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BPAL Madness!


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About elbow

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    sexy swapper

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  • Favorite Scents
    Blends: Aglaea, Amicitia, Centzon Totochtin, Coyote, Delphi, Gacela of the Dark Death 2014, Jabberwocky, Laudanum, Lilith, Minotaur, Smiling Spider, Snake Oil, Stimulating Sassafras Strengthener, TKO, Undertow, Vital Fluid Notes: Alcohol: booze, mead, rum, wine Florals: lotus, narcissus, poppy, rose Foody: cream, milk, sassafras, vanilla Fruit: apple, bergamot, coconut, fig, orange, peach, plum, pomegranate, pumpkin, sugar cane Herbs: angelica, eucalyptus, sage Resins: benzoin, frankincense, galbanum, labdanum, mastic, myrrh Spices: clove, galangal, nutmeg, peppers Woods: cedar, cypress, juniper, pine, teak Other: dark musk, leather, patchouli, salt Can't wear: apricot, ginger, jasmine, lily


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  1. elbow

    When your favorite GC blends are discontinued

    Not a GC, but the reviews I'm reading of Waiting (from this year's Liliths) indicate that it's rain with a hint of lavender. Similar enough to try layering for the Szepasszony effect, perhaps?
  2. elbow


    Like DiesMali, I wasn't super impressed with this when it was new, but the notes list suggested it would only get better with time. And it has! A year and a few months later, it's richer, darker, less initially floral, more harmonious. On me it stays close to the skin, lasts a good while, and is absolutely beautiful from wet to fading away. Now, do I wear it, or save it to see how much more amazing it gets over time? Decisions, decisions....
  3. elbow

    EPIC BPAL Spreadsheet Thread

    Oh, brilliant! I've been poking/prodding/humoring the finicky forum search engine for reviews all these years, when I could've been just typing a phrase into an external one that's much easier to use. Thank you for pointing out this option (which now seems obvious)!
  4. elbow

    To His Mistress Going to Bed

    Patchouli's a note that only works for me in moderation. A couple of recent reviews had me worried that it would be too much for me in this blend. But though the patch does take center stage here for me, it doesn't have the spiky nosefeel of many patchouli-heavy scents. Whatever it means to "caramelize" patchouli, I'm a fan! With the warmth and sweetness of the benzoin, vanilla, and fig, this blend is mellow and lies close to the skin; it's incredibly sexy without being in-your-face about it. The benzoin, vanilla, and fig all harmonize with it so well... I would definitely hit that.
  5. This blend is every bit as amazing as I'd hoped! Wet on my skin, I get pure melty milk chocolate -- the good stuff, like you'd find in Switzerland or France. The gunpowder emerges quickly, an exclamation point for the nose, and the myrrh harmonizes gently from the background. Over time, the chocolate and gunpowder sort of settle into the myrrh's warm embrace, but all three remain evident and play brilliantly together. Well done!
  6. Not exactly, but have you tried... Shattered: A blend of white champagne notes, grapefruit, lotus, slivered mint and crystalline aquatic blooms Undertow: lotus and juniper with a hint of mint Ultraviolet: Lush violet and neroli spiked hard with eucalyptus and a sliver of mint. Cathode: Ambergris, Spanish Moss, oakmoss and three electric mints. I really like all four of these, and they're all GCs. I also recommend getting your paws on one of the Lick Its (a candy cane scent that comes around every other Yule or so) -- it's a simple, sweet mint that layers well with other blends.
  7. elbow


    On my skin: Tobacco takes the lead in this sweet, dry scent, with frankincense, rum, and well-worn leather harmonizing. It smells a bit like a sophisticated man's cologne. I bet it would smell great on a sexy man. On my sexy man: Far richer and more complex, with more deep tones of cedar, sandalwood, and spices. I wish he liked this one -- it has all his favorite notes! -- but every time he sniffs it, he says, "Too sweet." Alas!
  8. elbow

    Statistically Favorite Scent

    Heh, thanks!
  9. elbow

    The Peacock Queen

    Rose Red wasn't rosey enough for me -- it smelled of cut stem, green leaves, tightly clasped bud. Peacock Queen is that dark red bud in full flower, turned up to 11. No polite pink blooms here; she is one brassy dame! Given the potency of this scent, I was surprised at how quickly it faded. (She makes quite an entrance, but retires before anyone has time to get tired of her....) I don't actually consider this a negative; I like the idea of starting the day with a blast of confidence-boosting rose that fades to an inoffensive memory by the time I arrive at work. I'm going to try layering it with other scents, both to extend the duration and to explore the possibilities of what is effectively a gorgeous red rose Single Note blend (yay!).
  10. elbow

    Irresponsibly Unwatered Christmas Tree

    I really enjoyed this "single note" as it morphed beautifully from new-cut tree through dry boughs. The smell isn't quite as convincing or memory-invoking for me as for other reviewers (and I was a big-time Xmas tree sniffer as a child -- maybe I was raised with different tree species?). But it's still a lovely, clean evergreeny scent that wears nicely alone, and that I look forward to layering with all sorts of things!
  11. elbow

    Poor Monkey

    This didn't strike me as foody at all on first test. I think on my skin, the fig milk primarily softened the lotus and warded it away from bubble-gum land. Once the lotus faded, ylang ylang and sandalwood incense were what I noticed most. But all the notes are subtle, harmonious, and muted like the light on a rainy winter day. A very pretty, understated blend.
  12. elbow

    Statistically Favorite Scent

    So, if anyone is tempted to take this deeper down the rabbit hole... here's a screenshot of how I track this stuff. Every new scent, once tested, gets logged under each note it contains, in the column that best describes my experience with it. I've found it really fun to put together and see patterns develop, not to mention very useful when trying to remember which notes I've had good experiences with. This first segment looks fairly ambiguous, but farther down the list, there are notes it's very clear that I like (Benzoin!) and dislike (Jasmine!).
  13. elbow

    Statistically Favorite Scent

    nekan: Keep in mind that a notes list is not an ingredients list. There is more to these blends than Beth sees fit to spell out for us. So this kind of analysis is not an exact science, by any means. sprout: "Bimodal predilection" is a wonderful phrase.
  14. elbow

    Statistically Favorite Scent

    Well, variety is good! But even though these blends don't have notes in common, one can still make observations like: you're clearly comfortable with a range of florals, you like scents that are clean and fresh with a hint of warmth, you favor blends that are "pretty" without being overly femme-y. You start to see clearer patterns when you add more data. Keep trying stuff and adding it to your lists, and give them another look a year from now -- it's amazing how much you can learn! In the meantime, a look at your "tried and hated" list may also give some helpful clues about your tastes.
  15. elbow

    Statistically Favorite Scent

    Spreadsheets are my go-to for any significant quantity of data I'm having trouble wrapping my brain around... which describes BPAL's catalogue pretty well. Like gentle-twig, I give every blend I've tried a rating (1 = Nay, 2 = Ehh, 3 = Yay). Then I plug the notes into a five-column spreadsheet... Column 1: note name, listed alphabetically Column 2 (green): names of blends with that note that have a 3 rating Column 3 (yellow): names of blends with that note that have a 2 rating Column 4 (red): names of blends with that note that have a 1 rating Column 5: info about the note, if I have any This way I can tell at a glance what blends I've tried with a given note, and how many of them have or have not worked for me. Even if I don't know exactly what something smells like, knowing what blends contain it really helps me form a useful theory about whether it will work for me in a new blend. This process has also made it obvious that Beth uses some notes way more than others! You may actually have so many fave blends with vanilla in them, not because it's your favorite note (though it clearly works for you), but because vanilla is in so many BPAL blends.