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BPAL Madness!


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About ShadowEtienne

  • Rank
    wrist-sniffing wench


  • Location
    Seattle area, WA
  • Country
    United States

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  • Interests
    literature, music, tea, nature


  • Favorite Scents
    Aizen Myoo, Prague, Night Gaunt, Silk Tiger Lily, Lunar New Year scents (Citrus, Tea, Lilies, Jasmine, Blackcurrant, Plum, Ginger)


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  1. ShadowEtienne

    Star Anise, White Sage, and Bergamot

    This is a rich, spicy-sweet anise forward blend on me. The sage brings a fresh herbal note, and the bergamot a slight touch of citrus freshness, but the anise is the star. That was what I was hoping for because I adore anise. It's not cloying or licorice-like here, but fresh and bright because of the other notes. I wear this one quite a bit, and it's on my list of Menage a Trois scents that I really wish weren't LE.
  2. ShadowEtienne

    The Mystic Moon

    This is a rare scent where amber works in a way I like on me, and it's made me open to trying more scents with an amber note listed, though it's definitely a hit and miss note for me. The jasmine and honeysuckle are both the rich smell of the flower in humid night air for me, but wafted a bit away from their original flowers and mingled in the air. There's a nectary scent to it, but not as strong as it would have been right up against the flowers. It's fresh though, even if the flowers are powerful in their scent. The amber brings a warm slightly resinous note to mingle with the flowers some and grounds it a bit and warming it up. While this isn't my favorite jasmine yet, I do like how this mingles jasmine and honeysuckle, both of which I like quite a bit!
  3. ShadowEtienne


    I get so much jasmine from this one, with some hints of other white and tropical flowers lurking underneath. Gardenia, plumeria, carnation, what strikes me as possible the floral part of the ginger plant, and I'm pretty sure orange blossom. There's a lot of good floral stuff going on here. There are some spice notes underneath, possible from the flowers that can go spicy (like carnation) possibly from some white pepper and cardamom (those are the two spices I'm picking up), maybe a little ginger. There's also some green notes and resinous notes lurking deep in the scent keeping it grounded to my skin. It's fresh and rich and has some elements that remind me of Machu Picchu and Pele, as well as some elements that remind me of New Orleans. I'd agree with someone's comment above that it feels like it might have been a prototype for a Wanderlust. It just has that sort of vibe to me too! I like this one quite a bit, though I need to be in the mood for something strong with a lot of throw when I put it on!
  4. ShadowEtienne

    Knave of Snowflakes

    On my skin, the black currant, specifically a tart bright black currant, is very much the dominant note of this! It's sweetened by something soft and coconut, along with a buttery sugary scent. Faintly in the very back is a hint of a sweet rose jam note that helps keep the tartness of these black currants under control. The scent is very close to being too foody for me. I'm very very tempted to chew on my own wrist right now (this is a problem). I may actually try some layering with Knave of Snowflakes to get the foody aspect to back off a bit and give it a little bit more floral punch.
  5. ShadowEtienne

    Snow White

    2022 version I'm getting sweet coconut cream and subtle white florals. There could be some lily in there, but if so it's a rare lily that doesn't amp into a big juicy nectary note on me. Fortunately there doesn't seem to be any almond oil in this (I have a nasty topical reaction to all the almond oils), and I'm not smelling any almonds/almond blossom, so I think I'm safe (I didn't noticed that point that some people were making in the reviews until after it was already on my skin). I'll keep an eye on the wrist where I applied it anyhow. There's definitely a light brightness or freshness to the scent, but it's pretty creamy and coconut forward on my skin. There's a faint hint of some sort of greenery hiding in the very depths of this scent, perhaps something evergreen under that snow, but it's not a terribly cold scent to me.
  6. ShadowEtienne

