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BPAL Madness!


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About Shadowdawn

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    evil enabler


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  1. Shadowdawn

    Svarta Fönix Bókaflóð

    Books, fireplaces, wood, chai tea, and cozy, furry cats?! This sounds like it should be heaven. I was envisioning something creamy, spicy and a little incensey, rustic, leathery, comforting, all that good stuff. Alas... no. I don't know what happened here... but this is such a heavy, intense, old cloying perfume smell. First off, it smells purely like alcohol to me (or rather, like alcohol based perfume). As soon as I open the bottle, the first thing I smell is strong, astringent alcohol with an undertone of "classic" perfume. Actually, to me it smells exactly like a forgotten 30 year old bottle of Eau de perfume, Chanel No 5. Very heady, very musky/musty, and alcoholic. Somehow I am detecting heavy white florals and musk?? I will say, it does smell very expensive, like a premium classic/noxious perfume. I smell no chai, no cats, no books, and no fireplaces... but maybe a soapy, cologne-like kind of wood. Some time after my (very cautious) application, it simmers down into a... clean, fully soap and flowers cologne smell. I don't know how. The book I received was " The Wind is Not a River" (Brian Payton) about a married couple trying to reconcile and deal with loss in a hypothetical WW2 scenario in Alaska. Hmm.... not exactly my genre, but I was glad to participate all the same. In an odd way the perfume actually really, really goes with the book lol....
  2. Shadowdawn

    Exodus 22:21

    Do not mistreat or oppress a foreigner, for you were foreigners in Egypt. Myrrh, red currant, opoponax, and blackberry. Such a somber topic, but such a sexy, beautiful, sultry summer scent! I've always had a love for BPAL's activism scent lines, and I knew I absolutely had to have one out of this specific series. I picked the bottle quickly, almost on a whim, and have no regrets. It's gorgeous! 4/5 smelly stars! I think a drop of mint or spice would have totally made it, but it still pairs beautifully with mint heavy scents. For a "fruity" scent, 22:21 still manages to be very balanced in terms of not being too sweet, or foody in any way. It must be all the resinous myrrh keeping the ripe, dark fruits in check. There is a hint of tartness initially, but barely. It has an almost smoky or wood-like quality. Upon initial application, it's all bursting, ripe, crushed summer blackberries, with an effervescent (almost champagne-like) quality poured over. But as soon as I rub it into the warmth of my skin, it immediately mellows into something much deeper, darker, and creamier. A spicy element of some sort pops up, making me think of sex musk. This is truly how I imagine "dark fruits", or a gothic summer to smell. Within minutes, the fruit is no longer distinguishable in the least. It's all perfectly blended together into something like a bittersweet incense stick and the sun-warmed skin of someone you quite fancy. Barely sweet, deep, and dark. Mature, while still retaining a playful air somehow. Ancient but powerful, and (to me) deeply feminine, yet grown. The dry-down is one of my absolute favorites as well. It turns resinous, soft, and creamy after the blackberry has been gobbled up. Dry blackberry wine and deep kisses come to mind. No plastic or soap here! I have a feeling this one is highly dependent on skin chemistry though, because it morphs quite a lot.
  3. Shadowdawn


    I'm starting to get suspicious of peaches, I tell you. And I also can't believe I haven't reviewed this yet lol. With fall pretty much here, I started pulling my cozier scents out of their little retirement nooks, and went immediately to this one first. Which is actually the best move for this early in the season, as it turns out, because it has a strong lingering scent of summer (those peaches, man) to it. I have no idea why, but I amp the peaches like crazy. So, in the bottle, it's pure heaven. Perfectly balanced between peach, pumpkin, and just enough "sugary/foody/spicy/gourmand" element in the background to deepen it (but not to make me afraid it's going to go butter-cake-of-death, cloyingly-sugary-baked-goods), and evoke a sense of cooked pumpkin--not enough to make it a spice-heavy blend. I figured the spice (nutmeg, mostly...maybe something like allspice) would come out to develop and give it a dry, slightly smoky/incense quality. So, for some reason, it goes to "late summer" almost immediately on my skin, with fresh peach everything all over up in there, then fades to nothing within an hour (though I didn't slather this time). The pumpkin is overtaken in minutes and it becomes actually "fruity" to a degree. Somehow, the spices all evaporate (rather than stick around as 'final notes', as they usually do with me) into... cream. Cream and gauzy vanilla. It's so soft, and warm, and comforting, but not at all spicy, which is the saddest thing for me. Still completely love it though.
  4. Shadowdawn

