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BPAL Madness!


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About Elspethdixon

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    obsessive precious hoarder
  • Birthday August 6


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    United States

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  • Favorite Scents
    Honey, vanilla, wood, tobacco, cinnamon, coconut, amber, clove, vetiver, milk/cream, marshmallow, lavender, apricot, cedar, white sage, BPAL's cake note, anything gourmand.Current Faves:Mars UltorBeanman & Beanwoman Climb Genital MountainsThe Language of CrowsAntikythera MechanismLove's PhilosophyDark Chocolate, Black Tobacco & VetiverAdrasteaStekkAmicitiaCallistoCaramel Apple CookieDe Vos's Unicorn


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  1. Elspethdixon

    Looking for a BPAL that Resembles a Favorite Perfume

    I have no ideas myself, but I'd love to hear some. That and Bulletproof are/were two of my sister's favorites.
  2. Elspethdixon

    The Fiery Mountains

    In the imp - sweet, cozy clove/ginger. The birch tar makes it lean closer to a masculine spice scent than a fall kitchen gourmand. I can already tell this is going to go "Halloween/fall section at Michaels" on me, though. Wet/freshly applied - clove-heavy masculine spice (birch tar is the best cozy manly skin note, hands down). In my hair, the birch tar and frankincense are stronger and it's less of a clove-fest. So far, my skin is not reacting to the spice notes. Half-hour in - cozy clove SN (and still no skin reactions to the spice). This is probably great on people who don't amp clove, but I do, so yeah. That said, it's a subdued, cozy clove rather than "Hi, I dumped the entire spice rack on my arm." I suspect this would be really nice on a guy.
  3. Elspethdixon

    Looking for a BPAL that Resembles a Favorite Perfume

    For Rose Jam suggestions, you might want to check out the Rose Apologist Thread and this thread of rose recommendations. I've seen multiple people compare Hope from the Carnival Diabolique to Rose Jam (though you'd have to try and find a bottle via the sales/swap pages if you want just Hope on its own, because the Lab only sells it as part of a set with Faith), and The Best Lies from the American Gods line also struck me as similar. My favorite regular GC rose is Jezebel, but it's heavy on the orange blossom and sandalwood and not much like Rose Jam.
  4. Elspethdixon

    The Harvest of the Empress

    In the imp - sweet hay and strong clove. For a moment on first sniff I get all sweet/warm golden hay note, and then the clove hits. This is going to be a clove SN on me, I can already tell. Wet - all sweet clove, kept from being pure harsh spice by the sweetness from the hay note. (On my hair, it's clove and hay, on my skin it's all clove, all the time, but a sweeter, cuddlier clove than the clove-with-an-undertone-of-poison-smoke in Loki Lyesmith.) Dry - SN clove on my skin, fading hay-and-clove in my hair. Good throw - I can smell a cloud of it all around me without having to lift my wrist (or hair) to my nose. There's a hint of something almost rubbery when I put my nose directly to the skin of my wrist, but only a hint. Overall, this is basically a nice warm/slightly sweet clove single note for me. I don't think I need a bottle, but I'll keep the imp to layer with fall/winter scents that could use a shot of spice.
  5. Elspethdixon

