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Lacquered bamboo, tonka bean, russet amber, almond blossom, mushroom, smoked vanilla bean, and oak. 

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This is pretty wild. 

 

I bought this one because I wanted to go outside of my comfort zone and I was really interested in the mushroom and smoked vanilla notes. I don't get much vanilla or tonka, hoping it comes out with age. I get a LOT of the lacquered bamboo and oak. It ends up creating this high-end-style androgynous cologne. It reminds me a little bit of El Dorado, even though they don't share notes. I think the lacquer and the 'gold-plated' aspects of El Dorado are similar. I think this will age beautifully, and possibly get a little mellower and sweeter, initially this one is bright and brassy! Glad I decided to go outside of my comfort zone for this one.

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In the bottle, Martial Arts is very reminiscent of Two Westerners and that kind of blend. I smell salty aquatic woods (like hinoki wood) and an oakmossy cologne. Scary in the bottle. EEK.

 

Once it's dried down, the cologney quality starts to fade and the beauty of the notes shine through. It smells kind of like mushroom incense to me! I don't get any vanilla at present, and just a hint of smokier tonka. I can smell the sophistication of bamboo beneath a more chemical smell of lacquer, but where varnish can sometimes be a turnoff, here it's more interesting than unpleasant. Not much almond blossom to speak of - I'm sensitive to almond - but the redness of the amber is definitely present. It reminds me a bit of Kimi Ga Dai Wa and Adventuresome Encounters in that regard.

 

And the star of the show, the mushroom? Present and accounted for, dry and smoked into an earthy incense. It stays a nicely clean mushroom for me, it doesn't turn into dirty fungus, although this is highly dependent on skin and chemistry, I'm sure. It's so oddly charming, just like mushrooms themselves.

 

I am hanging onto mine for a while to see where aging takes it. I don't enjoy the cologne stage, but the mushroom incense stage is magical. 

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I was in love with the wet phase and initial drydown of this one. I got woods and resins (mostly oak) sweetened by the vanilla bean and almond blossom, with the oak and/or vanilla bean combo having a slight root beer quality to them on me, just like in Baby's First Ballista. It's brighter than you'd expect it to be, given the notes. During this phase, there is only a touch of mushroom adding a nice earthy, but not funky quality to the scent. Over time, however, it loses its sweetness and becomes more like a cologne on me. I'm thinking it's the lacquered bamboo combining with the oak and a bit of the smoke from the vanilla that's doing this, and possibly the amber (although this type was well-behaved on me in Adventuresome Encounters!).

 

I'm going to set this one aside and retest it before it goes away to see how it has aged. I really wish the sweet notes hadn't decided to disappear on me, because this was so nice when they were around!

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I think this might smell great on someone who can deal with the really vigorous drydown stage but it is murder on my skin chemistry. Very interesting, close, subtle scent once the PHWOOOOOO wears off. 

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Another stunner with a mushroom note! The lacquer here isn't as intense as it is in Warrior Couple, and that tasty russet amber from Bronze Dildo is working its magic bringing the earthy notes and the sweeter notes together. There is a bit of a shift from the wet phase to the dry phase for sure, but I love an oak note, so I'm enjoying how that steps forward and changes the tone. 

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This one is unusual and woody to start. As it dries, there's definitely some really pretty notes in here, maybe the vanilla and amber. It kind of smells like a new age shop? It’s fizzy in addition to dark and mysterious. Kind of unisex. It's almost like a dark cola or a cocktail. I don't get a lot of specific notes, mostly wood and a little smokiness with the amber rounding it out. There's absolutely something earthy and a little savory in addition to the dark fizziness.

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In the decant: Smooth and sweet, though not cloyingly so. It reminds me of my decant of Mad Sweeney, actually, after I've worn it for a while and the whiskey's burned off -- so I'm guessing what I'm smelling a lot is the oak and whatever is smoothing it out (I want to think vanilla, but it really could be amber).

 

On my skin:

 

Wet, it's just like in the decant but better, all smooth, slinky, silky woods.

 

(Note: My husband has just smelled this from several feet away. He says it's nice and that it smells like cinnamon. I don't get cinnamon, but I do think I smell nice.)

 

As it dries, the lovely headiness of this fades back a bit, and I get more of what I'm sure is the bamboo and amber (and less of the vanilla and oak). I also get a note that I can't identify but that is decidedly similar to something I pick up in Stung by the Cock Tree in Hell, so I'm wondering if it's the mushroom note.

 

While the drydown here is very nice -- it's warm and smooth and sweet without being cloying -- I think I love Mad Sweeney's rough edges a little more.

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Martial Arts is lovely to try. Initially, I get a beautiful smoky note set against russet amber and lacquered woods. I often love smoke notes, and I certainly love this one and the way it complements the rust-colored amber and woods. 

 

This lacquer doesn't trouble me like the one did in Warrior Couple Preparing for Battle. While it has a chemical quality, the tone blends well into the other notes, which smell more naturalistic to me. 

 

I get some mushroom after Martial Arts dries, and it also blends well. I never get vanilla bean from the "smoked vanilla bean," but find abundant smoke. 

 

This is a unique one with a unique, specific mood. Lovers of woody or smoky scents should give it a try.

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If Baby's First Ballista, Bookcase Passage, and Two Westerners had a sweet, gentle, chill AF baby it would smell like this. There's a toothy salty-sweetness emerging from the vanilla-oak-mushroom that reads earthy-gourmand, allllmost foody but not quite there. The lacquer note gains strength over time, and pulls me out of the enjoyment a bit for the same reasons it does in other blends -- goes a little too clean, tidy, floor wax (?) for my liking. This is still really nice though. 

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I got a decant of this to try something different, but now I find myself kind of fascinated by it! It's so interesting and I have a hard time picking out notes. Some are unfamiliar, but they seem to work together very well.

 

I get the smoky woody notes and something nutty right away (could be the tonka and/or almond blossom combining?) As it dries, I get subtle floral from the almond blossom and the amber and vanilla make an appearance. I also get a soft earthy note around the edges that reminds me of mushrooms. The lacquer is the note I think is tricky, I've smelled it before and it didn't work on me in the past, but this time it's fairly light and well-balanced by all of the woody notes. I think it's one of the aspects making this a really unique scent, kind of brightening the warm earthy and woody notes into something new.

 

I'm still testing this, but leaning towards a bottle.

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Very fresh, spa like at first.  After a bit, like a high end mens cologne, which I’m assuming is the bamboo and possibly the lacquer.  This is gender neutral, leaning on masculine, so I probably wouldn’t wear it again, but nice to try!

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