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BPAL Madness!


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About Juushika

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    sexy swapper
  • Birthday 08/18/1985


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    Oregon, USA
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  1. Juushika

    Gingerbread Oudh

    In vial: Lemony, not-quite-foodie gingerbread, not very sweet. On me: Warm, slightly sweetened, lightly spiced, citrusy gingerbread, definitely the most lemony of the 2018 gingerbreads I tried. The oudh is distinct but difficult to pin down, a grounding resinous wood which develops as the scent wears: a sweet resin with a touch of wood and a breath of pine. It works well alongside the warm, smooth golden-brown of the gingerbread. It feels like a variant on the traditional Christmas spices + pine: spices which are more golden and less foodie; a pine which is more resinous and unique. But I concur that with mishi-bear above that the combo can go savory--I got more of it fresh out of the mail (so maybe aging will further tame it), but sometimes there's an impression of Indian restaurant-esque savory spices. Throw is low. Verdict: Interesting! As noted, I imagine aging will benefit this; I like the non-traditional traditional combo. But it didn't really grab me.
  2. Juushika

    Abolish ICE

    In vial: Sweet, smokey coffee. On me: Toffee + patchouli, which reads as burned patchouli; I'd almost say there's vetiver in here to provide that smokey feel. Coffee and clove come out to play during drydown. Sometimes this feels like an older cousin to Miskatonic University (the scent of Irish coffee, dusty tomes and polished oakwood halls), a warm, spiced coffee, smooth and sweet and a little more complex. But the primary impression I get from this is the overwhelming caramelized note I got from a few 2018 Halloweenies and Yules (Zoe and the Goat; Twelfth Lash). Here's it's probably the toffee: cloying, not quite foodie, almost burnt, very brown, overpowering, homogeneous, borderline nauseating. Verdict: This absolutely fits its "warm" inspirations; I like the creamed coffee and touch of clove. But I've learned my lesson to steer clear of toffee/caramel, especially in conjunction with patchouli. I don't know if I amp it, but I do know it's strong and unpleasant.
  3. Juushika

    Constipated Elephant Alchemy Lab

    In vial: Cypress, thin and clean and airy. On me: Warm, salty ambergris with a touch of woody, terpenic cypress, drying down to a warm, slightly salted ambergris over an amber-like base. This functions a lot like Haunted (soft golden amber darkened with a touch of murky black musk) on my skin: a warm, velvety base, touched with a bright note (in Haunted it's lemony; here, it's woody/pine), deepened with an indistinct but pleasant incense/perfumyness; very slightly sweet; multifaceted in gentle, unconfrontational ways. Constipated Elephant's salty ambergris makes it unique, and it's a khaki to Haunted's gold tones--a warm gray. Low throw, ~5 hour wear length. Verdict: Interesting! This really suits the accompanying image, particularly in colorway. This is pleasant, although the salt doesn't always vibe with the skin-level amber-resin vibe. But it feels too much like Haunted, despite the differing notes. I don't need a bottle.
  4. Juushika

    Hearthflame and Incense

    In vial: Dry wood, a hint of pine; a clean, outdoorsy scent. On me: This starts out so beautiful--like the vial, but darker, smokier, more resinous. It reminds me of the woods in Samhain (damp woods, fir needle, and black patchouli with the gentlest touches of warm pumpkin, clove, nutmeg, allspice, sweet red apple and mullein) and, like Samhain, has a hint of pitchy/sappy sweetness. A sweet, woody campfire set deep in pine woods, outdoorsy, autumnal/wintery, rich and smokey and gorgeous. It's the bolder, darker cousin of the woodsmoke of First Last (Austrian black amber, woodsmoke, frankincense, and terebinth). But consistently at the 4 or 5 hour mark this goes sickly-sweet, that resinous sweetness amping to something single-note and cloying; it reminds me of a less fruity, more resinous take on the sweetness of The Gorobble (a scent redolent of the crusty exterior of burnt marshmallows). On clothes: Lighter, less resinous, and sweeter than the skin scent, but doesn't do that 4-hour sweet morph--this amalgamates the total experience of the scent worn on skin. It's more stable, but weaker and less distinctive. Verdict: If not for that sweet morph...! This is gorgeous; not at all Heartflame, very much Campfire; a cousin to Samhain in setting and vibe. But that strong sweet morph kills things for me.
  5. Juushika

