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Friday, January 30, 2015

Review & Recommendation: 8 Possets Winter 2014 Scents (Part 3 of 3)

This is part 3 of my review of the 26 decants of Possets' Winter 2014 scents I got. Part 1 is here and part 2 is here.  For my previous Possets reviews, you can click here or on the Possets tag on the right. Hurry and grab these scent if you like them! They're gone by Jan 31!

As always, all scent reviews are done blind until the TL;DR part's written. Overviews are written if the notes surprise me. 

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Pachebel's Canon


"Vanilla, orange, and sandalwood are the three main ingredients in this perfume."

It starts off with lemon butter cookies! Only while some lemon butter cookie scent get too hot, heavy and cloying on me, this stays light and delicious. The lemon bit also has more of a zing in this. Not a bubbly, spritzy sort of zing, but more of a sharp, clean, citrus burst. 

The sweet lemon bit takes the centre of attention on me after about 5-10 min, so I end up with less cookies. I don't mind it though, because this is a gorgeous lemon scent. I tend to associate lemons with cleaning products but this is the lemon of a light, luxurious gourmet lemon candy. The homemade gourmet ones you may get at the end of your meal at a Michelin star restaurant. The kind where the chef will create a 1 paragraph description for it and will get offended if you call it, "Just a lemon candy."

After 20-30 min, I think I smell wood. It's the light, sharp scent of freshly cut wood that some people may find "dusty". I think this was what was keeping the scent so clean, light & unique. 

TL;DR: Luxurious, gourmet lemon candy with hints of cookies & wood.

Overview: It's so easy to get your citruses mixed up when it's in candy/cookie form. I guess now that I know it's orange, it does smell more like oranges in the beginning. It starts getting more lemon-ish when the sandalwood muddles with it though.


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Ride of the Valkyries (Wagner)


"MUSK! Wild, strong, mad, berserk! Like a quick trip with the girls themselves. Crystaline musk thunders with a musk I blend myself (very strong and heavy sharp stuff, like crystal musk but more aggressive), a faux ambergris (no whales were harmed or even annoyed to make this), and a shot of witchhazel."

This is a gorgeous clean green scent! The green is the green of thick, succulent plant stalks. It's mixed with this cottony scent that's heavier than the usual cottony, baby oil sort of scent. If the usual baby oil sort of cottony scents are small, fluffy balls of cotton, this is soft thick blankets of cotton.

The plant stalks bit was the first to go and started fading into the background by about 10 min, sadly. I still smell hints of it, but the cotton blanket bit went to the forefront. It also started become a more musky perfume for an older lady. Not exactly old –it's more of a late 30s sort of scent. I think this is a perfect picture to explain this scent:

I want an excuse to wear puffy ballgowns.
Gorgeous photography by Margarita Kareva

Florid and grandiose, yet clean, with green plant stalks at the base.

TL;DR: A cottony, musky scent for someone in her late 30s.

Overview: Whoa, I would expect something much heavier from that scent description. Possets did a great job!


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Silver Orange


"The tart kind of orange which benefits from association with the sweetness of the silver base."

I'm excited to try this after trying Silver Coconut, well, I'm not exactly a fan, unfortunately. The orange in this is more of that artificial orange cream candy sort of smell. The silver bit is less metallic but way more water. Not a sweet, blue note, just water. The resulting scent is a clinical, clean room (I'm leaning towards the waiting room of dentists or plastic surgeons...all the clean, expensive, more cosmetic than medical stuff), with a creamy orange room scent.
This is where you sit before some person judges you and tells you you need botox at 25. And maybe toss in a boob job while we're at it.
Image courtesy of amydelucainteriors.com

It's nice enough, and I can see some people going crazy over this, but I'm not a fan of creamy oranges. I really, really love the silver bit though. It's so gorgeous. I think I'm going to order a bottle of Possets' Silver Vanilla blind.

TL;DR: A dentist's/plastic surgeon's waiting room.

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Spanish Dance from the Nutcracker (Tchaikovsky)


"Bitter and sweet, unsweetened liquor of chocolate. The whole is so very very rich there is even a suggestion of wood to it."

Chocolate. Actual, rich chocolate. In the beginning, I got hints of boozy liquorice that I found cloying (I HATE liquorice), but by about 5-8 min, it's mostly gone. Instead, I got hints of wood, and it's the kind of wood that's been dried and weathered in a bone-dry desert for a while. There's also a curry bitterness to it.

It kinda makes me think of curry powder sprinkled over dark chocolate, served on a wooden platter. That may sound gross to some people, but I actually like it. Have you guys tried raisins or grapes in curry? Or a curry ice cream? They taste delicious.

By the way, the curry isn't the mellowed out curry you get in most countries where curry isn't native. This is the strong, pungent type of curry you get in India and the Middle East. If you've been to India and found the food too pungent or strong for you, you'll hate this.

TL;DR: Curry powder sprinkled over dark chocolate, served on a wooden platter


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The Lullaby from Hansel and Gretel (Humperdink)


"The very gingerbread house from the famous scene, filled with cream and red currents. So very soperific that you will feel like dreaming the minute you put it on."

What the hell is going on with this scent? There's this sour, wet Chinese pickled fruit smell that's very familiar, but I can't put my finger on what fruit it is. Oh, and there's a salty, metallic tinge to it. It's salty, sour & sweet at the same time. For Indonesians, the combination reminds me of Nano Nano candy...except there's that Chinese preserved smell.

