30 Scents in 30 Days – Day 7 – HagRoot’s Book of Shadows

I’ve been stumbling on, pointed to, and just searching for new companies to try and HagRoot is one that popped up and I just had to try them.

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photo by smellallthethings

Their TAT was fast, their site/scent descriptions nice, and their packaging was on point (as my picture can show – that’s what the samples came in.

There were so many scents that caught my eye, but I limited my initial order to just 5 samples.  I typically do that with any new company because you never know.  Though, I’ve yet to find a dud.

Book of ShadowsVanilla, Black Tea Leaves, Dirt, Guaiac Wood, Wormwood, Leather, Verbena, Juniper Berry, Pine, Vetiver, Oakmoss, Oak

Not sure if it’s my lack of muscle today (slept wrong) or these are some super tight vials, but I’m having a heck of a time opening it.  I ended up getting plyers, spilling a bit, but at least it smells wonderful!

There’s something berry-like in this but not what I normally associate with juniper berry scent.  Neat!  I definitely get the black tea, the woods, the oakmoss, and a touch of leather.  The leather is oiled, but soft, slightly black, but not that shiny black faux leather you sometimes get.  It’s a very … herbal blend, but not really?  This is very unique.

As it’s drying it keeps waffling between being soapy and being woodsy.  It’s teetering like it can’t make up it’s mind.

But oh my goodness – I have my windows open, it’s cool and slightly breezy with just a hint of rain on the air.  As the breeze flows across my wrist I get the most glorious earthy scent.  It’s the earth in its rawest form – dirty, green, woody, and moist (likely from the rain we’re about to get).

After a while I get something kind of spicy, but it’s still very much a nature scent.  This brings to mind a woodland cottage – just the serene peacefulness you can sometimes only get from being in the thick of nature.  It’s all there around you and the scent of it just permeates everything, from the wood of the cottage to the covers on your bed.  And that little hint of vanilla just kind of seals it all together.

The throw is mild – not strong but you can smell it sometimes.  The longevity is really nice so far – lasting up to about 4 hours.

I swear oakmoss is like my comfort scent or something, I don’t know what it is but if it has oakmoss, I want it.

Nocturne Alchemy – July Limited Collection

Nocturne Alchemy recently released it’s NAValloween in July along with more Dinosaur blends!  I received my bottles over a week ago and they’ve had plenty of time to relax from their travels.

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photo by smellallthethings

WerewolfTahitian Spiced Vanilla, aged Apple cider, Wood notes of Cedar, Pine, Oak, Redwood and Teak, Leather accord and Oudh extract.

Pure spice in the bottle, but as it hits my skin I get a hint of apple cider.  I get a familiar tingle on my skin from cinnamon, so though it’s not listed it (or something else that can irritate skin) is in this blend.  There’s something that is reading as “cardboard cookie” on my skin and I’m not entirely sure what it could be.  Teak maybe?  Oak?  I’m sure it’s one of the wood notes.  This blend is heavy, lots of deep notes in it.  I’m not particularly enjoying the wet/drydown phase of this blend.  It’s … too much.  All the notes seem to be screaming for attention at once.

It’s now twenty minutes later and I still feel slightly overwhelmed by this blend.  I absolutely adore the spiced vanilla + apple cider combo and kind of wish it had been left at that with maybe just one wood.  I get absolutely no leather from this blend, and I adore NAVA’s leathers.

Overall I think this blend needs more time to age, but I’m not sure if that will intensify the wood notes or smooth them out.  I do hope they smooth out as that would be lovely.  I can smell the potential for a glorious blend in there, but I think it’s too fresh to really do itself justice.

There it is … about 30 min – 45 min into the drydown and I am greeted with a glorious cozy scent that makes me want to snuggle with myself.  It has become sweet, slightly spiced, and just downright fuzzy.  You get a sense of something animalistic in there and I’m finally getting that comforting soft and supple leather, which is wonderful.  I know my knee-jerk reaction was to scrub it, but I’m glad I gave this a chance to keep going.  Hopefully with some age to it that screaming phase will go away and I can enjoy the blend as I believe it was meant to be enjoyed.

Hours later and each time I put my chin in my hand I get a whiff of this and it’s almost eye-rolling gorgeous.  Such a transformation from wet-stage to complete dry down.  Is the wet stage worth wading through?  Maybe.  I’ll see what a little age does and hopefully it’ll make it all worthwhile.


MummyEnglish Bergamot and Earl Grey Tea, Redwood Absolute, Amber Resin, Papyrus extract, ICON: Leviathan Amber-Oudh, Australian Black Tea leaf, Pear essence, SL Crimson absolute and Baltic Teak.

In the bottle I get a lovely bergamot tea scent with a touch of amber.  On my skin is much of the same but with a hint of spiciness from that bergamot.  The amber from both the resin and the Leviathan Oudh is gorgeous and deeply orange with a hint of that familiar powdery amber.  The pear isn’t apparent, though it’s likely adding just a touch of sweetness to the blend.  The crimson is musky and deeply red and as it dries the papyrus begins to come out and give an almost brittle feel.

I was honestly expecting something a bit more … dusty, moldering, and old.  Instead what I’m getting is more along the lines of their Egyptology release.  I get the impression of prim and proper Englishmen sitting around a recently opened crypt sipping tea and being fanned in an attempt to beat the harsh Egyptian heat.  Eventually that image fades and it begins to give an impression that I was hoping for – the inside of a crypt, objects, smells, and things that had not been touched or viewed for hundreds of years.

You do get a sense of something old and possibly ancient.  Something a bit mysterious.

There is a good amount of throw to this blend and I can smell it wafting up to my nose which is nice.  Also, the longevity on this is pretty awesome.  Hitting 2+ hours and no sign of slowing.  Bonus points for lasting through a hand washing.


VelociraptorResinous Amber Accord, Limestone Amber, Black Musk Absolute, Black Amber and a drop of aged viscous Velociraptor Kashmir red musk.

