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Everything posted by valentina

  1. valentina

    Sweet Patchouli, Labdanum & Ylang Ylang

    This smells like how I have always wanted one of the classic vintage perfumes to smell on me - but they never did. It’s beautifully blended, because I pick up on all of the components — the powder of the labdanum, the sharpness of perhaps a drier patchouli and the tropical, almost banana-like sweetness of the ylang ylang. It has nice lasting power but isn’t an overwhelmingly strong scent, but I just love its retro, feminine quality. Powder and red lipstick and a bit of an edge.
  2. valentina

    The Drunk Astronomers

    Credit for some of the first recorded accounts of eclipses are attributed to the legendary Drunk Astronomers, Ho and Hsi, circa 2137 BCE. Ho and Hsi were royal astronomers in the court of Chung Kang. They were in charge of predicting the celestial dance all movements of the Heavenly Bodies. They were also reprobates, and spent a fair amount of their time in debauch, drinking and carousing. In a drunken stupor though they knew an eclipse was imminent they failed to notify the emperor of the event, and they failed to perform the sacred rites that would prevent the celestial dragon from consuming the mighty sun. They were summarily decapitated for creating chaos and confusion in the celestial chain by leaving their duties unperformed. Here lie the bodies of Ho and Hsi, Whose fate, though sad, is risible; Being slain because they could not spy The eclipse which was invisible. Jasmine tea, blood musk, and pale yellow amber. I'm in the path of totality, and I'm wearing this. I'm not drunk (yet,) but I smell great. This is in general a perfect lighter summer scent. It smells sunny and indeed a bit boozy, as in a sweet, nectary liqueur. I usually can smell individual components jumping out at me, but other than the initial rush of amber, which is typical on my skin, the blend holds together beautifully. The dry-down is close to the skin and something that warms up with your skin and smells lovely, but not overwhelming. I'd say a bit more, but the eclipse is about to begin and the sun is shining -- thanks to Beth and Black Phoenix for giving me the perfect fragrance for the celebration!
  3. valentina


    Yet one smile more, departing, distant sun! One mellow smile through the soft vapoury air, Ere, o'er the frozen earth, the loud winds ran, Or snows are sifted o'er the meadows bare. One smile on the brown hills and naked trees, And the dark rocks whose summer wreaths are cast, And the blue Gentian flower, that, in the breeze, Nods lonely, of her beauteous race the last. Yet a few sunny days, in which the bee Shall murmur by the hedge that skim the way, The cricket chirp upon the russet lea, And man delight to linger in thy ray. Yet one rich smile, and we will try to bear The piercing winter frost, and winds, and darkened air. Autumn leaves damp beneath the first snowfall. This is one of those "how did she do it??" scents, for smelling November virtually paints a picture in my mind. In the bottle and upon initial application, I thought November smelled very much of pine, and reminded me a lot of other forest-in-the-snowstorm scents. Then, after 5 minutes, the fragrance of leaves arrived, and I was astonished! November smells exactly like wet leaves and snow-laden trees after the first snowfall, before the leaves and the plant life have utterly frozen and died away for the winter. On my skin, there's also a heavy element of ozone in this scent, evoking for me a late autumn storm, when rainfall turns into heavy, wet snow. Finally, I get whiff of wet earth underneath the leaves and the the snow. November is unisex-to-masculine without being dark and heavy, and I think this scent will please greatly anyone who loves fragrances that smell just like the outdoors. I think it is an utterly precise and lovely olfactory evocation of walking through a park after the first snowstorm in November.
  4. valentina

    Mme. Moriarty, Misfortune Teller (2015)

    I loved the original Mme. Moriarty, and I love the new Moriarty. The newer version isn't quite as much of a butt to the head (in a very, very good way) as the original, but it's lovely. I think there are fewer sharp edges in this blend, with the patchouli and the fruits being less dry, and the musk is more subdued. No aging is needed, IMO, it smells fabulous brand new out of the bottle. This Mme. Moriarty is juicy, voluptuous and sexy as hell.
  5. valentina


    I bought this because it made me laugh and the cause was an excellent one. Having watched all of James Comey's testimony, how could I not love the name and the concept? I purchased it with the intent of giving it to my spouse, but I also tested it, and it is indeed what it's described to be -- a classic mid-century men's cologne, but with strong whiffs of leather and slightly bitter coffee. My husband says he'll wear it when he wants something a little less dark and ominous than his usual favorites, or he wants to smell a bit more traditional, but still has the satisfaction of knowing he's wearing something from the Lab.
  6. valentina

