Sunday, November 28, 2010

Serge Lutens Arabie: Review

This is a special request from my good friend Angie, who shares my love for Serge Lutens and the perfumer Christopher Sheldrake. Angie must own about three of the full bottles of the Serge Lutens perfumes, of which her favourite (and mine) is Santal de Mysore. I am yet to own a full bottle. Santal de Mysore, A La Nuit, Un Bois Vanilla are on my wish list, which may come with a mandatory month or two of living on just peanut butter sandwiches if I want all of them! I bet it will be worth it. Angie has asked me to review some of the Serge Lutens samples I have. This is my review of Arabie.

Serge Lutens Arabie
"Bearing the fruit of wood. Cedar, mandarin orange bark, a medley of dried fruit and Russian leather. Remarkable, radiant"
Arabie! Oh, this is a Middle Eastern dream! Spicy oriental fragrance. It is dense, rich and heady mix of spices. First sniff, my nostrils are filled with the aroma of spices, not pungent, just a thick fog of warm spices. The spices are like they are freshly ground. It has a Moroccan feel to it but reminds of the little spice shops back at home, Bangalore. The cumin is a note that makes me think of unpleasant things, but in Arabie it is nice. The whole mix of spices is well balanced by candied fruit, which is lingering there somewhere. To me the sweetness is not more than faint, but just enough to stabilize and match the spices. There is something medicinal and kind of herbal about it (benzoin?). The animalic quality of the Russian leather is so beautiful. The woody notes come through so well. The dry down is really wonderful, toned down spices mixed with woods.

Arabie is such a fine take on spicy notes, complex, warm and pleasant. It is perfect for a rainy and cold day, for the snuggly feeling. It is definitely unisex, it would smell great on a man too. Not sure if I want a bottle of this, but will satisfy my spice cravings with a couple more of samples. I bought my samples from eBay at a very reasonable price. The full bottle $175 for 50ml at Mecca Cosmetica. But you can definitely hunt a bargain.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Conjure Oils Review: The Devil Made Me Do It

I first came across Conjure oils from ScentBase and it really intrigued me. The oils in the online shop don't cease to amaze me. There are the Hoodoo oils which are specific for certain tasks like money drawing/casting a spell/protection, even perfume oils to jinx others! Then to add to the curiosity, there is the Aquarian Apothecary which is a modern take on traditional oils. I was speechless when I saw Asphalta, which is an oil to get parking spaces easily! It is described as: "Revered Goddess of plentiful parking spaces. Anoint this oil to the car, keys or a chunk of asphalt to honor her...." 

I love the imagination behind perfumes. I love it when an idea is romanticised and translated into perfumes. I love it when there is a funny take on the perfumes too. But I get the idea that Conjure Oils really mean it! These oils are supposed to work by magic"k" or "conjure". Hoodoo is the basis of the perfumery and it described as 
"Hoodoo is a African-American magickal system from the US rural South. It is a combination of African spiritual practices, Native American herbology, Jewish mysticism, some Protestant Christian beliefs, some Spiritualism, German Pow-Wow and bits of pagan European folklore."

Magick is a very far fetched concept to my analytical mind. I don't like to think that there is an external influence on my life. I want to think that I'm in charge, taking the pleasure of accomplishment when things go well and the responsibility for my own screw ups. As for perfumes, I love them. I like everything that smells good! It really doesn't matter if they are supposed to do good or bad, I just like the smell! But, if you are into magick, they offer many options, worth a try! If not, the perfume oils are simply superb, worth a try anyways! 

Conjure Oils have fantastic range of perfume oils. They are owned by a lovely lady Vajra who does it all single handedly, hand blends to order. I have to say, she does a fantastic job! The service is quick, communication is great, the postage is reasonable and delivery to Australia is about two weeks which is quick in my book! I bought two of the perfume oils from the limited edition for Halloween, which are still available till 1st week of December. Mara and Succubus from The Devil Made Me Do It.

Devil Made Me Do It: Mara
Mara is the Buddhist personification of Evil. Also known as Papiyan, ("more wicked") Mara (meaning "thirst" or "death") made every attempt possible to deter Siddhartha on his path toward Enlightenment by using armies of temptations such as: lust, hunger, thirst, sloth, cowardice, pride and fame, among others.
Bo tree bark, Indian sandalwood, thousand-petaled sacred lotus blossoms, warmed honey and pure vanilla absolute.

This one is to die for! Slightly woody, mostly sandalwood which is just lovely! The lotus blossom adds a charm to it. Honey is very delectable which becomes boozy mixed with vanilla absolute. It is warm, tender and kind of sexy. Before buying it, I read a review describing it to be similar to BPAL Womb Furie (Snake Oil and three kinds of honey). I had to buy it immediately! I have not smelt Womb Furie, but L-O-V-E Snake Oil! I can sense the similarities but Mara is not as spicy or smoky as Snake Oil but a warm and tender version of it which just divine. 

