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BPAL Madness!


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About Yagathai

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    a little too imp-ulsive


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    Philadelphia, PA
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    United States

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    Scorpio in the Western tradition, Rooster in the Eastern tradition
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  1. Yagathai


    In The Bottle: There's definitely something sweet, most likely the honeysuckle, and also something lemony -- no doubt the verbena. I do get something vaguely tea-ish, but it's not a green tea. Rather, it's a peppery Assam-style black. Overall the scents combine into something that smells green and summery, but in a fancy ladies' tea-party kind of way. I was hoping for something more fresh, earthy and bracing. On second and third impressions, the sweet note becomes a little too cloying, like paste. It's reminiscent of lemony cleaning product -- heavy sweet lemon scent covering an underlying astringency -- or one of those oversweetened canned or bottled iced "teas" like Snapple or Brisk. On My Skin: Within ten seconds of hitting the skin, the sweetness disappears. I get a fresh soapy scent, very reminiscent of a bath soap like Irish Spring. Where did the lemon go? Where did the sweet go? If I sniff very deeply, I can just catch the faintest hint of honeysuckle, like an empty package of Valentine candy hearts. As the oil dries and changes, the clean, simple soapy smell slowly becomes ever so slightly warmer and more spicy. The verbena reappears, though not nearly as strong as it was in the bottle. The sweet also amps up a bit, so as to be noticeable on the casual sniff. Twenty minutes later, the soap has taken on a distinctly herbal tinge. It's still not tea, so it must be the honeysuckle and verbena interacting. Candy hearts and a garden party? Maybe. That's pretty much where the scent stays for the rest of its run -- soap and candy and the faintest whiff of lemon. I get no tea out of it whatsoever, alas. Final Verdict: The way it smells on me is fortunately very gender-neutral. It's by no means a manly scent, but it's not so effeminate that I'm worried about getting funny looks from people on the bus. Yes, that's happened. The things I do for my reviews... I don't dislike Shanghai, but neither do I enjoy it. I prefer a scent with stronger character. I'm going to have to classify as a "very nice, but not for me".
  2. Yagathai


    In the Bottle: A tangy, dry smell, like candied mandarin peel, with undertones of leather and something sweet. Could it be the incense? I get no pipe tobacco -- and I ought to know, because I smoke a pipe -- or ambergris yet, but ambergris usually makes itself known with me on dry-down, and not initial sniff-test. Reminds me a bit of Tezcatlipoca, not in overt scent, but rather in undertone. Must be the leather and the musk -- though I could swear there's some cocoa in there somewhere, too. From the description, I thought this scent would be a lot heavier, but this is medium-weight (though still pleasantly complex). On my skin: Suddenly, immediately after application, something minty emerges. Mint? Or maybe wintergreen? I wasn't expecting that. Maybe it's the incense combining with the ambergris to produce a sharp, spicy odour that reminds me of wintergreen. As the oil dries and settles down the impression of wintergreen fades. Yep, that's definitely the incense taking a strong position in the fore. The leather is still there in the background, but it's a supporting role and not one of the leads. After a little while the ambergris comes trotting out to take a couple of laps around the track, but it's very much a background scent. At around the same time, something emerges that might, charitably, on a good day, be mistaken for something that vaguely resembles a sweet pipe tobacco. The musk, so delightfully rich in the bottle, starts to go sweet and powdery (as certain musks tends to do on me). In some scents this is advantageous, but I don't think that Hellfire benefits from the sweetness. Final Verdict: Hellfire reminds me of Torture King in a way -- complex, rich, spicy and too goddamn sweet. That musk! That accursed musk! I'm most of the way to loving this scent, but then I catch a whiff of that baby-powder sweetness and it's all ruined. The complicated, intriguing smokiness of the ambergris and incense and tobaccoish are all there, striving to please and craving attention, but that damned musk just won't let them shine. Sigh. You know what? That rat-bastard musk isn't going to win. I'm still going to give Hellfire a thumbs up. It's a thumbs-up with reservation, but the rest of the scent is just too wonderful to let a little sour (well, sweet) note ruin the rest of everything. Hellfire is a tangy, attention-getting scent with decent throw and stay good for a sophisticated party or for standing out in a crowd.
  3. Yagathai


