Whore of Babylon by Conjure Oils

Hopefully, by now, names of perfumes in the Indie world are no longer surprising.  However, snickering like a little kid at names is another thing entirely.  I admit, I snickered.  And then I sniffed … and I was in love.

I purchased this bottle from the lovely Rhinestone Housewife.  Always recommend going through her if you can.  It not only supports RH, but it also supports the companies she stocks, as well as opened up the opportunity for internationals to get items they sometimes can’t get from the Indie companies themselves.  /shameless-unpaid-plug

 

IMG_5960
photo by smellallthethings

Now for the scent.  It is touted as Conjure Oil’s MOST POPULAR blend.  Ever.  I did not know this going in.  Now that I have smelled it, I can completely understand.

 

Whore of Babylonscorched vanilla, champagne and pink diamonds

I … would not have guessed that note list in a million years.  My husband said red grapes.  Cold sniff for me was wine.  On my skin, it smelled like spicy currants.  So … yeah.

Wet on skin, now that I know the notes, I do get that fizzy champagne scent that, with the “pink diamonds” equates to a sweet wine-like scent.  The pink diamond accord has to have currants in it.  It just has to.  I love currants and can usually pick them out of a lineup.

As this dries the boozier aspect dies down and that vanilla comes out.  I don’t know where the scorched it coming from.  It has some good depth and a touch of darkness, but I can’t quite place what is causing that.  The vanilla in no way smells burnt, or charred, or scorched.  It smells like deep vanilla, sweet (almost tooth-achingly so) but not bitter.

Dry this is intoxicating.  Sweet and drifting but with an edge I can’t accurately describe.  It’s almost spicy after a while, which it typical of currants on my skin.  The champagne manages to keep this effervescent despite the depth and complexity these “three” (we all know it’s not just three) notes portray.

I am holding myself back from getting a backup bottle, that’s how much I adore this scent.

Hyde + Alchemy – 020

I received my full size bottle of 013 (the purple one) the other day and I’m in love.  I can’t explain how it’s different than oil AND alcohol based perfumes, but it is.  I could smell it morphing throughout the day and my temperature rose and fell.  It was crazy.

IMG_5926
photo by smellallthethings

So, of course, I have to try more!  Nabbed 020 out of the pile I still have from the discovery set.

020 – orange blossom, peony, iris, tonka bean, patchouli, vanilla

Sounds simple, right?  We will see!

In the vial I get something that seems like a very traditional feminine perfume.  Soft, floral, floaty.  Nice, but like I said, traditional.  Something not unique.

On my skin this reminds me so, so much of something I tried on at Sephora one time when I was looking for a scent that was more main stream.  I want to say something from Tom Ford but don’t quote me on that.  It’s almost like Tom Ford’s Black Orchid mixed with Lancome’s La Vie est Belle.

That comparison doesn’t last long though.  Literally by the time I got back with my bottle of La Vie est Belle (to spell it right) the scent had morphed.  Now the fuzziness of the tonka bean is making its way through the scent.  That fuzzy part doesn’t last long either.

Not even going to lie, this is amazing so far.  It’s really like the best of two or three of my favorite mainstream perfumes kind of mashed into one.  Take Tom Ford’s Black Orchid, mix with a touch of Yves St. Laurent’s Black Opium, and toss a healthy splash of Lancome’s La Vie est Belle on top and you have #020 by Hyde + Alchemy.  It’s really an intoxicating scent.

I could sit here all day and describe the different phases this goes through on my skin, but I’ll save you from that.  Instead, let me just say that while this may have a traditional vibe to it, it’s still amazing and a good deal cheaper than buying all three of the aforementioned perfumes and layering them.

020 is so bright, so fun, so full of life but it has that deep mysterious edge that has me hooked.

Love by Arcana

Best way to get back to something is to just jump right in, right?  Sure it is!  So, as I’ve mentioned I had some issues with changes in medication and I was trying to figure out just how the changes had effected me and my chemistry.  Well, the good news is that most if not all of my favorite blends got BETTER.  Didn’t think that was possible but there ya go.  So far there’s only been one or two blends where I just … I couldn’t take it but they had been on the fence for me anyway so it was no love lost.

