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janelle_hell

Snake Oil

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By far, our most popular scent! Magnetic, mysterious, and exceedingly sexual in nature. A blend of exotic Indonesian oils sugared with vanilla.

 

I think this came as a frimp in an order in 2011ish.

In bottle: smells like patchouli and vanilla, a bit smokey.  

On skin: the vanilla is really showing up.  

After a few hours: really strong vanilla

I will probably offer this up for a swap, as vanilla is a scent I really dislike in scented products.  

 

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After 3 years of BPAL hoarding, I FINALLY got a frimp of Snake Oil. Honey-y/musky vanilla - a little green - over sticky melted sugar. Foodier than I expected. Not blown away, and I've definitely smelled a lot of similar scents.

These are my thoughts on it when it's less than a week old, so I'm definitely going to buy a bottle and stash it away to age, to see if it's really as glorious as people say.

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Aged (apx 7 years?). 

 

In the imp: Patchouli, sugar, vanilla, other spicy notes I can't identify. 

 

On my skin:

 

Wet, it's vanilla and patchouli. Dry, I get a lot of lovely patchouli with some spice -- and some sugar overlaying all of it. The sugar is enough to take the edge off of the patchouli, but it's not really a terribly sweet blend on me. For a time, the vanilla basically disappears, though it does reemerge -- as a backing note -- after about thirty minutes of wear time. 

 

Aaaaand that's about where it stops on me. 

 

I don't know that it's a particularly "sexy" scent on me, though I know Snake Oil does have that reputation. Even aged, the patchouli note is just a little... dirty? (but in the "dirt" sense of the word)... on me. The spice and vanilla notes let it veer somewhat near, but not into, foody territory. Of all the BPAL blends I've tried, Snake Oil "feels" closest to Vixen, not necessarily in notes (though there is similarity) but in overall... aura? 

 

It's a very nice, grounded scent that I never find unworkable. 

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I got an imp of this when I first got into BPAL (2015) and got a lot of rave reviews. But I guess it never really "grabbed me" and my scent journeys took me elsewhere in the BPAL landscape. I got a frimp of Snake Oil a while back and dragged it out today. So, reviewing a frimp aged at least 2 but likely 3 years...I do like this, it's nice, but I don't know that it's something that I'll need a bottle of. When I initially put it on, I got a sort of plasticky vibe (the Play-Doh that people refer to?) and after about an hour it was a nice subtle vanilla. I'll enjoy the imp for those times that i want something low key, but I do have my other favourites.

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😭I'm so upset!  I saw all the recommendations for snake oil on here, and how it's nearly a universally delightful scent on everyone, but it did not blend well on me. I got an imp, and when I put it on I was immediately overtaken by the smell of what I can only describe as "sour movie theater butter popcorn."  I was so alarmed by this that I immediately went and scrubbed my arms and hands clean, and re-applied the oil- still sour butter!  Even when it dried down and the vanilla finally came out, the sour butter scent lingered. I'm glad I heeded advice on here that, no matter how lauded a scent is, you should always try a sample vial if you can't try it in person.  i was very tempted to get a whole bottle, but I'm glad I did not. I guess my body chemistry is not mixing well with this one, sadly.

 

Happy that it works well for everyone else, more for you guys!

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So I decided to bite the bullet and purchase an imp of Snake oil. This did nooot work for me :(

I'm also glad to see that I'm not the only one with the sour note! Like starryeyes just before me. 


Wet: warm sugar, almost cashew like. 
On: sour butter. Whyyy. Savoury foody but still sour.
Dry down: warm florals, still sugar, less sour butter... A bit cashewy. Sort of caramel but not. Slight plastic smell coming through (urgh, I get that with chocolate scents). Musky. 
Not for me. I wore it for so long in the hopes it would work but nope. :(

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Rich, smooth, beautiful vanilla incense. After I got an imp, I wound up buying a full bottle. Then the body oil. Then the hair gloss. It makes you want more and more and more of it. All the forms of this scent are glorious and I can't recommend it enough. It's in my top 10 list (and so many else's) for good reason.

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I think this scent is my "holy grail". I just don't think that there is a better scent than this for me. As a lover of vanilla and incense, I think it was just meant to be. I love it soooo. ❤️

 

I am so glad this one works on me. I blind bought an aged full bottle last year. Love at first sniff! I have since bought a couple more bottles and the bath oil. Still need that hair gloss in my life though!

I can't really say enough good things about it. Snake Oil is MAGIC :wub3:

 

Edit:

Every time I put this on, I wonder why I ever even want to buy/wear other scents. Thank you, Beth, for sharing this with the world!

 

Edited by Kmichh

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Snake oil, how do I love thee; let me count the ways. Ok so as a relative newby to the BPAL world, I most definitely do not like fresh snake oil. To me I smell almost opium and backstreet abortionist vibes from that one 🤣 but then I managed to get my grubby mitts on some ‘16 Snake oil and my sweet baby Jesus it’s marvellous, still somewhat opium but it settles down much quicker. But then I got some ‘10 snek and crikey it’s dangerous. I still get the almost opium for the first maybe 5 minutes, then it settles into the most complex and beautiful spiced vanilla. It conjures images of hot lusty evenings in warm sand swept climates. I feel this is the type of scent that could be slathered in a mannequin and still carry that ‘skin’ quality to it. The vanilla isn’t foody in any way and neither are the spices recognisable - this really is a scent that pulls people in for a sniff and a question. 

