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BPAL Madness!


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About Helas

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    evil enabler
  • Birthday 08/02/1985


  • BPAL of the Day
  • Favorite Scents
    Golden Priapus, Serpent's Kiss, Haute Macabre, Banded Sea Snake, Dorian, Pumpkin Latte, Tombeur, So Below, Body Remember, Blauer Mond, Lyonesse, Monster Bait: Underpants, Snake Oil. Favourite notes are leather (esp. brown leather), vetiver, vanilla, clove, opoponax, ambergris, siberian musk, night-blooming jasmine, pine, woodsmoke.

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  • Interests
    19th century literature, Kafka, Lovecraft, creative writing, German philosophy, indie music, Bjork, black and white illustration, fantasy, horror, and speculative fiction, steampunk, goth, hipster fashion, dandyism, androgyny, queer studies, B movies, international and arthouse cinema esp. Fellini, Takashi Miike, David Lynch, BPAL (of course!)


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  1. Helas

    Warrior Unicorn Florals

    I like the darker and more androgynous florals as well. Some suggestions: Liz: A light, feminine vanilla floral perfume and a swirl of smoke and leather. This one fits the "warrior unicorn" bill best, in my opinion. Highwayman: Vetiver with gardenia, blood red rose, night-blooming jasmine, a dash of cinnamon and a faint hint of leather. The masculine leather and vetiver are dominant with just a touch of floral. Morgause: A bouquet of five night-blooming flowers deepened by dusky violet, purple fruits and the barest breath of medieval incenses. This is mainly a smoky jasmine to me. Event Horizon: Black opium, labdanum, opoponax, black orchid, and benzoin. Same as Morgause, with orchid instead of jasmine. Faeu Boulanger (came with the Carnaval, currently unavailable): Mushroom gases, swamp mist, green mint, and bog violet. This is a light and ethereal scent with a touch of strangeness from the "mushroom gases." It's like a weirder and more androgynous take on The Last Unicorn perfume.
  2. Helas

    Selbstverliebt Bath Oil

    Do you love jasmine? You will adore this. Do you hate jasmine? This might change your mind. Jasmine - like my personal favourite, vetiver - is a tricky note. It's complex and kind of difficult. Depending on the note, it can be fresh and spring-like or musky and animalic in a way that evokes various bodily fluids to some people. (I often get a weird salty cotton-candy vibe from some varieties of jasmine as well - I thought that was unique to me, but I recall Murakami in one of his novels (I believe Kafka on the Shore?) describing jasmine blossoms as smelling like cotton candy and the sea). Selbstverliebt has all the best features of jasmine to me - white-flower coolness with just the faintest touch of salty-musky funk for sex appeal. The orchid is bright and tropical, and the vanilla adds a creamy sophisticated sweetness. This is what I would imagine the Hanging Gardens of Babylon would smell like - lush, sensuous and decadent.
  3. Helas

    Gingerbread Snake

    I love Snake Oil, both on its own and as a note in more complex blends, like the Snake Pit scents. I've never gotten "play-doh" from it until the last two Snake Oil blend releases. Sadly both Snake Oil in the Pumpkin Patch and now Gingerbread Snake smell a little like play-doh to me - an earthy, flat, clay-like scent, which is particularly apparent up close (the waft is truer to the original Snake Oil). I'm not sure if this is a skin chemistry thing, an aging thing, or something to do with the way Snake Oil mixes with the gingerbread and pumpkin accords, so take this with a grain of salt. (In general, my skin chemistry is ideal for perfume oils - there is little to no distortion.) The gingerbread note itself is quite delicious, although it's a decidedly grown-up and serious gingerbread, strong on the ginger and spice, and low on the sugar and vanilla notes. I never thought I would say this, but the Snake Oil ruins it a little for me right now, especially when wet, when the play-doh note is most apparent. The late dry-down is more what I hoped from the scent; delicious gourmet gingerbread with a hint of sultry patchouli-vanilla. I will hang on to this and let it age; let's hope that a few months in the black box will make it much more wearable. ETA: I take it back. After a few days, this is everything I hoped it would be - warm, spicy, slightly lemony gingerbread with the sultry heat of the Snake Oil lying just below the surface. I've been wearing it nonstop this weekend. If it smells funny coming out the mailbox, I recommend letting it warm up, especially if you're from the Northern climes like myself.
  4. Helas


