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BPAL Madness!


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About Penance

  • Rank
    Stinky Hippie
  • Birthday 10/09/1982


  • Location
    Outside Chicago, IL
  • Country
    United States


  • BPAL of the Day
    Ask the Nearest Hippie
  • Favorite Scents
    CURRENT BPAL LOVES (A SMALL SAMPLING): Anne BonnyAureusBadgerThe Black RiderCathedralCD023The Coiled SerpentCoyoteDancing KoiDark Chocolate, Whiskey and Cognac TruffleEat MeElf v4Fenris Wolf 51FighterThe Forbidding FoyerGothabillyThe Infernal LoverIvanushkaTarot: JudgementLump of CoalThe Lurid LibraryLust v7Mad SweeneyMarch HareMme. MoriartyMoleMonster Bait: ClosetMr. JacquelNonae CaprotinaPaladinPanther MoonPenitenceQuincy MorrisRaven MoonRivet.GothRumpelstilzchenScherezadeSinSnake CharmerStoryvilleTrollTyphonUmbraWestern DiamondbackWhite Chocolate, Black Raspberry and Apricot Cordial TruffleNOTES: patchouli (my favorite smell in the whole world, especially the black variety), red musk, sandalwood (especially red sandalwood), redwood, cedar, rum, bourbon/whiskey, cognac, tobacco, incense of all kinds...basically anything that falls into the categories of woodsy, incense, or boozy (with the exception of wine notes...wine generally doesn't like me too much). If it smells like a headshop, a church, dirt or the forest (not pine), I'm all over it, basically.

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  1. Penance

    Coconut, Smoked Vanilla, & Fig

    Origin: 5mL from the Lab Preconceived notions: I hate the smell of actual coconut and typically avoid coconut-scented things, but now and then a scent with coconut will call my name. This one did. I'm digging the Lab's smoked vanilla note they've been using lately. It's pretty great. And I do like fig. I've been reading the reviews, though, and I'm not sure that this is going to really be for me. First sniff: So much coconut! It's a very creamy coconut, very smooth, almost buttery. The smoked vanilla just adds a bit of sweetness, no appreciable smokiness. The fig is there, but that's just it. It's...there. It doesn't really have much of a presence. Wet on skin: Coconut, coconut and more coconut. It's a coconut meat scent on me. Very fresh, sort of creamy. A little bit sunscreen-y in a good way. I don't get any vanilla or fig, really. Just coconut. Dry down: The vanilla makes a comeback in the form of a sweetness in the background that melds with the creaminess of the coconut. The fig just adds a faint fruitiness that's hard to pin down. The whole thing reads kind of palleta-meets-lotion. It's not perfumey or gourmand (though it is foody, in the sense that all three notes are foods), but it kind of has vibes of both creamy coconut ice pop and a trendy-but-mass-friendly body lotion/shampoo/body wash. The final verdict: I can totally see the Bath and Body Works comparisons, though this is better than any BBW scent could ever dream of being. This is one of those "safe" scents that strays too close to mainstream perfume to really be something I really enjoy. I feel like this could be at home at any bath and body store. It's nice, but not special. Maybe aging will bring out more depth. I'm not sure if it's worth it to find out, though. It's a nice scent, just not one I necessarily need in an already over-full collection.
  2. Penance

    Ask The Nearest Hippie

    Origin: 5mL from the Lab (pretty well aged at this point) Preconceived notions: How could I not love this? There's literally nothing here not to love. I can't imagine this going wrong in any way. First sniff: Mmm, patchouli, sweetened by vanilla bean. This is a particularly nice patchouli note. Nice and deep, but not too overly "dirty" smelling. The vanilla bean gives it a smooth, creaminess. The hemp I can't smell (I had the same issue with Banshee Beat; in fact, this reminds me of BB in ways). No cannabis, either, and I know the smell of cannabis. That's a little disappointing because I wanted a weed and patchouli perfume! Wet on skin: Same as in the bottle. It actually smells a lot like Banshee Beat did on me, which isn't wonderful, but not bad, either. I like it, but it's not as amazing on me as I thought it would be, given the notes. Dry down: Sweet patchouli-vanilla with the same background note that I can't quite place from Banshee Beat. That has to be the hemp, though it doesn't smell like hemp to my nose. The bottom line: This is lovely, but I was really hoping for something much more "hippie-ish," especially given the notes, but I do like this. I'll be keeping my bottle, but I'm not sure I need a backup. If you like Banshee Beat / Revenant Rhythm and can't find them, maybe give this a shot. It's not the same, but they feel similar to me. Might be worth a try!
  3. Penance