    Litha 2006

    A while ago, I was gifted a decant of this by a friend who has been into BPAL much longer than I have, and have been using it extremely sparingly so that I won't run out and never be able to have it again too soon. Litha (2006) is a garden in the woods with herbs and flowers and bees nearby being warmed by the sun. It's a well balanced scent on me, honeysuckle (supported by the honey), thyme, and vervain are probably the most noticeable smells for me right off the bat on my skin, but the others are there, filling out the rest of the garden with flowers and green growing things. There's a spiciness to this that is lovely and blends well with the woods and resins that seem to make up its gentle base. I don't notice them at first sniff, but they are definitely present and lending to the impression of this garden being a tended area where the sunlight comes down through the trees in a forest. Honey has been a very hit and miss note for me, but here, it is delightful and definitely lends to the sun-warmed feeling of the scent. Alas, discovering it this late, I will have to treasure my little decant and choose when to use it carefully.
  7. ShadowEtienne


    I was given an aged imp of this by a friend who's been into BPAL far longer than I have. It was one of my first times I encountered a frankincense that I didn't hate, and I've since learned that in the right blends (in small amounts with things that balance it for me), it can work for me. On the skin, this is a very jasmine and lily forward scent for me. This is a good thing, as those are both flowers I love, and they tend to smell rich and nectary with my skin chemistry. This is no exception. The moonflower and ylang ylang are definitely in the background of the beautiful white florals on my skin, but they are playing their part, and the overall floral blend lends itself to a sweet nectary-spice floral that I love. The cardamom gently amps up the spice, and as one of my favorite spices, it definitely also holds up its part of the scent. Black currant has been much louder on me in other scents, and it's another note that tends to play well with my skin and nose. Here, it's a gentle jammy-juicy dark undertone that helps ground the scent along with the even gentler woody-resinous notes from the sandalwood and frankincense. It's a deep, complex, rich scent that is mostly powered by the spicy and nectary white florals. I'm sad that it's a discontinued scent because this would definitely factor into what I'd consider for full bottles if it wasn't!
  8. ShadowEtienne

    Snooty Rose

    I love Snooty Rose, it's a beautiful rich rose balanced by dark, rich plum and warm woods that keep it from going sweet. However, I almost never wear it, generally only with something else layered over it, because it's the rare scent that smells almost the same on me and my sister, and roses are one of her scents, so I keep having my brain try to figure out where she is. Scent associations are fascinating like that! This is a scent that definitely reinforces that plum tends to work really nicely on me though!
  9. ShadowEtienne

    Les Fleurs du Mal

    This is a lovely, mild floral that is fairly balanced between rose, lilac, and wisteria on my skin. I can smell all three flowers about evenly, and they smell true to themselves, though perhaps cut and not quite fresh, there's a soft dryness to the scent. However, while there is nothing objectionable about the scent, I rarely if ever find myself reaching for it. None of the scents are lighting up on my skin or doing much terribly interesting. I have other florals that I'm more excited about with most of these notes (I love wisteria, but have not found it in something that excites me yet). I think that for me to properly appreciate this one, it would have needed a brighter note of something, or some spices to round it out. There are pure florals that work for me, but this isn't really one of them, despite there being nothing wrong with it.
  10. ShadowEtienne


    I am delighted by this on first test. I'd opened it to sniff it a few times (and also to let it get a little air before testing it), and I'd been a little concerned that the scent might be a little bit bitter in the bottle. But that didn't prove true when testing it on skin. In the bottle, there was a bitter black tea (good but needed to be balanced by something), a sharp sandalwood (again, not a bad thing alone for me, but balance not happening here), and a hint of the jasmine that I was hoping for (with very little of the cedar, incense/smoked elements, or sweet sage). Once it hit my skin, the sweeter and maltier and smokier notes immediately started appearing, warming up the scent and making it absolutely delicious! (Fortunately not in a way that actually makes me want to chew on myself, and I have enough self control not to lick my own wrists, perfume is not for consumption, I know this.) This is a sweet smoky jasmine blending and balancing a slightly bitter but malty black tea. There's a soft warm haze of incense that blends the wood notes of the sandalwood and cedar beautifully, and the sweet sage is a bright, very slightly green herbal note that softens any last harsh edges that the scent might have had. It's a very comforting scent (which is not necessarily what I would have expected with the name).
  11. ShadowEtienne

