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BPAL Madness!


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About naeelah

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    For great justice!
  • Birthday 03/22/1983


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    cello, chamber music, tea, dogs (esp. basset hounds), guitar hero/rock band, history, geeking out, dancing badly, kimono, music, theory, over-analyzing things, travel, japanese, linguistics, hiking, film, aromatherapy, being crafty, teh aw3s0me, shibori, taxing people who stand in water
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  1. naeelah

    The Blood is the Life

    "The blood is the life!" is a long running inside joke for me and my friends. There's no interesting story there, but it means that I'm all over anything using the phrase, so I was BEYOND PSYCHED to see this in the new installment of Dracula blends. I actually tend not to like the blood or wine notes from BPAL. I don't hate them, but blood is often too vetiver-y, wine too jammy. The way wine/berry scents are designed, they have WAY too much fruit initially, and you have to let them dry. That's just how the components work. But I swear I still amp it. It always overpowers everything else, for my nose. So, how then will a scent that's all blood and wine work for me? It works AWESOMELY! Wet, this is a blast of super jammy mulled wine. There is definitely some spice there, but it's really soft. Once dry, I lose the sense of any cinnamon or clove. They seem to just give the blend some depth and warmth. On the drydown, dragon's blood becomes apparent. (The oil itself is slightly red--which I love--and is a sure fire sign of dragon's blood.) If there's vetiver in the blood accord, it's such a minor component that it doesn't stand out to me. (Vetiver gives me a headache, so I'm always on the lookout.) Mercifully, that initial cherry bomb jam blast dies down pretty quickly, so you get some balance to the wine. It reminds me of things like Bob Cratchit's Hearth. It's a warm, sweet, cheering winter wine, not a dry, tannic wine. The myrrh quickly takes over, and for me, it is the saving grace. It's the star of this show. The dry and powdery quality of myrrh is an excellent counterbalance for the rich red fruits, but it has its own dark sweetness that blends beautifully. It prevents the wine jamminess from dominating and making it a gourmand perfume. When fully dry, after 30 min or so, the "desecrated" quality of the wine seems to come out. The whole blends feels darker and drier, which is great. In the end, it is a dark, thick, shadowy, sticky myrrh scent, almost like a black musk, with red fruits and just a HINT of spice. Reminds me a bit of Romantigoth, actually. It's somewhere in the same spectrum as Prospero. They both have a haughtiness. Prospero is like a delicious plum wine being served at a fancy candlelit dinner party where there are flowers on the table. The Blood is the Life is more like Jonathan Harker's first dinner at castle dracula. It's dimly lit and there's an air of menace. You are not sure what you're drinking.
  2. naeelah


    I've been on the hunt for a rose-dominant scent that is powerful and commanding -- something like roses and red musk, a strong, red, rose-dominant scent that is not softened by jasmine or other flowers, that is not competing with strong notes such as coffee, or cooled by leather, or sweetened by fruit, or tempered by incense. You get the idea. Just, rose, only more powerful. A rose that is flush, as if roses had blood. A rose in heat. Spellbound is pretty much right on the mark. It is absolutely a strong, rich, red rose, grounded by red musk and rounded out by amber. The amber lends an incensey and powdery quality. It's quite strong at first, but once dry, it does blend well into the rose and musk. It helps to give it depth. It is not as dry and incensey as Rose Cross and other rose resin blends. Those are far more resin-dominant, and the overall effect on my skin is quite soft and powdery, ultimately. Here, there is a powdery element, but it's not a deal breaker. In the end, this is very much a red rose and red musk scent, and the longer I wear it, the better it becomes. I'll add, the red musk here is similar to the one in Krampus or Smut. It has a sharp, astringent quality that is not fruity. Some red musks just smell like cherries. That is nice in the right blend, but this one, mercifully, is more resinous. Definitely some dragon's blood here, but the sweetness is kept in check. If you want to smell like red roses, full stop, try the Peacock Queen (for a rich, pure rose), Rose Red (fresh, dewy rose), or the GC scent The Rose (roses + green leaves, like Rose Red, but without the coolness). If you want red roses and more, check out the Dawn series, which is fantastic. If you want to smell like a pure rose perfume, Spellbound has you covered. (And if you want something like Spellbound but juicier, you'll want to try Blood Rose.)
  3. naeelah

