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BPAL Madness!


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About Rayleigh

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    a little too imp-ulsive


  • Favorite Scents
    GC: Event Horizon, DEE, Bow & Crown of Conquest, Scherezade, Coyote, Tzadikim Nistarim, Death Cap, Sin, Cathedral, Bewitched, Paladin, No. 93 Engine, Snake Oil, Mme. Moriarty. LE: Snow White, Raven Moon, Death of Autumn, To Lesbia, I Wish I Were Your Mirror, Hope & Fear Set Free

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  1. Rayleigh


    The lab's cedar is so nice on me. It's green, pliant, living cedar. The vanilla and sassafras balance the cedar nicely. With wear, this sweetens up. It lasts a good long while on me, and eventually it's a root beer float that you're drinking on a cedar porch. I prefer the sharper early stage, but this is beautiful nonetheless, and the sassafras makes it stand out from other vanilla/cedar scents I have tried. It's sweeter than its cousin, How Doth the Little Crocodile, and less dry than its other cousin, The Small Brown Cat. I don't get the ruggedness that others get, but I do enjoy pretending that the root beer float is being enjoyed by a world-weary gunslinger who gave up alcohol and now carries around a flask full of root beer to keep up appearances.
  2. Rayleigh

    Milk Moon 2020

    Milk Moon is Good Odd. In the vial, it smells like sour milk, and I found it off-putting on first sniff. On the skin, the sourness mellows right away. I get the dates and figs, but they don't take over. Fig can be weird on me -- not unpleasant, but it can distract from any other notes. Here, it's just a hint, and doesn't get in the way of the rest of the blend at all. The honey is subtle, as is the cedar. There is good balance between the sweetness of the honey and fruits, the sturdy woods, and the tangy milk. The tang that put me off in the bottle becomes my favorite part on my skin -- it makes this blend unique and interesting. I usually wear perfume when unwinding in the evening, so every scent ends up becoming a sleep scent. It usually doesn't make much difference one way or the other in my sleep quality. Milk Moon is the exception -- it knocks me out. I noticed I sleep deeper and feel more rested when I am wearing it, and it lasts long enough that I can still smell it in the morning. I wish I had figured out that fringe benefit earlier, because I would have been tempted to get a rare back up bottle.
  3. Rayleigh

    Winter and Yule in the GC

    Most of these I'll wear happily year round, but give me colder weather vibes. Apparently, the notes that make me think "winter" seem to be beeswax, spices, evergreens. Probably the strongest winter association for me is No. 93 Engine. The warm resins work well with the crisp mastic and balsam. Spellbound is too much for me when it's warm out, but I like it when it's cold out. Rose in general I like a lot more in the colder months. Sin has a cozy, cinnamon-tea-and-a-blanket feel to it. Also Shub! And Hellfire should always be worn when there's a wicked, blustery storm outside, and you're standing by a crackling fireplace conspiring whilst decked out in fancy attire -- so that's holiday-esque, right? Lights of Men's Lives for softly burning candles. Dee is a perennial favorite, but it best suits autumn/winter, and brings to mind a comfy study, surrounded by aged paper. And I agree that Elf works well in both summer and winter. It has enough of each season to be welcome either way.
  4. Rayleigh

    Between Classes

    Soft, clean, floral laundry. Gentle and mild. Considering that "clean" and "floral" are not usually my favorite things, I like this better than expected. It reminds me a bit of the lily water from I Wish I Were Your Mirror, for being a smooth, misty floral that manages to avoid being soapy. It stays very close to the skin. I want my sheets to smell like this at the end of a long day. Given my usual scent preferences, I'm not sure this is one I will reach for much, but it merits more testing before the Liliths come down.
  5. Rayleigh


    I seem to amp honey dust, though not regular old honey. In the bottle, this is a lovely, nuanced scent, with lots of the same milk note I love in Milk Moon 2020, toasty honeyed warmth, and a wisp of lavender. Unfortunately, on my skin, the honey dust turns to butterscotch candies and drowns out the other notes. I had the same issue with the recent honey dust trio. After an hour or two, it starts to get some nuance back, but it never loses the candied aspect. The wear time and throw are impressive. I just wish my skin would let me keep the way it smelled in the bottle.
  6. Rayleigh