    Darjeeling Tea, Cocoa Dust, & Incense

    Origin: 5mL from the Lab Preconceived notions: I love tea and tea scents and incense is always one of the safest of safe bet note families on me, especially in BPAL scents. Cocoa dust? I remain neutral at the moment. I'm expecting this to be non-gourmand/foody since when I think cocoa dust, I think of the smell of a freshly opened canister of cocoa powder. Dusty, dry in a way that sucks the moisture out of the air, slightly bitter...definitely not foody. I'm curious to see how the three will play together. First sniff: I've been letting this one set for a while, since I figured, being a chocolate scent, that it would need some extra time to meld together. Opening up the bottle, I first get something in a vaguely similar plane to Black Temple Buelesque Group, but only in that both are chocolate scents that aren't foody, but instead are built on a backbone of something unexpected (incense and black tea here, as opposed to tobacco and black musk with BTBG). Interesting. Wet on skin: Wasn't there chocolate in here? There's no cocoa to be found within a millisecond of this hitting my skin. The dustiness stays, but the cocoa scent disappears, leaving very strong, assertive, dry incense. I'm wondering if aging will bring out the cocoa more. Drydown: The cocoa dust never does come back. Instead, I'm left with Darjeeling Tea and Incense. The incense is like if Rocky Mudd's found religion and held mass in their stores. The tea is only there as the very fainest of whispers, like someone boiled a pot of tea in the next room over and carried it past me very briefly. I guess, really, it reads as Incense at this point. Just incense. The verdict: I never thought I'd be a little disappointed in such an incense-heavy scent. I adore incense! I'm all about the incense! Any kind of incense. And it's good here. It is. It's just lacking the other two notes that I was expecting, especially the cocoa dust. In the bottle, it added an intriguing top layer. I was hoping that when I put it on, the tea and incense would come out a little more equally instead of this being all incense, all the time. Don't get me wrong. It smells nice. But I've got a ton of incense scents, most with more depth than this. I'll hold onto it to see what aging does, but this one might be a rare strike out among the duets and menages a trois.
  4. Penance

    Velvet Unicorn

    Origin: 5mL from the Lab Preconceived notions: I'm not really sure why I'm trying this one other than it being so popular. And because of my surprising love of Midway, which I hear is somewhat similar. The notes give me pause, though. I can get on board with spun sugar and even meringue, but the Lab's strawberry and sweet cherry notes tend to do me dirty and smell fake and cloying. As for the rainbow candies, I'm not really a fan of most foody scents, especially candy ones, but I'll reserve judgment for now. First sniff: I can definitely see the Midway comparisons! This is definitely "pinker," somehow. I don't smell candies or strawberry or cherry or meringue...or anything in here. At least not specifically. This is so well blended that what I'm getting is something between a walk through a carnival's food trucks and Pink Sugar (the perfume). Wet on skin: This immediately becomes sweeter, if that's possible, as soon as it hits my skin. It's not cloying, but it's like walking through a cloud of multi-colored, multi-flavored cotton candy. Dry down: Sort of a cross between the bottle smell and wet on my skin. The fruit notes come out and play, but they just add depth to the spun sugar. It's basically a fruitier Midway, minus the funnel cake note Midway has. The verdict: I really like this! I won't be needing another bottle, since I've got Midway, too. But this is definitely a keeper! I love it when a scent that I'm not expecting to like turns out to be a winner and Velvet Unicorn is the newest addition to that list. ETA: The very, very late dry down on this one (I mean HOURS after application), I'm getting musky vanilla. Slightly powdery, but not in a baby powder or old lady sort of way. Hard to describe, but very pretty and, again, unexpected. This unicorn is full of secrets. 🦄
  5. Penance