NAVA makes my absolute favorite scent – Kashmir red musk.  If I could only smell like one thing for the rest of my life, Kashmir would be it.

With that being said, I get a lovely whiff of my beloved Kashmir out of the bottle.  On my skin that Kashmir mixes with the deeper and darker black musk.  This is not a light blend, it is shaded, veiled, and shadowy.  With this much musk it seems to be going a bit on the powdery side.  It’s a fuzzy powder, if that makes any kind of sense.

The ambers are there giving a resinous undertone, but this blend seems to be all about those musks.

It is recommended to “hatch” your dino’s with another NAVA blend.  I won’t be doing that right now as I want to get a feel for the blend on its own, but I’m already plotting a bit of Tibetian Crystalline to go along with this.  I think the Nag Champa + Vanilla would go a long way to giving this some depth and cutting some of the powdery feel from the blend.

I like that despite this being heavy, the throw isn’t overwhelming.  It is a soft, gentle throw and as I move my hand I can smell it.  The longer it dries the more gentle it becomes.


ProtoceratopsResinous Amber Accord, Limestone Amber, Crystalline, Kobalt, Crystal Absolute, Vanilla Cream, Vanilla Ice Cream Accord, Vanilla Caramel, Bastet Amber and Egyptian Sugar accord.

This is the outlier of the bunch and completely different from any of the blends I’ve tried today.

In the bottle I get a creamy vanilla scent that isn’t quite gourmand, but you can tell it wants to push over that edge.  On my skin I get this beautiful sugar accord.  It’s almost like putting a sugar cube in your mouth.  I also get the Crystalline, Kobalt and Crystal vanilla wafting around in there.  (I have smelled/owned each of those and believe it or not there are differences between the three, though sometimes subtle.  I prefer Crystalline typically and it’s in most of my favorite blends.)

Now, I’m sure ya’ll can guess how amazing this smells, but truly it is gorgeous.  It’s creamy, sweet, with a hint of resin and this sugary note that rounds it all out.

If you are into NAVA and you haven’t had an opportunity yet to try Bastet Amber (while listed as a note, it is actually found here as a blend all its own) you really should.  This blend is different from anything else I’ve ever experienced before.  Some people get absolutely no scent from it, some get some vague soapish scent (that’s me) and others are slightly put-off by it.  But you’re not supposed to actually smell the spot you placed it on.  You are supposed to apply it and forget it and let this blend do it’s thing, which is to waft up and greet you.  It’s a softly sweet and resinous amber, simple yet beautiful, and in this blend you get that.  I could see layering this with more Bastet Amber to enhance that effect or perhaps a bit of another Vanilla.  Or, if you’re lucky and got a sample of Bastet’s Ice Cream accord, maybe a touch of that.

The throw on this is soft, but it has its moments.


Overall, I found that once Werewolf sat it was definitely worth waiting for, and having it waft around with Mummy is something quite wonderful.

While on my other hand, the dino’s are opposites and I prefer each for what they are separately.

Twisted Wonderland Perfumery – NEW

I am thrilled and delighted to get to sample some of Twisted Wonderland Perfumery’s items.  This company is brand spankin’ new but my goodness do they have a ton of charm!  The lovely owner, Rae, was kind enough to send me some samples that arrived just as the store had it’s grand opening!

(For full disclosure, I did not purchase these items.  The owner asked if bloggers were interested in testing/reviewing and I raised my hand.  Though, I’d planned on making a sample order anyway when they opened.)

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photo by smellallthethings

How gorgeous are the labels?!  I’m a huge Alice in Wonderland fan so this just makes my heart happy.

First I’m going to start with the lip scrub on the left.  I selected Cabernet Cotton Candy.  And let me tell you … it’s cotton candy!  I only have one complaint, and it’s not even about the product … I had to cut the beautiful label to open it!  I know it’s purely an aesthetic thing, but it made me sad to do it – especially since the inside had a seal over it.  The lip scrub seems a touch liquidy – but it’s freakin’ hot here in NC and to be fair, I have like ZERO experience with lip scrubs so it could just be how it is.  But, my lips need exfoliating after so much sun so this is a win-win!

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So you can see the process before, during, and after. (Sorry for the weird quality – my bathroom has horrible lighting.)  I have to admit, it was weird.  Not like bad weird but one of those “man I hope my husband doesn’t walk in on me and I have to explain why I have sugar on my lips” weird.  It tasted good, had more of a grape-like cotton candy flavor than any type of Cabernet (though to be fair I’ve not had Cabernet wine in a long, long time).  It was sweet, cleaning up was easy, and it left a touch of a waxy feel behind, but my lips are soft!  Mission accomplished I think!  It took off some of the chapped feeling from my lips as well.

Of course the lip scrub must be followed up with a lip balm, right?  For this I chose Green Apple Peach.  Smells only slightly like green apples.  The formula is softer than other lip balms I’ve tried and it almost melts on your lips.  It’s not really waxy and it’s very soft and smooth.  Just a hint of sweetness when I lick my lips, but the scent is not overpowering which I consider a good thing.  I always hate it when I put on lip balm or gloss and it’s scented like crazy and it’s the only thing I can smell because it’s under my nose.  I’m a chapstick girl, so this lip balm will be used frequently and with pleasure!  There is no tinting to the lip balm, which I like as well.

And now onto the Eau de Parfum’s!  I have to confess, I’m kind of an Indie EDP junkie.  I absolutely adore spritzing myself daily and have been known to change shirts just so I can wear a different EDP.

Man, talk about nostalgia … Stay Puft EDP – I’m sure you can guess the notes, but here they are just in case:  A whole lotta’ marshmallow! A combination of fresh marshmallow, marshmallow fluff, two vanillas, & a dab of patchouli.

What did you DO Ray?

*swallows*  It’s the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man.

