Sixteen92 – Fall 2016 Samples

As if a Halloween release tease isn’t enough, I also bring Sixteen92‘s Fall release samples!

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photo by smellallthethings

I think everyone remembers the witch trials, especially if you read The Crucible in school.  Some delved in deeper, I’m sure.  Unfortunately growing up Catholic, this sort of thing was highly glossed over.  I think I have a new personal goal to learn more about the witch trials.

Starting with Bridget Bishop (link to wikipedia) I’ve learned she was the first person to be executed for being a witch.  Her perfume notes are – Night-blooming flowers, belladonna, bergamot peel, resinous oudh, nutmeg, ambroxan, and scarlet musk.

This is one of the premium fragrances.  In the vial this is all heady florals, still warm from the heat of the day.  On my skin I get a little funkiness from the oudh before it smooths out.  There is a hint of bitter greenness from the belladonna and the bergamot adds its touch of spiciness.  I’m not really getting any nutmeg.

Looking up ambroxan I found out it is a synthetic representation of ambergris which explains that sort of salty aquatic feel I’m getting.

The throw on this is gorgeous and the florals are deep and heady, almost like hot-house florals in their intensity.  This blend is not shy.  It is strong, almost commanding, and not for the faint of heart.

Unfortunately, about 30 min into the drydown I ended up having a sneezing fit and had to wash it off and take a few minutes to sniff some coffee and reset myself – which is disappointing because I was really, really liking this blend.

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Cotton Mather is a rather well known figure from the Salem Witch Trials.  He was a very vocal supporter of the trials as well as an author of numerous publications regarding the trials, demons, witches, and the like.  His perfume contains notes of blackened patchouli, woodland mosses, sweet herbs, dried helichrysum, woodsmoke, lamplight, ink, ash, and flame.

Fire and brimstone would not be a wholly inaccurate way to describe this scent.  There is a lot of smoke and charred woods in the vial.  On my skin the patchouli is dirty, sooty and dark while the woodsmoke and ash cling to everything while a fire burns in the distance.  This is not a soft nor gentle scent.

It feels dangerously dark, yet almost alluring.  I find myself catching hints of smoke and fire and following it down to sniff at my wrist.  The moss is dark and ashy.  To be fair, there is the feeling of a fine layer of ash over the whole scent.  You catch a bit of the oil burning for the lamplight, yet it mixes in with the flame as well.  There is a touch of a hay-like scent as well, as though there are stables not far away.

This blend leans heavily masculine and I believe it has more throw than it’s showing me.  I have a feeling others would get a sense of it and maybe even steer clear without really understanding why.

So about an hour or so later and I was right about the throw.  It’s now wafting about as strong as a … (don’t hate me) Hollister store.  Not the same scent!  Just the strength!  This is actually extremely wearable.  The wet stage is a touch overwhelming, but dry this is really quite something.  Very much in the cologne territory, but not horribly so.  It reminds me of something that I can’t quite put my finger on.  And it’s turning out to be another one that I can’t stop smelling.

After about 2 hours the scent on my skin is fading, but the throw isn’t!  Well, kind of.  It’s no longer at Hollister-strength (really, please don’t hate me).

While after oh … 6 hours or so the throw isn’t much there, I still get nice whiffs when I wave the spot towards my nose.  Also, the scent is still very much there on my skin, though much faded.

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Mercy Lewis became caught up in the hysteria that began surrounding the witch trials.  Not only was she accused of being a witch, but she had accused others as well.  Her perfume notes are heliotrope, honeyed tea, rosehips, sugared almond, creamy sandalwood, and milky vanilla.

In the vial I get an unmistakable creamy, almost an almond cookie dough type scent and it’s really quite delicious.  On my skin this is all about that smooth and creamy sandalwood supported with a soft and delicate vanilla.  I get a touch of the almond, almost more like a marzipan than a whole almond.  The rosehips and heliotrope are gorgeous and silky soft.

Overall this is a very … naive scent.  It is innocence and ignorance and just trying to survive.

For as light as this scent is, I do get a faint throw from the florals.  They are pinkish white and the tea is more tasted than smelled.  I truly adore this scent for how utterly girlish it is.

After a few hours this has become a sweetly soft honey with a small hint of tea.  It’s now a very close skin scent, clean and very nice.