    Zorya Polunochnaya

    Oh goodness... beautiful!! Filled with silvery, warming, intoxicating light. Perfumey and youthful in a good way. It is.. Organza, full moon peaking into sunrise edition. It is a translucent masquerade bride with honey-pink cheeks. Elegance and femininity personified. I could bathe in this-- it is my favorite in a long time. I am adoring the upfront crystalline amber in this one, softened and sweetened with an herbal, grain-like vanilla (that gives it a sense of timelessness and maturity), and rounded out with a fully unfurled moonflower--just tinged with nectar soaked blush at the tips. It is fleeting, like catching a snowy nymph darting across a sugar-web-spun grotto. The scent doesn't morph much on me, but dries down to focus a bit more on the floral as the amber calms into a golden shimmer in the background. There is also barely a hint of powdery lemon-creme somewhere there? It is somehow so mysterious I feel like people would try and inconspicuously inch closer to try and get a second whiff, unsure of what they has scented in the first place, but drawn nonetheless. You know... it actually smells a little bit like a more heady, exotic, and complex version of an Escada fragrance from many years ago... Magnetism I think. And without the headache. lol
  5. Shadowdawn

    Flickering Lantern

    Wha..what on earth.... . So, I was expecting a damp gothic rose blossoming in my face, enshrouded in breathy parchment-like smoke tendrils, with some evocative dripping wax softly in the background... but alas, I somehow get no rose?! What I do get is dry, powdery violets, like the pressed flower! Or maybe a skin dust made with flour and ancient violets gone slightly off. And then nothing but smoke. And not a pale, incensy, ethereal smoke.. but.. like a dank cupboard cigarette ash smoke. Somehow I also detect a musty musk in this one somewhere. Final drydown: I've seen people post about a scent going "cat-pee" sour on them all the time before, and never quite understood it until this one LOL. But here we have it.. cat pee, if it was in really old musty incense form. Or maybe the old incense is soaked in the cat pee :/ Somewhere way, way deep down when I huff with all might might I get the barest hint of a warm, dry, vanillin curio cabinet that might have stored cigars at one point. And absolutely no hint of rose, purple or otherwise, or any floral really. I guess smoke is another one for the no-fly list. *sigh*
  6. Shadowdawn

    Dana O'Shee

    I really like this blend a lot, and I find it true to its nature and description. It is light, and sort of fades the way the smell of the "outdoors" fades from your skin after coming back into a cozy home and sitting on the couch for a while. In a quiet and dignified way. I also don't get a lot of morphing from this one, so I always know what to expect from good ol' faithful. It is a simple, yet comforting blend, both creamy and refreshing in a way, understated and subtle, in the way such an offering to the fae might drift on the wind and be carried off into the ether. I cannot be grateful enough that it has never gone either linen or soap on me. It fits so close to the skin in fact, that after wearing it for the day, it becomes hard to separate my own own skin smell, from this, as the two become one. The milk (I find it to be more of a skim milk rather than a heavy, sticky cream) and light golden honey are obviously there, but balanced, and in no way sweet/cloying. The 'grains' portion of this (somehow) keeps it from becoming foody, and really brings out a quiet beauty after the drydown. I smell oats, for sure-- and the uncooked steel cut variety at that. Beyond that, I want to say whole sheaf's of golden wheat, and tall, swaying grasses, toasted by the sun work in. Finally, there might be a peekaboo of heather and amaranth in there somewhere. It smells arid, like sunset in early fall. And brings to mind spilling thin milk and clear honey on a field of just-harvested 'grains'.
  7. Shadowdawn


    How have I never reviewed my most favorite BPAL scent?! One that I have had and loved since 2008! In fact, it is one of the most comforting things I own-- a tiny, little, beat up imp from 2008. I just realized that this imp has almost been aged an entire decade! Woah. I don't know how to describe how much I love this one. It smells of a home that I can't place, that I've been without having gone to. Of summer sunsets in markets, baking, old gods, and familiarity. It is ephemeral and almost esoteric for me. It is sexy, spicy, comforting, and sweet. It is both exotic and homey somehow. It is a smell of a place, and a time, and the sunlight filtering through warm wood shutters, of shared laughter and exotic nibbles. Like the drapes pulled back on a fortune teller's tent to reveal a smoky crystal orb. At this point it is so well blended that there is not a single individual spice or floral note I can pick up-- not even cinnamon, but it smells like hot, fragrant desert breath just coming off of an oasis with many date trees, a few lush blooms, and a procession of old priests burning incense while they carry offertory cakes. It is a *toasted* vanilla/sandalwood//incense/dry petal blanket that I want to wrap up in. And yet there is something feminine and 'human' about it too. Hard to describe honestly. Edit to add that the final drydown for me comes the next day, after a shower (with unscented soap), and that it settled into a creamy toasted vanilla/lightest caramel, sun-baked dusty blooms of deliciousness. Ultra feminine and soft, yet alluring, with very toned down 'spice' quality.
  8. Shadowdawn