The scent gets me hungry since pickled fruits & vegetables are often served as appetizers in Chinese restaurants, but I don't really want to smell this way. What is going on? I kind of imagined gingerbread houses and candy for this scent.

TL;DR: Chinese pickled fruits.

Overview: That's it. Possets' ginger & cream combo hate me (see review of Wassail).


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Waltz of the Flowers from the Nutcracker (Tchaikovsky)


"Tuberose and gardenia dance merrily with Black Coconut and a bit of lime, and lemon zest."

You know that pink bubblegum scent? Now imagine it powdery and cool. It surprisingly makes an amazing perfume. It's a scent that's playful and light, yet grown up and boudoir at the same time. It's hard to describe how great this scent is, so I'll just pick this one picture that really captures the spirit of this scent:

I realize most of the fashion & erotic photography I've added to my favourites list are coincidentally by female photographers. I think women tend to know how to appeal to women better.
Another gorgeous photograph by Mascha Seitz..I love her!


I get hints of an old oil sort of smell that often comes from Possets coconut, but so far it's behaving and staying very faint. It may be a problem for certain skin chemistries though. 

TL;DR: Cool, powdery pink bubblegum

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Wassail! Wassail! (Traditional)


"Cream, ginger, coriander, and lots of booze!"

This smells like a Japanese pineapple chewy candy, and very, very strong on the sour pineapple part. I wonder if there's something going wrong on me. I know sometimes Possets' coconut smells like Japanese chewy candies, so I wonder if there's coconut in this?

There's something fresh and clean (in the freshly cut herbs sort of way) trying to get out, but it's drowned out by the Japanese pineapple chewy candy scent.

TL;DR: Japanese pineapple chewy candy that's stronger on the pineapple.

Overview: I guess the ginger and booze mixed up turned into pineapples? The chewy candy bit could be the cream part, and I'm pretty sure the coriander's the fresh and clean herb bit that's trying to get out.


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Winter (Vivaldi)


"Peppermint (a favorite winter scent), brown musk, a drop of dill, and sassafrass."


I smell peppermint and some grassy herbs sort of scent. It's not a fresh sort of grassy herb scent though, it's more of an old, dried herbs sort of scent, that's almost a bit bitter. The resulting scent smells makes me think of old people, but it's not the musty, sort of old. It's a clean scent that makes you think of one of those old ladies or gentlemen who seem to easily fit into any nurturing, care-taking roles, and are always ready to clean your scraped knees, bring you something warm and soupy while you're sick in bed and offer peppermint candy to soothe your tears.

It's a kind of scent that triggers a nostalgic feeling in me, which is really weird because most of the old people I was exposed to as a kid were Asian old people who smell like various herbal remedies from their respective countries, and this is definitely a more European/American herbal remedies sort of scent. Add peppermint to it and it's definitely not an Asian old person.

TL;DR: A nurturing old person.

Overview: I had to look up what sassafrass is. Apparently it's often used in teas and root beer, and kinda smells like root beer. 

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Review & Recommendation: 9 Possets Winter 2014 Scents (Part 2 of 3)

This is part 2 of my review of the 26 decants of Possets' Winter 2014 scents I got. Part 1 is here.  For my previous Possets reviews, you can click here or on the Possets tag on the right. Hurry and grab these scent if you like them! They're gone by Jan 31!

As always, all scent reviews are done blind until the TL;DR part's written. Overviews are written if the notes surprise me. 


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Dance of the Hours (Ponchielli)


"Mint, coconut, copra, and Meyer lemon make up The Dance of the Hours. This one is so pretty and reminds me of snow falling gently at night. Foody and delectable."

Minty coconut lime! It smells like this Bath & Bodyworks Coconut Lime Verbena scent, with the addition of sweet peppermint.

This is the scent I'm talking about
Image courtesy of jabong.com


The coconut bit leans on smelling like sunblock or old oils on me after about 5 min, unfortunately. I'm kinda sad because the initial smell was so great, and it's just the perfect creamy mint flavour that smells delicious and wearable instead of going full toothpaste. Maybe it'll smell better on a different skin chemistry.

TL;DR: Bath & Bodyworks Coconut Lime Verbena with sweet peppermint.

Overview: I had to check out what copra is and turns out it's just the dried meat, or kernel, of the coconut used to extract coconut oil.




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Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy (Tchaikovsky)


"Fruit wine with a powerful violet snap to it. Very cold but deeply musky. Fruit never smelled so perfumy before, it really crosses the line, as when an ingredient is used in a different context, here fruit is used as a volatile part of the perfume and does it with great finesse. Very graceful and quite regal I would say."

In the beginning this is like a sugary white wine sangria with hints of florals. Unfortunately, after 5-8 min, the white wine sangria bit turned into artificial grape and there's hints of this old crushed plants smell. It's more of the Japanese artificial green grape scent rather than the "Western" artificial grape scent, so I found it more tolerable. Unlike the "Western" artificial grape scent which I personally find cloying and immediately makes me think of bright, purple drinks/medicine, I find the Japanese artificial green grape scent more clean, light and fruity. If you've tried this candy, you'll know the scent I'm talking about:
It's Kasugai's gummy candies. I looove these candies so much. I blame 20% of my childhood cavities on them.
Image found on amazon.com
The old crushed plants smell makes me think of squashed spinach that's been left in the kitchen for a few hours. I'm not sure how I feel about the combination.

