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BPAL Madness!

ka hulu

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About ka hulu

  • Rank
    a little too imp-ulsive


  • Location
    SF Bay Area
  • Country
    United States

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  • Interests
    Reef swimming, marine biology, neuroscience, nature’s rhythms, great horned owls, parenting, carved wood, quietude...
  • Mood


  • Favorite Scents
    tropical, luau, tiki, lava, ocean, aquatic, ozone, champagne, feathers, fur, coconut, woods, tobacco, the sacred, fruits, honey, vanilla, mint... I could go on forever


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  1. ka hulu

    Seven Word Story: Wrath

    Boozy clean black patch with a sly snap of Big Red cinnamon gum (not sure where that is coming from, but it’s there). Wrath lingers a while, simmering patiently, then dries off (on me) to negligible, a trace of almond. Not a keeper for me, but I’m glad to have tried it.
  2. This is one of my favorite poems even before becoming a parent; it’s been a favorite since I was a child. I love how it is represented here, for the activism and in the color scent note text. Like, thank you so much for You May House. In bottle, to me this is almost a smoky sacramental wine. Sacred. Wet, it’s strong vanilla amber patch, almost boozy, or maybe just rich with the wild innocence or purity of children’s expressed joy. Dry and still hours after application, for me it’s something like cola blended with labdanum, woody in the sense of a living tree, deeply sweet, strong, and alive. I don’t get patchouli even a little at this stage, but if you’re a patch enthusiast, don’t let that stop you — this is a beautiful blend and I think really different, special. It’s suitably earthy and sweet, and has a zing to it that conjures images or sensation of yes, the arrow leaving the bow and flying fast, hitting the mark, then being briefly retrieved to let fly again. Some “air” element that isn’t quite explained in the notes. For me, worthy of a second bottle. I don’t usually plan to age scents, but this one I can see being both a daily wear and also ever more glorious and softly, deeply rich over time. 10/10; ardent loves for this one.
  3. ka hulu

    The Buffalo Man

    [Disclaimer: I really do like this scent; I just ...never anticipated what I got in first acquaintance with it.] In bottle: ??! A light, sweet, viscous summery vinaigrette. Like for a cold cucumber salad. Wet: ...Um. Hold on. Wet: Pure barbecue sauce. Excellent barbecue sauce. But only and definitely 100% barbecue sauce. Tons of it, sweet and smoky and with a peppery bite. But absolute barbecue sauce, as if I poured it directly out of the bottle in my kitchen fridge. Some small part of me is horrified and thinks “Scrub it, that’s weird!” — but I can’t stop laughing and my whole brain is lit up in just ...w h o a. I have to leave the house and get outdoors to deal with whatever is on my wrists. Drydown: The barbecue sauce backs off; nothing here but a lovely campfire smoke. Only after the woodsmoke recedes entirely does the labdanum comes fully forward, first fiery and then powdery. After all the other scent qualities burn off, the brown musk turns up, warm and small, like a solitary mouse. I don’t care for it; I want the campfire or labdanum back. I like the label and love labdanum, and that’s why I’ll keep this guy. The Buffalo Man definitely did his own thing with those notes. A must-try for anyone who wants to smell even briefly like a bottle of really good BBQ sauce.
  4. ka hulu


    I almost never test the frimps from the Lab, preferring instead to keep them neat and tidy and available for the young person in my house. There are many, and so periodically I browse and send a few off in any bottle sale. For whatever reason, Czernobog goes away a lot, but I received him again in a recent Lab order, and today he called for examination. In vial: Syrupy and with a sharp herbal or piney edge. Wet: Syrupy still and ...deep, warming, elusive. Final: Soft, almost melting, like a dark cola dressed in amber. I have no idea how any of the scent description is morphing into what it is on me, but Czernobog is apt for right now and wears well with staid black. Not sure about throw, seems stronger than most of my collection. Lasts for hours. Will be full-sizing this one in next order, and reclaiming all but one of the imps!
  5. ka hulu

    Almond Blossoms

    Not marzipan, not burnt almond cake, not blossomy or bakery, for me. This is steamed whole milk with orgeat, and somehow a bit of honey. I was hoping for “almond tree”, which this isn’t — but the scent in this bottle thoroughly fills my cup. Warm, cozy, light, beautiful.
  6. ka hulu

    Anise Swallowtail

    This butterfly translates on me as light rootbeer float with quality vanilla bean ice cream, lightly spritzed with lemon, garnished with a sprig of spearmint. Stays close to the skin, but doesn’t stay long. Not at all what I expected, but delightful nonetheless!
  7. ka hulu

