Day #4 – Edith Cushing of Crimson Peak

Today I am wearing one of my most monetarily rare perfumes, Edith Cushing from Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab’s Crimson Peak collection. This collection is based off of the movie Crimson Peak starring Tom Hiddleston, Jessica Chastain and Mia Wasikowska. Crimson Peak is directed by Guillermo del Toro, and is an American Gothic romance film.

After marrying the charming and seductive Sir Thomas Sharpe (Tom Hiddleston), young Edith (Mia Wasikowska) finds herself swept away to his remote gothic mansion in the English hills. Also living there is Lady Lucille (Jessica Chastain), Thomas’ alluring sister and protector of her family’s dark secrets. Able to communicate with the dead, Edith tries to decipher the mystery behind the ghostly visions that haunt her new home. As she comes closer to the truth, Edith may learn that true monsters are made of flesh and blood.

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After luckily finding a bottle of Edith Cushing at a great deal, I knew I had to watch the movie before trying her out! The movie’s cinematography is breath taking, from their costumes to the play of colors–the vivid red, the deep black, it’s all stunning. The dresses are GORGEOUS, absolute pieces of art.IMG_4157 The plot is fairly linear,  following true to the category of a Gothic Romance.

Onto the perfume, I have Edith Cushing, portrayed by the lovely, Mia Wasikowska. 

Love looks not with the eyes, but with the mind: pearlescent vanilla musk with white sandalwood, grey amber, white patchouli, ambrette seed, and oudh.
In the bottle: All I smell is strong brown sugar, almost caramel. It’s not bad, but just wasn’t what I was expecting. It’s super sweet smelling and I’m hoping it smells different on the skin.
Color: Light yellow
Wet on the Skin: The foody vanilla completely goes away once on my skin. I get the oudh at first sniff, and the sweet vanilla with nutty ambrette is pretty prominent as well. I wonder if the ambrette or musk is what’s making it feel stronger and more perfume-like.
Dry on the Skin: Ah, the amber is finally coming out to play, it’s still fairly tame compared to the vanilla and oudh for me. The vanilla musk is gorgeous and hugs close to the skin. The sandalwood and vanilla musk are partners in prominence, but I don’t get much of the white patchouli, but that may be my nose not picking it up. In order of strength I get golden ambrette, musk, vanilla then sandalwood.
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This is a gorgeous vanilla musk, that is balanced with the ambrette and oudh, keeping it from feeling too  gourmand. Throw is decently strong but still wears fairly close to the skin. It is slightly powdery, but not in an old-lady way but in a sophisticated Victorian lady way. It’s true to the character in her innocence and warmth that she embodies. I’m so happy I was able to get a full bottle of this! Definitely going to cherish this one.

Day #3 – Pediophobia

Happy Friday!! Today I’m wearing Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab’s Pediophobia, white porcelain cracked by white tobacco, threads of brittle cognac, and vanilla filigree. Pediphobia by definition is fear of dolls.  A friend with an amazing nose recommended this one, and I am so glad I took her up on it.

In the Bottle: Sharp perfume smell, it must image1be the cognac. I get a sharp, dry smell that has an underlying sweetness.

Color: Very light yellow

Wet on Skin: I get a burst of really bright tobacco smell with the boozy cognac notes next to it. This is VERY strong, throw is large.

Dry Down: This dries down into a still prominent tobacco note, but I get some light vanilla, that must be the vanilla filigree. Almost as if the smell is laced with just a tad of vanilla.

This is super sophisticated, I feel like this would be a good scent for a dinner date or going into an important client meeting (although maybe not applying too much as it’s S T R O N G). The tobacco note in this is dry and sweet, almost like a tobacco flower. It’s one of my most unique scents and I’m keeping my eye out for a back-up bottle.

 

Day #2 – NAVA Protoceratops & Moonstone

I found NAVA after they’d already gone on their haitus, hopefully returning late Spring! I can’t wait, as their blends are out of this world. I am constantly surprised and blown away by how well blended and different they are. After I heard NAVA has a DINOSAUR line, I was determined to find one to try. Many of the reviews describe it as “rocky”.

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I picked up Protoceratops, resinous Amber Accord, Limestone Amber, Crystalline, Kobalt, Crystal Absolute, Vanilla Cream, Vanilla Ice Cream Accord, Vanilla Caramel, Bastet Amber and Egyptian Sugar accord. 

