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BPAL Madness!


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About spikyfairy

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    a little too imp-ulsive

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  1. spikyfairy

    2013: Steel Phoenix

    I like vetiver, and love all things smoky, so this was an obvious win.. & It's even better than I hoped! I never got to try Bonfire single note, but I think this will do me as a substitute! In the bottle, I can smell the dead leaves & vetiver.. Darkly spicy, slightly vegetal. Wet on me, it is all dead leaves for the first few moments, and I can see now why people say that note smells like capsicum/bell pepper, but that settles down quickly. The vetiver & a little patchouli emerge as it dries. It's a rather odd smelling at this point, but I like it. "Charred ivy leaves" was a good description above. There is not a trace of sweetness here, which is very rare for me and BPAL!! I usually turn everything sweeter. After about 5 minutes it resolves into a super-realistic bonfire scent!! Yay! Sometimes goes through a slightly cologne-y phase (thanks to the leaves) — but fully dried-down it is still mostly dark, dry, smoky, vetiver-y love.. Rounded out & very-slightly sweetened by the vanilla & patchouli, although the vanilla is not distinguishable in itself (massive plus by my standards!). Hours later, it is softer & more patch-y, woody with just a suggestion of powder-iness. Nice. After some months ageing, the above phases were more blended & smoothly segued, as BPAL tends to do I find. This is a very exceptional non-sweet-finish BPAL perfume, for me! This will be great for layering with other scents that aren't smoky enough for my preferences (like Witch Dance; which sadly I am out of), but I like it on its own as well. I am also confident the capsicum-like-dried leaves will improve & become more realistic with age, as I have smelled this happen before. Actually ending up with possibly too many of these deep-dark-smoky-maybe-manly scents, but I do love them. Very good throw & wear length, only requires minimal application.
  2. This was the only Luper I bought this year, as it was a pretty sure bet. Smoky / woody / resinous is my jam, and all these notes are favourites, although myrrh can go a bit funny on me sometimes. In bottle: Some cloudy sediment in there, had to give it a good roll. Smoky / spicy resins, along with a slight 'shampoo' vibe I always get from balsams - damn scent associations! Wet: Ooh, this lurrrvely! Vetiver comes out immediately on my skin, quite strong, but tempered beautifully by the myrrh & balsam. Not getting much sage or cedar yet, but I expect they will show up later. Loving this! Smoky & dark with just a hint of sweetness from myrrh (& perhaps laurel? I'm less familiar with that note). Dry: Took a long time to dry on skin, & went through first a powdery, then a bug-spray phase as it did. Now it is much softer than when wet. The vetiver has toned right down & it is sweeter, mostly myrrh & an almost benzoin-y balsam. Still nice, but I liked it better when the myrrh was less dominant. After an hour or so, the vetiver makes a resurgence along with the sage, adding some extra smokiness. The cedar is there, but so blended in to everything that I have trouble picking it out. Final dry-down a couple of hours later was unfortunately mostly powdery, slightly sour/musty myrrh, but that is a chemistry thing & I am confident this will improve & gain complexity with age. Have only had this bottle a week or 2. Dark, smoky, woody and masculine, with a dash of resinous sweetness. Massive hit for me. I like vetiver, & I think this is my favourite vetiver blend I've tried so far!
  3. spikyfairy

    The Apothecary

    Finally posting some old reviews from my notebook. This was pretty early in my BPAL experimentation, & I fully expected to like this scent. I love green, herby things! But this one had a serious fight with my skin chemistry, & was the clincher in realising I basically can't wear moss. In the imp: Clean, fresh, green. And just a little commercial-perfume-y. Wet on me: As above, at first. Then a series of unfortunate events! First the ginger flares up to unpleasantly peppery proportions (I guess I amp it?), then the moss tries to turn to dead bugs, as it does on me. Then both of them are overpowered by a very sweet fruitiness (that "drop" of fig?). Tea tries to keep the peace throughout. Dry: Mostly just dead-millipede-moss / dirt. Dangit, I thought I would like moss, but it does not like me. I suspect this would be lovely if you do not have this problem - I can just detect behind it the fresh green tea leaf, grass, & a dash of warm ginger I should be smelling. A massive fail, but a learning experience!
  4. spikyfairy

    The Black Rider

    Borrowed from my man-friend's bottle because I was curious about how this would work on me.. These are all notes I like sometimes, but that can be very treacherous, especially amber & leather. In the bottle & wet on me, it's sweet & very perfume-y. Can't smell distinct notes at first, just POW! Perfume power! As it settles in though, I can pick out everything, although the tobacco is quite faint. Leather & amber combine forces as it dries down, in an attempted conspiracy to turn the whole thing to soap / teenage-boy-bodyspray. Dry, the very sweet oppoponax tones down. The leather is better on me than it has been in some blends, but I'm still not sure I like it. The whole thing is a bit Grandpa's-cologne, with some added resinous interest (maybe Grandpa is a closet magician). After a few hours, the perfume-iness has mellowed right out, but it's mostly powdery amber & sweet-resin-y oppoponax, just tinted by tobacco. Nice, & non-offensive, but not really interesting enough for me. I don't mind it on the boy.
  5. spikyfairy


