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BPAL Madness!


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About starbrow

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    a little too imp-ulsive

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  1. starbrow

    Pumpkin Seed and Terebinth Pitch Hair Gloss

    Terebinth is one of the sexiest woods, and I've loved almost every blend with it. This HG is no exception. Warm, rich woods with a hint of sweetness. Compared with my other Terebinth blends, Pumpkin Seeds is definitely a little more cafe-gourmand than streaking through the woods in buckskin. However, this is a savoury gourmand, like pumpkin soup or zucchini bread. It's got the roasted nuttiness of the pumpkin seeds combining with the creaminess of the resins into a blend that could easily be worn throughout the year whenever you want something comforting and warming. "Toasted pumpkin seeds" is very much present, so how about the "thick, smoky rosin"? Thick here reads like dense and creamy to my nose. It's grand. Smoky...I'm so used to smoky notes being acrid and charred, and this one is neither. I really don't think I'd describe it as smoky at all, more like toasty. It is completely wearable throughout the day, with nothing that gives me a headache the way strong smoke can do. Pitch/rosin is the half-hardened and then fully-hardened version of sap, so either way it will be a kind of resin, and it's a sweet, kind one at that. In the BPAL collection, this is very unique and delicious. It's made me crave resins and gourmands together like mad. Maybe I'll even need a backup?
  2. starbrow

    Pumpkin Spice Silkybat Hair Gloss

    I too have never smelled the original Silkybat but thought sugared patchouli sounded like a nice complement to pumpkin spices. As it turns out, there was too much earthy patch here to work well in my hair. It did smell a bit dirty to me, but one person's dirt is another person's perfection. A medium amount of pumpkin spice, it definitely didn't drown out the patchouli at ALL!
  3. starbrow

    Are You Digging On My Grave?

    Fascinating. While I get something very snuggly and cute sniffing the vial, once it's on it goes almost all grave on me. Cold, cold stone and dirt, a new gravestone in winter; cold, cold milk that a naughty pup has been lapping at before going to dig up some freshly turned earth. It stays very grave-like on my skin for several hours, until those top notes burned off and left the snuggly musk, which reminded me of the musk at the end of Half-Elf. Weird, huh? But I think it's that musk and another note (coconut milk sounds about right) that is making this blend a little sweeter than Coimetrophobia, which has a similar gravestone vibe. When I say Are You Digging smells cold, it's not at all the BPAL snow note. It's austere and frigid, a coldness that lacks the mintiness or powderiness of snow. Sometimes earth/dirt notes can smell warm, but this one was decidedly dug up in winter. Ultimately, as cool as the scent-story is here, I don't think I'll be wearing this one much. Not all art is wearable!
  4. starbrow

    Voluptuous Wantonness

    There were a lot of starring-role notes to live up to in this lineup, but Voluptuous is up to the task. The first whiff was plum: dark, gothy plum with sweet tobacco, just like A Savage Veil. That makes me so happy, because plum is my favorite note from BPAL, and it holds hands so beautifully with the tobacco here. Creamy oudh has perhaps a touch of fire and spice to it, with lots of sweetness from the vanillas and sweet resins and the sugary fig (which I can just barely pick up on, and which I probably wouldn't have guessed on my own that it was in here). Mimosa is definitely overshadowed by the plum! Now what exactly is scarlet musk? WHO KNOWS? To me, it is not red musk at all. I'd call it sexy without being raunchy. It is - maybe? - a little dribble of wine, a little cinnamon and spice. This blend does burn a bit on the inside of the elbows, so it is possible it has cinnamon in it. I will have to try it on my cinnamon-bomb friend to know for sure. But it is a very sultry background for all these hedonistic notes to play across. As sensitive as I can be to tobacco notes, this one is sweet and toothsome, probably because of its perfect dance partner, Wild Miss Plum. They are a couple with perfect presence, swirling and twirling in the air for hours, even as fresh as they are right now. They should only get better with age. Fans of Savage Veil, CP Shadow in the Elevator, Bordello, and A Complex Wiggly Sigil (which has that same scarlet color with the resiny oudh) should give this one a whirl.
  5. starbrow

