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BPAL Madness!


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About annerqm

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    wrist-sniffing wench
  • Birthday 03/08/1972


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    Milwaukee, WI
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  • BPAL of the Day
    Midnight on the Midway
  • Favorite Scents
    Carnation Incense (nag champa) Sandalwood Other woods and resins Clove, nutmeg Pine, cypress, firs, juniper Patchouli Amber Cream and Milk "Dirty" jasmine Fig Plum Apple Lily Violet

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    Politics, music, reading/fiction/short stories, poetry, urban development and urban education, community organizing, humor, special education rights, autism awareness, scent and memory, history of households and domestic issues, history of religion, history of medicine, mythology, art and art and design history.
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  1. annerqm

    Midnight on the Midway (2006)

    I got this through an eBay auction on a whim, and discovered one of my very, very favorite BPAL oils! MotM also showed me that I LOVE incense/nag champa/champaca flower, which has led to even more lovely incensey scents. Bottle: MotM did not smell very promising, in fact, all I got was generic floral perfume. I could detect the sugar a bit, but no smokey incense... Wet: Ok, this is more like it...still very floral, but the sugars are really starting to come out and make the florals interesting and the incense is starting to hit me. Drying: Wow, this is amazing and an instant favorite. It IS a tad soapy some days that I wear it, but really, if I could find a soap that smelled this good... Anyway, it is so well balanced...the pretty floral, the sweet (not vanilla, this is cotton candy/pure sugar sweet) and the lovely, lovely incense note are just mind-blowingly amazing together. I'm in love. And whoa, baby, this is strong. Even my dry, porous skin won't need that much. Dry: I could wear this every day and never be unhappy. It has such a range -- sweet, girly and fun yet headshopy, hippyish yet grown up perfume-y. How can one oil do all this at once? I love mixing MotM with other oils to amp its different aspects. I like it with Snake Oil to bring out the sweetness, with dryer patchouli scents like Mole or Anne Bonny to bring out the incensey-headshopy aspects and it's simply divine with Tabula Smaragdina...which is more floral-incense goodness. It's so potent that I have to be careful about how much I put on, as I typically slather. I'm sure I still overdo it most days and some people probably think I stink to high heaven. But hey, I'm very, very happy in my cloud of smell!
  2. annerqm


    Imp: Blah! Very sharp, medicinal lavender. Lavender is not a good note for me under any circumstances, and this lavender seems particularly harsh. Wet: Pretty much the same, perhaps just a touch of bitterness/smokiness underneath. I'm really, really hoping this changes on me like it seems to on most of the other reviewers! Drying: It's still very much lavender. I might smell a touch of tobacco, but it's more like raw tobacco and not smoky/burning tobacco. Overall, this is very sharp and medicinal -- herbal, but bitter herbs, not sweet or savory herbs. At this point I would classify this as very masculine, and I generally don't tend to classify scents into genders. Maybe I'm just classifying this as "masculine" b/c I don't like it! Actually, I think I'll classify this as a "Republican" scent! ...but wait...is this starting to smooth out and mellow down? No, not really. But I'm going to give it a full hour...even if it means I have to keep my hands/wrists away from my face! Later on...dry: If I try really hard, I can maybe detect some sandalwood, but none of my beloved nag champa and really, nothing else -- this is all lavender on me. Yes, it did settle down a bit as it dried, but I was really hoping for the other notes to shine though.
  3. annerqm