    Another frimp from my "test-ALL-the-things!!" phase. I did not expect to like it, as I'm not big on rum or coconut. In imp: Very, very sweet coconut, with a boozy tinge, like some revolting tropical cocktail. Wet on me: Sunscreen & clove?? Sweet &... buttery?! Weird. Bit like a boozy version of how Eat Me turned out on my skin, & not my thing at all. Not getting much in the way of tobacco. Dry: Not much change, although I probably didn't leave it on for that long.
  6. spikyfairy


    Got this as a frimp when I was still in my must-test-everything phase.. Probably wouldn't bother these days; honey is pretty much always awful on me, and the whole thing is rather feminine & floral for my taste. In the imp, it's sweeeeeet! & a little powdery. Wet on me, it's just almost-overpowering sweetness, can't even make out what note is what. As it settles down I actually start to like it, even though it's still far sweeter & girlier than I would usually go for. The orange blossom is strong, and rather lovely, & I think I would actually consider wearing it if it weren't for the honey.. Which reliably starts going powdery & gross on the dry-down. An hour or so later, the orange blossom is gone, & the rose comes out a lot more. The remaining background powdery-sweetness reads as amber to me. So, rose-amber.. But still with a slightly icky tinge from the honey, which never smells like honey on me. This is nice if these notes play well on you, & you like sweet, girly florals. Can't see me wearing it personally.
  7. spikyfairy

    When your favorite GC blends are discontinued

    I would also like to know about this. It was one of my very favourites. I even tried to make my own, since it seemed like such a simple combination.. But of course I have neither the ingredients nor the skill of BPAL, so it was kinda nice, but scarcely similar.
  8. spikyfairy

    Les Incubes et des Succubes

    In the bottle: Woah, childhood flashbacks! Extremely-grape Hubba Bubba bubblegum! But with some freshness & sophistication behind it, if that makes sense.. Wet on skin: The grape candy note does start settling down immediately, balanced by an almost-bitter green that I guess may be the leaves? My nose cannot pick out blackberry from under the sweet grape (which I think is actually the wine?), but there is a grainy bitterness that very much reminds me of blackberry seeds. It smells like jam rather than candy or bubblegum now. Quite the throw on it, and the air around me is sweeter than the smell at my skin, which is bordering on sour. The sourness intensifies as it dries. Patchouli a no-show at this stage. Dry: The very sweet grape note grows stronger again, tempered by the bitter-green of the leaves. This leafy sort of note often doesn't work with my chemistry, and I'm not sure it is here - but without it this would just be straight candy. Still can't really detect patchouli, but I think it is back there helping the leaves rein in the sweetness. After a couple of hours both the bitterness & sweetness have calmed down, I think I can make out the patch, and it's all rather lovely. Lasting well & still strong, blooms nicely with body heat. Despite my initial surprise & that bit where it tries to go wonky on me, I do really like this. It's a dark, kinda-witchy scent that is wearable in warm weather, and I don't really have one of those. After ageing for several months, the wine is recognisably wine, and the whole experience is smoother. Whatever is making that "seedy" smell still amps & nearly ruins everything for a minute there in the dry-down, but amusingly grape candy returns to save the day! I am not usually into sweet or fruity, but I think this will get a lot of wear this summer. It is, appropriately, quite sexy. Edit some moons later: The grape-candy note has gone almost completely now - it's all very much wine & seedy-jam & leaves & patchouli.. Much more what I was expecting, & much less sweet, but surprisingly I find myself missing that bubble-gum note! Still nice though.
  9. spikyfairy

    Flickering Lantern

    Beeswax, tobacco leaf, a whiff of smoke, and purple rose petals. Wax is such a tricky note on me.. I have had blends where I love it, but many others which it ruined. Need to double check whether those previous loves specified beeswax - honey reliably hates me, so I think that might be where the problem is. In bottle: Faintly sweet. Honey / beeswax. Already a bit worried. Wet on me: Huh, that is not what I expected.. Very earthy, almost getting a dirt note (as others have said). Maybe the tobacco leaf? It's not bad, but a weird combination with the sweet wax, to my nose. A bit sour at my skin. Smoke comes out as it dries & kind of ties things together a bit. Not much rose on me. Dry: On one occasion turned into pretty much straight-up maple syrup - very sweet but still a little earthy. The wax & rose & tobacco in cahoots I think. Beginning to suspect I might like these notes, but not together. On a second try, the sourness was much more prominent in the middle stage, settling down after an hour or so to pleasantly spicy (instead of dirty) tobacco with a touch of rose. Low in throw & wear length. Did not play well on my skin. Not a keeper for me ultimately, but a good lesson about beeswax. ETA description.
  10. spikyfairy

