Jump to content
Post-Update: Forum Issues Read more... ×
BPAL Madness!


  • Content Count

  • Joined

  • Last visited


About starbrow

  • Rank
    sexy swapper

Profile Information

  • Pronouns


  • Astrological Info
  • Chinese Zodiac Sign
    Nothing Selected
  • Western Zodiac Sign


  • Country
    United States

Recent Profile Visitors

3,068 profile views
  1. starbrow

    Ehon Tsuhi No Hinagata

    Thai sweet tea minus the ginger; what witchcraft is that? I recognize the oakmoss from Vivid Enjoyment of the Memory of Rupture (2018 Shunga that smells like Thai sweet tea WITH ginger), and also perhaps the same snuggly blend of tea and tonka bean, warm and cozy, from Black Ted (proper name Tonka Bean, Black Tea, & Vetiver). Oakmoss and hinoki wood could easily get really masculine really fast, or at least aggressive, yet Ehon Tsuhi stays calm, gently spiced, and richly sweet. A sensitive soul. Thank you, black amber. Mandarin and plum are currently hiding. I'll be curious if they peek out with that twist of brighter/juicier fruit to give a different dimension to this blend. It is also possible that the mandarin peel is helping to give the illusion of ginger without being actual ginger. But to me, it's not a recognizably citrus note, not yet at least! Even without any listed cream notes, Ehon Tsuhi is a really creamy (non-dairy) blend. A bit like a spiced tea, hot and steaming, with a rice milk creamer perhaps. Personally, I think the two blends I compared it to are enough to keep me happy, and Ehon does lean a little more unisex/masculine than them because of its prominent earthy oakmoss. But if you missed out on either of those or just love Black Ted a whole lot and want a variation on a theme, this would be a great one to try.
  2. starbrow

    Dalliance with a Comedian on Stage

    This is a perfume that doesn't smell anything like the given notes right now. Smelling blindly, I guessed lilac and dusty parchment and ink in a bubbly champagne. So I guess the sawdust does come through as dust! But not in like a, Home Depot lumber aisle kind of way. It lends to the bookish atmosphere of parchment and ink, a bit like A Silhouette. Lilac is really speaking to me too for some reason, which might be the cross between rose petals and plum blossom. It doesn't smell to me LIKE rose or plum, however. The fizz is definitely the sake, and it's pretty inescapable. The black currant is probably what lends an inky quality to the blend, and perhaps the frankincense is giving parchment? No red musk or blueberries so far, and if you're used to rose being ROSE, she hasn't shown up to this party yet. This is quite a strange and unusual one, because my brain would love this to be a bookish scent, but the fizzy bubbly sake takes it in a different direction and for me those two moods don't fit neatly together. I'll keep an eye on this one but I don't expect the champagney note to ever go away, it seems to be at the core of this Dalliance, so good news for those who love the fizz.
  3. starbrow

    The Tea House

    I can smell plum wine in the bottle! Pretty! The green tea and bamboo reeds give a sleek spa-like calmness right away. It's the sandalwood and cypress bringing this to sexy man place for me. They are classic muted notes of wood and almost-aquatic-but-not-actually that conjure up a masculine vibe. Fortunately, it's a really sensual and subtle vibe, not loud and bombastic, not even cologney. But still. Masculine. (YMMV.) The lemon petals are so soft, they kind of just melt into the green tea and bamboo. A fresh and vibrant airiness, the antithesis of floor cleaner. Whew! But where's my plum wine? It has almost totally vanished on skin. There's the faraway suggestion of dark purple fruit, lost completely in the rest of the manly aura. Come back, come back! I recommend this for, clearly, a rugged yet immaculate offering, like a sexy man at a spa. I think many could wear this, but I think I need more plum wine and/or femininity to make it a good match for me.
  4. starbrow

