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BPAL Madness!

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Polished oak and mahogany, crumbling pages and cracked leather, all thick with dust and strewn with sandalwood cobwebs.

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Let me first preface this by saying I had very high hopes for this scent. Old books are one of my absolute favorite scents--like, spend hours looking through the 70's sci-fi paperbacks in my parents' basement, cracking each one open to read a chapter and smell the paper kind of favorite.  

Polished woods dominate in the bottle and the first few moments on my skin. The bookcase is closed, and we're feeling around the paneling for that bit of decoration to press and open the secret passage. On my skin leather joins the party briefly, but once this is dry it's all about those dusty, crumbling pages. We're inside the bookcase passage and all the really good old books are in here, folks. Soft, sandalwood cobwebby, faintly vanillic pages. This is gorgeous. It's not at all sweet (on me), which may have something to do with the polish on the woods, or perhaps that's the leather. Either way, I love this and I'm so happy I blind bottled it. 

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This smells like a freshly bound leather book sitting a top polished bookcase made of fancy wood. I love it!💕💕

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From other reviews, I expected a heavy wood and dust scent, but what I get is lighter than I thought. There's a lot of light, airy sandalwood combined with pages, oak, and dust, almost indistinguishably. I want to snuggle in with this, though far down there's a suggestion of band-aids that's probably the leather.

 

Sandalwood, a big old book plus lots of polished wood. The amount of dust almost makes me want to sneeze at this point, but that may just be the power of suggestion.

 

EDIT: There's a cold note on opening, like wood polish but chill. I'm getting a definite sense of draft.

Edited by patina

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Wow not at all what I expected! Tested from a decant that's been resting about a week.

 

I expected dark and musty (which I kinda like) but this is not at all that! Which I also like! Bright and fresh to start, herbal, almost minty. Husband said it smelled "kind of clean. I like that. That's nice." Dries down to a faint smell of books, soft and clean, sandalwood papery and leather spines, just a touch lemony. Really pretty, very close to the skin. Went back for more and wore it out to the store today. (this being Covid times, wearing a smell on an outing is kind of a big deal)

I get a bookcase passage that opens with a gust of wind that suggests whatever's going on at the end of the passage is more current, clean, and contemporary than the room in which you found the passage. You thought the musty old place was long abandoned, but when you pulled that volume off the shelf and the door popped open, you realize there is life and activity hidden behind the walls.

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Bookcase Passage hit my skin with a blast of Lemon Pledge, or rather the nicer, old-fashioned furniture polish made from natural ingredients Lemon Pledge is mimicking.  This mellowed into polished wood which mellowed into dusty leather and crumbly old paper and a bit of incensey sandalwood.  Startlingly, it lasts on me, as if the furniture polish note has pinned it to my wrist.  Book/library scents never last on me -- my skin chemistry does them in -- so this is a pleasant surprise, as I really want to smell like a library and am rarely allowed to.  This may be bottle worthy. 

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The Book from the Paranorman GC collection is my all time favorite book scent (soft leather bindings, dry, sweet vanillic pages...so realistic...deep & swoonworthy). I get a similar sense in the drydown here, with a bit more dust and polish. Initally, this has a bright lift from the lemony polish note, which reminds me of a beeswax wood cleaner. The wood notes here are also freshly cut, giving the scent a more masculine vibe. I gave it to my husband who found it invigorating, and said that it would be nice to wear at a fine art and craft fair, where he would want to smell clean but like he'd been involved in important endevors; I agree!

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I absolutely adore this scent. It starts off smelling like a well loved library full of worn books and flimsy wooden bookshelves. It's lighter at first, mostly smelling of paper and dust. Over the first half hour, the wood and leather starts to become more prominent, making the scent a little heavier. It adds a sense of a worn wood and leather armchair. Not sweet at all, to me. I get no vanilla or lemon (which normally I'd amp). 

 

After about an hour, the smells of paper has mostly faded away and the rich wood and leather is most prominent. Overall a lovely transition. 

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YES LIBRARY SMELLS GIMME GIMME

 

This is a full-on scent journey through the Restricted Section of the Hogwarts library. You throw open the massive oak doors and are hit with a cool breeze of the cavernous interior where there are seemingly miles of leatherbound books, piles on piles of paper scrolls, a dust that permeates everything, and decades of polish on the gleaming wood bookshelves. 

 

After a little while the dust settles, the air feels normal if just a little cool (is that tea in the air? who snuck tea in here?), and it's just you and the massive leatherbound book, and the wood polish, and the spells.

 

Gah this is so pretty! If you liked the polished-wood note in Hailstorm of Knitting Needles and Wax Cylinders (or if you want to smell like Ron Burgundy's apartment), you should snuggle up with this. 🧙‍♀️ 

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Bookcase Passage is more about the polished woods on me than anything else, with a soft leather note from the books and some dusty sandalwood in the background. Over time, the sandalwood gains strength and the scent becomes powdery on me, but the polished woods note is still there. It's definitely more bookcase than book, as the same suggests.

 

I was hoping for more book from this, and less furniture polish, so it is not a win for me, sadly.

 

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A bit of context: I've worked in libraries and bookstores pretty much my whole life, so I have very high expectations for book-themed scents! That said, I think this is my favorite (and most realistic) of all the BPAL bookish scents I've tried so far.

First whiff from the bottle, this one is a little odd, to be honest: when I huff the 5ml, the wood polish smell is *strong*, but it's nowhere near as prominent once applied. Initial drydown, I'm primarily getting the dusty sandalwood, the mellow aged leather (it's 100% a bookbinding note, not a motorcycle jacket note), and the dry paper (with vanilla overtones). On my skin, if the wood polish is citrusy at all, it's only the faintest hint of brightness -- I think I'm picking up more wax than anything else from that. My nose also keeps insisting that there's a trace of something like a clean white floral note here, which I think is maybe the "draft" or cold air people have mentioned above? Or maybe it's just my brain doing something weird with the paper note!

 

Overall, this is super atmospheric, and surprisingly wearable -- it reads very gender neutral. Despite the description, it feels more like an old yet well-tended library than an abandoned/haunted one!

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Too much leather, not enough wood polish. My skin just amped the book leather and it gave me a headache. :(

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Polished wood and cracked dry leather with a bit of dust. The aged neglected aspect of a well loved study, gone cold dry and dusty. Accurate!

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Polished oak, and dusty leather, and this smells like Clive Barker's Library. Meaning, sorta creepy? I mean, definitely creepy. It reminds me to the Day Burned White. I think this dust is actual ghost dust, meaning this leather is covered in ghost cocaine. Don't inhale too deeply kiddos. Good throw and wear length of course.

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