    The Last Rose of Summer

    THE LAST ROSE OF SUMMER 'Tis the last rose of summer Left blooming alone; All her lovely companions Are faded and gone; No flower of her kindred, No rosebud is nigh, To reflect back her blushes, To give sigh for sigh. I'll not leave thee, thou lone one! To pine on the stem; Since the lovely are sleeping, Go, sleep thou with them. Thus kindly I scatter, Thy leaves o'er the bed, Where thy mates of the garden Lie scentless and dead. So soon may I follow, When friendships decay, From Love's shining circle The gems drop away. When true hearts lie withered And fond ones are flown, Oh! who would inhabit, This bleak world alone? A quiet, solitary scent: white rose, frankincense, Arabian sandalwood, neroli, orris root, and patchouli. What? I'm first? *Looks around nervously* I hope this scent doesn't get lost in the Halloweenie frenzy, for it, like the last days of summer, deserves love and attention. I am so not a fan of florals and I consider rose to be a problem note almost all the time, but this scent was too intriguing to pass up. I've found that a "dirty rose" scent can work on me from time to time, and this seemed close enough, although I suspected that this might be more of a dusty rose scent. In the bottle, my nose smelled all rose and very little in the way of resins. The initial drydown reminds me a bit of what you might get if you blended rose and Anne Bonny -- the sandalwood and frankincese are dry and sharp. After 20 minutes or so, the resins lose some of the edge and it indeed smells like a dusty rose. The scent is lovely, austere and has a rather solitary feel about it, not unlike a lone rose on a rosebush that refuses to stop blooming. This it is not a head-shoppy sweet rose incense scent (and no offense to headshoppy scents, 'cause I love them.) Instead, it is a muted, cool, dusty rose that has an elegance and dignity all its own. It also has wonderful lasting power and good sillage. People who love rose should try this scent and people who are afraid of rose should fear not. Go pay some attention to this fragrance, it deserves it!
  7. valentina

    Halloween: Los Angeles

    My spouse purchased this for himself at my urging, but I had to sample it myself, as the scent sounded too intriguing not to try! On me, Halloween Los Angeles is a dry, vaguely smoky sage and chaparral fragrance. It smells more like holding some crushed leaves in your hand and smelling a fire in the distance. On my spouse, it is certainly much more smoky, almost tar-like, rather akin to being in the city smelling a nearby fire, with the burning vegetation off in the distance. I find this to be a fairly masculine scent, but I would love to wear it on a day when I'm in a t-shirt, jeans and cowboy boots.
  8. valentina

    Pomegranate IV

    This is loverly! I am quite fond of Mme. Moriarty, and there is indeed a similarity between the Mme. and Pomegrante IV, except that the anise and thyme of Pom IV give it a not-too-sweet herbal infusion that goes nicely with the almost dusty dryness of the pomegranate and tobacco combination. The red musk and cognac give this scent the warmth that is needed to keep it from turning too bitter on my skin. There's something about this scent that is indeed evocative of that wonderful autumnal outdoors scent, when some vegetation is still green and other parts of the vegetation are drying out.
  9. valentina

    The Hag

    The Hag! She was a deceptively sweet old thing at first, in a rummy, raisiny sort of way. That lasted about 10 minutes and POW! The peppery black musk and earthy vetiver took over -- although not entirely, because normally those notes are too sharp and go bitter on me, and their edge was cut by the sweetness in the blend. There is just something about vetiver that smells like autumn to me, so this is a great chilly, woodsy scent for late autumn weather. It's also very unisex and has to smell equally wonderful on a man.
  10. valentina


    In the imp: Oh Lordy, how yummy. I do love the smell of almond. I think Uruk smells absolutely delcious and perfect. On my skin: Totally changes. Usually I'm an almond and jasmine amper, but when lilies and figs are involved, not so much. They just take over. I get a low-key incense, but I do believe fig is the big offender as far as this blend is concerned. Fig is getting to be a enemy note of mine, because it just blows itself out of proportion. Nuts. After a while my old friend patchouli shows up to help kick the fig's ass into line, but it's too late, the original balance of the scent is gone. Conclusion: I am hanging on to this imp and using it to scent some potporri that I will make from dried flower petals from my garden. That way I will get to enjoy this gorgeous scent the way it should be appreciated. I've never really considered getting a scent locket, but Uruk really make me rethink that decision. My body chemistry can't hold the scent the way that it smells in the bottle, but if I could keep it off of my skin and have that smell around me, I would feel exotic and wonderful.
  11. valentina

