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BPAL Madness!


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About starbrow

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  1. starbrow

    Witches’ Kitchen

    This witches' kitchen is strong and scathing. The burn of fiery ingredients is intense. I can feel sharp peppery explosions going off in my nose, a thunder of gunpowder, and a sear of castoreum torching the back of my throat. It takes the stern yet approachable boot leather and smokiness from Escape from the Autumn Carnival and lights it on fire. There are fresh ingredients - a crispy tomato leaf, mentholic herbs - but the smoother ones like vetiver and nagarmotha do nothing to tone down the more explosive notes, at least at this stage of aging. It'll be interesting to see if the meld becomes a touch more mellow over time. I can't imagine this ever being a quiet perfume, though. I smell the chaos and ferocity of the brewing and casting happening in this kitchen, and it's absolutely a Mood. I could imagine the potions dungeon in Harry Potter smelling like this near the end of class, as everyone's brews come to a boil (and some blow up). You have to be prepared for nasal anarchy. I described this perfume to some friends as 'man-repellent' and I stand by that description one thousand percent. But I really could picture a number of people enjoying the dangerous energy Witches' Kitchen gives off. If you've ever smelled a black pepper duet/trio and thought, that's awesome but give me MOAR ROAR, you need this Weenie. I can't take the heat in this kitchen, so I'm gonna get out of it as the saying advises, and leave the cauldron-exploding to other braver souls.
  2. Those notes look like a witchy booklover's dream. How do they all come together? In the beginning, a wild ride! There's so much going on here. Creamy, waxy candles flicker around a thick green haze of moss. The air is crackly with fierce spices - clove, black pepper, cardamom - leaning into a picture of greenness surrounded by dark. The moss gives a humidity to the air, damp and hot, with ylang ylang a humid floral that's more herbal than heady. It's so interesting to smell the place where fresh damp scent meets the old crackly dust of incense and parchment. Like you can almost picture fresh herbs and foraging baskets full of ingredients, scattered around old spellbooks and dusty relics. That picture is really cool! Later, this turns sweet and creamy, a beeswax so gentle and smooth, deepened by the dark musky glow of black amber. This development is GORGEOUS. While aesthetically I like the fresh stage - cottage core meets dark academia! - for wearing purposes, I looooove the drydown stage. Most beeswax scents seem to have a bite. Witchecraft's bite is all up front with its mosses and sharp greenery. Once it's just the candles flickering in the room, the quiet reediness of old parchment, the mood becomes incredibly gentle and soothing, like Eusapia. The incense and spices transform it from 'just' candle to something mystic, almost ancient. Even fresh, Witchecraft has good presence on me. It seems to warm on the skin beautifully, and I can smell wafts of that beautiful spiced candlewax for hours. Because of the green opening, this does not become a really heavy or winter-dominant scent. I could picture wearing this almost any time of year. If mosses are not your cup of tea, tread with caution, but otherwise, bookish scent-seekers need to give this one a try! I would wear this while: making witchy crafts. Like a spellbook
  3. starbrow

    Apple Macchiato

    There's a whole lotta strong black coffee in this Apple Macchiato! If you've been craving an espresso-heavy scent with just some sprinklings of other gourmand notes, here's your ticket. From out of the spices, I am picking up a cardamom rather than a cinnamon spiking this coffee, a bit like Cafe Mille from the OLLAs. It's delicious but also a little on the earthy-savoury side for me. The brown sugar is there to balance it out with both sweetness and darkness, and then as it dries, caramel apple emerges in a lighter, drizzly swirl. It's kind of heady when combined with the coffee that stays very thick and black. I was hoping the oatmilk would pop nicely here, and it rather does, but in an oatmeal stout kind of way for me rather than a creamy, light, oaty milk. Maybe the espresso is swallowing everything into its darkness. But yes, a stouter oatmeal interpretation is what emerges. I think this blend might pair beautifully with Nightingale or And Here I Shere My Corne. I just want MORE oats! (I have a weird experience with the drydown of Apple Macchiato where, a few hours later, I get cedary hamster-cage shavings. CLEAN hamster cage, thank goodness. It's a wildly unexpected stage between the wet/lightly dried stage and the final dregs of beverage. Other apple spice perfumes have yielded corn chip stages on my skin, so take this with a grain of salt.) In my opinion, the perfume version of Apple Macchiato is darker, stronger, and less sweet than the drinkable one. BUT it's also pretty delectable overall! This easily could have turned into a goopy, sickly-sweet mess on my skin, which loves to take caramel notes and blow them way out of proportion. That didn't happen here! The caramel stayed tame, the apple played nicely, and the spices hum along with the coffee for a richly spiced exotic espresso. Looking forward to seeing how it ages. I would wear this while: enjoying a November day and needing a pick-me-up at the end of it.
  4. starbrow


