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BPAL Madness!


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About hypatia

  • Rank
    evil enabler
  • Birthday 05/29/1975


  • Location
  • Country
    United States


  • BPAL of the Day
    White Rabbit
  • Favorite Scents
    Favorite BPAL scents so far: Morocco, Saint-Germain, Catherine, Dracul, Scherezade, Luperci, Les Infortunes de la Vertu, Anne Bonny, White Rabbit, Loup-Garou, Pool of Tears, Carceri d'Invenzione, The Darkling Thrush Non-BPAL favorites: Bulgari Homme, Manifesto by Isabella Rossellini Favorite notes: lavender, cardamom, rosemary, carnation, grass, basil, orange blossom, peony, tobacco, patchouli, sandalwood, various other wood notes, musk I like classic men's colognes and fresh herbal scents. I'm also getting more and more into warm, spicy, woodsy, exotic blends (thanks to an imp of Morocco in my first order). I don't like excessively sweet fruity/foody notes, but I find myself coming around to vanilla.

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  • Interests
    Reading and writing; early modern English literature; knitting; classical music, especially opera; cooking; practicing my Italian-language skills; poetry of most time periods; serial historical research obsessions; independent film; and some highly geeky information-science interests that have just landed me in library school.
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  • Astrological Info
    Gemini sun, Scorpio rising; according to the Chinese zodiac I'm a rabbit.
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  1. hypatia


    Elder wood, leather, blonde tobacco, and cognac. In bottle and just applied: Leather and a whisper of tobacco. This smells like the exact same leather note as in Dee, the one my nose perceives as "cool and sweet," almost like night air, rather than the straight-up leather-goods-shop leather of de Sade. Or maybe that's the tobacco and/or cognac making itself known. After a few minutes: The wood note comes out, and it's gorgeous: just a solid warm streak of exotic woodsiness. I don't think I've ever tried a BPAL with elder wood in it before; it's rather like sandalwood, to my nose. A while later: The wood settles into the background and the tobacco and cognac come out to play. When the tobacco first pops out, it triggers a scent-memory of a tobacconist's shop I used to go to -- a lovely little place that sold fountain pen ink and fancy soaps and hairbrushes along with smoking accoutrements, and always smelled deliciously of pipe tobacco. The cognac is there in the background as a counterpoint to the tobacco, but (fortunately for me, because I really don't like boozy scents) it never smells like alcohol. Just warm and a little sweet. Enkhespalos reminds me a little bit of Hellfire, which has a similar tobacco-and-booze-and-leather quality, but it's less sweet, and I think I like it even more for that reason. It's kind of butch in a very gentlemanly, old-world kind of way (which is pretty much exactly the kind of scent that I like best). It would be perfect to wear with a three-piece suit with a pocket watch -- or even just a nice tailored vest and a pair of polished oxfords. Verdict: Sexay! This one doesn't last as long as some (it's mostly gone by the end of the work day if I apply it first thing in the morning), but it's lovely in all of its stages. I can already tell it's going to be in the regular all-year-round rotation. [Edited to add top-of-page description.]
  2. hypatia

    Nonae Caprotina

    In the bottle and just applied, Nonae Caprotina is almost all fig, to my nose. A warm, sweet fig that smells specifically like dried figs and made me think "Fig Newtons!" on my first sniff. After a few seconds I can detect the milk note, which mostly reminds me of other BPAL milk blends I've tried. It's maybe a bit saltier and more concentratedly milky, but not excessively so (I was expecting something more pungently goaty, but it's just as well that it isn't). The drydown is soft, lightly sweet milk, rather like the drydown of White Rabbit only without the tea and honey, and with a bit of resin hanging out in the background. It doesn't have tons of throw, but it does last for a good long while. I really like this one. Milky scents seem to work well on me, and this is no exception. It's now a regular part of my fall/winter scent rotation.
  3. hypatia


    The very first scent I ever wore on a daily basis (when I was 19 or 20) was Crabtree & Evelyn's lavender water, a nice light single-note lavender. It was very pleasant and herbal and comforting. Pontia reminds me of that, in a good way, but it's deeper and more sophisticated and closer to a true lavender. The bergamot note is there throughout, but in the background -- like standing in a field of lavender while someone brews some Earl Grey tea a little way away. There's nothing harsh or medicinal about Pontia on me, which is good, because sometimes lavender goes sweaty-smelling on me. Not this one, though. I'm so glad I ordered a bottle. The only drawback is that it fades quickly. My skin eats most of it, and the drydown is pretty faint. This could practically be an all-purpose scent: on the skin, in the bathtub, in an oil-warmer to scent a room, in linen water, etc. etc. etc. But mostly I'm going to be wearing it on me, because it's so lovely.
  4. hypatia


