ladyvyola: an orange pansy against a bright blue background (Default)
UTRENNYAYA (Excolo - The Zorya): The Morning Star - Osmanthus, Damascus rose, violet, delphinium, white mint, palmarosa and white sandalwood.

Also called the Auroras, the Slavic Triple Goddesses of the Dawn, Sky and Light, who govern the paths of the day. The guard the constellation Ursa Minor from the chained Hound of Doomsday; should they ever fail in their duty, and the chain breaks, the universe will end. Includes Vechernyaya - The Evening Star and Zorya - The Midnight Star. (from the website)

In the imp, this is all mint and a bit medicinal. But there's still a softness to it, like the mint has rounded edges.

Once on, it starts to warm up and the florals begin to come up with the sandalwood a deeper note behind them.

This is interesting -- the mint gives the florals a light, cool, sharpness that seems to float over the warmer sandalwood. It's very clean and just a touch soapy. Refreshing. Not very long lasting on me. It's gone in about two hours and there doesn't seem to be much throw. I'd like to see what it's like on a hot summer day; it might make a nice spritzer.

It does make me want to try other mint-and-floral scents from the lab. While strong mint is usually a turn off for me (hello, spike through the temple!), this is reminding me how the herbal iced tea at the Maryland Renaissance Fair convinced me that not all mint teas are out to get me. It's all in the blend, baby.
ladyvyola: an orange pansy against a bright blue background (Default)
LIBER RESH VEL HELIOS: KHEPHRA (Excolo - Stations of the Sun) -- Hail unto thee who art Khephra in Thy hiding, even unto Thee who art Khephra in Thy silence, who travellest over the heavens in Thy bark at the Midnight Hour of the Sun. Tahuti standeth in His splendour at the prow, and Ra-Hoor abideth at the helm. Hail unto Thee from the Abodes of Evening. (from the website)

Khephra, the Midnight Sun, is one of four scents in the Stations of the Sun sub-line, and the only one I've tried so far. (The others are Ra, the Rising Sun; Ahathoor, the Midday Sun; and Tum, the Setting Sun.)

Wet, I get a warm, foody scent, rather like eggnog. Clove, nutmeg, sugar -- very nummy. As it dries, there's a bit of baby powder but it mellows down into a more resin-like note, with some incense or maybe sandlewood. This is a nice, dark, bronzy-gold scent that feels appropriate to the long, dark, winter. Bonus points - Dad likes it so either it isn't clove or he doesn't dislike clove as much as he thinks.

THE RAVEN (Bewitching Brews): Sleek, dark, and ominous. Violet and neroli mingled with iris, white sandalwood and dark musk. (from the website)

Hmmmm, I'll have to take exception to the 'sleek, dark, and ominous'. This is pure violet to me, clean and green and sweet. It's soft and a little wet, like fresh-picked flowers still covered in morning dew. Lovely, with little wafts of sweetness eddying up around me as I move.
ladyvyola: an orange pansy against a bright blue background (Default)
SACRED WHORE OF BABYLON (Excolo): And upon her forehead was a name written, Mystery, Babylon the Great, the Mother of Harlots and Abominations of the Earth. An ancient formula that inspires unrepentant decadence, lechery and debauch. (from the website)

Sweet and floral usually does so well on me and Sacred Whore smelled so good in the imp. But as soon as I swept it across my wrist, it sent up all these lovely flowers into the air, got smoky for a second and then settled down on my skin as --

Aw, nuts.

And I mean that literally. I smell like walnuts.

The only thing that's gonna want to debauch me is a near-sighted squirrel or a particularly desperate chipmunk.


Mom smells pretty good -- heavy florals with just a trace of the nuts like a warm background (she doesn't think it smells like walnuts but can't figure out what it does smell like to her) and it seems to have pretty good staying power. But I'm all nuts and -- this is most frustrating, I get occasional faint whiffs of the floral but it keeps getting overpowered by walnut.

ETA: After refreshing Sacred Whore, I finally got more of the rich floral floating about me and really enjoyed it. Yes, my skin still smells like walnut to me, but that isn't what everybody else thinks I smell like and they aren't sniffing right against my skin anyway.
ladyvyola: an orange pansy against a bright blue background (Default)
BLOOD COUNTESS (Diabolus): Elizabeth Báthory, also called Erzsébet Báthory in Hungarian and Alžbeta Bátoriová-Nádašdy in Slovak, was the Bloody Lady of Hungary. In order to preserve her youth and loveliness, the brutal and incomparably savage countess captured, tortured and slaughtered innumerable young women and bathed in their blood as part of her beauty regimen. Ah, vanity. Corrupted black plum, smoky opium and crumbling dead roses covered by a deceptive veil of Hungarian lilac, white gardenia and wild berry. (from the website)

Come to mama! I love florals and they love me. The sweeter and headier, the better -- rose, lilac, violet, gardenia. Blood Countess is all heady, juicy sweetness on me, ripe and dark. On my skin it gives me some of the plum and a spiciness that must be the opium along with the floral/berry notes and I keep getting wafts of the most wonderful juicy berry. It's like a dishful of bruised and over-ripe red and purple fruits with just a bit of sugar to sweeten and draw out the juices.

Somebody described this as a feminine Tintagel and I can see/smell the resemblence. It doesn't have the golden, candle-light feeling but it's lush and rich and very happy-making for me. Not powdery at all as some of the white florals get on me; rather, this is ripe and drenched. I get the imagery of the name, too. I feel like I'm leaving a scent signature behind me, seeping into tapestries and velvet hangings, waiting to tease passers-by and remind them of my presence.

