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BPAL Madness!

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Amber, saffron and bergamot with mandarin, nutmeg, Bulgar rose, musk and sandalwood.

 

I was in Whole Foods sniffing bottles of BPAL and wondering which to get, when I opened the tester of Baghdad and took a whiff.

In an instant I wasn't in a grocery in the southern U.S. anymore, but back in the United Arab Emirates. This is the smell of packets of Oud moist wipes that I would hunt for in every single gas station I went into, hoarding them when I found a pack. Forget the rose, the sandalwood, the musk. This smell is all oud to me, even though it isn't in the notes. This is what the Emirati smell like when they sweep past you in the Dubai Mall. This is the smell of the refined middle east, of ancient histories and art, of grace and strength and mystery.

Rose tends to turn terrible on me, but thankfully it's nearly nonexistent in this blend on me. Another thing I noticed is that a VERY little goes a long way. I wiped the applicator several times on the bottle, and then just barely touched the end of the stick to my skin. Another thing to note is to give this scent 30 minutes to an hour to mature. It changes over time and becomes more subtle and elegant and less intense and "in your face."

Edit: To clarify: the bottle I tested at the store was obviously quite aged: I tried the bottle I got at home and smelled MUCH more sandalwood than the aged bottle. I intend to let this oil age for a bit and get some of that oud quality back into it.

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In the Bottle: ROSE! Saffron and sandalwood play second fiddle. I'm thinking this could go either way on me- my vote's for horribly wrong!

Wet: Sandalwood and myrrh. even though there is no myrrh in this, I still "feel" like there is. Smells much nicer than I thought that it would. Nicely creamy, but with a slight soapiness closer to the skin.

Drydown: So. Much. Sandalwood! :ack: There's a hint of rose, but it's so far in the background. Still creamy. She's very nice, but not something that I would reach for often. I might try laying with London to get a bigger rose going on.

 

3.5/5

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In the imp: dry, dusky, a little sexy. The sandalwood sticks out, along with something I can't place my finger on, but reminds me of sand.

 

Wet, on my skin: Oh God no ... almost instantly turns to that "diaper wipe/baby powder" scent I can't stand :( I choke back the initial "Get it off! Get it off!" reaction, knowing hoping that, like most BPAL scents, it will morph.

 

Drydown: about 2 hours later, I get more of the sandalwood, but there's still a hint of baby powder underneath it; that said, it's a much softer baby powder, and mixed with the sandalwood it's *almost* what I like. Almost.

 

I had high hopes for this one, but I don't think it's going to be one I keep. I'm pretty sure this one was a frimp with an eBay purchase, so that's likely what it'll end up.

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I really wanted to like this. I was hoping it would be drier and sharper, like desert sand and spices in a bazaar. On, though, it was all powdery amber that made me sneeze (which was bad, because I spilled it all over a tablecloth). The boyfriend was more of a fan, because amber doesn't go intensely powdery on him, but overall it's kind of a dud.

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This is a gorgeous blend - the spices at first definitely remind me of being at an open-air market in the desert. Upon drydown I mainly get amber, saffron, and juicy mandarin. It stays very close to the skin. Subtle, yet evocative. I am super-sad that this is discontinued.

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Received as lagniappe in a swap.

 

I know I have tried this before, when it was first released, purchased based on the notes. However there was a long span from spring 2005 through about a year ago where I didn't post reviews, so all I know is that I apparently didn't like it quite enough to keep it ... thinking it would have been divested of during a big purge I did around then.

 

But the notes appeal so I'm trying again ...

 

IN THE IMP: Sharper and more acerbic and not quite as "comforty" as I would have expected from the notes.

 

Dabbed on wrist and in crook of arm.

 

WET: Once it hits my skin, the "comfort" smell, as I call it, amps -- amber and saffron, in particular. It's a very lovely blend, not overwhelming at all. I can't really put my finger on anything that stands out in terms of individual notes and for some reason I can't really describe it. But I like it a lot.

 

DRYDOWN: It definitely qualifies as a "comfort scent" keeper though It's a tiny bit sharper and more acidic than the other scents that fall in that category for me ... I think it may be the mandarin that keeps it from being a big bottle purchase or "I gotta get more of this" scent. Or the rose. Or both.

 

OVERALL: I wouldn't buy a big bottle of this but I wouldn't kick it out of bed, I mean out of my keeper box. Not sure it's something I would frequently reach for over other scents, but I'll probably use up the imp in good time. I'm not sure if my skin chemistry or tastes have changed since the first time I tried it, but I like it a lot.

 

On a scale of 1-10, a 3.8.

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In the imp: Incense, florals, and spices.

 

Wet on skin: Primarily incense, with a hint of something bright and citrusy. However it's also turning a bit powdery on me, which is probably the amber.

 

The saffron is quite strong after a few minutes, however this smells like nothing so much as an ancient old-lady style dusting powder my mother had when I was a kid, and that's just not a super attractive scent to me.

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Wet: Amber, saffron and musk are dominant on me so far. Really interesting! I wasn't sure what to expect. It's a bit dusty smelling - I suppose that's fitting. This strikes me as somehow very "traditional". I kind of like it!

 

 

Dry: Really interesting. Such a warm, glowing scent. I like the spiciness, I like the perfuminess. I just...like it! Not sure how much I would wear it, but am glad to have an imp.

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Warm and low profile. Mostly saffron, amber, and sandalwood. I get a little rose and musk over it. Very nice.

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In the imp: I am mostly getting the musk, Bulgar rose, bergamot, and resins, with a bit of nutmeg.

 

Wet: The rose is the strongest note, followed by the musk. The bergamot, saffron, and nutmeg have emerged, but they are not as strong as the rose and musk notes. Then, the resins appear. I'm getting more sandalwood than amber from this.

 

Dry: The rose, musk, and amber notes are now the main players on my skin, but I'm still getting some of the citrus and spices.

 

After a while, the rose calms down, so that it's a musky amber scent with soft Bulgarian rose and saffron.

 

Verdict: Musky rose scents are not my jam. I was hoping for more of the citrus and saffron! It's nice after it has been dry for a while, but it's still not one I would end up reaching for. But I'm glad I got to try it.

Edited by dementia_divine

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I received my imp of original Baghdad in a swap with dementia_divine, so I assume it is the very same imp reviewed just above. Yet on my skin Baghdad is not a musky rose but a desert amber, not as sweet as Bastet but in the same family. Amber, saffron, sandalwood, a waft of citrus, warm, dry, lovely (Bast, Bastet, Lion, etc. are faves of mine). The rose and musk were both supporting players on my skin, and I didn't specifically make out nutmeg at all. I definitely need to try the resuscitated Baghdad while it is still available!

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In bottle: Amber and something very sharp, almost off-putting. I think it’s probably the bergamot.

Wet: Warm nutmeg, musk, and sandalwood, with just a bit of rose rounding it out. It really has the feel of an antique box storing pressed flowers and aged spices, just antique and richly evocative.

Dry: Mostly rose, with just a hint of amber/sandalwood/musk, a generically warm, earthy background scent. Quite lovely, though it doesn’t make me think of Baghdad.

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Baghdad shares a lot of notes with Moscow, a scent that I tested earlier today- amber musk citrus bergamot and rose. Baghdad wasn’t soapy, but it does have a similar old-fashioned feel. When I put it on, I felt like I was going through my grandma’s perfumes, or walking into a my great grandma’s bedroom a little sharp, a little musty. Not unpleasant, but not how I feel like smelling. I get The saffron rose and mandarin for sure, and I think the bergamot somehow pushes the scent into “old” territory for me.... hmmmm 

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