TL;DR: Japanese green grape gummy candy with squashed spinach.

Overview: I love Possets, but I think a lot of their fruity scents turn very artificial. I can't find the violets in this either, so it's very well blended into the scent.




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Danse Chinoise (Tea) Nutcracker (Tchaikovsky)


"Pekoe tea, green tea, incense, and lime leaf. Incredibly soothing, with the tea marrying perfectly with the scent of unburned incense. The lime leaf adds a small and subtle green note."

This reminds me of a scent I've sniffed before in a high end boutique in Indonesia/Singapore. It's a slightly smoky, lotiony scent and I smell hints of jasmines and earl grey tea in the beginning. The jasmines and tea blended into the scent fast though. It's definitely a more Indonesian sort of scent and I can totally see this as a Thann scent.
Thann Spa in Phuket
Image courtesy of asiaprwire.com

While it smells a lot like a massage oil I can see being used in a Thann spa, it's still a massage oil I'd gladly walk around smelling like –it's' smoky, lotiony and floral, with hints of tea.

On me, the smokiness is the first to go, and the scent becomes more of a floral with a deep, dark and rich black tea after about 40 min. It's still a very gorgeous scent though.

TL;DR: Thann massage oil.

Overview: Btw, if you're wondering what pekoe tea is, it's just a grading system. Here's the Wikipedia definition:
Pekoe tea grades are classified into various qualities, each determined by how many of the adjacent young leaves (two, one, or none) were picked along with the leaf buds. Top-quality pekoe grades consist of only the leaf buds, which are picked using the balls of the fingertips. Fingernails and mechanical tools are not used to avoid bruising.

Basically, it's a pain-in-the-ass-to-make tea. Oh, and I'm impressed with Possets' incense. This is the kind of smoky incense I often smell in Asian (the entire continent, including India) spas...none of the weird game-y stuff some perfumers like.




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Eine Kleine Nachtmusik (Mozart)


"Melon, mint, a schmere of marzipan, smoke, resin, fruity, musky, woody, smoky, astringent but with a very smooth edge."

This starts off gorgeous. There's definitely a Japanese melon candy smell but it's bundled up in a scent that makes it smell very wearable and more mature. This scent is clean, cool, sweet, and smooth. It makes you think of the finest cashmere smoothly caressing your skin.

By about 10 min though, the scent starts getting more and more artificial until it reminds me of a room scent. It's the kind of room scent that's vaguely floral, but mostly this sweet, blown up plastic sort of "clean" scent. It reminds me of a room scent in a tuition centre I used to go to.

TL;DR: The clean room scent of a tuition centre.


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Flight of the Bumblebee (Koraekov)


"Erratic green notes of grass and green leaf combine in totally unexpected ways with deep resins of the East making a very unusual and attractive perfume which is at once daring and comforting. Can't classify it but it is a cutting edge blend if ever there was one. Out of nowhere a violet-like note weaves in and out of the blend, and the heavy patchouli and saffron positively dance."

I LOVE this! There's the most delicious honey, a citrus tartness and a fresh green note that makes me think of sprays of young leaves. There are so many layers in this that I just can't describe. There's florals, something that makes me think of swishes of cloth...it's so amazing. It makes me feel like dancing on a wet meadow. I actually bought 20ml of this because I love it so much. I think a perfect ad for this scent would be this gorgeous photo here:

Though I'd make the models run about a bit. This is a very happy, lively scent.
Amazing photography by Dmitry Yushkov


I can see this as a unisex scent, but it definitely leans towards feminine to me.

TL;DR: Dancing in a meadow.


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Hallelujah! (Handel)


"A deluxe Black Musk pairs with black oude, grey musk, sandalwood, myrrh, and blonde luan wood."

First thought: this BETTER get better.

It started off as that horrible, bitter wood smell but it does better. This is a LOT of wood so if you're a wood fan, you'll love this. I smell that fragrant sandalwood that leans towards masculine to me, but I also got this sweet, nutty scent. I love, love, love the wood. It smells so luxurious and sweet. It makes you think of intimate caresses with hot guys in luxurious rooms full of rich, dark, wood panels. It's a cool, exciting scent, and definitely not one of the cozy, warm type of wood scents.

TL;DR: Hooking up with a hot guy in a luxurious room full of dark wood panels.

Overview: I looked up luan wood and another name for it is Meranti. That's actually the wood my dad's factory uses to create their plywood. I visited the factory a few months ago and it does NOT smell this luxurious. Just for fun, here's a gif of how they turn the log into sheets of wood:

This is taken on my iPhone and sped up 6x




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Moonlight Sonata (Beethoven)


"A soft red raspberry and heavy sugar, topped off with an extra dusting of clove, a heart of white musk to ground it and a fluff of almond to start it all on a charmingly melancholy note."

Finally! A song I can play on the piano! This scent is a cloudy raspberry. It's definitely the artificial kind of raspberries that made me think of a Gushers flavour at first, but luckily, everything else blended beautifully and counters that artificial raspberry scent. Once everything settles, the raspberry becomes muddled and there's this cool slightly dusty scent that follows it, which makes me think of clouds on a moonlit night...but maybe that's just a suggestion. I wasn't really expecting artificial raspberries for this song, but the cloudy bit is definitely what I expected.

