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BPAL Madness!


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About starbrow

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  1. starbrow

    The Precipice

    I blind-bottled not one but TWO of The Precipice, that's how confident I was about all the notes. Call it a leap of faith or an apex of foolishness. I definitely reached enlightenment with this one. In the bottle, it's complex and green and swirling, without sweetness but with a deep earthiness that keeps it from being sharp at all. Lots of neroli, which is a GREAT sign as I'm passionate about orange blossom and neroli and never can find enough of them as prominent notes in the blend. And then when it hits the skin, the complexity blooms into something rich and magical, evoking the feeling of a garden in spring. Tea leaves, tobacco leaves, even the whiff of a tomato leaf - it's all fresh and herby and like sticking your nose against a freshly crushed leaf from the garden. The neroli is sun-warmed and not too sweet, not at all heady like night-blooming orange blossom, but still rich and welcoming and very present. Spanish moss softens it, grounds it. I don't smell much vetiver at all, so it must be far in the background just lending a little animalistic growl to this swirling medley. It's the grown-up, sexy cousin of The Body Shop's Neroli Jasmin. Rawwr. All in all, I am so very pleased with my jump off the Precipice and contemplating a third bottle. If you love tea blends, garden-y kinds of scents, or especially orange blossom/neroli, I can't praise this one highly enough.
  2. starbrow

    We Believe that Death is Not the End of Man

    Late-breaking news, this is gorgeous. It immediately reminded me of (and I know this is weirdly specific) going to the Disney Store in the mall, which has a specific smooth, polished wood kind of smell, perhaps combined with perfume kiosks? The listed notes may sound masculine, but I'm not getting strongly feminine OR masculine vibes from this cool, slinky wood. There's no scary resins to my nose, just a very creamy darkness that almost reminds me of leather. Black terebinth is the most prominent note I'm getting, with the others supremely blended into an elegant, high-end finish. For funsies, I put it up against Ranger, which shares the Terebinth pine and leathery backdrop. They are definitely in the same family, but Ranger is the berry-streaked, sharply piney, buckskin-wearing outdoorsy cousin, whereas We Believe is the cool, tall-dark-and-handsome aristocratic cousin who always wears gloves when he (or she) rides and has a wardrobe of impeccably-fitted black frockcoats. I had to get a bottle of this, without question!
  3. starbrow

    The Scapegoat

    To save a trump card, sometimes you must make sacrifices: tolu balsam, leather, labdanum, black pepper, and benzoin. The Scapegoat is very very similar to Ranger v5 i.e. Ranger minus the berry and sweet pine, with a dash of pepper like v5 has. Even though they don't share listed notes, they end up coming out pretty much the same on my skin. Ranger is one of my favorites, but I am definitely missing the berry/pine in Scapegoat, just like I did in v5. The leather in this one is pretty muted, with the balsam and pepper more in the forefront. It's a nice, wearable scent, but not one I need a bottle of.
  4. starbrow


    Holy star anise. Maybe this isn't a note that works on me after all? Jongleur is all black licorice and spice cabinet on my skin. Bold is the right word for it, with actual herb-spices like sticking your nose near some opened jars. I didn't get anything sweet from this, no carnation or vanilla, just straight up whiffs of cooking spices. This one isn't really for me, but it's an interesting and pretty unique take on spices.
  5. starbrow

    The Fool’s Dog

    Sometimes playfully walking with the Fool, sometimes tugging on his stockings, sometimes attacking in a pack, sometimes tearing the ass out of his pants, sometimes chomping him right on the nuts: feral and tame, guardian and hunter, loyalty and opposition. Sometimes guiding the Fool off the cliff and other times warning him of dangers ahead. A warm canine musk, trampled grass, a gleam of ivory-white fang, cardamom pod, and crushed yew. Ridiculously charming, in a cozy outdoorsy kind of way. The 'canine musk' is light and appealing and really does make me think of freshly-washed puppy. A thread of sunny grass and maybe the crushed yew is giving it the romping-in-a-field vibe, I think. I'm not sure what fang is supposed to smell like. Maybe it's what gives this blend its pale quality; this is not a 'brown' kind of fuzzy scent like Wulric, but very white-washed and lovely. I'm not sure I can detect the cardamom, but the overall effect is exceptionally snuggly. The only thing that is keeping me from buying a bottle? It has exactly zero throw. The fade is so fast on my skin! I'm going to try turning my decant into an eau de parfum and see what happens.
  6. starbrow