    Wooden Goat

    I was also able to get one of the bottles of Wooden Goat from the etsy shop when they listed a few of them, and I'm very glad that I've gotten a hold of it. While it's not my favorite of the Lunar New Year scents I've gotten to try, it's lovely and still in my bracket of very favorite scents. While I like Water Dragon a little bit more personally, I also feel like Wooden Goat is the more generally accessible scent of the two of them. In the bottle and when first applied to my skin, I get so many peaches from this. Peaches are a note that can do good things or bad things on me, and I wasn't sure if this would end up being the Lunar New Year scent that went a little too sweet on me at first application. Fortunately, as it dries down and soaks in, the citrus, florals, and resins come forward and balance out the peach. Like all of the Lunar New Year scents that I've tried, Wooden Goat strongly brings to mind the scent of the lacquered trays of dried and candied fruits that my foster family would put out during Lunar New Year, and this is a delightful scent memory.
  12. ShadowEtienne

    Water Dragon

    Like all of the Lunar New Year scents I've had the chance to try so far (Fire Pig, Water Dragon, Wooden Goat, Fire Monkey), this is a very citrus forward scent on me. There's also gentle wafts of the florals floating in the background of the scent, predominantly the peony, but I'm getting the plum and peach blossoms and the chrysanthemum as well lightly. The Buddha's hand is a really interesting note in this, and it definitely leads the citrus in a pleasant sort of sour direction. I definitely get the kumquat and tangerine as well though, and all of these are notes that I love. I really appreciate that this does invoke the lacquer platters of dried and candied fruits that my foster family would put out during Lunar New Year (this is something shared in common between all the Lunar New Year scents for me so far).
  13. ShadowEtienne

    Fire Monkey

    I just got the bottle of this that was on ebay, and I am sampling it tonight. It is delightful in the vein of the other Lunar New Year scents that I've been able to try, with notes that very much bring me to the fruit and candy platters my foster family would set out during Lunar New Year celebrations. The most powerful notes are those of candied citrus, and while I can smell the tangerine and the wild orange and kumquat distinctly, they merge together well. There are lovely light floral wafts underneath, that brighten the scent and keep it from being oversweet. I think this is my favorite of the Lunar New Year scents I've been able to sample so far (Wooden Goat, Water Dragon, Fire Pig are the ones I've sampled or have).
  14. ShadowEtienne


    This is very true to description in me, and while it wasn't a scent that made me suddenly excited about it on first sniff, it is a perennial favorite that I reach for often and also often use for layering with various florals (mostly lilies). The white tea note is a lightly floral and slightly minerally tart white tea, a very fresh scent. This is not the earthy ginger note found in some of my other favorites, but a young tangy sweet and spicy ginger. Very juicy but still light. I don't really get a citrus note from this, though I get some of the tart tangy notes that resemble citrus in some ways. I'm definitely contemplating a full bottle of this once my imp is done.
  15. ShadowEtienne


    I picked up a somewhat aged imp of this from a friend after she heard that I was interested in it, and it's a lovely blend that I will definitely be tempted to get more of once I run out of this imp. On me, it is a rich, deep scent. Bruised deep purple violets under the waft of other flowers in bloom at night, definitely catching the jasmine and honeysuckle, and I think I'm catching the suspected moonflower as well. All of this is tied together with a rich dark just ripe plum and what smells like a juicy element of black currant to me (would make sense with purple fruits). I'm not getting fig or cherry that other people mentioned which is good for me because those are scents I hate. The soft smoky note in the background helps add warmth and depth to the scent. I definitely feel like for me this is a soothing scent and one that does indeed belong in the nighttime.