Kinda off topic but I actually attended a lecture by a music professor who did extensive research on Beethoven and the era he's in. Based on the design of pianos in those days and Beethoven's style, he concluded that the Moonlight Sonata is supposed to be "cloudy". You're supposed to play it with the peddle pressed much longer than people usually do, so the notes "muddle" with each other instead of sounding clear and crisp. He played it the way he thinks it's supposed to be played and it was so hauntingly beautiful.

As it dries down, I get hints of this zing that makes the back of my throat itch. I'm not sure what it is, but this could be an issue for certain skin chemistries.

TL;DR: Cloudy raspberries.




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Nocturne (Chopin)


"The best of balsam fir and a thick crust of sugar. Beautiful in the moonlight."

I got the most amazing vanilla cream scent, but it's mixed with that chemical smell of whiteboard markers. I'm not sure what's going on. Is it myrrh? Myrrh often has this whiteboard marker scent on me.

After about 10 min, the scent finally settles and the whiteboard marker scent faded. It's still a clay-like, slightly chemical-ish vanilla though. The smell seemed oddly familiar and after a while, I finally put my finger on it –it smells like vanilla scented plastic toys I used to have.

Is it just me, or did kids toys get fancier since the time when I was a kid?
Image courtesy of polyvore.com
I like the smell on my toys as a kid, but I don't exactly want to smell like it.

TL;DR: Vanilla-scented plastic toys.

Overview: Balsam is usually very icy on me, but I'm not sure how balsam fir is supposed to smell like. I guess the combination with sugar creates this weird scent.






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Silver Coconut


"Milky coconut and the silver base."

This is not in alphabetical order, but /u/weepy asked for a review, so I'm pushing this scent review early.

Initially, I got a burst of berries that dissipated pretty fast, but it was definitely confusing for me since I wasn't expecting any berries. It was quickly replaced by this watery, metallic kinda smell. It's a smell I used to think liquid mercury would smell like (luckily for me, my science teacher kept a close watch on me and stopped me from sniffing mercury). The watery, metallic smell is just watery and metallic –it's not sweet, or icy, or blue. It just smells like liquid metal. If it has a more salty, coppery tinge, I'd describe it as the smell of blood from someone on a high-iron diet. The watery bit is the way some leather notes smell watery, so if you're not a fan of that, you probably won't like this.

The coconut part is Possets' coconut, which tends to smell like sunblock and old oils on me. So now this smells like old sunblock mixed with mercury, garnished with berries.

TL;DR: Old sunblock mixed with mercury, garnished with berries.


Review & Recommendation: 9 Possets Winter 2014 Scents (Part 1 of 3)

I got 26 decants of Possets' Winter 2014 scents, so I'm going to split the reviews into 3. I'm trying to review them as fast as possible before Fabbiene takes them down by Jan 31! So here's part 1 of the review.

As always, all scent reviews are done blind until the TL;DR part's written. Overviews are written if the notes surprise me. For my previous Possets reviews, you can click here or on the Possets tag on the right.


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Adagio for Strings (Barber)


"Rose, soft honey, and pink pepper with white musk and a small amount of saffron. Very soft but very beautiful. The pink pepper turns rose every so softly into a more sophisticated thing and much cooler. Like the music after which it was names, this perfume builds up to an achingly sweet climax."

There's that old lady type of powdery rose with a plant like scent mixed in. It's a wet, green, succulent plant that's been smushed type of plant scent. The rose is still dominant though, so it kind of makes me think of a young woman from another era (when rose is still fashionable and not an old lady scent), sitting in a garden. But then the scent gets sweeter and sweeter and by 10 min in, it smells like a sweet rose candy that's very sweet but still manages to be powdery and rounded.

Image courtesy of zerobacco.gr


It still smells like the kind of sweets that only old ladies would offer, though.

TL;DR: Powdery rose candy.



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Air on a G-String (Bach)


"Cranberries through smoke."

Oh ew. At first I get those artificial watery berries smell that makes me think of a Vitamin Water flavour. I thought it'll get better but nope. It just ends up smelling like a berry bubble bath that's marketed for kids.

TL;DR: Artificial berries that appeals to kids.

Overview: Sniffed this again...the smoke doesn't show up on me..it's just the artificial berries scent.




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Arabian Dance from the Nutcracker (Tchaikovsky)


"Clove, coffee, a drop of mild oude, and very light smoke."

Very burnt coffee with wood. The wood bit is almost like an room scent for a really gorgeous private library where they have comfy leather seats and snooty butlers bringing in your coffee as you read a book.

This place just begs for a butler. Preferably English/Japanese/Dutch/any other nationality that used to colonize your country...there's a perverse pleasure in being served by former colonialists...
Image found on jmdirstein.wordpress


If it's not for the burnt bit, I'd buy a full size of this in an instant. I still like it, but I'm not in love with it.

TL;DR: Very burnt coffee in sweet private library.

Overview: If I'm looking out for it, I can get hints of the smoke. But it's more of the smoky smell that lingers on the furniture in cigar lounges, and that's probably why I started thinking of private libraries. It's definitely the kind of scent that makes you want to puff on a pipe and say things like, "Elementary, my dear..."



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Arrival of the Queen of Sheba (Handel)


"Mysore 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."