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Sarah Good was found guilty of witchcraft, likely erroneously, because two young girls pointed fingers at her.  Her perfume notes are charred maple leaves, black pitch, fresh-baked bread, dried black tea leaves, sweet orange, and chimney smoke.

The first thing I smell out of the vial is bread and strong black tea.  On my skin the charred maple leaves overtake and I get a strong sense of burning bread and ashes.  The black pitch is pine-like and very thick tar while the orange attempts to add something bright into the mix.

Another blend with another good throw, I’m gobsmacked, truly, by how many of these lately have a good throw.  This blend leans unisex, and thankfully, like Cotton Mather, the “smoke” aspect isn’t overwhelming and floats off to the distance as it dries.

I am yet again drawn to the spot on my wrist to huff happily.  This is a very woodsy almost cabin-like scent.  Very gorgeous and soft.

Three hours after, I still get a sense of bread and something verging on being a spice, perhaps the dried black tea leaves.  It’s not a yeasty bread at all, very nice and soft.

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Tituba, who was accused along with Sarah Good, was a slave and was also the first to confess to witchcraft.  Her perfume contains hawthorn, gingerbread biscuits, tobacco leaf, burning resins, rye, sweet woods, and beeswax candles.

In the vial I get a strong tobacco scent along with a creamy beeswax.  On my skin the beeswax is sweetened somehow, perhaps by the woods, and the resins are sticky and not yet burning.  I don’t get much rye or gingerbread from this, though the hawthorn is there, it is adding a touch of greenness.

This blend is sweet and homey – as though you are standing in someone’s kitchen that they love, care for, and enjoy thoroughly.  I really get a sense of love, and home, and all things that make you feel as though you are in a warm embrace.  If Tituba truly was a witch, I do not believe she was evil.

While this blend doesn’t have a huge throw, it is beautiful and long lasting on my skin.

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I think the fall release, more so than the Halloween release, will doom me.  I believe the only one I haven’t fallen fore is Bridget Bishop, and that’s only because I couldn’t stop sneezing.

And if you, like others, are wondering when these lovely’s will be released, there is a time table!  Per Claire:

“The season of RELEASE ALL THE THINGS” has begun!

Just posting a quick overview of all of the upcoming releases, since there’s a lot to keep track of:

AUGUST:

Bath & Body (whipped soaps, scrubs) will launch very soon — expect an email from us in the next day or two with details and official release date. Soon, very soon.

Fall will happen at the very end of August this year, instead of early September. If you’re a Circle member expect your pre-sale access link to land in your inboxes within the next 2 weeks.

Fall/Winter bath & body will launch with the fall collection (which means Toasted Marshmallow is returning along with some other favorites and new offerings)

SEPTEMBER:

Fall part 2 will launch with the Halloween collection in late September this year. Last year Halloween ran Oct 1-31 but we are pushing everything up by just a bit this year, due to the busy season. We will also have a Halloween mini bath & body collection like last year.

OCTOBER:

Fall LE time! Details TBA, it’s a secret 😉

And that should take us through the winter release and into Black Friday

Sixteen92 – Halloween 2016 Samples

Sixteen92‘s subscription, The Circle, has got to be the best thing since … sample packs!  I love this little bit of “sneak peek” I, and others, get!

I also got the Fall samples in this pack, but I’ve been itching for Halloween scents so I’m doing the Halloween reviews first.

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photo by smellallthethings

The Bell Witch with sweet cider barrels, orchard wood, blond tobacco leaf, cave and forest moss, glowing pumpkin, dry leaves, and turned earth is up first and I don’t think I can properly convey just how excited I am to try these scents.  I think this is the first time where every description pulls at me.

In the vial I get a definite spiced apple scent, likely from the cider barrels.  On my skin this just blossoms and opens up and without even sniffing my skin I can smell the soft flesh of the pumpkin, dry leaves crunching under foot, a hint of tobacco, and the soft velveteen texture of the moss.

What I’m saying is this baby has some throw on it and I’m in love.  You get it all in here, every nuanced aspect of this blend is perfectly represented and comes together to form the most accurate representation of a crisp fall day that I’ve ever had the pleasure of smelling.

This blend seems to lean a little masculine as it dries, giving it a cologne type feel to it, likely from the earth and moss, but it’s not something that will deter me from wearing it.  I want to bathe in this scent.

