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BPAL Madness!
Delirium1009

Kubla Khan

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Through sunlit caves of ice, roses unfurl amidst dancing waves of serpentine opium smoke and amber tobacco, golden sandalwood, champaca, tea leaf, sugared lily, ginger, rich hay absolute, leather, dark vanilla, mandarin, peru balsam, and Moroccan jasmine.

 

In the imp: A garden in spring, with pale flowers and a hint of mint. I think that might be how my brain is interpreting the mix of tea, ginger, and mandarin? It's sort of wild-smelling, it's a garden, but not a manicured one.

 

Worn: Yeah, I /definitely/ get something that reads as mint in here when it's on and fresh, even if it's not in the notes. I feel like that's the tea, if it's fairly fresh. There's a wild tangle of soft woods, greenery, and some delicate flowers underneath. There's so much going on here, and it's so blended that I can't pick out much specific, other than ginger.

 

Long term: Once fully dry and over time, I get ginger glowing over ancient woods, rather than fresh greenery. I'd expect to be able to pick out the rose, champaca, leather... sandalwood... but I still can't, it's just, well, it's all wild woods and spice and glorious and atmospheric. A rich mix and well suited to the poem!

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Wet: Sharp mandarin, ginger, and mint. A little bit of a vague floral undertone.

 

Dry: The sharpness from the wet stage is gone, but everything else remains. The mandarin isn't what I would call "juicy", it's just kind of lingering.

 

I don't love it, but I don't hate it. I think on the right person, this scent would really shine. ... that person isn't me, though. ;)

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The drydown of this is so pretty, cool, and creamy. But damn that mandarin opening is painful. I also don't detect at at least half the notes, definitely no smoke, leather, jasmine or rose

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I get a super sweet citrus scent up front, must be the mandarin plus either the sugar note or the vanilla, and it flirts with being too sweet but somehow never quite tips over the line. The citrus drops out eventually and it settles down to a sugar note reminiscent of Pink Fuzzy Handcuffs plus a light, sweet, smoky opium. It's all a little like Carnaval Diabolique, which I also like. Light, sweet, incensey. This is a keeper, at least an imp's worth, though it's not at all what I imagined from the note list. There's little enough jasmine that my jasmine-amping powers do not activate--I can't even smell it.

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In the imp I get light, smoky citrus with something green and vegetal on the edges. Sort of thin and fresh. 

 

On my skin this warms up and gets thicker, more golden. The pale citrus is still the heart but I get florals mingling with soft sweet smoke. It gets headier and bit incensy. 

 

Dry: It gets more golden, and narcotic. I can't pick out notes too well at this stage but it is sweet, and smoky. Not woodsmoke but a light, sweet smoke. Looking at the notes it must be opium and tobacco. The citrus is also a bit distinguishable (also why have I been avoiding mandarin? this smells amazing) and I wonder if the ginger has been just blending seemlessly with it for a bit of zing. Now I think I can pick out the leather. But everything blends beautifully. Rich, warm, decadent. Fantastic scent.

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I am using an aged imp, but I don't know how old it is unfortunately. The imp is  dark in colour. 

Imp/wet: Musk, sweet in a slightly foodie way
Dry down: smokey but not cigarettey, slightly floral but not girly if that makes sense... I can't make out individual flowers. Slightly sweet ginger. 
Later: zest, floral musk, good throw. I'm not usually interested in these sorts of scents but I quite like it. It has something in it that is also icy (Mint?) at the end for me. Could be a nice gender neutral scent too. 
Good throw long life

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This starts off a bit soapy floral ish, but dries down into a very nice spicy hay scent with just a touch of florals. I really like the hay note! Everything blends really well and I can't pick out jasmine at all. 

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I have an imp of unknown age. Wet on my wrist, this is quite perfumey. I can definitely pick up the florals (jasmine, lilies, roses, etc.) and there is a bit of sweetness for sure. It's quite complex I think, but it is coming off as a bit soapy unfortunately. This isn't quite what I was expecting from the name of "Kubla Khan," I guess. I will pass this one on to someone who will enjoy it more!

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Another imp I have multiples of; this review is for one I received in 2021.

 

In the imp: An overall aquatic impression, with distinct notes of tea leaf, champaca, and vanilla sugar.

 

Wet: Tea leaves morphing slowly to rose, backed by vanilla-infused sandalwood and leather, bay, balsam, and a touch of opium spice. I think the last version of this I wore dated from about 2009, and was very resin heavy. This is lighter, and more floral despite being predominantly a sandalwood base on me.

 

Dry: Sandalwood, balsam (very balsam, in fact), roses, and a touch of smoke. I do like it more than the aged versions I have, though if I like it quite enough to keep in permanent rotation - it's not quite "me" enough. Medium throw, and a long 8-10 hour lifespan.

 

Stars: ★★★½

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Late to reviewing this blend!  I got my bottle via a forum purchase several years back, so I don't know precisely how aged it is.  It's lovely, & I reach for it mostly in the summer.

 

When first applied, the ice (mint?), sandalwood, & mandarin notes are the most prominent notes, with amber & vanilla as a ground.

 

As it dries down the leather emerges subtly, with bare hints of the other notes  (roses, opium smoke, tobacco, champaca, tea leaf, sugared lily, ginger, rich hay absolute, peru balsam, and Moroccan jasmine,) peeking through. 

 

I really like Kubla Khan. For me, it falls into the category of BPAL uplifting mandarin blends.

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I am in LOVE with this! Holy heck, it smells like perfection. I don't even care that it burned my skin lol.

 

Wet: Spicy and floral. Very sweet, pretty, and complex. I smell sugary lotus flower (reminds me of Black Lotus), something warm and boozy in the background. It smells amazing. BUT it burns :nervous: I think it's the ginger.
Drydown: A beautiful flourmand--sugary floral, sweet citrus, warm amber. I smell lotus flower and the mandarin upfront, followed by amber and jasmine. It's bright and fresh (thanks to the balsam). The background is a soft spicy, rich opium and tobacco with black leather at the very end. This is absolutely stunning. It's beautiful, incredibly complex, but so well blended. It's warm and fresh, sweet and woody... Just overall gorgeous and timeless. Perfect bridal scent.
After 30 minutes, it morphs into a gorgeous, warm, slightly spicy vanilla with the sugary florals in the middle. There's still leather and tobacco in the background. Still a very lovely scent. It's lost some of its throw but I can still smell it without lifting my wrist to my nose. After an hour, it settled into vanilla, spice, and opium. Warm and sexy and entirely intoxicating. 

 

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