In the vial it’s a whole lotta marshmallow goodness.  Not the puft kind, though, oddly enough.  This is more the jar of marshmallow goo that, if you’re lucky, your mom let you lick after she was done making fudge.  (I was lucky!)  On my skin, however, this comes down to earth with a lovely patchouli.  It’s brown and kind of musky and a whole lotta earthy.  It does a lot to help tamp down the sweetness the blend could overwhelm with otherwise.  The vanilla’s are almost floral?  There’s something flowery in here, but it’s just gorgeous.  Sweet with a touch of earthy patchouli.  After a bit I get that powdery marshmallow and it adds another dimension to the blend.  The longer this sits the more I get the brown earthiness from the patch and the sweetness backs down just a bit more.

This company is like a ride down to nostalgia town.  Necronomicon is up next with it’s notes of: A unique combination of book pages, leather, pipe tobacco, and a waft of blackberry bordeaux.

This is my BOOMstick!

I get a huge waft of blackberry bordeaux when I open the vial.  On my skin it starts out much the same.  It’s a gorgeous and light scent, which you wouldn’t think from the notes.  However, as it sits it mellows and this leathery scent comes out.  It’s a nice well worn leather – kind of a mix between supple brown and shiny black.  This is the first time I’ve smelled a leather quite like this.  Don’t know if it’s because of the blackberry bordeaux or what, but it’s very nice.  I’m not getting anything papery or papyrus like, but I do get a small hint of pipe tobacco.  Not fresh, more like the scent has ingrained itself into the book. While I may not really enjoy the scent sniffing directly on my skin, what is wafting up to be is just deliciously gorgeous!  It’s a sweet blackberry wine with almost no tartness, a hint of an almost cherry pipe tobacco, soft glistening leather, and now I’m getting something bookish.  I’m in love with this scent, I have to say.  I think I need this sooner rather than later.  It’s so unique!  Such good throw also.  And remember … Shop Smart, shop S-Mart. *wink*

The last EDP sample I have is White Rabbit, which seemed fitting, with notes of: The scent of fresh green grass, sweet wild strawberries, and a hint of leather to ground it all out. In the vial this smells a bit medicinal – that faux syrup they give kids hoping they’ll swallow it without too much protest.  Thankfully, on my skin, that medicinal scent is completely gone and I’m left with a sweet strawberry scent with just a hint of green grass.  The leather note is the same from Necronomicon and becoming a fast favorite of mine.  Once this dries it actually reminds me of Necronomicon – that same sweet leather scent.  I would’ve liked more of that grass note or something furry/musky to distinguish it more from Necronomicon.  Pleasant, but it doesn’t grab at me.

Now we are on to the perfume oils and in keeping with the Wonderland theme, I will be trying Absolutely Alice with notes of: A delightful sweet & fruity blend of fresh peaches, wild raspberries, and wafts of tooth-achingly sweet pink cotton candy.  In the vial I get a lovely sniff of freshly cut peaches ready to be eaten.  It’s actually so realistic it’s making my mouth water!  At the moment this is just a fresh peach single note, and honestly if it stayed like that I don’t know that I would mind!  But it doesn’t and eventually I get a touch of red and juicy raspberries.  There’s a sweet note around the fruit, but it’s not the overwhelming cotton candy that was in the lip scrub.  This is more subdued.  Overall I think I’m in love with this one as well.  It’s realistically fruity!  I might have to go to the store and buy some fruit.

Deadite will round out the reviews with notes of: Seemingly sweet blackberry with a sinister twist of patchouli, black pepper, and vanilla.  Groovy.  In the vial it’s blackberry and pepper – very odd indeed.  On my skin it wants to be a blackberry, but other things (namely the pepper and patchouli) are holding it back.  Which in turn is giving it an almost artificial scent to it which isn’t really sitting very well with me.  And after the realistic peaches in Absolutely Alice I was expecting more realistic blackberries.  The patchouli is the same soft and earthy one that’s in Stay Puft.  Eventually the vanilla comes out and adds more sweetness.  I think I would dig this one without the blackberry – it’s just not my cuppa tea.

Overall I’m quite impressed with this new company!  I definitely want Necronomicon and Absolutely Alice.  Possibly Stay Puft as well.  I will absolutely be trying more of their catalog!

 

 

Sugar & Spite and everything smelly!

Bringing a new house to everyone, and one that has bowled me over with not only their scent catalog, but their customer service as well as their over the top and on point packaging!  Sugar & Spite everyone – get on and enjoy the ride! (Not paid advertising, I just really dig everything about this perfume house.)

Bonus they are having a sale from now until Saturday July 9th.  Check out their Facebook page for sale details.  Because of the sale, this is going to be a rather quick and dirty review of 11 different scents.

These scents have been in my possession for almost 3 weeks now and I could already tell taking them out of their packaging that they’d rested and even gotten a little aging while they sat in a cool dark box.

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photo by smellallthethings

Let’s kick this off with the rollerball.  10ml of delicious Apple Sugar goodness. (Delicious, juicy apples and a heaping spoonful of pure sugar. Wonderfully sweet, yet somehow all grown up.)  I have to admit I’ve worn this quite frequently since receiving it and it was also part of my moving scents that stayed with me in my purse for comfort and use while my world was briefly turned upside down.  It is a beautiful crisp, freshly peeled, apple scent with just this smooth sugar scent that comes very close, initially, to making you feel like you have just put a spoonful of table sugar in your mouth.  Somehow while wet this manages to be an extremely accurate representation of apples and sugar, separate but preparing to come together in a most wonderful way.  As this dries the two scents come together and the tartness of the apple tempers the sweetness of the sugar so that it doesn’t become overly sweet.  This is gourmand, but not?  So hard to describe the dry down.  It’s almost like walking through an apple orchard with a bag of sugar and freshly cut apples.  This works in the heat and I’m going to bet this will work in the fall as well.  I am already planning on some body spray, body wash, and lotion in this scent.  The longevity of this blend has varied wildly but I think that’s more to do with my activities and just the extreme stress I was putting my body under and not necessarily to do with the scent itself.

