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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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  • 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

    Sweets to the Sweet

    Some days there is lemon, other days there isn't. Today, that mysterious lemony quality has decided to hang out in the background and let the sugar and honey shine. Lemon was always prominent when the bottle was brand new, and yet I've only had it for about three months, which makes me think the lemon might mellow even more. I love lemon and I find this to be one of the most wearable honeys from the Lab, so I don't mind at all either way. The scent lasts most of the day and it's not overpowering. It's everything I hoped it would be!
  2. boomtownrat

    In Omnibus Caritas

    This would've made a great Luper, sort of like a non-musky Womb Furie, but I'm certainly glad to have gotten the chance to experience it as a gift. Honey is the most prominent note on me, but it's not the smutty kind. I think it's the mallow flower that tames it into a more comforting scent, or maybe it's the orris. I'm glad that the sweet notes are there to tone down the orris, in turn, because I can't always wear that note. This is extremely wearable and lasts for several hours without announcing itself too loudly. When I saw that a friend was giving her imp away, I was quick to take it because I may go through my own imp soon at this rate. For symbolic reasons, In Omnibus Caritas is the BPAL that I chose to wear on the first two days of the year.
  3. boomtownrat


    There’s some... well, alchemy to the way cinnamon and black musk combine in Phonophobia to create a little pop like a Christmas cracker when I smell it in the bottle. After I apply it, there’s a woodsy quality. The cinnamon is dry and tones down the lemony quality that I usually detect in black musk. Don’t be afraid; it’s not loud. These are two of the best notes for me and I’m always looking for something that captures the Playful Wooden Mallets magic, so it was easy to decide on this bottle purchase. I’m happy to say that it’s a close relative of PWM without being a duplicate.
  4. boomtownrat

    Gingerbread, Patchouli, Leather, & Dark Musk

    Gingerbread, Patchouli, Leather, and Dark Musk: the notes read like a list of some of my favourite notes, and I'm not disappointed. It's a warm, kind of sexy, long-lasting, but not overpowering scent. The musk is the most noticeable aspect of it, the gingerbread follows right along, and the leather is somewhere in the middle. The patchouli is a low-key one that just supports all the other notes. (I will say that there's more patchouli depending on where I apply it, and I notice it more on my wrists.) It's all blended beautifully and I think it will be hoard-worthy for fans of sexy, sophisticated, slightly-gourmand fragrances. Picture an attractive person of your choice who's arrived at your holiday party with a tray of gingerbread cookies, and they're wearing a well-loved black leather jacket that holds the traces of a black musk/patchouli fragrance from years of wear. This would be a great thing to wear when you want to be festive and you're feeling like smelling just a bit sweet, but not like "Hello, baked goods!"
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. 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. 😄
  12. 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!)
  13. 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.
  14. 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.
  15. 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.