IMG_5910
photo by smellallthethings

Speaking of love …

For my birthday coming up, I placed a small order with Arcana.  I saw a few reviews on Reddit’s IndieMakeupandMore subreddit and just couldn’t pass them up.  Of course, after hitting “buy” I am second guessing myself and wondering if I shouldn’t have tossed Love into my cart.

I guess I’ll find out today if I need to place another order.

Love – A breathtaking vanilla accord is accompanied by fresh cream, sugarcane, soft musk, and a pinch of tea leaves.

In the vial this is a blast of sweet cream.  Like the mixture for my Great-Aunt May’s Sweet Cream Pie before it gets cooked.  But there’s something sharp on top of it, like a bright citrus or something … maybe the tea leaves?  It’s odd but not off-putting so to the skin it goes!

Wet on my skin this is like a buttery crust of some kind.  Like a puffed pastry that’s only lightly sweetened.  This is way more foodie than I think I was expecting.

As this dries down that bakery smell is not going away.  I find this quite amusing.  But I’m fairly certain my skin is turning the fresh cream from something delightfully soft and flowing into something approaching curdled – but not quite there yet.

I find I am having a very hard time putting what I’m smelling together with the notes as listed.  They just don’t seem to be jiving.  I’m getting pastries, but the notes don’t add to pastry in my mind.  I’ve got a friend who is a gourmand queen (you know who you are) and I may let her have a go at this to see if it’s just me and my weirdo chemistry or if I’m totally reading the scent wrong.

In the end I had to scrub this off.  It became a cloying sweet pastry that was making my teeth ache.

Ah the fun and joy of experimentation!!

 

30 Scents in 30 Days – Day 27 – Hyde + Alchemy – 013

I’m slowly but surely making my way through the massive Discovery Kit from Hyde + Alchemy.  Today I pulled from the pouch 013.

img_5730
photo by smellallthethings

013ylang ylang, jasmine, orchid, gardenia, vanilla, olibnaum, patchouli, amber, sandalwood

The liquid has a slightly purple tint (on the site it’s much more noticeable) and it was the first one when browsing their site that caught my eye so I’m super excited to try it!

Without even opening the vial I can smell the florals as they wheedle their way out, intent on being sniffed.  Good thing?  Bad thing?  Guess I’ll find out!

Jasmine! Gardenia!  Ylang ylang!  The orchid is just sitting back like “‘sup?” knowing it’s awesome without all the yelling, jumping, and screaming “me! me! me!”.  Thankfully that initial period is short lived.  Like it took me longer to write that then the actual phase lasted.  Which is cool.

Now it’s like this funky floral incense.  Funky in a good way.  Funky like that dress you want that is kind of like a hippy-type dress but modernized and you know you could rock the hell out of it but you’re like kind of afraid to go for it on the off chance that your family just doesn’t get it.  Yeah, that kind of funky.  That cool funky, laid back funky, the kind of funky you like having around even though you might not pull it out all the time, but it is great for those moments when its down-right needed.

The vanilla is strong in this.  Stronger than other vanilla’s I’ve smelled when supported and surrounded by this many other strong scents.  There’s also something a touch spicy in here – one of the florals with that edge to it.

Small bit of a soap phase going on here.  Gardenia’s can sometimes go soapy on me so I’m thinking that is the culprit.  Going to walk away and do something else and let this meld with my skin and settle for a bit.

… 5 hours later …

013_web_main_3158f4ef-1332-470f-a462-5593f1404cef_2048x2048
image via hyde + alchemy

To say this became something wholly different than it was initially would be an understatement.  Oh. My. Gosh.  This became a super sexy, slinky, black cocktail dress and f–k me shoes of a scent.  Little red lipstick smeared on a napkin with your number as you tuck it into a hot guys back pocket of a scent.

What I’m saying is … it’s sexy.  Ahem.

On my skin it’s warm and a touch spicy.  Reminds me of those classic gems Shalimar and Opium.  The florals are soft and skin close.  The muskiness of the Olibnaum and patchouli sneek out and rope you in further.  The vanilla is there but intertwined with the amber so that it’s a golden sweetness.

Seriously an addicting scent.  BRB going to slather!