In the Bottle: I get a strong sharp smell of resin, very similar to the resin I would use with playing violin. It’s a strong amber resin smell and I don’t really smell much of the sugar and vanilla. I’m a little nervous at this point, as it doesn’t smell great in the bottle.

Color: Yellow

Wet on Skin: Very powdery and a bit bitter (similar to the bitterness from vetiver) but more resin-y than green. I am getting some of the vanilla and cream for a creamy amber-y resin scent.

Dry Down: The bitterness has finally dried away and I have the most lovely vanilla! It has a dry quality to it and it’s a smooth, creamy, amber vanilla resin.

I get a resin-y sugared vanilla ice cream withIMG_4066 depth from the limestone and resin. Visually I see a sugar cube made of  vanilla sugar, limestone and resin. This is really magical and am amazedby how well it works together. For some extra vanilla oomph, I layered NAVA’s Moonstone (the true Husk, black and white Fleck, essence and whole of African White Vanilla with a kiss of Crystalline). This combo is magical and I’ll definitely be returning to it. It lends a slight musk to the scent and helps amplify the vanilla.

 

Perfume Challenge – 1 Review a Day

I am fairly new to the Indie perfume scene, only really starting in October of 2016. Since then, I feel like I’ve been rushing to find the rares, hoarding my current loves and not really giving all of them a fair chance. With accumulating so many new ones so quickly, I find that there are SOO many that are not being loved!

I’m going to try something new and writing a review everyday-either for perfume, or hair gloss, or whatnot. Could be full sized, sample, whatever.

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Day # 1 – March 29, 2017

Today I am wearing Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab’s, Womb Furie, from Lupercalia 2016. The scent description is: An itch that needs to be scratched: Snake Oil (A blend of exotic Indonesian oils sugared with vanilla) and three types of honey.  As Snake Oil is so loved and has such a big fan following, I tried my best to make Snake Oil work for me, but it was way too incense heavy, with barely any vanilla/sugar. As my boyfriend commented that I smelled like a head shop, it went into the de-stash pile.  When I found this Snake Oil blend, I was too excited as Snake Oil almost worked for me, and I am HUGE sucker for the lab’s honey note. This is a recurring blend that is released annually during BPAL’s Lupercalia (Valentine’s) release.

In the Bottle: Super sweet snake oil, I get the smell of incense, sugar, dark vanilla.

Color: Dark Yellow (just like honey!)

Wet on the Skin: I get the initial incense spice that is so Snake Oil, but the honey is equal in partners with the Snake Oil and I get a strong, powerful honey note in there as well. This is very balanced to my nose between the spiced incense and the sweetness of the honey.

Dry Down: The incense mostly fades away and I’m left with a spicy honey.

Verdict: I love this, this is everything I wanted in Snake Oil and even more.  If you’re a fan of honey and dark sweet incense, this is for you. Visually I imagine burning Indonesian incense with dark honey dribbled on top of it. This is a great date night scent and would go great with any other dark scents.

Adventure into Arcana

One of the huge names in Indie perfume is ARCANA! I’ve heard great things about it, especially the quality of the oils and the depth of the smells. When I saw on r/imam that her shop was up and running on eBay, I snagged myself three bottles-Love, Snug and Unearthly Lovely (I got Two Fingers Ballet from a swap)!

I ordered it on January 31st, and it shipped on February 4th and arrived two days after that! In the indie world, that’s as fast of a turn around time as I can really expect!

