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catiebloo

Hollywood Babylon

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The essence of innocence shattered: glittering Egyptian amber and heliotrope, infused with the sweetness of strawberry and vanilla - dragged into debauch by lusty red musk and a dribble of black cherry.

 

Big, fat juicy cherries dripping with Snake Oil. I am getting some amber in the background.

Not detecting any strawberry nor any floral notes (although I don't know what Heliotrope is supposed to smell like).

I like. :rolleyes2:

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Very sweet and fruity (cherry! strawberry! vanilla!) at first, reminds me of a red dum-dum lollipop. Candy rather than actual fruit. Then I get the heliotrope and snake oil, and it goes slightly plastic-y on my skin. One of the notes is just not working for me - maybe the heliotrope. I am left with a very-subtle-fruity snake oil. I am struggling to find the red musk. Not bad, but I wish I could smell more of the amber and red musk...

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My nose and scent preference disclaimer: I have three distinct camps of scents that I love: baked goods, earthy spices, and woods/forests. My favorite scents are currently Captain Lilith and her First Mate and Eat Me for the foody category, Morocco and Scherezade for the spices, and Druid and Isle of Demons for my woodsies. Notes I dislike are vetiver, civet, leather, all of the peppers, most florals, sometimes tobacco, "wood" scents like rosewood and sandalwood because I amp them so so much and kitchen spices like sage (and by extension, frankincense because woah I get sage from that).

 

In the bottle: Cherry candies, like cough drops. I am worried. Cherries don't usually play well.

Wet on skin (dap on wrists, behind ears, between breasts): Oooh, it's like Beaver Moon 07, vanilla and cherry like the ice cream but without the plastic note that ice cream scents in bpal give me! Yum.

5 minutes later: Um...where did it go? All I did was put on socks and I can't smell anything. Dabbing on a bit more.

10 minutes later: Applied more. There's a faint spicy scent like Snake Oil or like Morocco or Scherezade 3 hours later. Wow. I wanted to love this but my skin is just eating up the sweet and there's not enough spice or red musk to make it linger. It actually smells like expensive hand soap you get at bath and body works. Disappointed.

15 minutes later, now dressed: I'm getting faint sweetness and spice up close and personal but there's no throw. :(

 

Verdict: I have no idea what in this blend my skin is eating. Beaver Moon 07 gets amped to hell and back and is so strawberry/cherry/vanilla sweet that I can't wear it. Red musk ought to linger. Egyptian amber is in snakecharmer which works very nicely on me. This will be a mystery for me and I'll have to test it another day to see what's up!

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It took me an embarrassingly long time to get around to trying Hollywood Babylon. It has scads of notes I like, so why not? Who knows. Well, finally I purchased an imp of it and gave it a shot.

 

This starts out with a bright red cough syrup scent, which mellows quickly into a more normal strawberry/cherry combo. Lurking in the background was an incensey blend that, I swear to God, the first thing I thought was "That smells like BPAL!" Well, duh, right? But it just kind of smelled like archetypal BPAL, the way it was sort of incensey and sort of sweet and sort of earthy all at the same time. And then I realized it's because it does smell kind of like Snake Oil. During these early stages, it also reminds me some of White Witch, which makes sense as they both have amber, vanilla, red musk, and a red fruit.

 

The fruit fades quickly, leaving mostly a Snake Oil clone without a lot of throw or oomph. It may get stronger as it ages--in fact, it probably will. I never get heliotrope from it, sadly; that's a note I really like and was hoping for here. So far, I don't dislike Hollywood Babylon at all, but it's a lot like both SO and White Witch without quite being as good as either.

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In the imp: Hershey's strawberry syrup.

 

Wet on my skin: I smell like a bag of Jolly Ranchers.

 

Dry: I still smell like a bag of Jolly Ranchers, but now there's a hint of vanilla and musk, like maybe I'm carrying a high-quality perfume in the same bag as the candies. I can see why people would like this one, but so far it's just too sweet and "girly" for me. I'll try it at least once more when it ages a month or so, just to be on the safe side.

 

Edit: Tried this again a month and a half later, and what a difference just that month and a half made! There's still that initial blast of Jolly Ranchers, but now the musk, amber, and vanilla join it and stay. It's actually quite lovely now! Musk and amber love my skin, and now that they have their chance to shine, this has gone from a girly-sweet perfume to a rather sensual, seductively sweet scent. Glad I kept my imp!

Edited by DiesMali

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Hollywood Babylon has been on my wishlist forever, I finally ordered an imp with my last order. In the vial and wet I get cherry cough medicine, but it's much better once it dries a little. It's very sweet but the amber helps to make it not cloyingly so. Later on I can detect the vanilla and the red musk comes out but the black cherry stays out front. Definitely need a bottle.

