rushthatspeaks: (feferi: do something adorable)
[personal profile] rushthatspeaks
I am feeling a bit better, though I'd say I'm only at about seventy percent if that, and I can't get one of my nose rings back in and am going to have to go to a piercer grr aargh.

One thing I have been able to do is breathe, and continue to have a sense of smell. I bought myself some perfume as a going-to-have-surgery present, and this was wise, as I can in fact appreciate perfume even when I cannot narrative. (I can kind of narrative now. For short stretches. Easy things.)

So, mostly for my own reference, I thought I'd write up some notes on my new perfumes. These are all from Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab, which sells sample sizes as well as actual bottles, and which always throws a couple of free random samples into every order. I used to have a massive BPAL collection, but then we moved cross-country twice. Have decided to rebuild judiciously.

Perfume: O, as in The Story Of
Lab notes: "amber and honey with a touch of vanilla"
In bottle: This is an old favorite, that I rebought because I missed having it around on a day-to-day basis. It's pretty darn sweet, but the amber tips it enough into incense-y to keep it from being cloying. I'd describe the bottle scent as honey and vanilla with a touch of amber, but a little amber goes a long way. Also, this is one of the scents the Lab thinks is sexual, and they're right.
First application: The first perfume I ever found to smell better on me than it does in the bottle. On me this goes extremely complex-- the amber splits into at least three registers, and the vanilla really gets its whole range playing. It makes me want to breathe very slowly to get a better idea of what's going on.
Later/Overall: At least eight hours of having loved ones ask me happily what that great perfume is and strangers look pleased without appearing overwhelmed. I could probably get away with wearing this every day, but honestly? Too sweet; after a couple of days I want something more astringent.

Perfume: Mata Hari
Lab notes: "five roses with soft jasmine, warmed by vanilla, fig, tonka bean and mahogany, spiced with a drop of coffee bean"
In bottle: Honestly? A lot like O, which would be the vanilla and tonka; I think the fig is filling in for the honey note. The florals merge as an upper-level sweetness. But! The wood and coffee provide that astringency I was craving. I bought this because I'm a sucker for a rose, though they don't often work on me-- jasmine, vanilla, and tonka are always-works (though I'm not terribly fond of tonka), mahogany and fig have gone badly wrong in the past, and I think this is the first thing I've ever tried with a coffee note.
First application: Oh wow. This is a real work of art-- both stunningly complicated and one, whole, indescribably interesting thing. It's not too sweet! It's not too spicy! It's not too incense-y! I suspect I am the poster child for how this perfume is supposed to smell. It's like O, but with a businesslike attitude, which is perfect for its name, honestly.
Later/Overall: Solid six hours of smelling so interesting to myself that it was sometimes extremely distracting. Honestly, I might make this a signature scent-- it's that good. Also, I can now tentatively remove mahogany from the list of possible culprit notes in The Worst Perfume Experience Of My Life, which was entirely a skin chemistry thing; smelled great in the bottle and on me it smelled, literally, like spoiled tuna fish salad, and wouldn't come off, either. I have been very wary around dark fruits and dark woods ever since.

Perfume: Y'ha-Nthlei
Lab notes: "the deepest marine notes with bergamot, eucalyptus and foamy ambergris"
In bottle: Well, that does what it says on the tin. Imagine if sticking your face in a fish tank filter were somehow a moderately pleasant experience. I bought this because I was hoping for marine, but I was hoping for more beach and less aquarium. Maybe I should have gotten something with ozone?
First application: Smells on me exactly as it does in the bottle, so mark down dark marine notes as things that play well on me.
Later/Overall: Eight hours of total scent fidelity. The thing is, even though it is a moderately pleasant fish tank filter, I do not want to spend eight hours smelling like a fish tank filter. I also suspect that most of the general public doesn't want me to, either. [personal profile] sovay will like it, definitely on me and possibly on herself, and [personal profile] ashnistrike may be interested in trying it. Decidedly an occasional scent for a very specific mood.