    I will not lie to y'all, this was stank when it arrived. Not fecal oudh (not quite), but it smelled like foot funk. And red sour plum. YIKES. I didn't have high hopes for it. But, now that it's had a few days to calm from its mail shock, Heksenbijeenkomst is a hekkin good time. The initial onset is still on the sour side, and I'm hoping that smooths out with age as all the resins meld and develop. And those first few minutes have a fair amount of floral opium that thankfully smokes out soon. The foot funk oudh is gone, replaced with something on the better side of the indolic scale for me, a woody floral. WHEW. Within a few minutes of being on the skin, the blend transforms into a beautiful waft that I described as "sugar plums and old wooden Christmas decorations". This plum is almost baked? It's not a sugary syrup like the Sugar Plums of 2021 Yules. It has a nice oven-roasted, naturally sweetened quality. YUM. The floral disappears, the sourness skedaddles, and I'm left imagining chestnuts roasting with plum puff pastries in the oven. (It's not that gourmand, but the scent picture is there in my head.) Meanwhile the other resins are really uniting to create the nostalgic smell of opening up a treasure box that has been closed for a year, and pulling out wooden ornaments and hand-sewn crafts that have absorbed decades of Christmases' various smells. No one single note is punching through. This tobacco leaf is so exquisitely smooth already, I keep forgetting it's there. It drags the opium into that smoky place I want it to go. The myrrh/black amber don't poof up into powder, truly a Christmas miracle! They are snuggly-soft and glowing-resinous, a warm fragrance that's not quite incense but again adds a bit to the Christmasy effects with its suggestion of going to Mass. Shock and awe, I'm kind of obsessed with Heksenbijeenkomst! This is going not in my Weenie box but in my Yules box. I can't wait to wear it on a cold day in December! I would wear this while: decorating the Christmas tree!
  5. starbrow

    Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffin

    Freshly applied, this Weenie is giving me tons of the chocolate chip note from Baby's First Chainsaw (Lilith 2021). So if that one worked for you, you might notice it here and love it! That one didn't work for me - it was plasticky and artificial, "scratch and sniff chocolate chip", with too much of a wax component in it - but it's not the only player here, fortunately. It's the top note, calming down over time. The orangey-pumpkin note that I usually find in the more sugary Weenies begins to pop. Here, it is strangely not too sweet, a little more savory? I notice a lot more of the citrus-orange peel. It's a bright, happy note that takes the spices of the "pumpkin spice" in a baking direction and not in that thick, goopy pumpkin syrup way. So if you're familiar with that "thicker" pumpkin spice from the lab, quite spicy but also uber rich and orangey, this is it, just extracted from so much sweetness and baked down into a more neutral setting. YUM. Weirdly, the muffin is kind of the mildest of the notes to my nose? I guess because I'm really familiar with the Lab's chocolate chip and "rich pumpkin spice" note, so the bready dessert of the muffins plays out as an afterthought in what I perceive. But it's a really good setting to tone down those two very desserty components! From all the feedback, most sniffers are very likely to get a lot of muffin, so I would count on it until you get to try it for yourself ;). This is a pretty low-throw gourmand that doesn't smack you in the face with sweetness. Nor is the pumpkin spice too much. (YMMV.) I would be prepared for some orange, however. I'm liking it, have yet to totally fall in love, but I'm definitely keeping my bottle for a while! I would wear this while: cracking open a new cozy fall book. Something with baking in it
  6. starbrow