    2005: Leather Phoenix

    In the imp - a smooth, cozy base of cocoa-leather (more cocoa than leather) and a pool of clean/bracing gin. Gin always smells clean and sharp to me rather than boozy, I suppose because of the combo of the juniper + the fact that no one in my family drinks it. Wet/freshly applied - GIIIIIIN with a hint of cocoa. Bizarrely, this smells like a hot summer day by the pool to me. You know, that sharp, chemically chlorine smell (provided by the sharp/fizzy gin), combined with sun-warmed humid leather and cocoa-butter sun lotion. Ten-twenty minutes in - This has a ton of throw, especially the gin top note, which I'm basically surrounded by a cloud of. Close to my wrist I get a hint of cocoa/leather-ish skin scent (leaning more towards cocoa than leather, which is surprising considering that my skin usually eats chocolate and amps leather to the skies), but mostly it's all cool-sharp gin. If you want to smell like a chocolate martini (light on the chocolate) being drunk poolside on a hot summer night, this is your scent. Too bad the cocoa-leather base is so overwhelmed by the gin, because it's actually really sexy. 1-2 hours in - Now that the cloud of gin fumes has faded back a little, the cocoa-leather skin scent is easier to detect, reminiscent of the cocoa-leather in Joy of My Spirit but with gin instead of pine and without the hazelnut. I would wear the snuggly warm/humid cocoa with a bit of leather base scent forever if the top note weren't a nuclear mushroom cloud of spilled gin. but I'm not completely sure if the enormous puddle of spilled gin has actually faded back at all, or if I've just gone nose-blind to it. It's actually started to give me a bit of a headache, and I'm contemplating scrubbing this off even though objectively it smells pretty good.
  6. I second Donkehpoo's rec for The Mouse's Long and Sad Tale, which is a cozy, sweet floral-tinged vanilla. Other faves of mine include: Antikythera Mechanism - wonderful dry, warm, tobacco-wood scent with a hint of vanilla. It's a fan favorite for a reason, and I've gone through two bottles of it. Jezebel - my hands-down favorite rose scent, a rich, velvety, lush orange blossom/rose/honey/sandalwood combo. It goes on smelling an awful lot like orange juice, but don't be put off by that; once it's been on your skin for a few minutes the rose and sandalwood start coming forward beautifully. I'm picky about rose scents because rose can sometimes smell soapy on my, but Jezebel is perfection. (Example: This spring, when the Lupercalia Dozen Roses LEs came out, I tested decants of eight of them... and bought more Jezebel instead.) Black Pearl - A light, sheer coconut/hazelnut/orris scent that's cool and feminine (despite being non-floral) and perfect for summer. I'm on my second bottle of this one, too (partly because I wear it a lot during the summer, and partly because it's a very light scent I have to slather on). Tombstone - Another longtime fave I've gone through multiple bottles of. I second pretty much everything GlassKoala said about it.
  7. Elspethdixon

    Aeval - Resurrected

    In the imp - soft, sweet/light, sweet pea with a hint of sage giving it a slight green/vegetal quality. Very girly and fresh/innocent.. This isn't a fairy queen; it's one of Cicely Mary Barker's Flower Fairies. Pictured: Aeval in the bottle. Wet/freshly applied - sweet pea dominant, like Mouse's Long & sad Tale without the vanilla & sandalwood. After a moment or so it starts to go soapy. Nooo, you were so good on the little imp wand. On my hair, it basically disappears. Five-ten minutes in - Freshly scrubbed skin musk/hint of soap. We started out flower fairies. We are now a vintage soap ad. This is an extremely light scent, with very little throw. The drydown has only just started and it's already in nose-to-wrist territory. Pictured: Aeval on my skin. Half hour in - Soap, maybe nice sunblock, clean skin musk. Freshly-scrubbed skin if you were naturally sweet-smelling. Totally gone from my hair. By the time an hour and a half have gone by, all traces of Aeval have completely disappeared. This is a short-lived, ethereal fairy.
  8. Elspethdixon

    The Stream and the Waterfall

    In the imp - Sakura & a hint of neroli over a cedar base. Almost syrupy without being cloying. Wet/freshly applied - Gentle cedar with wisps of soft florals floating above it. Shunga-like, as I expected. Five-ten minutes in - The cedar has receded, blended seamlessly in to the florals, and the syrupy-sweet aspect is gone, too, leaving a soft/powdery floral that edges close to soapiness (don't turn into soap, please don't). Light, with low throw (only about an inch or so). I'm getting much more sakura & peach blossom than neroli (there's not even a hint of citrus bite - smelling this blind I'd never guess neroli was in it, and after the first few minutes I'd struggle to pinpoint cedar). I ran the wand from the imp through my hair as well, and on said hair, with skin chemistry removed from the equation, it's a completely different scent, cedar dominant with a hint of syrupy peach and some very faint hazy frankincense incense, maybe a slight touch of floral. Is there such a thing as girly cedar? If so, this is it. Half hour in - Soft peach blossom & clean skin musk, maybe with a hint of cedar, but only if I'm looking for it. On my hair, it's a faint cedar-peach combo that smells almost like baked goods.
  9. Elspethdixon

    Creamy Spicy Florals, a/k/a Florientals

    Volcano in Springtime was entirely vanilla cream and sandalwood on me, no floral notes, but I enthusiastically second Cave of Treasures and The Bride. This is a lab discussion thread, not a post thread, but I'll add that Three Couples HG from this year's Lupers is an amazing gently-spiced fig & orange blossom that pairs beautifully with spicy florientals and that I'd kill to have in perfume oil form.
  10. Elspethdixon