    Pyramid of Skulls

    I can’t for the life of me distinguish the sandalwoods from one another or smell the tobacco note specifically in this blend. What I get instead, in bottle and on skin, is the sacred sting and clearing I get from incense during Mass on a Holy day of solemnity — and the equally sacred holiness of wet tobacco leaves, still on rain-soaked living stems, somewhere in a cold deep forest. With a side of something familiar from 13 (August 2021), and nothing in the scent descriptions tells me what that is. I bet @Threemoons is onto something with the cocoa layering idea, though; “chocolate” was among my first thoughts. Overall, just sacred, fresh, cold. Clean bones blessed by fire, smoke, and rain.
  8. ka hulu

    Hammy Northern Mockingbird

    I thought I detested violet, and orris root too. But I definitely couldn’t stand what happened in the Lone Star state this winter. And I love the mockingbird that sings all night outside my bedroom window every season, and I’m moving away from that nesting place soon. So I had to have this scent no matter what, for my heart, and for the good cause. Maybe it’s just me or maybe I should have let this little guy rest out of the mailbox. The one outside my bedroom window never seems to sleep, though, so I tested HNM immediately. Wet: neither dry nor dusty, but exuberant with something clean and bright. I think this must be what living violets smell like. Just beautiful. If this is orris root, it’s the irises you dug up from the yard to give to a dear one on Easter Sunday. Not dirty: just real. Dry: the cardamom gives it just a touch of fire, and the sandalwood and cedar play nicely together, graceful flourishes in this season’s tailored melody. This is a scent for leaping off the tops of telephone poles for aerial displays at sunrise, and for nuzzling the lovely cohort or the littles in the nest. I’d bought a partial here just to try it, and look: now there are two brand new ones in my cart. If you love any of the notes, I bet you’ll love the whole song.
  9. ka hulu

    Green Phoenix

    Every note in the scent description sounds really nice and what I like. I have two bottles of Green Phoenix, though, and I don’t perceive any of these notes. From start to finish, this is the scent of broad green walnut leaves. In the early mornings in early summer, when the air is still hung with mist or the yard freshly watered and still somewhat cool. Each summer, I’ve wished for our walnut tree’s scent to be bottled somehow so I might keep it forever. And Green Phoenix is it. I sometimes double-check the oil against the leafy branches to make sure I’m not imagining it, but I’m not. Broad green walnut leaves in the mornings of early summer. For me, this one’s a joyful stunner.
  10. ka hulu

    Banana Cream, Black Coconut & Raw Chocolate

    Total fan of all three notes, at least in theory. In the bottle: This one is *so* familiar, I think it is a kissing cousin of Sloth, which I adore. Wet: Someone poked open a can of Hershey’s chocolate syrup and poured it invisibly all over my wrists. Which, I’ll be honest, I’m ok with that, too. I now wish I had that little dark chocolate colored can in my fridge or pantry, but I know I don’t. Secretly revising grocery list for next run. Drydown/dry: Uh-oh...what?!??! What just *happened* here, on my skin. I know this scent very well too — but it’s not banana cream, it’s not coconut anything, and it’s *definitely* no longer chocolate. It takes me a bit to figure this out, and I don’t know why or how my chemistry did it, but... On me, this scent goes from chocolate to suddenly...maybe a frozen chocolate covered banana? And then converts pretty quickly to snorkeling equipment drying in the garage, then even more specifically, the anti-fog we rub into the masks before positioning them and sliding into the sea. My skin chemistry must be whack right now. Final result is straight-up No More Tears in a salty snorkeling mask, with a hint of high performance sport SPF, the kind that doesn’t smell at all like coconut, and maybe smells more like a clean island drugstore or like the guy on the boat who you borrowed it from, who is a guy’s guy or a little bit shy of you and who says he doesn’t care what it smells like as long as it works. I realize that all may sound horrible, but I’m laughing: I can’t say that I hate it or that it doesn’t work for me. On the contrary, I love it! Just not for any of the reasons I expected. A weird and happy surprise. I’ll update if it’s different the next time I wear it!
  11. ka hulu

    The Deep Ones

    I didn’t know this was discontinued, and hadn’t even given it a sniff until today. But I have a 5 mL coming in the mail, so, time to at least test the imp! In the imp: A bit aggressively soapy/fruity. Not sure I want to try this on, after all. Wet: Vibrant aquatic, with a compelling bright ...citrus? Drydown: Somehow actually conveys the sensations of descent. The scent is like nothing I know, but ”feels” like dark lower rooms of aquariums along the Pacific coast. The same feeling of seeing nurse sharks resting in a shadowy nook near the ocean floor. Columns of swaying kelp, seen/felt from below. I notice my breathing has slowed to my “diving” rhythm. Whatever the scent is, it’s calming and deep. Cozy, even. Further down is a fleeting thin papery note, like rice paper. Then just that steady rhythmic deep marine blue, and the beckoning juicy note of some deep sea fruit that has yet to be brought to the surface and named. Not the trenches or abyss, but definitely nearing the midnight zone. Beautiful while it lasts. Glad to have garnered a bottle.
  12. ka hulu