  • Love: Splendid, dazzling devotion. A breathtaking vanilla accord is accompanied by fresh cream, sugarcane, soft musk, and a pinch of tea leaves. Out of the bottle, this smells SOUR to me, so so sour. Almost like curdled yogurt/milk, or super tart lemon yogurt. Either way, we’re not off to a great start. I let it rest for about a week and give it another go. I decide to just apply to my skin instead of doing a bottle sniff. On the skin, it’s still quite sour, it’s died down a bit but still prominent. Two hours later, the sour is actually almost completely gone! I’m left with this soft, sugary musk. It’s so awesome at this stage!! I’m not sure if I can make it through the first phase to get to this point. Super sad that the cream note doesn’t work with my skin. I can’t speak to the throw, as I ended up scrubbing this one off.
  • Snug: The scent of staying in to watch the snow fall: dark honey amber, marshmallow, and the glow of beeswax candles. Out of the bottle, it’s strongly beeswax!! It veers between plasticky and ambery. On the skin, I definitely get that honey amber now. About an hour in, the plasticky wax melts (ha ha) away and I have a light mallow, amber honey scent. This to me is very unisex, and is an ideal sleeping scent. I’m actually wrapped in a fuzzy robe, and this scent fits in perfectly. Throw is fairly high on this one, I went to sleep with it and had whiffs of it on my clothing in the morning. 
  • Unearthly Lovely: Dusty honey, bee pollen, and vanilla bean. Vanilla, I can  definitely smell the vanilla, and right behind it a strong honey scent, almost like hay and honey put together. I wouldn’t describe it as green, but definitely is not just straight golden honey either. Almost a darker honey if that makes sense. On the skin, vanilla is still the first note, then the bee pollen then the honey. This is a winner for me, I find it extremely similar to Snug, but a bit more feminine with the prominence of the vanilla bean. If I had to chose between the two, I’d go with Unearthly Lovely, but they’re both great! Throw is on par with snug. 
  • Two Fingers BalletA delicate blend of French vanilla creme, white amber, sugared vanilla beans, caramel, and the smallest dab of opium. OMG OUT OF THE BOTTLE, IT SMELLS LIKE ALMONDS, where am I getting the almonds?! It’s not even in the notes-it must be the white amber, or caramel? On the skin, it smells like Taiwanese almond milk tea. I can’t get enough of it. THIS IS WHAT I’VE BEEN LOOKING FOR.  This smell is delicious, it’s foody without being overwhelming and just so absolutely beautiful. I love this so much and may have gotten two back ups. I get vanilla bean, and caramel goodness at the end. The throw is decent, on my skin I’d say about 5 hours but I can still get whiffs of it on my clothing throughout the day.

My first venture into Arcana and I’m really pleased! The scents are nothing like I’ve ever smelled before and being able to capture “dusty honey” and “dab(s) of opium” are signs of a gifted perfumer. I don’t think my skin can do that “fresh cream” note, so I’m probably staying away from those. She uses the standard glass 5 ml bottles, and are priced on the higher end ($19-$20) through her eBay shop.

Her Valentine’s Day release just came out too, so may have to pick up a few of those! Can’t wait to try more.

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Rose Lovers Galore

I’ve been on a bit of a rose kick as of late-and decided to try out a few different ones.

A majority of them are from Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab, as their rose note is widely popular, but I opted for Rose City from Haus of Gloi as well along with some gourmand roses from Solstice Scents. If you’ve never ordered from them, Solstice Scents definitely wins in the shipping category, with Haus of Gloi as a close second.

Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab 

  • Rose Red 2016: The perfected winter rose, dew covered and freshly cut from BPAL’s Yule Release. There is nothing more like a fresh bouquet of roses that was just delivered to your desk (or your body hehe). When I wear this, I feel like I’ve been gifted flowers and the scent is just amazingly green and fresh. Even my mom said I smelled like the roses out in our front yard. It’s reminiscent of  smelling the roses first thing in the morning-slightly wet and very fresh. Definitely a keeper. I also tried The First Rose –  pale pink rosebud, wet with the dew of the dawn of creationThese two are very very similar, the rose red is slightly more green and in your face, with the first rose being it’s slightly quieter counterpart. Both excellent true rose scents.
  • Allegory of ChastityBlushing rose hips, pink rose petals, and vanilla cream with white jasmine and a drop of bergamot. Oh man, from the bottle it was fairly powdery which was really worrisome but once on the skin, the powder really rounds out and the rose total kicks in. It’s definitely a pinker rose scent but there is a hint of green that comes out later on. I don’t get much of the vanilla or jasmine but perhaps that is where I get the powder from. This is extremely lovely and throw is longer than Rose Red. This can last me all day easily.
  • Peacock Queen 2016: In dramatic contrast to the soft innocence of Snow White and the dew-kissed freshness of her sister, Rose Red, this is a blood red, voluptuous rose, velvet-petaled, at the height of bloom. Haughty and imperious, vain, yet incomparably lovely to the eye, but thick with thorns of jealousy, pride and hatred. I’m not sure how BPAL does it, but it does feel haughty-it has a bite at the end of the rose scent. Although I could appreciate the scent, this was not for me. The rose is definitely there at the beginning but evolves into this sharper, pointed scent.  
  • The Unicorn, Rushing Against the Tree, Fixed its Horn so Fast in the Trunk that it Could Not Draw it OutEthereal white orris, pale early lilacs, mallow flower, Queen of the Night, white moss, and dusk-lit mist. I’m not going to lie-I got this partially because of the name! In the bottle, I can smell the moss which makes it a bit dry and woody. But on dry down, wow, it’s really quite pretty! I would say it’s a light white floral with a slight sweetness (from the mallow flower?). It’s very wearable and dries into a quieter aquatic floral.