Three Shades of White (Every fine vanilla in my arsenal, smoky white musk, white amber, grounded with a tiny bit of patchouli, bourbon and oak leaves.) smells of patchouli in the vial and on my skin.  It’s not quite a smooth patchouli, but it’s not that gritty and dirty patchouli either.  It’s a happy medium, brownish in scent to me.  The oak marries with the patchouli and as it tries the vanillas begin to come out.  After this has sat on the skin it ends up being this beautiful smoky, vanilla, and patchouli blend.  Overall it’s soft, slightly sweet, and a touch woody.

Strangefellow isn’t all that strange (tonka, amber, musk and pepper, with a sugar cookie base) … well, actually, it smells like vanilla popcorn in the vial, but it quickly smooths out into this beautiful amber, tonka, musk blend with a hint of sugar cookie.  The pepper gives just a hint of spice, but nothing overwhelming.  The tonka is soft and brown, the cookie leans a bit gourmand, but the amber and musk keep it from falling over that edge.  This is a sweet blend, unisex, and very beautiful.

Dionysus, the god of wine (Mahogany, amber, sandalwood, and barely perceptible red wine.) deserves attention sometimes.  Oh wow, in the vial the mahogany is deep, rich, and red.  On my skin it is dark and decadent, smooth and red and just luxurious!  Totally brings to mind much lounging with a glass of wine in hand.  It’s blended very well and the sandalwood is more of a fresh-off-the-tree scent rather than that of the smoother more aged sandalwood.  The amber just enhances the overall smoothness of the blend.

Tell it to the Moon sounds like a nice chill song to relax with and look up at the moon. (Precious woods, cashmere vanilla, resin, spice, and a swirl of bright mandarin.)  In the vial I get mandarin and I’ll be damned if cashmere wasn’t the most apt description for that vanilla.  On my skin the woods come out more with a touch of spice (generic melody of spices, but nothing I can pick out with absolute certainty).  But man, that cashmere vanilla is where it’s at, let me tell you.  If tonka is fuzzy brown, this is a fuzzy cream or taupe.  And on top of it all is that beautiful mandarin.  The woods sit to the back with the resins and it really is all about that vanilla and mandarin!

The Whispering Woods don’t talk behind your back (Crunchy leaves, damp soil, Incense smoke, a bitter snap of clove, and caramelized brown sugar), they speak sweet nothings into your ear.  In the vial I get that smoky incense which is just about all I can smell, even on my skin.  It’s a beautiful smoky scent.  Ah, it takes a moment but the leaves come out with a touch of soil.  After a bit the clove comes out but it’s just barely a hint.  Enough to get a whiff and know what it is, but not enough to overwhelm the blend.

Mothman (Black and green teas, clove, black orchid) is not your average superhero!  But that’s to be expected because it’s a perfume and not a person at all.  So there’s that.  Tea and clove come out in the vial as well as on my skin.  It’s reminding me a lot of walking into Teavana.  I’m not a tea person, like at all, which is kind of funny considering I moved to the south.  But this is making me wrinkle my nose as the orchid, clove, and teas aren’t meshing very well on my skin.  YMMV – so try it if you’re curious!

Barnum and Bailey?  No, just Barnum (Curiously sweet and dark. Tobacco leaf, a trio of rich musks, new mown hay, and a drizzle of creamy vanilla bourbon.) but half a circus can still be a good time … right?  Hay, musk, a touch of tobacco, and just a drop of bourbon.  So rich and decadent.  Masculine, don’t get me wrong, but I love that.  Oh wow, I could melt into this.  This is fairly straightforward on me which is just fine.  The vanilla comes out, but it’s that soft barely there vanilla that adds more creaminess to a blend than actual sweetness.

Meadow(s) are for enjoying (Fields of green, green grass, and a hint of sweet soil.).  And so is perfume.  Win-win!  In the vial this is just grass.  Super green, crunched underfoot so it releases it’s scent, with just a hint of soil underneath.  This is like taking a handful of dew covered grass and rubbing your face in it.  Not to say the perfume is overwhelming, it’s just … GRASS when you sniff it.  And hey, some people like that.  So here ya go … this grass’ for you!

Grim Bastard is not one to be trifled with (vanilla, sandalwood, black patchouli and leather).  But I don’t listen so well.  Shh.  In the vial I get leather.  It’s that mix between shiny black and well worn brown.  On my skin however, it morphs to that beautiful worn brown leather that I love so much.  The patchouli isn’t super prominent but blends with the sandalwood to give an overall woody feel to the blend.  The vanilla is there but hidden, just barely lending itself to the blend.  Very masculine, very leathery.

Leopold not to be undone (A sweet blend of vanilla bean, amber, musk, and white pepper.) is here to sweep others off their feet.  In the vial I get all the lovely notes and they translate almost seamlessly to my skin.  The vanilla lays overtop, lending it’s sweetness to the entirety of the blend while the musk and amber provide a golden base and the pepper adds just a touch of spiciness to the blend.  Very beautiful and another I would consider getting in body spray, wash, and lotion!

I think overall there were only two blends I would not consider purchasing full bottles of, and only because they’re not really my thing.  Hopefully this helps those on the fence about some blends.  Now, off to get some new smellies with their wonderful sale!

 

 

Villianess – Scent Samples

After years of looking, reading, and stalking the Villainess site, I have finally purchased a set of samples from them.  I love their site, their theme, all of it – so I’m excited to delve into these samples.  They’ve had plenty of time to relax from their travels and they got some rest if they needed a bit of aging.

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photo by smellallthethings

Might as well start this off with a scent from their namesake, Villainess.  Its notes are listed as: Our signature scent – all ball gowns and combat boots. Raw, smokey leather and sweet vanilla musk engulfed in a sheer haze of exotic florals – ylang, neroli, jasmine, lilac and tuberose.  Sleek black leather jumps out from the vial as I take a sniff.  Thankfully that backs off almost the moment it touches my skin.  I get the smoky part of the leather along with a light touch of vanilla musk.  The florals are soft and ylang, jasmine, and lilac seem to be the most prominent.  This is strong, assertive, unisex almost verging on masculine.  This kind of morphs between strong leather and soft florals.  Finally it begins to settle down into this rough, raw leather scent with just a hint of those white florals.  It’s strong and the throw is mighty.