With the amount of throw on this blend, I do find it somewhat overwhelming to sniff directly on my skin and I much prefer the scent I get as it wafts as opposed to the spicier version on my skin.  After about an hour the scent against the skin isn’t so overwhelming and is just as gorgeous as the scent that wafts up to me still.

You would think after a few hours I’d have nothing to add to this, but alas, that is not true.  Not only is this scent still giving a decent throw, and still beautiful, it seems that now I’m getting more apple, as though a glass of cider was poured and they cut up a fresh apple to mix into it.  Magic.  Pure and simple.

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Borley Rectory has notes of Italian Bergamot, cocao pod, smoked black tea, decayed woods, faded parchment, shadowy musk.

In the vial I get musk and bergamot with a strong helping of black tea.  This is another blend that, quite literally, blossoms on the skin immediately.  The bergamot is beautiful, and it’s a note that is becoming a fast favorite of mine and I’ve been seeking it out lately.  The tea has somewhat backed down to a half drunk cup instead of a full blown pot.  The parchment is well worn, touched and used, and has oil from skin along the edges.

That shadowy musk though, that is what makes this blend.  I don’t get much cocao pod, or if I do it’s blended and so light that I can’t pick it out.  However, that musk is almost sinister and it combines with the smokiness of the black tea and the heat of woods that this is just a dark and almost foreboding scent.

I did notice there are flecks of cocao in the vial, so I’m sure that’s in there, but I can’t pick it out, which is fine.  Also this is leaning masculine as well, but I still love it.

There is a throw to this, though not as prominent as The Bell Witch was, but it still wafts up gently.  It’s longevity is really awesome as well.

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The Island of the Dolls contains notes of Mexican vanilla, dry bergamot, somber rose, dark chocolate, black plum, dense woods, and porcelain musk.  If you’ve ever seen a documentary on this place, it’s super creepy.

There is a deep chocolate scent in the vial as well as on my skin.  At first that’s about all I can smell (which is why I don’t wear chocolate – it overwhelms everything else on me).  After a few minutes I get some of that slightly spicy dry bergamot.  I’ve concluded dry is not how I like my bergamot.  The rose is also coming across as being a dried rose instead of fresh.

I’m having a hard time smelling around the chocolate.  Thankfully after letting it sit for about 20 minutes or so, most of the chocolate scent is gone.  Now I am getting a sense of that dark plum and some deep dark woods.  The porcelain musk is soft and powdery.

Unfortunately, this one does not have a good throw on me and I have to really sniff the spot to get a good sense of the blend.  It is nice once dried, again leaning masculine, but I don’t think its for me, especially because of the chocolate.  That’s just not my thing.

Man, after about an hour I adore the scent I’m getting from this.  I just wish I didn’t have that issue with the chocolate!  Because what’s left is woodsy and slightly sweet, soft and almost alluring.

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Myrtles Plantation‘s notes consist of oleander leaf and bloom, labdanum, white sage, fig leaf, blood orange, and suede musk.

This seems to be the brightest of the bunch with blood orange taking the lead in the vial with a touch of oleander.  On my skin the suede musk immediately asserts itself and lays out as a soft smooth base, brown and almost fuzzy.  You really get a hint of greenness from the fig leaf, and the sage is very apparent.  The blood orange is now, almost completely gone or pushed out of the way by the other scents.

There is something almost bitter in this blend.  I’m afraid sage has taken another blend from under me.  My skin reacts poorly to sage.  Which makes me sad because I love labdanum and wanted so much to like this blend!

Well into the dry down the sage is no longer bitter, thankfully, and the labdanum gets to come out and do it’s narcotic dance.  This is soft and more brown than green, and very close to the skin.

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Lastly we have Waverly Hills whose notes are listed as dense fern, frost, wild moss, raw honey & propolis vegan, black labdanum, overgrown vines, late blooming Southern florals, and spectral musk.

In the vial the ferns feel crushed and give off that unique green scent and its almost overpowering.  On my skin that sharp greenness is still there, but the other notes are attempting to temper it.

After about 10 minutes the sharpness of the fern has subsided and I’m left with this unmistakable garden – soft florals and sweet greens with a hint of that labdanum and a touch of honey.  That spectral musk acts like fog, and the frost helps to enhance that feeling.  This is early pre-dawn in a slightly overgrown garden when the fog has rolled in and created this gorgeous, slightly spooky, scene.

