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Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Review: Ten Three Labs (all 7 scents!)

Sometime ago, Cara (/u/ifweburn) gave me a bunch of her scents to test out to review privately before her store, Ten Three Labs, opens. I gave her my brutally honest review and she took it like a champ and told me I can publish my reviews, both good and bad. I didn't censor anything, except for leaving out some scents didn't make the cut because they're better for other seasons.

Perfume Oils General Review

The 7 scents now out and 4 fragrances not out yet!
I was honestly impressed with their qualities. Cara was so nervous in the beginning, I got nervous too and started wondering what I would have to say if I didn't like the quality at all. Both of us didn't need to worry because the quality's great. One thing I noticed is that there's a mix of sillages.

Certain scents (Artificial Angels, Exorcist of Malignant Devils, His House of Fear) start off at a casual conversation distance, where people will surely notice once you walk into a lift. However, others (Dark-Eyed Daughter, Fair Season, Men Who Walk As Trees Among Their Fellows, Sinister Reputation) starts off at faux whisper distance. Unless otherwise noted, the scents usually stay at their initial strength for 1 1/2-2h, before getting to intimate whispering distance until about 3-4h since initial application. I usually smell faint traces for over 10+h.

Another thing I noticed is that most of these perfumes open up with a very scary fruity liqueur/cough syrup sort of scent. I was so sure I had to scrub off every single scent at first, but then the intimidatingly artificial fruit smell mellows out and the smell that blossoms on my skin is awesome. So before you toss your perfume into the swap pile, definitely do more than a cold sniff and let the perfume settle & bloom on your skin for at least 5-10 min.

I didn't know the notes until /u/ifweburn opened shop, so all the reviews are done blind. If there's anything unexpected in the notes, I discuss it in the overview.


Artificial Angels

"A somewhat cloyingly sweet scent. Maybe TOO sweet…Nothing good can come of such sweetness. Apple, black cherry, sugar cane, olive."

This smells like a gourmet cotton candy that comes in a fruity floral flavour. The scent is girlish, but not overly artificial candy scents that's usually marketed to pre-teens. It's definitely a more grown-up candy scent, I'm a fan! The tartness in this gets stronger while the sugary, flossy cotton candy scent get upstaged after about 20 minutes. I actually found a picture that'll make such a perfect ad for this scent:

Fun, flirty, makes you want to giggle but still so seductively grown up.
Photography by Anny To

 This one has lower longevity than the rest and starts getting faint after about an hour -you have to get to kissing distance to catch a whiff. It's better than a lot of other perfumes, but noticeably lower than the scents in the collection. It stays this way for about 3h though, and stays on your skin for 10h+ (had to take a shower so can't test how much longer it'll last).

TL;DR: Gourmet, tart cotton candy

Overview: On reddit, some people mentioned they got scared off by the "TOO sweet" description. My skin tends to amp up sugary notes, but this didn't end up too sweet on me. It's also a fun scent, but not a teenager/pre-teen sort of scent. I'm 26 and the scent still smells age appropriate on me.


Dark-Eyed Daughter

"My writing informs a huge variety of other things in my life. With this scent, I wanted something to represent one of the first characters I ever created–a weird little redhead named Shaina. And for her–something sweet, but also dark. Brown sugar, almond, gardenia, lotus, cranberry and plum."

Oh dang! I don't know why my skin is hating this! This starts off as cordial smell that's a lot like cough syrup. After about 10 minutes, there's a scent that smells like slightly medicinal burnt caramel at the bottom and a green/yellow scented room spray trying to break out. The room-sprayness did calm down and it becomes a but there's still a burnt caramel coffee smell that overpowers it. This has lower throw than the rest too, and goes to intimate whispering distance within 10 minutes. It stays this way for 1 1/2-2h though. The good thing (for me) is that by 5h, it's completely gone from your skin.

TL;DR: Burnt caramel coffee with a hint of something green.


Exorcists of Malignant Devils

"Exorcists probably smell kind of spicy, right? Dragon’s blood, star anise, fig, oleander, apple, black raspberry, and poison berries. Er. Boysenberry."

Starts off as a green roomspray sort of scent, this may be scary. The roomspray part faded after about 5 minutes and the scent becomes a honeyed green sort of scent with a fruity tartness, and it just keeps getting better. At about 10 minutes it's a very fresh & cool sort of honeysuckle scent with a very well-blended fruity tartness at the base that I can't identify. Honeysuckle and honey smells almost the same to me, but there's just something cool and fresh in this that makes me think of flowers more than sticky, gooey honey. It's so very wearable. This has one of the highest throws for me, and the scent easily filled my entire cubicle.

TL;DR: Fresh & cool honeysuckle with a fruity tartness.

Overview: I think Ten Three's apple notes tend to blend into the scents for me, creating a fruity tartness that can't easily be identified as apple. The smell is surprisingly not spicy at all on me, but ends up cool and fresh instead. I'm definitely a fan of this.


Fair Season

"It’s fall! Fall’s great. And fall means fairs all around America. Funnel cakes and giant turkey legs and rides with people getting sick…You know, fun! Cola, beer, candy corn, cotton candy, caramel, buttered popcorn, firewood, pumpkin, brown sugar, amber."

