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BPAL Madness!


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Everything posted by starbrow

  1. 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!
  2. 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.
  3. 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!
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. starbrow

    Bright Red Dildo

    2019: I was hoping for the same red leather from Yule 2018 Fifth Lash and Sixth Lash, a dark sexy musky red leather. Ah, no, Bright Red Dildo is unapologetically bright and red and penetratingly honey. It's all honey, with a gloss of shiny red leather vinyl. As it dries, the leather slips away, leaving a more subdued honey but still. Much honey. I am hoping this one will mellow into something wonderful with age. I'd like to smell the previous years, too.
  11. starbrow


    Many creamy tea scents - my favorite Shungas - need aging to develop any sort of presence or throw. But from the very first testing, Atsui-Mono walked into the room and was here to stay. She's a bold, figgy tea, creamed and sugared with a mere hint (like not even a full twist) of lemon that is probably the hay. Honey? Hiding somewhere, nicely checked by the fig and sweet vanilla, and those are the notes that stick around, long after the tea has vanished. I'm enjoying this one so much. It reminded me a lot of Humorous Copulation, but in the end I love H.C.'s drydown so much, that one will probably get the backup bottle. But I will treasure my full bottle of Atsui-Mono quite dearly.
  12. starbrow

    A Tattooed Woman Embraces the God of Thunder

    The darkest of darks. This is ultra-smooth woody vetiver, swirling hot in black curtains of thick leather and spiced darkness. And yet the throw is intimate, only powerful when your nose is up close - or if you slather. I get very little red musk, and nothing indolic at all from the oudh, just a rich dark wood. This is fierce, sexy, but not stompy. It's surprisingly subtle. This woman has inner strength for days. I am not sure if I am this woman, but I kind of want to be. Did I mention? Dark.
  13. 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.
  14. 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.
  15. 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?
  16. 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.
  17. 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.
  18. 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.
  19. 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.
  20. 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.
  21. 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!
  22. 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."
  23. 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.
  24. 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.
  25. 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!