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In the bottle: Strawberry & cherry with a slight floral & amber in the background.

Wet on skin: Amber & red musk, with hint of floraly-berries.

Dry on skin: REALLY beautiful! Vanilla, berries, amber & musk! SO nice!

After a few hours: The vanilla & amber are the main notes here, the musk & berries help to round it out.

Verdict: This is one of my favourite & most worn BPAL perfumes! It blends AMAZINGLY on my skin - every time I wear it, someone compliments it!

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Really sad about this one. In the bottle and immediately wet on my skin it's lovely juicy cherries backed by spicy vanilla and something dry to balance. Perhaps the amber?

 

Then a few seconds later my skin absolutely swallows it up. All that's left is a dry powdery amber smell and I have to basically stick my wrists up my nose to smell it.

 

Such a disappointment! It sounds so lovely in all of the other reviews. I'll keep it around and see if my skin likes it better after its sat for a while. :(

Edited by SimplySyra

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I first received this as a frimp, but I instantly fell in love and bought a bottle as soon as I could. Of all of the BPAL scents I own, this one nets me the most consistent complements and, uh...attention, for lack of a better way to put it. If your skin likes this, just be aware it's not an office scent or something to wear to a polite soiree. Those who like the scent on you, men and women alike, will be quite forward about it. ;)

 

In the bottle, it's juicy candy, a very naughty cherry cordial threaded through with grapey red musk.

 

Wet, my skin amps the musk to overdrive to the point that for a few minutes, that's just about all I smell, but this phase doesn't last long.

 

As it dries down, the vanilla and amber both amp to hold their own with the red musk. There's still a hint of cherry candy. It keeps the scent just shy of the realm of straight up sex and has a playful edge. It is long-lasting with tremendous throw. I once wore it through a 10 hour, very busy work shift in which I sweated quite a bit, and at the end of the shift just walked past a co-worker who was seated outside. He immediately asked me what I was wearing and told me I smelled incredible. (Not an office environment!) Whereas my body usually completely absorbs Snake Oil within two hours, it hangs onto Hollywood Babylon and throws it like crazy. Not only does it get nice reactions, it makes me feel good, too. This is my go to perfume for a night on the town when I aim to misbehave.

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This smells…dirty...

Not in a gross "ew get that smell out of here" but…just…filthy. The kind of filthy wrapped up in silk dresses and red lipstick licking a strawberry lollipop. While riding with the top down in your convertible.

 

…I love it.

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Someone earlier said, "evil fruit punch" and I have to agree. Love it in the bottle. Smells like walking into lush, but not my style.

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Wet: Fruity, syrupy, red musk. Mmm. Hoping the sweetness dies down just a touch though.

 

 

Dry: Really really good. I amp red musk, and I like sweetness with my red musk, so this really does it for me. Primarily red musk, a little fruity, sweet, a little creamy. Fabulous. I see a bottle of this in my future.

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Wet: Snake Oil without so much of the spicy bite- I must really amp BPAL's vanilla.

 

5 min: still Snake Oil, the sweetness of cherry coming through.

 

20-30 min: something powdery, amber I guess; sadly I got no strawberry at all! :( But it does smell nice anyway. Basically cherry-flavored Snake Oil to me.

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A bit similar to Snake Oil, but with a cherry bubblegum kick. At least it does for me immediately after putting it on. The bubblegum-ish smell went away after about a minute. Not sure if I miss it or not. Still a nice scent. Powdery (not baby powder, this is grown-up powder) cherry candy with a little red musk to spice it up. This is what vintage sunglasses, red lollipops, and Blondie music smells like.

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Cherry vanilla red musk, which is nice! Sweet with a kick. Very little throw.

 

After a few minutes of dry down its all but gone. :(

 

I'll keep the imp for my scent locket. It's too bad my skin eats it,as this is really nice.

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Wet and freshly applied this smells like fruity gummy candy. As it dries the red musk comes out, which is where I got worried--I'm not a huge fan of red musk and in other bends I've tried it tends to take over--but this time it actually behaved pretty well! After a while the gummy candy faded into more of a natural fruity smell and blended nicely with the musk. It has pretty low throw, but I didn't really mind because it kept the musk to a minimum. I'm not sure I want a whole bottle, since I don't really want to smell like candy most of the time either, but it is making me rethink my dislike of red musk.