    Cozy Pumpkin Sweater

    I immediately slathered in this. The lab has truly nailed that cozy sweater effect, just like with Two Sheep and Two Goats from last year, but this time sweeter and without any tang of vetiver, although I swear there is the most delicate vetiver ever in here lending woolly fluff. I could be dead wrong, it may well be a very cozy sandalwood or other snuggly wood. In the skin-slather, I get a lot of vanilla, lots of fuzzy wool, and not much of the specific combo I associate with "pumpkin spice" - but there is definitely spice in there, with orange more a scent color than a literal citrus note. Almost like a mulled pumpkin-orange licqueur with warm autumn spices, just minus any boozy notes. I wasn't expecting it to have vanilla or be as sweet as it is, but wow is it gorgeous and delicious. And oh my gosh the waft on this one. Not throw, but just the waft up to my nose is swoony. It lingers for a good amount of time, too. Does it do what it claims in the name? To my nose, yes! Cozy Pumpkin Sweater is uber cozy, uber woolly, and just enough pumpkin to give it a definite fall flavor. I will need two bottles for sure.
  6. starbrow

    The Empty House

    I am in love! I totally lucked out with this blind bottle. With all those notes, you'd expect a dark, maybe sinister blend. In no way was I expecting something this kind and approachable! The Empty House is all sweet woods and welcoming warmth. In the bottle, the blackened pumpkin reads like maple to my nose, but once on the skin, it's a rich, softly caramelized pumpkin, with the most beautiful woodsmoke thread I've ever smelled in a BPAL blend. I didn't even know smoke could be this delicate. It must be magic, surely! Everything in here just plays so nicely. The oud is the creamy, cozy kind. You may even be reminded of 2018's standout, Pumpkin Musk and Black Oud, with how darkly romantic of a combo it makes with the redolent pumpkin. I don't specifically pick out mahogany or pine, just an elegance to the woods that balances out the sweetness of the pumpkin. There is no pumpkin spice whatsoever. If you're a fan of Arcana's Last Judgment or maybe even BPAL's Magician's Wand, this is a fall twist on those sweet resins, and I adore it.
  7. starbrow

    Buck Moon 2019

    I have a Buck Moon 05 decant that was light, sweetly musky, a little leathery, not that strong, but very delicious. I sprang for a full bottle of this year's release, no questions. WOW it's so much stronger. That's not a bad thing. There is a lot going on in this scent. I get juniper, fur, buckskin, something a little sweet but in a crushed wildflowers-and-herbs kind of way. I'm reminded of smells in the forest without specifically smelling individual types of trees. The musk is sexy in a, yeah, sex kind of way. I wouldn't wear this one to work! It's very outdoorsy and raw and sweet in the way that skin musks can be. It all reminds me of something tawny in color, warm and brown. Ranger is the closest thing I can think of to this, but the RPG scent is a bright green with very obvious pine and berry notes, compared with Buck Moon where it is all about the golden-brown of the buck in his woodland realm. A really unique blend and one you should pick up if you can't do leather but want the raw sexiness of a suedey buckskin scent.
  8. starbrow

    Corn Riggs

    Amidst all the many fall scents, this is a really excellent and unique one. It does indeed remind me of visiting a mountain farm in late October, the smell of corn and sunflowers and hay on clean brisk air, and a market full of gourds and fruits. There's a sweetness that reminds me of maple leaves but not maple syrup, and the memory of apples and pumpkins without anything specifically screaming APPLE! PUMPKIN! So many delicious parts of fall harvest, with no single note taking over. I wouldn't have guessed there was either bonfire smoke or incense in here, but I think it runs underneath the top notes to give this a rich, deep autumnal glory. Don't be worried about the smoke if it has done you dirty in the past. It is a very friendly fire. This does indeed remind me of Scarecrow Turned Philosopher, so if you can't find Corn Riggs, that's a good backup. But wow, this one would have made a great Weenie! I will happily hold onto my bottle and wear it often in the fall.
  9. starbrow

    Harvest Moon 2019

    This one sounded glorious, but that "gentle breath" of sweet wine has not typically been my experience with BPAL wine notes. They tend to blast their way into blends with all the subtlety of a $5 pack of cooking wine bottles - yes, you know the ones, that taste like grape juice that's sat in the back of the cupboard for a few months? When really I want an expensive vintage Italian bottle? Oh, BPAL, you break my heart. I want their wine to be gorgeous and aged on me. Well, my wish has finally come true. This is spiced autumnal wine, far from sour, bright summer wine. It is deeply mulled with all those glorious fall florals, herbs, and woods. Leaves waft up to my nose first; no hint of cologne like the Dead Leaves collection can have, these are pure crunchy leaves underfoot. I get a little clove, a hint of woods, and a lot of darkly spiced fruits. I would like more plum, of course, but I know it's in there, playing a supporting role in the blend. Any florals are muted and well-behaved. The woodsmoke is the most delicate of tendrils, truly a gentle breath. Harvest Moon belongs with the most sophisticated Weenies. (Even considering labeling the top with my Weenie sticker and storing it in the collection!) It has enough waft that I can smell it without huffing my wrist, although I have to reapply it in a few hours. I hope it ages beautifully. I think it will. Very happy to have a bottle.
  10. starbrow

