (it's just baaaaarely in there, holding things together, no real sweetness to it) - or the mums, oddly enough, and mums can be kinda obnoxious. It's not as green as Flor de Muerto, due to the dead leaf aspect, but it's still a cheery scent - a bright and sunny autumn day, gusts of wind send golden leaves slowly shimmering into gardens. I'm gonna have to think about buying a backup. It's gonna end up a 2nd or 3rd tier favorite - not the sort of scent that makes random strangers compliment me, but I like it and might be reaching for it regularly.
  15. marared

    Bulgarian Tobacco

    Got a sample as a freebie, and I was a little nervous, because BPAL's tobacco almost universally smells like death on me, except for Penumbra. This? I was gobsmacked at how good this was. It's dry and sweet, but it's not gasoline-sweet like the flower - this is a syrupy dried tobacco, somewhere between earthy and gourmand. Vaguely resinous, almost caramel. It doesn't change much on my skin - maybe gets a little deeper. I need dis.