Vale has notes of Musky warmed saddle leather, rich notes of espresso and clove, and a coconut-sweetened masala.  Seems Villainess likes the leather.  Who can blame them?  This is espresso with a shot of chocolate – I think it’s a cocoa note I’m smelling.  The coconut is more like a milk.  Horchata I believe is the drink this is reminding me of, but with a hint of leather.  This is certainly a blend all its own!

Decadence comes with notes of: an indulgent vanilla – alcoholic, buttery and bittersweet with delightful undertones of tonka and coconut. Our favourite vice.  I’ve been dying for more vanilla scents so I’m super excited about this!  In the vial I get the boozy vanilla with a hint of coconut.  The coconut comes out more on my skin and it’s that juicy, watery coconut milk and not the flesh.  The tonka also gives this a beautiful brown fuzzy feel and keeps the vanilla from going too boozy.  This certainly is decadent and oh my goodness I want to bathe in this … and I can!!!

Jai Mahal is another vanilla blend (woot!) with notes of: 4 rich vanillas and tonka, Mysore sandalwood, bourbon and coconut. Expensive woods, incense and imported spices – cedar, amber, myrrh, cardamom and nutmeg.  Woods, incense, nutmeg, and vanilla is wafting so deliciously around me.  There isn’t as much vanilla in this one as there was in Decadence, and it’s different despite it sharing notes.  This warms on the skin and gives a sun soaking, spicy feeling.  It’s soft and beautiful and alluring.

Morpho contains notes of: Sheer blue musk and a breath of old books, delicate touches of blackberry and juniper, and a whisper of plumeria. In the vial I get the softest bluest musk that smells powdery.  On my skin I get the blackberry and the plumeria is more than just a whisper.  After a minute the juniper comes out with that worn and antique feeling it gives me.  In the beginning this can be slightly overwhelming, after about 10 minutes this has a huge throw and is almost candy-like.  Something along the lines of SweetTarts or that powdered candy.  It’s making my jaw hurt (you know that sensation when you taste something sour) and my mouth water!  It takes about 30 minutes or so before that sour sweettart like scent morphs into this blue, soft, and powdery scent.  Very feminine and soft.

Byzantium will round this review series out with notes of: Precious woods and resins – cedar, pine and sandalwood, frankincense, amber and myrrh – at play against a sheer base of Egyptian musk, barely spiked with imported spices, and lightly veiled in smoke.  This is very soft when it first goes on with soft, golden Egyptian musk and a soft smattering of spices. As this dries and warms on my skin the woods and resins come out and this is just so beautiful.  Golden and warm, this is standing out in the sun, sand beneath your feet, and a lean-to for when you’re in need of some shade.

 

 

 

Deep Midnight Perfumes – Game of Thrones Inspired Samples

Another review for the lovely shop Deep Midnight Perfumes!  This time I am reviewing the Game of Thrones Inspired set of samples.  I have to preface this by saying I’ve only read 2 of the books and watched the first episode of the show.  In my defense, I have small children and some things are not appropriate for their eyes to see and their ears to hear.  I do, however, hear regular updates from my husband who has both read the books and watched the show, so I have some idea of these concepts.

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photo by smellallthethings

Raven Boy was inspired by Bran Stark and has notes of Oakmoss, earthy musk, tobacco leaf, sage, dark vanilla sugar, amber, aged oak and background florals notes of iris and damask rose.  Ooh, this is deep and dark, beautifully done.  On my skin the dark vanilla sugar and the aged oak have melded into one.  The sage is not very noticeable – I only get a hint here and there.  Tobacco leaf and oakmoss and that beautiful earthy musk is giving this a greenish-brown feel.  The iris and damask rose are not prominent and only serve to lift a little and give a hint of sweetness that’s been rounded out.  This is dark, like a dream where the edges are fuzzy and the only thing in sharp relief is what you have your inner eye turned upon.  This blend is unisex, but with a slight masculine lean.  Overall the scent stays close to the skin, like a dream fog.

Little Dove is a olfactory representation of Sansa Stark with notes of linden blossoms, lilac, and lily, are mixed with delicious arctic berries, and nuances of violet, apple, and soft, creamy musk then wrapped up in sweet green notes of willow and bamboo.  You don’t see bamboo too often in notes but it’s one I love and I am drawn to it when I find it.  Doesn’t always work out, but it’s fun in the mean time!  In the vial you get that wet and green bamboo, some of the apple, and a lot of floral.  On my skin this is softly sweet, slightly green, and a touch dewy.  There is something that keeps wanting to go a bit “sex” on my skin.  Ahh, it’s mellowed in the last 5 minutes.  The arctic berries have a touch of frost on them, but are otherwise red and juicy.  This is a beautiful fragile yet fragrant scent – soft, beguiling, sweet, and innocent.

Faceless Girl is inspired by Arya Stark with notes of cedarwood, black amber, lavender, cassis, olive leaf, cassia bark, and patchouli are softened up with notes of tonka bean, sandalwood, ylang ylang, rose otto and violet.  In the vial this is a deep dark lavender with some gorgeous patchouli.  On my skin the cedarwood and cassis/cassia bark come out with a touch of sandalwood and ylang ylang.  The rose otto is fighting for attention but that calms down after a bit thankfully.  There is a definite oriental vibe about this blend with a hint of something reminding me of a darker fougère.  The notes are so well blended now that I’m having a hard time picking them out.  Overall I get a very shadowed vibe, strong yet feminine, only slightly floral and this is reminding more of early Arya when she was still being forced into being proper and feminine and her life hadn’t been touched by so much death.

Snow Wolf is meant as a representation of Jon Snow with notes of Cedarwood, leather, rosemary, dark woods, black amber, and a touch of cool, frosty mint.  In the vial this is leather and mint.  On my skin I still get some of that cool and crisp peppermint, but it isn’t strong or overpowering.  It takes a little bit but the woods come out with a hint of leather.  I’m not really getting any rosemary.  This is masculine and almost gritty in feel.  I know there’s no steel or metal in the blend, but the combination of the mint and the leather is giving off that feeling.  You can almost feel the heavy leather on your back keeping you warm in the bitter cold.

