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BPAL Madness!


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Everything posted by starbrow

  1. starbrow

    The Fiery Clinch of Ecstasy Hair Gloss

    Gorgeous and STRONG! Creamy red musk, equal parts sweet and vibrant. It is eyes-rolling-in-the-back-of-the-head good. As it dries down, the impact doesn't diminish. Wow this packs a punch. I alternate between "I want to smell like this always" and "is this too much?" One or two spritzes can last for days. I can only imagine what aging will do. I highly recommend all red musk and/or patchouli fans check this one out.
  2. starbrow

    Le Coucher de la Mariee Hair Gloss

    Goth club central! This is straight up vanilla, sex, and clove cigarette smoke. I'm kind of obsessed. The smoke note is so wearable and lets its fellow notes breathe. If tobacco is a stompy note for you like it is for me, I'm happy to report I detect no tobacco-of-doom here. The vanilla is sugary, sultry, and blatantly naughty. It's addicting. This was a medium-wear length HG for me, compared with the monster wear of some. I can already tell I'll need another bottle.
  3. starbrow


    A little sniffie at the bottle and it's SWEET SWEET PLUMMY JAM like super sweet. And that's the first blast wet on the skin, so much sweet pastry. Oh but then, my friends. Then. The chestnut comes out. And I know what it is because, uh, We Believe That Death is Not the End of Man, is that you? I started inhaling that elusive 2018 Lupercalia, wondered why, then realized. The shared note is chestnut. Holy cow. This is chestnut. Sweet, snarky, mall-goth chestnut. Why chestnut reminds me of malls, I will never know, but it's a really good scent memory for me. And I amp it, and it's beautiful. In the end, yes there is some pastry, a smidge of plum jam (and plum is a dynamite note for me, so I'm sure it's playing a supporting role beautifully). But chestnut. Wow. Who knew?
  4. starbrow

    Fifth Lash

    Red musk, black amber, red leather, teakwood, smoked lavender, and plum. This is one sexy blend. For fans of red musk, this one is different enough to include in the collection. The warm leather and teak gives it almost a unisex quality - in fact, I'll be trying this one on a boy soon - along the lines of Hellfire or Dee, with the faint whiffs of smoky lavender and red musk swirling into the mix, and that beautiful plum note from the lab giving it all a rich purply note. But it's the leather that is really warming this one up for me and sinking into my skin. It's incredibly sexy as it settles, losing throw but gaining that really nice second-skin quality. For fun, I put it up against Mme. Moriarty, with whom it shares the red musk and plum. They are quite different, but absolutely deserve to share shelf space in the same collection. Fans of A Savage Veil or Shadow in the Elevator (kissing cousins, minus the leather note) should definitely check this one out. I hadn't tried a red musk/leather scent before and Fifth Lash works SO well. I wish its throw lasted longer but really that is my only complaint. It's gorgeous.
  5. starbrow

    First Lash

    Austrian black amber, woodsmoke, frankincense, and terebinth. The woodsmoke is the headliner note in this one, warmed by swoonworthy terebinth and brightened by the frank. Compared with the early acrid note from Hearthflame and Incense, this one is much warmer and more rounded to my nose. Maybe that's the black amber? This is definitely something I want to smell like. I am hoping the terebinth pops more as it settles/ages. Fresh, it's very wearable and wood-forward.
  6. starbrow

    I need something like 51 and og Lilith

    Snaky-Hair'd Moirai is definitely a bad girl. Her vibe is sexy demoness who smokes, rides a motorcycle like a bat out of hell, and doesn't give an eff. Evil (RPG) is the Clark Kent bad girl - all her evil is buttoned up in a sophisticated, sultry package and it's gorgeous.
  7. starbrow