30 Scents in 30 Days – Hyde + Alchemy – Day 24 – 019

img_5627
photo by smellallthethings

I had to try more of Hyde + Alchemy.  Their formula is so strong – stronger than EDP’s, and a little is going so far.

This time I grabbed a vial labeled 019.  It has notes of lavender, iris, vanilla, saffron, musk mallow seed, amber, and Brazilian vetiver.

In the vial this is that familiar herbal lavender that so many people love and for some reason my body (namely my head) hates.  Unfortunately this lavender is no different in that it gives me a headache, slowly but surely.  With that lovely herbal lavender, however, is a beautiful sweetness – maybe from the iris and vanilla.

Wet on my skin the iris just blooms into this super pretty and soft floral note that is supported by the lavender sitting softly and almost green in the back while a sweet musk scent and golden amber float around.

Dry on my skin it is heavily floral, but not overwhelmingly so.  There is only a hint of the lavender and the headache that was previously threatening is easing up.  The musk from that mallow seed is gorgeous and soft, almost fluffy, almost like tonka.  The vetiver isn’t strong, nor overpowering, but it gives a beautiful brown earthiness to the whole blend.

Overall this blend is extremely comforting, soft, and cozy.  The throw on this is really good – I get a soft vanilla floral with a hint of musk and that glowing amber.  I’m really starting to fall for this company and their scents.

30 Scents in 30 Days – Day 23 – Hyde+Alchemy 012

Life, illnesses (running rampant through the whole family), and holiday’s kept me away.  Also going through my whole stash to get rid of things (check Indie Perfume Lovers FB group in a few days) and just slim stuff down because I quite literally ran out of room.

But, I’m here!  I’m back!  I smell good!  And hopefully you do too.

New company I was turned on to over at bpal.org forum.  Those ladies/gentlemen/lizard-people are hell on wallets – more so than any place else.  But it’s okay, because I love them.

img_5623
photo by smellallthethings

Hyde + Alchemy!  Slick, sleek, modern, and minimalistic are all great descriptors for their website – but not for their scents as I am finding out.  Well the modern part fits.  This is more of a niche brand?  I don’t know, don’t care really.  The people there are awesome, the discovery kit is cool, and I’m looking forward to exploring!

From the bag I grabbed 012 – lavender, saffron, coffee blossom, tonka bean, vanilla, and amber.

Coffee blossom?  Like, who knew that was a thing?!  But I don’t like coffee.  So … we’ll see how this goes eh?

In the vial I get something that’s coffee but not, but coffee with a floral twist and a touch of sharp lavender.  It’s interesting, different yet a little off-putting because flower coffee isn’t something you really think of.

Wet on my skin though I get that familiar bitter coffee scent I dislike so much.  (Blasphemy yadda yadda I know, I know.)  Then around that I get that lovely fuzzy tonka scent that’s warm and comforting.  Under that is a warm and golden amber.

The drydown keeps it bitter, a touch sharp, but it has this undercurrent of sweetness that’s likely the vanilla and amber.  I don’t really get any saffron that I can tell.  Usually saffron goes weird on me and totally kills a blend for me, but so far I’m not getting that.

The throw on this scent is better than the skin scent.  That doesn’t happen very often.  Usually it’s kind of a what you smell is what you get – only rarely have I had this happen where the skin scent is enough to make me cringe but the throw has me searching it out.  Such a juxtaposition!  The throw isn’t powerful though, it’s very soft and flowing.  This blend is so different from anything I would ever chose for myself and it’s piqued my curiosity for sure.

30 Scents in 30 days – Day 22 – Arcana Last Judgement

Forgive me for being slack in updating!  I got busy, then got sick, then got busy again.  Then I worry it has been so long does it matter anymore?  And the answer is of course it matters!

img_5527
photo by smellallthethings

So today, as I go through my stash, I pulled out Arcana’s Last Judgement (which is unfortunately not longer available) and will spout the wonderfulness of this blend that I’ve not worn since I bought it last year.

Last JudgementHoly resins of frankincense and myrrh with smudgy, tobacco-laced vanilla, amber, and labdanum absolute.