    Smurf Essence

    Origin: 5mL from the Lab. I've had this one for quite a while and I'm just now reviewing it. Preconceived notions: I don't know what to expect here, other than probably blueberry, because what else would you use to make a scent that I'm thinking is pretty likely to smell "blue"? There were no reviews when I bought or tested this, so I went in blind, not knowing what to expect. This review is uninfluenced by those above, since they didn't exist when I originally wrote down my notes when I first tried this. First sniff: All I get is blueberry here. It's very similar, if not the same as, the blueberry note in Bones Trombone and/or Blueberry Sufganiyot (can never tell if there's more than one Lab blueberry note; to me all Lab blueberry smells the same). If there's something else here, which there must be, I can't smell it. Wet on skin: Fruity in a sugary, pie filling sort of way, but somehow doesn't feel like a foody scent. There's maybe a touch of violet here? Or it could be amber instead. They both go a bit powdery on my skin and it doesn't smell floral. Dry down: As Smurf Essence dries, I get a little bit of a musky scent coming out. Sort of a natural skin smell or a soft fur like in Ivanushka, something warm, soft and subtle. There's a faint powderiness, that I'm still undecided on. I'm leaning towards amber since I'm not reading this as floral, just sort of powdery. The final verdict: This was one of those bottles that I spend a lot on without knowing anything about, other than the name, and I'm glad I bought it, even though I won't ever need another bottle. Smurf Essence is a little bit one-dimensional since the blueberry is so strong, but it's still got character. The combo of blueberry and skin/fur(?) and amber/violets does fit in with what I might imagine the Smurf's village to smell like.
  6. Penance

    Thorns Clove Cigarette

    Origin: 5mL bought secondhand Preconceived notions: I love the smell of clove cigarettes and I've longed for one from the Lab since I first started buying in 2004. I'm beyond excited to try this! First sniff: Hoo, baby! That is one strong scent! It's not exactly the smell of actual clove cigarettes, but it's damn close. I really, really like this so far. Wet on skin: I only put on dab and this stuff is strong. Like crazy strong. My husband could smell it from across the room. Awesome! The scent from the bottle doesn't change at all when I put it on. Still a very nearly authentic kretek scent. So good! Dry down: This stuff was very strong for a couple of hours and then slowly faded away. But that was just one tiny dab. Super stable, too. No real change from bottle to skin to dry down. The final verdict: I have a couple other BPAL scents that (at least on me) have a nice clove cigarette smell (Velvet Bandito and Morven, the Strong Man), but Clove Cigarette is the closest of the three. I love all of them, but this one's the best of the bunch for an authentic smell (the other two aren't supposed to smell like clove cigarettes, anyway, so I guess that's not a surprise). I'm sad I only have one bottle. This one's worthy of a backup or two...or five. 😄
  7. Penance

    Eat the Strawberries

    Origin: 5mL from the Lab Preconceived notions: Truthfully, I've yet to encounter a BPAL strawberry scent that doesn't make me think of that strawberry-flavored pie filling gel that comes (or came, now sure if it even exists anymore) in plastic bags that you squeeze out. Sort of a super sweet, artificial, cloying smell. So I'm not expecting to like this, but I really want to because I love the smell of fresh strawberries! In the bottle: Yeah, that's the infamous Lab strawberry. I don't get any green at all. Just artificial pie filling gel. Wet on skin: Once I put it on, it becomes more realistic, with a tiny hint of green leaves and stem. Dry down: Mostly cloying, artificial strawberry again with just a hint of green. The final verdict: Fruity and fun, but artificial in a candy/syrup sort of way. A bit childish. Definitely needs to be worn on skin for me.
  8. Penance

    Gingerbread, Honey Dust, & Vanilla Bean

    Origin: 5mL from the Lab Preconceived notions: There's a small part of me that's wondering why I ordered this...what I'm hoping to accomplish here. I love the Lab's gingerbread scents (Gingerbread Sin is a particular favorite) and I like vanilla bean just fine. Honey is something I'm indifferent to for the most part, but I'm curious about the "honey dust" here. I've seen/tasted/smelled something with a similar name before, but I'm not sure if that's what I should be expecting here. Honestly, I guess I'm just sort of expecting to get extra sweet gingerbread, now that I'm really thinking about it. First sniff: When I got this fresh in the mail, it was like someone took Gingerbread Poppet and toned down the intense spiciness. That was it. No honey that I could smell and a slight sweetness from the vanilla bean if anything. After letting it set, the honey and vanilla bean do come out more, but the "toned-down Gingerbread Poppet" vibe I was getting continues. Wet on skin: Starting to get some honey here, but it's not like the "honey dust" I encountered in the past. It's like regular honey: syrup. But it's mostly gingerbread still. Dry down: The honey syrup turned into honey dust! Depending on how heavily I applied this (some areas got more than others), I got almost a good balance between all three notes (though the vanilla bean sort of camouflaged itself a little bit behind the other two notes, adding a little sweetness to each without really standing out as vanilla) or nothing but a very faint hint of honey dust. This one needs to be applied heavier than a lot of my other scents, but I wouldn't call it a truly light scent, either. It didn't hang around particularly great, but it didn't entirely disappear, either. The bottom line: I like this. I do. But I have to seriously contemplate whether my collection has a place for a(n essentially) "sweetened" gingerbread scent when I already have a plain gingerbread scent and a couple others that are more complex. I don't have any sweet single notes to layer over my others so for now it stays, I think. TIme will tell if it's a long-term relationship.
  9. Penance

