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BPAL Madness!


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About firefae

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    evil enabler

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  1. firefae

    Bridge Trolls

    I've worn this a few times now, and I love it more with each wear. Wet, the spice is so prominent that I still have a moment of "what am I getting myself into here?" every time I open the bottle. I see in the notes list that the spice is cumin, but it consistently makes me think of the warm, sweet, cumin-AND complexity of garam masala (like, I literally have a batch of tandoori chicken marinating right now *because* of the smell of this perfume). Which is a great, cozy scent! And I'm also not usually here to smell like savory foods? But! This settles into something really wonderful and not food-centric on my skin. After a very earthy-spicy opening blast, the musk warms up to shift and round out the edges, along with some...kind of smoked-vanilla vibe? Every now and then I get a whisper of "oh wait, was that a floral note?", but if that is the lavender then it's a pretty elusive element here, and mostly tangled up in the creamy smokiness of the vanilla layer (to my nose, anyway). I smell semi-feral, but with a sweet, playful edge? I'm struggling to describe this in a way that does it justice, but I'll be adding a backup to my cart before this year's Lilith's come down.
  2. firefae


    Pumpkin scents are more miss than hit for me, and pumpkin spice tends to be something I'd rather eat than wear. But dang do I love me some red musk, particularly if it's got some sweetness to it, and Storyville is such a legend of a scent (that I have never sniffed, but its reputation precedes it!) that I just couldn't *not* get a decant of this. In the decant, there's some musky pumpkin, maybe a little spice in there but not nearly the nutmeg-cinnamon bomb I'd feared. On my skin? I don't even know how to describe this. Do I love it? I might love it. The pumpkin fades pretty quickly on me into a creamy background note, and there's an almost-almond nuttiness with just the gentlest of spices (like doomsday_disco noted above, ginger is one I would point to as definitely coming through to my nose), and a lush, round, sweet red musk base. It's got some big throw, and I'm not complaining about that because it's a pretty wonderful cloud of scent to be at the center of. I haven't worn this long enough to get into the deep drydown of it, so will be testing further before deciding whether to commit to more than my decant, but it's been a very pleasant surprise for me so far!
  3. firefae

    Wheatstacks, Snow Effect, Morning

    Musky, pale peaches are the centerpiece of this scent for me, at least when it's wet. They're all tangled up in a kind of nondescript, floaty floral that doesn't even come close to indole and so far seems entirely non-threatening on a headache front. I also get the dryness of hay and some very gentle spiced warmth (this read to me as maybe something like white carnation at first, but looking at the notes it's probably the carnation and rooibos combining forces). This is sheer and lovely, has an almost ethereal quality to it. My only sad about this scent is how quickly my skin seems to drink it up--it lasts about two hours before becoming just the faintest bit of musky sweetness I have to press my nose to my skin to detect.
  4. firefae

    Honeyed Apple

    2020 version. In the bottle, this is a syrupy-sweet apple suspended in a glowing ether (that is possibly amber-adjacent?). This is the good stuff I came here for, yep yep. On my skin, a year ago when I first got this, it was equal parts honey, apple, and "perfume" wet. The perfume wasn't screeching, but it was sharper than what I was getting in the bottle. Dry, the apple faded into the background a bit, but a couple hours in was still there, just muted. This remained feeling "perfumey" in a way that can sometimes be headaches-ville for me. All the lovely bits were still present too, though--both crisp and warm, and sweet without being foodie. Why I'm writing this review: I just had a craving for something in the "sweet apple" scent universe and pulled this out again in fall 2021 after some months in a dark storage box. A year of age has been very, very kind to this blend. The perfuminess of it fresh has calmed down and it's just straight-up gorgeous, like...the ideal of an apple drizzled in delicate honey with a glowing sun-nimbus around the whole decadent snack. There's a not quite amber, not quite vanilla element to that glow, and the overall effect is so beautiful. This was one I seriously considered adding to a destash pile last year and is now a reminder of how my failure to destash really any scents so far in my BPAL journey is maybe not actually a failure after all.
  5. firefae

    Winter Night. Figure on the Bridge

    So many of the Lux Brumalis scents spoke to me, but the plum/opium/tobacco flower combo here and the overall "purple" vibe this description gave me made this the only one I blind-bought when these scents were released. I pictured a plummy, shadowy, musky scent with some sweet floral backing, a deep shadow of a scent. This is...not quite that scent on me. Fresh from the mailbox, it was so brightly floral to my nose in the bottle sniff, drawing some bathroom air freshener connections in my brain and promising to amp any small hint of headache to screech level. Now that it's rested for a couple of months, that initial lilac blast has mellowed quite a bit, but it is still the first thing that jumps out at me when I open the bottle. On the skin, though, it blooms into something I enjoy more every time I wear it (today is wear #3 or 4, I think). The plum really is tart in the way fruit skin tends to be, and the lilac IS shadowy, particularly as it dries down and settles in, just a more floral shadow than I'd pictured when reading the description. This feels to me like an early spring/late winter dusk, the purply shadows of almost-dark stretched out over a still mostly-barren and chilly landscape (but if you look close, there are snowdrops already blooming, and wood hyacinth leaves pushing their way out of the dirt). There's also something about it that makes me think of moody, gray-sky reflections on concrete after a rain. Sniffing up close to my skin, the "blackened" nature of the lilac and the tartness of the plum skin feel prominent, while further away there's a creamier feel, maybe from the tobacco flower? I'm still not sure this is a scent I could manage on a headache day, but it's settling into itself so beautifully with even this small bit of age that a year from now I suspect I might not get that bright/sharp initial floral blast at all. I think my final thought here is that I'm really glad I blind-bottled this, as I don't think I would have given a decant the same patience and number of "test" wears I tend to give to bottles, and likely would have dismissed this scent as overly floral on first wear and dropped it into my "not for me" pile. I'll definitely be hanging onto this and look forward to how it continues to develop when I pull it back out again to wear in future springs!
  6. firefae