    In the bottle: Apple juice. Flowers. Something spicy. I'm not getting any of the cinnamon that others have described -- or at least, not any cinnamon that is separate and distinct from the apple. There may be something woodsy and resinous lurking back there. On my skin: Bam. All of a sudden, the "seven dry woods" show themselves. They're a strong backbeat to the marginally-dominant floral scent. Now I see where other reviewers have gotten cinnamon and nutmeg. The sweet apple juice flavour loses some sweet and gains some spicy. Very nice. Unfortunately, soon after I put my wrist to my nose my sinuses fill with mucous and I start sneezing like someone shoved a spoon of extra-fine ground mustard seed up both nostrils. Could I be allergic? I think it's possible. Anyway, I clear my nose and keep on sniffing, like a good little soldier. The character doesn't seem to substantially change during the next hour, though the separate notes to tend to meld a bit better. Hamadryad remains spicy apple with a strong floral tone, with an occasional whiff of honey-sweetness. The overall effect is meady, like a flowery metheglin or cyser. Final verdict: The Lab lists Hamadryad as gender neutral, but while it's not as explicitly feminine as some of the other scents I've seen with this label, I think that it's probably a bit too sweet and floral to suit most men. If the spice-and-fruit were amped up a bit and the sweet-and-flowery were toned down, I could see myself happily wearing this as an autumn harvest scent. As it is, while I can appreciate it as an excellently executed, well-balanced scent, it's just a little too girly for me to make it part of my regular rotation. But I bet it would smell absolutely delicious on the right woman.
  4. Yagathai


    In the Bottle: Orange and clove predominate, but not a tangy, citrussy orange. Rather, it's a fruity, sweet flavour, more like blood orange than orange juice. There's a strong backbeat of cinammon and spice, but peach is nowhere to be found -- unless it's making the orange smell sweeter. On My Skin: As soon as it hits flesh, bam, there's the incense, front and center. Incense with a slight fruity tang. Some have said that Al-Shairan reminds them of potpourri, but this smells better than any potpourri I've ever met. Fortunately, the incense settles down after a short while. It never completely goes away, but it stops screaming "Me! Me! Me!" while tap-dancing across the stage. The clove returns, hurray! There's a faint tang of cinammon there, but it doesn't overwhelm. And that's good, because I don't like it enough to appreciate a cinnamon blitzkrieg. From here on in, the scent stays pretty consistent: Sweet orange with a strong supporting chord of spice and incense. After several hours the fruit decides to share center stage with the clove, and that's when Al-Shairan goes from nice to very nice indeed. Final Verdict: Two great big thumbs up! Al-Shairan is a definite winter and autumn scent, with the spice and the food-ish smells. I'm definitely going to invest in a big bottle of this a little later down the road. edit: Aw, man. I didn't notice this the first two times that I tried Al-Shairan, but just now I can see that the skin to which I applied it has gone blotchy and discolored. Son of a whore! I sincerely hope this is just a fluke, and I'm not really allergic to this oil, but I think that the odds are against me.
  5. Yagathai