    Gingerbread Tobacco

    All of the Cotillion that I sniffed this year - Tobacco, Cacao/Champaca, Coffee Bean/Smoked Vanilla, and Oudh - have the same underlying Gingerbread note, which is not a chewy spicy version but a light golden intoxicating aura like things baking in the oven and giving off yummy yeasty vibes. Not typically the smell I associate with gingerbread, but delicious and wearable beyond the holidays. Lucchesa is absolutely right. This is the beautiful tobacco note from Pumpkin Tobacco, elegant and sweet and sophisticated, rather than stompy. Those who loved it in the Pumpkin will probably love it in the Gingerbread. The problem is - those (like myself) who have it in the Pumpkin already probably don't *need* it in the Gingerbread. Those distinguishing notes are so faint as to be mere embellishments. The star is really the tobacco, just depends which accent flavor you love more. Pumpkin is a little darker and heavier, Gingerbread lighter and brighter. They are both beautiful, but I don't need bottles of both.
  8. starbrow

    Seventh Lash

    Sticky coca-cola with a twist of citrus, served in a birchwood cup. The powdery orris root is there in the background, and who knows where the leather is hiding? Pretty unisex, and pretty distinctive. I don't really want to smell like soda, so no need for a bottle for me, but I'll probably keep my imp to remind myself what these resins smell like! Coke with lemon-lime, ~weird.
  9. starbrow

    Third Lash

    A pure, true fir, fresh but with prickly edges softened by solemn herbs. There's something almost holy about the frankincense (olibanum) and thyme elevating the piney woods with a magi's gift, with saddle-leather very faintly in the background of it all. It's simple, authentic, good. If you like the idea of church incense but not the actual spices, this one might give you the feel you're looking for in the guise of a chapel in the middle of a forest of white firs, a still cold night carrying the scent of frankincense and evergreens into the air. If it was a song, it would be O Holy Night. I'm very close to getting a full bottle of this.
  10. starbrow

    Who Would Not Tremble Too?

    Wow this is VERY orange-blossomy, which is good news for any (like me) who love orange blossom and are always searching for it as a star in the blend. It really shines here. The honey wraps it in sweetness, and all the other notes kiss it with a lovely exotic floral-tea atmosphere, but make no mistake: this is Orange Blossom The Movie, and I couldn't be happier. I dare say this is THE most prominent orange blossom scent I've tried from the lab, and I've tried quite a few. I will be bottling this one without question. It's a scent I will be thrilled to wear in spring and summer - how funny, for it to be a Yule!
  11. starbrow

    Sixth Lash

    This is delicious. If you've gotten to try Fifth Lash, it's the same red leather but in a real starring role this time, where it doesn't have to compete with red musk and all the other bold notes from Fifth. It's a beautiful warm comfy leather, a little brighter than the typical black and brown leathers, but not plasticky at all. The chocolate pops out when freshly applied, but as it dries the black pepper takes over as runner-up for most prominent note. I wish it was the reverse because I have really been enjoying the lab's cocoa in certain blends and it's a beautiful richness here, not uber-sweet, and the peppery layer kind of stomps over it. Like maybe a little Bliss on top of this would be awesome. If the pepper behaves itself, I'm going to need a bottle of this. Let's see how it settles! ETA: Duh, my decant has the famous chocolate sediment at the bottom! With a good stir/roll, the chocolate comes out beautifully. Turned it from "maybe I need a bottle" to "I NEED MORE THAN ONE."
  12. starbrow

    Second Lash

    Hello tobacco...and not the silky, elegant French Tobacco note from the recent Pumpkin Tobacco and Gingerbread Tobacco. I mean, it MIGHT be that note, but all the other dark elements here are combining to make this a swarthy, gritty, whiskey-drinking, cigar-smoking TOBACCO scent. Hmm, where's the citrus? It's very much hiding. Maybe it'll peek out later, or as it ages? But that is one STRONG, unapologetic baccy. This is what Rhett Butler smells like.
  13. starbrow

    Reflections Under Bereavement

    The rose popped right out at me from all the other notes, but I'm hypersensitive to rose. Otherwise, it was quite pretty and delicate, and I'd agree, it's in the Lace mood family.
  14. starbrow

    Blackcurrant Glogg

    I got to sniff this one. It's VERRRRRRY boozy. Like stick your face in spirits and inhale. I was hoping for more simmer and less spirits, but I think it'd be a hit for fans of boozy blends!
  15. starbrow

