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... A sinister, sinuous incense of summoning, a herald and paean to the Primordial Gods of Darkness, Chaos, Madness and Decay.


Al Azif is now one of my favourites!
On me, it's got a smokey sweetness that is way too strong when it's wet, but it settles into a wonderful scent that lasts the whole day. Great for the fall!

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I didn't read the previous reviews because I didn't want them to change the way I felt about this scent.

 

I wasn't sure what to expect and I just dropped it on my wrist...wow! It was very dark and musky to start with and I was a bit unsure. Then it began to dry down and it is very incense in a fresh, green way but hasn't lost the darkness.

 

Visualizing this scent: It is like standing at the mouth of a deep, dry cave that opens high on a mountain with lots of lush vegetation and flowers around the mouth of the cave. In one breath you get the darkness and earthiness of the cave and the fresh flowers and greens from the mouth of the cave. A very unique scent that seems familiar, but not.

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hm. i think this changes quite a bit as it ages, maybe?

i have a couple decants from the original release, and they smell different to me than this fresh new bottle

 

new bottle:

molasses (or brown sugar, rather), maple syrup and peanut butter. with some sort of floral lingering in there somewhere (an orchid or lily maybe?)

the high point is when a note that's similar to the "burned sugar" note in Midway comes out toplay.

 

i'm not entirely sure that i like this, whereas my aged imps smell like incense smoke and *sweet* (the way i wanted midnight on the midway to smell)

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I really, really liked this scent when first applied. It is very sweet but not quite foody, with a hint of smoke. As it dries, it gets a little odd on me. The sweetness tones down and a touch of floral comes out under the smoke. The floral begins to turn into a long-dead flower and I think it may be rose as that often gets a decaying smell on me. Fully dry, the bit of sweetness mixes with the dead flower scent and smoke into something that isn't quite enjoyable to me.

 

I do like the smell wet and might try aging this to see if the dead flowers go away.

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My latest order included a six-pack of Arkham imps, and - IA! IA! - they all are just marvelous. So I'm going to review 'em alphabetically.

 

Man, this smells good. A sweet scent of almonds and some desert fruit - dates, maybe? - dominates at first, eliding into a sandy, windswept odor that creeps and wafts around me like tiny ghosts.

 

That's how most of the Lovecraft scents work: a rich, even foody scent which transforms into something outre, even sinister. Quite evocative; damn good job by Beth and her cabal.

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straight sniff from imp this is very, very much like underpants to me :D

it is creamy vanilla and sandalwood...nothing dark here... :D

after 30 minutes or so this gets even more mouthwatering (as if that were possible!) and has me swooning...this is positively gorgeous...i get the "slightest" note of cedar...so very subtle...i love this to pieces!!

a big bottle purchase for certain :) :P

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I love the sweet maple beginning on this one, but dried out it is sharp and cloying. I can't wash it off!!! :P

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First of all, I'm a big fan of The Pit and the Pendulum. It's one of my favorite of the many bpal 'incense' blends. Well, Al Azif on the surface smells very similar to PnP. They have one or more of the exact same notes going on. However....it crosses the line into TOO sweet. I've only had it on for about an hour and I already feel like I can't handle it. It lacks the wood element of PnP, as far as I can tell. There is a very subtle underlying element of....I'm not sure, something dry and crumbly. It has a core of corruption and some high, sweet element reminding me of rot and decay. Very strong throw and a little goes a long way.

 

Now that it's starting to dry, I am sensing something more pleasant trying to emerge. I just can't leave it on, though. I may hold onto the imp, since earlier reviews say that it ages well...but I might just swap it. I can't see myself wanting to wear it again any time soon. Funny how it's so much like one of my favorite scents, yet it's starting to turn my stomach a little. :P

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I had no idea that Darkness, Chaos, Madness, and Decay would smell so yummy.

 

It's a very sexy, resinous scent--like sandalwood drizzled with caramelized sugar and dark rum. Other people have mentioned vetiver, which is usually very cruel to me, amping up and smacking my poor sinuses around until they're ready to cry. I don't get any of that, thankfully. Instead, as it dries it starts to turn just a little bit smokier, kind of like burning leaves, which is very nice.

 

This doesn't feel sinister at all on me. It feels more like a warm duvet to wrap around you when there's a chill in the air and the leaves are turning and you don't have anything you have to do except sit by a fire and drink tea--very comforting and calming.

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imp:

 

again with that butterynut smell. and mmm. this is gooood.

 

wet:

 

something spicy and herbal. a savory spice for cooking, though. the faintest whiff of something like cocoa. and whoops, that medicine cabinet smell from schwarzer mond. but this time it's a more asian apocethary. sandalwood? leather? I'm still learning how to tell the notes apart. this is a male scent. maybe not even a male scent that I'd wear anyway. it's growing sexier by the minute, though. no, definitely leather. not dyed leather, though. no hang on maybe I will wear this on myself. it smells really good. it's not kicking my butt like The Music of Erich Zahn, but it's still really nice.

