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BPAL Madness!


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About boomtownrat

  • Rank
    obsessive precious hoarder
  • Birthday 05/12/1973


  • Location
    North Carolina
  • Country
    United States

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  • eBay
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  • Interests
    Peter Capaldi, Doctor Who, music, writing, poetry, singing, spooky things, cats of all sizes, all kinds of birds, cult movies, Marc Almond, U2, Klaus Nomi, The Chameleons, The Comsat Angels, Elvis Costello, 80s alternative music, 1970s punk, new wave, death rock, goth, industrial, coldwave, darkwave, synthpop, old-school rap, old-school country music, classic jazz, Dr. Martens, obsolete technology, short stories, Samuel Beckett, James Joyce, Langston Hughes, Allen Ginsberg, William S. Burroughs, e. e. cummings, Frank O'Hara, Torchwood, The Thick of It, Venture Brothers, CSI original recipe, Wire in the Blood, The Young Ones, music journalism, NaNoWriMo, pop culture of the 1970s-80s, the 18th century, the 1920s
  • Mood


  • Favorite Scents
    GC: Snake Oil, Vixen, Sin, Goblin, Haunted, Lemon-Scented Sticky Bat, Mania, Morocco LE: Gingerbread Snake, Third Charm, Sic Erit, Imaginer, Eve from OLLA, Saw-Scaled Viper, Black Temple Burlesque Troupe, Boo 2012, Mother Shub's Gingerbread Temples 2012, Pumpkin II 2012, #occupywallstreet


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  1. boomtownrat

    Devil’s Night in the Pumpkin Patch

    There aren't any listed notes that the two share in common, but the fragrance that Devil's Night in the Pumpkin Patch immediately reminds me of, aside from Devil's Night itself, is Le Père Fouettard. They both give me an image of a cool tough guy who will let you wear his black leather jacket if it's suddenly chilly. Not that this is a gendered scent, because I could easily give this to my husband and it could work for anyone along the gender/agender spectrum, as long as you love a sweet, smoky, dark musk. It's not funky or stanky in spite of the mention of "sweaty" in the description. The booziness is an undertone. It's not a buttery pumpkin, but more like the one from Theme in Yellow. I've unfortunately only got a decant of the regular Devil's Night, but this new pumpkin guts edition is a wonderful alternative.
  2. boomtownrat

    Red Hot Snake Oil

    Thinking of red hots as in the candy, I added this to my cart before any of the other Weenies. It's more like a natural cinnamon, but the Snake Oil components tame it considerably. There's also a gingery tone. It's a quieter sibling of Saw-Scaled Viper, one of my favourite fragrances, which probably contains several of the same notes. As it ages, I expect it'll deepen and strengthen, but at the moment it's fairly light on my skin compared to most other Snake Oil blends.
  3. boomtownrat

    Cardamom & Coconut

    The bottle arrived yesterday and I couldn't wait to try it. Duets are quickly becoming one of my favourite types of BPAL, and coconut is one of my best notes. It's going to sound strange, but when I first put it on, Cardamom & Coconut reminds me of a cereal I love that has coconut and turmeric in it. As much as I love to eat that cereal, that's how much I love smelling this. As it dries, it quits smelling quite as foodie and it does become a poofy, spicy cloud. I don't find it overly sweet, but just right. Worn alone, I feel that it could enhance the mood of a hot day or embrace you warmly when the weather is cold. It could also layer beautifully with all sorts of things, like Revenant Rhythm, as I discovered when I was testing them both.
  4. boomtownrat


    When I first popped open a frimp of Vixen, years ago, it was like someone had mixed orange and ginger into a bottle of Snake Oil. I got all of the patchouli, vanilla, and musk, even though only one of those is listed as a common note. Not every frimp leads to a bottle purchase, but Vixen did and it became one of my favourite GCs. The creamsicle Snake Oil-ness of it was a dream come true. If I had the ability to design my own scent, it would probably smell a lot like Vixen did when I first tried it. That first bottle has aged beautifully, with the patchouli becoming more prominent over the years. A couple of weeks ago I was looking for a GC to go along for the ride when buying a bottle of Lavender and Patchouli. As I browsed through the other patchouli scents, I was excited to find that Vixen was available. The last time I'd looked it was out of stock, so I bought a backup in case it's ever discontinued. The fresh bottle has had three days to settle, so I decided to wear it today. At first I just tried it on my inner and outer wrists. Unfortunately, it's like some components were left out of this batch: just a mild, subdued ginger with a hint of orange blossom and no patchouli. There's no sign of the vanilla or musk that I smell in my older bottle and frimps of Vixen, but it goes through a phase when I get the dusty plastic that some of the Lab's sweeter vanilla notes turn into on me. The smell doesn't change much after giving the bottle a vigorous shake and applying some to my forearms, which is not my usual process. I always roll a bottle between my hands, even if it's something that I'm just reapplying from earlier in the day, but I decided to shake it when the first application turned out the way it did. It's a teensy bit sweeter after a shake, but still light ginger, orange blossom, and dusty plastic. Shaking it still more and applying it to the crooks of my elbows results in a little more sweetness. As I put some more behind my ears, I seemed to be going nose blind. Maybe it's a batch variation or the Lab had to switch component providers? I did search for any notifications that the formula has changed, and I found none. This is surely not just me remembering it incorrectly, because I would never have bought a bottle if my first imp had been like this. I'll hang on to it, though, and let it age. I'm also going to try layering it with Snake Oil.
  5. boomtownrat

