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BPAL Madness!
Ina Garten Davita

Belle Époque

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“The Pretty Era”, France’s Golden Time: an age of beauty, innovation and peace in France that lasted from the 19th Century through the first World War and gave birth to the cabaret, the cancan, and the cinema as well as the Impressionist and Art Nouveau movements. Sweet opium, Lily of the Valley, vanilla, mandarin and red sandalwood.

 

In the imp - tolerable, I can already tell it's gonna blow up on me, as all florals do, especially smelling rose in the background.

 

Wet - Not horrible, surprisingly not amping instantly, still don't like it... it's too perfumey/girly

 

Drydown/dry - ultra feminine soap within 15 minutes. like flower scented mini soaps at your grandma's. Pass.

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In the imp: strong citrus scent.

 

Wet: very sharp yet sweet mandarin. It smells like lemon/citrus candy. This is very, very sharp. After a couple of minutes the florals make themselves known (I'm not familiar with lily of the valley or opium notes so I'm not sure which) and this turns into full-blown soap fest.

 

Dry: fancy soap, but soap nonetheless. The sandalwood emerges after a couple of hours. I get no vanilla at all.

 

Throw: moderate.

 

Not for me.

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I really wanted to like this but it's just not for me.

I love florals but I mostly just get a very spicy soured floral. Not exotic spicy-sour but a harsh and medicinal spicy-sour.

From the earliest reviews it seems many people got a warmer, sweeter drydown of sandalwood and vanilla but I got none of that; the opium, citrus, and a very imposing lily dominated all the way through. Loud, glittering, somewhat imposing - and not very inviting.

 

Maybe it's just my skin, or maybe the formula has changed somewhat since it first launched. From the batch of more recent reviews, I'm inclined to think the latter.

 

In any case - this is not a bad scent; just not to my taste. I can only hope the warm notes will come out more after it has aged a few months. As far as poppy based scents go I find Anathema to be preferable personally.

Edited by Nightphlox

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The opening is mandarin peel, sweet and sour. Lilac appears soon after initial few minutes.The drydown is sweet vanilla spiced with opium. Pretty, but "not me".

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Wet on my skin: Mandarin-neroli opium. I'm smelling a little of the orange lollipop that neroli has been doing on my skin this week, although neroli isn't listed. I get a breath of lily of the valley, but mostly this is mandarin-neroli opium.

Dried: More neroli. I tend to amp the stuff. Mostly neroli. I don't pick up any lily of the valley or sandalwood.

 

This turns to neroli orange lollipop on me. Not for me.

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Really pretty, but won't really wear much. I seem to like red sandalwood, but not actually wearing it. The tart touch from the mandarin helps it not become too perfumy.

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Imp: Oh hello Lily of the Valley!
Wet on Me: Mostly the Lily of the Valley, with a touch of the mandarin. Heady as heck
Drying Down: the sandalwood is finally starting to come out and tellthe heady lily of the valley to stop hogging the scent.
Dry: Sweet. Sandalwood and vanilla. Lily of the Valley may be my birth flower but it is not kind to me

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On me this is all lemon hard candy--a very realistic version, at that. It reminds me a lot of what Rapture did on my skin in its drydown, and looking back that one also has mandarin. I'm also thinking this one must have neroli, too, because that's one of those notes that tends to go weird on my skin and the combination of the two might be the common factor. If I really get in there I can smell some soft vanilla and a soapy base that might be the lily/opium combo. Sadly, no sandalwood.

 

Overall I don't think this one is for me. As it settles it gets more powdery/soapy but keeps the lemon candy edge, which is a truly bizarre combination.

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Mandarin and... sandalwood in the bottle? I can't tell what I'm smelling. Goes on as one of the Lab's weird stamen notes. There's some mandarin zest after a while, but the whole thing is off and weird. Maybe this is what "opium" smells like, and is not for me.

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I'm into this. Getting the mandarin more than anything else (this scent reminds me of Carnal more than anything else), backed up by the sandalwood and possibly opium. Not sure I can detect any lily of the valley or vanilla, but that might come later. Pretty potent, I put a couple of drops onto a piece of fabric in a scent locket, and I can just smell it without having to hold the locket up to my nose.

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Well, the mandarin sure isn't shy! That's mostly what I get here. It's a very potent mandarin with some opium keeping it company. The opium does help keep the citrus from screaming, and I think I can detect the sandalwood a bit keeping the whole thing glued together.

 

I'm glad to not be getting any vanilla, because it can do some seriously weird things to a scent for me. I'm kind of disappointed that I don't get any lily of the valley either. It's why I wanted to give this one a chance, because it's one of my favorite notes. It ends up okay, it's just not what I was expecting. I still find it very pretty.

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How haven't I tried this before!!
From the imp and wet it's very sweet, almost tarty, with a hint of smoke from the opium. Upon drydown, the sweetness calms itself a bit, following the mandarin and red sandalwood blooming up slowly. It's still mostly vanilla and opium on me. I don't want to smell like this but it's made me very hungry indeed. B)

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I often reach for Belle Epoque when I'm teaching that period; I'm surprised I've never reviewed it. I remembered it being a red sandalwood and vanilla scent, but today it was all about the mandarin, so it may be one of those blends whose presentation varies a lot due to weather, skin chemistry, etc. Bright, sharp mandarin supported by sandalwood and slightly smoky opium; I didn't get much vanilla or lily today, though after a couple of hours a faint soapiness crept in that I think is due to lily of the valley.

 

Belle Epoque is my all purpose circa 1900 scent. I love the earlier reviews suggesting that this is the scent the spirited woman with great shoes of 110 years ago might have worn. I am always happy to wear it and feel like I'm back in the day of Toulouse-Lautrec.

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In the bottle: Mandarin, opium, and floral upfront, with a drier grounding note that I'm guessing is the sandalwood. 

 

On my skin:

 

Wet, the lily initially comes to the forefront, followed by the opium. At this point, they've eaten up the mandarin, and the sandalwood is also buried. The blend has a creamy aspect to it, which is all I'm getting of the vanilla. 

 

After several minutes, the sandalwood starts to come through, cutting the sharp sweetness that is the opium-lily combination on my skin. The mandarin also comes back a little, though it remains overshadowed by the opium and lily. Several minutes more, and the vanilla reemerges as the unifying creamy note. 

 

The sandalwood, vanilla, and mandarin continue to come in and out of the lily-opium blend throughout the wear life (moderate) of the perfume, so that while the overall effect is floral, it's never straightforwardly so. 

 

This is one of my go-to "business formal" perfumes. It's sophisticated and moderate on me, yet complex enough to be original. 

 

 

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