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BPAL Madness!


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About urbantravels

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    a little too imp-ulsive
  • Birthday December 15


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    United States

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  • Interests
    History, landscapes, landscape history, architecture, art, plant geekery, science & medicine, history of science & medicine, CEMETERIES, cities, food &agriculture &soils &ecology &terroir and did I mention landscapes?


  • Favorite Scents
    I Am Tired of Tears and Laughter Rapunzel Bakeneko Aelopile Coyote Antikythera Mechanism A World Where There Are Octobers The Lights of Men's Lives Cathedral Blue Moon (Brian's 09) The Emathides www.bpal.org/topic/127-wishlist/page__view__findpost__p__2298389


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  1. urbantravels

    Some Strangeness in the Proportion

    I think this is my favorite of the Ligeias I've sampled and may need to get a bottle. I absolutely do not get "bubblegum" or anything sugary or candy-like. What I do get is a warmly sweet, complex, spicy sandalwood blend. I don't smell anything that smells like actual pink pepper, so maybe "pink pepper" is a conceptual note.
  2. urbantravels

    Verdant Decay

    A claustrophobic thicket of yew, cypress, and drooping oak grown wild with dense mounds of bittersweet nightshade, gleaming white foxglove, creeping black ivy, clusters of marshy false morel and fly agaric, and a smear of crushed, overripe baneberries. I appear to be the first reviewer - I wish I had a more profound review to contribute! I generally tend to like the "green" and woodsy blends, and I'm enjoying this one, though I don't feel it's really dramatically different from similar BPALs, such as Bayou. (Though I don't own any Bayou and sniffed it just once a long time ago, so I'm not sure the comparison is valid.) To me, the florals predominate somewhat, with the nightshade note reminding me a lot of the angel's trumpet from Rapunzel (angel's trumpet is a nightshade). But whereas Rapunzel has a more simple green backdrop, Verdant Decay brings in the cypress/yew evergreen resins, and the "mushroomy" note that, indeed, smells a lot like real mushrooms to me. The cypress/yew did not jump out at me at first but emerged more on dry-down. (Bear in mind, though, that I have a high threshold for resinous woods.) I like this; not sure I need a bottle. I like most of the notes here but it's seeming like the mushrooms might be a little too far front in the long run. To me they're more "foody" mushrooms and not quite in harmony with the mood of the other notes. I'll ponder further.
  3. urbantravels

    Where is this scent?

    Yes, I was able to find them on the website and see that they are discontinued. My question is whether they are gone for good. Does anyone know the story?
  4. urbantravels

    Where is this scent?

    I can't afford to have a BPAL habit all the time, so I tune in and out of the update situation for months on end. I must have missed something, but what became of all the Panacea oils? Only TKO seems to have survived, presumably because it's a "beloved favorite" and a heavy seller. Are all the rest discontinued for good? (Oof, Ugh, Grr, etc.)
  5. urbantravels

    Lilith's Feel Better Flowers

    Since this one is still available for the time being, I thought I'd share the love. This blend is very comforting and homey and "me" in the sense that I was once a young gardener growing herbs all on my own (I was in charge of the yard from about age 12 so I conducted my own experiments out there. Did mostly everything wrong, but I had lots of fun.) The intention really comes through as a little girl who loves flowers and herbs and wants to make people feel better. There is a good balance between floral and herbal. I love both carnation and lavender, but this really isn't a heavy lavender and for me the carnation mostly stands in front of it, with the greener herbal notes freshening everything up. I can't pick out the ginger per se and I don't know what blessed thistles smell like. The honey isn't overwhelming but serves mostly to sweeten up the flowers a bit. I'm definitely getting the chamomile, which is just as subtle and comforting as chamomile should be and helps keeps the overall impression from getting gooey. The chocolate peppermint does a tricky thing - my bionic nose would definitely sniff out any hint of peppermint and usually I get none in this blend - but then I'll be going about my business and suddenly get a little whiff of chocolate out of nowhere (there's no chocolate in the house, so what the heck is that? OH. This is nice for me, because sweet candy notes are NOT my thing in general but this is subtle and intermittent.) This is a simple blend but definitely not simple-minded - there's some morphing and playfulness going on.
  6. urbantravels

    The Perfect Lavender

    TKO also costs a bit more, being a Panacea, so that's something to bear in mind. Someone used to cheap candles and oils might burn through (literally) a lot of expensive BPAL if they're not careful! (Says she who finally got an oil burner and now realizes she needs a good eyedropper or pipette to avoid accidentally drowning 2/3 of a perfectly good imp at one go. ) Lavender is a very diverse genus; there are dozens of different species and the oils have different qualities. BPAL must have a line on some really good stuff from uncommon sources. It is certainly a revelation to people who are only used to the cheap stuff (or, God forbid, fake lavender). I like all kinds of lavender, even the cheap essential oil I keep around to throw in the laundry and what not, but BPAL's lavenders are very sophisticated.
  7. urbantravels