Perfume: Bess
Lab notes: Modernization of a 17th-century perfume blend: "rosemary, orange flower, grape spirit, five rose variants, lemon peel, and mint"
In bottle: I have never smelled anything else that resembles this in any way. People don't smell like this nowadays. Nothing smells like this nowadays. I bought this because I was intrigued by the pedigree and also a sucker for a rose, even though I generally dislike mint. This exists in a universe so totally separate from most ideas I have come across of what perfume is and how things ought to smell that I have no idea whether I like it.
First application: I was worried about the grape spirit because dark fruits, but it's perfect, like inhaling over a bottle of verjuice, and doesn't tip over into wine at all. Which is nice because there's really strong grape on first application, so I'm glad it's pleasant.
Later/Overall: The roses came out to play, and the spices, and this turned out to be magnificent-- cerebral yet decadent, always on the verge of overwhelming. Again, so interesting that it distracted me at regular intervals for... a full twenty-four hours, good lord. Now that is throw. Not an everyday, especially since I have no idea what people who aren't me are going to think of it, but I kind of love this and am mentally subbing it into various period dramas. (This absolutely would cover up manure and ordure of all sorts, and honestly that may be how it evolved.)

Perfume: Roses, Pearls, and Diamonds
Lab notes: "red roses, dazzling crystalline musks, and pearlescent coconut-tinged orris"
In bottle: Coconut. Only coconut. I can detect nothing else. This is worrisome, as, while I like coconut, I have never had much urge to wear it. Musks generally play well on me, and I'm always looking for a rose that will smell like a dark red rose. This... is coconut.
First application: That is really, really, really coconut. It is not, thankfully, terribly sweet coconut; I have not been hit in the face with a pie, or even applied suntan lotion; apparently somebody spilled coconut water on my arm.
Later/Overall: At, and I timed this, hour THREE, the roses come out and the musk emerges and we get some actual interest. Sadly, these are not dark red roses, more in the medium pink range. I will probably like this more if I can manage to appreciate it for what it is and not for what I wanted it to be, but I'm going to need some time to adjust my expectations.

Perfume: Aizen-Myoo
Lab notes: This was one of my freebies. "yuzu, kaki, and mikan with cherry blossom and black tea"
In bottle: I never think of kaki as having a scent, only a taste, but of course they do... This is, in fact, pretty much what you'd get if you took a perfumer aside and said 'make something that will make Westerners who smell it think of Japan'.
First application: Black tea is an always-works, and the others I haven't had before. Very, very light, evanescent, floaty, drifting. Charming in an almost little-girl way, except that the tea does ground it.
Later/Overall: I liked this while it lasted, but it lasted two hours and was then completely and totally gone, which is not the staying power I have come to expect from BPAL. I can see it being good for an occasional pick-me-up.

Perfume: Defututa
Lab notes: "olive blossom, honey, smoky vanilla, cinnamon, jasmine, and champaca flower"
In bottle: Picked because everything in the middle works for me, and the olive blossom and champaca are the wild cards. I suspect this of smelling heavily of olive blossom, which I have never smelled before. It's kind of nice, more an herby floral than a sweet one, but I am worried at the reticence of the many, many other notes. There is also actual smoke going on here.
First application:  Very smoky, very sweet. Smells like a headshop, which is probably the champaca. The herbal note I detected in the bottle has vanished almost entirely, though there is some of it around the edges.   
Later/Overall: This dries down into the distinct aura of someone barbecuing in a headshop. Nope. I mean, it's not terrible, but jeez.

Perfume: Jezebel
Lab notes: "honey, roses, orange blossom, and sandalwood"
In bottle: This is a whole bunch of stuff I know will work on me and an attempt to get those notes to showcase the roses. Honey-drenched, and really a very nice orange blossom, and the sandalwood is a pretty deep bass; I have hopes.
First application: Whoof, sweet! I think my skin may actually amplify a honey note. There are florals here, but they are lurking with only occasional emergences, and I am getting a hint of the dreaded Transformation Into Baby Powder.
Later/Overall: The orange blossom either goes to powder or is Not Appearing In This Film--it alternates. The rose came out to play for a while somewhere around hour three or four, and it was quite nice while it lasted, but the powder intermittently obscured it. And the whole thing dries down into a base that resembles O a great deal, but isn't as good. Not a keeper, I'm afraid.