    In imp - Warm, almost candy-sweet vanilla-cedar. Wet/freshly applied - Creamy, almost musky haze of vanilla-cedar/wood. The cedar is more of a creamy warmth than any distinctive cedar scent. This is amazing! A glorious your-skin-but-better scent. Five-ten minutes in - A soft haze of sheer, creamy vanilla-myrrh-wood, cozy and delicious (it's the soft, powdery kind of myrrh rather than the gritty, resinous kind). I need to death-match this with Small Brown Cat. One hour in - Inez is a non-morpher. Still creamy, warm vanilla-cedar, so well blended that I can't pick out the separate notes. Late drydown - goddamn glorious. Best Grindhouse lady ever, hands-down. Like the late drydown of Tombstone with it's glowing vanilla-cedar only better. Earlier in the drydown I could get a hint of spiced incense (the myrrh + cinnamon-clove-y carnation) when I put my nose right to the skin of my wrist. Now it's just a soft, powdery, vanilliac cedar-myrrh.
  11. Elspethdixon


    Retesting my decant of Aeronwen now that it's got some age on it. Originally, it was a tangy herbal-citrus, but let's see what a year on the shelf has done with it. In imp - rich, velvety brown scent from the fig and black musk/myth Wet/freshly applied - Predominantly fig and cedar, but then a sort of bronze-colored herbal tang comes forward. This is really well blended; I can't really pick out individual notes (letting your decants age for a year clearly benefits them). I get a hint of freshness and just a bit of citrus from the orange, but unlike the usual amped-up dishwashing liquid/Citraclean orange often turns into on my skin, it's just a subtle breath. This is a rich, slightly-earthy herb garden scent, but with that velvety undertone from the fig/musk/amber. Five-ten minutes in - rich, bright, fruity fig, velvety and slightly humid, slightly earthy/woody and slightly herbal and not like any of my other fig or amber/musk perfumes. If A Measurement of the Soul is my cold-weather fig and Amacitia is my nostalgic California desert/spa fig, this is a summer fig. Fifteen minutes in - the amber/orange has started to go creamy, like the slight creamsicle undertone in Titus Andronicus. (On my hair, it's a rich, sweet cedar incense that's almost Christmas-y, possibly from the fig&orange + myrrh& amber, but on the other hand also like the wooden/uninsulated attic of the old house I grew up in in the summer, thanks to the cedar and warm, humid fruit) One hour in - cedar and bronze musk with a hint/edge of something tangy. It makes me think of a sheet of iridescent bronze silk with green or orange highlights depending on which way the light hits it. Late drydown (like, 4 hours in) - faint cedar skin scent, and now that the top/middle notes are gone, I can pick up a powdery skin-musk-like hint of myrrh, as well. I'm definitely a fan. Aeronwen was nice but not bottle-worthy when I cracked open a brand-new decant back in 2017. Now it's smoothed out into a beautifully blended velvety bronze amber/musk with just a hint of fresh herbs and rich, earthy fruit (from the sweet orange and fig). I think I'm in love. This may be my second/third-favorite out of the Grindhouse Ladies so far, surpassed only by Inez.
  12. Elspethdixon

    L'Heure Verte

    Wet/in the imp - Light/sweet anise (but more a floral/perfume-y sweet than a licorice candy sweet) Freshly Applied - sickly-sweet anise liquor and a hint of hazy opium smoke. Heady and slightly overwhelming (and also not very floral)... except no, wait for it... there, at about the two-three minute mark, comes the fusty waft of indolic florals. Hello, wet stage of lilac. Fifteen-twenty minutes in - Cool anise/absinthe, heady opium smoke, and a hint of fusty white floral that hasn't gone away. The throw is nice - cool anise with a hint of rosewater - but nearer to the skin it's all cloying and too-thick and the fusty hint of white floral lurks around the edges like maybe someone in the absinthe tent has stale, bad breath. On my hair, it's a cool, somnolent scent with a hint of alcohol that makes me think of an upscale nail salon. The Green Fairy likes to get pedicures and have her nails done. And the absinthe tent seriously needs a good airing out. Drydown - Around the 1 hour mark, it started to fade and turn soapy - I guess they kicked the drunks out and are scrubbing the tent down. The absinthe+nail salon scent stayed on my hair for the next eight-ten hours, btw, ages after it vanished from my skin. Don't put this one in your hair, folks.
  13. Elspethdixon