I bet there's caramel in this, because I'm getting that sugared plums smell, that's often a caramel note going weird on me. That's the most dominant scent and I can't really pick out anything other than some edible carbs in the background. Eventually, after about 10-15 minutes, the sugared plums calmed down a bit. Now the scent is a slightly creamy sugared plums scent, with a light, clean touch to it. I bet this would smell awesome as caramel. The scent I got makes me think of someone sweet and elegant, who'll have a bedroom that looks like this hotel room I once stayed in:

Hotel Der Kleine Prinz - a Le Petit Prince themed boutique hotel. Maybe it's because I'm a fan of the book, but I thought this was the most gorgeous hotels I've ever stayed in.  If you're ever in Baden Baden, check it out.
IPhone photo I hard drive got stolen so I only have iPhone pics of my trip :(

TL;DR: Light & clean sugared plums (that was probably caramel)

Overview: I knew it. It was the caramel going sour. /u/ifweburn was worried about that being a sign that there's something wrong with her oil. It really isn't. Off the top of my head, Violette Market's & Solstice Scent's caramel notes do the same to me. The smell is definitely lighter than what you'd expect from the notes though!


His House of Fear

"A scent inspired by a character of my sister’s. A darker, devious scent with a hint of sweetness. Absinthe, pear, tobacco, smoke, vetiver, bay rum and brimstone."

It smells a bit scary in the bottle and on the first application, but it gets better. It smells like an old decaying building. Not exactly a house and more of an apartment building since there isn't anything woody in this smell. There that scent of metallic decay that's sharp, bitter and usually is a sign to nope the crap out of there if you're in a horror movie. For some reason, underneath this, I get the smell of kacang ijo, an Indonesian dessert that's basically mung bean soup, and usually seasoned with gula melakasantan (coconut milk, but it's not the kind of coconut you expect in western cuisine, and it lends more of a slightly savoury creaminess to the dish) and ginger.

This one has ketan hitam (black glutinous rice) in it.
Image courtesy of

After about 5 minutes, everything mingles together and the scent is so unique! The mung bean soup smell is the strongest, especially the gula melaka part of it. If you haven't tried gula melaka before, it's delicious -it tastes like a watery caramel before it's burnt, with a richness that I just can't describe. There's still the hint of metallic decay in it and also a cool, almost clinical scent floating above it. If I'm in a horror movie, this is the point where I go, "Creepy dude in a lab coat all alone in a creepy, abandoned building? RU-oooh! Kacang ijo? You're awesome! Of course I'll stay! Can I have 2 bowls?"

After an hour the smell is a sweet, almost musky smell of decaying plaster. As you can expect, the scent it leaves on your skin is bittersweet decay.

It's not something I'd recommend to everyone because it's pretty odd, but it's definitely a unique scent that's worth sniffing even once. Even though this scent isn't for me, I'm impressed with it.

TL;DR: Decaying apartment building with kacang ijo.

Overview: The coconut-y santan smell is definitely the bay rum, since some rum notes end up smelling like coconut on me. I'm not quite sure what causes the kacang ijo smell on me, but I've had other perfumes end up with the same green bean sort of scent, both from Deep Midnight and the notes are:

  • Catriana's Cauldron (very slight mung bean smell and more dessert-y like this scent):
"Sweet frankincense, a concoction of rare spices, and a warm creamy vanilla, all topped off with a whiff of cauldron smoke. A personal favorite… of course."
  • Garden & Graves (strong mung bean smell):
"Melancholy notes wrap you in a blanket of flowers and damp earth. Be at peace with the scent of rose petals, vetiver, and a handful of fresh dirt."

The only thing I see in common is the vetiver, so maybe certain vetiver notes turn into mung beans on me. I'll definitely need to try more vetiver scents from both perfumers to be sure.


Men Who Walk As Trees Among Their Fellows

"Trees probably wouldn’t really blend into a crowd very well, but at least they can smell nice. Pipe tobacco, leather, amber, hinoki wood, firewood, cherrywood, pine, and cedarwood chips. Basically all the wood ever."

There's a pine-like green scent that's cool and slightly dry. There's also a bit of a dirty, bitter smell that smells like dirt on leather boots. At about 30 min, the smell starts smelling like detergent on me and just keeps getting closer to detergent. The unscented kind that just smells like detergent. I'm not sure why.

TL;DR: Unscented detergent.


Sinister Reputation

"The people your mom warned you about. You should probably stay away. And yet there’s some pull toward them…Frankincense, amaretto, black cherry, grape, black pepper, pomegranate and magnolia."

This starts of smelling like a red pixie stix, with a hint of Nyquil. About 10 minutes in, the smell settles into a scent that smells exactly like these "fruity" flavoured chewable vitamin pills my mom used to make me take. There's even that chalky graininess to the scent. I personally had bad memories with those calcium pills since I hated the taste, so I'm not too fond of this scent.

They do NOT taste like candy.
Image courtesy of

TL;DR: Fruity flavoured chewable vitamin pills. 

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