Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Darling Clandestine: Part 2


Whitefall: "Intense buttery oatmeal and sweet toasted basmati rice and tea, kicked up with a hint of horses and leather and gunsmoke and tussled-up grass. :) Unisex to feminine."
This smells very buttery in the bitsy vial. As soon as it touches my skin, it smells like porridge! Yes, porridge made of Basmati rice! It is not all that buttery or sweet but has a nice aromatic rice pudding smell. Basmati rice makes it smell feminine. The leather is there but not too animalic. It is somewhat soft, suede like and very velvety. There is a cold metallic note to go with leather which I assume is the gunsmoke. Overall, a stark combination of Basmati rice pudding with a cold metallic leather note. Very unique scent that is not really foody in the dry down. It smells like metallic leather with an aroma of Basmati rice. Wears beautifully as a feminine leather scent.

Summer's Cauldron: "Sultry, smoky, with bourbon and roses and opium and spiced orange. Very complex and heady. Unisex to feminine."
At first it smells like sour roses. Is there such a thing or should I say I smell a fruity rose? I think what I am smelling is bourbon, but it smells like macerated fruits that is at the verge of going boozy. Something like peach liqueur or orange-peel liqueur. The beginning smells like a promising 'fruity chypre', only the progression doesn't take you in that direction. The rose is still tangy and sour till all the fruitiness disappears, which takes about 5 minutes. After this it is all rose, unfortunately not the deep red fresh rose note I like. It is more of a 'perfume-y' rose. I don't get any smoke or opium either. I would have liked it if the drydown had even a tiny bit of the something else other than rose. Unfortunately, this one is not for me.

Mayfly: "Begins bright, deceptively floral, creamy, with a complex, sweet and melancholy wood finish."
I smell Sampaquita! A lush, creamy floral indeed! Jasmine sambac with some Tuberose makes it a heady floral. It is soft with the harsh edges of the white florals well trimmed. This rests on a base of green wood. It is big fragrance, like a big bouquet of exotic flowers. You'll love it if you are into white florals.

Serpentina: "Ethereal, fresh green tea with a little opium bite. Feminine."
A delightful tea scent! It is fresh and green. I also get a bit of very mild jasmine tea feel from it. It is light and delicate. Opium is gentle and not overpowering. I actually like this very much on my skin. It smells like floral tea. Very pretty!

I am impressed with Darling Clandsetine perfumes. My favourites are Circassian, Maudlin & Bedlam and Whitefall. These Bitsy vials are like a little indulgent gifts for yourself. I am really glad that I went for these because they are indeed 5 ml bottles which will last me a long time. I am eager to go back for more perfumes!

See reviews of Part 1 here.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Darling Clandestine Bitsy Vials: Part 1

Darling Clandestine is a cool and fun Etsy store that has some really unique perfumes. Ever since Michelle introduced me to the store, I have been lusting over the gorgeous perfumes. Finally I made up my mind and placed an order for 5 Bitsy Vials. I love how cute these Bitsy Vials are! These little 5 ml bottles of perfume come in a set of 3 or 5 and you can choose the scents you like. 5 Bitsy vials cost $22 USD which is great value for money. The sample vials, which lovely Yvonne sent out as freebies with my order are both generous and have a quirky ticket label with the name of the perfume on the other side! Each perfume has a great story which Yvonne has written herself.

The Bitsy vials don't have names on the bottle. There is a picture on the label which corresponds to the perfume. You'll have to do a little search in the store to find out which is which and what exactly you are smelling. I won't say it is exactly a downside but I really prefer if they had the name of the perfume on the bottle. A little print on a round sticker on the top would be perfect.

 These are the perfumes I chose and there are my few thoughts.