Omg, this is sooo good! The smell floating around is strawberries shortcake, but down at the base, there's this slightly masculine wood perfume scent. I kept smelling that wood perfume scent on a lot of men in Dubai, so the effect is like eating the most delicious strawberry shortcake, next to a very, very hot Middle Eastern dude.

Adding a pic of a smouldering hot dude because, well, why the hell not? I don't approve of smoking but damn, this model is smoking hot. I've been trying to figure out who he is so I can stalk him...
Gorgeous shot by Behnam Razavi


It totally hits both lusts, so I'm happy. The strawberry part is Posset's usual kiddy, artificial sort of strawberry, but the shortcake bit is really delicious and just made the artificialness work. While I personally love it, it's not for everyone.

After 30 min, the awesome wood smell turns a bit chemical-ish smell that's similar to ink. The artificial strawberry shortcake bit is still dominant though, so I don't mind it.

TL;DR: Artificial strawberry shortcakes and a hot dude.



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Beethoven's Fifth


"Lime as the top note, with bottom notes of: 3 ambers, aged patchouli, two frankincenses, and dry pekoe tea. Very spicy despite no ingredients being added as "spices". Insinuating and glorious when cuddling. A true winter fragrance. No collection would be complete without this fragrance from the profound category. Oriental and resinous."

I get that really acrid preserved lemon smell and a nutty scent. The acrid preserved lemon bit has a woody quality to it, so it can be a black tea note. The nutty bit isn't sweet or anything...just nutty like an oil from a nut. By about 15-18 min, the lemon part starts smelling like a kitchen cleaning spritz...while still having that warm, heavy, acrid wood sort of smell in the begining. Possets citrus are usually amazing and unfortunately, this one isn't one of them.

TL;DR: Lemon kitchen cleaner spritz over nut oil and acrid preserved lemons.



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Blue Danube (Straus)


"Blue musk, blue berry, angelica. This is as blue as I can make a fragrance without the help of lavender! This is a strong fragrance with a surprising hint of animalic thanks to...the blueberry! Strong and surprisingly sexy for a...blueberry! There is a lyrical quality to it which I really love."

It smells like a blueberry candy at first, but then other amazing scents come it. It becomes this sweet, cool (not icy) blueberry. The blueberry is an artificial blueberry that I normally would hate but it's so well blended into this scent that it just adds a sweetness to it. I only recognized it as blueberry because of HoG's White Blueberries, which uses the same exact blueberry scent. HoG's White Blueberries' blueberry notes are dominant though, while the blueberries in Blue Danube are more subtle. I can't help but think that this is the scent I imagined White Blueberries should be. It's clean, cold and smooth scent with hints of blueberries, making me think of a still, fairytale winter landscape that's blanketed with snow. If I'm picking an ad for this, I'd pick this:
Hohenzollern in Germany. Take your little girls there..the entire countryside's a fairytale.
Amazing photography by Kilian Schönberger


It's a cool but not freezing landscape with a fairytale-like element that appeals to little girls while still staying elegant.

TL;DR: Fairytale winter blueberries.



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Bolero (Ravel)


"Lilac and crystal musk. Simple and should not have worked, lilac being so soft and crystal musk being so hard edged. However, after playing with the proportions for a long time, I got the balance right and, much to my delight, the lilac was improved by its association with such a cold element. I wore this to a play the evening I made it and got 3 compliments. So, now I am going to let you get compliments on it. Floral but very modern."

I was most excited for this scent since I love Ravel! Another song you need to check out by Ravel is definitely Pavane Pour Une Infante Défunte!

Fabienne definitely did this song justice...this is a very clear, deep and leafy floral. As the scent wears on, the florals get deeper, with a floral bitterness you get from orchids and lilies in it. The scent is also cool in a leafy way, and it makes me think of an elegant woman in winter. It's not a cheery, playful winter full of dancing snowflakes and frost though. It's more of a quiet, still winter, when the snow has settled and everything is silent.

Her expression just says, "I'm going to bloody murder the photographer for making me walk around in a ball gown in the snow."
Amazing photography by one of my favourite photographers, Amanda Diaz
TL;DR: An elegant woman in a cool, still winter scenery.



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Bridal Chorus (Wagner)


"I was missing the old Ambush and went fiddling around and came up with a pretty good recreation of it.There is a lot of hawthorne here, a very sugary musk, a kiss of what I call a "silly musk" and it's all about silky skin, girly-ness and great fun. I think this should be a separate genre of perfume. Not for the dignified but definitely for the fun lover. Perfumy, sweet and high keyed."

There's this cottony musk scent to this that smells I've seen several perfumers call "Egyptian musk" before. That cottony musk smells a lot like certain baby oils to me. It's similar to Sugar & Spite's Katrina, only this has a light sweetness to it like a mist of sweet, sugary water. The sugary bit is gorgeous though, it's very light and doesn't have that searing, piercing quality that some "sugar" notes have. The cottony musk that's grounding it is a bit heavy though. I'm not really sure how I feel about it. It's like a very quiet, serene, new mother (the cottony musk/baby oil bit always makes me think of new moms) mixed with a young and fun sprite.

TL;DR: Baby oil mixed with a spritz of sugary mist.



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Clara's Party from The Nutcracker


"Black musk, Arabian frankincense,3 golden ambers, very spicy gingerbread, and a goodly shot of black tea. What a party indeed. Smells delightful in a very grown up and spicy/resinous way. Quite seductive."