    Feeding The Dead

    In the bottle, Feeding The Dead smells a lot like Cockaigne. That sweet cakey booziness. Once it goes on, it gets sharp and fermented really fast, but dries down to become very, very sweet and foody. It smells a lot like the honey and spice syrup that is poured over baklava. That lasts for about 5 or 10 minutes and then the fermentation gets much stronger and sharpens up the scent. Shortly after that, the incense notes appear, and they remind me a lot of the incense notes in past Halloweenies like All Soul's. Pretty! A couple of hours into wearing this, I found that the sweetness and booze had worn off and what I was left with was sweet incense, which is fine with me. My skin does tend to eat sweet scents like a fiend, so my experience with this scent might be different than yours. I found the throw to be relatively strong at first, and then it mellows out a great deal -- this might be a scent that needs a bit of re-application as the day goes on. However, I think it is worth it, especially if you're a fan of those food-and-incense fragrances. I also suspect that this might age nicely and become mellower, smoother and more intense with a bit of time.
  12. valentina

    Gingerbread Poppet

    It's not like I wasn't around the forum during in the years that Gingerbread Poppet was offered, but I'm not a foody fan and cinnamon and my skin don't agree, so I always ignored it. Fool that I was. Last week I was frimped a sniffie of GP, and there was a bit of the oil in the bottom of the imp. It was an abnormally cool summer day and it smelled so good to me that I swiped some on my wrist. Then I fell in love. What a warm, wonderful, comfort scent this is -- foody, yet not too foody. And since the dregs of this imp are at least approaching 2 years old, it's aged into a spicy, buttery scent (with a touch of vanilla mellowness?) that is sweet but not cloying. It smells like fall and comfort and cool brisk days. I put a bit more on yesterday and was stricken with rigor wrist-to-the-nose-itis. It is just that lovely. Not having smelled the fresh-from-the-Lab version of this scent, I'm unable to compare new GP to aged GP, but I am happy to report the aged version is a thing of beauty. It led me on a hunting expedition on the forum and I actually tracked down a partial bottle, to my great joy. It won't be an everyday scent for me, but it will be utter perfection on the right kind of autumn day. I fervently hope that the Lab brings it back this Yule season so I can buy a couple of bottles and tuck them away for aging. **fingers crossed**
  13. valentina

    Velvet Bandito

    Thanks to eBay and a kind seller, I was able to get a bottle of this scent for my spouse's birthday. And of course I had to test it, even though don't like cedar or dusty scents, and from reading the reviews, I knew it had clove in it. And my skin dislikes clove. So in the face of all of that, I did the ol' tootpick test and initially got that hit of clove that has already been reported by previous reviewers. I am a clove amper, so I thought it would only get stronger, but on me, it mellowed nicely in a minute or two. I am also a cedar amper, and expected it to leap out at me, and it didn't. I thought it would get acrid on me as the dust scents rose to the top, and it didn't. OMG! Good things are happening! I find this scent to be a dusty, low-key clove with hints of cedar in the background. I also get a little nose tickle of tobacco. I also agree with the prior reviewers who detect a sweetness from sasparilla or tonka; for me, it adds the velvet touch to the fragrance. And it just morphs into a mellower, deeper richness as the tobacco becomes more robust. I think this is a beautifully blended scent. I would happily wear this as a fall scent on a cool day when I decide to put on jeans and cowboy boots. (I may have to borrow it in October.) And naturally, it is very unisex and would smell great on a man. I am very very happy that I found a bottle.
  14. valentina

    The Two-Headed Goat

    I got this scent for my spouse as a birthday gift, but I went and did the toothpick test because y'know, curiosity and all. I'm sort of surprised that more people haven't reviewed this, and maybe they think it is going to smell like a stinky old goat. Hardly. This scent is a clean man scent and I find it very pleasant. By "clean man," I mean a guy who is fresh out of shower and just put on a bit of a vaguely peppery and smoky musk cologne. I say that because this scent has a clean deodorant soap quality, and yet I also whiff the black musk, woods and pepper. I'm sure I'm smelling some pimento, but it doesn't jump out at me. I think this should be a top pick when someone is looking for a starter BPAL scent for a person of the male variety. It's a clean skin scent with a touch of darkness. It gives off a nice clean guy scent that most men get utterly by accident, when their deodorant and cologne merge into something sort of divergent yet interesting. And that isn't goaty, not one little bit!
  15. valentina

