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Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Review : Black Violet's Autumn & Halloween Scents + several other scents

UPDATE Dec 8, 2014: I unfortunately cannot recommend this company anymore. It has come to my attention that Black Violet uses stock bases for their body lotion and several scents may be stock scents Leilani has come forward to state that she does not use any stock scents, but I still have my suspicions since Red Lotus smells exactly like Orange Thyme's Lychee & Red Tea, as well as Rainbow Honey's Sakura Matsuri cuticle balm. As a nail polish company, I expect Rainbow Honey to scent their balms with stock scents. Here is a list of her questionable scents. 

I finally got my Black Violet order! I unfortunately didn't take pictures before I started messing things up/decanting, but her packaging is always awesome. I also got certain scents as decants (/u/minkishly and I decant everything we get for each other, check out her awesome blog here), so they're not great for photographing.

My previous Black Violet review is here.

This review is for her Fall & Halloween scents (Apparition, Komorebi, Bavarian Apfel Cider), 3 soon to be discontinued scents (Sea Goddess, Momotaro, Snow White Tea) & the Bavarian Apfel Cider whipped soap.

Customer Service Rave

Leilani is AWESOME as usual. 

So, another indie seller messed up and sent my subscription package to the wrong address, which was my forwarding address. So now my forwarding address is live and everything I order has to arrive within 21 days or the service gets very expensive. Unfortunately, most Halloween releases, including Black Violet's, wouldn't launch until only about 2-4 days before my forwarding address expires. Leilani actually rushed everything out early for me (so technically, I could've gotten an early preview :P) and I got everything in time! I love her!



Perfume Oil General Review

I always recommend Black Violet scents for people first venturing into indies. They smell really great and are often straightforward with nothing overly complex/"weird" in them. A lot of the scents are scents you typically find in high-end mainstream perfumes, so they're easy to like.

Sillage-wise, while you can usually smell certain notes wafting up as you type if you put them on your wrist, you'll need to get to about faux whisper distance to get the full scents. They stay at this strength for 1 1/2-2h, before they fade to an intimate whisper distance for a further 4-5h. You can smell lingering traces on your skin for around 10-12h though.

These perfumes definitely last! So here are the scent reviews:



"Unisex, dark, cool fragrance which opens up with a slight camphorous note with a peculiar, sharp & clean musk."

I'm torn on this scent. This scent reminds me of my childhood trips to Bali -my parents would often rent a villa with my aunt & uncle and this scent reminds me of those villas. While I feel nostalgic, I'm not sure if I want to wear this out. On one hand, there's the smell that smells like the slate walls in a Balinese villa. At the same time, there's the smell of Baygon, a popular Indonesian insecticide, which is why it smells so much like those Balinese villas I used to stay in. The maids had to spray the entire villa with Baygon since Indonesian mosquitoes are vicious.

This is the closest design I can find to those old villas I used to stay in. I realize I can't find a single villa that's designed similar to the old villas I used to stay in. The old villas tend to be dimly lit and had a lot of orange bricks, black slate and stones. The modern villas are now an architectural fusion of Balinese-Mediteranean-American styles, with a lot of wood, open spaces, bright lights and clean, white walls. Sure, I prefer the modern villas design-wise, but it's kinda sad something so iconic in your childhood no longer exists.
Image courtesy of

Don't get me wrong, Baygon can smell great. As a kid, I used to love sniffing it until my mom caught me and freaked out. It smells like a slightly bitter, cool, powdery scent. I know tourists who love the scent. Unfortunately, I can't shake off the feeling that I'm sniffing insecticide, and get uncomfortable.

TL; DR: Slate walls in a 90s Balinese villa.


Bavarian Apfel Cider 

"Your stein froths over with golden apple cider alongside a slice of red currant torte, topped with slivers of almonds."

This smells like a cool, apple perfume with baked raisins in it. There's a bit of an actual apple juice scent underneath the cool, apple perfume scent, which I found impressive. After about 10 minutes, the cool scent somehow mellowed out and the baked raisins blended in. The scent becomes a warm, spiced apple cider scent that makes you feel warm and snuggly. As the scent dries down, the spices are the first to go, so the smell it leaves lingering on your skin

The scent's pretty straightforward and is exactly what you'd expect it to smell like from the name. If you're looking for a straightforward, not overly complex spiced apple scent, this is it.

Sillage-wise, I noticed this has a lower throw than what I'm used to from Black Violet. You have to get close to intimate whispering distance to get a whiff of it.

TL; DR: Apple cider.



"Showers of light between the colorful trees, glowing to the warm forest floor. Absinthe, rosewood, amber musk, carnation, fallen leaves."

This makes me feel nostalgic and I'm not sure why. It smells like warm summer nights, slowly turning into fall. The floral in this is warm, mellow floral -it reminds me of the scent of flowers that have been baking under the hot sun the whole day, carried by the night breeze.