    Lavender, White Clove & Ambrette Seed

    I'm not familiar with either ambrette seed or white clove, and part of why I tried this was to see if I could isolate ambrette seed as a note -- and no, I still can't, but I think I get how it contributes to a blend, at least. This starts off sharp and medicinal. I can just barely pick up on ambrette seed as a kind of musky note? But it's not at all prominent. The lavender and clove clash for a while, and I was sure this was not only not going to work, but it was about to veer towards headache town. Then the two decide to get along. The clove is toasty and bright, and the lavender is a clean (not soapy) complement. Lavender is generally used as a calming scent, and clove is so energetic, and I am a big fan of dissonance in all art forms. I'm happy to hang onto my decant of this, though the wear time is shorter than I'm used to.
  7. Rayleigh

    Lemon Peel, Marshmallow & Orange Blossom

    I would love to find a citrus perfume my skin doesn't eat, so I wanted to try this to see if lemon peel has more staying power than regular old lemon. It does -- in that it doesn't flee the instant it touches my skin, but sticks around for a record fifteen minutes. I'm not sure how I feel about it while it lasts. It flips between a smooth citrus scent, with surprisingly tame marshmallow -- and smelling like those chalky Valentine candies, with fresh grated lemon zest on top and some bitter orange blossom. It seems to start to settle into the former, thankfully -- crisp but not cleaning fluid, sweet but not candied -- but then its time is up. I'm left with a whiff of marshmallow alone, which isn't my jam. That brief middle stage was pretty, but citrus and I remain star-crossed.
  8. Rayleigh


    Fuzzy, furry musk, dry dusty grass, and smooth, soft, suede leather. This scent has a lot of texture. The amber is unobtrusive, coming out mostly in the late dry down to add a faint sweetness and spice. The musk is animalic without being aggressive. Very evocative of the eponymous animal, dusty paths, and swaying golden summer prairie grass. The best word in the description is "downy," because it captures the fluffy, slightly wild quality of this blend. Soft, deep, and relaxing. Good to wear when you're feeling feral, but also really chill about it. I seem to be a magnet for frimps of Coyote, and I am never disappointed to have more of it around.
  9. Rayleigh

    Mead Moon

    Smells like summer! Nice, non-cloying honey, lightly scented with a muddle of herbs/spices that I can't easily pick out. No citrus for me. The lab's blackberry works well on me, and smells wonderfully realistic. I don't have many good summer scents, so I'm happy to have this one around.
  10. Rayleigh

    Hay Moon 2020

    This cements it -- I love hay notes. Starting off, I get a lot of honeyed oat cakes, but then amber and hay step up. I would love more cardamom (as usual), but here it adds a spicy whisper. The hay is lush and dry and pleasantly musty, and it pairs nicely with the oats, the drizzle of honey, and the richness of the amber. This was July's moon, but to me it smells like the end of August -- sweet grasses and gentle breezes, the last gasp of late summer under an orange sun.
  11. Rayleigh

    Hope and Fear Set Free

    This was practically a no-miss guarantee on me, and it's perfection. The frankincense is woodsy, grounding, and radiant, and the bourbon vanilla blankets it softly and unobtrusively. Resins hit an instant 'slow down, calm down' button deep in my brain, and this is simple and soothing. I adore it.
  12. Rayleigh