I feel great. Sometimes slaughtering all those virgins is totally worth it.
ladyvyola: an orange pansy against a bright blue background (Default)
OLD DUBLIN (Wanderlust): The scent of misty forests, damp alder leaf, and the gentlest touch of white rose. (from the website)

A mixed experience. Reviews made this sound like Tintagel's younger cousin so Mom and I were eager to try it. It's greener than Tintagel and I get more cinnamon from it. The rose comes through as it dries, goes away, comes up again.

But alas! It has no throw and no staying power on either of us. I had to put my nose right up against my skin to detect it and it was gone from Mom in less than an hour, from me in less than two. This might be something to add to lotion or oil and layer along with Tintagel.

Note: this imp was labeled "Old Dublin"; this scent is now listed as simply "Dublin" and has apparently been reformulated. If I come across an imp of Dublin I'll have to try it and see if it's any different on me.

OUIJA (Bewitching Brews): Lush parlor rooms draped in thick velvets and gilded in gold, unearthly whispering in the distance, fleeting flashes of wraithlike figures rushing just outside your vision, the chill of a phantom presence brushing by your cheek, the inscrutable knowledge that disembodied eyes are peering at you from darkened corners… this is the essence of Victorian-era spiritualism: rosewood, oak and teak notes with wispy blue lilac, tea rose, dried white rose and ethereal osmanthus. (from the website)

I adore lilac and rose so I was hoping for great things from Ouija. My only disappointment is that it isn't as "big" a scent on me as I'd like -- the throw wasn't nearly as all-enveloping as Tintagel.

This is a sophisticated, grown-up fragrance to both of us, sexy and mature, with a lot of facets. The lilac came up first, very sweet and heady. It began to mellow out and got a little powdery -- the white rose? -- but it isn't baby powder or old lady rose. It's more Myrna Loy in a backless dress, sitting at a vanity, whisking a puff over her shoulders before slinking off to a nightclub. Mmmmm, come sit by me.

After a while, the wood warmed up and the oak came through, then the roses made a comeback. Lilac drifted up again, mixing with the wood.

About this time, I decided to put on a little more. Right then, my father came up and I had him take a sniff of my wrist. "Oh, no!" he said as soon as he did. Uh-oh. But then I had him sniff Mom, who had not put on any more and he liked that. So this is definitely not a fragrance to waft by him until it's calmed down a bit.

Ouija didn't last through the night on me; there was the barest whiff around me in the morning. I'm going to have to layer it and refresh it when I use it but I don't mind -- this was another mood-elevating experience. I got very chatty and self-satisfied breathing it in.
ladyvyola: an orange pansy against a bright blue background (Default)
I had a few extra dollars a month or two ago and decided to sucumb to Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab's siren call. ::eyes flist balefully -- you know who you are, vile temptresses!::

For those not yet in the cult know, BPAL makes perfumes, scents, olfactory dramas-- a bit precious, a lot goth, and an all-around interesting experience when compared to the usual department store counter product, lovely as many of those are. And it's possible to order sample vials (1/32 of an ounce, called "imps") of most of the products.

However, as a newcomer to BPAL, where to start? The descriptions can only tell you what a scent is intended to smell like, not what it's going to do on your skin. So I turned to eBay, that great enabler. Not only do many people sell unused imps (or ones that they've tried lightly and determined don't work for them) but the Lab itself will sometimes sell off random assortments with smudged or imperfect labels. It's the perfect way to dive in and start figuring out what you like without feeling like you're wasting a bunch of cash. I successfully bid on one such batch and it arrived yesterday -- the 6 imps up for sale plus 2 thrown in for free.

Mom was very excited, too; perfumes often (usually!) turn sharp, sour, and/or chemical on her very quickly. We were both hoping that the more intense, less chemical-driven BPAL stuff would do well on her skin. We decided we'd test just one and settled on Tintagel from the Wanderlust line.

TINTAGEL: According to legend, the birthplace of King Arthur. The scent of a castle's great hall in the midst of joyous feasting. Spicy mulled wine flowing through the musky heat, warm leather and bright clash of armor, the damp branches of Cornish hawthorn, blackthorn, juniper, English elm and bayberry, and the magical tingle of dragon's blood resin. (from the website)

Opening the vial, my first impression was -- HOLIDAYS! Candles and cider, greenery and warmth. I brushed a little on my wrist, then rubbed the other wrist across it. A cloud of scent surrounded me. My mood instantly picked up. It's... it's food-y without smelling like food. There's no cinnamon or clove --it's warm without the fuzzy, buzzy sharpness I associate with those notes (notes I generally do not care much for), and it's winter-forest without being piney. Definitely an indoor woody smell -- firewood but not smoke -- unlit pipe tobacco with dried apple in it?

I don't know how much throw it has on me -- I felt surrounded in a warm envelope and made a good attempt at inhaling my wrist, muttering "I smell good!" for hours. The cider notes warmed and mellowed out though I did not identify "cider" until this morning. I put it on at 8 pm last night; there was still a nice light scent at 7 am. And my mood was still great.

Mom's scent wore off in a couple of hours (we'll have to test with a heavier application) but did not turn at all. It didn't deepen and mellow out as much as it did on me, though. But she did have the same mood lift. She really wants to try it out as a holiday room scent. Dad grumbled a bit about the house smelling good without any actual food being served to him but he seemed to like it well enough.

Other items of note -- no headache, no chemical "burn" in my nose or odd taste on my tongue. Very, very good dreams -- Brad Pitt and I were dating while working together in some lovely old European city. He held my hand in public, took me on long walks, shared his coffee, and fed me oysters. I can interpret that, thank you very much. I'm just not sure what the fluffy llama, all saddled up and decked out in shiny tack, and the dashing gaucho following it through the picturesque cobblestone alleys that Brad and I kept running into was all about.

Tonight, something floral. Possibly Bewitched or Muse. We'll see. I'm a little nervous since the very first scent I tried was so damn good on me.