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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, singing, writing, poetry, cats of all sizes, 80s alternative music, 1970s punk, new wave, goth, industrial, coldwave, darkwave, synthpop, old school hip-hop, old school country music, jazz, Dr. Martens, obsolete technology, short stories, Samuel Beckett, James Joyce, Langston Hughes, Edgar Allen Poe, e. e. cummings, Frank O'Hara, Denise Levertov, British television, watching baking shows but never baking, CSI original recipe, true crime, crime dramas, psychological horror, Gothic horror, Marvel cinematic universe, the 18th century, the 1920s, genealogy, mechanical keyboards
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  • Favorite Scents
    Sic Erit, Snake Oil, Two Sheep and Two Goats Resting Together in a Field, Death Adder, Goblin, Morocco, Third Charm, Sweets to the Sweet, Mother Shub's Gingerbread Temples 2012, Hal from OLLA, Eve from OLLA, Saw-Scaled Viper, Strawberry Sufganiyot


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  1. boomtownrat

    In Silvery Accents, Whispering Low

    In Silvery Accents, Whispering Low is Morocco’s cousin from a colder climate. It really makes sense that this coffee note is still in bean form. The overall effect is that the notes are bundled together, snug and harmonious against the chill. This is the kind of scent that will make people say you smell delicious. They might have to get in close to smell it, because it does whisper, as the name says—but the whispers sustain. I put it on last night and could still faintly smell it this morning.
  2. boomtownrat

    Wild Nights – Wild Nights!

    I like Emily Dickinson's work, so I was drawn to Wild Nights. The night-blooming jasmine gave me pause, but I gave it a chance because I love every other note. Sometimes I can wear night-blooming jasmine, but I have to apply it lightly, nowhere close to my nose, and there has to be something like a dark musk and/or patchouli to balance it. The musks and the sweet notes remind me of Mania. This patchouli-vetiver combination really works for me, and I think it'll be wonderful if it can keep the jasmine in check. I've only had the bottle for a few days and worn it twice, so I don't feel I can judge that yet. Wild Nights has the power to make people swoon on a sultry night, for those who are bold and embrace that floral life. As for me, if I wear more than a drop on the back of one hand, this will nauseate me and could trigger a migraine, but I'd never need more than that because the wafting fragrance is strong. I won't dare to wear it near my nose. As beautiful as this is, I'll most likely never use the whole bottle. Depending on how it ages, I might be finding a new home for it.
  3. boomtownrat

    Sugar Plum Snake Oil

    Snake Oil and Bordello were two of the first BPALs I ever owned, and I used to layer them on occasion. Sugar Plum Snake Oil smells almost the same as I remember that combination, which is great because now I might not need to hoard my precious 10-year-old Bordello bottle quite as extremely as I've been doing. Sweet BPALs don't always work out with my skin chemistry, and sometimes they're just too cloying, but so far that hasn't been an issue with this one. It's bold, but not overpowering. SPSO lasts all day, eventually fading into something similar to a mellower sister of Urd. When it gets onto my clothes, the Urd-like scent stays behind and it's just delicious.
  4. boomtownrat

    Kimi Ga Dai Wa

    In the bottle and on the skin, Kimi Ga Dai Wa puts me in mind of a more subtle Obsession, which is wonderful, as that's exactly the kind of thing I was hoping to find when I started collecting BPAL. A Bright Flame Between Two Jacinths is similar, but more complex and stronger than I usually like to wear. This has a good amount of throw, just enough to get noticed if you apply it in one or two spots. The first time I tested Kimi Ga Dai Wa, I applied a tiny dab on the back of one hand and pressed the backs of both hands together. Even that little amount lasted all day through more than a dozen hand-washings. When I wore it again, I applied it to my usual spots at my collarbone and the sides of my neck, as well as the backs of my hands again. It lasted all day and never gave me the woozy feeling that I get from Obsession now. These three listed notes are perfectly balanced. I love a good amber, and this is one of the best I've tried.
  5. boomtownrat

    Snake Smut

    Had BPAL been around when I was in my twenties, the collar of my black leather motorcycle jacket would've smelled like this from three nights a week of putting on my favourite oils and donning the jacket for a night out at the club. There are similarities to Snake Skin, but it's softer and quieter. I'm not getting separate cardamom or patchouli, but I can tell they're blended well into the rest of the notes. It lasts for hours. Smut is one that I have to age for years to get the best out of it, but Snake Oil is a favourite of mine at any age. I already find that Snake Smut wears better on me than Snake Oil and especially Smut when they're fresh, so I can imagine that it will age gloriously.
  6. boomtownrat

    Cinnamon & Clove

    I have quite a few of the Lab's cinnamon blends, several clove ones, and some that contain both, but none of them feature these notes quite as harmoniously for me as Cinnamon & Clove. Although I've been trying to cut back on how much I buy until I use up some of what I have, I think I'm gonna need another bottle of this magic elixir. It could be top 10 material. Yet again I find that it's the blends with the fewest notes that I love the most. If the idea of Plunder lured you in but you found it to be too heady, or if you'd like something in the realm of Saw-Scaled Viper or Sin without the musks or patchouli, then get yourself some Cinnamon & Clove. At least for me, this wears surprisingly close to the skin, is true to the description, and lasts for a long time.
  7. boomtownrat

    Baby’s First Chainsaw

    I added Baby's First Chainsaw to my cart the instant I saw the chainsaw grease note. My dad's workshop in my childhood home always smelled pleasant to me, so I was hoping for something that might give me a similar feeling. It also reminded me of the motor oil note in Streets of Detroit, which turned out to be a unique wonder that I can only wear sparingly but cherish every time. I'm glad I made that decision. Even though it only arrived today, I couldn't wait to test Baby's First Chainsaw because the notes sound so interesting and after the year we've all had, a comfort scent sounds particularly welcome. Don't let the chainsaw grease scare you away. Harmonizing with the chocolate, it keeps the cookies from being too sweet and gives the oil an undertone that's almost like a dark musk. It really does smell like chocolate chip cookies, homemade ones that are a little crispy around the edges (my favourite). This is like eating cookies in my dad's workshop. It's not at all overpowering at the moment. If it ages like Streets did, that means it'll probably grow more potent with time. For now, it's a subtle fragrance that kind of fills a similar niche to Two Sheep and Two Goats Resting Together In a Field, even though they don't smell the same. It's comforting but not cloying. Maybe I should get a second bottle!
  8. 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!
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. 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!"
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
  14. 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.
  15. 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.