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BPAL Madness!


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About akw

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    sexy swapper
  • Birthday October 30


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    Pacific Northwest
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    United States

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  • Favorite Scents
    Mme. Moriarty, Snake Oil, Death Adder, Hymn to Proserpine, Shub, Midnight Kiss, Carnival Diabolique, Pumpkin Queen, 13 2009 & 2010, Countess Willie, Wilf, Samhain, Dorian, Carnival Diabolique


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  1. I'd second what some here have suggested about categories -- try thinking in terms of note categories rather than specific scents. Rich, deeper notes work fabulously on me, but I can't get near florals and herbs, as much as I'd love to. From what you describe, you might be the opposite. Once you get the hang of this, it's part of the fun and the beauty, but it can be frustrating in the beginning.
  2. akw


    The first time I tried Apatouros, I got pretty much green tea and vegetal. I let it sit for a couple of days, and whoa, carnation, nutmeg, vetiver and fig are there too. I can barely detect the myrrh which is fine for me. I wondered if it might be a little too spicy, but a day or two after that, everything seemed really well integrated. It's interesting to have something change like this so quickly -- and exactly in the direction I hoped it would. Love it!
  3. akw

    Changing the Shadows

    While wet and earlier on, this one is a lovely orange flower, vanilla scent with something edgy that keeps it from being too sweet -- probably the mate or tea. I don't detect overt sandalwood, but it may be the component that keeps it grounded. Carnation is subtle, and I notice it last. After an hour or so, it loses a little bit of depth, but still wonderful. After several hours, unfortunately it turns plasticky on me, but until it reaches that point, it's so beautiful that I'm happy that I bought a bottle. I'll wear it frequently for that gorgeous first few hours. BTW, on me the orange blossom isn't like orange EO, not orange juice in a bottle. It's an elegant, lightly citrusy floral, and it works even though other florals are laundry doom for me.
  4. akw

    Thirteen (13): August 2010

    Wet, I get just a trace of the herbs, but within a minute or two, even before dry down, I'm getting rich, spicy, slightly floral chocolate. As it dries, the honey comes out and tobacco, maybe only because I know it's there. It's complex and beautiful. I have the 13 with the black label and Thirteen spelled out. I get way more herbs from that one. It has aged into something gorgeous, and I can't imagine what this will be like in a year. Almost wish I'd ordered two. Win!!
  5. akw


    Lotus root, mogra, mango, tamarind, cardamom, clove, almond milk, cashew, rice flower, coconut, supari, raisins, and incense crafted from aloeswood, red sandalwood, cedar, and spikenard. Diwali has been a lesson in patience for me. When I bought it new, it was too fruity, and I wasn't getting the spicy, incensey bit. It wasn't yet integrated, and I couldn't quite figure out what it was about. I tried to sell it two or three times since then with no takers. Now . . . it's just amazing. Everything is integrated, and it's spicy, incensey and exotic. The fruit adds roundness rather than excessive sweetness, keeps the incense and spice from being too dry. I need to be careful about slathering though. If it's on too thick, I like it less. Less is more!
  6. akw

    Now Winter Nights Enlarge

    I get some caramel from the bottle, but on my skin it's instant, big-time, Smut-type musk. It stays that way until dry down, then settles into a warm, almost skin scent. Once in awhile I get a wayward whiff of vanilla, but so far no champaca. I can tell the patchouli is there as a base, but it's well-behaved. This is one I could see wearing out and about when I don't want to broadcast my scent. It stays close. I'm looking forward to seeing what it does over the next couple of months.
  7. akw


    Wet and early on, this was pure delicious chocolate. Maybe not something I'd wear out, but definitely a comfort scent for at home. I get both milk chocolate and cocoa at different times. Awhile after dry down, it turned a little sour. I suspect it contains honey as honey has done this evil thing on my skin before. O does it. If you like chocolate, and your skin plays nice with honey, you'll probably love this. Light throw, medium wear time.
  8. akw

    Lilith and the Jarocho

    In the bottle and wet, I don't get lemon but I get what I think is the combination of lime and tamarind -- sweetened lime on a base of spiciness and a hint of Snake Oil and Dorian. It's fresh, lively, beautiful and interesting. I grew up in So. Calif., and I totally get the concept of the scent when it's wet. I almost didn't buy it because of the jasmine, but it's so subtle, that even I can wear it. After about an hour, I get mostly Snake Oil with a faint hint of Dorian. Fortunately, Snake Oil is among my top 5, but I wish the top notes lasted longer. I'm soooo looking forward to seeing how it all integrates with time. I envision this becoming a summer staple. ETA: After just a few days, the mostly Snake Oil after an hour thing totally changed. Maybe it just needed to settle down from shipping. The greatest wonderfulness is still during the first hour or two, but the complexity of the scent now carries on for a long time. Woke up smelling it in my hair this morning.
  9. akw