    Gooped Familiar

    Whoa a TON of perfumey amber and furry musk! This is a great interpretation of a grey furry cat who's been rubbing up on some witchy spices and herbs. (Catnip!) The cinnamon bark and clove is recognizable from some recent duets and trios featuring those two notes. They are dark and dusty, rather than fierce and hot. They dance with an animalistic fur note that is not too funky - this cat has been bathed in the past month? - but a little rough around the edges. This is in rather stark contrast to the elegance of the grey amber - I know it says golden, but this reminds me of The Grey Columns if that scent had teeth - which puffs out in a powdery nimbus around the fur and spices. I don't specifically get black musk, and I do enjoy a good black musk. Some of my favorite BPALs ever are Streets of Detroit, Dark Lace, and Bewitched. Same thing with hay - one of my favorite notes, but here it is almost more bonfire wood in nature than actual dry straw hay. I can get a bit of dark woody musky vibes coming out in concert with cedar and spicy carnation, a bit of sneezy dusty hay, but altogether this just reads as FUR to my nose. It's amazing how all of these notes combine to translate as a very realistic fur. And yet...the finished product is elegant and perfumey. What the heck? Do I like this? Am I uncomfortable with it? Like trying on an antique real fur coat. It's glorious, it's elegant, but would I actually wear it? I'm not sure. I think another month or two of settling - of ME settling into this scent - will tell. Right now, it's chilling like a black cat with googly eyes in my Weenies box.
  7. starbrow

    Bobbing for Snake Oil

    Bobbing for Snake Oil is definitely going to become iconic! The fruity variation is beautifully blended into the existing patina of a classic Snake Oil that we all know and love; blindly smelling this, if you were familiar with Snake Oil, I think you'd be able to recognize it, young though this bottle is. The sweet patch is there, the spicy musk, the snuggly vanilla, and tucked away into this comforting haze is a homemade apple pie filling. I don't get a buttery pie crust, so I won't say this is an actual apple pie, but the filling is there, not overly sweet, with still a hint of tartness to the pleasing softness of the baked apples. I also need to report something weird that I'm getting at this current stage of aging: corn chips. I have had this phenomenon happen in another perfume that featured apple desserts, so it is surely just a me thing, but I'm leaving it here in case it helps future me or anybody else. It doesn't ruin the perfume for me, just adds another layer of "wearing Snake Oil at Thanksgiving and the family is munching on corn chips while dinner cooks" storytelling to the scent profile. Do you need this if you're not an apple fan? I'd say maybe? If you tend to like gourmands but not specifically apple, this might still scratch a nice itch, and the Snake Oil is a good one! It's worth trying, and I hope it gets restocked one more time before Weenies 2022 go away! I plan to age this one and revisit in a few months. I would wear this while: recovering from Thanksgiving
  8. starbrow

    Bobbing for Smut

    Okay, INTERESTING. I'm comparing Bobbing for Smut with a Smut 2022. First, Bobbing for Smut by itself: sweet and candy-ish in the bottle, doesn't have a big musky depth. On the skin, the red musk pops a lot more, but I don't get the black musk or brown musk that I'm familiar with in Smut. The apple has a peel element (a little more woody) as well as the fruit element that's more juicy and pulpy. A hint of apple blossom as well? A tinge of something a bit floral, but I don't hate it! The apple seems to blend well into the fruity component that Smut always has lurking in its background anyways. Some might say a bit candle, and I wouldn't disagree. This is not really boozy at all. If anything, more like a light sparkling apple juice. Once I put on Smut 2022, the difference becomes clear. Bobbing seems to be missing the zippy "cola" labdanum kind of musks-and-spices that Smut has? Like maybe all the apple fruit and blossom is covering it up, and aging will bring it out? The difference is strong enough that if you currently smelled a bottle of Bobbing for Smut blindly, without knowing what its inspiration was, I don't know for sure that "Smut" would be the guess. The sugared red musk base just isn't enough to scream Smut to me. I suspect Bobbing for Smut will change the most of the Bobbings over time. It's one to keep an eye on. I enjoy it, but I think I will age it more before really wearing it. I will probably update this review in a year!
  9. starbrow