    Sic Erit

    Doing quick and dirty reviews tonight. I'll flesh this out once the scent has aged a little. Sic Erit is not entirely what I was expecting. It's a little bit flat and bland, fresh out of the box. However, I have no doubt that this is due to the freshness of the materials, and that it will age spectacularly. As it is, like I said, it's a bit flat. Not very complex. The strongest notes are red musk and geranium. As it wears, the patchouli gradually warms up and gives it some depth. The patchouli is nice -- it's smooth, earthy without being a down and dirty patchouli, but not so light and cool that it doesn't provide the richness you'd want from an aged patchouli. But it doesn't seem as spectacular as "13 years old" promises. I never really notice the cedar or bark, in particular. This definitely is not a very woodsy scent -- yet. As it is, it reminds me very much of Krampus. A light, clean red musk scent. Where Krampus is cold and dusty, Sic Erit is warmer and more spring-like, thanks to the geranium. It's nice. I like it, and I will wear it. But it's not as beautiful as it might someday be. However, I don't think any amount of aging will change the fact this is a red musk and amber scent. The musk is very forward. It is not as wood centered as you might anticipate. Good news, maybe, if you were afraid this would be too dirty a scent. It's definitely a cousin of Hygeia, with patchouli in place of the resins. EDIT 11/17/13: Just pulled this one out for the first time in a while, and it is still very geranium heavy. Poop.
  4. naeelah

    French Tobacco

    Quick and dirty reviews tonight -- I'll flesh this out after the scent has aged a little. This starts out with a strong brown sugar quality. It's a warm, brown, rich, round scent. While it must be described as an earthy scent, it does not smell dirt-like. There is nothing particularly dry or cool about this, the way hemp or similar notes might have a dryness. The sweetness recedes as it wears, leaving something more like the scent of super fresh tobacco. It's roasted without being smoky. Figgy and a bit planty. It's lovely and complex on its own, but will be wonderful for layering. (I already love it with another item in my order, Sic Erit.)
  5. naeelah

    The Soul of La Traviata

    I loooooove this. I'm normally not a huge black musk fan, but here, it plays very well with the plum and currant. Juicy, dark purple fruit is definitely the name of the game. The other notes are present, but they merely provide balance -- a little bit of tartness and airiness -- to the rich fruit. The black musk serves as a nice base note, anchoring the scent and making it a perfume instead of a fruit salad. I have a lot of plum scents, and I don't find this redundant. Bordello is all delicious, candy sweetness. Bordello + Smut is a darker, gritty plum. Snake Charmer is like Snake Oil + black coconut and plum. Countess Willie rather like Bordello with red musk instead of amaretto, making it a little sexier and less sweet. Williw is perhaps the closest point of comparison to La Traviata, but I find their characters different. Lastly, it isn't anywhere near as sharp or floral as scents such as Kitsune Tsuki or Witch Queen. If you like any or all of those scents, you should find La Traviata a welcome addition to your collection. I'd sum this up as dark, classic, sexy plum. Not smutty, just smooth.
  6. naeelah

    Sweet lemony floral?

    Liz! It's a sweet, girly, floral perfume with vanilla and a lemony note. It's not primariy citrus, but there is some definite lemon happening. For plum floral, definitely try Kitsune Tsuki. It's a lighter, tarter plum than most other plum blends, and the florals just brighten the blend up, keep it light and from being a syrupy fruit scent.
  7. naeelah

    An Appraisal of Sensual Pleasure in the Four Seasons

    This one was a bit weird when it was new, but I bought it on the good faith that teak ages magnificently and I kept it put away. Now that it's about a year and a half old, the scent is definitely improved. Instead of being a weird, sorta masculine scent, it's a gorgeously balanced unisex scent, and it's really great for spring and summer. I LOVE it when it's wet, but unfortunately, it turns soapy on my skin. What I love about this scent is the simple balance of notes. A flower, an herb, a wood, a resin, and a fruit. They work together beautifully to make a light, clean [without being like a cleanser], tart floral blend that is well grounded. I get very little frankincense, but I can definitely smell the teak. The frankincense just serves to fill out the base notes and make them a bit richer. The lemongrass and the plum are beautifully zesty, but they don't overpower the honeysuckle. The lab's honeysuckle is bright with a sweet edge, and I think it's a great match for the tart fruit and teak. On my skin, the honeysuckle was strongest, but YMMV. The scent is relatively straightforward, so if you like the notes, give it a try. I have many other scents with these notes, and they all remain true or improve with age, so I'm sure this will be even better in time.
  8. There isn't an exact match, but you can get close if you layer Bread and Butter-Fly with Squirting Cucumber. (YMMV, of course. Bread and Butter-Fly is, of course, a little more toasty than Teatime, and less cakey, but because it's a creamy tea with sugar, it's pretty similar, for me.) You could also try Dorian or Theodosius, for the bergamot in the Earl Grey, layered with Squirting Cucumeber. They have added musk, but especially aged, they have a nice sweet, creamy quality. (IME Theodosius is softer and creamier, less musky, than Dorian, so it might be the better option to test.) -- On a different note, if you want something that's super similar to Giant Vulva, try Judith and Holofernes. J&H has patchouli, so it ends up darker and earthier than Giant Vulva, on my skin, BUT, wet, they're very, very similar. Giant Vulva is a bit brighter, sparklier, for me. So try it if you want something in the same ballpark, or if you want a darker version of Giant Vulva.
  9. naeelah