 

dry:

 

god this is good.

I smell the vetiver, now. it's not a strong vetiver, but it's vetiver, and so I love it automatically. but it's vetiver and burnt sugar, and that I never would have tried as a combination. that's really cool. the medicine cabinet smell only lasted for a minute or two before it disappeared. mm.

 

Long after:

 

the medicine cabinet smell is back, but very faintly, along with this sweet burnt sugar and incense thing. this is nice. i'll keep the imp and see if I feel distressed when it gets low.

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I'm so so glad some of the SiA scents are here to stay :) When SiA came out, I was a Bpal newbie and only ended up with bottles of Misk. U and Arkham Revisited. I'm so so glad I finally have a chance to sniff some Al Azif.

 

I love incense blends so I have high hopes for this one!

 

Out of the vial this is surprisingly light smelling! For such a resinous blend, I also expected this to be dark brown in color. Interesting :D There's an almost sun block/oil quality to this as I sniff this out of the imp.

 

Wet on my skin this is super sweet and musky! I'm not smelling the maple syrup most people described, but there is something sugary sweet in this. There's only a very light incense to this right now.

 

As this dries down it sweetens up even more (my skin tends to do that and I don't mind at all :D ) and the incense start to become more apparent. This is really really light on my skin as well, it's not as heavy as most incense blends tend to be.

 

The final dry down is gorgeous, I can't stop sniffing my wrist. It's definitely a morpher on me.

 

Overall this one was surprising! I was expecting a heavier, richer incense blend but instead this is sweet, light and musky. Rich incense or not, the surprise was a pleasant one and I'm in love with Al Azif....I only wish it lasted a bit longer on my skin.

 

:P

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Soft and pleasant with a sharp almost sour bite, very faint, at the top. I'll keep it to see how it ages.

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It's hard to believe the reviews are of the same scent! Only one person mentioned civet, but I had already wondered if this has it in there. Wet: I get spice, saffron, probably, incensey resin notes and a b.o. aroma that is strongly present. It sounds awful, but...I kind of...like...it... :P It sweetens up in drying, not maple syrup, but a sweet resin, the b.o. turns to musk and the spice lightens. Oooooh, I am so glad this came back and that they are selling individual imps. I see a bottle in my future. The throw comes and goes, and I'm not sure of the staying power, but it is definately worth reapplying!

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Ooh, this is gorgeous. Based on the reviews, it was the Arkham scent I most wanted when they brought back the collection, and thus far I am not disappointed. It's definitely in the same general ballpark as Cathedral, Aureus, Midnight Mass and The Pit & the Pendulum -- a resinous, incensey scent -- but it's more interesting than any of them, though probably closer to TP&TP than any of the others.

 

As some people have commented, there's an overtone of sweetness to it, but I don't find it sugary at all... There's almost a hint of floral, but not quite, and other notes that seem maddeningly familiar but just out of reach. There's something vaguely intoxicating about it, like if inhaled enough it could induce visions. It's definitely a pagan ritual incense, not Catholic church incense.

 

This could be in the running to be my favourite incense scent yet, possibly even displacing Aureus from that position... Only down side is that it doesn't last terribly long -- on my wrists it's gone inside of an hour, and even in the crooks of my arms it's pretty faint after two. But it's nice enough to be worth frequent reapplying.

 

Grade: A

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Thanks to the exquisite generosity of Wasabipea I have just rec'd a 5ml of a fragrance I wouldn't have thought to try--and my goodness, what I would have missed.

 

Al-Azif, whatever the murmurings of Chaos and Ruin and what not in the description, is a gentle passage into the depths and out again, from the moment the leaves start to fall to the first green sprouts of springtime.

 

At first it is, on my wrists and to my nose, very autumn leaves plus a touch of buttery, foody goodness (it brings to my mind Hecate and Anubis, but I'm not sure if my scent memory is accurate).

 

Then it changes to a scent of rainwashed flowers--something faint, poignant, sweet. A stirring of hope beneath the crumbled, dying leaves. Little sprouts of snowdrops and crocus.

 

I read the previous reviews and am interested to see terms like "incense" and "strong" used a lot--not so for me (maybe I just spend so much time with incense I don't notice it?). I'll be curious how this ages, because I suspect it may intensify with time, but meanwhile it is a pretty, delicate, comforting fragrance. Very very nice. (thanks, Wasabipea!)

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In the bottle: aged incense, opium and spiced rum.

 

On my skin: absolutely wonderful. Had I not of experienced the single notes most recently (by Arcana) I wouldn't be able to say, "I smell black amber." That's what the beauty is in this blend. It shines and sparkles like no other amber can! Its sweet but not cloying and has an underlying dry feel to it not unlike cedar.