    Leather and Pepper

    What kind of pepper? Black pepper and pink pepper are totally unrelated plants. There's a good dozen other "peppers" out there because it's a name applied to anything sharp-tasting, but I don't think most of them are BPAL notes. Calocylas says it's a black pepper note; VILF lists pink pepper. I haven't tried either. The only pepper note I think I've got is in [Redacted] Dragon, a Lilith/Pickman Gallery LE from spring of this year. which is listed as pink pepper. I'm actually not crazy about {Redacted] Dragon; the pink pepper seems to add a musty sharp-unpleasant note, which is probably compounded by the presence of vetiver, even though on paper I should like all the other notes:
  8. A thought I had. I'm a bit of a newbie myself. It took me a while on these forums to realize that people talk about limited editions from years ago in the same breath with GC oils. When you're talking to a newbie and making recommendations, I really think it would be courteous to say which recommendations are GC and which are old LEs which would have to be purchased or swapped on the secondary market and which may be difficult to find or inflated in price. Searching out and collecting past LEs is its own thing and has its own kind of fun, but I don't think it's the starting place for most people, and it could be very frustrating for a newbie to try and find all these recommendations without realizing that they're far less accessible than GCs. We could also explain that GC means "general catalog" (available all the time barring supply problems and the occasional discontinuation) and LE means "limited edition" (available directly from BPAL for a limited time, and after that on a treasure-hunt basis if you can find someone who is reselling or swapping it.) This may be on a FAQ somewhere but it took me a while to sort it out.
  9. urbantravels

    A World Where There Are Octobers

    Just got my bottle of this and I LOVE IT. I'll have to come back and add more coherent thoughts later. Definitely a MAPLE scent but not at all maple syrup or maple sugar - it's sweet but lightly so, doesn't have the carmelized/cooked notes of maple syrup. There is definitely something else in here - a light wood or flower note - that's adding to the impression of maple without actually being maple. I love woods to begin with, but this is so much lighter than most woods, and really does manage to give the impression of leafiness.
  10. urbantravels

    The Lights of Men's Lives

    I have to tread carefully with any "sweet" notes. I don't like most sweet florals or any foodie/candy/baked goods type scents, and haven't had good luck with BPAL honey notes. But the description on this really intrigued me. And yes, it IS very sweet, but the beeswax scent is so real - in a sort of hyper-real way - that I don't object to the sweetness. I don't think I can pick out any "snuffed wick" notes. But the beeswax/honey itself gives such a "warm" impression that it's almost like flickering candlelight. Flickering candlelight FOR YOUR NOSE. I have no idea what other notes are supporting the beeswax - others have suggested vanilla, or sandalwood - but whatever else is in there it's not drawing attention to itself. I really like this close to the skin. Wore it to bed and it's lingering on my nightgown. Great for the enclosing darkness and cold of the season.
  11. urbantravels


    Damn you BPAL you may be converting me from my dislike of patchouli. I was never on the extreme loathing end of the scale -no over-exposure to bad patchouli on unwashed hippies - just didn't care for the stuff. But this... I like woods, spicy dark green notes, and some musks, so this seemed like a no-brainer. I forgot about the patchouli when I tested it. My first impression was a powerful reminder of Antikythera Mechanism and/or Araña, both of which I own. I could swear I got vanilla! But vanilla isn't listed in Oblivion. There must certainly be some wood notes in common, probably the oak, maybe teak? And "wood spice" could mean a lot of things. I don't have a clear mental picture of labdanum or saffron, but I think I can pick out the saffron. My skin really likes this musk, and the patchouli is really behaving itself nicely here. Reminds me of shopping at Pier 1 when I was a kid and it hadn't yet had its 80s makeover into a housewares store. It used to be an eccentric import place crammed full of things like wicker baskets, Chinese fans and gewgaws, bamboo wind chimes, scented soaps, and LOTS of incense. Come to think of it I may be getting a whiff of the ol' Nag Champa so there may very well be sandalwood in here too. This is the kind of thing I like, and I like it. ETA: But whoa, it seems to be giving up the ghost pretty quickly. I'd think something so resinous would have staying power but it seems to be evanescing. Have to try again later to see if this is a fluke. If not I'll have to try gluing it down with a bit of shea butter.
  12. urbantravels

    Summoning Stone Play Structure

    This really does do the magic advertised - gives you the green grass and the flowery notes up front, and lets the incense notes come out in a ghostly way a little later on in the drydown. However, I find I am among the people who turn this into detergent. After a few tests I tried an all-day wearing, at home and not doing much except some cooking and washing dishes. I kept wondering where I had spilled dish detergent on myself and failed to rinse it off. All day. Sadness.
  13. urbantravels

    What do bottles and labels look like?

    I really like the new design of the BPTP site and I can't wait for the BPAL site to follow suit. Having a picture of the bottle with the listing is so much better marketing. Just being able to picture what you're getting is a huge factor in buying decisions.
  14. urbantravels

    CCNow Questions & Problems

    Ugh, I'm tempted to just put my order on a slip of paper and write a check. The reply from CCNow does not indicate that they have any idea what that error message means themselves: they just suggest I "try entering my order again." Well, thanks for the inside info on how to order via Paypal. I had seen those directions before, but not realized why they're necessary. I just thought it was a weirdly elaborate workaround for those who don't have credit cards or something.
  15. urbantravels

    [Redacted] Dragon

    I really really wanted to like this, in fact it was the one I was most excited about from this Pickman collection, but.... it really doesn't work for me at all. The pink pepper note sits on top of everything else and creates a kind of very dry, dusty pepperiness, which doesn't ever seem to come to life on my skin. It seems like a very authentic pink pepper note - pink pepper (Schinus molle, absolutely no relation to black pepper) is a common street tree/landscape tree in Los Angeles. But pink pepper isn't a very wearable note - the berries aren't specially aromatic, just faintly peppery. I get a little bit of the ginger, but none of the other notes until a long, long drydown period has passed, when the scent becomes more pleasant, and I seem to get a bit of carnation and clove, but by that time it's incredibly faint. Bummer. I think what I'm looking for might better be found in some of the more aromatic, spicy GCs that I haven't tried yet.