    U Strip

    This is one FUNKY coconut. To the point where this just smells like oudh and coconut to me. It's the foot-funk kind of oudh to my nose, and not the 💩 kind. The coconut is potent and meaty, it's got beef, and a little rough too. I don't know that I smell the actual BPAL lace note, which has vanilla and cognac and a drop of tobacco in it. In U Strip, the lacy element smells like sweet powdery orris to my nostrils. I'm a huge vetiver fan, and unfortunately, the vetiver here is so voyeuristic, you can't even see (smell) it. It makes me sad. But that's good news for those who might be afraid of vetiver. There's a slight smokiness in U Strip, but that is the only sign of anything vetiver-adjacent so far. This has huge throw and last on me, which is typical of coconut scents. I think I was expecting something different than what I got here. Instead of a delicate lace threaded with coconut and shrouded in the shimmery vetiver from Vetiver Patchouli and Apple Peel, U Strip is a coconut shell bra on sweaty skin, dancing on the beach on a hot summer night. There's nothing delicate about it, but this IS a whole lot of fun for any coconut fans.
  5. starbrow

    The Serpent in the Roses

    Testing fresh, so I will continue to update this review as it ages. Newly arrived, this is a big rose mood. It has so much garden in it, when I'm outside I'm looking around for the roses but it's me. Spicy and indolic, big throw. I can confirm that this rose is similar to the one from The Elephant is Slow to Mate (2021 Luper), but without as much to "corrupt" it so it is totally stealing the show here rather than playing nicely in a gothy ensemble cast like it did in Elephant. The rose continues to dance front and center for hours, only allowing glimmers of the 2022 variety of Snake Oil to pop through. 2022's SO has a musk in it that is especially chewy and strong, so I expected it to compete a bit better with the rose here, but it is inconsistent right now. That should balance out with time. The vanilla and spices are beautiful but muted, total skin-level components in the blend. The amber is on that same mellow playing field, almost drowned out by the rose and the chewy musk of this SO. The Serpent in the Roses will absolutely develop with even just a few weeks of aging, so I'm giving it some time, mostly for that rose to chill tf out
  6. starbrow

    Dried Cherry Incense and Spun Sugar

    This is going to be a fan favorite, calling it now. The bottle whiff and first five minutes of skin application is all TART cherry. If you are adverse to the sharp almond smell from some of the GC cherries, this stage might be overpowering. With drydown, the tartness simmers down into a semi-sweet state, while still keeping a nice bite in the background. The incense part starts to sing. This is a classic almost red-musky incense (frankincense?) with a beautiful woody grain, almost like incense + wooden incense box. I can't tell what wood exactly, but there's a very slight rubberiness to it, which makes me think opoponax. I'm reminded a bit of High School Hair for some reason, too, which was my favorite of 2022! The spun sugar is the faintest component to my nose, I really have to shove my nose against my wrist to get it, but it's a little crystally-sweet with just the tiniest bit of floof. I wouldn't call this a true gourmand, or out of the realm of possibilities for those who don't wear cotton candy or sweet scents. It's there to balance the sexiness of the incense and the tartness of the cherry, and it's perfect for that. (Reminds me a bit of the Gingerbread & Candyfloss effect.) This is so old-school BPAL to me, sultry and sensual. My favorite by far of the Lupers I got, and I can tell I'll be keeping my bottle forever and a day. It's only going to get better with age. For fans of Blood, Hollywood Babylon, even Anne Bonny.
  7. starbrow

