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Thursday, November 6, 2014

Review & Recommendation: 8 + 1 more scents from Darling Clandestine

I ordered a bunch of Darling Clandestine (DC) scents, earlier, and /u/minkishly decanted some of her DCs for me!

I got a mixture of solid perfumes and perfume oils, and since this is my first time reviewing their solid perfumes, I'll add a general review of them. Previous DC reviews can be found under the DC tag on the side or here.

Solid Perfume General Review

These are more oily so they melt more easily and you may have to be careful at warmer temperatures. Like most solid perfumes, they still leave that waxy feel on your skin, though this has much less of that waxiness since it's so oily.

What impressed me the most is that these solid perfumes are just as good as the oils in terms of longevity and sillage! Like DC perfume oils, the sillage is relatively low -it's somewhere between intimate whispering and faux whispering distance (though certain scents start off really strong for the first minute or so). They also get faint by 1.5 - 2.5h, though you can still smell lingering traces on your skin for hours afterwards. Like the oils, the more gourmand smells (Carny Wedding, Cloudswing) disappear faster on my skin -all traces are gone within 3-4h. For other scents, I get traces for 8+h.

I happen to have 2 scents which I have solids and oils for, and there isn't much of a difference in scents too that can't be explained by slight batch variations.

I honestly think the only difference between the two is your preferred method of perfume application.



"Yes. It's a fragrance inspired by the Boondock Saints. Smoke and blood and a LOT of whiskey and damp alleys and leather and steel and gunpowder and sweat and denim and sweet wooden rosary beads and a bit of clover struggling up through concrete cracks. It is so, so, so sexy."

It smells like herbal honey..and the herbal I'm talking about is the bitter, Chinese herbs sort of herbal. This kind of smells like my grandmother's early methods of making me drink Chinese medicine - by drowning it in honey. But it's always a ghastly black/brown drink, and no amount of honey can hide it's strong smell -which is the scent you imagine decomposing mummies would have. Any kid will look at that drink and nope right away.

Do not be fooled by the elegant presentation. It tastes like death.
Image courtesy of

The honey bit is amazing though. It's a fragrant floral honey smells like one of those exotic honey that the marketer will insist comes from snooty bees who'll only get their honey from some rare species of flower. My grandma should've tried using more expensive honey...I may be more enthusiastic about the medicine if she used this kind of honey. I love the honey so much, I'm really cursing the Chinese medicine bit of this scent.

After an hour, the Chinese medicine bit blended into the honey and this scent is so amazing. It's still the same amazing floral honey, only there's a bitter, masculine woodiness to the scent that blends beautifully with the floral honey. This scent is so perfectly balanced...the bitterness balances the sweetness, the wood melts beautifully into the's so perfect. But I have to endure Chinese medicine a.k.a. powdered mummies smoothie for an hour. I'm not sure how I feel about this.

TL;DR: Floral honey with powdered mummy smoothie for the first hour, amazing floral honey mixed with bitter, masculine woods afterwards.

Overview: It's not sexy. It's Chinese medicine. All that notes mixed together just turns into Chinese medicine. Though if it turns out those Chinese medicine was made of smoke, blood, damp alleys, leather, steel, gunpowder, and sweat, I'd buy it.

Not sure what's causing the floral could be the sweetened clover bit.


Carny Wedding

"Begins sweet and buttercreamy, and then emerges a deep, rich, woody sweet cedar resin. It's so sweet. But not sweet like little girl sweet. Sweet like it's something I've been wearing on my own body for the past couple of weeks and I've seen no sign of me getting tired of it sweet. It's love."

This starts off as chocolate & roasted peanuts. The roasted peanut part is stronger on me with the solid perfume than with the oil. Surprisingly, the throw is also stronger for the solid. Both started at about faux whispering distance, but by 10 min, the oil goes to intimate whispering distance while the solid remained at faux whispering distance. Around 20 min later, there's a sweet incense and smoke sort of smell. It smells like smoked chocolate covered peanuts with sweet incense in the background.

TL;DR: Smoked chocolate covered peanuts with sweet incense

Overview: My skin tends to amp up smoke notes so it may be amping up some sort of smoke note. DC's chocolate notes often turn into sandalwood on me, and I'm wondering if cedar resin end up turning into chocolate instead. Weird. Not sure what morphed into peanuts on me and yes, this scent is sweet but not little girl sweet at all.



"Pure joy, really. Bright, crisp, golden-green with notes of warm hay and vanilla and mowed clover and marigolds and lemongrass. As a nice accidental bonus, I’ve found (though I’d never depend on it in field conditions) that the citron-esque bergamot element in Cloudswing serves as a delightful deterrent to pesky mosquitoes, making your summer nights all the more scrumptious."

Crap, lemons. I hate lemons. Luckily this smells more of lemongrass so it ends up smelling more like a massage oil than a dishwashing soap. At around 5 min, there's an almost candy-like scent in this. This scent actually gets cooler as it wears on. While initially, it smells like lemongrass massage oil warmed between two hands, it starts getting cooler until it's more like a refreshing lemongrass iced drink with baubles of candy plonked in. 

While this scent is still not for me, I don't hate it anymore.

TL;DR: Lemongrass iced drink with candy plonked in.


Curiosities Ball 

"Sensual black pepper dancing with ozone and dark green leaves. Very unisex—thoroughly appropriate for gents and ladies who aren't into the sweet stuff."