    Gingerbread, Cacao, and Champaca

    This is the same gorgeous champaca from Injured Dickchest, warmed into baking territory by the gingerbread and cacao. These, though, are more like the whiff of Christmas cookies baked earlier in the day and still lingering faintly in the air, while champaca diffuses beside you. It's a cloud of warmth and deliciousness, almost reminding me of the richness and depth of Pumpkin Mead and Black Oudh. If you're hoping for lots of gingerbread, I'm not getting a ton from this blend; a hint of spice, but mostly a wonderful goldeny glow that has the kind of intoxication of treats being baked. This scent just makes me happy. It has good presence and lasts for a few hours, but I just want to slather this one all over and already I'm making a dip in my bottle. I can tell I will need multiples of GC&C. It might even be my favorite of 2018.
  16. starbrow

    Ninth Lash

    I really wanted to love this Lash. Honey can go warm and cozy or screechy on my skin, depending on the blend. This one IS on the louder side, with a piquancy that I think is from the clove, a brightness from the helichrysum. (I smelled helichrysum by itself before and after, and that note is bright, cheerful, and grassy to my nose. There's definitely some of it peeking through in the blend!) I tried this one on my wrist for a long car ride, along with several other scents. Ninth Lash kept wafting up to my nose, it has great staying power. There is a creaminess in it but also something in it that keeps me from loving it. Something a little off. I wish I knew if it was the darn honey. Still, I kept sniffing my wrist, intrigued. Even after a few hours, I still couldn't quite figure this scent out. It's quite complex! I think honey lovers will be pretty pleased, but it's probably one of those ones you need to try to know if it's for you. I won't be getting it for myself, but I can see someone loving it.
  17. starbrow

    Twelfth Lash

    I snagged a bottle of this at Lunacy after just a quick sniff - I knew it was a winner. I too was curious about the comparisons with the caramelized patchouli in Zoe and the Goat, so today I did an arm-vs-arm comparison. Twelfth Lash is to Zoe what Samhainophobia is to Samhain: dark rituals in the midnight forest vs. frolicking through the trees. In spite of the sweet things in the notes, Twelfth has teeth. It bites instead of giggles, which is absolutely what Zoe is doing on my other arm by comparison. No caramelization with the Lash; *blackened* is the right word for it! As it dries, I could swear Twelfth has pine in it; it's the dark, sticky resin of midnight pine rather than a bright, cheerful pine. As a huge fan of Samhainophobia, I am thrilled to have a wintry equivalent. It has excellent throw and staying power so it will go quite a ways. Very happy to have a bottle for my very own.
  18. starbrow

    Hearthflame and Incense

    To me, this was the same acrid beginning as Midnight Bonfire. Unfortunately, it gives me a headache and doesn't make it worth the drydown to the nice resiny wood at the end. I really wanted to love this one but it didn't love me back.
  19. starbrow

    Black and Red Candy Canes

    I like dark and spicy blends, and everything in here sounded like a winner with the possible exception of the star anise. That first blast is ANISE and PEPPERMINT - not one of the listed notes, but it's pretty potent. As it dries, the mintiness calms down and more clove and opium pops out, with the faint whiff of the patch underneath. Not sure yet how often I'll be in the mood to smell like evil candy canes, but this one is it!
  20. 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!
  21. 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.
  22. starbrow

    The Scapegoat

    To save a trump card, sometimes you must make sacrifices: tolu balsam, leather, labdanum, black pepper, and benzoin. Update 2/19: I take it back I take it ALL back. The Scapegoat has aged into magnificence, rich and warm and sophisticated. Now, it actually reminds me more of my beloved Luper, We Believe That Death is Not the End of Man. The pine is lush, rounded, buttered by the leather and resins. The pepper is very well-blended, just giving it all a hint of piquancy. The lack of sweetness tips this into a slightly more masculine territory, which also makes it unexpectedly sexy on a woman . I *HAD* to have a bottle!
  23. 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.
  24. 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!
  25. 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.