    Crypt Queen

    Very,very, very late to the ball I am. Or maybe I should say funeral, since it is Crypt Queen, after all. I received this scent thanks to the wonders of Ebay and the fact that I am not as spooked by fruits and florals as I used to be. When I first put it on, the words "evil Juicy Fruit" come to mind. It has that really juicy, sweet fruity smell, but with a sinister undertone. When the scent dries, it smells very much like a drier, dustier Mme. Moriarty. The pomegranate predominates, but it indeed reminds me of the smell of a queen's crypt, where the fragrance of drying flowers and fruits, anointing oils and dust evoke a somber, austere beauty.
  16. valentina

    Giant Vulva

    Well, at least on my skin, vanilla flower does not equate to vanilla. It equates more towards to other florals, perhaps in an orchid-exotic sort of way. And my skin does not like that sort of floral, not at all. Nuts. And my skin also amps the crap out of anything vaguely floral, overpowering all the other elements of a scent. Double nuts. So on me, that means that GV gets super-intense, in a sort of bitter, grassy way. It takes a long time to burn off that element, and then I get the pretty, honeyed incense notes that everyone is talking about. But it takes way too long. For anyone whose skin does not do unmerciful things to this fragrance, it should be lovely for you. I had such high hopes, but if I want my honey fix, I'll just grab a bottle of O!
  17. valentina

    Lovers in a Ricefield

    I just got my big (at least for me!) order and I have lots of testing to do, but I have to show up and about this one right away. This particular scent is so not my normal style, but I love nutmeg and I don't see it that often in blends that I think might work on my skin. It was worth a try, I thought. THIS IS GORGEOUS. It smelled beautiful in the bottle and it stayed that way on my skin. It's difficult to really pull a specific element, but it has the sweetness of plum and vanilla offset by the sharpness of sandalwood. The nutmeg is very mellow, and the wild rice gives an almost milky softness. This does not smell like Underpants, but I get a similar sweet-sharp-spice vibe, but with an Asian twist. I think it is glorious.
  18. valentina

    Snake Charmer

    I'm reviewing the resurrected version because I never tried the original -- I feared I would love it too much and mourn my inability to obtain more. But now I have my chance! There are a few fragrances that cause me to go "OH YEAH" upon first sniff, and this is one of them. While I get a Snake Oil vibe, there is much more than Snake Oil happening on my skin. For me, Snake Charmer has a very different vibe, as the plum is very zippy, and I'd swear there is something there (at least on me) smells vaguely aquatic. Snake Charmer seems like a cross between Snake Oil and Mme. Moriarty, but with a certain zip and brightness. I've heard that the original version was a very intense scent, no slathering required, and I'd agree with that assessment. Only a few drops will be necessary for this one to cast its spell! Beautiful!
  19. valentina

    Death Adder

    Oh me oh my, I'd avoided trying this scent because I love Snake Oil and I didn't want it ruined by my old nemesis, coconut, nor tarnished by my difficult relationship with vetiver. I was able to do a swap with a wonderful forumite, and picked up a bottle of this, presumably to give to my husband. HE'S NOT GONNA GET IT! Why? Because in the bottle and initially on my skin, the scent is largely like Snake Oil, if perhaps a bit turbo-charged. I think that must be the vetiver amping in the background, but it never overwhelms the Snake Oil. Yay. That alone was good enough for me, but then, after a couple of hours, the scent does the most gorgeous morph. It turns into soft Snake Oil, a sweet, burnt sugar note and a waft incense smoke. Holy crap, it's lovely. I am not only keeping it for myself, I'm going to get MORE. (BTW, I ordered a bottle of Dragon's Musk for my husband and he owns more bottles of BPAL than I do, so don't feel sorry for him!)
  20. valentina