The throw on this isn’t huge, but I do get it wafting up to me on occasion.  Being even more Southern than Kentucky, I really appreciate and understand the late blooming florals.  They are showcased here beautifully.  (I still have a magnolia tree in my backyard that throws out a new bloom about once a week.)

I get a very ethreal feel about this blend, and I think this, minus the sharp fern scent, would be best as an EDP.

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For me, personally, The Bell Witch and Borley Rectory have stolen my Halloween loving heart!  Both of these I could slather in every format offered and still want more.

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.

Alkemia Samples

I’ve got more samples from Alkemia to review!  So far I’ve been super impressed with all their scents, even the ones that don’t work on me.

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photo by smellallthethings

Gaea symbolizes Earth and Mother – so perfect for Mother’s Day (May 8th if you’ve forgotten!) and it has notes of sun-warmed loam, decaying leaves, moss, lichen, & wet stones.  First sniff in the vial is all earth and dampness.  On my skin however I get the sun-speckled loam, the decaying leaves of the forest floor, damp scent that is exclusive to forests, and I also get stone!  Who knew stones had a scent?  The moss and lichen add to the overall greenness and dampness of the blend.  This is a beautiful earthy scent – different from Hexennacht and entirely it’s own, but if you enjoy the earthiness of that blend, you’ll probably dig this one too!

Bohème is described on the site as an intoxicatingly free-spirited unisex blend of earthy patchouli and blood-red roses. Erotically radiant.  In the vial I get earthy red roses – just big ‘ole bunches of them.  On my skin is much of the same.  I’ve had a rather rocky history with roses – it’s taken nearly 8 years of my perfume wearing to actually wear them.  Initially on my skin the roses almost scream but that settles rather quickly.  It is a very earthy patchouli – almost dirt-like  (apparently I had a theme) with roses, deep and sultry, bringing up the top.  This has a rather large throw on me and I can smell this without really putting my nose to the skin at all.

So maybe there were two theme’s running through my scent choices that I was completely unaware of.  Next is Vanille Patchouli with a scent described as purest vanilla seduced and despoiled by wild, dirty patchouli.  Another simplistic yet well done blend.  This isn’t like any patchouli I’ve tried from Alkemia yet (amazing how that happens).  No, this is that dirty nitty-gritty patchouli that gets described as “hippy shop” or “head shop”.  But with it is this absolutely sweet, almost floral, and beautiful vanilla.  It cuts through the grit and smooths it out.  Again, another blend done best when done simply.

New Orleans Love Spell sounds like it’s in for a good time!  It’s notes include a lascivious blend of night-flowering New Orleans jasmine and fiery spices igniting a base of red sandalwood and skin musk.  Ooh, the vial has this nice soft spice scent about it.  On my skin I get the jasmine and sandalwood under that beautiful spicy scent!  I get something like cassia or cinnamon, but it’s more than just that – there’s other scents (most likely florals and a pepper) that round out that spicy note and make it complex.  This is a warm and sexy blend, one that would need to be used sparingly as it has a beautiful throw and a little goes a long way.  As time went on this definitely put a spell on me.  I couldn’t stop sniffing that spot and kept catching beautiful whiffs of it floating around me.

Desiderata looks like a wonderful spring to summer transition scent with notes of fresh honeysuckle blooming under a rising full moon, ivy vines, dew dampened grass, riverbed clay, old barnwood, and earthy vetivert root.  In the vial is a beautiful green scent – like crushes leaves or grass.  On my skin I actually get a moon-like scent – white and crystalline.  Oh wow, this is like sitting next to a babbling creek bed looking up at the full moon and checking out the Milky Way.  Somehow this is calming, soothing, and almost meditative.

Valhalla Soap Co. – Samples Part 2

This is a continuation of Part 1 of the Valhalla Soap Co. reviews.  If you missed it, check it out here!