    For the Joy of It

    Testing this at the same time as Mad Sweeney, because they both have a whiskey note and are thematically linked. In the imp - Pretty much straight whiskey, but a little softer/more perfume-y than Mad Sweeney and not as sharp. This still smells like alcohol, but not as overwhelmingly. Freshly Applied - whisky and honeyed skin musk. Cozy-sexy, like a really nice manly cologne on your boyfriend's collar. (BTW, the combined throw from both this and Mad Sweeney, which I'm testing on my other arm, plus the leftover dregs of the Saw Scaled Viper I put on eight hours ago? Total bananas foster territory. I'm surrounded by a cloud of caramelized sugar and dark rum/rum caramel sauce). Fifteen Minutes in - as it dries it’s gotten softer and less masculine. This is clearly the sort of honey note that goes powdery, because I’m getting baby powder and skin musk, with amber and whiskey. I’m not picking up any sweat or blood at all, unless Leprechauns sweat vintage perfume nitromusks and bleed honey/dark-unsweetened-caramel laced with whiskey. Which they actually might, come to think of it. Actually, the smell reminds me a little of the new Starbucks ultra-caramel frappuccino’s dark caramel flavoring, overlaid by perfume musk. (Combined throw of this plus Mad Sweeney now smells like manly whiskey-laced dessert topping. Like sticky toffee pudding soaked in whiskey.) Half-hour in - The sweat and blood notes have gone all perfume-y synthetic musk with an edge of dryer sheets. A shame, because the opening stage was so good. 1 Hour +/Drydown - the honey/mead did its best to turn the whole scent into baby powder and the sweaty musk wanted to morph to dryer sheets, but they don't quite succeed. For The Joy of It gets less sweet and less powdery over time, and by the time we're well into the drydown it's like the manlier version of that Luper from this year that was all wood and sweetened musk, except that was softer/hazier and sweeter than this (a quick check of my perfume notes from this spring tells me I'm thinking of Novel Ideas for Secret Amusements).
  14. Elspethdixon

    Mad Sweeney

    Mad Sweeney starts out utterly awful, but dries down into something truly delicious. In the imp - Strong, sweet whiskey. Smells a little bit like bananas foster and a lot like alcohol. I can literally feel the fumes in the back of my throat. Freshly Applied- whiskey mixed with nail polish remover. Does Mad Sweeney drink rubbing alcohol? Fifteen Minutes in - rich, deep whiskey and oak. Starting to smell good now that the rubbing alcohol topnote has burned off. Several inches of throw. I probably smell like a distillery. Or a Jack Daniels commercial. Half-hour in - A rich, manly aftershave that's what an imaginary cis-male me would smell like if I grew a beard and wore a rugged brown leather bomber's jacket and got a job doing manly carpentry and woodworking. In my manly barn/wooden airplane hanger built with oak beams and filled with leather flying apparel and chewing tobacco and rich, seasoned wood and toasted sawdust. Where I burn pretend-whiskey-and-mahogany/teak-scented candles. (Over the course of the first half-hour, this has gradually morphed from almost entirely booze with a faint hint of oak to being oak dominant, but a richer/thicker and less-dry oak than Antikythera Mechanism.) By forty minutes in it smells divine, like the sexiest wood-paneled sauna ever, if someone threw a shot of good whiskey onto the hot rocks to hear it sizzle. Amazing. I’m seriously considering a bottle. I want to try layering this with Bulgarian Tobacco SN.
  15. Elspethdixon


    Wet - MIIIINT. The vanilla and sugar/mallow root make it a soft, buttery/creamy mint, like those pastel-colored buttermints they used to serve at the end of the meal in restaurants, but I'm really sensitive to the taste/smell of mint (to the point that most toothpaste feels like it's burning the inside of my mouth) so it's still too much mint for me. Like a pastel-colored buttermint that's punching you in the face. Five minutes in - Minty mint mint mint. It's a soft, sweet, complex mint, with hints of other notes underneath it, but mostly all I can make out is mint. Ten minutes in - by ten minutes in the initial blast of nose-searing mint has calmed down slightly, and I can make out a haze of pale rose and what feels like white musk but is probably the spun sugar surrounding/accompanying the mint. The pastel buttermints are now being served on a white-linen-covered tray with a vase full of pink and white roses. That, or Alisz is sucking on a buttermint after spraying herself with rosewater. Close to my skin it's more minty, but the throw has a hint of frankincense now. Thirty minutes in - The mint has softened down a great deal as the frankincense has come forward, turning Alisz into a cool, wispy candied rose. I actually really like it now, but I'd like it better if it had just skipped the inclusion of mint entirely. 1-2 Hours in - Alisz has morphed from nose-searing mint to a lovely, cool, soft, hazy vanilla-rose where the frankincense and mint blend seamlessly in. I can't even detect the mint anymore, it's just making the rest of the blend smell light and cool. Is this how scents like Snow White smell to people who aren't super-oversensitive to menthol?