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The splendor and terror of Totality: an abyss of black patchouli, tabac, burgundy pitch, smoky frankincense, and black fig surrounded by a glowing nimbus of fossilized amber.

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Dark patchouli, tobacco, whiff of fig, on a base of amber. This one is a dark tobacco-patchouli-amber blend on me. With everything else in enough quantities to act like glimmers on the amber. Medium throw and wear length.

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I was a little afraid of this scent! Afraid because of what it embodies, and also afraid that I wouldn't like it, because I couldn't really imagine what it would smell like from the description. I was afraid of falling too hard for TOTALITY from a distance, and then discovering that it just wouldn't work between us in person.

 

And then with all the Lunacies canceled, and not being allowed to come into the Lab to work, I didn't end up having a chance to try it, so TOTALITY ended up fading from my list of potential partners altogether.

 

But then! Ted dropped off a whole box of all the partnership collaboration blends so we could photograph and review them during the lockdown. TOTALITY appeared on my actual doorstep, as if by magic! And then it was like I NEEDED to love it, which made me even more scared to smell it.

 

But now I haven't smelled of anything else for at least five days. 

 

In the bottle: No joke about that abyss. Often there are crags and snarls and spikes that kind of break your fall a bit as you descend into one of these scents, but not here. The smoothness of the glide is part of the terror. Because, how deep does it go? The patchouli and frankincense don't claw at you or hold you back, they just grease the rails taking you down. Kind of at the last second, right when you think it might be going sweet, a scrud of smoke wafts up out of it... but no fire! It reminds me of the black hole effects in the film INTERSTELLAR. At first I thought I was detecting a leather note, like in SNAKE'S KISS (smelled side by side to confirm), or paper, like in bloodmilk's BOOKS, but I believe it's just the place where the pitch hits the fig and tangy tobacco. But if quizzed blind, I definitely would have guessed there was leather here!

 

So overall, in the bottle, the scent's character lives in a kind of indefinable nether-region. I love the text references to fossils, because there is something distinctly protean and inhuman about this scent experience. It's undeniably sensual but not exactly mammalian or even terribly organic at first, if you know what I mean. I'm thinking of tar pits, maybe.

 

Wet on the skin: The notes immediately seem to warm up upon contact with the skin. Here's where that amber starts to glow, and maybe there's something a bit mentholated from the pitch, and the tobacco becomes more identifiable, actually reminding me of fresh cigars. So yes, more glimmerings of organic life, but there's still something very "Before The Dawn of Civilization" about the whole thing. 

 

This is the phase where I began to get very addicted to this scent. It's just so mysterious and brooding, and lures you into those murky depths by teasing with half-obscured answers. 

 

I asked Galen what he thinks the dominant notes in this blend are, just from smelling it, and he said fig, amber, and tobacco. He can track the patchouli in it, but I really can't. It definitely reminds me a bit of GOMORRAH, an old love of mine, but TOTALITY is bolder, darker, smokier. It seems like the throw would be pretty robust. Hard to tell in quarantine!

 

Dry: More of the heady fumes related to the pitch and tobacco, warmed by the amber. You can't really lean into the sweetness without getting pushed back by something else, it's mesmerizing. I look forward to this "glowing nimbus" when I'm first putting it on, it's a mysterious vapor lifts you out of that abyss... but never all the back way into the light. TOTALITY-dwellers are creatures of no world!

 

 

 

 

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