    'Tis Not Madness

    This is exactly everything I hoped and dreamed it would be. Orange blossom is one of my favorite scents in the world, and it's been hard to find any blends where it doesn't get overwhelmed by other top notes. This blend was made for orange blossom lovers of the world. It is queen, ruling over its woodland subjects. The patch is indeed sweet and well-behaved, the vetiver an earthy but not acrid smokiness, and the sandalwood is quiet as always but I keep getting whiffs that remind me very much of the sandalwood from They Shut Me In Prose, that sweet-ghostly pale wood that wafts and wafts. Is it possible? Have I found my orange blossom holy grail? Fresh, this one is a quiet one, with a close throw but in that small inner cloud near the skin, it has wonderful presence. I am curious to see how this ages. I hope the orange blossom doesn't age out quickly. I might get a backup bottle of this one anyways!
  11. starbrow

    A Complex, Wiggly Sigil

    One huff of this at Lunacy and I was in love. It's DELICIOUS. Now, let's break it down. Pomegranate, first and foremost. It's a very juicy dark-red topnote. Hmm, what's in that blood-red ink? Maybe a drop of red musk along with that dark-berry blackness that's in some of the slinky inky blends? It's darkened even more by the oudh, which may indeed be the same oudh from Pumpkin Musk and Black Oudh, because I had the same this smells soooo good reaction to both of them. Not indolic at all to my nose, and it does exactly what it's supposed to, swirling the blend with rich resiny gloom. This glows redly for much more than a moment, but the darkness does indeed make it a rich, deep, dark red, almost velvety pomegranate. I instantly picked up a bottle. I am wearing it in the summer, but this would also make a great yule scent.
  12. starbrow

    They Shut Me Up in Prose

    Can I bathe in this? Haunting moonlight, painfully beautiful, a melancholy sweetness. Pale but not shrinking, "hidden in her leaflets," she is very much Emily Dickinson. From that first whiff at DSLE, I was musing on how to depict this one just by its scent, without reading the scent notes or flavor text. Emily came to mind. Uncanny, or just amazing blending? Vanilla is queen, puffed by mallow, yet this is far from foodie. Nor is it quite floral; the osmanthus is a wispy, creamy apricot whisked away by the wind. The sandalwood and frank are impossibly pale ghosts of incense and resin. They wander through, such shimmering apparitions you wonder exactly who they were in their past life. The girl who stands in their midst is undeniably dabbed with vanilla, but her sweetness is touched with pensive reflection. I think many BPALers will connect with this. A wearable masterpiece. If I don't end up with multiple bottles, I will wonder at myself.
  13. starbrow

    Informal Tea Hair Gloss

    I am loving this, but I was pretty sure I would, since green tea and white amber are two of my all-time favorite notes. Informal Tea HG is just a beautiful springtime green tea that is perfect for the office, somehow both crisp and soft, its throw light and intimate. I tried on some Shanghai for comparison and they are indeed in the same family, just Informal Tea replaces any citrusy notes with those smooth amber and sandalwood undertones, so if you're not into lemon with your tea, this is fantastic. Elegantly simple, and not boring at all if you enjoy tea as the star of a blend. It would also pair fabulously with so many oils, because nothing will clash with a skin scent that has more sassy notes
  14. starbrow

    Come Slowly—Eden!

    So much apple. All the apple. A juicy green apple, plucked on a sunny day with a soft breeze wafting light florals around you, and green woods fresh and bright. If you're worried about jasmine, don't be! Jessamine is very delicate, slightly honeyed and creamy but not heavy. This is a lovely spring scent, although part of me hopes it will blossom more with age, and that more of the notes will speak other than apple.
  15. starbrow

    Dripping Mountain

    Snow dripping down a mountain and into a grove of blooming magnolias. Cool magnolia is very present in this one, with a shimmer of light jasmine and something green, but honestly I was hoping for a ton of terebinth pine from this (love that note!) and there's very little of it here. Which is great news for the floral lovers, while those who want RESIN might be a bit disappointed. Very fresh, very late winter-early spring.