Haus of Gloi 

  • Rose CityRed roses and the earthy wet scent of aged patchouli.  THE PATCHOULI, is so so strong in this. I definitely can appreciate the depth of this, but patchouli just does not work on my skin. It’s definitely the most prominent note for me. I think if I could mellow this out with maybe a strong vanilla note this could be a keeper.

Solstice Scents

  • Rose Mallow CreamMoroccan Rose absolute, Bulgarian Rose absolute, Marshmallow Fluff, Strawberry Nectar, White Chocolate, Vanilla, White Musk. I really didn’t get that much rose from this, but definitely got the strawberry mallow! This is a very sweet scent that to me is more on the gourmand side than floral.
  • Cardamom Rose SugarBrown Sugar, Cardamom EO, Moroccan Rose and Bulgarian Rose. SPICY! So so spicy, if you have any  doubts about this, I would recommend going to a store and smelling cardamom first before making a purchase. It’s very warm, I think it would be perfect for colder weather (as it warms up the skin too). The sugar and cardamom are most prominent for me, with the rose coming out slightly on the dry down.

My winners are Rose Red/The First Rose and Allegory of Chastity! Between the two, I definitely feel like my rose niche has been fulfilled.

Dive into the Rabbit Hole – Indie Perfumes

I’ve always loved perfumes-anything from Chanel eau Tendre to Dior’s J’Adore. Smell is such a strong sense for me. A good perfume to me is like a good accessory. It sets the tone for my day and presence! Unfortunately, most traditional perfumes now give me headaches.

Through r/femalefashionadvice, I discovered the world of Indie Perfume Oil!

I started with what is considered the “Godfather” of perfume oil–Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab (BPAL)! Through swaps on r/indiemakeupandmore, I discovered a few other brands, Darling Clandestine, Sixteen92 and Deconstructing Eden.

My first order from BPAL was definitely not all winners, but there was one–Alice. These are reviews for the ones that stood out to me, and some very popular ones that didn’t work for me.

  • Alice: Milk and honey with rose, carnation and bergamot I FELL in love with this one. This one is warm and spicy to me which I think is from the bergamot with a touch of floral in the background. The milk and honey balance out the spice and it’s definitely one of my regular wears. Through is medium to strong, I mixed this into unscented lotion and carry it around in my purse now.
  • Vintage 2009 Snake Oil: A blend of exotic Indonesian oils sugared with vanilla. This is BPAL’s best selling oil and is highly spoken of! It was not the oil for me, the incense is extremely strong, then the vanilla comes second. I tried it for a week straight and it just wasn’t a good fit. My boyfriend described it as smelling a bit like a temple or those antique shops 😦 I really wanted to love it but it was a no-go.
  • Dorian:  A Victorian fougere with three pale musks and dark, sugared vanilla tea. Another really popular scent, that also did not work out for me. It smelled like a lemon cake to me! I did not get any of the teas, but I did get the variation of musks with a strong almost lemon-cake like scent.
  • Embalming Fluid/Serving Tea After Coitus: A light, pure scent: white musk, green tea, aloe and lemon. Embalming fluid smelled JUST like Elizabeth Arden’s Green Tea perfume to me. This definitely screams green tea and was actually a bit too much for me. Through the swap I saw someone post Serving Tea After Coitus: Green tea, heady honey, white plum, ambergris accord, and vanilla flower. Which in comparison to embalming fluid was more mellow and a more rounded scent. The green tea is more balanced with the honey and vanilla.
  • Fairy WineAn ethereal vintage, steeped with dandelion, honey and red currants. I really wanted to love this one, mostly because I love Neil Gaiman’s Star Dust-but this didn’t work with my body chemistry. It is very bubbly, almost like fruity champagne.
  • HeelHoneysuckle, late summer jasmine and mowed grass. All 3 of the notes are very prominent, with jasmine first, then honeysuckle and that green grass at the end. This will be perfect for warmer weather and summer.
  • Dormouse: A dizzying eddy of four teas brushed with light herbs and a breath of peony. This is a strong floral tea, the peony is quite pronounced for me. It’s an extremely fresh scent for me, almost like newly cut flowers soaked in tea. I think this would be great for the spring time.

The world of indie perfumes is extremely fascinating to me so far, and I’m loving it. img_2267