    My decant of this is pretty old, and my Seduction ages well! This scent will be pretty predictable to anyone familiar with BPAL's seductive scents. While typical, it is beautifully simple and well balanced, and it's this simplicity that's making me love it. All of the notes are on pretty even keel at first, but it becomes more floral as it dries. Wet, it's soft, peppery patchouli, dragon's blood, and/or red musk. It's not very musky, but it has a distinct powerful, red-fruit type aroma. As it dries, I can smell ylang ylang, voluptuous rose, and sweet jasmine. (The jasmine here is definitely the rich "cat pee" type, for those that don't like jasmine.) After a little while, I don't really notice any patchouli. I SWEAR it's there at first, though. We'll see if it comes back later. This scent is lovely, if you're a fan of blends such as Sacred Whore of Babylon, Unheavenly City, Spellbound or Lust.
  10. naeelah

    Leo Stellium

    Somehow, I've had this nearly a year and hadn't really used it. I forgot what its intended use was, but lately I've been feeling like I really need to dig it out and start working with it. Long story short, last year was rough. Things are definitely looking up, but I've got a lot of trust issues to work out, including trusting myself. I pulled up the reviews for this, and whaddya know. It's perfect for everything I want to work on right now. This definitely has a lot of ingredients in common with Benevolent Triple Conjunction, to my nose. No surprise, really, as it involves two of the three same planets. As other reviews mention, the predominant scent is lemony rose geranium. I can't even conjecture beyond that, except to say it contains resin of some sort (I assume frankincense, as it's a solar resin). I think there's also some lavender and mint (would make sense, given mercury). Where BTC has a gentle, comforting, soft scent, this is brighter and feels more active. It definitely has a solar quality, and for some reason, strikes me as very Juipter-y. (I'm exhausted, so you'll have to forgive my inability to remember proper adjectives.) The color I associate with this blend is yellow orange. I love the scent of BTC, and so I love the scent of this. I look forward to continuing to work with it during the bright months. It's a cheerful scent and I'll probably keep a vial with me for dabbing on, when appropriate. I am at a time in my life when more than ever, I want everything to be in the open, to accept the things I discover, and to Make It Work.
  11. naeelah

    Thousands of Lights

    Thousands of lights were burning on the green branches, and gaily-colored pictures, such as she had seen in the shop-windows, looked down upon her. The little maiden stretched out her hands towards them when–the match went out. The lights of the Christmas tree rose higher and higher, she saw them now as stars in heaven; one fell down and formed a long trail of fire. Indian ambrette seed, beeswax, champaca flower, saffron, Italian bergamot, frankincense, oak bark, and vanilla orchid. Perhaps bizarrely, I'm on a bark rampage lately. Every scent with bark makes me think NEED. I really enjoy the peculiar woody quality barks impart. Add in beeswax, ambrette, and champaca, and HECK YEAH. This scent is very light on my skin. It seems to absorb very quickly, so after a couple of hours, it's very much a skin scent with little to no sillage. Wet, it's a bright, warm, citrusy beeswax scent. Definitely has a Christmasy vibe, but it's light enough (not heavy and wintery) that I think it's appropriate for all seasons. As it dries, the beeswax becomes more overwhelmed by the ambrette and other notes. It's present, but instead of being noticeably honeyed, it's balanced by the dryness and sharpenss of the saffron, frankincense, etc. In this stage, I can smell the vanilla orchid most clearly. It's more floral than vanilla, here. Not foody. Saffron often has a sharp, wintergreen-like quality on my skin, but I get little of that here. I detect a hint of sharpness, but it's subtle and well balanced by the warmth of the other notes. I can't really pick out the champaca. If I look for flowers, I realize they're here, but this scent does not strike me as a floral blend. Nor is this scent particularly resinous, either. I might describe it glibly as "a slightly bitter ambrette." The bergamot evaporates rather quickly, so while the scent retains its bright, warm edge, it isn't strikingly citrusy after 30 minutes or so. As it continues to wear, the sharpness recedes and it becomes warmer and softer. I'd summarize this blend is a gentle amber incense, rounded by soft wax and brightened by a hint of citrus. Overall, a very light, cheery blend. I'll compare it to blends that I think are a bit similar: Leo '07 - if you like Leo, you might like this. Both have an interesting balance of amber, bark, and resins. Light of Mens' Lives - this one might be most similar, only smokier and without the citrus. Hanerot Halalu - Hanerot Halalu is smokier and much stronger on the beeswax. In Thousands of Lights, the wax is a soft base. Hand of Glory - Hand of Glory is darker, spicier, with a much more pronounced smoky bark. Midnight Mass - quite similar in overall tone, that of a bright, golden incense. Jacob's Ladder - Thousands of Lights lacks the cola vibe that Jacob's Ladder can have. It doesn't feel fizzy to me. Otherwise, it's similar in being a lightly citrusy, warm incense. I think it's softer and less overtly incense-like than Jacob's Ladder.
  12. naeelah