It's a tangy and cool scent of crushed leaves and blue notes. The tanginess fades and it gets deeper and darker as it wears on -almost with a hint of bitterness and a rounded, unisex sort of muskiness.  I think this would smell amazing on a guy as may smell more amazing on a guy actually. The scent is a dark yet light at the same time, smooth, sophisticated..definitely worn by the type of guy who has a membership at an exclusive gentleman's club (the snooty English kind..not the sleazy *wink, wink, nudge, nudge* kind) for several generations.
Just wanted an excuse to post this picture...
Awesome photography by Konstantin Suslov

I tried it on my boyfriend and somehow the unisex musk turned into a feminine musk on him. It's a sweet and tangy, blue and musky scent, that makes me think of Indonesian socialite moms -elegant and refined, looks extremely young but still a more mature woman.

TL;DR: A socialite woman on a dude, a socialite dude on a woman.



"Harpy is a sailor's delight, with notes of sea salt and dark bay rum, milk and coconut and a twist of lime."

I've reviewed this previously here, but I just wanted to review the difference between the solid and the perfume oils. Scent-wise, there's very subtle differences, but it can be explained by aging/batch differences. I noticed that the oil version has more of that gingery sharpness that's mellowed down in the solid version. The solid version ended up smelling like a more rounded version of the oil.


Maudlin & Bedlam

"Maudlin & Bedlam is beautifully complex—dark, warm honey and herbals and wood frosted unsettlingly with weeping green leaves. "

This smells like my friend's baby! Or any Indonesian baby actually. Thanks to vicious mosquitoes, most Indonesian babies smell perpetually of Minyak Telon - a blend of fennel & eucalyptus essential oils.
Image courtesy of

It's a traditional way of stopping mosquitoes from eating you alive, and also gentler and safe for babies unlike most commercial insect repellent. Oh, it's also used to soothe itching, improve blood circulation, calm you down...basically, Indonesians are nuts over this oil and keep slathering babies with it.

There's also that amazing powdery smells all babies seem to have, mixed with what smells like a creamy Indonesian dessert with a creamy ginger soup base. It's a very Indonesian scent. I love it. If you like the Indonesian type of herbal scents, this is the scent for you.

TL;DR: Indonesian babies + some sort of ginger dessert. 2 distinct items...not a dessert made of Indonesian babies & ginger.

Overview: Hmm..I guess this scent can be "dark" if you're sniffing this combination for the first time, but I keep thinking of babies thanks to the Minyak Telon part of it, so it seems very fluffy and adorable. 



"Inspired by that greatest of lakes, Lake Michigan, my very favorite lake in the world, and all its moods and shores. Much more than an "aquatic" fragrance, this has indescribable, sandy depth."

This is a green & blue scent and a bit ordinary. Ok, maybe I would've fallen in love with this pre-indie perfume craze since it smells like those clean, blue-type of colognes I used to keep buying for my dad. Unfortunately, I now find it a generic high end cologne smell and I want weird from DC.

The green is a deeper, mossy sort of green. Add the blue in and it makes me think of seaweed or a good way. Like the kind they use for spa treatments. It's a very unisex scent since there's this masculine sort of bitterness to the scent. I'm not really a fan of blue scents but I can totally see this smelling hot on a guy.

Pic of shirtless model to describe this scent because why the hell not..
Photography by Benjo Arwas

TL;DR: Mainstream high end blue cologne.


Monstre Delicat

"Clean, blue, rainy, darkened with a haunting bit of spice. Another universally appealing scent that's got an unsettling bit of nostalgia waiting in the shadows. I like to think of this one as Step Right Up's moody little sister."

There's that soft almost lotion-like smell DC's Blue Valentine and white florals. Well, like Blue Valentine, I'm not sure if it's florals since it's so hard to pick out individual scents from DC, but it's definitely a clean, white smell. If Blue Valentine was a blushing young woman discovering her allure, and the possibilities it brings, for the very first time, this is a serene, elegant young mother, content in life.

I bet it's because she can snap back into shape immediately after having a baby. That %$@#!
Photography by Doral Wu

TL;DR: Clean, serene elegance.

Overview: The scent doesn't really strike me as moody...more quiet elegance and contentment. Definitely clean though!


La La La, All Right

"I built this scent on Rock’n’Roll. Sun-drenched summer breezes and road trips and cornfields and river and road. This is a very green, very earthy scent, with a similar accord to that of Fisticuffs, minus the sweetness."

This smells like a masculine, freshly cut plant stalks - the thick, green stalks. I love how Evonne managed to get that smell you get when you cut plant stalks. While it's fresh, it's also deep, slightly bitter in an earthy way, and masculine too. A tad too masculine on me but still smells amazing. The scent is intoxicating. It's like walking with a hot guy in a garden while smashing the plant stalks around you. Not sure why anyone would do that, but you're walking around with a smoking hot guy so roll with it.

I tried this out on my guy, and I'm not sure why, but DC scents that are kind of masculine on me goes a tad feminine on him. It's still a deep, crushed plant stalk scent, but on him, there's not much of that masculine bitterness and it's more of a sweet, slightly feminine smell. 

Definitely a realistic plant smell though, since the first thing he said about the scent was, "I hate this. It reminds me of the time I was in the army and had to bury myself in the jungle for training. It smells like my face is planted in the mud with moss and dirty leaves everywhere. And bugs crawling all over me."

Probably not what he was talking about, but it's how I imagine it..
Gorgeous photography by Artur K
TL;DR: Crushed plant stalks. A deep, slightly earth version of it. 

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