    Please Scream Inside Your Heart

    Firstly, the short version about this scent: This is a foodie, well-made, realistic scent, with enough spices to keep it interesting. I agree with pretty much everything above -- churros, french toast, fried dough, crème brûlée, all of it. And it's delicious and summery and amusement-park nostalgic, with lengthy wear time and powerful throw. Unrelated to the scent, I have developed an intense fondness for the possum on the label art. I'm really rooting for that screeching marsupial. I, too, have opposable thumbs and high stress levels, my friend. Now, the meandering, long-winded version, less about the scent and more about how I am a Dummy: Everything about this scent told me exactly what it would be -- foodie. And yet! My brain went, "Well, I like the smell of funnel cake and churros. And even though I don't like foodie scents on my skin, I do like walking around carnivals and smelling those things, and that in a bottle sounds fun. Let's go!" My attitude toward foodie scents is, fittingly, a bit like my attitude toward cake. I'm not that fond of regular old cake. It's fine in small doses, but it's just not for me, unless it has so many other things going on that it is no longer cake, to the point that it has to change its name to something like tiramisu or cheesecake, or else it gets in trouble for identity theft. If I'm given a choice between cake and something else, I'll usually pick the something else, even if I can appreciate how well-crafted the cake is. Same with foodie scents -- I can appreciate the craft of bottling them, but I only like them for myself if they're in the company of enough non-foodie notes to balance it out. So I was as nervous trying this on as I would have been had it been a real, live possum. But! I'm always happy to admit exceptions to my rules (Snow White killed No White Florals dead in its tracks and wears it around her neck in triumph), and this smelled good in the vial. It got the tiniest little dab. This possum is not screaming inside its heart; it wants to be heard, and smelled, and it has the throw to make sure it will not be ignored! Notice the possum, or there will be consequences. And at first, it was mostly spices -- like what a spice candle wants to be when it grows up, minus the fakey notes that make spice candles smell like potpourri. But as it dries, more and more buttery dough comes out. I swear that way, way down in the depths of this scent, I can smell the powdered sugar dissolving into the melted butter into bonus globules of deliciousness. Best-foodstall-on-the-promenade stuff, but still food. "I smell edible," I wail, and the possum wails back, "What were you expectinnnnng?" And that's fair, possum. This is a very good scent. Strong recommend for foodie-lovers. And I like smelling it! And I would like being around someone else who smelled like this, or -- even better -- around some place that smelled like this. I even liked catching whiffs of it when I was outside, where it seemed most at home. Inside, though, it kept following me, as one would expect with something applied directly on the skin. I wanted it to waft by for a gentle reminder that Summer Fun exists, and then let me keep working on All-Season No-Fun until I wanted the reminder again (aka, an unreasonable expectation for a perfume.) I will give this a chance to rest and try again, because it is exactly like a day at an amusement park, and I could use some unbridled happy in my collection. But I suspect it's a masterfully made slice of cake -- totally wasted on me.
  13. Rayleigh

    No Man is an Island

    This is a powerhouse of a scent. Strong stuff. More coffee than any of the kaffeeklatsch scents I tried. Something smoky, and a distinctive, decadent hazelnut cream mingled with the dank earthiness of the patchouli and the sage/cassis. It makes me think of college, of late night discussions with coffee, coffee, coffee. Or, perhaps something more convivial -- like sitting in a coffee shop with your friends and having a shockingly heated argument about, like, the logistics of time travel, or if vampires can catch blood borne illnesses (they're not alive, Eric! They don't have functioning physiology, ERIC!) This scent speaks its mind, but doesn't lose its nurturing qualities. It's very well made. The blend of sweet and savory is intriguing -- but there's a meaty quality to the smokiness that I was hoping would age out. Four months in, no luck, though that doesn't stop me from trying. I suspect my skin is not being kind to something in here. A shame, because it's perfect in theory, and I really want to love it. I still like it -- it's dark and unique and I feel warmed by it -- but the meaty note prevents this from being entirely wearable on me.
  14. Rayleigh

    No. 93 Engine

    No. 93 Engine is a true stand out in the general catalogue -- there are notes here I have never seen elsewhere, and they're quite distinct. I can't think of anything else that smells like it. It has a sharp, coniferous opening, but then the warmth of the resins and beeswax rise up. It is bright and dynamic, and deep and mellow. It smells both mechanical (the gleaming, sterile notes from the sage, mastic, balsam) and inviting (the soft glow of the beeswax and elegant resins.) Unique and atmospheric, yet eminently wearable. An enduring favorite.
  15. Rayleigh


    Carnation stars here, in all its spicy glory. The orange blossom is bright, and the patchouli is earthy. This blend is all about light and shadow. It's rich and warm, but not heavy. Orange blossom can be a little bitter, but it's well anchored in the smooth carnation/ambergris base and just adds a whiff of floral bite, while the patchouli provides a hint of grit. This also benefited tremendously from about a month of age -- if at first try, it is sharp and unbalanced, it's worth coming back to it when it has a chance to mellow. The loud notes calm down and let all the components shine.