    The Bindle

    This really is like walking past night-blooming jasmine and honeysuckle on a summer night, that dreamy bewitching kind of smell. It has great presence and wear without screaming at you. This is the most beautifully balanced jasmine note, with just that curl of smoke and honeyed spices. The throw is perfect and it's pretty resilient, lasting even through a shower. I think I need a bottle of this!
  7. starbrow

    Il Matto

    Reviled and mocked, pelted by stones and set upon by dogs, all the while singing the song of divine madness: red sandalwood, tobacco absolute, palo santo, black copal and balsam dusted by burnt sage, soot, and an echo of frankincense. To me this smells very, very similar to The Antikythera Mechanism (and a little bit like Smokestack). I know there a lot of Antikythera fans out there, and Il Matto reminds me of a just-slightly-mellower version of it. That heavy, sooty smell is very present, with a little less sweetness than A.M. with no vanilla to soften the edges, but some subtle spice from the frankincense and black copal. I'd say Il Matto is a little more masculine and a little more wearable, but that family of scents is not for me. I am probably a minority voice though!
  8. starbrow

    Eyes Skyward, Eyes Shut

    If there were such a thing as lemongrass meringue pie, this would be it. A mellow-sweet buttercream from the coconut and vanilla, while the frankincense and lemon are quite muted, perhaps keeping each other in check, so that the lemongrass can shine. It's very unique and wearable, although I'll probably be happy with just my decant of it. A great summer-beachy scent!
  9. starbrow

    Dragon-Smooched Snake Oil

    I was kind of hoping this wouldn't be amazing, since we're probably never going to see it again (I asked). Alas. It smells like it was made to belong together. Complex, sexy, and very sophisticated. For fun, I tested Snake Oil and Dragon's Milk and then a layer of the two. None of them really compare with Dragon-Smooched. None of them are as smooth and well-nuanced. SO and Dragon's Milk smell very 'obvious' by comparison. I was really hoping I could dupe Dragon-Smooched with a blend. i haven't managed it yet. It's an instant charmer, and I really wish it was readily available because I think I'm not the only one charmed by it. Hopefully its popularity will inspire something similar in the days to come.
  10. starbrow

    Old books... Books, paper, libraries

    Two of the 2018 Lupercalias strike me as bookish scents: Dalliances by Candlelight: Beeswax, white patchouli, and honey. This one was way too strong on the white patchouli on my skin, but if that doesn't dominate, the beeswax is pretty prominent too. A Silhouette: Yellowing parchment and lampblack, a drop of lilac, a smear of labdanum, and a splash of white musk. Really lovely, a very quiet scent with low throw but long wear. It gives the impression of beeswax too, with the lampblack (India ink) and parchment kind of a mellow background and the lilac offering just a touch of floral without being sweet the way honey/beeswax is. I wish this one had more throw, but the more I wear it, the more I am taken with it.
  11. starbrow

    Couple Enjoying a Summer Breeze

    This one is all sharp sage and stinky patchouli to me, no sweetness. Less a summer breeze and more a punch in the face of herbs. Tis not for me, alas.
  12. starbrow

    Dalliances by Candlelight

    This is extremely potent stuff on me. I've enjoyed beeswax and honey notes in other scents before, although white patchouli is new to me, so I was expecting to love this one (almost bought a blind bottle, in fact). I'm glad I got a decant because OOF the white patchouli is dominating on my skin with a strong, overwhelming fake-leather smell that's heightened by the sweetness of the beeswax and honey. This one almost seems to get stronger the longer it's on my skin; 3 hours later, it's still going hard with a prominent throw. Six hours later, it's thankfully quieted but is still definitely there. This is a case of where the most lingering scents are the ones you wish wouldn't. If white patchouli is your friend, I can recommend this as a scent with great throw and sillage. It's unfortunately not for me, a scrubber in fact.