    Twelfth Lash

    In vial: That sweet, caramelized feel from Zoe and the Goat (caramelized patchouli, cream, and thick golden honey), but the vetiver changes the base considerably.  On me: Zoe and the Goat comparisons are apt, mostly for the caramelization--the bases differ but the caramelization takes center stage. Bizarrely, but I get something almost cola-like from the caramel + labdanum--it's a sort of sweet/dark/resinous vibe which distinguishes this blend from ZatG. Not too strong, not too sweet, a little more nuanced than ZatG. Verdict: Not for me. ZatG didn't work on me either, my skin amps the caramel and that caramel isn't to my taste. But it's the weird cola that kills this for me--I don't want to smell like that!
  6. Juushika

    Gingerbread, Coffee Bean and Smoked Vanilla

    In vial: Sweet, creamy, spiced coffee that I could almost read as cocoa. On me: Warm, lightly spiced baked gingerbread against a creamy, smooth, sweet coffee. Maybe it's the vanilla which contributes that creaminess? I get nothing smoked, and the coffee definitely leans towards smooth milky Miskatonic University coffee rather than the drier roasted beans I get from blends like The Ta-Ta. I also don't get any citrus from the gingerbread, although I did fresh out of the mail--so it's probably doing subtle work in the background. Verdict: Lightly sweet, gently spiced, cozy, surprisingly smooth (and smoother than the other Gingerbread Cotillion blends I've tried this year, which have a powdery, spicy vibe); foodie but not cloying. I like it but don't love it.
  7. Juushika

    Mopey Boar Alchemy Lab

    In vial: An earthy, broad, dirty spice. On me: A deep, broad, prickly brown scent: strong clove (the other spices are here too, but secondary) atop distinctive truffle and grounded in incense. Not at all sweet. It can go medicinal, especially it overapplied. The truffle is earthy but with a perfumey quality, especially as the scent wears or if overapplied. A light touch benefits this; throw and wear length are otherwise moderate to strong. Verdict: It can be easy to project name or description onto a blend, but "boar" really fits this deep, prickly, brown scent--it's large and unique, but from a shadowy, earthy direction. Three tests in, I'm still not sure how I like it. Not worth a bottle, but I've also not smelled anything quite like it and I imagine sometimes I'll reach for it on account.
  8. Juushika

    Midnight Mass

    2018 version. In vial: I got cedar and incense on one test, cedar and resin on the next. On me: Upon application: cedar! As it dries down, incense and resin come forward, a smokey/airy/smooth contemplative blend against a warm, woody cedar base. It's hugely reminiscent of Cathedral (Venerable and solemn: the scent of incense smoke wafting through an ancient church. A true ecclesiatical blend of pure resins.)--I could probably differentiate if I tested side by side, but they're functionally dupes. Lasts ages and ages. Verdict: I feel about this like I feel about Cathedral: it's fine, but I like the intent more than the execution. I think it's the cedar, and I don't even dislike cedar--it keeps the register a little higher, a little more dry woods than deep, solemn incense and resin.
  9. Juushika

    Gingerbread, Cacao, and Champaca

    In vial: Dark, spicy, powdery gingerbread. On me: Powdery, dry, sweet, spicy gingerbread + cocoa; it has a distinct "baking mix" vibe that reminds me a lot of the cocoa powder vibe I get from El Dia de los Reyes (hot cocoa with cinnamon, coffee, and brown sugar), plus the cocoa is a close dupe for that blend. Champaca come out in drydown but still takes second stage, a sweeter/more bodied/almost-woody base that grounds the powderiness a little. Verdict: Like, not love. This goes too sweet (while still skirting foodie--it's pre-food, gingerbread dry ingredients) and too powdery.
  10. Juushika

    First Lash

    In vial: Smokey, outdoorsy, a gentle touch of pine. On me: The piney scent of the terebinth is outdoorsy, woody, resinous--not at all sharp, which is what normally scares me away from pine. It sits alongside a smooth woodsmoke which is very slightly sweet. It has a true bonfire vibe, a little more "burning wood while in the woods" than straight campfire/chimney smoke, but not complicated by a complete sketch of the surrounding forest. Compare to Hearthflame and Incense (crackling almond wood and the deep sweet smoke of burgundy pitch, Austrian amber resin, black copal, and frankincense), which is similar but stronger and darker, and which has a lingering note of resinous sweetness reminiscent of marshmallow char of The Gorobble (a scent redolent of the crusty exterior of burnt marshmallows); this is more true to life, less strong, a beautiful balance of woods to smoke. The longer it wears, the more I get the frankincense, almost but not quite a single note, with a touch of woodsmoke in the background. Throw is good; wearlength is 10+ hours. Verdict: My favorite scent in the whole world is chimney smoke, smelled while walking in winter in the Pacific Northwest. This isn't exactly that--the fire is a little closer than my neighbor's chimney--but it's as close as I've gotten in a BPAL blend. The frankincense finisher is pretty, and I've also been looking for a frankincense-heavy blend, but I wish this kept its beautiful woodsmoke indefinitely. I'll still probably get a bottle.
  11. Juushika