    This is a wonderful scent if you like the moss/sandalwood/patchouli combination. Since those are some of my favorite notes, I ordered a bottle and wasn't disappointed at all. Mole is less complex than some of the scents in the woodsy/patchouli category (it doesn't morph as much as, say, my beloved Luperci), but it's got a wonderful mellowness to it. On me it's earthy without smelling like dirt -- I can barely tell that the patchouli is there. Weirdly enough, when I try to think of ways to describe it, I keep thinking in terms of texture: smooth, warm, sanded sandalwood, with a layer of something slightly fuzzy and rough over it. I'm not quite sure why it conjures up so many tactile images, but it's entirely appropriate for the Mole and his underground house, and I'm very glad I got a bottle!
  5. hypatia

    Brom Bones

    Straight from the imp, this is 100% RUGGED MANLY MAN, a big, tough guy clad in leather. Brom Bones smells like it could easily take down De Sade in a fistfight. It's quite possibly the single butchest BPAL I've ever sniffed -- so much so that I wasn't sure I could pull it off; I thought it would smell completely incongruous on me, and that the throw would be overwhelming. But I was wrong! As soon as it's on, the musk starts coming out and warming it up. It's as if Brom Bones walks inside, hangs his leather jacket on the back of a chair (he never puts it all the way away; it's still there at the end, just adding some depth and complexity and a nice impression of fine leather goods), puts his feet up, and gets mellow and conversational. I can't really tell the difference between the Lab's various musks, but a lot of them develop this warm, almost sweet, almost cocoa-butter undertone on me, and this one is no exception. And it wears surprisingly close to the skin. Verdict: The big bruiser guy is a gentleman after all. I'm quite tickled that I can actually pull this one off!
  6. hypatia

    The Gladdener of All Hearts

    In the bottle: honey, slight fruit overtones, and florals. Just on: All the lavender appears with a WHOOSH! And then vanishes in a few minutes, leaving that "baby aspirin" note someone else noticed. Drydown: Milk and honey with a bit of fruity-floral mixed in, but mostly milk and honey. Very comforting. I don't usually wear BPAL to bed, but this would be a nice scent to wear if I did. Maybe I'll experiment with making some linen spray.
  7. hypatia

    Ichabod Crane

    Oh Ichabod, you're rather odd. But peculiarly charming all the same. I love White Rabbit, so any scent with similar tea/pepper/honey/cream basenotes is one that I have to try. The first time I tried Ichabod, I went a little overboard, and the cream note was kind of overwhelming: heavy and more dairy-ish than I like on my skin. But today I dabbed it on more sparingly, and the results were very nice. I was a little worried that the muguet would be too floral, but it's very pleasant and well-behaved. There's not a whole lot of beeswax (a pity, because I lurrrrrve beeswax), but it's very faintly there in the background, and the main notes are the tea and the cream with whiffs of muguet. I'm not sure where the wool is, but I do smell something a little dusty if I concentrate. The general effect is very much like White Rabbit, except this is a cool scent where White Rabbit is a warm one. Instead of smelling like a piping hot, slightly spicy cup of tea, Ichabod is more like a cup of tea that's cooled off a bit while the distracted tea-drinker pauses to read a (slightly dusty) book and occasionally rearrange the lilies of the valley in his buttonhole. There's a similar domestic quality to both of them. It's a strange combination when you think of it, but it works, I don't know how. I think I'll be alternating Ichabod and White Rabbit on days when I want something comforting and homey.
  8. hypatia

    The Antikythera Mechanism

    I had to try this one because I'm fascinated by the Antikythera Mechanism. And most of the notes (wood, tobacco, vanilla) are the kind that usually smell good on me. And for the first few minutes, they do: it's heady and warm and sweet but not excessively so. The tobacco reminds me of Hellfire or Carceri d'Invenzione. But then the vanilla takes over and stays front and center for most of the drydown, with whiffs of teak peeking out. I'm not sure why, but the notes don't seem to meld on me; it's like they're out of phase with each other, each doing its own thing, vanilla drowning the others out. It must be my chemistry, because it sounds like the notes are more harmonious on a lot of other people. In the end, though, Antikythera Mechanism is almost my ideal warm/woodsy scent, but, alas, not quite. I think it would smell really good on someone else, though.
  9. hypatia