    Cobra Lily

    This is actually the very first BPAL oil I ever sniffed! I put some on again tonight, remembering how much I liked it…and still do! Imp: Strong, assertive, in-your-face lily. This lily does not apologize for its lily-ness. It’s very feminine, but powerful and assertive. There is a glided, almost honeyed edge to the wonderful lily note, as well as well as a slight earthiness. I also get a hit of citrus – sharper citrus like tangerine or maybe even grapefruit. Wet: Similar to the imp. This is one powerful lily. And these lilies are NOT white. I imagine a huge bouquet of gigantic, waxy, gold and orange lilies, with beautifully spotted throats and long stamens coated with thick, orange pollen. Drying: Starts to get a little powdery, and the tiniest bit soapy on me, but it’s also getting warmer, more honeyed and a little spicy. The citrus seems to disappear as it dries. Dry: Wonderful. It’s still gorgeous, unapologetic lily. It’s a bit spicy, a bit sweet (but golden-honey sweet, not sugar-candy sweet) and absolutely the most beautiful lily note I’ve ever smelled. As assertive as Cobra Lily is, it stays close to my skin and seems to fade very quickly. It’s so wonderful, though, that I don’t really mind re-applying. This might be a big bottle come spring or summer.
  4. annerqm


    I have high expectations for Bathsheba. Carnation is one of my absolute favorite notes, as is plum, and I can’t imagine a better pairing. I can just picture it – sweet, spicy, fruity and very nice for autumn and winter. So here we go… Imp: Fruity, for sure, with an undertone of musk…and this is strong! I can’t smell a lot of carnation, it’s really hidden under the musk. I’ve learned in the last couple of weeks that my chemistry really gloms onto musk until it overpowers all other scents. I really, really hope this doesn’t happen with Bathsheba. Wet: A hint of spicy carnation, a fleeting note of juicy plum and musk, Musk, MUSK. I have a feeling I know where this is going, but I’ll be patient. Drying: More musk. It’s sweet, to be sure, which is probably from the plum, but beyond the sweetness, it’s very hard to find any distinctive plum or carnation notes. It’s not unpleasant, but would be so much nicer if the other notes were more prominent. Dry: Sweet, strong musk. No carnation spiciness at all. No juicy/fruity plum goodness, in fact, the only way I know the plum is there is from the sweetness it lends to the musk. Final: I’m sad. And I think it’s confirmed – I need to stay away from musk blends.
  5. annerqm


    I got this imp as part of a lot off of Ebay...and I was scared of it just based on the color! I'm not very familiar with Dragon's Blood, but I do like patchoulli and cinnamon, and vetiver is good in small doses, so here goes... Wet: Wow, this is intense. I can smell the patchouli, but it's blown away by something tangy-er, darker and stronger...I'm guessing the Dragon's Blood and vetiver? I can't really smell any cinnamon. I don't know if this is really me... Drying: Getting warmer and sweeter. It's a cold, windy autumn day and this seems perfect right now -- the cinnamon/spice aspect is ramping up, and this is a lot more lovely that I first gave it credit. Completely Dry: Huh. Now I'm not so sure again. It seems like the musty, dirty vetiver has come out too strongly now, and I really want to smell more of the Dragon's Blood, patchouli and cinnamon. Final result: All I'm left with in the end is the vetiver. Would've been a nice winter scent if the other notes stuck around. I might try it one more time to see if I get a different result, because this went through some stages that I really loved.
  6. annerqm


    In the imp and wet on my skin Alecto gives me this weird peanut-butter vibe that totally turns me off and makes me nauseated. ...however, after reading the reviews and learning more about how much some BPAL oils change from wet to dry, I decide to give it a try. After all, I love cedar, love olive, like vetiver and think I would like raspberry leaf. Wet: Ok, all I'm getting is peanut butter, or maybe peanut butter on pencils, and I'm not loving it. Drying Down: Ok, the P.B. vibe is starting to fade and my buddy cedar is taking over. This is really woody, crisp and fresh...but ARGH, there is still that weird P.B. smell way in the background. Dry: I would like this if the P.B. smell would totally disappear. It almost disappears, but I can still detect it -- whether that's in my head or b/c it's still really there. Regardless, so this is not a good blend for me. Stupid peanut butter.
  7. annerqm