    Owl Moon

    Origins: 5mL bought second-hand, unknown age. Preconceived notions: I'm not a big fan of honey, but I do love me some patchouli. I'm hoping this is much heavier on the patchouli than the honey. Liking the idea of a really dirty, dark patchouli with a smear of honey sweetness more and more the more I think of it, at least in theory. We shall see! First sniff: Oh! That's nice! Definitely the deep, dark, dirty patchouli I love the most, but there's a rich, syrupy without being candy-like or cloying, lovely sweetness here. The honey really anchors it and gives it some extra warmth. Wet on skin: Pretty much the same as in the bottle, maybe a little more honey-leaning? My skin tends to really love to hold onto honey, so it could just be my skin chemistry already starting to work it's magic. Or Owl Moon is just heavier on the honey when on the skin in general. Dry down: Pretty much 50/50 very dark patchouli and very golden honey. I'm amazed there's no cloying undertone here. Honey is so sickly sweet to me so much of the time, but not here. It blends so beautifully with the patchouli that the two almost smell like one note, a sultry sweet lush darkness that's somehow snuggly and sexy at the same time. The scent hangs very close to my skin and has great staying power. It even made it through a shower, though Irish Spring doesn't quite compliment it. The bottom line: I'm glad I gave this one a shot. I'm sure it'll get even more lovely with age as the patchouli deepens and the honey melds further and further with it.
  10. Penance

    India Ink

    Origin: 5mL from OlfactoryMaven bought on LJ Preconceived notions: The idea of this scent intrigued me when it was announced, but I didn't want to deal with the hullabaloo of finding an angel to get me a bottle and wrote it off as something I didn't need under the circumstances. I kept thinking about it, though. I read the reviews later and saw how many people either disliked it or didn't find it wearable and should have been put off, but decided to take a gamble anyway, because that's how I roll with BPAL a lot of the time. First sniff: I definitely see where the reviews are coming from. This is acrid and a little industrial, but definitely inky and a little resinous. I can see why people find this off-putting, but I keep coming back for another sniff. Strange. Wet on skin: Not acrid, but still somewhat harsh. Very true ink scent with hints of what smells like cumin and frankincense. It sounds like a bizarre scent and it kind of is, but it's honestly not as strange in person as it is "on paper" (which conjures up images of a pen and ink illustrator eating curry in a church). Dry down: Ink for sure. Not ballpoint pen ink, either, and not copier toner. It's been so long since I've smelled real india ink that I can't quite remember exactly what it smells like, but this definitely isn't your "standard" everyday ink. The cumin has eased up noticeably, but it's still there and the resinous vibe has gotten slightly heavier with parchment (or some sort of heavy stock drawing paper, maybe, not printer/copier paper) in the background. The bottom line: Completely unique and strangely awesome in that "only the Lab could pull this off" sort of way. My mom hated this (although she did agree that it was very unique and that it smelled like some sort of art ink), but I actually really like it. It's definitely not a crowd-pleaser of a scent, but neither is Rivet.Goth and it's a winner for me, too. I wear perfume for me, not for anyone else, so I'll happily wear India Ink even though I may not be popular for doing it.
  11. Penance

