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Another three scents from Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab tested! Have I done anything else lately? Not much ... .


La Belle au Bois Dormant (8/10)
Plumeria and white pear, Damascus rose, tuberose, magnolia and evening dew.

  • in bottle: sweet spring flowers
  • on skin: similar ... makes me think very much of the gardens at U.Va. on warm spring evenings! (Must be the magnolia.) Or possibly Hawaii ... I was only there for a week or so, so that smell-memory isn't so well implanted.
  • drydown: faint tropical scent

Huh, not bad. Certainly the best so far, for me.

Vampire Tears (2/10)
wisteria, white grapefruit, neroli, green tea, jasmine, white ginger, honeysuckle, iris, and tonka.

  • in bottle: faint herbal/food - sweet and nutty
  • on skin: food-like, with floral overlay. I like the floral part, but the nutty smell (tonka?) keeps putting me off
  • drydown: most of the more pleasant scents are gone, leaving a strong perfume-y smell that's making me feel headachey and short of breath - I have to wash it off!

Eeek! The only reason it didn't get a 0 or 1 out of 10 is that I know other people have liked it, so my reaction is probably not the norm.

Yew-Trees (5/10)
Piercingly sweet berries over evergreen boughs, deepened by the tree’s sacred wood.

  • in bottle: sweet + pine, which makes me think "tropical" for some reason
  • on skin: sweet for the first few seconds, then like cedar shavings ... kind of like Christmas potpourri. Warmer and spicier as time goes on.
  • drydown: now it really smells like a room fragrance

OK, it wasn't that bad, but it doesn't small like something for a person to wear ....

Hmmm, not so promising. But it's fun to do, so I'll order some more, I think. (And actually, I still need to do Croquet and Zephyr properly.

Hee, the music's really to the point! It makes me think of both BPAL's scent names and the "Cupidity" story, which is the other major amusement on my mind.


( 18 comments — Leave a comment )
Nov. 17th, 2007 02:53 am (UTC)
Hehe, sometimes it's almost as much fun to try the really awful ones. The nastiest was definitely "Herr Drosselmeyer"... it smelled like a combination of ashtray and old man. I generally have good luck with BPAL, but there have been a few oils I haven't liked... Herr Dross, though, was so vile that I threw the imp out immediately. *laugh* I don't think I've ever smelled something so foul.

Hmm, I don't really have any florals I can recommend... but I got a bottle of "Prague" for my sister since she's going to study abroad there, and it's actually pretty nice. Unbearably girly for me, but she likes it. I want to try some of the Salon ones next! It's cool to have a visual to go along with the scent.
Nov. 17th, 2007 06:03 am (UTC)

The Drosslemeyer sounds appalling ... I think they must mix some of these up just for kicks, without expecting that anyone will like them!

Someone online mentioned that "Amsterdam" smelled exactly like the big lake near their house, while the spring flowers were blooming. I think I'll try that one, for one of my next, and the Lion one telophase mentioned, and maybe another of her amber suggestions, and Shanghai. I'll have to look at some of the others on the site, too.

(Hey, are you reading "Cupidity"? Should I e-mail you about it? Or you could comment on the post I set up ... .)

Nov. 17th, 2007 06:10 am (UTC)
Yeah, like the one for Good Omens that's supposed to smell like milk and moldy raincoat!! o__O;;

*laugh* I think I'll order myself some more imps as a thanksgiving present (every holiday is for gift-giving! hehe) but it takes me daaaaays to make a list!

I just started reading it today! *laugh* I was actually trying to read it on my cell phone during today's marathon 6-cat session at the vet. x__x;; But it certainly made my vet trip more fun! I was apprehensive about the AU at first but it actually works!

(And did you get my last email? Don't worry if you've been too busy to write back!)
Nov. 17th, 2007 04:38 pm (UTC)

(I did get your e-mail! And I need to answer it!)

As of chapter 8 (I think), "Cupidity" takes a very diffeent twist ... it's being very, very cool (and also very, very hot, but that's a different issue!).

So what's with the kitties? Was it just a checkup/shots, or are they all sick?

Nov. 17th, 2007 06:44 pm (UTC)
(Oh, no rush!! Gmail's spam filter is a little aggressive sometimes so I was worried that I'd missed something. ^_^)

Oooh yes, the hotness... hehehe...