    Lavender and Patchouli

    A slightly sweet, herbal lavender is the dominant note from the moment I open the bottle through the first few minutes as it dries on my skin. This patchouli is a lighter and woodier variety, like the basin holding a lavender bouquet, as though I only notice its own smell once I've been inhaling the flowers for a moment. As you might expect, there's not much morphing after it dries and the notes equalize. It just gets a little bit earthier. This is not overpowering or dirty, so if you're looking for a high-quality patchouli without headshop associations, track down some Lavender and Patchouli. I'm glad I have it for the many days when I need relaxation and grounding, and for the evenings when I want to wind down before bedtime.
  6. boomtownrat

    The Cat

    My bottle is secondhand and I'm not sure how old it is. I can say that I'd had it for about a year and it has mellowed considerably in that time, with more blending. I find it to be more musky than anything else, in a similar vein to Lil' Menes' Feline Entertainments, but it doesn't actually smell like a cat so much as remind me of a feline presence. Like a couple of others have said, it resembles Johnson & Johnson's baby shampoo. That means it smells like I just washed my hair, not like I'm wearing a fragrance, and I'm okay with that. My husband had to use that shampoo to bathe one of our cats, and that's the association I'm getting now. Today I'm wearing it with one of my dresses that has a cat print on it, but it would also work with a t-shirt and jeans. Its throw is just enough that I don't need to huff my wrist, and I think someone would have to hug me in order to smell it. I feel as though it's my personal secret comfort, not a fragrance that I leave in my wake.
  7. boomtownrat


    Lyonesse is a perfectly blended, non-sweet vanilla/musk/sandalwood with an oceanic undertone that unfortunately gives me a little bit of pre-migraine queasiness. It's probably the orris root, the sea moss, or the ambergris that's affecting me. When I tested it on my wrists, I found it so gorgeous that I ambitiously slathered it on my collarbone area. Rather than wash it off completely, I tried rubbing some jojoba oil on it and wiping it off. That left just enough of the musk, vanilla, and sandalwood, which are the notes that made me try it in the first place. I'm going to try wearing it only on my wrists to see if that mitigates the problem, because the jojoba trick would be wasteful and I don't want to give up on something that smells so good. While I was wearing it, though, I had the impression that it would be an ideal thing to wear when I want to feel sophisticated without wearing something overpowering. It could be equally good for work or date nights. This would be a great scent to use if you're trying to enable someone who's never strayed from commercial perfumes. 😄
  8. boomtownrat

    Midwest Morning After Magical Wig Spray

    This really does smell like an extra creamy cream soda. It's not artificial or overpowering, and the emphasis is very much on the cream part rather than a fizzy soda. I think it fits the Jaymes Mansfield character well. I haven't sprayed it on a wig yet, but I'm probably just going to use it as an atmosphere spray with the exception of my one wig that I wear when I cosplay as the Thirteenth Doctor. (She probably wouldn't mind smelling like cream soda, so this will work well for that wig!)
  9. boomtownrat

    Snake's Kiss

    2018 version: This was a Lab-direct purchase that I've never gotten around to reviewing. When it was fresh, it was lemon-sugary, from what I can remember. Now that the bottle's more than a year old, I would swear that it's a variant of Dorian, not Snake Oil. I don't detect any of Snake Oil's spice or muskiness. The honey is light and lemony, not at all funky. The vanilla cream makes me think of freshly-made whipped cream. I'm getting a bit of confectioner's sugar. Somehow, though, it's not really that foodie. It's almost like Boo, but without the linen. There's a decent throw for something so light, which is where Snake's Kiss does resemble Snake Oil, but it has an airier type of sillage. SK has less staying power than most of the other SO blends. I like to reapply it after about three hours, which is pretty typical for the more ethereal scents I own. I would say that it's a variant for people who can't wear Snake Oil, only it bears little resemblance to the original. Considered on its own merits, I like Snake's Kiss a lot. It's just not what I expected, and that's no bad thing.
  10. boomtownrat