    Snake Smut

    Preconceived notions: I've been...overindulging...my perfume obsession lately, so I told myself I was going to take it easy on the Lupers this year. And then the Lupers were actually released and there were a few I had a straight-up Pavlovian response to. Snake Smut was probably my most-anticipated one of these. I love-love SO and many of its variants, and have had a complicated relationship with OG Smut (it veers into a strangely soapy place sometimes on my skin...but then other times it's a sexy af musk-bomb, so idek), but the Smut variants from this past fall have played consistently nice with no hints of soap. And leather, cardamom, and patch are all big happy places for me. On paper, this is approximately one million percent up my alley. I have no sense for which notes will dominate in this powerhouse combo, but my expectations here are through the roof. Test round 1, less than 15 minutes out of the mailbox (self control is overrated): Wet, there are some Smut and some SO similarities here, including the kinda plasticky scent fresh SO can have and the soapy angle Smut sometimes takes on me. The almost-lemony vanilla of the SO is warming up quickly, though, as are some of those smutty musks. After 10 minutes this has sorted itself out and hot damn. This is very much what I'd hoped this combo might smell like. Will test again when it's settled a little more, but I'll be pretty surprised if I don't grab a backup of this one. Test round 2, two-ish weeks later (round 1 was a single wrist, this round is a full slather): Not even a hint of plastic or soapy anything this time! Wild. Wet, it's "snake oil and smut came to play at a leather party at that one local club circa 1992", and then it warms up smelling like someone pulled the whole bawdy gathering into a more intimate and maybe faintly smoky back room and I am really, really here for the whole wickedly sexy vibe this is giving off. My one real wish is that it had more throw and staying power--this goes big in the way I imagined these notes would for the first ten minutes or so but then dials itself back close to a skin scent for the rest of the wear, and it's faded quite a bit even from that after 3-ish hours. The patchouli-vanilla-leather-red musky whiffs I'm still getting of it are dang good, though, and this seems like a scent that's only going to improve with a few years of age as it gets stickier and even more glorious. Verdict: Well, purchasing this was not, it turns out, a way to curb my overindulgence (I mean, not that I really expected it to be). Or improve my self control. Almost certainly going to grab a backup--even if this doesn't gain longevity or intensity with age, the lab-fresh version is so my kind of scent already that I'll easily work my way through at least two bottles of it.
  7. firefae

    A Night In the French Quarter

    I blind-bottled this based on reviews even though florals are super iffy on me and I'm not sure I have a reference in my brain for what benzoin smells like. But I tend to love purply-plummy scents, and have generally had good luck with ones that include some violet, so...here we are. I'm not sure what I was expecting, exactly, but in the bottle sniff this is a little more pale floral and more watery somehow than whatever those expectations might have been. On my skin, this takes about 10 minutes to settle into something really gorgeous. It's a more "perfumey" scent than I usually reach for, but this is just such a lovely overall experience I don't particularly care about that right now. This is...a dusky watercolor painting captured in perfume form. Or maybe not even a watercolor, necessarily, but impressionistic in the ways wet-surface reflections are streaked impressions of the things they're reflecting? The florals are the most prominent element to me, both violet and osmanthus about equally present, but their prominence might be as much about florals in general tending to read pretty loudly on/to me (a reason I don't reach for them much) as about them really being the main act. There's also a blurred-edges quality grounding it, contributing to that watercolor effect, that I would guess is in the universe of a white or maybe blue musk (although I don't see musk in the scent notes so could be way off base there...maybe this is what benzoin smells like?), a slightly tart fruity bit tangled up way in the background, and that lovely asphalt-after-a-rainstorm layer. I don't get really any lavender, and the plum is way down in there but kind of drowned out by the louder floral notes. A few hours in, it's still going strong, and the flowers are amping a little further...actually dangerously close to headache territory, which is unfortunate. Will definitely be trying this again, though, as it's so complex and evocative and just flat-out pretty, and I can easily imagine it not flirting with headache-ville on some other day. I love how different it is from really anything else I have in bottle form, and think I'll reach for it most in March-April, those weeks of early spring blooms and rainstorms.
  8. firefae