 

Drydown: stays true to the initial application. Nothing like any other BPAL blend I've tried and is a stand alone peice of art.

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Bottle: dark and hot and smoky

Wet: the same, with a foodyness behind it I can't quite put my finger on

Dry: oh, and plastic. acrid, burning plastic. holy crap this is getting very bad, very fast.

Later: OMG washing! aagh!

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So glad to finally try this one and it's the winner of my latest order so far. I never went near it previously as there were so many "smells like maple syrup" references - something I definitely do not want to smell like.

 

Just goes to show you how different people's noses and chemistries are - this is gorgeous on me.

 

Yup - it's incense and resin. But it's not overally "sweet" on me as it appears to be on others - which is odd as my chemistry tends to make EVERYTHING sweet.

 

What I smell immediately as the dominant note is oppoponax - which I love!

In fact this smells nearly identical to one of my favorite non-Bpal blends - Ava Luxe Oppoponax Intense. The main notes in that are opoponax, amber and benzoin (two notes that could be lending the "sweetness" some folks get). Frankincense in there as well.

 

This makes me very happy, as I'd much rather buy Bpal :P

 

One thing that is suprising, given it's such an intense scent - is that this one does seem to fade rather quickly me on me. The scent remains the same throughout - just gets lighter and lighter over the course of 2-4 hours or so........... But I love the light whiff of the remnants I get just as well.

 

For reference, I'd put this in the same category as Aureus and Cathedral (two other faves. But different enough to warrant a purchase. Aureus is a top fave and that is warm golden incense/resin and this is dark, slightly smoky, slightly sweet incense/resin.)

 

(ETA: I'm off to search for a bottle - this has officially jumped into the Top 10.)

Edited by wolfie13

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They bend the forest and crush the city, yet may not forest or city behold the hand that smites.

And yeah, when the forest or city has been rendered as flat as a pancake, the hand pours maple syrup all over the wretched mess.

 

I also seem to be getting a whiff of cocoa from Al Azif. Even though the description is pretty sinister, I find this a comforting warm pajama and hot cocoa kind of scent.

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I was expecting something resinous, but I get all maple syrup and sweet, sweet, sweet. I think this actually shares some notes in common with Midnight Mass, but while MM was sweet frankincense and myrrh, this is just the sweetness, without actually smelling like resin. As it is, it's far too cloying. But given that I got Midnight Mass at least six months aged, I'm going to give this some time and see if it mellows.

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My nickname for this one is Monastic Pancakes.

 

It starts out with a strong, syrupy kick, but there is incense waiting underneath. As the sweetness dies back, Al-Azif unfolds itself to reveal...well, to reveal my new favorite incense blend. I'm not good at identifying notes, but I think there's frankincense here, and something darkening the mix. In the warm shadows, the lingering vestiges of that sticky sweetness entwine with pious incense to produce something voluptuous and primal, yet holy. Something pagan; a little more dangerous. This blend definitely evokes a place of worship...but this ain't no Saint Paul's, brothers and sisters. Nobody wears a halo here. We are not reaching for the light. We are heading into the darkness to see what mystery lives there, and we are wearing very little if we are wearing anything at all. This is the church where there are no 'sins' of the flesh. This is the church where if you wanna get right, you gotta get down.

 

I tested this one alongside Scales of Deprivation, another incense fave, and there is a difference in character. Scales has the same 'churchy' feel, but it's a lighter and more cerebral blend, calm and comforting, good for those contemplative days. Al-Azif is all inviting, dark and sybaritic, the one to wear when you want to get up to some trouble.

 

Choose your guide wisely, incense-loving pilgrim: Scales of Deprivation lays a gentle, patient hand on your shoulder and says, "You will find your way." Al-Azif takes you by the hips and pulls you close, looks you in the eye and purrs, "I'll show you God."

 

 

Bottle of each! It's the only way.

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In vial: frankincense and resins. Rich and sweet.

 

wet: sweet, almost like maple syrup Frankincense for sure, and lovely resins. This is deep and sexy.

 

Dry: Lovely, still sexy and sweet. A little foody, but not too much so.

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Dark, thick, and kind of sticky. Like syrup and nag champa. This is my favorite BPAL incense blend.

 

This is one of the few BPAL oils that my husband and I both wear. I have a bottle of the old Springtime in Arkham version, and my husband bought a bottle of the new Picnic in Arkham one. The aged version smells a lot deeper and richer and less like syrup -- I definitely prefer the aged version. It's so dark and murky. The fresh version is great too, but it has a slightly foody aspect to it that I don't get out of the aged one.

 

Also I'd like to mention that if you like this, try the Salon's Two Monsters. It has a similar feel.

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