    Carved Wooden Cultist Lair

    What the heck do arcane symbols smell like? Well, I decoded the two BPALs that this Cultist Lair reminds me and we're about to talk notes. First of all, I realized that this reminds me STRONGLY of the 2020 Weenie haunted house collection. There are whiffs of several of them here, but the clearest association is Endless Corridors ( A flicker of beeswax and candle smoke casting distorted shadows on a blackened panel of vetiver). There is the suggestion of vetiver in Cultist Lair, which triggered the connection. There is definitely beeswax and candle smoke coming out in this lair too, but it is a lighter smoke and nowhere near as creamy-strong beeswax as Corridors. As far as scorch goes, Endless is scorchier, while Cultist Lair is politely engraved, just maybe SOMEONE in the lair has stood by a campfire lately and smells a bit smoky. This does not smell scary-scorched. These cultists want to recruit fresh blood, not scare them away. Cultist Lair also smells really debonair. In fact...it gives me big RPG Half-Elf ( White sandalwood, beeswax, white tea leaf, oud, and a hint of sophisticated urban musk) vibes. Take the white tea leaf out, and Cultist Lair is a perfect kissing cousin. The incense is definitely a sexy sandalwood, and if you associate that with goth scents, Cultist Lair will smell gothy to you. The beeswax tracks, but remember it's a light and smooth touch here. I would not be at all surprised if there was oud in the lair too along with the silky ebony. And this smells like the same musk to me as Half-Elf, so "urban musk" which to me is a sultry and fancy-smelling cousin of white musk. Is Cultist Lair cologney? It really will depend what you find to be cologne. This stops just short of cologne for me while definitely offering up some sexy masculine energy and a tinge of oakmoss. The woods here have some oud, cedar, and sandalwood along with the ebony, but it is not too dark for me even though the description sounds sinister af. This is more wearable for me than Dee and Hellfire while bringing some of the same atmosphere as those GCs. I think a lot of people will find this sexy. It fades much quicker than Endless Corridors at the moment, but aging can and will do glorious things to a blend like Cultist Lair. Definitely keeping! I would wear this while: playing a Cuthulhu game, no question
  8. starbrow

    A Yuletide Revenge Tale

    This tale of revenge is a Yule chameleon. Blind-smelling, a "Christmasy" scent pops out that is so potent, I immediately received comments of "smells like evergreens/pine". So the spices lean woody and dark but a little bristly. Perhaps clove, nutmeg, cardamom? (No cinnamon to my nose.) They're swirled into a bright top note of the candied citrus peel - which is definitely giving me simmer pot orange peels wafting through the house. There is a dash of lemon in there too. This is not for the citrus-adverse, but I don't go wild for citrus and I do like this! The ale note reminds me of Feeding the Dead. Upon drydown, it becomes like a dry hard cider. A little fizzy, a lot fruity. A good balance between spiced and fruit sweetness. If I search hard, I can smell the fig (woody like an unripe pear) and the plum (which here leans floral for me, not sour like I hate, but also not dark and gothic like I like my plums). The result is a botanicals-infused beverage that's mellow, more fizz than booze, and a gentle Christmas vibe. I'm in like but not yet in love. This is overall a win of a blind buy! I'm curious to see how A Yuletide Revenge Tale will age. Maybe MORE revenge next Yuletide!
  9. starbrow

    Moon When The Cherries Turn Black

    First blast gives huge cherry cough syrup energy, along with a tingle that made my skin turn bright red and on fire right after a shower! So I suspect there is a cinnamon in here. (Or something else mentholic to bring the heat.) But almost immediately - like, minute 2 of being on the skin - the cough syrup (almond poison effect, but maybe boozy too) starts to burn off, like cooking with liquor, and leaves behind a gorgeously dark spiced fruit set into a rich dusky musk. This is reminding me a little bit of Bloody Mary Bloody Mary, but spicier and more complex. The more it sits, the smokier it turns. I have a favorite smoked cabernet sauvignon that is silky yet still juicy and perfectly smoked. Moon When the Cherries Turn Black is giving that kind of depth. The tobacco is beautifully woven into the setting, belonging there the way it did in Elephant Is Slow to Mate. The black musk purrs like a jaguar lounging on my wrist. This is SEXY. Whatever the word "black cherry" conjures, it is this in scent form. The deepest darkest cherry, bursting it's so ripe, and the flesh inside sweet and dripping and sun-spiced. Like, these cherries are sex cherries. There's no way to eat them chastely. You are a filthy, filthy animal. She gives good moderate throw, and lasts hella long. It's worth every bit of hype. If you liked any part of Elephant or that kind of blend, you will not regret Moon When the Cherries Turn Black. Give it a try on skin, ride out the first minute of top note, and you'll be good to go. I would wear this while: in seduction mode
  10. starbrow