I smell milky Indonesian ginger tea in this, the kind sweetened with that slightly burnt, rich, almost coppery sweetness of gula melaka.

This is how gula melaka looks like. If I'm ever sending you stuff and you want to try some gula melaka, let me know and I'll send it with your package!
Image courtesy of expatliving.sg

There's also occasional hints of a sweet, rounded bit that smells like sugarcane juice to me. It smells like milky Indonesian ginger tea mixed with sugarcane juice. I smell hints of a bakery smell trying to get out, but it's mostly milky ginger tea to me.

TL;DR: Milky ginger tea sweetened with gula melaka & sugar cane juice.

Overview: I love this scent, but thanks to my cultural associations, it smells very comforting and cuddly for me. It's kinda funny how that particular combination turns into milky ginger tea to me.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Swatches: Guess the Mystery Brand!

Guess who's this mystery indie brand? 

Swatched over Darling Girl's Glitter Glue, photographed under natural light
 As you can see, they're gorgeous against glitter glue!

But so what? Any non-matte loose shadow looks good against glitter glue! How do they blend? Well, very well actually...


Eye Look #1: Over UDPP only


Since not everyone owns glitter glue, I tested out how the colours would look like over primer only. As you can see, the shifts still pop out.

The golden bit in the middle that's less vibrant than the gold colour is actually the gold shift in the blue! I didn't put primer on my lower lash line, so you can see that the blue is less vibrant there.

The things you can get away with when you have monolids...

Eye Look #2: Over UDPP only

Apologies for the gross brows..I'm growing them out
Check out the blue shift!
Ok...how long do they last? Here's a pic of the 2nd eye look after 14h...excuse the dead look in my eyes, I was exhausted.

Thanks to the yellow-toned lights in my room, the colours look different but IRL, they look the same.



Can you guess what this brand is? Here's a hint...these are the eyeshadow names & more detailed swatches:

Left: Under yellow-toned artificial light
Right: Under natural light

Swatches:
Top: Over Darling Girl's Glitter Glue
2nd: Foiled with water
3rd: Over Urban Decay's Primer Potion
Bottom: Bare skin
As you can see, it still stays on bare skin but looks slightly less impressive. I got a bit lazy and skipped bare skin swatches in the next few swatches.

Left: Under yellow-toned artificial light
Right: Under natural light

Swatches:
Top: Over Darling Girl's Glitter Glue
Middle: Foiled with water
Bottom: Over Urban Decay's Primer Potion 
Left: Under yellow-toned artificial light
Right: Under natural light

Swatches:
Top: Over Darling Girl's Glitter Glue
Middle: Foiled with water
Bottom: Over Urban Decay's Primer Potion


Can you guess the brand yet?












.......these are swatches of pure, unblended micas from TKB Trading:


As you can see from the links, TKB Trading sells them in sample sizes of 6g for $1.50 (with the exception of Forged Gold, which goes for $1.50 for 2.5g). Since full-sizes of eyeshadows contain 2-3g of product, that means you can get 2-3 tubs of "eyeshadows" for $1.50.

This is why I'm so against eyeshadows with 0 bases. The mark up I'm paying should go into the time & work it took into researching a good formula so the micas can look great on your skin without the help of glitter adhesives & primers. 

The reason I'm making this post is because I called out popular brands in my guide to identifying if your eyeshadow is legit or base-less micas, and I got attacked big time by the fans of one of the brands I called out.

Their defense summarized is (not linking/screenshotting since this happened recently enough for vote brigading and I don't want that):

  • The brand is a one woman show (I believe everyone knows about my staunch believe that indie businesses should not be given the leeway to behave in a way that would be shocking if a mainstream brand does it)
  • The brand's colours are very unique therefore they can't be repackaged
  • "But who here doesn't do their makeup without a primer / [Fyrinnae's] PE like thing?" so who cares if they don't adhere well to your bare skin?

I believe this post proves that: 

  • Straight up micas can look gorgeous and unique, even when unblended & unformulated. They have duochrome effects too!
  • They blend beautifully
  • They stay on and last long over primer (and stunning over a glitter adhesive)
  • You can wear them on their own, without any formula

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Review: Sixteen92 Perfume Oils, Shower Gel & Body Lotion

I finally tried out Sixteen92! Full disclosure, Claire wanted to send me free samples when she opened but it got lost in the mail. Everything I got in the package is stuff I paid for (except for 2 free samples).

Candy!



I have to say, A+ for presentation. It's so neat and pretty! The shower gels & body lotions also came with safety seals, but I stupidly forgot to take a picture of it. 

I wanted to only review the bath products first, but realized I'll be looking at the notes for the scents while doing the review. Since I like doing my perfume reviews blind, I decided to review 3 scents that I got in both perfume & bath product form.


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Perfume Oils General Review


I like the quality of these scents! These start of at about intimate whispering distance and only dry down after 1 1/2-2h. You get faint traces lingering on your skin for a few more hours after that though.

Anyway, on the scent reviews! As usual, all the reviews are done blind until the TL;DRs are written. If any note surprises me, I write an overview.