In the bottle I get the most heady waft of frank and myrrh with a healthy dose of labdanum.  Now you might be thinking this is similar to Holy Terror (an unsettling, austere blend of burning frankincense, sandalwood, deep myrrh, and dusty beeswax candles) and it is … but not really.  It’s got the same resinous frankincense and myrrh, but that’s really where the similarities end.

With Last Judgement you get this narcotic feeling that makes me want to roll my eyes in the back of my head and just sniff this all day long.  I honestly cannot express just how much I love this scent.  You get that golden bit of amber, slightly powdery and slightly sweet.  And then the touch of the tobacco with the vanilla which adds another layer of sweetness on it.

However, with all this seeming sweetness, it is still extremely resinous and quite flowing.  The throw on this is decent – not too much, not too little – and I get the loveliest wafts of incense around me as I wear it.

This blend is one where a little goes a long way.  I’m typically a slatherer, but not with this blend.  This one I can dab on pulse points and be done for most of the day.  The longevity is also wonderful and I typically get anywhere from 6 to 8 hours or more depending on other factors.

30 Scents in 30 Days – Day 17 – Possets The Arrival of the Queen of Sheba

Today is the 1st Annual Celebration of Life for Fabienne Christianson of Possets.  Already so many mourn her passing, but let us not be sad, but instead be joyous that she was able to share her vision, humor, kindness, and creations with us for but a seemingly brief period.

I chose for today’s scent – The Arrival of the Queen of Sheba.  It was the first bottle purchase I ever made from Possets and it is what made me want to seek out more and explore the various aspects and scents that Fabienne had created.

img_4899
photo by smellallthethings

Surely I’m not the only one who procrastinated, who said “next order” or what have you … and while we may regret that procrastination now, don’t dwell on the lost, but seek out what you have and enjoy it.  Enjoy every last drop of it and know that it was created with joy and with love and meant to be loved by you.

The Arrival of the Queen of ShebaMysore sandalwood, suede, frankincense, patchouli, 4 vanillas. This blend is tough and tender at the same time, like the queen herself. This one makes vanilla turn tricks as an oriental ingredient and all of the fabulous elements get along so well. It’s an instant sex classic.

Please keep in mind, the scent I’m describing is from my aged bottle that was purchased back in July of 2015 and so it does not reflect a newer (or even older perhaps) blend.

In the bottle it is vanillas.  As the description says, there are four of them, though I’m not sure I can pick them all apart.  I definitely get a buttery vanilla and I get a dry vanilla and I’m sure the other two are somewhere in between.

On my skin this is still those vanillas, but more melded together so they are less able to be distinguished.  The suede is fantastic in this blend as it brings this soft and almost fuzzy appeal to it making it cozy like a favorite blanket.  The patchouli isn’t overwhelming, in fact I have a hard time picking it out when it’s wet at all.  Though as it dries it comes out as a brown and woody patchouli.  The sandalwood adds this softly golden wooden scent to the blend and the frankincense just a touch of resin to kind of glue it all together.

There is not a lot of morphing from this scent from wet > drydown >dry phase – it stays fairly true to itself and only gets deeper, more refined, and more cozy as it dries.  The throw is decent – not overwhelming and just enough to get lovely hints of it as you move.

I remember when this scent was fresh it was just a tad too sharp, just a bit too rough around the edges.  Then, as I let it sit, let it age away in a cool dark place, it became so much more.  And then I promptly ordered another one to set back.  I find I like to wear this blend to bed as it comforts me as I sleep and is still there to greet me in the morning.  My pillow has taken on this sort of vanilla/suede scent along with another vanilla/leather scent I wear to bed so that I am in olfactory heaven when I sleep.

The wear time on this is impressive lasting as I said above well through the night and into the next day.

This feels like Possets to me, Queen of Sheba, soft and comforting in its embrace.

30 Scents in 30 Days – Day 15 – Possets Cygnus the Swan

I can’t even begin to tell you just how many times I looked at this scent on Possets website.  It came up time and time again searching for scents and I really should’ve listened to Fabienne’s words (they’re right there on the site) and just sprung for a bottle.  But I didn’t, however she was kind enough to send me a sample, and so I will at last get to try the scent that so haunted me on the website.

img_4873
photo by smellallthethings

Cygnus the SwanCygnus (the Swan) is a very very very very sexy blend of the scent of real vanilla, rose, golden musk, sugar concentrate (do not eat this), an accord which smells a lot like fondant, and a pink musk which I have not used before. Very strong and very long lasting. Very. It is gorgeous, and I would say an instant classic.