Aww, it was just everybody's yearly shots. Tuna needed some bloodwork done because at his age (about 17) we were worried about renal failure, but thankfully his kidneys are in good shape and he's just going to need thyroid medication. Giving pills to a cat isn't fun... but it's a lot better than something untreatable!!
Nov. 17th, 2007 09:04 pm (UTC)

So let me know when you get to where the story stops being just about this really rich guy and his boytoy ... you'll know!

I'm glad the buns don't need shots! (I should probably get them checked up, though - they are getting very middle aged for bunnies.) Kat's Jezebel was having kidney issues at the end of her long life. The vet's assistant used to make house calls every few days to give Jez intravenous fluids: Kat used to say that the lady was "watering the cat."

Nov. 17th, 2007 10:16 pm (UTC)
If you like Yew-Trees enough that you'd enjoy it as a room scent rather than swapping it away, especially as a winter-time thing, it's easy enough to do -- there are various electric or candle-based oil warmers that will do the trick.

And funnily enough, I *almost* got La Belle au Bois Dormant in that last floral-heavy batch, but somehow at the last minute went for one of the others instead. Now I'm really wishing I'd gone for this instead of one of the misfires, as I'm still curious to see just how good their tuberose and plumeria notes are -- after twenty-odd years in the islands and six different types of plumeria tree just in my own yard alone, my scent memories of those are very very strong, and very picky...so much of what gets passed off as plumeria-scented is just horrible generic-sweet-floral to me!

If you'd like, I can send you a couple more cardstock samples of Pele and Hi'iaka; I didn't include them last time as I'd figured like most tropical florals they'd be way too heavy and rich and you prefer lighter, clean scents; but while I'm enjoying them both and they do definitely remind me of home, they are much, much lighter than I'd expected either of them to be! I was really expecting something with more of the heady overwhelming fragrance of actually walking through the garden, but these are more of a delicate echo of that sort of wallop of scent.
Nov. 17th, 2007 10:17 pm (UTC)
(P.S. -- Zevon love! Another one of my great musical obsessions, may he rest in peace. I think I have seen him play live more often than any other individual band or artist. Sigh. Time to go cherish a sandwich.)
Nov. 17th, 2007 11:18 pm (UTC)

I'm not generally really big on room scents. Putting out some actual flowers, or using something with a natural scent to wash the floor - things like that are as far as I go. The Mr. is really sensitive to smells: we use unscented detergents (and both Clorox 2 and liquid Tide are now available unscented - yay! - although I'd love to try the lemon verbena scented Tide).

Those two scents sound as though they'd smell nice. I loved Hawaii when we were there - the way you didn't have to make a big differentiation between the indoors and the outdoors was really magic, and the way the air smelled was just yum! But I can't imagine living there - I'd feel so cut off from my own native landscape, which is - here! (Although the Appalachians from Maryland on down into North Carolina feel very much "home" to me as well, becuse we went there every summer in my childhood.)

Nov. 17th, 2007 11:31 pm (UTC)
Another one to save for the swap pile, then. :)

They are both very nice, not quite what I was expecting or hoping for but in a way that's perhaps a good thing, if it smelled too perfect it would probably make me break down and cry. But I do hear you on even beautiful landscapes feeling "wrong" in a way when they're not the ones you feel most familiar with: even after more than a decade away I still have a LOT of trouble with fall and winter in particular, just losing the constant sight of green things and the dimmer quality of the light, for all that it's natural to this place, still feels utterly wrong and disheartening on some deep level to me...
Nov. 18th, 2007 03:50 am (UTC)

I'm not really happy with winter, either - I seem to have a mild case of Seasonal Affective Disorder. I don't like it when there's not enough daylight, and when I have to I feel like the outdoors is an enemy and put on lots of clothes to protect myself from it. But without winter, you don't get the joyous, greener and greener forward momentum of the spring, which is my favorite time of year.

The rainforest in Hawaii, with the little waterfalls running and no significant pests to worry about, was very dreamlike to me, in a good way. The Applachians in late spring and early summer are like that too, but more grounded, somehow. (There's a reason why the descriptions of the waterfalls and cascades in "On the Rocks" were so loving ... .)

Nov. 18th, 2007 10:04 pm (UTC)
Heh, no significant pests? Must not have been there long enough or in the right areas to run into the mosquito clouds, the foot-long centipedes, the ginormous cane spiders, the termite swarms, or the two-inch spiny armored flying cockroaches (aka the state bird!). But at least we also get the sweet little singing geckos to do battle with all of them...I miss hearing those cheerful little chirps about the place.