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photo by smellallthethings

You’ll see these aren’t all samples.  I did splurge on a 5ml of Victoria & Albert because it was part of their Limited Edition Creepy Couples Collection and I was worried it would sell out before I could try it.  It hasn’t, but it’s gotten some rave reviews on the FB page.  Valhalla Soap Co. has this to say about the scent:

It was love at first sight for these cousins. Queen Victoria and Prince Albert were nearly inseparable during their 17 years together. After Albert’s untimely death at only age 42, Queen Victoria went into mourning, wearing black from head to toe for the remainder of her life. During those remaining 4 decades she employed a personal medium to hold regular seances so that she could speak to and remain close to the departed Albert, the one and only love of her life.

Delicate and green. Pure, unadulterated English violet. Creamy coconut milk spiked with fresh coriander and infused with warm tonka bean, musk and sandalwood. No suntan lotion, no buttery bakery notes to muck things up. This is one of the most beautiful blends we’ve ever done. We are totally smitten with it and think you will be too.

So, it has violet, tonka, musk, and sandalwood … some of my favorite notes!  Only thing making me hesitate is the coconut milk.  Not a big coconut fan, and I don’t cook much with coriander because I don’t like the smell.  However, I trust perfumers to know what they’re doing in the mixing department!  In the bottle it’s straight up coconut.  But I’m not giving up!  I put it on and most of the coconut smell dissipates almost immediately and I’m left with just the suggestion of it.  Delicate and green is a very apt description for this scent.  The violets are not overpowering, but sit atop the musk and sandalwood while the tonka bean gives that brown fuzzy feeling I enjoy out of that note.  The longer this sits the more it smooths out into this creamy, dreamy, and fuzzy scent.  Very pretty!

Alter Smoke boasts notes of ancient amber and precious myrrh entangled with hints of relaxing spikenard and spicy clove leaf, rise from a base of sweet vanilla, earthy patchouli, exotic sandalwood and sultry musk. In the vial it is soft, sweet, with a slight wood smell.  On my skin this bursts with beautiful myrrh and vanilla tinted amber.  There is no burning smell, there is no spice, there is no off-putting incense blasting away … it is just peaceful, content, glorious, and personal.  Meditative is a good description for this scent.  I could close my eyes, inhale, and be at peace with everything.

Next I have a sample of 540 Doors whose notes are green florals and mosses, woodsy fir and balsam, spruce, teakwood and fresh cut cedar mingle with a rich, earthy base of amber, musk, patchouli and mysore sandalwood.  I feel like I’m a broken record with the notes on the scents I choose, but I swear, they may look similar but they are not at all.  540 Doors is green and fresh in the vial.  On my skin the moss, balsam, and spruce come to the fore with hints of cedar and sandalwood.  There seems to be a touch of fresh turned and moist earth.  The amber shines through here and there while the musk and patchouli lend a nice base to this.  Another wonderful blend!  I love how fresh and green this smells.

To round out this batch of scents is Crone Magick whose notes consist of a deep, dark yet gorgeous blend of frankincense, myrrh, amber and sandalwood.  Seems almost simple compared to the last two blends but I’m willing to bet it’s anything but simple.  In the vial it is sharp and almost acrid.  There is something coming across as vaguely burnt citrus, as though a orange was tossed on a dying embers of a forgotten fire.  This blend feels languid, acerbic, and unchanging.  It is dark, indeed, yet it mellows slowly as it dries.  The sharp barbs of scent slowly smooth out to something more pleasant to the palate.  I get the feeling of needing to just … leave it alone, yet I can’t stop sniffing.  Something is pulling me back in even when I want to walk away.  How odd.  After a few hours I’ve noticed this is one of those scents that is better when appreciated from afar – meaning I don’t like the scent up close and personal when I put my nose close to the spot on my skin, but as I move my arm around and the scent comes to me, I find myself enjoying it immensely.  Some scents are like that, and Crone Magick happens to be one of them.

Sixteen92 General Catalog Samples

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photo by smellallthethings

I just had to go and get some more samples from Sixteen92‘s general catalog after having such a good experience with their Spring Collection.  There has been discussion on their Facebook Page about discontinuing a few scents and making room for others, possibly A Thousand Times More Fair from their Spring Collection as well as three others.  Two of the scents I’m reviewing (The Awakening and La Llorona) are on the chopping block!  Eek!  Discontinuations are expected and understandable, but they are still sad.  I always get this knee jerk reaction of OMG I NEED IT (even if I’ve never liked the scent before) because what if it gets better with age and then it’s all gone and you can’t find it anywhere because everyone else knew it was awesome and then you missed it and can never have the awesome again and …. *deep breath*  Yeah, so, I got those two specifically to see if I truly want them or if I’m just having discontinuation anxiety.

