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Darjeeling Tea, Cocoa Dust, & Incense

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I love the way this one opens, with powdery, sweet cocoa dust and bitter Darjeeling tea. But then I amp the incense and that's mostly all I can smell, though I still sense a touch of cocoa. It reminds me a bit of the incense backbone in Snake Oil, which isn't necessarily a bad thing, but I think I'll have to save this one for days when I want to feel bold, because on me at least, the incense is strong!

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If you’ve tried any of the Lab’s scents that contain the “incense” note, this is reminiscent of them. I rarely find much difference in the note apart from what ever else it is paired with. 
This time, it is creamier thanks to the cocoa dust, and I like it more than most pairings.
The Darjeeling tea doesn’t jump out at me yet. The vial has only rested a day, so I’m hoping some more setting will make that apparent, especially to compare to the black tea in other scents I’ve tried. 
I may be back to update, if it emerges! 

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I was confusedly huffing on this for a day or two, wondering why I smelled gingerbread of all things, when it hit me like a brick. This reminds me very strongly of the Gingerbread, Cacao, and Champaca Yule of 2018! That must mean this trio's incense is champaca. I feel like a freaking Sherlock.

 

That said, Darjeeling Tea, Cocoa Dust, and Incense smells a whole lot more rough around the edges than GC&C, which from the beginning had a gloriously well-blended "perfumey gourmand" waft. The trio feels concocted rather than blended. Maybe they need more time to gel together? For sure, the cocoa disappears within the first couple of minutes, rather than being steeped into the essence of the blend, and leaves the champaca at the forefront. I am not opposed to champaca, it just has to be cleverly blended, and here it is a little out of its element as the star. The tea's spiciness is surely what's reminding me of the gingerbread, but it's more tannin-bitter and doesn't have the foodie sweetness. That's perfectly fine with me - I don't need my tea to be sugared - but I have to ride out the first hour of champaca and its flowery, high-pitched incense to get to the good stuff. 

 

I would recommend this to champaca lovers, even if you are not a fan of cocoa. Chocolate really is not even a player here! I really would love for "incense" to be labeled more precisely in the notes, because there are so many kinds of incense, and it's very helpful to know what you are in store for.

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Darjeeling Tea, Cocoa Dust, & Incense ends up mostly incense on me.  At the beginning I get a little tea and a little cocoa powder, but they quickly give way to the incense.  They're never completely gone, but they are playing a very subtle backup, and the incense is the star here.  And it contains some nag champa, which is the one variety of incense I avoid whenever possible.  I would second starbrow's wish for incense to be more specifically labeled, as I would have steered clear with anything labeled champaca or nag champa.  

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I was wary of the incense note, but the combo of Darjeeling and cocoa sounded too interesting to pass up a decant. This starts as an appealingly dry, bittersweet combo of black tea and cocoa, but my skin starts amping the incense hard (I think it's champaca?), to the extent that it gets a little screechy. The incense does eventually settle and give way to the black tea/cocoa combo, but that screechy period is a bit tough to get through. If you're a fan of champaca, you might go for this, though.

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When I sniffed this in the decant vial, I wasn't very hopeful. On the skin, though, it smoothes out a bit. The champaca in this is more aggressive than it typically behaves on me (I've had fairly good luck with it in some other blends), and makes me want to sneeze, a bit. The cocoa dust is faint, and bitter, rather than being foodie. I love that! Chocolate notes don't usually work for me, but that one does. It gives the scent depth, and actually helps ground the incense a bit. The tea note is initially mostly swamped by the champaca, but gains prominence with wear. It does smell different to me than the standard black tea note (lighter on the tannic bitterness--it does seem to have that fruity/floral quality of darjeeling, while still being recognizable as black tea). This is a very, very dry and dusty scent. I like it more than I feared, but less than I hoped. It might grow on me. I really do love the cocoa dust note...

Edited by AprilB

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In the decant, I smell cocoa-tinged champaca, but on me, it's a champaca party. It takes over an hour for me to get any cocoa or tea, but by then it is mostly cocoa-dusted champaca with just a bit of tea.

 

I was hoping for a more resinous incense from this one. This is just too much champaca for me.

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Origin:

 

5mL from the Lab

 

Preconceived notions:

 

I love tea and tea scents and incense is always one of the safest of safe bet note families on me, especially in BPAL scents.  Cocoa dust?  I remain neutral at the moment.  I'm expecting this to be non-gourmand/foody since when I think cocoa dust, I think of the smell of a freshly opened canister of cocoa powder.  Dusty, dry in a way that sucks the moisture out of the air, slightly bitter...definitely not foody.  I'm curious to see how the three will play together.

 

First sniff:

 

I've been letting this one set for a while, since I figured, being a chocolate scent, that it would need some extra time to meld together.  Opening up the bottle, I first get something in a vaguely similar plane to Black Temple Buelesque Group, but only in that both are chocolate scents that aren't foody, but instead are built on a backbone of something unexpected (incense and black tea here, as opposed to tobacco and black musk with BTBG).  Interesting.

 

Wet on skin:

Wasn't there chocolate in here?  There's no cocoa to be found within a millisecond of this hitting my skin.  The dustiness stays, but the cocoa scent disappears, leaving very strong, assertive, dry incense.  I'm wondering if aging will bring out the cocoa more.

 

Drydown:

 

The cocoa dust never does come back.  Instead, I'm left with Darjeeling Tea and Incense.  The incense is like if Rocky Mudd's found religion and held mass in their stores.  The tea is only there as the very fainest of whispers, like someone boiled a pot of tea in the next room over and carried it past me very briefly.  I guess, really, it reads as Incense at this point.  Just incense.

 

The verdict:

 

I never thought I'd be a little disappointed in such an incense-heavy scent.  I adore incense!  I'm all about the incense!  Any kind of incense.  And it's good here.  It is.  It's just lacking the other two notes that I was expecting, especially the cocoa dust.  In the bottle, it added an intriguing top layer.  I was hoping that when I put it on, the tea and incense would come out a little more equally instead of this being all incense, all the time.

Don't get me wrong.  It smells nice.  But I've got a ton of incense scents, most with more depth than this.  I'll hold onto it to see what aging does, but this one might be a rare strike out among the duets and menages a trois. :cry2:

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Sweet cocoa dust, incense, and a whiff of tea. It's sweet cocoa and incensey mainly on me. Medium throw and wear length.

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opens with dry and dusty cocoa, the body of it is largely incense - a classic, BPAL, champa incense. the tea aspect is subtle, i'd say it gives the scent a nice body on the drydown. i really like this scent however it is majority incense, with cocoa and tea as backup dancers

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