    Cheshire Moon 2013

    In the bottle: Lunar herbs, but with something lemony and tropically juicy enough to maybe compel me to try it on. After several sniffs over the course of last night, I realize I have no idea what “lunar herbs” actually even are. I might try this one on anyway. Wet: JOY. A mélange of tropical fruits and citrus, something vivacious and juicy and fresh but chilled! It reminds me instantly of two things I love. The way a citrus fruit feels in hand, when picked from the tree first thing after sunrise. And also the taste of a delicate Hawaiian lilikoi or guava cake, fresh from the bakery and kept cool in the refrigerator. I want to sneak bites of it. This makes me smile; it’s very sweet, but not cloying. Whatever the notes are doing, they gel beautifully. Other reviewers mention other fragrances with snow notes. I don’t have any of those to reference or compare, but wet, I definitely get that this scent is “chilled”. That’s amazing to me, that a perfumer can evoke such a sense. This fragrance is just JOY. Dry: This one dries down to a light tropical flowery scent on me, and still with that barest delicate whisper of “cake”. Tropical flowers now, moreso than fruits. Something vanilla-ish, and cake. My daughter comes into my room some hours later and after a minute, says pensively, “Is it just me, or does it smell like summertime today?” It’s mid-February, and it’s a beautiful day, 70° F and sunny, and the windows are open. But it’s also Cheshire Moon 2013. I couldn’t be more pleased, unless simultaneously presented with a fork, the actual cake, and a second bottle of this scent! Will look for the earlier original version, but I’m loving the 2013!
  13. chicken noodle soup with a soda on the side 

  14. ka hulu

    The Bird of Prey

    This imp from a savvy forumite (thank you!) instantly brings memories of standing in the wide doorway of a stable or barn, at right about this time of year as the weather is turning. In the imp, I want to say I sense cinnamon. Wet : My teen daughter says it smells good and bad at the same time. For her it’s inexplicable. But for me, it’s exact: the brink of autumn evening, at either of my aunties’ farms. I get the slip of leather, just a thin and dusty strap, light blonde. A sweet faint hay note, pale late summer dry. And then it turns. Dry : Feathers. Dry, tawny, late summer evening dusty, warm, also clean. That cinnamon guess must be the orris? I’ve never noticed or sought out that note in scent descriptions, and I like it. And I’m glad that it appears to like me, too. Something faintly nut-like, like oak leaves or acorns, on the drydown. I’ll be looking for a 5 mL (full, partial, even empty) for my scent library. This one is regal but wild. Warm, light, quick, and sharply, savagely precious. So glad for the opportunity to try this one!
  15. ka hulu

    Sinoatrial Node

    My first review! I ordered this not for the notes so much as for the idea that the sinoatrial node is known as the natural pacemaker of the heart. This one was a real mindwalk! In the bottle: Fulsome, lemony, perplexing. Wet: Somehow, just like a bowl of ...Trix? Fresh out of the box, and ! dry. A little dusty. Pixie sugar lemony. We weren’t allowed sugared cereal at home growing up, so wherever that association is coming from, it’s got a young child’s safety, rejoicing, really special occasion vibrancy. Dry: The champagne and/or apple pulp comes forward to “wet” and also “weight” the fragrance. Same sensation as standing alone in a tranquil swimming pool and with a serene smile, submerging and swimming forward. Just the sparkling water, all to yourself. Divine and happy. I definitely get flowers here, white ginger in the garden surrounding the pool. Sometime later it shifts to a champagne/sunlit sparkling lemony clean, with an undefinable element of structured luxury. Not a household cleaning product, nothing like that. This is more like plush stacks of freshly laundered towels at a five-star hotel, right before you walk out to the private beach. White ginger gracious and present here, but not intrusive. Finally, and this may sound strangely specific, A tender joyous kiss from the beloved, after sharing a piece of most elegant wedding cake. Very close to the skin but sacred, treasuring, and polite. Meyer lemon curd with eternal Love, and white ginger wafting in through open windows. And then this scent disappears! More a reminder or a promise uttered along the way to fulfillment. Glad I got the 5 ml, because it’s a beautiful trajectory, an endearing one I will enjoy again and again as needed. This scent would be great for a craniosacral or emotional rebalancing massage. Also for a wedding day, and then for every anniversary of that day, happily ever after. LOVE Sinoatrial Node.