    Snake Charmer

    Sometimes I get Smut, sometimes I get Snake Oil, and sometimes this is its own unique though similar scent. Maybe it hasn't settled down yet because it seems to be a little different every time I try it. It's hard to describe it without drawing a few Snake Oil comparisons -- like it's lighter, less spicy, less in-your-face. It's gentler, and I might wear it out more places. Maybe it's more "lady-like". I'm not sure it lives up to the hype, but I'm guessing this is absolutely not the scent it will be in six months. I like it enough to buy another bottle and let one age. I can almost smell "amazing" waiting in the wings. ETA: I'm reviewing the resurrected version, and I've never tried the original.
  10. akw

    The Hesperides

    Wet and early on -- very appley with an undertone of something rich that I can't quite identify. Nice though. As it dried, it went through an unfortunate straight up apple Jolly Rancher stage -- very sweet. On drydown, the wood begins to peek out just a bit but not enough to overcome the sweet. The wood brings a welcome balance but not enough to offset the "candle-ish" quality. Others have commented that it's not candles and gift shoppes, so it's probably my chemistry. If you like apple scents and your skin doesn't turn things to Ye Cute Gift Shoppe pot pourri, you might like this.
  11. akw


    From the imp and wet, Jack is remarkably like a blend of Samhain and Pumpkin Queen. For me, this is a good thing! Unfortunately, that stage was short-lived, and it went too sweet for me after drydown. A little too much like the scent of a frou-frou gift shop in the Fall. Substantial throw and good staying power. If you like sweet and foodie (think frosted spicy cookies), this could be interesting.
  12. akw

    Stormclouds Over The Midway

    Wet and fresh on skin, I had great hopes for this. It's exotic, evocative and complex. I love the opium and the plummy incense. It could be the wormwood that adds a wet, very different characteristic. It's like something deep and just a little sweet with a layer of sharpness or brightness barely floating across the top. So interesting. Unfortunately, after a few minutes I get mainly the wormwood which goes sharp and soapy on me. If your skin plays well with herbs, you might love this. The deeper notes are so lovely that I plan to keep this for awhile and see how it ages. Also looking forward to trying it in a scent locket to keep it away from the evil skin.
  13. akw

    Thirteen (13): June 2008

    This is beautifully blended, and I don't find the chocolate at all over powering or foody. It adds richness and depth to a complex, spicy blend. The sandalwood provides a good base note that carries everything else along. Florals and I don't get along, but the honeysuckle isn't a problem. I'm guessing it may be what gives it a little brightness, but it never veers toward soap. I don't get much tea at all, but I don't buy a lot of tea blends, so maybe I don't know what to look for. Medium throw and long-lasting. By the end (most of a day) I smell primarily tonka, but it's still lovely. Love it!
  14. akw

    The Tell-Tale Heart

    Wet and early on, I notice the cocoa but it's not like Velvet or Candy Butcher -- very subtle. After awhile, it's almost unrecognizable as cocoa, just providing an underlying smoothness and slight sweetness that keeps it from being too resiny. On top of that is a spicy element. I was a little concerned about the allspice because cinnamon amps and drowns out everything else on me, but the spiciness stays where it belongs. The vetivert and dragon's blood keep this from being foody, once the initial waft of cocoa disappears. Overall, very well blended, none of the ingredients overpower the others, and I find it exotic and interesting. Love it. The only downside is that it doesn't last long. It fades to faintly spicy resin fairly quickly. Not a bad thing on me, but I wish the complexity lasted longer. Reapplication brings it back with more depth though.
  15. akw


    Oddly enough, there is something about this that reminds me of the parts of Red Lantern that DID work on me, even thought the notes are different. I adored Red Lantern for the first few minutes until it went all perfumey. I'm enjoying having something similar that doesn't do that. I don't get pastries so much as just warm, sweet goodness. It's rich and comforting and the pomegranate and fig give it sweetness without being overtly fruity. It may be the amber that makes me think of a soft, candlelit room. It becomes less complex on drydown, but still very nice.