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Sunbird

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In Neil's words, "'Sunbird' smells like resin and deserts and the phoenix."


Well, it's a good thing that I never got a whole bottle of this.

When this was fresh, it was all warm, dry, woodsy spices, and I liked it, but something seemed off. So I kept my decant to age.

Now that it's about 6 months old, I've found the source of the problem: vetiver. I remember the debates about this. When I sniffed the prototypes I didn't smell vetiver, but I guess my nose was broken from will call. Because now there is no doubt, and I'm getting the headache to prove it.

I can't give hugely detailed notes on this one, but the vetiver seems to blend in better as it dries, giving way to more of the dry spices and woods again. Overall the effect is still very desert-like. Grass, sandalwood, and subtle spice, creating and very warm and sun-baked feeling. I smell both aspects of the vetiver here -- it's cool and grassy and also smoky and bitter. It's quite nice, overall, but I'll stick to Fire Phoenix. Edited by naeelah

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I'd been trying to decide if I wanted to get a bottle of this (because with me it seems to be bottles or nothing, no idea why), because I so desperately love desert scents. However, I was a little worried: I didn't want anything to come between me and my beloved Coyote. I was... hesitant.

 

Now, having taken the plunge, I'm happy to report that Coyote and I are still together but Sunbird is the best thing to happen to resin scents since the invention of Dragon's Blood.

 

First Notes: Shimmering, hot but not too hot. Am I detecting some cloves? Smoky without sounding any fire alarms, more that smoldering hot-asphalt kind of scent, where you can see the heat haze above the road. Not tar-like, no, but a pure desert kind of heat.

 

Under Notes: Cinnamon is here somewhere, I know it, but not the candy-red-hots kind of scent my skin usually turns cinnamon into. The resins are developing as they warm on my skin, and I feel like I'm gleefully lost in a scent maze. A little bit of sandalwood, maybe? Definitely some golden Egyptian ambers and maybe, just maybe a little bit of white myrrh, nothing too dark.

 

Dry Notes: Softer now, almost dandelion like but not sweet. These are hot desert flowers, and as such are not actually florals, or at least don't smell that way to my nose.

 

I will be questing for a second bottle, this I know. The Sunbird is delightful!

 

EDIT: I have had a good long while to get to know this scent, and have to report that I'm even more in love than I was before. This isn't just a multiple bottles oil, it's a 5+ bottles oil. I take some with me everywhere I go (and I travel a LOT) and it's literally like having a little piece of my home in New Mexico with me all the time. It's pure spicy desert sunlight in a bottle, and only gets more complex and glorious with age.

Edited by wolfensong

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How could I not have this, with the phoenix tattoo covering my right calf? ;)

 

Maybe it's just from reading the passage again, but yes, I do get sandalwood smoke. On my skin it becomes even more pronounced, with the very slightest of sweet scents sort of poking in there.

 

You know what this smells like? Camping--but more magical.

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Origin:

 

5mL from Midnight Aeval.

 

Preconceived notions:

 

I've read the reviews, so I'm expecting spicy resins and some wood. It sounds great.

 

First sniff:

 

Dragon's blood! And some sort of spice. It could be cinnamon, or possibly allspice. Maybe some cedar, too. This is a warm, spicy, slightly sweet resin scent with a hint of dry wood in the background. So far, so good, although dragon's blood can be a troublesome note for me.

 

Wet on skin:

 

All dragon's blood and spice. It's everything a DB-based scent should be--resinous, sweet, slightly spicy--without going too far off the deep end and getting cloying or syrupy. I like this a lot, but it's not immediately making the favorites list. I prefer more a more incense-like feel to my resins, rather than sweetness, but that's not to say I don't like this. I do. It's just not the kind of resin that immediately jumps the line and lands in my favorites box. I'm picky about what ends up in there, so that's not an insult to Sunbird. When you have as many perfumes as I do, you need to be a bit brutal in making those demarcations.

 

Dry down:

 

Oh, now this...this is nice. I'm getting a lot of dry cedar now that this has dried. It's backed up with dry, resins and a hint of something sweet and spicy (the dragon's blood and possible cinnamon are still there, they've just stepped back a bit) and it's beautiful. This is definitely an appropriate scent for the Sunbird. It's warm and dry, a bit spicy. If it were a color, it would be shades of red and orange, like leaping flames, but without the heat.

 

The bottom line:

 

This may turn out to be a favorite after all. I'll probably spend some time wearing this one before I decide which box it belongs in (with the best of the best or with the rest of my LE's), but it's a real keeper. I think I'll be needing a backup bottle since this isn't a permanent scent. :smilenod:

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Sunbird

 

On: Catholic church incense, resinous and full of pageantry.

1.5 hours in: Still church incense, but less pungent.

3 hours in: Still about the same. Church incense all the way.

3.5 hours in: Something a bit dry and woodsy is in the background, but it's still mostly an incense scent.

Overall: This was an interesting surprise. I was expecting something sweeter and drier. The church incense was nice, but I have Midnight Mass to satisfy that need for me.

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Sniffed: Dry incense, simultaneously deep and bright with a spicy, ringing radiance.

 

On skin: Neil Gaiman said Sunbird smells "like resin and deserts and the phoenix," and I completely agree with him. This is a very dry, dusty woody-incense, with a glowing, slightly sweet, nose-tingling intensity, perhaps from spices and other resins. I can't identify any individual notes, but they are all harmonizing very beautifully. In a word: Radiant. It truly gives me a vision of a scorching hot desert wind, or a flaming phoenix. The phoenix gentles and settles over time -- now it is a warm, radiant creature, sparking with the occasional burst of flame, approachable but certainly not tame. Colour impression is a tongue of orange-yellow-white fire.