Perfume: Cheshire Cat
Lab notes: This was my other freebie. "grapefruit, red currant, dark musk, Roman chamomile, delphinium, and lavender"
In bottle: Iiiiii would not have bought thiiiiiis... I actively like the smell of redcurrant, but it is a definite culprit in The Worst Perfume Experience &c.; I am not particularly fond of chamomile as a scent, lavender tends to go to soap on me, and I cannot imagine wanting to smell like grapefruit. The musk will probably be fine? What does delphinium even smell like anyway? Inhaling over the bottle, what I get is red grapefruit and something that makes me want to sneeze. Which is appropriate for the name, but I sense an oncoming disaster.
First application: Wow, that musk really comes out. Which is good, because it is choking the grapefruit down to a reasonable level. And the grapefruit and chamomile are playing off each other to give an impression of 'clean' without being too soap-aisle. And... oh, what must be the delphinium is really nice, actually, filling in the body and acting like honeysuckle or just plain honey. I cannot isolate either red currant or lavender, which is just as well. I'm not sure this scent suits my personality, but it's actually surprisingly layered and interesting? Also it changes into something different and intriguing every thirty seconds of the drydown? Huh. 
Later/Overall: Well, it works. It's the weirdest thing I've had work, so they named it well. I'm not sure how often I want to wear it, because it's a really imposing, grand, I-am-going-to-be-present-AT-you smell, and it doesn't last all that long. But it makes grapefruit into a scent I both like and find regal, which is very impressive. Definitely the thing to wear should I ever again have a job interview, and on days when I need a confidence boost. I should look up other things with delphinium.

Date: 2019-02-05 08:47 am (UTC)
rosefox: Green books on library shelves. (Default)
From: [personal profile] rosefox
Your description of Bess makes me wish I weren't allergic to half the things in it. I might ask for a tentative sniff at Readercon nonetheless, because that is fascinating.

Date: 2019-02-05 11:42 am (UTC)
moon_custafer: (Default)
From: [personal profile] moon_custafer
I’ve never tried Bess but was always intrigued by the description. If I ever order sonemoreimps I’ll include it.

Date: 2019-02-05 09:14 pm (UTC)
nineweaving: (Default)
From: [personal profile] nineweaving
Ah, but this is narrative. And sensory immersion and critical analysis. You make me wish I liked perfume: it just makes me swat at my nose. Maybe I could sniff these under your tutelage? I am very curious about Bess.

I rejoice to find you so much better. I am sorry about the nose ring.

Edited Date: 2019-02-05 11:13 pm (UTC)

Date: 2019-02-06 12:12 am (UTC)
slashmarks: (Default)
From: [personal profile] slashmarks
I'm intrigue by Bess and will probably order some of it when I get around to a BPAL order. I enjoed reading your description of Mata Hari, and also Y'ha-Nthlei in a rather different way.

Date: 2019-02-06 12:52 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
I wish I had these kinds of perfume experiences, but really, not so much. I do have an excellent 2005 Pumpkin Queen (should finish that off really) that smells like fall and apples rather than pumpkin.

Date: 2019-02-06 02:18 am (UTC)
sovay: (Otachi: Pacific Rim)
From: [personal profile] sovay
sovay will like it, definitely on me and possibly on herself, and ashnistrike may be interested in trying it.

I am surprised that you can make bergamot and eucalyptus smell so much like sea, since I would have expected deep marine notes to involve things more like kelp, but I am curious.

Perfume: Defututa

Is this named after Catullus?

Date: 2019-02-06 04:17 am (UTC)
sovay: (I Claudius)
From: [personal profile] sovay
I don't know what they use for the actual marine notes, but those are definitely a separate thing from the bergamot and eucalyptus-- and enough of a separate thing that I couldn't pick either the bergamot or the eucalyptus out of the scent as a whole.

Oh, cool. Because I am not crazy about either of those scents on their own, but if they are melded into something I like, I'm willing to give them a shot.

I am currently sad about the fact that it just won't stop smelling like I'm grilling vanilla beans at Woodstock.

That is disappointing.

Date: 2019-03-22 08:05 pm (UTC)
alchimie: (Default)
From: [personal profile] alchimie
I know you wrote this quite some time ago, but I very much needed it on the stressful day of mine that is today, and it inspired me to finally order from BPAL after a decade+ of indecisiveness, so -- thank you.


rushthatspeaks: (Default)

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