Stormborn has the pleasure of being inspired by Daenerys Targaryen (yes I copy/pasted because I would’ve butchered the spelling) whose notes include Dragons blood, oud wood, patchouli, jasmine, desert earth, cardamom, and moss.  The dragon’s blood is very strong and is unlike any dragon’s blood from any company I’ve ever tried before.  Instead of being either floral, or super spicy floral, this is a soft and gentle floral with just a touch of spice, which could actually be coming from the cardamom.  You get the jasmine and the oudh.  The patchouli is mixing with the desert earth to give a golden yet dry feel to the blend.  Overall this is powerful and comanding – more unisex than feminine, and keeps trying to tip to something kind of boozy.

Valhalla Soap Co. – Sample Sets

With my last order, I nabbed two more pixie packs full of more wonderful scents!  Valhalla Soap Co. has also recently released their Spring scents and a new cocoa body butter lotion that can be shipping during those pesky summer months, and Sif’s leave-in conditioner and de-tangling spray.

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photo by smellallthethings

I’m kicking this off with one of the scents that soooo many have raved about on the facebook page – Oak, Ash & Thorne.  Its notes include barrel aged Bourbon Vanilla, embodied by ancient cedarwood resin and dark Indonesian patchouli, softened by rich, warm amber and a touch of exotic sandalwood. Warm, golden, and resinous describes this perfectly.  The patchouli isn’t overwhelming as it sits in the back giving some support.  Amber and the barrel aged bourbon vanilla are the stars of this blend with the sandalwood and cedarwood rounding it out nicely.  This almost has an ancient feel to it, as though this scent has weathered the ages and stood the test of time.  There is the barest hint of sweetness but this is all about the amber and woods.  After a while, this is still very true to the initial impressions I had.  This has very little morphing as it dries.

Pendragon’s Passion has some passionate followers and its notes comprise of deep, sultry and fiery notes of dragon’s blood slither around warm amber and sweet blood orange while resting on an earthen floor of dark patchouli.  This magical blend opens with a sweet blast of blood orange, freshly peeled and just being squeezed as you inhale.  Dragon’s blood is a note that some people love or hate or even love to hate.  Personally, I enjoy the floral version, but not so much the spicy version.  This blend uses the more floral version – but it’s that deeply red floral that almost feels resinous along with that amber.  The patchouli is the same from Hedonistic – the non-hippy slightly orange feeling patchouli and by far my favorite patchouli I’ve had the pleasure of smelling.  The longer this sits on my skin the more it warms up into this slinky and almost seductive scent.  Blood orange is still apparent, but it’s more the after effects and less the super fresh and juicy bit like it was in the beginning.

Norseman has notes that include Balsam Fir, Juniper, Cedar, Clove and Blood Orange.  From my first order I’d received a small soap sample and my kids and I all enjoyed the scent and the soap so I had to get the oil too!  First sniff I get lots of fir and juniper with a touch of cedar.  The fir has a huge throw and I can smell it just typing this out.  As it dries I get a touch of the clove with its signature spice scent and just a hint of blood orange, but it seems it’s more of a dried orange scent than fresh.  The juniper gives that antique scent I associate with it.  Overall this is a very masculine coniferous forest – strong and lasting.  In the soap I got more of the cedar, clove, and blood orange whereas the oil has more fir and juniper.

Rain Dance (also known as Ice Giant) lists notes of an earthy all natural blend of citrus and mint. Peppermint comes to the fore front of the blend – but not the sharp kind – that good peppermint that is equal parts melty vanilla and minty peppermint.  This blend is cool and it really does have an hint of something earthy in it.  Unfortunately I’m not a fan of mints in general unless they are not the star of a blend, but that doesn’t mean this isn’t an awesome blend in its own right.

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photo by smellallthethings

7 Sins From Sunday is another (there’s a lot) fan favorite over at Valhalla with notes of jasmine and lavender tangled around exotic amber,vanilla and sandalwood with a whisper of earthy patchouli. Finishing with sweet lingering notes of dark cocoa bean.  Not sure if I’m having a bad skin chemistry day or what, but in the vial I got some nice jasmine and lavender with a touch of vanilla but on my skin … dryer sheets.  And it’s not strong or anything, more of a used dryer sheet where there’s barely any smell left.  And now it’s gone.  Either I have a blind spot or my skin eats it.  So weird.  I’m sure it’s quite lovely though from the hint I got from the vial!  I think I need to see about getting this in a wax melt or soap or something.

Okay, so that was weird.  It took about 15 minutes (and me walking outside in the warm sun) for any real scent to show up.  But now … wow!  7 Sins is soft, snuggly, and warm.  It’s close to the skin and the florals aren’t overwhelming at all, but are rather like their scent is floating in the window on a warm breeze.  The sandalwood and vanilla are soft and sweet and I wouldn’t have guessed there was patchouli in there either.  I’m not getting any cocoa, thankfully, as I’m not a chocolate scent lover.

Battle Kry is comprised of sea spray, the familiar smell of leather breast guards and polished steel. In the vial this is soft and worn leather while on my skin that salty sea spray takes over.  It is a briny scent, oceanic to the extreme, with hints of leather and that metallic tang of steel.  All the notes ebb and flow so that not one takes the lead for long, just like the waves of an ocean.  Eventually the super saltiness melts away and you’re left with the memory of the sea clinging to your blade and clothes.

Sandalwood has no notes listed, but it’s been in a lot of blends I’ve loved from Valhalla so I’m excited to have this to use alone or layer.  I love how simple yet complex this scent is.  It is golden and warm, woody yet it has a sweet undertone to it that is unique.  This is raw and untouched sandalwood, freshly harvested, still a little moist, but it dries as the oil dries on your skin so that you’re left with the beautiful fragrant wood.  Definitely a must and one I could wear all by itself or it would layer very well with other blends.