I was torn between this and another photo by the same photographer (Koveh Tavakkol), but I think this picture captures best how the scent's warm and cool at the same time.
Image by Koveh Tavakkol, who's a freaking amazing landscape photographer. You HAVE to check out his work.

There's also a scent that reminds me of fallen leaves in Autumn (romanticized of course...actual fallen leaves on the ground smells like dirt & mush). As the scent wears on, the florals fade and the cool, autumn breeze smell takes over. It really smells like summer turning into fall.

TL; DR: Flowers on warm, summer nights melting into autumn.

Overview: On my second sniff, I realized why this makes me smell nostalgic. Deep within this scent is that Baygon note that Apparition has. It's very well blended into the scent that I didn't notice it at first. It's faint enough that I don't easily identify it & freak out about sniffing insecticide, but visible enough to trigger my nostalgia since I constantly smelled Baygon as a child. 



"Floating down a stream was a ripe little peachling. When opened to eat, the couple was surprised to discover a little boy sweetly named Momotaro- which translates to peach and eldest son."

This is a straightforward peach scent. It's a light, fresh sort of peach scent that has the barest tinge of greenness to it. The scent reminds me of peach spritzers! As the scent wears on, it starts smelling a lot like a Victoria Secrets' body spray that used to be popular. I don't remember the name now, but it used to be so popular I smelled it everywhere.

TL; DR: Peach spritzer and a potential Victoria Secrets' dupe.


Snow White Tea

"Chilled white tea kissed by juicy, red apples."

Oh dear gods this is awesome. Have you seen that Memoirs of a Geisha movie poster featuring the gorgeous Zhang Ziyi?

Image found on Wikipedia

This is a scent I imagine her wearing. This is a cool, slightly tangy white tea scent that's so clean and exquisite. It makes you think of beautiful, refined women in white kimonos with long, silky hair cascading down their backs.

I'll be honest, I was trying to find a picture of an Asian lady in white since this is the image I get from this perfume, but for some reason, I can't seem to find a single picture of an Asian model elegantly dressed in white who doesn't look depressed. Plenty of white kimono pics out there, but the models are either incredibly fetishized (creepy), semi-nude or look like they've been force fed Prozac to get them to look girlishly chirpy.So imagine this woman, but with a happier expression because she smells fantastic.

 It's as if the photographers see white and immediately go, "Ok, look like someone just died."
Photography by Woo Changhoon

Anyway, just sniffing this makes me feel more refined and elegant, and I'm one sniff away from attempting to glide around the office and insisting we have afternoon tea sessions.

TL; DR: Clean, slightly tangy white tea scent for elegant, refined women.

Overview: The apple isn't that strong on me, and just sits in the background giving the scent a slight tanginess that stops it from smelling like a plain tea scent/roomspray. I decanted a bit for a friend who hates apples (before I knew there were apples in it) and she's so in love with it, she immediately ordered a full size before it's discontinued. So if you're not a fan of apples, I'd still give this a go.


Sea Goddess

"Tropical waters, trade winds & ti leaves braided with orange blossoms. As Madame Pele dug a deep fire pit, her sister Namaka the Sea Goddess flooded the glowing embers with salt water to show her displeasure with all the destruction. The battle raged on as ocean and fire met. The Sea Goddess climbed to her windy lookout only to discover Madame Pele form thru the smoky clouds. Her steamy spirit disappeared into the crater with trade winds of island flowers as offerings."

I like this blue note! There was a hint of citrus in the first few minutes which blended into the scent. At first, it smells like a very luxurious spa, but then a masculine, almost bitter sort of scent enters. The scent becomes a unisex, blue scent that isn't too sweet & doesn't smell like room spray.

TL; DR: Unisex blue scent that doesn't smell like room spray.


Bavarian Apfel Cider Whipped Soap

Oh wow,  I love this whipped soap formula! The texture is like thick whipped cream:

Thick & fluffy!

There's some crumbly bits in it but they're very soft and melt fast under water. And oh gods, they feel so amazing against your skin. I love good whipped's like washing your hands with fluffy clouds.

Gaze upon the fluffy awesomeness.

And they're not drying! They leave the slightest, barest hint of dryness right after washing, but your skin feels fine almost right after. It's the same level of dryness as Haus of Gloi's bubbling scrubs -very, very slight and waayyy less than a lot of other soaps, whether indie or mainstream.

The scent's pretty true to the perfume oil -a straightforward spiced apple cider. While you're washing with it, the scent strength is about casual conversation distance, but it definitely lingers on your skin! My skin smells so awesome afterwards. I have this obsessive need to immediately moisturize after washing though, so I'm not sure how long the scent will linger on your skin.

UPDATE Nov 17, 2014: I tried the whipped soap again and after close to 2 months, the texture changed a bit. It's definitely thicker than before, and there's more of the crumbly bits, that according to Leilani, is shea butter. 

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