    MVJBA: Pancake Breakfast

    I had a nice-nice-nice forumite send a frimp of this scent my way, giving me the chance to give it a try. In the imp, I'm smelling the way, way, way yummy cakes and syrup. Total comfort! On my skin, it's initially that cake-and-syrup smell, but after 5-10 minutes, I thought I smelled something a bit musky? WTF? I checked the scent description and realized there was "goat butter" in it, and indeed, there's something a bit musky-goaty underneath the cakes and syrup. But I liked it! It added a dimension that was utterly unexpected. I'm not a big fan of pure foody scents and the "goat butter" gave it a very welcome twist. And then OH CRAP. Fruit fragrances are the bane of my perfume existence, and the damn boysenberry cranked up and turned everything too sour. I just amp and skew fruity scents in an unpleasant manner. This makes me sad, especially when it messes up a scent that was morphing along so well. If the Lab/Trading post ever does another pancake scent that leaves out the berries and just has a nice slather of that goat butter, I will be all about it!
  21. valentina

    Lilith Victoria

    For me, Lilith Victoria is exactly as described -- I can smell Snake Oil and I can smell Dorian; neither is dominant. Since I wear both of those scents, I know that they are rather powerful fragrances -- that is why I love them -- but in Lilith Victoria, their intensity is softened greatly by the other components. Of the other components, I don't smell anything in particular, except to give a sort of baby powderish dusting of the Snake Oil-Dorian combo. I think the scent is lovely and gentle, and so beautifully blended.
  22. valentina


    For the first hour or so, I loved this scent like crazy -- a bit of woodsy spice with a touch of sweetness plus tobacco, but more in an almost greenish tobacco leaf sort of way. The rose hung out way, way, way back. The blend had a certain incense-like quality to it. Really pretty and very well-blended! Then my infernal body chemistry took over and amped the crap out of the rose, the way it always does. Dang it! Rose is a hulking gorilla that overpowers the rest of this gorgeous blend when it hits my skin, and for that I am sad. If it had stayed the way it smelled the first hour, it would have been a new favorite, but it is not to be. However, for people who can wear blends with rose, but enjoy the woods, tobacco and almost honey-like sweetness, this is certainly a scent to try. I think the lovers of the GC scent Kali should check this out, for there's something about the vibe of this scent that reminds me of Kali -- it is a complex and grown-up scent.
  23. valentina


    This is the story of an unwitting testing. Being in a bit of a hurry this morning, I didn't look closely at what bottle I was grabbing, and put on a lot of Penumbra when I thought I was applying oil from my new bottle of Crawdad Dreams. Oh oops! So this review will be based upon the full-scale application of this scent, not the wee small testing run. My first clue that it wasn't Crawdad Dreams was the sense that what I was applying sure did smell herbal! In fact, Penumbra is at first largely herbal, and mainly oakmossy. Then I got a strong sense I was wearing something with reddish musk in it. For that reason, the fragrance seemed at first to be very musky and marshy and green. The scent then morphed into something that to me seemed much more akin to Mme. Moriarty, with its musk and pomegranate. Mme. Moriarty is one of my favorite BPAL fragrances, no naturally I was pleased! Penubra a greener and perhaps more biting scent than Mme Moriarty, due to the tobacco, herbs, sandalwood and neroli. However, it is well-balanced and never becomes bitter or astringent, the way some herbal scents can morph on me. I like its crispness and edge, especially in the heat of the dog days of summer. A lovely scent, very wearable and timely, especially as the hot summer days drift downward into autumn.
  24. valentina

    Irrelevant and Disturbing Surreal Crawdad Dream

    I don't find this scent to be overwhelmingly fruit, foody or candy-like. That's saying something, since I usually can't wear fruity scents at all and I am not especially fond of foody or really sweet scents. On me, this scent is more gourmand -- very berry-like at first, but with a good hit of vanilla underneath. It rather reminded me of a blueberries laden over a custard. After wearing it for a bit, it gets spicier and a bit sharper, probably from the ginger and coridander, and the green tea gives it a refreshing zing, although it's blended so well that nothing really overwhelms. To me, it smells very fresh and crisp, yet ripe and juicy. There is nothing disturbing or surreal about it, for I think it's just plain pretty!
  25. valentina

    Antique Lace

    I'm sitting here on the butt end of 14 pages of reviews for this classic BPAL fragrance, what am I going to say that is new? Ha! I'll keep it brief. It's a pretty scent, entirely evocative of its name and description -- vanilla, linen, a touch of sweetness and something that on me, goes a little powdery. Maybe a teense of florals, but not too much. Very Victorian, It's a girly-girl scent, yet something that I could see being worn by an 8-year-old to an 98-year-old. I can see why it's loved by so many.