 

Verdict: Perfection: an amazingly evocative scent, truly embodying the character of the phoenix! And beautiful and thoroughly wearable too. Between Sunbird and Valentine of Rome, I have my dark and bright incense blends covered!

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In bottle: I'm getting resins, and a crisp golden orange color impression. This isn't exactly citrusy--there may be a bit but I tend to amp citrus a bit so I'm sure I'll be able to get that once it's on my skin. There are light florals here too, and something faintly dusty which sounds perfect for the desert feel. The story mentions "cinnamon and sandalwood smoke"--no smoke here, but yes on cinnamon (or cinnamon-like--it's somewhat faint) and sandalwood.

 

Wet on skin: still a resiny, smooth golden orange smell. This is more full-bodied warmed by my skin--I'm not sure which note I'm getting, it may be patchouli or vetiver (they can be similar to my nose at times). Maybe both? Spicy, and as it dries it gets a kind of peppery feel. Someone pointed out a line from the book/story: Virginia Boote returned with a filled shopping basket. "Here," she said. "Red sandalwood and patchouli, vanilla beans, lavender twigs and sage and cinnamon leaves, whole nutmegs, garlic bulbs, cloves, and rosemary: everything you wanted and more. -- this sounds fairly close. When I originally tested this I had no idea I amped clove (or what exactly clove smelled like), but I did say in my notes that I think the spicy smell I'm getting is clove. No citrus.

 

Dry: sadly, the desert dustiness has overtaken the blend once dried and given a couple minutes on my skin. Resins, vetiver/patchouli, and spices--I noted clove and sage.

 

Verdict: I was lucky to have been able to try this lovely blend, but sadly the drydown was quiet dismal on me! It does smell like deserts and the phoenix, though!

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There's an incense that Pan's Pantry used to make called God's Smile.

 

On my skin, this smells exactly like God's Smile on full burn. I can't find the ingredients on their website anymore, and more's the pity!

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This was my Valentine's Day gift to myself -- I purchased it from the CBLDF website. First, I love Neil Gaiman's work, and Sunbird is one of my favorite stories. Secondly, the Bennu (Egyptian name for the Phoenix) has a LOT of meaning for me, personally (to the point that it became my first tattoo, at the young age of 38).

 

I had sniffed a decant of this at the Austin Greet'n'Sniff, and put it on my wishlist, but hadn't given it another thought until they posted about it being back on sale, quantities still left, etc. I don't really need more BPAL, but I spluged.

 

I'm so glad I did.

 

In the bottle, it's difficult for me to pick out individual notes. There's no note list for this one, and I'd been avoiding reviews because I wanted to judge it for myself. Something seemed a little off, so I kept putting off trying it. Today, I took the plunge.

 

First, I rolled & gently tipped the bottle to make sure it was well mixed. I think this may help a little; I realize it's not the chocolate sludge that people talk about in other scents, but a little proper mixing never hurts :D

 

On the skin, it starts out with the same "something off" that I noticed in the bottle. Fortunately, that changes quickly. Within about 10 minutes, I get smokey sandalwood; it starts out more smoke than sandalwood, and within a few minutes, the sandalwood warms.

 

Drydown: There's a slight hint of cinnamon, but this stays woodsy for quite some time. Warm, welcoming, comforting, and a little earthy. Towards the end, it morphs into something creamy, almost vanilla.

 

Honestly, I could bathe in this scent.

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I come from a desert, and this scent reminds me of home. It's like going out into the dunes in the evening of an august day - everything is scorched and crisp and the sage is pungent in the heat.

 

In the bottle I get herbs and astringency and smoke forever. On, it's sage and cinnamon and rosemary (which I missed, but the boy picked out immediately). I thought there was myrrh, but I might have been mistaking vetiver for it.

 

I really, really love this. I'm so glad I bought it off the forum unsniffed.

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Holy smokes, this scent is unique.

 

For the first few hours, all I could smell was calamine salve. It wasn't a medicinal smell, but it was definitely reminiscent of sunburns and picnics where ants wage war with mankind for the last slice of watermelon. (That's summery, right? That's good?)

 

In the last few hours, it's mellowed out into this incense-ash and carnations smell that is generally peaceable and cozy.

 

I expected more heat and spice from Sunbird, but I'm not at all disappointed with what I wound up with. It also loves my skin chemistry!

 

Good job!

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sunbird smells like smoky herbs, and some of the herbs smell weirdly savory to my nose. there's a layer of spice (cinnamon) and definitely vetiver. but it mostly just smells like dry, burning herbs, and i am not sure this is something i would ever want to wear.

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I tried this first before i left for work, and it had only had about ~4ish hours to rest. So i am trying it again after giving it about ~7 hours more. I know- I'm so patient; good on me. 😇

 

First in: Almost herb-y, or plants in dry ground-y. Makes sense right? I really can't pick out anything individually but I don't have much experience with that.

 

It stays that way for a while, but then something starts to peek through- cinnamon? I think? Desert plant life-y and cinnamon, though only just a bit.

 

Drying: Red sandalwood. There is still some plantishness in the background but it is having to try hard to be heard, smelt rather, over the red sandalwood.

 

This is the same result I got earlier in the day with one difference: This is Hey I'm red sandalwood; let's spend some time together. And earlier was: RED SANDALWOOD RED SANDALWOOD HIIIII. Hahaha. Maybe I amp it? Maybe it just needs to rest a while longer.

 

But honestly, who cares either way? This is fantastic, and I will definitely need more of it. Especially since mine was bottle only, no book! Much, much more.😈

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