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BPAL Madness!
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Looming Spectre of Inutterable Horror

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Wherein Scalia channels Lovecraft: raw frankincense and tobacco absolute with Russian leather, blackened champaca, bitter clove, red patchouli, bourbon vanilla and petitgrain.

Never been first before. Got my bottle over the weekend and have tried this a few times. My chemistry likes leather *very* much, and I've enjoyed the "burnt" notes in Troll and Rumpelstilzchen, so this sounded like something just up my alley. Keep in mind that I'm a guy, and have that Slavic "hairy and musky" body, so strong masculine scents work on me (and florals and ambers and other "light" tones either disappear or are just Wrong).

When I first applied it, there was an extremely unpleasant and sharp note overwhelming the scent. I'm guessing that is the "bitter champaca?" It put me off at first. Of course, these are scents based on the writings of Antonin Scalia, so I wouldn't be surprised if Beth intended the "sharp and unpleasant" effect right out of the bottle.

But this sharp note does *not* last. Within five minutes it faded back, and blended better -- much like the sharp pepper note in "Old Demons of the First Class."

After another few minutes that sharp note is way in the background, and the vanilla and patchouli seem to linger. But they are not strong -- there's not a lot of throw here. I had to hold my wrist up and huff hard to really get it. Once the dominant notes fade, it's a subtle scent. I'm not getting a strong leather on me, either.

But, I did notice that when I woke up the next morning, the scent still lingered on my wrist. So, while there isn't much throw, there is staying power.

It's interesting, but doesn't do enough of what I like -- if the lingering scents were stronger this would be something I'd wear more often (though I'd hide in a corner for 5-10 minutes until the initial blast wore off!)

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I was intrigued by the notes, and risked buying a bottle unsniffed. And, hey, I'm a sitting duck for the whole Scalia project. Snarky jab at the Supreme I love to hate, coupled with support of excellent organizations, AND BPAL? As they say, shut up and take my money!

 

In the bottle I smelled peppery root beer. That was the way it smelled on me, too. Disappointingly simple.

 

However, on my man, it's a very different scent (rowr!) The leather is there, the pepper is there, the patch is there in the background with a bass line. This is sweet and butch.

 

On me, meh. On him, a definite keeper.

Edited by Teamama

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In the bottle: Vague, spicy cologne.

 

Wet on my skin: Heyyyy, looks like I join Teamama in the peppery root beer crowd! This really does start out a bit like that.

 

Dry: As this dries, UNF. Oh. My. I knew I was going to love this because all but the petitgrain are notes I'm familiar with and which smell great on me. Not disappointed in the slightest. Boozy vanilla, sweet tobacco, and frankincense are most of the throw, while the other notes hug a bit closer to the skin. The clove is very present, with hints of leather and champaca, and then the patchouli grounding it. Google says petitgrain is a bitter citrus, but I'm not smelling any citrus in this. As expected, the patchouli and tobacco make this do magical things on my skin. I may need a second bottle of this.

 

Edit: After a few hours, the sweetness of this fades quite a bit, and now it's an earthy and almost foreboding blend of patchouli-leather-smoke. I found the looming spectre!

Edited by DiesMali

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Leather and petitgrain were the only two notes that I was uncertain about in this one, while all the others are full of win, so I ordered a bottle. I usually amp frankincense, but for once it is staying in its place. What I get is a beautifully blended spicy incense, but I can pick out the clove and champaca. The throw is softer than one might expect with all of these notes, and it stays very close to the skin. This is an incense blend that is wearable even in the 90° heat we're currently experiencing, where I usually have to hold off for cooler weather to wear clove/tobacco/incense blends. Love it!

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Blind-bought this one for my husband's birthday, and it's a hit for both of us! Smoky leather, tobacco, clove, incense.. it smells gloriously dark and primal on him, a bit sweeter and naughty on me. This is what I thought Evil was going to smell like, but didn't... although there's a bit of similarity there.

Edited by iskhavin

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I pretty much try everything BPAL does with leather (unless it has any rose notes in it which are death notes on me, and I *still* can't resist trying some of them lol)

I too get a sharp, peppery note, almost citrusy, almost powdery

really hugs my skin

after 30-40 min even softer. the sharpness is mostly gone, but I also can't pick out any notes in particular, just a vague "incense-y" with a hint of the sharpness

no leather :(

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This is one of those aggressive, dark bpal blends. I'm getting black musk, tobacco, dark incense and dark leather. This would probably smell amazing on a smooth, dangerous guy, but it's just too masculine for me.

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An ominous frankincense leads this somber procession on me, with rough leather following close behind, and tobacco bringing up the rear, leaving a dusty sweetness in its wake. The vanilla and clove are both present, without drawing attention to themselves. On me the patchouli, champaca, and petitgrain are lost in the crowd; their presence is felt, rather than directly observed.