Lolita

"Crisp Apple Skins, Tart Peach Candies, Rose Absolute, Sugared Violet"

I can see why this is a best seller, it smells gorgeous! I get apple and tart, juicy fruits –like nectarines or peaches. This scent has a cool, clean soapy touch to it though. It really smells like a candied version of a Body Shop liquid soap I once had, which isn't a bad thing since Body Shop makes awesome smelling soaps.

TL;DR: Candied apple/peach/nectarine Body Shop soap.


Raven

"Spiced apple, tea leaves, tobacco, guaiac wood"

I smell cool apples with a bit of woodiness. The apple mellowed into the scent and you get this tart, cool, woody scent.

The woody part makes me think of a room with history, that's decorated with a lot of mahogany panels. It definitely smells old, but it's a clean sort of old. Like the libraries in old homes that are open for tourists to visit —they're old but without the mustiness.
The Long Library in Blenheim Palace...if you guys ever go there, check out the busts of the former dukes of Marlborough. One of them's really hot.
Image courtesy of marshacannon.org

The old bit is definitely a subtle part of the scent that you can't catch in the soap form.

TL;DR: Cool apples in a room with history.

Wicked

"Three vanillas, aged patchouli, marzipan buttercream"

Oh gods patchouli! Strong patchouli! There's this clay-like sweetness in it too. It smells like old, sweet clay. And the patchouli wafts up the most too. It's not the subtle quiet patchouli that grounds a note, it's the in your face and assaulting your nose type of patchouli. Someone in the elevator actually moved further away from me. Is there anyone who likes pure patchouli??

TL;DR: Old, sweet clay.



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Shower Gel General Review


Ok, first and foremost, Claire admits to formulating her products via bases and plans on reformulating them.


I have to say, I'm glad she's reformulating because I'm not a fan of her formula. First of all, her shower gels are very watery. Like incredibly watery.



Yup. The gif is not sped up in any way. Everything dribbled out that way. The first time I used it, I wasn't expecting it to be so watery, and lost more than half of a bottle when I squeezed it over my shower pouf.

UPDATE Jan 28, 2015: Another thing to note, the labels on these are NOT waterproof. Mine ran and peeled off, but I thought it was just for the sample sizes, but /u/Verorenee mentioned that her labels did the same. Here are photos of how my bottles look now:



Anyway, on to the scent reviews.

Black Sugar

"Spun brown sugar, red berries, vanilla and tonka bean absolute dance with a sprinkle of dirt, a swirl of cauldron smoke, and a drop of bittersweet cocao absolute."

This is a generic heavier artificial "sugar" scent you can find with a lot of perfumers. So sugar note, with an amber/musk type of heaviness. I'm personally not a fan of this generic scent, but I know some people like it.

Caramel Candy Corn

"Vanilla, honey (vegan-safe), and buttery caramelized sugar"

Oh gods..there's this cloying medicinal gumdrops sort of smell, and it rubs out to smell like burnt and still burning sugar. Yes, with that cloying smell burning sugar produces.

Raven

"Spiced apple, tea leaves, tobacco, guaiac wood"

Honestly, if I didn't read those notes, I wouldn't be able to guess what it is. My first impression was that it smells like a soap that'll be in the private bathroom of an old school office with tons of mahogany furniture in it. I don't really smell the spiced part in this, and the apple just creates this sweet, cool scent. The tobacco and wood adds a masculine touch to this scent, so it really smells like a soap designed for the office of a guy. I can see this as a Molton Brown soap scent. Definitely my favourite in the lot.


__________________________


Body Lotion General Review


These are lightly moisturizing, and definitely not as moisturizing as what I'm used to. It's kind of expected from body lotions though. Like most body lotions, the big advantage try have is that they get absorbed in your skin pretty fast —within 3-5 min. 

Unfortunately, I'm too used to HoG's pumpkin butters, which gets absorbed within 3-4 min and are way more moisturizing than every body lotion I've tried, so these aren't a win for me.

Lolita

"Crisp Apple Skins, Tart Peach Candies, Rose Absolute, Sugared Violet"

I don't know why, but in the lotion version, this smells like boozy apples. Beer and apples, to be exact. In the perfume form, the apples & peaches are perfectly balanced to create this juicy candied fruit sort of scent, where you'll have a hard time identifying the fruits unless you've read the notes.

You can't really identify the violet or rose in either forms unless you're looking out for them, but they're a bit more obvious in the lotion and gives the scent a clean, powder room sort of feel to it.


Toasted Marshmallow

"Gooey marshmallows lightly toasted over a campfire"

This does smell like toasted marshmallows! So delicious! Unfortunately, there's a lotion scent, which I assume is the base scent of the lotion.

Wicked

"Three vanillas, aged patchouli, marzipan buttercream"

Holy crap, patchouli! Strong patchouli! The vanilla & marzipan bit in a lotion form ended up turning into this chemical-ish cloying sweet scent. It smells like ancient whiteboard markers!



Sunday, January 25, 2015

FOTD: Sometimes I Like a Pop of Colour

Here's the work appropriate face:
No products on my lips...it was cracking so I didn't want to irritate it further.

The surprise pop of colour:




Thursday, January 22, 2015

Stock Scents Galore –or how I found out my favourite indie brands may be using stock scents

I'm writing in a separate post due to the sheer number of companies that got involved. It started off with Black Violet and ended up involving way more companies than I expected.

It first began when a thread about potential repackagers appeared here.  There were accusations that some companies use stock scents, and Black Violet got mentioned. I'd normally defend Black Violet, but certain personal experiences made me hesitate.