    They Shut Me Up in Prose

    They Shut Me Up in Prose was swoon-worthy from the moment it came out of the mailbox. It's not just that I love the way it smells; I'm also fully down with Emily Dickinson and what this whole line of scents represents. Most of the time I don't like to say a scent feels feminine, masculine, or unisex, but this is a scent that's about womanhood in all its forms—unbound, like the name of this collection. Dickinson herself echoes through it. Maybe I've finally found the best poetry-inspired scent for me. I'm not always able to wear vanilla scents because sometimes my skin turns them plastic or burnt, but this is a dry vanilla like the one in Sonnet D'Automne or Two Sheep and Two Goats Resting Together in a Field, both of which I also love, but this is significantly more ethereal than either of those. The floral, resin, and wood notes are all light and blended perfectly with the vanilla, and I fervently hope that balance doesn't change too much as it settles down and ages. This could require a backup or two, even though I'm trying to avoid that. It feels like it's part of the air around me, not overpowering, but making its presence known.
  11. boomtownrat


    Amber of any kind is one of my favourite smells, I love vetiver (maybe it's my earthy Taurus nature), I love cedarwood and saffron even more, and tangerine is delicious yet all too fleeting on my skin. I can't believe I never sought this one out on my own, but I'm glad that a friend gave me the imp. It reminds me: I'm pretty sure I've got another imp of Azathoth somewhere. I can see myself using up the imps I have. Crazily, Azathoth gives me a whiff of bubble gum, of all things, when I first apply it. I'm sure that's got something to do with the tangerine and saffron. That doesn't last, but what follows is a rooty, earthy, woodsy scent that makes me feel both comfortable and strong. It wears pretty close to the skin. As long as I don't apply it heavily, I don't think its earthiness will bother anyone. It's probably going to work best when I'm fresh out of the shower and it's not a hot, humid day. Otherwise, I might feel a bit grimy. Layering it with something like a dry vanilla or another citrus blend would probably be lovely. My Lovecraft knowledge is limited to what my Cthulhu-obsessed husband tells me, so I didn't have anything swaying my impression of it beforehand. So far, the darker and earthier Arkham scents work well for me.
  12. boomtownrat

    Snakes Basking in the First Sunbeams of Spring

    I wanted to see if this would be a Snaky cousin to Vixen, of which I have only one precious bottle and imp. In some ways it is, but without that ginger bite, of course. The honey and orange blossom stand out the most. I'm still getting over a cold and my sense of smell is probably at about 75%, so I think the cinnamon will emerge in a few days. It's going to be a gorgeous spring and summer scent, and when the weather is cold again, I'm going to try layering it with some of my BPAL gingerbread scents.
  13. boomtownrat

    Snakes in the Lemon Tree

    Snake Oil draped over lemon bark and vetiver, dotted with lemon peel. I opened up the bottle and my eyes rolled back in my head. This was destined to be a dream scent for me! Snake Oil is my favourite GC. I love lemons, both to eat and to smell. Vetiver is in many of my favourite scents, and it gives this a solid base, smoothing out the sweet and the sour. ETA 4/16/2019: Now that it's had some time to settle, it's changed so much that I had to delete part of what I wrote above, because I don't want to mislead anyone who might only skim reviews. The lemon is barely detectable now and it's more of the tree itself, with what might be a snake hiding up there in the branches. I'm less sure that I'm going to need any backups, but I'll certainly keep wearing what I have. It's not like any of the many other Snake Oil blends I've tried. I'm going to layer it with Lemon-Scented Sticky Bat to see if I can recreate that lemon-forward scent that it had for the first several days.
  14. boomtownrat


    This is one of the first scents that ever piqued my interest when I got into BPAL in 2011 and I'm surprised that I was able to get it for a great price on eBay. I don't get any patchouli and it's not at all snarling, feral, or deranged, but I'll bet it was all of those things when it was new! It's sweeter on the backs of my wrists, with the opoponax and a ghost of cinnamon bark emerging, but everywhere else I'm getting soft, well-blended woods with a hint of leather. That can read as aftershave, but I think it's much more subtle than that. Geek is unfortunately not quite what I dreamed it would be, but it's pleasant. My husband didn't think it would be very "him" but I want him to try it anyway, because I think it will be more his thing. If he doesn't like it, then I'll hang on to it anyway. Sometimes I do want to wear scents like this.
  15. boomtownrat

    Gingerbread Tobacco

    No additional description provided.] It's Christmas Day at the North Pole. All of the deliveries are done. Santa, Mrs. Claus, and the elves are chilling with some gingerbread, and Santa is filling his pipe with the good tobacco, the kind that he always saves for this day. I'm a big fan of ginger and gingerbread, whether it's for consuming or smelling. The smell of tobacco has always been pleasant to me. This combination was irresistible. Out of the handful of BPALs I've tried with a tobacco note, this is most similar to Autumn Moon of the Mirror Stand. At every stage, gingerbread is in the background, adding a bit of spice to the tobacco. Gingerbread Tobacco is warm and inviting. I could see myself wearing it anytime I want to feel like wearing an olfactory Snuggie.