    Based on the note descriptions I thought that I would absolutely love this one... but it has made me sad. Upon initial application is reminds me *a lot* of Dana O'Shee, which I adore, but a bit stronger and with better throw. So far, so good. Very creamy, but with a slightly herbal/floral (but not cloying) background to keep it grounded. And not too sticky sweet either which is a relief. I was expecting just a little less milk and a little more floral (or even honey), but it's similar enough at this point to Dana that I'd go for it. *Spoken in a lifeless droning tone* .....One hour later.... Anything that might have called itself a floral, or even an herb, has long since died and powdered to dust in the back of an old spice cabinet, in a memory, from a decade ago. The milk has gone sour in the sun. And, somehow, miraculously... I get... linen. Like, white tablecloths. Why cruel world?! And finally, in a dramatic, final, death cough, as it expires, the linen melts bitterly into burned plastic and used dryer sheets. How did this blend turn into plastic and unclean laundry over here?!
  9. Shadowdawn

    Vial of Holy Water

    The first hour.... Glimmering, morning-star-kissed effervescent dew? Tears of the angels? Anointed diamond-scale mermaid skin? Summer rains over a sweet tropical pool? White mist rolling over damp white flowers? A sacred white-marble bath with sweet fresh herbs? Pale Citrus and white tea spilled on white porcelain? Pure sophistication in a crystal bottle? That liquid inside 'The Light of Eärendil'? The best aquatic I have ever smelled. Dry down.... Plastic and dryer sheets. I hate you aquatics, but this time you really did tease me. I shan't trust you again.
  10. Shadowdawn

    De Vos’ Unicorn

    What the heck? Where did the tall silvery grasses and dry hay come from?! :/ So, of any BPAL I have ever tried, I think this one has the lightest and shortest throw on me. I have to slather and huff to pick anything up from it. At least it isn't foody in the least, and can only be described as "pretty" during its very short lifespan. This is a doll's smell through and through (complete with the barest effigy of downy plastic playing softly in the background somewhere)-- I get no apricot, no peony, and no rose (which is what I assumed would be dominant). I think the main note I'm sensing here is 'mallow'-- as in the creamy medicinal root, not the confectionery. Upon initial application, all the way throughout the five minutes to powdery dry-down, oddly enough I get the scent of sun-baked hay and billowing wild grasses (that have not been cut). There may be a hint of wildflowers in there somewhere, and the smallest, tiniest sprinkle of powdered sugar. There may even be one single dried lavender bud present (perhaps the barest breath of peony, rose, and lavender combined have evoked the sense of wild flowers?). I can't even detect the vanilla somehow! It's as if though there were a white chiffon pillow nestled deep in the tall summer grass out in a field somewhere, with a single well-manicured doll sitting atop it--except the tip of her nose is smeared with a dollop of buttercream icing.
  11. Shadowdawn


    Huh, interesting, I like this one! So, to start with-- this is the only "cocoa" or "chocolate" perfume blend (ever) that I have been able to wear without it going to burnt plastic on my skin! That said, I don't know that I would even call it in-you-face "chocolate". It's definitely dusty, dry, grownup, and a little sexy . In the bottle, first impression: Uh-oh... nervous at the moment; I detect that general "food" tone (kind of butteryness?) that most foody blends have that that does not play well with me. But it has a dark, spicy, almost smoky quality beneath that, so we'll keep an open mind . On the skin, after ten minutes or so: All hints of any possible "foodiness" are gone, thankfully!! That said it... feels like.. florals have shown up?! This is most unusual, I don't think there was supposed to be anything floral in this blend, and yet I'm getting some undertone of white florals. hmm. It's actually really well blended, and the cocoa doesn't even smell like anything akin to "single note chocolate", I have to try to pick it out. That said, I don't detect much cinnamon at all either, so that's too bad . I was hoping it would be a little heavier in the spices. It actually smells like a really refined, classic perfume to me (that mysterious 'floral' note, I'm sure). I think a married Victorian lady would wear this lol. But it isn't offputting. After an hour: WOAH!!!! This is one of the nicest drydowns of any BPAL blend thus far! . Anything related to that odd floral tone has completely vanished, and neither cinnamon nor cocoa beat the other out-- it's very well blended and neither obviously spices, or chocolate, upon sniffing. It has actually turned into a smoky, dry, dusty, resinous, cocoa incense. It's also quite light, oddly enough. That's the dusty quality I suppose. The SO's input: "It does smell very nice" . Which is, in fact, a high compliment for him lol.
  12. Shadowdawn