    I was introduced to BPAL years after the original Skadi came out and never got the chance to try it, although the notes and reviews had always appealed to me. When Ondurdis came out two years ago, many reviewers compared it to Skadi, which intrigued me enough to buy a decant. I loved Ondurdis but had some financial difficulties at the time and never got the chance to buy a bottle, and the scent has become rather hard-to-find since then. Just as the release of Ondurdis made many people hope they would find their long-lost Skadi, now the re-release of Skadi made me hope that I would find my long-lost Ondurdis. It's funny how these things work out. When wet, Skadi is all about the chilly pine, mint and ozone notes. The mint is strong and has a cooling effect on the skin. The ozone is light and doesn't have that sharp, metallic tang that it sometimes has - it just smells bright, sparkly, and a little lemony. The pine note is the main player and it is beautiful, evoking the feeling of walking through an evergreen forest on a wintry night. As the scent dries, the berry (mostly cranberry) notes emerge, as does a faint vanilla cream note. This is where the scent differs from Ondurdis; the berry and vanilla notes were dominant in Ondurdis and made it more like a foodie scent with outdoorsy elements, whereas Skadi is an outdoorsy pine forest scent with some light foodie touches. I suspect, however, that as Skadi ages the mint note will fade and the vanilla will become more prominent. This is a lovely seasonal scent and I have no problem believing it would inspire a rabid following. I'm not sure it will replace Ondurdis for me, but it's quite beautiful on its own merits.
  5. Helas

    Le Père Fouettard

    This is such a bizarre, quirky, offbeat scent. I don't quite know what to make of it. In the bottle and wet, this is strong, bitter, aged leather that smells as though it's gathered dust in the closet for years. The licorice is not very sweet and merely gives the scent an atmosphere of pitch darkness. Then, out of nowhere comes this delicious creamy vanilla cake scent that amplifies the sweetness of the licorice. The leather and dust notes are still present but fade to the background. The scent is still pitch black but in a sweet, candy-like way now - like anise- and vanilla-flavoured saltwater taffy - retaining, however, an undertone of menace due to the leather. Normally, I think of "foodie" or gourmand scents as very feminine. This is an oddball - a masculine foodie scent. In case it's not obvious, I love it and don't have anything else like it in my collection.
  6. Helas


    Nevar is a deep, dusky violet scent to me. The other notes mostly support the violet; the vetiver brings a touch of earthiness while the olibanum adds a light, airy smoke note. I am not getting any noticeable cacao or plum, although they may be adding a touch of sweetness to the blend. Throw is light but noticeable. Colour impression is a deep, velvet-like purple so dark as to be almost black. This is a beautiful scent, but my bottle of Morgause fills the same "violet incense" niche and I prefer the complexity and clean jasmine note of Morgause. People who like dark violet blends but are turned off by the vetiver in Saturnalia may enjoy this scent since the vetiver is much more subtle here.
  7. Helas

    Hope and Fear Set Free

    This scent baffles me. I am generally good at picking out notes in a perfume now, but if I were trying this blind I would have no idea what the notes are. It has dry, woodsy undertones underlying a rich, syrupy sweetness, with a hint of smoke and dust. On the dry-down, the sweetness also picks up a slight fruity (?) tang. Overall synaesthetic impression is of something baroque, ancient, and decaying, in tones of gold, tarnished bronze, and scarlet - rather like the scent equivalent of a medieval tapestry. In case it's not obvious, I find it stunning, but in a more complex and challenging way than I expected from it having only two notes. Lovers of moody evocative scents should definitely try this one, although fans of foody vanilla might be disappointed.
  8. Helas

    Haitian Vetiver

    I was interested to hear that vetiver is used for relaxation purposes in aromatherapy since I started wearing vetiver oils to bed months ago without being aware of the connotation. It is definitely a comfort scent to me. In the bottle, this is a thick, opaque, muddy oil. The initial scent is very strong and a bit of a turn-off - a mix of roasted peanuts, burning wood, and carnivorous greenery. Fortunately, the initial acridity fades and the scent blooms into something complex and evocative. It smells in turn like grass, ivy, decaying tree trunks, thick loamy soil, hope chests and woodsmoke. Wearing it feels like witnessing the life cycle of a forest. I purchased this primarily for layering purposes, but I will probably just end up wearing it on its own. Why mess with perfection?
  9. Helas