Circassian: "Rich dark chocolate, bold black coffee, intriguing exotic florals. Feminine."
Flowers drenched in freshly brewed mocha! Yum! Begins with a blast of black, strong coffee sweetened with chocolate. Really delicious, like licking-your-wrists delicious! As I resist actually licking my wrists, which lasts for about 2 or 3 minutes, the fragrance takes a drastic turn into flowers. Not quite distinct but beautiful feminine florals. At this stage, it is not that edible but is still laced with coffee. As it dries down, the flowers are just in the background and it is all mocha with a hint of flowers. Not very sweet and not very floral, well balanced combination. Coffee and flowers is a killer combo. Fleur de Mocha, anyone? Yes, please!

Pyrotechnik: "Bursts of cantaloupe darkened with spice and intense sandalwood. Unisex to feminine."
Oooh, melons! Yeah, cantaloupe and some watermelon to go with it. Summery, fresh and juicy. Cantaloupe is so aromatic, a bit sweet and smells like a summer cocktail. The melon-dominated opening gradually fades into mildness. I really can't smell any spice at all. The sandalwood emerges, not the woody, soft sandalwood which I love. It is a very hippie shop sandalwood. Something like incense or Nag Champa. Melons and Nag Champa is an unusual combination, but a pleasant one. In the dry down, there is barely a hint of melons but the sweetness still lingers. It smells like sweet incensy sandalwood. It is a great unisex, androgynous fragrance. Totally not what I expected. I like it but it is strange!

Maudlin & Bedlam: Dark, warm honey and herbals and wood frosted unsettlingly with weeping green leaves. Unisex.
In the bitsy vial, all I smell is green cardamom. It becomes greener on the skin. Some mint comes though, not toothpaste-y mint, kind of herbal mint. The smell of fresh green leaves in it is beautiful. Honey is mild and it quietly adds tiny amount of sweetness to roundoff the herbal green leaves. It is such a light, green and such a refreshing blend. Cardamom, mint, fresh green leaves, slight sweetness. Amazing stuff!

Part 2 of reviews coming soon!

Monday, September 24, 2012

The Perfect Transeasonal Perfume

It was midwinter when I moved from the Southern hemisphere to the Northern hemisphere. In the Australian winter, I was getting comfortable with all my heavy ambers, vanillas and spices, living in a state of perfume bliss! Then I stopped in India for 5 weeks. It was the end of summer and technically monsoon but not with much rain. It was mildly hot and I did not wear any perfume at all. Then in August, I moved to the UK where the season was turning from Summer to Autumn. The hot sunny days, what were left of summer were beautiful and it was getting windy. I faced the dilemma of what to wear that would be light for the heat and comforting for the chilly winds. My Snake Oil was getting too heavy and my Iso E Super, too light. Then I found a beauty that I have worn a lot in the beginning of Autumn:

The Body Shop - White Musk Blush

Being a fan of TBS White Musk, it was easy to like this flanker. The soft muskiness of the original sets the tone for White Musk Blush. There is an appealing twist to the musk. The powdery floral part of White Musk is very much toned down and replaced by "younger" notes. By "younger", I mean it is fresher and more vibrant without being sweet or sugary or overly fruity, which makes it a winner

White Mush Blush begins with a cinnamon aroma along with the smell fresh green apples. The spiciness is very mild and kind of soothing. Even though the combination of apple and cinnamon sounds like something you would eat, it is not at all a gourmand perfume. It is more like fresh juicy apple with a hint of aromatic cinnamon. The musk is not as grand as the original but it has the same mild floral theme but way less powdery and way less 'musky'. Musk is layered with vanilla, a really likeable creamy but unsweet vanilla. 

Cinnamon and apple which is the undeniable smell autumn, light florals which are refreshing for sunny days, vanilla which is perfect for cool winds, and more importantly close-to-the-skin musk that is so sexy! Sounds like there is too much going on but in fact it is so easy and effortless to wear. The perfect summer to autumn transition perfume. Can't get enough!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

BPAL: Red Lantern

Red Lantern 2011
Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab
Limited Edition for
Lupercalia 2006/2008/2011 (Valentine's Day)
"A tribute to the opium den cum bawdyhouses of Shanghai in the 1930's. Golden amber, blonde tobacco, Sudanese black coconut, rich caramel, black currant, white opium and delphinium laced with a sensual blend of Asian spice"

It maybe because I miss my stash of oils that are still in freight, I am reminded of so many BPALs when I smell Red Lantern. In the bottle it has the same creamy caramel note of Boo and has the sweetness of Gluttony (minus the herbal chocolate). On my skin, it smells like caramel and berries (which I assume is the referred black currant). Not sour, more like a hint of berries in your breakfast cereal. Berries do remind me of Berry Moon but thankfully the berries not as overwhelming.