    La Bella Donna Della Mia Mente

    Soft, lush myrtle and dry, sweet melilot with wild rose, pomegranate juice and peach blossom against a background of deep aquatic notes and a twirl of melancholy autumn breezes. Imp: Winey juicy fruity goodness! Lush, warm, just very slightly spicy and not overly sweet. Wet: The pomegranate and peach are very prominent and just beautiful...a warm, cozy fruit scent, perfect for autumn. Hmmmm…I can’t get enough. Juicy, fruity, heady and slightly alcoholic. Dry-down: The rose, other floral notes and aquatics start to peep out from under the fruits…this is smelling less fruity and more perfume-y. Dry: The rose is much more prominent now, and the water/aquatic notes. To me, it’s now less warm than wet and in the imp. Now it’s more wispy flowers and water and much less of the warm, spicy, wine-y notes. Final: As more time passes, the more prominent the rose becomes. Sigh. If only La Bella Donna would maintain her wet, warm, fruity notes on my skin…because that was wonderful! The final product on me is not great, very standard, floral perfume with lots of heavy rose.
  8. annerqm

    Snake Oil

    What can I say that hasn’t been said before? Love it, love it, love it! It’s the perfect fall scent and it blends beautifully with so many other oils… I was somewhat skeptical, simply because I’m not a big fan of vanilla -- but trust me, this vanilla is so warm, sexy and wonderful, it’s not really like those other too-sweet-too-food-like-vanilla scents you’ve smelled before. And yes, this is a very sexy scent, but it’s also very comfortable and comforting – in that way, I would say it’s more intimate than “sexy.” It’s like the most warm, intimate sex with the one partner who is perfect for you. I love Snake Oil on its own, I love it layered with the 2005 Harvest Moon decant I won recently on eBay, I love it with Cathedral, with Alice…I love it with a LOT of other stuff. You can turn up or down the sweet/vanilla note depending on what you layer it with… Oh, and I love the scent Snake Oil leaves behind on your clothes. I usually throw on the same super comfy cotton-silk blend sweater each afternoon when I get home, so now it is infused with Snake Oil (which I also tend to put on when I get home for the day) and it smells DIVINE. I don’t want to wash it now, it smells so wonderful – warm, spicy, exotic but at the same time, so comforting and relaxing. I also love this in my hair -- I mix a bit with whatever product I'm using that day and the sweet-spicy scent stays in my hair all day.
  9. annerqm

    The Apothecary

    In the imp: Herbal, medicinal and I swear I can smell eucalyptus. Wet on skin: Still very sharp and herbal. Still has a faint eucalyptus scent and I definitely smell lavender, perhaps a bit of rosemary, the tiniest touch of one of the mints, and something very faintly citrus. I’m having a difficult time detecting the fig or ginger… Drying: Hmmm, it’s changing quickly – much sweeter than I expected. Smells like an herbal or Earl Grey tea, but with a touch of honey or sugar added…there’s also the very slightest, tiniest hint of creaminess. It’s much smoother than when wet. It’s faint and difficult to detect unless I get my nose right up next to my skin. Dry: The perfect cup of smooth, lightly sweetened Earl Grey tea or other lightly herbal tea. It’s very nice, but not something I’d probably wear much. To my nose, it smells so exactly much like brewed herbal tea, and for whatever reason, that is not appealing as a fragrance for me to wear. I think I’d like this a lot on a man, and it would be very nice on linens or as a home scent, esp. in the summer.
  10. annerqm


    In the bottle: Sharp and snappy! The cypress is front and center, as is a clean, light patchouli scent and a touch of ginger. Not at all fruity. Very sharp and green. Wet on skin: About the same – I really smell the cypress, over everything else, then the patchouli (it’s very clean-smelling patchouli) and that hit of ginger – but it’s sharp, fresh-grated ginger root rather than the warm dry spice. I’m not getting any fig or cyclamen…which is too bad. Drying: The rose is coming out now, which I didn’t notice at all until now. Still not much change from when first applied... …wait! Ok, now it’s starting to change a bit…it’s getting warmer and sweeter, but without losing the fresh cypress and ginger notes from before. I think I smell the tonka, which from what I remember smells a bit like vanilla, right? There is green fig coming through, too. Dry: Wow, this really changes from the first impression to final drydown. It’s absolutely beautiful and very hard to describe or categorize. It’s warm yet fresh at the same time. A touch sweet and fruity, but not at all cloying or foody. A hint of very subtle rose, but nowhere near a floral scent. A bit spicy, but not at all a typical spice scent. This is an utterly unique blend. The final product is very well-balanced and something you could wear during any season, any time of day and type of occasion. (A bit later) This fades quickly on me, too. Not quite as bad as some reviewers above described, but I would need a re-apply every few hours, for sure.
  11. annerqm