    Bobbing for Blood Kisses

    Blood Kisses was the biggest surprise of the three Bobbings I've tried so far. The apple it presents gleams almost like a red patent leather, it's so shiny (but not plasticky! A true slick patent!) A coppery twang like Bard glimmers from its depths, a note I always associate with clove and saffron even though I'm not sure that IS what it truly is. The vetiver is silvery too, metallic, serpentine and slithery through its grassy bed. Combined with the spicy red musk that's prominent in this Bobbing, it's hypnotic. Oh, fans of Vetiver Patchouli Apple Peel trio and Scherezade will LOVE this. Maybe Bright Red Dildo too, although I am not personally a BRD fan myself, but this is what I wanted the red patent leather to smell like. I actually love Bobbing for Blood Kisses more than I knew I would. I hope the vetiver continues to bloom and bloom in its snake-charmer red musk dance. The apple seems to tone down the cherry I get from Blood Kiss, to the point where I just smell dark red fruit, and no almond whatsoever. (I also don't get specifically wine or booze, but it's somewhere between the juiciness of juice and the dryness of an alcoholic beverage. Very smooth and rich.) BfBK is one of the creamiest of the bobbings, and one of the most complex I would guess. Like the apple doesn't completely take over the whole show, and I could even picture someone who's not a big apple fan digging the twists and turns of the spices and vetiver and musks here. This beauty has a low-to-moderate throw, but I keep catching whiffs of it when I move around. The vetiver doing its magic 💥 I'm hoping it continues to age even stronger so I can surround myself in a CLOUD of it all. I'm so happy with how this turned out! I would wear this while: adorning my person in a vampiric red dress.
  10. starbrow

    October 33rd

    I have adored the lab's bourbon apple note since first experiencing it in hair gloss form. The moment I saw it in October 33rd, with all those gourmand friends, it jumped into a new order. I'll give you my impressions first of the bottle by itself: BOURBON APPLE. RAWR. This sings like a bourbon apple single-note to me. What does that mean? A sweet, rich, spicy apple that's been thoroughly corrupted into a boozy swirl until it's almost unrecognizable as pure apple, then soaked in an oaken barrel until it takes on a woody, dark heaviness. In other words, heavenly. I can smell something sweet and chewy-vanilla (that slight plasticky candy-corn whiff?), and dribbles of pumpkin spice latte that reminds me of Rite of Passage from 2021 Liliths, foamy and wispy and pumpkin dusty. I don't get much of the pumpkin souffle except in a murmur of faint savory amidst the sweet, like a toasted pumpkin note, but it's so faint that I have to press my arm up to my nose to catch it. The inside of my elbow is burning, suggesting some strong cinnamon, for what it's worth. I don't smell red-hot cinnamon (a note I'm not fond of), but I think some mulling spices cinnamon is here, along with clove and nutmeg and ginger for sure. I'm loving the sweet treats here amid the spices. Then I had to compare it to my other bourbon apples. First up, Prairie Witch. A permanent fixture for now on the BPAL website, Prairie Witch has the recognizable bourbon apple in a fresher form (this brew is still a-brewing) and surrounded by grasses, hay, twigs, and other green and prickly bits. By comparison, Oct 33 smells so much sweeter and more vanilla-y, and Prairie Witch's vetiver stands out prominently. I feel like I would wear Prairie Witch for outdoorsy things, and Oct 33 for a cozy afternoon crafting session. And lastly, there's the OG classic, the one that started it all, Bourbon-Soaked Apples Hair Gloss. This one is still straight-up GOOD. Less sweet than the others, and darker, with lots of the oak barrel soaking into the bourbon, and the apple cooked down into a boozy haze, and the perfect sparkle of lemon juice to give it dimension instead of just being all dark all the time. Spraying this just brings me instantly into the fall and winter time. I love it so, and if I wanted a cloud of bourbon apple, I would absolutely layer it with Oct 33 or Prairie Witch oils! Ultimately, apple haters are not going to enjoy October 33rd, but everybody else is probably going to find this is very fall and very joyful. If the notes sound good to you, they probably will be good to you! A gourmand's delight.
  11. starbrow

    The Triumph of Death

    This is the same East Indian black patchouli - an aggressive, punchy, dirt-streaked patch - as "But Men Loved Darkness Rather Than Light" (Yule). Combined with the vetiver and the peru balsam, it is truly menacing here. A growling dark, ready to swallow you whole. A gritty, smoky vetiver, and a scratchy wood (balsam), plus a thousand resins swirled down into oily pitch. This is like dirty motor oil. Viscous. Full of grit. Wow. I think you have to be in a Big Mood to enjoy this one. That said, there are some glimmers of amazing things here. I recognize the smooth woody red sandalwood of Anne Bonny peeking through the gloom. And the friendlier smoke of ambrette seed, combined with the thicker soot of the vetiver/patch. Keeping! I can't picture myself being in the mood to wear it much, but it paints the picture of darkness too perfectly to let go. I would wear this while: dressed to kill, in ass-kicking boots
  12. starbrow