The Awakening has notes of: Ocean air, dark water, damp mosses, gulf mud, saltwater taffy.  Now normally I’m not one for ocean types as it usually means ambergris and I’m not a fan of ambergris.  However, I really enjoyed Storm of Fortunes which has ambergirs so I decided to give this a try.  Plus it’s on the chopping block (eek!) and I’m going to the beach on vacation soon and I like “water” scents to wear when I’m at the actual water.

In the vial it is mostly the dark water, a bit of mud, and moss.  As soon as it hits my skin the water deepens even more and the ocean air starts blowing.  There’s a small hint of sweet saltwater taffy.  The mosses are wet from a recent storm and the mud has been churned by the waves.  This morphs and moves through phases as it dries, letting each note come to the fore like the coming and going of the ocean waves.  There’s also something cold in here.  Not physically cold, but it smells cold.  This is a very interesting blend, but a bit more salty than I care for.

Paper Moon is a Premium perfume and contains: Soft vanilla musk, benzoin, oakmoss, trailing ivy, peach blossom, rose.  Paper Moon isn’t awe inspiring in the vial and is mostly benzoin.  On my skin it blooms though.  The rose and benzoin are initially the strongest notes.  The vanilla musk is at the base, soft and light and barely there while the ivy and peach blossoms weave through the rose and benzoin.  This is a soft skin scent with very light silage (throw).  Pretty, but I like things with a little more oomph to them.  It does end up having a paper-like quality to the scent which is neat.  Eventually the benzoin calms down, the oakmoss comes out and all the other notes blend and play nicely together.

This is growing on me the more I wear it.  Soft, slightly sweet, with a nice green base and a hint of flowers.

La Llarona (the other one on the chopping block) consists of: Bulgarian and Egyptian rose absolute, pink and white pepper, pink grapefruit, wisteria, cashmere wood, pale amber. At first this is all wood, soft and brown with a hint of pink grapefruit and a whisper of wisteria.  This was one I put on right when I got it a few days ago and fell in love.  Which is sad because it’s going away so I’ll have to jump on a bottle of it! This is not only a golden blend in the vial, but also on my skin.  The rose is soft and velvety, the pepper adds just the barest touch of spice while the grapefruit burns off as it dries.  Now the wisteria is coming out stronger with that beautiful base of wood and amber.  Truly a warm blend that just makes me think of snuggling up and being cozy.

Southern Gothic has notes of: Mandarin Orange, Apple, Coconut Pulp, Southern Magnolia, Jasmine Sambac, Balsam, White Sandalwood. In the vial I get all the high notes: orange, apple, magnolia, and jasmine.  I’m a sucker for jasmine sambac.  On my skin the mandarin orange comes and goes fairly quickly leaving behind just a golden bright sweetness in its wake.  The coconut pulp comes out and gives a creamy almost tropical feel without going completely tropical.  It’s a nice balance.  The sandalwood and balsam are the base on which everything settles on.  This blend reminds me of Georgia, sitting out on my Mom’s porch when she lived down there.  It’s a languid, sweet, and comforting blend meant for porch sitting and tea drinking.

And last, but not least, Wicked with its notes of: Three vanillas, dark aged patchouli, almond buttercream. In the vial this just SCREAMS almond buttercream.  Unfortunately that intensifies on my skin.  Normally my skin chemistry turns almond into this sour mash smell and unfortunately it’s doing the same thing, only now it’s surrounded by moldy buttercream and off smelling vanilla.  I’m not even getting any patchouli as my own chemistry is amping that almond.  (Because I wanted to point out chemistry, I did not wash this off as fast as I’d intended and now …) Now, after a while the patchouli has come out and the almond, while still this weird mash thing, isn’t screaming at me.  It’s a bit on the foodie side and not my cup of tea, but others may enjoy it.

Not sure if this needs said or not, but my experiences may or may not be what you would experience in a blend.  If you notice with Wicked I mention my own skin chemistry.  Everyone is different.  Hormones, hydration, medications, diet, and even the water in your house and the lotion you use can effect how a scent smells on your skin.  Please bear that in mind and take all reviews with a grain of salt (or a sniff of perfume …).