    In vial: Sweet, powdery, herbal/minty chocolate. On me: Powdery, mildly sweet cocoa, peppered and herbal, with a grassy, minty topnote, without anything mentholated or sharp. I'd believe you if you told me this was a Thirteen--it has that same "complicated, herbal chocolate," if not as complex. (I'm probably comparing it most to 7.05 and 4.07 Thirteens.) The pepper brings a pleasant warmth. In one test, this went headachey on me; either way, it's potent stuff. Verdict: Next time, google "green cardamon" in particular (spoiler: it's grassy and herbal! not the cardamon I was expecting.) This is pleasant but powdery, but I'm not big on mint. I would be interested to see it age; I wonder if the chocolate will go darker or the pepper stronger, if it'll become more "brutal."
  12. Juushika

    Eighth Lash

    In Vial: Woolly musk, a little musty; outdoorsy by way of oakmoss. On me: I buy this as a fur scent--it's warm, slightly but not unpleasantly musty, earthy and animalic; definitely musk, but doesn't go sweet on me as musk often does. I usually read clove as prickly, but this is a subtle clove, normally only a background darkness, sometimes emerging to add a touch of spice. The oakmoss is herbal and outdoorsy, and has a scent-texture that blends beautifully with the fur. A stable, well-blended scent; decent throw and wear length. It left a sweet cola-like/resinous hint of scent on my clothes. Verdict: This reminds me a lot of Ivanushka (soft, velvety fur and warm musk, brushed by forest woods and dusted by dry leaves), but where Ivanushka is a soft, downy, golden skin fur Eighth Lash is a thick, dirty fur--unwashed but not unpleasantly so; warm, embracing, like cuddling a huge beast outdoors. I'm not happy with the scent it left on my clothes, so I'll have to retest, but I'm leaning towards a bottle.
  13. Juushika

    Dead Leaves and Vanilla Incense

    In vial: An airy, cold dead leaf scent; reminds me of October (Dry, cold autumn wind. A rustle of red leaves, a touch of smoke and sap in the air.).  On me: Like a few of the dead leaves blends, this has a weird, bitter tobacco-like note on application; it burns off pretty quickly. Dries down to a very faint vanillic dead leaves, sweet and fleeting in the throw, more smoke and dead leaves on the skin. The skin scent is pleasant, autumnal and slightly spicy. But this is so faint, and slathering doesn't do much to help except make it more perfumey. Verdict: Pleasant, especially right on the skin, but I have to strain to get anything out of it.
  14. Juushika


    In vial: Warm woods. On me: The forefront of this scent is a dry, vivid sandalwood, but it's backed by a solid blend of fleshy amber and rich massoia, with just a touch of honey. Not particularly sweet despite the massoia and honey; if I get any oude, it's just to round out the woods. It has a skin-scent-but-stronger feel to it, distinctly sensual, even sexual, hyperfeminine without being floral or girly; very Lupercalia. I sometimes get a little coconut/almost-fruitiness (no currant, though, which usually amps on me), probably from the massoia, and sometimes it leans towards pure sandalwood. Verdict: I'll need to be in the mood for strong sandalwood, but when I am this'll be gorgeous. I'm glad I don't get any currant tartness, which would probably ruin this for me.
  15. Juushika


    In vial: Orange with what's probably saffron--a warm, fleshy, opaque scent. On me: Slightly sweet orange, slightly perfumey saffron, and a slightly dark/almost-herbal tobacco. Described in one word, I'd call this "warm"--it's not quite a skin scent (a little too perfumey for that), but it has the sensual quality of O or the fleshiness of Khrysee; what sets it apart is the dark counterbalance of the tobacco. It's nicely balanced and not as sweet as the notes might imply. Verdict: A little too perfumey for my usual taste, but I I think this will be fantastic in the summer.