Shieldmaiden has notes of citrus and florals on a woody background. Top notes of orange, and watery greens with a middle of jasmine and rose on a bed of juniper, patchouli and vanilla.  This is a very fresh and clean scent in the vial however my skin chemistry is turning this into fabric softener (and actually the exact scent of the brand I use … so that’s good?  at least I like it?) and I’m not sure what is doing it.  It might be the rose.   Rose and I have had quite a few years to work with each other and only a few types of rose work on my skin and if a company changes where they source their rose EO I can usually tell because my skin will react different.  Yeah I think the rose is doing it – it’s screaming at me and it’s only getting louder the longer I wear it.  Oh well, can’t have them all I suppose.

Possets Perfumapalooza – Part 3

Here we are, back again for more Possets Perfume Perfection!  If you missed them, here are links to Part 1 and Part 2!

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photo by smellallthethings

To start us off with this round of scents we have Dance With Me whose notes consist of: coumarin-laced lavender combines with fizzy pink grapefruit, and it all rests on a bed of white musk.  So exciting a new note!  No idea what coumarin smells like!  (I worked in a doctor’s office, so all I know is the medicine – which has no smell.)  And lavender … let’s see if Possets works for me – I so want to be able to wear it!  In the vial it’s a pretty perfect pink grapefruit!  On my skin it’s much of the same, super happy and uplifting.  The white musk is under it giving it something to rest on.  As the grapefruit calms down into just a hint of that juicy sweet perfection the lavender comes out soft and gentle.  So far none of that sharp nose-hurting smell that I have gotten from other lavender’s.  There is something kind of green wafting around.  Maybe coumarin?  (Need to google!)  Well, that was interesting – and hard to describe but what I read from several sources was that it typically has a tonka-like smell (which for me tends to be brown and fuzzy).  However, it can also have a hay-like association.  Either way Dance With Me is a beautiful scent with lavender that I can wear!  It’s super bright and soft – perfect for summer and dancing with my girls.  The citrus never really goes away, which sometimes can happen.  This scent is so far from anything I would normally pick for myself that I am over the moon happy!  Usually you hear of citrus scents not having much lasting power, but this isn’t the case here.  It’s over an hour later and still going strong!

Next up we have Dies Irae with notes of three BLACK musks, one fog-like musk to disburse the whole, bitter galbanum, smooth hawthorne, the scent of rotting leaves, a small amount of orris, and smoky oude, finally frankincense and black amber. Well talk about opposite end of the spectrum!  In the vial it’s all leaves and orris – and it’s that lovely wet, decomposing leaf smell you can only get from a forest floor.  On my skin that decomposing leaf smell stays (I actually love that smell – but I’m weird so …) but the orris does this cute thing where it plays peek-a-boo.  The musks are there but they aren’t assertive, just keeping things nice and dark so the leaves can rot in peace and the ground can be rejuvenated by the natural process.  To me this is just a big dense forest doing the things that forests do best – death, rebirth, and renewal.  This has a great throw to it and just a wonderful fall-like scent.

Evita Peron, part of the Femme Fatales collection, boasts notes of Egyptian musk, followed by a very unusual leather component which conjures up the scent of violets (!). This is accompanied by a dry white amber, and a kiss of ginger. In the vial this is white amber and … violets!  Fabienne is right about that leather, how cool!  On my skin this is soft, sweet violets with a touch of musk and just a hint of ginger.  It is soft, somewhat sweet, and just classic.  This isn’t a super complex scent, but I can’t stop sniffing the spot on my hand.  It’s just so sweet and comforting, yet it’s also elegant and almost commanding at the same time.

Salome is the last scent for this round and is also part of the Femme Fatales collection.  It’s notes are comprised of Black and African, myrrh, frankincense, cedar, ivory musk, green coffee pulp extract, and a very light light misting of black Mexican vanilla.  In the vial I get green coffee.  This may be seen as blasphemous to some – but I dislike coffee with a passion.  I don’t drink it, I don’t like to smell it, I’m just not a coffee person.  Please take my preferences with a grain of salt.  I will try to be objective, but sometimes you just can’t help what you can’t help.  On my skin, thankfully, the super prominent green coffee note is almost completely gone.  In its wake I am left with beautiful myrrh and resinous frankincense.  The cedar forms a beautiful base while the musk just gently presents itself.  The vanilla isn’t apparent, but I’m sure it’s in there.  This is dark, beguiling, and a little off base.

Possets Perfumapalooza – Part 1

I have a huge pile of Possets samples that I’ve purchased straight from Possets, or from Ajevie, and some I acquired via freebies from purchases or swaps from other members of the Indie Perfume community.  It is their time to shine!

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photo by smellallthethings

Zombie is one of the blends I hear so much about!  It’s always described as marshmallow oudh – what’s not to love about that?!  The “official” notes are listed as: toasted marshmallow and oude, a bit of burnt stick, and the unmistakable fragrance of the crisp autumn air.  (There are many different spellings for oudh, oud, oude, and I’m sure there’s more.)  In the vial I get a bit of oudh and a touch of that crisp autumn air.  On my skin it just … wow, it’s so unique!  It’s marshmallow all right, that ooey gooey melted marshmallow that you only get from a stick and a fire.  There’s no burning smell, just this lush woody scent topped with marshmallow.  I get the hype!  It’s very soft overall, however, the longer this sits the more the marshmallow fades to just a hint of sweetness and you’re left with this smooth and fragrant oudh.

I have to admit this next one I’ve tested already as I’ve been eyeing it fiercely for months and I’m happy it made the permanent collection!  That scent is Min-Min (Ghost Lights) and it boasts notes of Sandalwoods, three of them, combined with the rich enticing scent of leather, a strong and classic patchouli. In the vial it’s almost all leather (it’s a cross between new shiny leather and that soft, well-worn leather I prefer).  As it dries the sandalwood comes as does the patchouli.  It’s a warm patchouli, almost golden in its scent.  Despite the notes in this not typically being seen as ethereal, somehow it is just that – floating and ethereal, yet grounded.  As this sits on my skin longer the leather goes from the forefront to somewhere in the back where it just gives hints as to its existence in the blend.  Very beautiful and almost haunting blend.