    Candy Corn Smut

    OG Smut and I have a complicated relationship--sometimes it's some kind of sexy musky magic and sometimes it goes straight-up soap on me. So I wasn't sure what to expect, but I enjoy the Candy Corn Snake Oil from last year and couldn't resist at least giving this a try. In the bottle, fresh from the mailbox: yep, coffee. Black, a little creamy, maybe espresso? But "coffee" is the only note I get here. I'm kind of relieved to see I'm not alone in this experience, because I was really wondering what was up with my nose at first! In the bottle, two days later: oh heyhihelloooo *that* is some candy corn. Actually, the exact image this conjures up is the pumpkins made from...essence of candy corn? what is this? candy corn, but shaped like pumpkins? is this even a different smell than corn-shaped candy corn?...in the bulk candy bins at a local grocery store. Where did the coffee go? It's fine, I'm into this candy corn thing. On the skin, wet: Boozy McBoozerson. There's a sweet, murky cloud behind the alcohol burn, but yow this wet stage is something I would probably be asked to explain in the workplace. On the skin, no longer wet: Oh! The woozy booziness dissipates and I love what it leaves behind. It's musk on a sugar rush, with that distinct candy corn edge. An hour and a half or so in, the musk and candy feel pretty evenly balanced and are playing so well together. After the first 15-ish minutes, this is lower throw than I would have expected from a Smut blend, but it's definitely still present and seems like one that might gain some staying power as it ages. I want to wear this a couple more times to make sure it's going to play nice consistently with my skin. If it keeps doing this playful sexy-sugar thing in future wears, though, this is an easy bottle upgrade for me.
  9. firefae

    You Are Not Alone

    This is so gently cozy. Wet, the "book" element reads as almost smoky to me (a smoked vanilla vibe), but as it dries I think what this most reminds me of is the warm toner-and-paper smell of copies fresh off the machine...in a room someone just walked through wearing a slightly sweet vanilla-lavender scent. I don't know yet if I need a bottle of this, but it really is comforting to sniff!
  10. firefae

    Bits of Birnam Wood

    I blind-bottled this last year after reading some reviews and deciding a non-spice-affiliated apple scent was a need in my life...and then never quite reached for it. It's got just a little bit of almost-sour tartness in the bottle to me that doesn't quite lure me in when I'm making "what to wear today" sniff decisions. I pulled it out today, though, and it settles in so nicely! It's unapologetically APPLE, somewhere in the Golden Delicious universe, but also the peel and seeds and leaves and some woody pulp and maaayyybe even some lightly floral apple blossom on me. It's such an excellent apple smell, with fairly low throw but good staying power. Will definitely not wait so long to reach for this one again!
  11. firefae

    The Last of the Spirits

    I'm experiencing this for the first time ten years (!!) after release, so don't have an experience with its younger self to compare it to, but wow this IS an experience. It's definitely separated in the bottle, and once given a gentle shake it comes out a murky black-brown, one of the darker BPAL oils I've seen. The scent starts out on some shaky ground for me. (Pickles? Am I smelling pickles and smoke? What's happening here?) But there's enough deep, dark promise behind it for me to stick with the ride and I'm so glad I did. The first hour or so isn't bad, exactly, but it's unsettled. Yeah, there are occasional pickle-and-smoke vibes, but I also do get vetiver and resins, which are loves for me and make the inconsistency of the early dry down not-intolerable. But then! Oh, wow. I'm about four hours in now and the dusty richness of the myrrh is tangled up so sweetly in the grassy shadows of the vetiver and it's just very much my jam. One other note: I would never have guessed there is blackcurrant in here--not sure whether age or my skin chemistry are the culprit, but not even a wisp of it has shown up.
  12. firefae

    Blueberries, Cream, & Cardamom

    I keep thinking I'll jump in and review scents here and then...don't. But for whatever reason, this one has compelled me. Pre-wear thoughts: "Baked goods" smells aren't usually ones I reach for, but I've had some really excellent experiences with cardamom in general and at least *a* cream note the lab uses (I'm imagining there is probably more than one in their repertoire), and blueberries are just so summer-hopeful! I couldn't resist the possibilities, so blind-bottled this and am hoping it doesn't have any of the bready elements that I think have been my primary "no" component in baked-goods scents. In the bottle: Creamy, dark blueberry. The cardamom is just a promise of spice in the background rather than an actual spice presence for me here. No bread! Feeling good about this so far. On my skin: The cream shines for a wet minute, then the cardamom warms up and comes out to play, and then it all moves quickly into blueberry pie filling meets...wasn't there a blueberry-scented doll in the Strawberry Shortcake dolls from the 80's? This is tapping hard into some scent-memory, and I'm pretty sure that's the one. This is both cozy and playful to me, and I'm so glad to find I'm (so far, anyway) liking it as much as I hoped I would. 3-4 hours later: This hasn't shifted much. It's a little more doll-smell and a little less real blueberry/blueberry pie than it was 5-10 minutes after applying, but all three components are still hanging in there and still have a bit of throw (it hasn't had big throw at any point, and has contracted some over time since applying, but I don't have to search for it even now). Overall, this is a really nice sweet and cozy scent that I'm glad to have a bottle of!