In the vial I get a very dry vanilla with a hint of something ambery or golden, and a touch of something verging on bitter (the fondant I’d suppose – I’m not always good with wearing almond).  Oh my skin it’s very much the same except the vanilla goes from dry to slightly buttery and sticky.  I have this jar of vanilla bean seeds I use for baking and they are sticky – it reminds me of this – super concentrated true to life vanilla.

The rose is pink, or maybe combined with the rose musk it’s super pink.  Almost too pink, overwhelming pink.  Pink everywhere!  (And I know about pink – I have two young girls.)  Pink is a smell, let me just tell you.  It’s bright and cheerful and bouncy.  Like Pinkie Pie from My Little Ponies (remember, two girls).

Thankfully the super-duper-pink-power-hour really only lasts while wet.  As it dries down the musk part of the scent comes out and tones it down, though the rose is still fairly prominent in it’s pinkness.  It’s reminding me of this toothpaste I bought my daughter one time.  I can’t remember what the name of it was but this is eerily similar – and of course she loved it and I have no idea what it was.  Don’t cringe at the toothpaste reference, it’s not as bad as it sounds!

Fabienne stating this is very strong is not an overstatement in the least.  It has a great throw and I have to only wave my wrist in my nose’s (possessive nose, not plural) general direction to get a good waft of the scent.  It’s very pretty, delicate actually, and quite musky – but not anything like an animalic musk, but a sweet and soft, almost powdery musk.  You still get some of that sticky sweet vanilla with a dollop of that sugar that’s almost like marshmallows.

To be quite honest, if it had stayed in the super pink mode, I wouldn’t have liked it.  But this dry down, this is glorious and has me sniffing for more.  Which is weird because this is just such a girly scent and that’s not usually my modus operandi.  I would say my daughters would love it, but one is a patchouli head and the other likes black musks so … who knows.

Such a unique scent!  I’m enthralled.

 

30 Scents in 30 Days – Day 13 – Possets Gelato: Vaniglia

As I’m sure many of you know a great mind, a wonderful human, and a perfumer of immense skill was lost earlier this month.  Fabienne Christiansen of Possets was a kind and gentle soul who was always a joy to communicate with.  Her tongue-in-cheek scent names never failed to bring a smile to my face.  I only wish I had discovered her world sooner.

Please, join me and countless others at the Indie Perfume Lovers facebook group in a Celebration of Life from now until October 15th in honor of dear Fabienne.  May she live on in our hearts and memories.

img_4870
photo by smellallthethings

Today I chose Gelato: Vaniglia – mostly because Fabienne chose it for me when I went in search of vanilla’s after having fell in love with Queen of Sheba.  I’d purchased a vanilla pack and explained I wanted to explore it all and she sent more than I’d ordered with a note on why she chose the extras.  It was sweet, touching, and a perfect example of the type of human she was.

In the vial this is that buttery vanilla, almost like a cake batter.  Such a bakery-type smell, but not?  There’s also something spicy like a cinnamon and nutmeg in there.  (I’m actually going about this blind – no notes until the end.)  Now that it’s dry, it’s like the cake/bread has been baked and is still warm from the oven.

This never leaves that comforting and warm stage,  I always feel as though it is surrounding me in comfort.  It gives a little bit of a throw and maybe it gives more than I’m realizing because I’m constantly feeling as though I’m comforted.  And slightly hungry.

It almost smells deep into the dry down that there’s something nutty in there, almost like an almond extract.  Maybe even something woody.  Hours and hours go by and this is still a buttery, sweet, and warm vanilla.  I will admit, this was very gourmand to me and on a few occasions it made my stomach growl.

Fabienne listed the description as: It is possible to have vanilla as a top, middle, and bottom note. I just did it. It is just a halo of vanilla as I have tasted it among the best of gelatos. Mmmmm. Vanilla was never so concentrated and so pure.

This really could explain why I was drooling over the ice cream at the store earlier.