I like spring here...but it's less for its own sake and more because it's just such a blessed relief from the dreariness of winter; I think I've got the same mild or maybe not-so-mild SAD issues, as I'm very sensitive to light levels and quality -- even a gray rainy day in the middle of summer can drag me down, I'm used to even the rain mostly falling in the midst of sunshine. And even spring here feels a little...off, sort of frantic somehow like it's trying to cram too much growth in at accelerated speed. It's better than winter, but I'm still happier if I can see green all the time. (I have a ridiculous amount of houseplants...but it's not quite the same, of course.)

I've heard mainland folks who'd lived in the islands briefly gripe about how there were no seasons there, and that's just not true: there ARE seasons, they're just much more subtle. The temperatures change, just not to extremes; the rainfall and wind patterns change, the waves change, what's flowering and fruiting changes. But you have to pay attention to appreciate all the little transitions, it's not like the seasons here that sort of whap you in the face.
Nov. 19th, 2007 09:55 pm (UTC)

Hmmm ... I sure don't remember any pests ... you know, I don't even recall what time of year it was! Are the mosquitoes seasonal?

I may also be confusing it somewhat with Domenica, which had virtually no pests when we stopped there on a cruise a few years ago. It also has tall volcanic peaks and lovely rushing streams and waterfalls.

I dunno, there's just something special to me about spring in this area. But as I said, it's imprinted on me!

I can't deal with houseplants. I don't know why, because I love bontanical garden greenhouses.

Nov. 19th, 2007 10:12 pm (UTC)
Are the mosquitoes seasonal?

Oh hells no! Except for the termite-swarming thing which only happens in the late spring, most bugs are a year-round sort of thing because there is no frost season to kill them off. Fleas, mosquitoes, cockroaches, they're ALWAYS there. The mosquito problem may be more or less of an issue depending on the elevation and aridity of the particular area you're visiting, though, and what sort of plants are growing -- bromeliads and banana trees in particular are just total mosquito breeding rounds. And you might not have noticed them so much if you're just one of those lucky people they don't find particularly tasty. (That was always the case with me -- I'd never get more than a couple of bites, while my mother would get eaten alive; that seems to be the case with the mosquitos around here, too; at my old place in Annandale they hardly bothered me, but other folks just wound up covered in bites.)

My one problem with houseplants is that, well, I'm used to outdoor gardening in a sunny sub-tropical climate, and used to not having to go to a great deal of effort beyond being a little more attentive to the watering in the dryest, hottest part of the summer. Having to deal with shifting stuff inside and fussing about light and humidity and all that is such a very different world from the old "slap it outside and cut it back if it starts to take over the yard"!
Nov. 20th, 2007 03:58 pm (UTC)

Huh. Well, believe me, East Coast mainland mozzies have absolutely no problem with munching me up. Tiger mosquitoes are a big problem in Tacky Park, and after we moved in 4 years ago, when I spent a bunch of time just standing around directing the movers, my legs looked like I had the pox. But I don't recall having much of an issue at all with bites in Hawaii.

My father used to grow orchids under lights in the basement. He was very good at it - he'd bring them up to show them off when they bloomed. But I didn't inherit much of his yen for fussing about with plants like that!

Nov. 17th, 2007 10:38 pm (UTC)
And I just keep forgetting things on this thread...

but the nutty smell (tonka?)

Tonka shouldn't smell nutty, unless it's really doing something very very strange on your skin. It's commonly used along with or as a substitute for vanilla, and that's really the easiest thing to compare it to. Where BPAL's vanilla seems to be very strong and a bit on the sweet-and-candied side of things, their tonka smells like, well, tonka: it's vanilla-ish but softer and more powdery, less sugary-sharp than their vanilla.
Nov. 17th, 2007 11:12 pm (UTC)

Huh. Well, after reading that article you linked, where it took only two components for the perfumer to make the author think she (he?) was smelling chocolate, I guess it was just some weird combination. But it wsa very odd - there was this distinct toasted nut smell, and I didn't like it. In fact, the whole think was very unpleasant - I felt like I was having a panic attack as time went on.

Nov. 17th, 2007 11:34 pm (UTC)
Yeah, sometimes just having two things smashing against each other in odd ways can produce strange results. I want to try another vanilla BPAL to see if, without the apricot from Siren, it seems less confectionary-foodlike; and their black musk, when next to the mintiness of pennyroyal in Mad Hatter suddenly made me think of mint chocolate, even though I'd never gotten a chocolatey impression from the black musk in other blends...
( 18 comments — Leave a comment )


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