Some time ago, I fell in love with Red Lotus from BV and bought a full size of it. Here are the notes for Red Lotus:
Screenshot taken on 22 Jan, 2015
Then I tried Lychee & Red Tea from Orange Thyme, with the following scent description:

Screenshot taken on 22 Jan, 2015

And Sakura Matsuri cuticle oil from Rainbow Honey, with the following scent description:

Screenshot taken on 22 Jan, 2015


Ok, so all 3 feature lychee + red tea, a relatively unusual combo. That doesn't mean anything, does it?

Well...all 3 smelled the same.

I was surprised, especially since Rainbow Honey is nail polish brand and therefore, I expect them to use stock scents instead of creating their own blend of scents. Then, someone pointed me out to this stock scent from Brambleberry called Lychee Red Tea. Here's the notes:

This is a soon to be discontinued scent
Screenshot taken on 22 Jan, 2015
Despite a throwaway account (that was created purely to defend Black Violet and suspiciously, as of Jan 22, 2015, is no longer active beyond that thread) claiming that s/he owns both Red Lotus & Lychee Red Tea (what are the chances someone happens to own a stock scent in question?) and both scents are different, I highly suspect they'll both smell the same.

In the same thread, BV also got outed for using a base for her body butters. I was really disappointed about that since I pay a lot of money for international shipping, and it's very disheartening to find that someone uses a base. When I try 3 different companies, I'm hoping to try 3 different formulas instead of 1 base with 3 different labels slapped on it. I already know that most bases do not work as well as HoG's pumpkin butters on me, so I have no interest in trying out yet another base.

In response to all that, Leilani came out to say this:



She didn't stay back to respond to requests for her to list out exactly which of her items are made from bases and which are made from scratch.

Obviously, I'm still upset over the money I wasted. Why doesn't she openly state she uses a base since the beginning, instead of choosing to admit it only when she got outed?

Anyway, fine. Just because someone has the same scent notes as a stock scent doesn't mean that they use stock scents. They could just be very uncreative as perfumers, and choose to copy successful stock scents for their scents.

.....but what are the chances that 2+ different perfumers follow the strategy of copying a stock scent (not using, but actually blending stuff to copy it)? What are the chances 2+ different perfumers just happen to come up with the same exact blend of notes as a stock scent? Let's look at this:


Black Violet's Chalice



Screenshot taken on 22 Jan, 2015

Alchemic Muse's Laguna


Screenshot taken on Jan 15, 2015
Muguet is another name for Lily of the Valley, btw. Once you remove the description, you're left with: blue notes + cyclamen + lily + sandalwood. Huh. Here's Indiana Candle Supply's stock scent, Salty Sea Air:

Screenshot taken on Jan 15, 2015

That can still be a coincidence and I haven't tried all 3 scents together yet, but here are other questionable scents:

_______________

Black Violet's Camellia 


"Freshly steeped green tea leaves cooled with crisp cucumbers."

Brambleberry's Green Tea & Cucumber:  "This fragrance smells just like freshly steeped green tea with a hint of cucumber."  

_______________

Black Violet's Valley of the Temples 

"Resinous amber, Asian oud wood, calming cedarwood, exotic ambrette seed, fresh rosemary, dark olibanum, patchouli, black musk, orchid and jasmine petals."

Aromahaven's Oud Wood: "Exotic Asian Oud wood is balanced and blended with cedar, precious ambrette seeds, green rosemary, delicate jasmine, baby orchid, gala apple, dark olibanum, black musk, earthy patchouli. "

_______________

Black Violet's Oakmoss Gown 


"Lightening bugs dance around her as she drapes herself in damp oakmoss, earthy vetiver, and a light vanilla infusion."

Crafters Choice Oakmoss: "Wet and earthy oakmoss with green vetiver, vanilla and nutmeg."


_______________

Black Violet's Pamplemousse


"Quench your Parisian thirst with a pink grapefruit cocktail topped with an edible orchid. Sante!"

Elements Bath & Body's Sea Island Grapefruit: "The sweetest, crispest and cleanest sun-ripened grapefruit you'll ever smell. Softened with a hint of white orchids, truly a treasure of a fragrance."

_______________

So that's already 6 questionable fragrances. This is not counting her many single note fragrances.

In the best case scenario, she's not a repackager, but just really uncreative with her blends, choosing to copy stock scents instead. But in that case, why should I buy from her when I can buy the stock scents for a fraction of the price and mix them with a carrier oil myself?

Or why not buy a mainstream perfume instead? Here's the cost break down:

Indie Perfumes:


  • $12-20+ for a 5ml bottle = $2.40-$4+ /ml


Mainstream Perfumes:


  • $50-100+ for a 50ml bottle (this is the average 1.7 oz bottles, not larger bottles) = $1-2+ /ml

To put that into perspective, if your mainstream perfumers charge Black Violet's prices ($15-18 for 10ml), that means your bottle of perfume is going to cost $75-90

For that price, mainstream perfume offers you nice packaging and the chance to sniff the scent and try it out in store. Why should I go indie if the owner can't offer something more creative than mainstream scents?

I still think Black Violet has some original scents, but at this point, I find that getting an original scent will be a gamble. I still have a lot of Black Violet products I still have to review, and I will review them. I just don't think I'll buy more from them.