Red Lantern changes drastically on the skin. The berries are fleeting till they almost disappear and caramel tames down, retaining the warmth as it progresses without being cloyingly sweet. There is some dry dessicated coconut with loads of opium and spices. I have sniffed my wrists so many times, at so many points of the progression but I can't detect or pinpoint the Tobacco note on my skin. I would have loved to get a whiff but no luck. But the perfume even without the tobacco is simply wow! Smoked, spicy, caramel dessert, something you can't eat because it is forbidden! It is so complex and it is really very heady.

The dry down is very similar to Carnaval Diabolique (opium smoke, lemon flower, heliotrope, tuberose, black musk, vanilla, coconut, apricot flower), a bottle of which I am lucky enough to own. Carnaval Diabolique has a lemon-candy beginning and is more floral than Red Lantern but the opium, coconut, musk, spices, smoky sweetness is very close to Red Lantern. In fact the dry down after about an hour is uncannily similar.

I enjoy wearing Red Lantern. It has a perfect heat from spices, sweetness from caramel and smokiness from opium. It is dense and heady, and as always with BPAL, an inspiration well translated into a gorgeous smell. Ancient Opium Dens, I am sure smelt as exotic as Red Lantern. Not this place in Oxford anyways, it smelt of delicious soy sauce and tangy hot spices!

A row of Red Lanterns at Food Festival in Hyde Park, Sydney. A photo to show how much I miss Sydney!

Friday, September 7, 2012

The Body Shop - Scents Of The World: Amazonian Wild Lily, Madagascan Vanilla Flower

My blind buys from thebodyshop.co.uk website, using the offer 'Buy 2 Get 2 Free'!
Scents Of The World Collection has 5 new fragrances using organic ingredients and extracts: 
Amazonian Wild Lily
Atlas Mountain Rose
Indian Night Jasmine
Japanese Cherry Blossom 
Madagascan Vanilla Flower
They remind me of the bygone TBS perfumes of the same names (Moroccan Rose, Vanilla, Cherry Blossom). Similar names and smell, only with changed ingredients!
Perfumes and the Facial Brush which I am hoping to be poor girl's Clarisonic!
Amazonian Wild Lily Body Mist: This smell reminds me of the fresh, clean air right after the rain. It is watery in the beginning and dries down to soft powdery iris and fresh lilies. Very light and delicate, kind of romantic too. Perfect feminine perfume to feel fresh and cool on a hot summer's day. Totally out of my taste range but I like it coz it makes me happy and lifts my mood. It has been my go-to body spray ever since I bought it. 

Being a body mist and not very concentrated (mostly alcohol and water), the staying power is not that great. It is good for a spritz (make that about 10!) in the morning before stepping out when I don't feel very 'perfumey'. EDT or the perfume oil forms would be better for longer lasting fragrance, let's hope!

Madagascan Vanilla Flower Perfume Oil: Soft sweet vanilla with a bit of a tropical floral element (I want to say frangipani or tiare but I don't smell any particular tropical flower, just too vague). While the regular TBS Vanilla Perfume Oil is warm, toasty, comforting and one of the best vanillas ever, this vanilla lacks every bit of niceness of the regular one and it is very dilute.

While I forgive the Amazonian Wild Lily Body Mist's lack of staying power, due the concentration and given its gorgeousness, I can't forgive the Madagascan Vanilla Flower's lack of staying power and poor construction. It is so weak that I can hardly smell it after about 20 minutes. It fades quicker on me than the body mist. It is a perfume oil, for crying out loud! I smell a marketing plot to make us buy all the matching washes and lotions in the name of layering.