    The Black Tower

    In the bottle: Sweet, with an almost medicinal tang to it. Hints of leather and spice. Very interesting and complex, in a good way. On my skin: This smells completely different than it did in the bottle! Starts off floral, with a hint of something methol-ish. Definitely ambergris, though sadly I get no leather, teak, grasses or wine. Not particularly masculine on first blush, I must say. After about ten minutes, it starts to settle down. I start getting something like a sour red wine, with a smoky, spicy background -- must be those burnt grasses! Is it a little woodsy? Maybe. A little leathery? Perhaps! There's a certain tang that reminds me a bit of Cthulhu. As time goes by, the sour smoky note achieves more prominence, like Brimstone, but milder by an order of magnitude. There is a hint of something minty-ish -- could that be the galbanum (amusing aside: galbanum is also known as bubonion. Heh heh heh. Bubonion)? Maybe it's the ozone interacting with the other notes? People have said that this is a "cold" scent, but despite the vague minty air I don't get a "cold" feeling from this at all. It's too sweet to be cold. Unfortunately, my skin seems to be amping the sweet properties and damping the spiciness that others have reported. Quelle dommage. After a while, the wine starts to smell a bit like cough syrup -- alcoholic, but sweet as well. At last I start getting a bit of sandalwood, which is quite appealing when mixed with the ambergris. Final verdict: I'm torn here. It seems that The Black Tower is two scents -- one smoky, woodsy, spicy and resinous, and the other sweet and floral and alcoholic. I very much enjoy the former, but the latter leaves me cold. Well, actually not cold, but you know what I mean. I like the former enough that I can tolerate the latter, but the two halves don't really enhance each other to any significant degree. They two do settle down and mellow after a while, but they never quite sit easily with each other. It's neither especially masculine nor feminine, in my opinion. I will say this: The Black Tower is evocative of something. I just can't place what, exactly. I will give this scent a second try, but unless my second opinion is drastically different, I probably won't be going for a big bottle of the stuff.
  6. Yagathai

    Torture King

    In the bottle: Lime, vetiver, lemon zest, and something rich and nutty lurking in the background. Maybe the leather and/or musk? No smoke or clove at all, more's the pity. On my skin: The overwhelmingness of the citrus notes vanishes almost as soon as it hits my flesh, though the notes do remain in the background. I get the frankincense and grass in a sweet rush, and maybe a tantalizing and delicious hint of clove, with the musk and leather and vetiver laying down a solid backbeat. This is one multilayered fragrance! Slowly but surely, the darker, greener and more assertive odours take the fore and the sweet fruitiness gets relegated to a supporting role. Vetiver starts to assert control, as it tends to do, and the sweet citrus turns to more of a tangy scent. Amergris and musk and frankincense, normally strong leading players, turn into a backup chorus. No sign of the clove or leather, sadly, but I think that the bourbon and smoke are buried in there somewhere, along with the grass. Final verdict: Dark musk tends to go sweet on me, and this is no exception. In combination with the vetiver, which is stronger than I'd like, and ambergris, Torture King has a very powerful primary odour profile. While there is a lovely spicy, tangy undertone, the primary smells are so strong on me that they all but overwhelm the rest for the first half-hour or so. Once it dries down, the complex notes blend into something quite pleasant and spicy -- though still a bit too sweet. If I want to smell sweet, I'll wear Villain, thank you. This is a scent that I think I might absolutely love on someone else, but I don't know how often I would feel compelled to wear it myself. I like it enough that Torture King will get a second try before I issue a truly final Final Verdict, but it's definitely not going on my A-list just yet.
  7. Yagathai


    A snarling, feral scent, ever-so-slightly slightly deranged: hot leather, opoponax, cedar, pine needle, mosses, dry grass, patchouli and cinnamon bark. In the bottle: I smell something vaguely sweet, like paste -- maybe moss. There's a hint of soapiness and an undercurrent of spice -- maybe cinnamon. No sign of leather or tobacco or any of the other notes in BPAL's description. On my skin: As soon as it hits my skin, the sweetness becomes a bit more tangy and fruity. As it starts to dry, I start getting the patchouli and what I assume to be leather. There's an undercurrent of that dreaded baby powder/soap smell, but it doesn't do much more than threaten. I'm getting a faint, menacing cinnamon note, but no cedar or tobacco. Pine does make a showing, but it's by no means a major note. At first, the sweetness and spiciness combine into something resembling a traditional men's cologne or soap. Irish Spring, anyone? Over the next ten minutes, the sweet scent starts to fade and cedar and musk(? - maybe leather?) begin to assert themselves. I can now recognize the sweet as an overly-enthusiastic grassy, mossy scent. People have said that this is feral and primal, but I disagree. It smells like a picnic in a clearing in the woods -- bright, airy, green with a hint of nearby forest. Final verdict: First of all, oh boy, this one is strong. It's got a massive throw. If I use it again, it'll have to be sparingly and with restraint. Geek is complex, but not in a way that particularly interests me. It's a lot greener and grassier than what I would normally wear. It's also just a touch too sweet and not spicy enough for my liking. I could see wearing this to a co-worker's wedding or a relative's graduation or something, where I'd want to smell pleasant, but in a generic and unthreatening way. The real tragedy is that Geek hints of greatness -- the deep-down pine and leather notes are very intriguing and suggestive of darker, more forbidding mysteries -- but it stops just short.
  8. Yagathai