    Santa Doesn’t Need Your Help

    The voice of dissent? This blend is instantly a knockout dragout fight between herbal lavender and candied plum, and it's happening in my nose. The punching is happening IN my nostrils. It's both, and both are winning, and I am not. There's just such a dissonance between the camphorous lavender and the sweet-and-sour plum. I think the plum by itself is of the sour variety that haunted 2021 (My Immortal) . That plum, when candied, is already dissonant enough. It just begs to fight with the "but it's GOOD for you!" lavender. Sour + sweet + bitter. It's a lot. Add to that a discordant muskiness that is not wholly unlike Bordello, which aged in a strange way for me, and Santa Doesn't Need Your Help is not really an instant win for me. I might give it a bit of time but I really don't think these elements are ever NOT going to fight in the house that is my nose. Eep!
  11. starbrow

    Snake Oil Sufganiyot

    How interesting. In the bottle and when freshly applied, I smell a sweet jammy BERRY folded into thick gooey dough. Like almost a realistic strawberry. Isn't that WILD? It's as if red musk was in berry form. Kind of delicious! I want this stage to stick! However, once it starts drying down on skin, the fruit aspect evaporates, and the doughy side predominates. I wouldn't be able to blindly guess that this was Snake Oil. Sugared dough, yes. Characteristic BPAL quality of sultry musk, yes. But similar to Sugar Cookie Snake Oil from last year, this is lacking the exact magic of Snake Oil where "you know it when you smell it." Over time, the dough takes on an oddly floral quality. Mallow flower? I can't say for sure, I haven't smelled that trio. Magnolia? It's a very gentle, sweet, creamy floral. Nothing too overpowering or heady. But I wasn't expecting it to be in something named Snake Oil Sufganiyot, and it just sits oddly in the mix for me. This is not yet a slam dunk like I thought it would be. I will certainly let it rest and morph, perhaps until next year's Yuletime! I'll be curious to see if I still feel the same way about it then, and will update with any changes.
  12. starbrow

    Snow Snake

    Not what I was expecting! Both in bottle and on skin, I get primarily a dirty musk (remembering the descriptions of Smut as "swarthy, sweaty musks" really pings a mood) and something...scratchy. Ay yi yi. BALSAM. MY ENEMY. This thorny, prickly, ornery wood has INVADED Snow Snake and corrupted it into something dangerous indeed. I was not expecting balsam from the description! This smells like tolu balsam to me, not balsam fir btw, but I suppose it does give a chilly evergreen landscape. Speaking of chilly...the snow/frost element here seems to have a eucalyptus component. It's herbal and mentholic, definitely not poofy and coconutty-sweet like Snow White. In my opinion, Snow Snake is NOT a mashup of Snake Oil and Snow White. There is almost nothing sweet about Snow Snake. Even the sweet-spicy sugared vanilla of OG Snake Oil is blanketed almost entirely by the snarly balsam and eucalyptus. I will be curious to see if future aging will bring out more of Snake Oil's characteristic vanilla. That would be a welcome balancing effect for my taste! If you get along well with balsam and snow notes like The Flame of the Bear, this is a slam dunk! If you're expecting Frostbitten Snake Oil, this might be a shock. I'm still not sure if I enjoy Snow Snake, because I will have to learn to love the balsam in it. If I can do that, and maybe layer with some Snake Oil or vanilla successfully in the meantime, I'm definitely willing to age this baby and see where it goes. I would wear this while: suffering through a heatwave in January (thanks Florida) and dreaming of cold snowy snarly winters.
  13. starbrow