    Delight is delightful, but somewhat familiar, and, I hate to say it, a bit boring (sorry!). I kept thinking of one of the white floral Calvin Klein perfumes (but more sweet). Maybe Eternity? I get sweet, well-behaved jasmine as the strongest note (I prefer my jasmine poorly behaved and stinky ) ...then something even sweeter (the frangipani? Not very familiar with that one) ...and then perfume-y rose. For me, this is very similar in all stages...imp, wet, drydown. It does become a bit less sweet and a bit more powdery as it dries. It is very strong -- my husband could smell it across the room. He thought it smelled like vanilla...I didn't get this at all, but there was a distinctive sweetness to it I don't think was from the jasmine. There is absolutely nothing wrong with Delight, but also nothing to make me very excited. (This process of testing imps is so interesting. I used to think I was more of a floral & green girl, but the more BPAL oils I try, the more I pass the florals over for the darker, incense-y scents. Even more surprisingly, I'm loving the sweeter floral/fruit/honey-creamy blends in the Mad Tea Party grouping...)
  12. annerqm

    New Orleans

    In Imp: Straight-forward jasmine and honeysuckle...although I swear I smell magnolia, too. It's very nice, but I wish the jas were a bit more "dirty" and not so well-behaved and sweet. Wet on Skin: A bit more sultry, but I'd still like a more of the spice and decay mentioned in the description to come through. The city of New Orleans does have a very prevalent smell of decaying vegetation, and it's hard for me to embrace a New Orleans oil without more of that slightly sickish-sweet smell. Dry on Skin: Very much the same. On me, this oil does not go through a lot of change. It is lovely, sweet and it was nice after a shower with Lush Flying Fox shower gel and Godiva solid shampoo (although I do wish New Orleans had a bit more of that "dirty" jasmine smell I get from FF and Godiva). Overall, this was very nice, but didn't have enough of the sultry, decaying undertone to really remind me of New Orleans. I will try it again though, and see if I get more of the spice and decay...maybe next time I won't put it on squeaky-clean, just showered skin.
  13. annerqm


    I have a lot of hope for Moscow. I’ve found many lovely BPAL floral blends, but quite a few are very similar to popular department store scents. So now I’m looking for a unique and different a floral blend, and I really want it to be Moscow…mostly b/c I love carnation. (Lush’s Potion is one of my all-time favorite scents.) In the Imp: A sweet, spicy floral. I smell carnation and rose, in that order, with some softer, whiter flowers peeking through. There’s a sharp little after-bite, perhaps that’s the tangerine. Very nice – I’m getting excited. Wet on skin: Much fuller and bigger bodied than in the imp – it’s much spicier, too, the carnation is really coming out, so I’m getting really excited! Moscow is a feminine floral, but it has enough spunk and depth to make it different. Drying: The carnation is backing off a bit, but it’s still the dominant floral with the rose second. I’m starting to get the jasmine and LotV as well. I expected this to be a whiter-smelling scent – but it’s not…it’s spicy and warm…so, to me, it’s color is a deep, warm pink-orange. I believe the musk & amber are making this deeper and richer than some of the other floral blends I’ve tried. It’s a real achievement that jasmine & Lily of the Valley are used without it totally dominating the blend, I can smell these notes from time to time, but it’s subtle. However, I am having a hard time picking up any bergamont or tangerine… Overall, this very strong...I can smell it well without having to put my wrist near my nose. Fully Dry: This is not going in the direction I want. The carnation is fading fast and the rose is taking over. Unfortunately it’s the heavy, perfume-y rose I don’t care for (as opposed to fresh, sharp rose or sweet, candy-rose). Without the carnation, this is getting much less spicy and MUCH more musky. I’m worried Moscow is going to end as pure musk, just like Bathsheba did… Final verdict: Sigh. This was so promising, but my skin turned it to almost pure musk. Not even an hour after applying, very little floral remained (except for some heavy rose), and I smelled like Jovan Musk Oil. I need to find a carnation blend that does not contain musk.
  14. annerqm