    Cedar, musk, amber, resin. Like the bastard child of Lear and Imp.
  9. Yagathai

    Hexennacht (2005, 2016, 2019)

    In the bottle: Suprisingly sweet! I was expecting something a lot like Brimstone. Instead, I get something that strikes me as almost... floral. I love the smell of resinous woods, and evergreens, but they seem to be buried under a sweet, almost fruity odour. On my skin: Hello, sailor! As soon as it hits the skin, I get a floral note with strong cherry undertones. Yes, there's smoke and resin, but they're playing a weak second- and third-chair to the sweet smell. After about an hour (!) the sweet, cloying odour settles down a bit, and the tangy smoked-pine odour that I was hoping for starts to assert itself. The sweet is still there, though, and it's too strong for my taste. Also, something spicy starts to infiltrate the blend. It sneaks in, and becomes stronger as time passes. Final verdict: I was hoping for something dark, smoky and woodsy. Instead, I got something like a cup of lapsang souchong served with some fresh nutmeg-laced cherry pie. It's not bad, and I could see how someone might really enjoy it, but it's not what I was expecting. I might feel like wearing it every now and then, but I'm not tempted to make it one of my regular scents.
  10. Yagathai

    Allergy Questions, Allergies and other reactions to oils

    Well, looks like I'm allergic to Shub-Niggurath too. Pity, because I really liked it. I'm going to email and see if Whippoorwill and Shub-Niggurath share any common ingredients, so I'll know to avoid it in the future.
  11. Yagathai


    In The Bottle: Ginger, with a sweet undertone. There's a hint of spice and a faint citrus odour. This is another deceptively simple scent. For the record, I don't know that I'd pick sweet, spicy ginger to encapsulate the smell of The Black Goat of the Hills with a Thousand Young, but that's just me. On My Skin: As soon as it hits the skin, the ginger fades and a sharp citrus note takes the forefront. As it dries, the citrus odor fades, and what I get instead is a... sharp burning sensation? A discoloration of the skin? Goddamn it, not again. For the record, the citrus fades and the ginger comes to the fore, with a strong undertone of spice and sweetness. More than any other oil, the smell of this in the bottle and on my skin is almost the same. Final verdict: This oil has throw, stay, a wonderful scent and I'm allergic to it. Sadly, unlike Whippoorwill (to which I was also allergic), the allergic reaction didn't start until I got on the train, so I can't wash the oil off. By the time I got to work, it had been totally absorbed into the skin. On the other hand, several co-workers commented that I smelled just like gingerbread -- that's not bad, right?
  12. Yagathai