 

I definitely still get the opium in those early moments BUT I feel that’s my chemistry as I’ve done it with a number of scents over the years (and I’ve been told this previously - despite never having smelt actual opium before haha).

 

For anyone that’s struggling with what to order, this is genuinely a great place to start. Welcome to the obsession you never knew you needed. 

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When I first tested Snake Oil 5 years ago - it was frimp with my second order - it wasn't anything special, just "meh". All I got was plain vanilla. And I'm not fond of foody scents.
Lately I thought that maybe I'll test it once more, because so many people love it. And oh wow! I get it now! It's beautiful! Sweet, vanilla-like, spicy, gorgeous! I love it! If you're not sure about it (or any other scent), maybe give it some time and it may surprise you and become your favourite! It has great throw and staying power, however it does stain.

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Sigh :( looking forward to it. Been dying to try BPAL for years so of course I snagged Snake Oil as part of my first order.

 

Baby powder.

 

Completely and utterly on me.

 

Putting it away to age and try again.

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I have an aged imp and partial bottle of Snake Oil that are just gorgeous and I love them dearly.  There's not much I can add to the reviews that hasn't already been said.  People always tell me how good I smell and feel like a freaking Goddess when I wear them.  I'm going to review my fresh bottle instead.

 

I know that SO vastly improves with age, but it really seems like there's a completely different blend in my fresh bottle.  I get no vanilla, spice, woods...nothing that anyone else reports smelling upon sniffing their newer bottles.  I let my new bottle sit for over a week so it could settle, rolled it a bit, and skin tested today.

 

What I get is butter.  Gouts and rivers of slightly rancid butter. There are popcorn kernels floating down the butter river, and maybe some nuts paddling around, but nothing else.  Is this how all infant Snake Oil starts out in life?  

 

In the bottle: Buttered popcorn with waaaay too much butter.

Wet on skin: Buttered popcorn.  It gets stronger and...MO' BUTTA. 

20 minutes in: Buttery buttered popcorn.  But wait....caramel?  Just a hint, not enough to overcome the buttery cloud in which I am enveloped. 

60 minutes in: Why is it not morphing into glorious vanilla spicy goodness?  The butter is overwhelming me and going a bit more rancid.  Is this right?  Did I break it somehow?  WHAT IS HAPPENING?  

 

An hour was all I could give it.  Had to wash it off and apply a few drops of my beloved aged SO that I know and love.  I will be locking my freshies up in the dark and forgetting I own them for a few years.

 

ETA:  So I decided to turn my bottle upside down (cap screwed on super tight!) and left it overnight.  This morning, the butter smell is less prominent and I get a whiff of the spiciness and more SO familiarity than I got yesterday.  I do not recommend storing bottles upside down for long periods, but it seems that a few hours helps incorporate all the components.  

 

I will trust the aging process!

Edited by Amazonia
Additional info

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I nabbed an imp of this since it seemed a little wrong that I obsess about the limited editions but haven't tried the most popular offering from the permanent line.

 

In the vial: vanilla sugar syrup mixed with an old/rancid oil smell that I couldn't put my finger on.  Movie theater "butter" (artificially flavored canola oil that's almost always slightly rancid) per the last review seems like an accurate description.  The overall effect is like the food stands at a country fair: hot sugar, vanilla syrup, fake-buttered popcorn sitting under a heat lamp, funnel cake fry oil that hasn't been changed in a while.  There's nothing even slightly resembling spice or woods.  I have other spicy perfumes that smell kinda bad in the bottle and turn into magic on my skin, so let's put it on and see. 

On my skin: sickeningly, syrupy sweet; musty vanilla that evokes rot when it mixes with the sweetness; faint undertones of rancid canola oil.  Still no spice or woods, but we've gone from the country fair to a recluse burning stale vanilla candles in a dirty, dusty room that hasn't had the air changed in at least a few years.  Sickly sweet in a way that doesn't directly smell like rot but suggests it.

Half an hour: the vanilla and stale/musty notes fade but the sugar doesn't, leaving me smelling like rancid oil mixed with simple syrup.  Still no spice or woods.  This is nothing like the product description, or the hundreds of testimonials describing the scent as spicy, sexy, etc.  It doesn't even resemble the "meh" reviews calling it a basic vanilla perfume.  Starting to wonder if I got an off batch or an entirely different product from the rest of y'all.  

45 minutes: The sickly sweet smell finally faded, bringing the rancid oil component to the forefront.  It's becoming very strong and also turning soapy, so now I smell like expired oil poured on top of a very expired Olay bar soap my parents unearthed in a bathroom renovation.  At that point I scrubbed it off.  Didn't last an hour. 

 

Conclusion: snake oil literally smells like bad oil with sugar on top, and fades to expired bathroom products.  Amusing if you consider where the phrase "snake oil" came from, but as a perfume... I'd rather not.  Historically the BPAL scents that I dislike are top quality products that just aren't my preference, so I'm very confused by this.  

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Leathery patchouli and vanilla? Clove? It's a strange combination of masculine musk and foody gingerbread smell. I keep sniffing my skin trying to figure out if I like it or not and I still can't decide.

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