    Witch Dance

    I've liked red musk scents in the past, but I've never been able to actually identify the note - it generally just fades into the background for me. Smelling this has been an education. Witch Dance is almost all red musk to me - fruity and a little bitter, reminding me of tannic red wine. There is also a clean, almost soapy undertone, like freshly-washed skin. Along with the incense and spicy bonfire smoke, it conspires to make this smell, oddly enough, like apple baked goods. I like this scent but I'm not sure I need a whole bottle. I'm hoping aging will bring the bonfire smoke and the autumn leaves to the forefront, since these were the main attraction for me.
  10. Helas

    Blauer Mond

    Blauer Mond was a wild card purchase for me - all of the notes sounded good individually, but I could not imagine them together and was afraid it might turn out a disjointed mess. Fortunately, this is a gorgeous pastel watercolour sort of scent. The jasmine is pale and delicate, the cucumber is cool and watery, and the terebinth pine gives the scent body and throw without making it smell like an evergreen forest. There is also an underlying airy sweetness that makes me think of spun sugar. The notes combine to smell like a cool, misty pond scattered with waterlilies. Beautiful, and a new favourite for me.
  11. Helas

    The Lurid Library

    Sadly, all that I get from the Lurid Library is fruity red musk and smoke. The parchment and leather are nowhere to be found. The musk is very strong and has a bit of a coppery tang to it that evokes blood - neat, I suppose, but not really my thing. I wanted to smell like the sort of sexy librarian who sacrifices calves to Nyarlathotep in their spare time, but this is full-on fire in the slaughterhouse.
  12. Helas

    Your Salon Must-Haves!

    I did send the Lab an email asking about the discontinuation of the retail-only Salons, but I haven't heard back yet. I assume they've been too busy with the Anime Expo to reply. I need to make my own purchasing decision before the 5th of July, since I intend to get a bottle of Singing Moon before it comes down, and I won't be able to afford another order before the 30th of July. After sifting through the reviews, I've decided to get Cloister Graveyard in the Snow, since I recently discovered I love the snow note. I'm now waffling about adding a bottle of either Isle of the Dead or Sunflower as well. I've been loving complex aquatic blends lately, but Sunflower sounds so evocative and perfect for summer. This is tough! Neither of these blends seem very popular, so they're unlikely to be brought back with the Pickman Gallery.
  13. Helas

    Sugared incense

    How about Medea: Night-blooming cereus, black orchid, black currant and myrtle leaf enshrouded in the incense of Hecate's cypress and myrrh, and the dark rage of magickal labdanum and intoxicating poppy. Morgause: A bouquet of five night-blooming flowers deepened by dusky violet, purple fruits and the barest breath of medieval incenses. Event Horizon: Black opium, labdanum, opoponax, black orchid, and benzoin. All three of them are sweet, purple-smelling incense blends to me. Morgause is probably the sweetest.
  14. Ü Mutter Museum smelled like dust, rot, and cold flesh to me. The Seekim is also rather spooky - it doesn't smell evil, but it smells inhuman and fey. I like it but feel a little unnerved whenever I wear it, as if some strange creature is following me.
  15. Helas

    Masculine but Sweet?

    I love sweet masculine scents as well. Off the top of my head: The Black Rider (leather mixed with sweet black amber and tobacco) Crowley (mostly patchouli vanilla with a hint of smoke) Black Forest (pine and ambergris sweetened by amber) Voodoo (resinous pine and vanilla) Dee (leather and parchment, with an almost chocolate-like sweetness) Smokestack (sweet, smoky vetiver) And if you're willing to track down LEs: Banshee Beat (androgynous, herbal patchouli vanilla) Atlas (vetiver, coffee and vanilla, smells a bit like roasting marshmallows over a campfire) The Night Hag Visiting the Lapland Witches (sweet, slightly spicy woodsmoke) Body Remember (this one skews rather feminine to me, but it's very reminiscent of Dorian, which is also rather feminine on my skin) Death Adder (Snake Oil mixed with vetiver and coconut) Singing Moon (a sweet aquatic) Most of my collection probably skews towards these sort of blends, actually