    October 34th

    There is a LOT going on in this blend. I had to order it just to see how it would all pan out. Which weird note would win? Cinnamon bark is the ultimate winner, since it's in all three of the holiday doodads represented in this scent picture, but a close second is something thick and heavy like anise from the ribbon candy, twined with mentholic peppermint and woody pine. This reminds me of last year's Marshmallow Gumdrops Peppermint Candies but without the floofy/fruity elements. The ribbon candy is a very serious, grownup kind of candy. That dense spice from the Cinnamon and Clove duet (or the trio with tobacco) is present here with what I swear is some hidden anise (I was unsuccessful in nailing down exactly what flavors are in ribbon candy, but got anything from fruit to cinnamon to clove to peppermint). I think what is helping to make this denser is the type of pumpkin used here. It's that really thick syrupy dark pumpkin from Pumpkin Latte and Pumpkin Sugar etc. That style doesn't always read as pumpkin to my nose, more like a really chewy and cinnamony pumpkin coffee syrup. I'm not picking up sugar cookie at all. Cookie would be way too frivolous in this blend. I was surprised at just how serious October 34th's scent profile ends up! I was expecting something cheeky and maybe a little bit sparkly-holiday? This is the exact opposite. Heavy, chewy, old-fashioned. (If you're worried about pine, this does not read as pinesol to me! The pinecone has more bark/wood than the crisp bite of pine needle that can so easily tip into pinesol land.) I think I will learn to love October 34th, but it is not an immediately charming blend for me. You learn to love it. Like blending Halloween and Christmas. An acquired taste, weird and wonderful. I would wear this while: admiring my blend of spook and christmas spirit. In January.
  14. starbrow


    Holy piggies! Gingerbread fans, you NEED this in your life. Not only is it the only gingerbread offering from Yule 2022, it's a fantastic one to add to the collection. Marranitos features one of the most zingy gingers out there. It shimmies and pops right away with its spicy backup dancers, ceylon cinnamon and pink pepper. This combo reminds me of the Cinnamon & Clove duet in the level of darkness and spice that tickles the back of the nose. I can't be sure there IS clove here, but my nose is interpreting the bright ginger and earthy pink pepper and dark cinnamon in a clovey way. Balancing out the spice with a bit of sweetness, the molasses stays dark and crunchy, even on skin. I have to avoid syrupy scents because of the explosion of sweetness they cause on my skin, and thankfully Marranitos is not syrupy whatsoever. The piloncillo (raw cane sugar) and vanilla and molasses are all baked down into a softly sweet cookie base for the spices to shine. This is the perfect kind of sweet for me. If you've been looking for a true gingerbread COOKIE scent, and you love spice, Marranitos should be your jam! I think this is delicious and one of the standout gingerbreads of recent years. I even wonder if possibly this could get better with aging. Am I tempted to back it up? Yes. Even though I have so many gingerbreads I will probably never get through them all in a lifetime, I am a little bit obsessed with these piggies and want to wear it daily now. I would wear this while: trying to remember what day of the week it is in the no-man's land of time after Christmas.
  15. starbrow

    Pumpkin Spice Latte

    The bottle sniff is surprisingly fragrant. Just shy of floral, something wafting up with a cream note? Must see what this magic is! Wet, I am again surprised at the absence of the classic BPAL pumpkin spice thick-syrup-spices melange. This is really different! The cream/dairy takes a backseat and is nicely mellow in the blend, while in the forefront comes a black coffee and...CARDAMOM. I am really sensitive to cardamom, and this is a bold and bright cardamom coffee. This is absolutely the fragrance I was smelling. It is very fragrant Middle Eastern coffee shop. Very beautiful for what it is, but not what I was expecting at all! I'd say the traditional pumpkin spice is very quiet in the blend. I get just a pinch of cinnamon and nutmeg, with not much ginger, clove, or allspice. There is no syrup component that I can detect. If you are worried about the milk, I find it to also be not a problem at all. For cardamom fans, especially cardamom coffee, you NEED this! I'd even compare this to the Coffee Bean, Cardamom Pod, and Vanilla Bean (2019) that is so highly sought after! Despite some similarities in the names, this is very very different than the Pumpkin Latte (2010), Pumpkin Snake Latte (2021), or any other permutations of PSL that I've smelled from BPAL so far, like Rite of Passage. The waft of cardamom-spiced coffee lasted on me for hours. Because of my sensitivity, it ended up not being my cup of PSL, but I would not hesitate to recommend this one to the cardamom lovers!