Jeanne duVal is part of the Femme Fatales 2016 collection with notes of 5 ambers (two golden, one dry, one sweet, and one which is what I call Black Amber), add to that African Musk, a drop of aged sweet patchouli, a nice swath of labdanum, a large part of a very very dry and somewhat woody Bourbon vanilla, a bit of sandalwood, and just the right amount of Haitian vetiver.  I get a nice sweet blast of bourbon vanilla in the vial and … chocolate?  On my skin the vetiver takes over and for some reason there is something reminding me of chocolate.  Or rather, more of a cocoa than a sweet milk chocolate.  The ambers begin to make their appearance which pushes that weird cocoa note further away.  I wonder if one of the ambers is a grey amber because I get just a hint of saltiness.  The bourbon vanilla begins it’s ascent to the top with some of the sandalwood.  I’m not getting a hint of labdanum which usually gives me a floaty feeling in a blend.  This is a very grounded scent … but something is still giving me wafts of cocoa!  So weird!  If it weren’t for the cocoa I think I would really like it!  Huh, it took a while, but the cocoa scent finally went away and now the labdanum has come out with it’s floaty essence.

The Mistress of Power will round out Part 1 of this review with notes of an incense and musk scent, a great oriental. Black, grey, and golden musks at the base, a good part of aged patchouli (which has gone from a thin light yellow to a thick dark brown over the years in the curing cabinet) there is absolutely nothing coy about this blend. Backdrop of a non foody and more brandy-like chocolate liquor, a small amount of clove, all finished off with an ambergris-like musk for a shadow-like staying power.  The scent in the vial is boozy, but that goes away almost as soon as it touches my skin.  Wow the patchouli is strong in this one with a good bit of a golden scent to it.  The incense is strong, but not overwhelming.  This is a resinous and incense blend, not for the faint of heart.  It is commanding and powerful making itself known.  There is a bit of subtle shifting between the notes as they vie for power and dominance.  It takes a while, but eventually they settle into a golden resin and incense blend with just a hint of sweetness.  This actually reminds me of the Lotus Spa I went to on the Outer Banks!  Such a lovely and relaxing place.  But that’s quite the dichotomy isn’t it?

For Strange Women – Solid Scent Samples

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photo by smellallthethings

These are gorgeously packed Solid Scent Samples from the beautiful perfumery, For Strange Women.  The packaging is so elegant I almost don’t want to ruin it by opening it!  But open it I must!

I’d heard about For Strange Women due to their Perfume Enhancing Fixative Base ™.  So many people swear by it.  It is another thing I want to try so will likely purchase with more samples!  I can already tell I want to explore her unique catalog!

Not shown is my sample of Rockrose & Oakmoss that broke in transit.  USPS was harsh on packages that day and several of my packages and letters looked like they’d been put the the wringer.  Jill, the owner, was sweet and kind when I spoke to her about it.  I am planning on a large bottle purchase of Rockrose & Oakmoss just from the scent that greeted me when I opened the package.  Woody, a little spicy, and comforting.

The packaging is just so beautiful that I have to display each.  On the back of the included card is a detailed description of the scent.  Very victorian and classical – just the attention to detail and the elegance of everything, from the packaging to the scents, will most likely push For Strange Women to the top of my Indie favorites!


 

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photo by smellallthethings

First I selected Satin Corset.  As stated above, the description of the scent is on the back of the card and is as follows:

Satin Corset is sweet, uplifting and seductive.  A floral bouquet in a bed of vanilla bourbon interprets the scent of a line-dried ivory corset worn by a classic Victorian woman.  This fragrance is very similar to oriental lilies, their sweetness grounded with an intoxicating floral musk.

Sounds lovely.  And it’s been sitting next to me on the desk waiting patiently to be applied.

The texture of the solid scent is creamy and soft.  There is a matte sheen to it instead of a glossy shine.  It goes on smooth and rubs into my skin without leaving any residue or sticky feeling.

But this scent … it’s woody – like an armoire – as though you are pulling this freshly laundered, hand sewn corset out for something special.  There is a hint of sweetness and as time goes on that armoire scent fades leaving you with the scent of cotton, a touch of silk, and a hint of flowers.  It’s classical and sophisticated.  I feel like this scent is that first breath you take when putting on a favored piece of clothing.


 

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photo by smellallthethings

Next I chose Fireside Story and I’m so glad it’s not that overwhelming burning scent you can sometimes get.  This too has a lovely description on the back.

Fireside Story opens with a flash of dark smoke that fades to allow a bouquet of woods to emerge.  Traces of leaves, pine cones, and dried resins crackle in this smooth, muted incense that remains close to the body.  Three varieties of vanilla create a lingering finish and the perfect setting for a ghost story.

For me this opens with a blast of conifers, as though I’m walking from a forest into a log cabin that has a roaring fire just waiting for me to sit down near.  As it dries the vanilla comes out and sweetens the base while giving the resins (amber?  frankincense? it has that warm golden feel to it) something to use to glow as they should.  This is comforting to the extreme.  I just see myself curling up on a old, loved chair with a cup of steaming hot cocoa in one hand, a blanket on my lap, and a good book in the other hand.


 

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photo by smellallthethings

You would think this is a simple amber, resinous, golden, and maybe a little sweet.  Well, you’d be wrong.

This dark amber is resinous, leathery, and smoky.  A sultry, dry wood aroma lingers on your skin like a fine incense.

Elegant, woody, and smooth would describe this amber.  It’s soft and a dark golden brown, like a well worn and loved amulet.  I can see wearing this alone or layering for an extra bit of oomph to some other blends.

 

All three of these blends are gorgeous in their own right, yet they meld seamlessly together as though they are meant to be.