    Love's Torments

    I've finally found a vetiver blend that really works on me! Hurrah! I like vetiver, but it sometimes goes too strongly earthy and scorched-smelling on me. I thought Love's Torments might work out, though, and I was right -- the sandalwood makes the vetiver more wood-like than earthy, and the neroli makes it lighter, greener, and airier. Instead of overwhelming earth, it's like cool breezes blowing through a forest, with the ground a little damp. It makes me think of evening, for some reason. Love's Torments doesn't morph very much; it's pretty much constant green-wood-earthiness all the way along. Very nice. I might put this one in the wear-to-work rotation.
  10. hypatia

    Galvanic Goggles

    For some reason, this reminds me of Wilde (though it's been a good long while since I tried Wilde, so my memory of it may be a bit off). It's got that same cologne-y and yet herbal and earthy quality about it. It's quite green on me at first, then a sharp clean almost aquatic note comes to the fore. The tobacco flower, or possibly the musk, warm it up a bit. On me, the metallic notes are just barely, barely there, if I stick my nose right up against my wrist and concentrate. Nice, though not my favorite of the Steamworks so far. Also, I dabbed this one on 11 hours ago, and it's still going! It's definitely an all-day kind of scent.
  11. hypatia

    Phoenix Steamworks

    Burnished gold and oiled bronze notes with Abramelin incense and sage. Just on, this is all incense and sweetness. It's fairly strong, a bit cologne-y, and not really to my taste -- I like my incense a bit more restrained. But after about half an hour, the sweetness dies down, and the warm metallic notes come out and blend with the incense. Now it's morphing back and forth between metal and incense, and it's gotten softer and lighter. Verdict: I like! Not enough for a full bottle, but definitely enough to keep the imp on hand for when I want a "thinky" kind of scent. [edited to add description]
  12. hypatia

    Leanan Sidhe

    I like green, but I don't seem to get any from Leanan Sidhe. It all seems to turn to sweet florals, citrus, and baby powder on me. Not bad, but not what I was expecting -- no mists or nighttime dew anywhere. Ah well -- there are green BPALs that work out much better on me, so I'm not too crushed that my body chemistry has apparently nixed this one!
  13. hypatia

    The Passionate Shepherd To His Love

    So. Lovely. The Passionate Shepherd is mostly green on me, which is exactly what I was hoping for: a warm grassy clover-y green. It goes through a very short almost-bitter stage (maybe the ivy, but I don't know) as it starts to dry down, and the flowers peek out a little at the beginning, but once it's dry it lightens up and turns into this beautiful "fresh growing plants" scent, with just a hint of floral sweetness underneath. The comparison with Selkie is dead on, only this one isn't as aquatic as Selkie. It fits the poem it's named for beautifully: it's an idealized version of the countryside, without any bad weather or dirt. It's my new "spring is here! Yay spring!" scent. It makes a nice, somewhat floral room scent, and I suspect it would be both relaxing and energizing mixed into a bath. And it's subtle and pleasant enough for me to wear to work, which is an added plus. I'm so glad I ordered a whole bottle of this!
  14. hypatia


    How...odd. When I tried this one on, the first note I got was lemon. Strong, sourish lemon. And there's no citrus anywhere in it. I don't usually get weird body chemistry effects, but Sophia may be one of the exceptions. The drydown is lemonade with something that reminds me of those Valentine's candy hearts with the messages on them. Maybe it's the star anise saying "candy" to my nose; I don't know. But this is possibly the strangest reaction I've ever had to a BPAL scent.
  15. hypatia

    Fenris Wolf

    How is it I never got around to reviewing Fenris? I do love this one. It's all lovely sandalwood and red musk on me, warm and woodsy and slightly sweet. But never aggressively sweet (which sometimes happens with red musk blends when I wear them). It's in the same family with several other favorites, including Carceri d'Invenzione and Anne Bonny. I nearly always love the wolfy scents, and this one is no exception.