    In the bottle: Smells like candy, or cough syrup. I definitely get a sweet peachy flavour, as well as a patchouli undertone that reminds me of Tezcatlipoca. I think it's the conjunction of a sweet smell and the patchouli that does it. On my skin: For about half-an-hour, there's an incredibly strong peachy odour that overwhelms everything else. And it's got a hell of a throw, too. Then, suddenly, the peach vanishes like the ninja and I'm left with a warm musky amber scent. It's not unpleasant, mind you, but I am a little surprised by the rapid change in character. After a while the sweet patchouli starts to make its presence known, and all the scents blend together nicely to form something more than the sum of its parts, something warm and inviting. I like it. Unfortunately, my wrist is a little itchy and slightly discolored -- I can't say for sure, but I might be slightly allergic to an element of this blend. I'll try again later and see if the itchiness repeats itself, or I'm just imagining things. Final Verdict: Judging by the smell in the bottle, I was worried that this would be far too feminine for me to wear, but it looks like I was wrong. While not overtly feminine, neither is it particularly masculine. After the peachtastic rush of the drydown, this settles down into a sweet, musky, understated scent that I really like -- and I think I like it on me as much as I'd like it on a woman. I see this as more of a slow summer weekend scent, for sipping ice tea on the porch and lazy, casual romancing. If it turns out I'm not allergic, I might invest in a 5ml.
  13. Yagathai


    In the bottle: Sweet, cloying, floral. There's lily predominating, and maybe I can pick up a hint of poppy and narcissus. Definitely supporting floral notes, anyway. I can smell some other sweet-but-not-floral note in the background, thick and resinous. This smells like nothing I would ever want to wear, but like a good reviewer, I soldier on. On my skin: Sweet, cloying, floral. The character doesn't change significantly at first. I get the same overwhelming flowery smell. But as it dries, and over time, some other note slips in there. I don't know if it's the opium or what, but suddenly my wrist smells like... plastic. Like burning plastic, specifically, as if someone wrapped my arm in a grocery bag and lit it on fire. Ugh. I let it sit for an hour, hoping the character will change, but it doesn't. Overbearing floral power with a distinct undertone of burning plastic. I try to wash it off, but it's clinging to me. Great. It's also got some pretty powerful throw, so I all I can do is hope that it lacks lasting power. Final verdict: Maybe it's the hangover talking, but I hate, hate, hate this oil. It reminds me of when I'm riding the bus, and an overperfumed senior citizen sits down in the seat in front of me. You know the kind I mean. Soon the insidious odour takes over the whole bus, so no matter how far back move you can't escape it, and it lingers in your nostrils well after you've gotten off. Plus, it's clearly a traditionally feminine scent. To the swap pile, and good riddance!
  14. Yagathai


    In the bottle: I don't exactly have the scent vocabulary yet for what this oil smells like in the bottle. It's definitely smoky, with some sort of metallic tang. Interesting, complex, but I don't think I'd like to smell like this. On my skin: As soon as it hits skin, I get the sharp, strong smell of... grapefruit? It's probably a set of other smells that are combining with my body chemistry, but there's definitely grapefruit there. Also, smoke, something woodsy and maybe a hint of vetiver in the background. I'm also picking up hints of an evergreen-type smell -- maybe pine or juniper? After a while, the grapefruit odour fades. It never quite disappears, but I think that it separates into its component scents. The smoky / woodsy / herbal character carries through for several hours. Final verdict: Not bad. Definitely not an every day scent, but I could see wearing this on crisp fall mornings, or when the snow is piling up deep outside and I'm sitting, by the window, smoking, watching it come down. I don't know for sure if I'd go for a 5ml of this or not, but it's intriguing enough that I just might, a little later in the year.
  15. Yagathai


    In the bottle: In the bottle, I got a dominant note of buttery cocoa. As I continue to sniff, I can smell something spicy and complex underneath. Patchouli, yes, but also something different. It's amazingly deep and complex. On my skin: Tezcatlipoca starts out smelling very, very sweet on me. For about five minutes or so, sweet chocolate and a mysterious floral note that I didn't get in the bottle predominate. Then, slowly, the sweetness fades. It never goes away completely, but the patchouli and what I assume is the incense slowly take center stage. For a while, I can smell what I assume to be the leather note, but it fades quickly. After a couple of hours, all that's left is rich, spicy, masculine patchouli, backed by leather and that same mysterious floral note. Final verdict: I like it. Definitely not an every day wear, but ideal for when I'm feeling spicy, suave and adventuresome. This is something to wear to a dark, smoky restaurant on a first date, to make a strong first impression.