 

This is really gorgeously dark. I'd call it a masculine blend, but my boyfriend doesn't care for it at all, while I (not a masculine person) like it very much. Instead, I'll describe it as a must-try for any fan of somber, leathery, tobacco-y scents.

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Oh god, who knew that looming spectres were sexy mofos? This is a masculine leather, with frankincense, tobacco, clove and patchouli. This is dark, mad, and brooding.

 

As it dries down, this is more of a leather + patchouli blend with all of the other notes sort of wafting in and out.

 

Dark, spicy, leather.

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This is very bitter straight out of the bottle, and while wet it reminds me very strongly of men's aftershave. But it softens into a fairly pure leather scent as it dries.

 

This is a bit on the masculine side (and I'm not usually one to gender scents or shy away from ones considered "manly"), so I'm not sure how much I'll wear it. But I don't hate it.

 

I might rub some on the boy and see what he thinks of it.

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I was scouring the Scalia's because I wanted one so very badly at the same time that my bottle of Hope and Fear Set Free ran out. Hey, I thought to myself, Looming Spectre of Inutterable Horror has frankincense and bourbon vanilla, maybe it will be the same deal. And so I blind bought a bottle.

 

(Spoiler: this smells nothing like Hope and Fear Set Free)

 

In the bottle I get the generic bitter sludge scent that affects so many champaca/patchouli blends. But this is absolute magic on my skin. It is very very very dark, but it is a cozy black spectre, not a terrifyingly cold one. This spectre has fur (or leather). Lots of very dark bourbon vanilla, a hint of flowers, some sharp edges from the patch and the frank, and an overall snuggly feeling from the leather. I think this one might very well be too much "dirty hippie" for some, but I used to be one who dismissed all scents in this vein untested, and I'm just loving this one.

 

Absolute love.

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I tested this a few times after I first got it, and I don't think I was the impressed. Following his death this weekend, I pulled it out again. It has aged fabulously!!!! It's a lovely, smooth incense blend. I don't get a lot of leather or vanilla, but it is smooth and just sweet enough. It's on the mascule side, but I generally like scents in that category.

 

Bottom line: I love it!!! So glad I let it age for a while.

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Wet: Woody, and almost peppery. It tickles my nose. Not what I was expecting.

 

 

Dry: Warm frankincense, with a hint of clove. Which I love, but I do already have quite a few incense blends that I love as much or more than this. Glad to have gotten to try it!

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With the recent passing of Justice Scalia, I found it fitting to pull out my bottle of this one and give it yet another wearing. If ever there were a "Macabre Powerhouse" perfume category, Looming Spectre of Inutterable Horror would dominate the hierarchy. From the moment I smelled this perfume I found something about it to be borderline creepy yet simultaneously comforting, scorched medicinal clove seeping into an old and eerie study rife with dusty furniture rich in varnish and aged leather. The effect is sinister, juxtaposed only by a rich vanilla - never cloying - which perfectly anchors this beast and tempers the bitter astringency.

 

A previous reviewer referred to this one as "one of those aggressive, dark bpal blends" and another called it "dark, mad and brooding" while multiple people have used the word "bitter" to describe it. None of these remarks are inaccurate. This is not a play-nice masculine fragrance. It oozes a particular type of seriousness in its ability to smell black and grey and very unforgiving. 5/5

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In the bottle: Overwhelmingly frankincense with a dry touch of patchouli

 

On the Skin: Surprisingly the vanilla kicks in early to tame the frankincense and a few minutes into the drydown lets the leather, champaca and patchouli shine through. Overall this has a rich ritual incense vibe. Definitely an autumn/winter appropriate blend. It is a strongly fragrant blend but doesn't seem to have a lot of throw in the early stages.

 

The Drydown: The clove doesn't peek through until well into the drydown and it is pretty subtle but adds a delightful warm spiciness and petitgrain becomes quite prominent on my skin in waves, disappearing now and then. The blend becomes quite dry and dusty in the extreme drydown. The leather is restrained. I love this.

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I love the way this one plays on me.

 

It comes out a lovely, deep, and take-no-prisoners black tobacco and leather smell, with moderate frankincense, vanilla, and clove, and wee hints of champaca and petitgrain. I don’t find red patchouli until I hunt for it. Brilliant mix. This is the scent of a hardened gentleman-soldier; it makes me think of every movie I’ve seen with a Russian checkpoint.

 

On my friend, it played very differently: it went all sweet clove petitgrain. She loves leather so that could have been a disappointment, but we both marveled (not for the first time) at how very different some blends read on our skins.

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I've had my bottle for a couple of years now (purchased 2017), and it has aged so well. This is dark, sharp, and leathery. As it wears, the sharpness softens a bit but still remains, but in a good way. I think the vanilla keeps it in check.

 

I was also wearing this in 2017 when I was let go from a toxic job, and this year, when I resigned from another toxic job, I made sure to wear it on my last day. Scent associations are so funny...I now connect this one with happily handing over work phones and computers, and moving on with my life. 

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