    The Instructional Manual

    Hmmm, this is an interesting one I suppose. Usually strawberry becomes an instant death note on me, so I was very nervous when I opened the bottle and immediately smelled a bowl of overpowering, crushed strawberries. Uh-oh, I thought. I thought the strawberry was going to be more in the backdrop of things.... First applied: A rush of strawberries, like strawberry wind, but it doesn't go to plastic, probably due to the red musk, though I can't pick that out itself. After a few minutes: The cherry blossom shoves it's way to the front! Yay! So now it doesn't actually smell like strawberries anymore.. but.. there's something weird going on with the cherry blossom. Hmm... not playing well with the musk maybe? As it dries down this is getting worse... After an hour: Hmmm, so, fresh cherry blossom? With a hint of fruitiness, though it's not overtly strawberry. It's okay I guess, but I don't know that I'm head over heels for it.
  13. Shadowdawn

    Love's Philosophy

    Oh my, this is interesting. The saffron must be the star note here, because it's really changing up the vanilla and cream quite a bit. The most interesting thing about this blend, I find, it that is has an almost menthol-like quality. The vanilla is of an absolutely delicious variety, to be sure, and I always love a bit of cream, but the saffron is giving it a menthol-woods undertone. This makes it a far more complex vanilla scent than I expected, but, unfortunately it also smells *exactly* like this old tube of SPF 15 Vanilla flavored lip balm I used to have, from the dollar store. As it dries the saffron seems to turn everything kind of to plastic, enhancing the menthol quality until it becomes somewhat astringent. Urgh... To swap or to let it age. hmm. I might just stash it for a decade and see what happens, because I'm very curious, but at the same time this blend and I are not playing at all well. Final verdict: Welp, it's gone to sunscreen on me . Make that SPF bug spray. And then poof, gone. I'm really losing hope that aging is going to fix this problem....
  14. Shadowdawn


    I adore cherries and dark chocolate, so this should be sexy for me right? I don't know much about orange blossom, but maybe it will keep it from being too foody?? WHUT. What a strange reaction... I now know all about orange blossom. And I almost wish I didn't. The minute this goes on my skin, all notions of chocolate (which was a backdrop note for me, even from the bottle sniff) are immediately completely gone in every sense of the word. In fact, there aren't even any cherries. This is all entirely orange blossom (which I recognize now as the smell of straight up soap). I do think that while I can't actually smell cherries, they are lending an astringent, antiseptic quality to the orange blossom, sort of like a backdrop of cherry cough syrup, but just cough syrup I guess. It does not play well with the orange blossom in the least, and as another reviewer mentioned, it becomes "generic pink bathroom soap" found in many public restrooms. Very, very, antiseptic. And medicinal somehow. I'm sad. It's a also a little plasticy now... yikes, I might have to wash this off.
  15. Shadowdawn


    What on earth?? I would have never reached for this blend in a million years, as patchouli has been, in the past, a death note for me. In fact any chance i get to sniff a pure patchouli note.. I hate it. With a passion. Like straight up vetivert. Urghh. So, then, the question is.. why do I find this blend so comforting?! In the sense that it wraps me up safely and I want to drift off to sleep. I wonder what part of my brain this is triggering, because I certainly feel like I've never smelled anything like it before... Wearing this I honestly feel like a grey cashmere blanket has been wrapped around me and I can be at peace and forget everything. It really feels like a comforting "oblivion", somehow. And the longer I wear it, the softer it gets, until it just slips away into.... oblivion. And I almost forget what it smells like immediately after I can't smell it anymore. It smells a bit ethereal and like something that you can't capture because it keeps slipping away between your fingers. I have no idea how any of those notes could come off as remotely gentle, fuzzy, or soft, but they do. It does smell like the incense of a wood that you can't pin down what kind of wood it is. But it smells dry, very dry. Maybe a tad masculine, but it's still comforting to me. Gentle giant comes to mind, because there is a hint of murky "darkness" to it (and the color is just perfect), but in a soothing calm way. It's like slipping away in a dark, calm place. A little earthy, but somehow manages to be clean. Which is another paradox lol. I wouldn't wear it all the time, but I guess if I felt in need of comforting I might. For some reason this strikes me as a funeral blend...