    I love floral scents but don't often go for ones that are just straight floral, with nothing else. I guess they're a bit too light and thin on my skin. I hoped the amber in this would do the job of making it a bit fuller, without making it into a scent that felt something other than floral, because I did want one that isn't overtly resinous, or fruity, or musky, etc. I love all of the notes in this, EXCEPT for apple blossom. Apple blossom always smells like straight up apples on me, and I don't like that. In the bottle, this is a very bright floral (lots of ylang ylang), backed by a nice round, clear amber. On the skin, the flowers blossom beautifully and the scent is very rich, almost juicy. No single flower seems to stand out on my skin. Different ones come forward slightly as it wears. After several hours, it's less full and the rose and ylang ylang seem more prominent. Initially, it's a bit sweeter, from the jasmine and gardenia. The amber mainly serves to anchor and round out the blend. It's there if you look for it, but it doesn't call attention itself. The apple blossom gives me no trouble. It probably helps to sweeten the blend, but not once do I catch a whiff and think I'm smelling apples. Although I refer to some of the notes being sweet, this is not a sweet scent. It's sweet in the way actual flowers are sweet, not in a honeyed perfume way. None of the flowers strike me as soapy or overly strong. (Gardenia or magnolia notes from the lab are sometimes super voluptuous.) This is rather like a spring garden -- rich, but airy. The throw is decent at first, but it fades quickly. This is alright with me, because I enjoy how it settles into the skin. This way, you smell like springtime, rather than smelling like you're wearing a strong conventional perfume, you know? In short, this is a beautiful and well-balanced floral blend. It's absolutely worth trying if you're a fan of florals and want one that is rich but simple. This is a wonderfully versatile scent, light but elegant. I've tried pretty much all of the similar blends in the GC and many LEs, and this is certainly my favorite of its type. Try it if you like: Morpho, Abhisarika, Flower Moon, Delight, Helena, etc.
  13. No, the rose is a very gentle sort of tea rose. It doesn't stand out at all. With that, the melon, and the night jasmine, the scent has a nice, light, midnight garden sort of feel. I love all the atmosphere sprays, but I blow through Erebos way faster than any other. (Not just because it's relaxing -- I looooove the scent!)
  14. naeelah


    Man, they aren't kidding about this being a major, filthy hippie patchouli. I'm a newly converted patchouli fan, so it might be a little extreme for me. First, be sure to roll your bottle thoroughly before applying the perfume. The cocoa absolute sticks in the bottom, so you want to make sure the oil is blended. It primarily smells of patchouli in the bottle. On the skin, it's much the same -- a mega dose of thick, dark, dirty, rooty patchouli. It's a little bit similar to High John root (as in the conjure blend High John the Conqueror). As it wears, the filthy rooty quality gradually lets up, and it turns into a patchouli more akin to the gentler one that I've come to like in certain BPAL blends. I can smell a hint of vanilla rounding it out, especially as the rootiness lets up. The chocolate is quite subtle. I'm not sure if I'm picking out the tobacco or not. There is something sharp about the scent when it first goes on. Sharp in the way that some earth has a certain metallic quality. I don't know if this is an aspect of the tobacco or the patchouli. The tobacco certainly seems to be an earthy variety, rather than a lighter, sweeter pipe-like one. (In fact, when the scent first goes on, it's not wholly unlike cigar smoke.) So in short, this is PATCHOULI that is enriched by the vanilla, cocoa, and tobacco. It gradually softens and develops more nuance as it wears, so if you don't like the mega-root scent fresh out of the bottle, give it a little time, and your skin might make it more agreeable. I'm sure that this will age beautifully, and I like it once it settles down, so I'll give it time. I hope that the other notes become a little more forward with time. I was hoping for a more even blend of all 4 notes. For now, I'll layer it with Boomslang or Sachs (or something like that) to make it smell a little more like what I hoped it might smell like.
  15. naeelah

    Loving the frankincense!

    Usually when you're looking for a particular note, it's best to search the BPAL website and then just browse the list. But the search engine is down for maintenance, so I recommend digging around Scent Sribbles for now. It's a little more cumbersome, because unlike the BPAL search, it doesn't show you all the notes. You have to click on the name of a scent to see the rest of the notes. But, it's still useful. I finally figured out how to organize the whole of your search results by company! Whoo. Here are scents with frankincense in them, with all the BPALs grouped together.