    The Traveller

    Origin: 5mL from the Lab (eBay) and a decant (the basis for my review) from...somewhere. Keep in mind that both were well-aged by the time I got them, so my review isn't of the fresh-from-the-Lab scent. Preconceived notions: I've had a decant of this one for quite a while and it took me a long time to get around to testing it. not entirely sure why. Maybe because leather (in perfume) and I have a complicated history (it's always had the tendency to be awesome or make me nauseous and that's even more the case since I went vegan a few years ago) or maybe because of the herbs and gravel mentioned in the description. I'm not a big fan of herb scents and gravel/rocks really don't work for me in Lab scents. There's something harsh about them to my nose and they tend to ruin otherwise awesome scents. I'm hoping to love this because the Lab's leather is a hit more often than it's a miss and I love pipe tobacco and resins. Hopefully the pros will outweigh the cons. First sniff: Somewhat sharp leather, like polished but beaten up shoes, complete with a little bit of shoe polish (which is undoubtedly the chemical note that so many of us get from some of the Lab's leather scents), with hints of herbs and tobacco. So far, so good, although I hope the sharpness dies down. Wet on skin: Softer leather mixed with pipe tobacco and resins. I'm not sure what resins are here. It smells a bit like copal. There's a sweetness to the scent, but it's not just coming from the resins, it's in the tobacco, too. I'm not getting any dust or gravel, which is fine because I'm not a fan of either. Dry down: The Traveller dries down into the most beautiful leather/resin/tobacco scent. Seriously, so good! It's masculine, but most definitely not unwearable for the ladies (in case that's not obvious since I'm wearing it and loving it). It makes me think more of Victorian smoking rooms than weary travelers with dusty shoes. It's soft, musky, leathery, resinous, sweet and a little smoky. Definitely a winner. I only wish that I'd not been on my BPAL hiatus when this came out so that I could have bought a couple of backup bottles (assuming I'd been brave enough to try it in spite of the gravel, dust and herbs and the possibility that it would have been too sharp for me when it was freshly made). I'm just glad I managed to find a bottle because my decant won't last long.
  12. Penance

    Hippie Ghost

    A faded snapshot of patchouli-stained peasant blouses, soft suede boots, and smoke. Origin: 5mL from the Lab. Preconceived notions: There were a handful of ParaNorman scents I wanted to try when they were released, but had to narrow it down to one for budget reasons. Hippie Ghost sounded right up my alley. I love patchouli, suede and smoke. The only thing concerning me here is the "peasant blouse" part. Linen (I assume it's probably a linen-type note) and I don't always get along so well. It can be too harsh to my nose, so I'm hoping it's a soft, background note and not a main one. First sniff: Lighter than I expected, but I guess I should have anticipated that from a "ghost" scent! I'm getting everything here. Soft, worn linen (not harsh at all and not super clean, either...sort of a musty linen, but not in a bad way), patchouli (not the super dirty kind, but definitely patchouli all the same), a bit of suede and a tiny touch of smoke. It's a nostgalic sort of scent. More antique store than headshop. Wet on skin: My skin loves linen (even when I don't) and it's staying true to form here, amping up the peasant blouse note immediately and making this all about the fabric as soon as it hits my skin. Usually, that tones down quickly, though, so I'm not too worried. I'm still getting hints of the other notes, but this is screamingly linen-like right now. Drydown: Mmm, better. The linen really dies down (and pretty quickly, too) and I'm left with a really evocative scent. It's soft, ethereal and smoky with an earthiness from the patchouli and a little bit of soft suede. It still makes me think antique store (although I suppose it should be a vintage clothing store, it has that antique store smell to me) and not headshop, but I'm really liking it. The smoke is just a tiny bit harsh at times, but it comes and goes and I really can't complain. The bottom line: Ideally, I would have loved something more headshop-ish and more intense (although I should have expected what I got since it is a "ghost" scent), but I really like Hippie Ghost anyway. It's subtle and should go over well with people who don't normally love patchouli scents.
  13. Penance

    Siberian Musk

    Origin: 2 x 5mL from the Lab. Thought I only ordered one (trying to be good in spite of my long-running history of immediately ordering at least 2 of any LE that sounds good), but apparently old habits are hard to break and I actually ordered two. Preconceived notions: I'm so glad the single notes have made a comeback! I've been waiting, hoping that something my alley would make an appearance. I've got bottles of Sweet Clove, Redwood, Red Mysore Sandalwood and Blue Lilac from the first go-round and love them. I only wish I'd gotten a few other scents before they disappeared, so I'm glad I've got another chance to try some more out. There was a time when I would have hated this. I can say that without even smelling it, sad as that is. I used to hate musk. And I do mean hate. Not as much as I hate almond or lotus or bubblegum or (most) flowers, but hate is still the right word. But I've learned to love musk and this sounds awesome even though I'm not sure what to expect. I'm a huge fan of red musk, so I'm hoping Siberian musk is similar, but it should be a hit regardless. There are very few types of musk that I don't care for, so this should be a safe choice. First sniff: Yum! Definitely on the more animalic side (which would have sent me running back when I was first getting into BPAL many moons ago), but still very wearable. It doesn't have that cat pee smell that puts me off civet, but it's still got a wildness to it. I'd say this is in the same family as red musk, although the two are different. This is like a less sweet, more "animal" version of red musk. I can tell a little is going to go a long way. Wet on skin: Pretty true to the bottle scent. No sudden "Hey, I'm cat pee!" vibe coming out of left field, which is a relief. My skin sometimes likes to do things like that. I only put on a tiny dab to test and I can easily smell it wafting up from my inner elbow! Dry down: Sexy, sweaty, dirty musky goodness. This is a down and dirty scent. It stays pretty stable from bottle to drydown, although it looses a bit of its pungency as it dries. That's not a bad thing, though. It's still a dirty musk, but it's not quite so aggressive as it is when its wet. There's something about this that puts me in mind of Snake Oil (minus the vanilla and spices I get from SO, particularly once its aged), so I'm with the people who suspect that this is one of the secret ingredients. The bottom line: I'm glad I accidentally got two bottles of this because I love it! I'm happy to wear a single note as perfume on its own, so Siberian Musk will be getting plenty of wear that way, but I can also see it layering beautifully. Snake Oil would be a natural partner for Siberian Musk, but I think there are going to be quite a few other scents in my (admittedly massive) collection that it would play nicely with.
  14. Penance