    To Autumn

    Nutmeat 😏 Now that my inner twelve-year-old has had its say, this is a damn near perfect realistic-autumnal outdoorsy scent in the bottle. I'm getting whiffs of October walks in the Appalachians, the smell of decay and crisp air and old forests, spices and woodsmoke, the murmur of apples and pumpkins but in a mulled way. Let's see if this translates on the skin. Mm yes, it gets a bit more mellowed out, a little sweeter and more perfumey on the skin. This is slightly more fall potpourri/candle than it was in the bottle. Will this be one to wear in a scent locket? I'm thinking that is the case. Alas! It's a beautiful scent with some hay, some mulling spice, not too crazy on the apple, more like the smell of a winery. I get a lot of the same feeling of vines, fresh growing things, bursting grapes, and then the woods of oak barrels. I'm thinking the poppy juice really comes out on the skin - to me it's like a really great mulled red wine, smooth yet spicy. I will experiment with this in a scent locket for sure. I would wear this while: antiquing on a cool November day.
  13. starbrow

    The Magic Circle

    When I first got this, I feel like the clary sage stood out more - that's the whole reason I acquired it! I love that mystical, herbal burst! Nowadays, the sage and frankincense have mellowed and smoothed (yum), but the jasmine sambac has gotten more jasminey and sambaccy than ever. YIKES. Powdery heady florals are barely held in check by the woody resins and herbs. I want MOAR herbs, less jasmine. I think the honey myrtle is contributing to the floral situation. I am definitely hanging onto my bottle - this one is hard to come by, and you never know what aging will do - but I am moving this one out of the Weenie box and into my "weird herbal/floral" box that I am (frankly) rarely in the mood for, but I still enjoy sniffing them.
  14. starbrow

    Young Corn

    I find the idea of Young Corn very represented here. The summer breezes are here to play. They bring a freshness, a zing to the air. You are afraid of the word "fresh"? Do not trample here. Freshness abounds. It's not quite white musk, but it's ZINGY. Things are buzzing in the air. The corn is a-husking. The soil is a-growing. The haystacks are freshly mown and very, very new. Everything is young. Everything is not yet reached autumn. Something about this brings to me my mood as I set up things for a Halloween in Florida. It does not bring me to a full autumn in bloom in the north; it is a grassy, breezy, humid autumn in the south. Kind of amazing! There's a cottony, freshly washed air to everything, as if whatever decorations have gotten a spin through the wash or a brush with a deodorizing spray. That's what we do here. I want to layer this with some spicy, sweet, deeply autumnal blends. I really like its base layer, I just don't think it's quite complete as is. If you are a BPAL collector and layerer, I highly recommend. If you're looking for a one-and-done fall scent, this is not the one, I fear. It really depends on preference, and I am very curious to experiment with Young Corn as a complement to the rest of my Weenie collection.
  15. starbrow

    Spiced Autumn Cider

    This is a WILDLY cinnamony fruit punch to start, emphasis on the punch. I normally don't react to cinnamon, but this one is so red-hot, it made my arms welt up. Once it calms down, the ginger and clove emerge and it's a more rounded cidery scent, quite spicy but plenty of apple and citrus to keep it bright and fruity. The smell of it in the bottle is always a little scary, how crazy-hot and fruity punchy it is, and I tend to forget that I need to be careful where this goes on skin. However, the drydown is always worth it! This ends up smelling like quintessential fall, especially if you strongly associate the season with cinnamon. I'd recommend this cider to the cinnamon lovers, those who can wear it easily on their skin or are willing to adjust placement/delivery method to accommodate its potency. The glug of maple syrup gives it more sweetness (fruit punch-style) than some of the other cider offerings, but make no mistake, this is super fiery and the syrup doesn't tone that down at all! Spiced Autumn Cider earns its place amongst all the various apples and ciders by being just EXTRA at everything. If you want that experience of drinking a HOT-spicy beverage on a cold fall morning, here's your ticket. I would wear this while: bundling up for a very chilly autumnal day