    I love Veil because it's a little bit different each time I smell my wrist. Sometimes I get a beautiful single note and sometimes there's a blend of two or three (or more). To me, the violet is most prevalent, but it’s not just one violet. Sometimes it’s fresh-picked, wilting violets like the ones my little boys bring me, sometimes it’s the powdery violet of the sachets my grandmothers always bought for me, and sometimes it’s sweet violet candies. Blended beautifully with the violet is an edge of sharper Orris and ylang-ylang (but don’t worry, the y-y is very subtle), sometimes there’s the springtime scent of lilac, and sometimes I pick out a creamy, dew-dropped gardenia blossom. The only note I don’t smell individually is the sandalwood, but I think it’s holding everything together and adding a bit of warmth and depth. The only note I don’t smell specifically is the lavender. However, this smells like the color lavender – a very pale, grayish-blue lavender. When I smell Veil, I see china teacups with painted pansies and violets and vintage women’s pillbox hats with spotted veils and tiny flowers attached. This is a beautiful scent, but I’ll have to save it for late winter and early spring…it does not fit well with the current season. I’ll also have to wear this on days when I’m feeling delicate and mysterious. So although this won’t be an everyday, signature scent for me, it’s something special to wear for certain occasions and moods.
  15. annerqm


    In Ye Imp: Wowie-Zowie – Holy Lemon Drops! Wet: Jeez, it’s even more lemony! I honestly can’t smell anything but lemon. I think I put too much on my wrists. Drying: Ok, maybe there’s something else underneath, it’s getting a tiny bit woody…maybe…but the super lemon still prevails. Wait…is that a bit of floral poking though? Maybe not…it’s really hard to find anything in all this lemon. It smells exactly the way lemonheads candy tastes. T minus 5 minutes. Ugh. I’m getting a headache. I was really expecting something different from this. My chemistry must really pump up the lemon. Unfortunately the oil also seems to be irritating my neck, it’s burning a bit. T minus 10 minutes. I keep thinking this is going to settle down, but it’s still all lemon and so strong. T minus 15. I think I can smell some sandalwood. Maybe it’s just wishful thinking. T minus 30. The lemon is starting to fade a smidge, but I still can’t smell much else – maybe a teeny bit of light sandalwood. Why, why why doesn’t this smell like incense on me?! Where is the patchouli, sandalwood & cedarwood? Those are some of my very, very favorite notes, so WHY do I only get lemon from this? T minus one hour. I’m getting some rose now, the lemon has backed off all of a sudden. T minus two hours and counting. Huh. This oil is exasperating! Now it’s all heavy, perfume-y rose, plus a bit of jasmine. The lemon is pretty much gone now. Overall, I never got a single whiff of the patchouli or cedar, and I think I imagined the sandalwood. After the drydown, it's a very strong department-store-type-rose-floral. Not at all what I expected or wanted from this. This just does not agree with me. My skin feels irritated, I'm itchy, my tongue and ears burn and I have a headache...I wonder if I have a sensitively to lemongrass...I've worn all the other notes many times with no problems. And MAN, this is strong! Usually my dry skin soaks up oil and shouts for more, but this is so strong that I’m going to go wash it off now… …and continue the search for my perfect incense-y blend.