    Uncle Travelling Matt

    Origin: 5mL from the Lab. Preconceived notions: I immediately put Uncle Matt on my "to try" list as soon as I read the ingredients. There was a time where I never would have tried this since I hated both chocolate and (most) fruit scents, but since my taste in scents has expanded, Uncle Matt was sounding pretty good. I've never smelled quince but I like fig and pear. Dark chocolate is my favorite type of chocolate as perfume and vanilla is usually a winner. I'm hopeful that this one's going to work, especially since I jumped right into a bottle instead of tracking down a decant. First sniff: Chocolatey in that rich, cocoa-ish dark chocolate way. I also get the vanilla, which adds a gentle sweetness and hints of the fig (rich, dark, bordering on cloying, but not in a bad way) and pear (sweet, light and subtle). I think maybe I smell the quince, but it could just be the pear. There's something almost like a cross between pear and apple lurking somewhere in there. Quince, is that you? Wet on skin: Uncle Matt smells the same on me as in the bottle for about 5 seconds and then starts to change rapidly. I'm guessing what I start smelling has to be the quince, because it's not any of the other notes. It has a sort of cough syrup smell to it (weirdly enough, it smells like prescription cough syrup, not the over the counter variety...I can't described the difference, but to me they're not the same creature), which I wasn't anticipating. I have a feeling it's my skin chemistry doing strange things to either the quince or some combination of the other notes. Dry down: Thankfully, the cough syrup phase doesn't last very long. Once it disappears, I'm left with a surprisingly soft chocolate and vanilla scent (comforting and sweet without being truly foody to my nose) with sweet, soft fruits in the background. Most of the fig disappears and it turns into a sort of golden apple/pear scent with only a tiny bit of the fig haging around in the far background. The bottom line: I like this one. It's not quite what I was anticipating (I was thinking it would be more like the box of chocolates scents; foody in an unexpected way), but it's nice all the same. I'm actually more apt to wear this than if it was a genuinely foody scent since I'm not a big gourmand fan (with some exceptions), so I can't complain about it going a different direction.
  15. Penance

    La Mano Del Destino

    Origin: 5mL bought on LJ. Preconceived notions: I'm beyond excited about La Mano del Destino. I adore patchouli, love tobacco and like virtually every other note here. The only things I'm unsure about are the unknowns that I've never smelled before: copaiba and pao d'arco. I did a little bit of reading online and it looks like both of those should work for me, though, so I've got very high hopes for this one. First sniff: Dark, earthy patchouli and something that smells almost like redwood mixed with cedar, which must be the copaiba. There's a faint hint of chocolate here, too, but it's not foody. It just adds a little mode depth to the scent. So far, so good! Wet on skin: Pretty much the same as in the bottle, only now I get a tiny touch of cinnamon in addition to the patchouli, wood and cacao. It's a dark, gender neutral scent. Dry down: Love! Earthy patchouli, rich wood, tobacco (it smells like a cigar box with the combination of wood and tobacco) and hints of cinnamon, chocolate and vanilla. It's not foody in the slightest, but the chocolate, cinnamon and vanilla add some depth and complexity to the patchouli, wood and tobacco. The bottom line: I absolutely love this, although I can see patchouli-haters...well...hating this. It's definitely heavy on the patchouli (and on the copaiba). Luckily, that's very much my sort of thing, so I'm thrilled with this one and I'll definitely be getting backups before La Mano del Destino disappears. This is what I think of as an "old school BPAL" scent because it makes me think of the scents I tried when I was first getting into BPAL in 2004. It's got that "BPAL Smell™" to it, which I love.