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In the imp this smells like strawberry bubblegum, or maybe gummies. Shockingly sweet and slightly artificial but not necessarily in a bad way. It starts off the same way once on skin, but on me it yet again turns into a powdery amber bomb within a handful of minutes. No cherry, no berry, no vanilla...sigh. It could have been so good, too. No more amber blends for me, at least not from BPAL.

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Beautiful warm, dry scent. Like California in drought season. Wet, it’s very sweet and innocent naive, but when it dries down, it becomes so confusedly sensual that I want to rub my nose over the skin it’s on, a decidedly sexual act. I am very fond of warm, woody scents. This is a beautiful example of one, without the sharp spice that other warm woody scents often give due to the incense notes. There's an undercurrent of bubblegum. Teenagers figuring sex out, with all the jubilance, hesitance, and false bravado that comes with it. A little bit of pretending to be cooler than you really are, a little bit of actually being that cool and not even realizing it.

Where I'd wear this: To the gates of Coachella at 17, in the drought

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This is definitely too heady for me and it does remind me of Snake Oil, which I'm not a huge fan of. The cherry/sweet kick to it kind of makes me nauseous. I tend to stay away from amber and red musk so I was fairly certain I wouldn't enjoy this.

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It is strong, red, and sweet. there's something powdery and artificial in the background. there is a floral edge. it settles into a pretty sweet red berry scent.

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Strawberries, cherries, and vanilla are notoriously problem notes for me, but somehow it works. I can't explain it, but somehow they all come together and create something I can really see myself wearing.

 

I think the red musk is some kind of peacekeeper and makes this scent work. It doesn't go cough syrup, baked good, or artificial candy on me. I wonder if it's because the imp is a few years old at least. It's a slightly sweet and sultry red musk scent with cherries, vanilla, and strawberries giving it some flair. Since this isn't my typical thing my imp will probably last me forever.

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In the imp: When this arrived, it was really strong on the red musk and strawberry. After a day of settling, it is mostly amber, vanilla, strawberry, and black cherry, with some red musk in the background. I'm not typically fond of red musk or strawberry, but I wanted to try this because of the amber and vanilla.

 

Wet: Amber, vanilla, and black cherry. The cherry note is stronger on me than it was in the imp. Then the strawberry note emerges. The red musk is present, but it is not stomping all over the other notes... yet.

 

Dry: The vanilla note is more prominent than it was during the wet phase, but so is the strawberry and red musk. They are now the dominant notes. I still get some of the amber, and a bit of the cherry, but neither are as stronger as they were before.

 

Even though I've tried many scents with heliotrope listed as a note, I'm no good at singling it out, which is why it wasn't mentioned so far in this review, but I think it could be lingering behind the vanilla, amber, red musk, and strawberry notes.

 

Verdict: This one was more pleasant than I thought it would be, given that I'm not fond of red musk and most non-citrus fruit notes. Even though I do get a fair amount of vanilla from this, it's still too strong on the strawberry and musk for my liking. I'm glad I was able to try it, though!

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Thanks, Labbies, for the frimp!

 

This is a beautiful perfume but I'm not sure it is one I would wear often.

 

Wet, lots of amber and red musk with a little vanilla and strawberry.

 

Dry, more of the cherry and strawberry come out. It is a softer red musk blend, warm, sexy, not too overbearing.

 

I am not sure I will be keeping this as amber and red musk are not notes I wear.

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This is one of the first BPAL scents I was introduced too, and at the time, I thought it smelled like a syrupy, strawberry milkshake.  Entirely too sweet, trendy, and juvenile for my tastes.  Now, years later, it smells... well, pretty much the same.  :D   BUT, I can discern more of what's going on.  Lot's of red musk mixes with the strawberry and  powdery-vanilla heliotrope to make a creamy, tooth achingly sweet red musk, with a touch of cherry on top.  This is maraschino cherry.  Not quite cherry candy, but nowhere near the fresh picked fruit. It's all tamed by the gentle powderiness of the amber and heliotrope so that there's more creaminess than sugar syrup.

 

In the dry down, I begin to see why people are comparing it to Snake Oil.  It's not incensey or resinous, and I'm not getting the depth or darkness of SO,  but I think the vanilla and amber are similar.  I start to get a bit of the play-doh vibe SO almost does on me, then it settles down and I get a heliotrope and a soft, feminine amber.  This smells very teen coquette to me, and would fit in well with Jailbait and Lolita, but it ends up smelling a little more grown up in the dry down.  Still not my thing, but I can appreciate. 

 

Check this one out if you enjoy smelling like a sexy, strawberry milkshake, enjoy "pink" scents, like your red musk sweeeeeet, or want a lighter, more feminine Snake Oil.  

Edited by VetchVesper

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