    Different smells/colors, same perfume

    I've had it for a few weeks, it should have settled by now. I think it's just rather extreme batch variation. Such a different perfume I may not keep it, barring magical transformation with age.. On the plus side, someone who normally finds this blend too strawberry-hard-candy might really like this version! Edit to add: Haha, the Lab sent me another frimp of it with my last order! Be interesting to see if this one is different again..
  11. spikyfairy

    How do you apply your BPAL oils?

    I am (probably completely over-)paranoid about skin contamination, so I won't even apply from the lid. Roller-balls would bother me for the same reason. I use cut-up lengths of plastic drinking straw. As a terrible slatherer, it works great: you can put your finger over the end to get a good big drop (or not, for stronger scents). Also means none of my oils have had any skin contact at all, if I ever decide to sell or swap something. (I won't go into the OCD details of how I ensure the straw pieces are totally clean, as people will think I'm crazy! ).
  12. spikyfairy

    Different smells/colors, same perfume

    Dang. After getting through a couple of imps of 'Tis the Voice of the Lobster, I decided I liked it enough to order a bottle.. But instead of the woods & red fruits I enjoyed, it is much more strongly musk & mandarin. Really don't like citrus on me, I am disappoint..
  13. spikyfairy


    I bought this as a present for a boyfriend, but I often 'borrow' some when I'm staying at his house.. Really would not have expected this to work on me, due to the leather and white musk (and lilac?), but it's actually gorgeous! Like a less food-y / sugary Dorian, with more interesting top notes. That tangy purple sparkle over everything (lilac & ti leaf, I presume) is even keeping the leather in check, though it does get stronger with wear. Sadly I've noticed the sparkliness has been somewhat lost with ageing, but this is still a beautiful blend that I would consider a bottle of myself - for now I'm happy with just nicking some occasionally!
  14. spikyfairy


    The personification of insanity, Mother of Manes, Goddess of Night Spirits, Mistress of Undeath, She Who Gives Life to the Dead. With Mantus, she rules the Etruscan underworld, and her scent is roiling chaos and churning madness, but because she is the mother of the Lares, benevolent household spirits, her perfume also bears an underlying gentleness, and, like madness, a strange sweetness. Screeching white musk collides with a howl of red musk, with sharp white grapefruit and pale strawberry leaf. This was a frimp that I did not expect to like - I generally hate citrus anything, and both red and white musk can go very loudly wrong on my skin. But for me, this is one of those crazy blends where a bunch of problem notes magically balance each other out somehow, becoming quite wearable & nice! In the imp: Strawberry cough-syrup... But in a good way?? Wet: Red musk storms out first and strongly, only to be immediately crash-tackled by white musk. They wrestle, and seem to be keeping each other busy & subdued - neither is amping like crazy on me like they often do. The grapefruit is subtle, but I think it is lending some tartness & helping keep the white musk natural rather than detergent-y. Likewise the strawberry leaf, though not really detectable on its own, is adding some fruity naturalness to the red musk. Dry: Much the same, although rather faded already. The white musk / grapefruit combo is making it feel almost aquatic. Strawberry leaf seems to be a leafy note that works better on me than many. After an hour or two, the red musk & strawberry dominate more. They are yummy together, if verging on bubble-gum.. The tarter, more aquatic-fruity notes are keeping it from turning to pure candy. Not much throw, but quite long lasting. After several hours it gets a bit powdery, which would be the red musk on me. I have had a lot of difficulty finding warm-weather scents that I like or that suit me, so I happily used up the imp over summer. The grapefruit did get a little more offensive with age, though, so I'm not sure I need any more of this.
  15. spikyfairy


    A frimp I tried as an experiment: Vetiver & opium sounded promising, but I was highly skeptical about them combined with honeysuckle. I am not really a white-floral person. In the imp: Honeysuckle & something vaguely alcoholic - is that the vetiver? Wet: Honeysuckle & vetiver, sort of smoky-floral. Not bad at first, if a little weird. As it dries, a "burnt" smell is taking over - Maybe I don't like vetiver as much as I thought I did? Dry: The honeysuckle / vetiver combo is bitter & gross on me, and the opium is not helping matters. Sour and soapy and a bit rotten all at once. The vetiver does calm right down in time, & it fades to mostly opium on me after half an hour or so, with a little floral behind it. So, nice if you like the idea of honeysuckle incense, but not for me.