A demon who takes the form of a gorgeous human female specifically to seduce men. Like the incubus, the succubus may have been a scapegoat for infidelity or stray lust. Either way, the succubus has captured the imagination of men for ages, rousing all flavors of fear and fantasy. 
African violet, sugar soaked vanilla, benzoin, coconut milk, triple cream, Egyptian sandalwood musk and red currant.

Violet is quite prominent, slightly powdery. Then the benzoin takes the centre stage which makes the sweet and creamy vanilla, dark and resinous. It is sultry, sweet and edgy. I really like it, but of the two Mara is the one that is "me"! In fact I am planning on a back up bottle of Mara!
How cute is the Devil in that picture! It is a fridge magnet with Conjure Oils logo and The Devil Made Me Do picture of Baphomet. I am using it as a book mark!

The perfume oils from all limited editions are only available in 5 ml bottles. The general catalogue oils are available as Pips (1ml sample) as well. They are reasonably priced, $17.50 for 5ml and $3.50 for a Pip. The shipping to Australia used to be $5, now upped to $7, free shipping for orders over $100. The bottles come with a reducer cap, which is used in all essential oils bottles, which looks like this. 

They work well till the level of the oil is above the vent tube. Once it is lower than that, it is a little difficult to get the oil out. Conjure Oils also offer cap alternatives, which cost .15c or you can just remove it and use just the screw cap.

Overall, I'm really impressed with the perfume oils that I have tried, I will definitely be ordering more

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Tokyo Milk: Dead Sexy 06

I have been eyeing off Tokyo Milk perfumes at David Jones for months. After spraying 'Dead Sexy', I immediately decided to buy it. Love at first sniff! But the tester (with the broken atomiser) is the only one available there and they have not re stocked it since almost six months! Then I wanted to buy 'Honey and The Moon', which was again, out of stock! I finally got a bottle for myself from eBay.

Tokyo Milk Parfumarie Curiositie by the perfumer Margot Elena is a creative and cool perfumery which has wonderful smelly goods like perfumes and solid perfumes, amazing lip products, candles and various other curious things. The packaging is so stylish! As you can see the perfume bottle is simple, cute and edgy!

Dead Sexy 06: My internet search reveals that this perfume's name is based on the movie "Dead Sexy" which is supposedly an erotic thriller. I haven't seen it but it translates to power, sex, guns, mystery etc etc. and I had a good laugh at the reviews on IMDB.

Dead Sexy, what a delightful vanilla fragrance! Vanilla is warm but not at all the edible kind. It is deep woody vanilla which is pure bliss! The warm vanilla is combined with a hint of flowers that is made complex by intense, mysterious woods, very oriental! Resinous, smoky, slightly spicy woods (I get ebony and sandalwood) are beautifully combined with vanilla making the whole thing just divine! It so full of character. It does make me feel special. I can't get over how pretty yet how feisty it is, just like the iconic 'skull and bone' on the very cute bottle! It is unisex which means you can buy it for the man in your life and use it all for yourself!

In Australia it retails for $49.95 for 29.5mls (1oz).  David Jones is the only store that I know which stocks it. Adore Beauty has it for the same price but you do have to pay shipping costs. Interestingly the Tokyo Milk website has it for $28 USD but does not ship to Australia. Well, what's new?! I got mine from eBay for around $28 plus shipping which worked out a little cheaper than buying it here.

Since Dead Sexy is a winner for me, I'd love to try their extensive range of perfumes and solid perfumes. Honey and The Moon is next on my list followed by the Cherry Bomb.

Friday, November 19, 2010

BPAL, The Morbid The Merrier, Wiggle

About two weeks ago, dear Dee sent me a stash of lovely perfume oils and some wonderful makeup! I am so stoked! The L'Oreal lipstick and the blush totally match my skin tone. I am in love with the blush! All the perfumes smell heavenly! Dee you are such a sweetheart! Thank you Dee :)

These are some lovely perfumes I have tested.
BPAL: Île De La Tortue  This is from the Wanderlust collection. BPAL describes it as: 
Home to the Brethren of the Coast and a notorious safe-haven for pirates, this island was once described as the common place of refuge for all sorts of wickedness, the seminary of pirates and thieves. Damp air trapped in limestone caverns, heady greenery, hothouse orchids, nicotiana blossoms, bois de chandel, elemi, palm wine, garambullo, pega-pega, flame of the forest, and a swirl of Haitian vetiver. 
This is a wonderful scent! A very heady floral, sharp to begin with, subdues into beautiful orchids after sometime. It has a soap-like cleanness and a tinge of green. I smell lime stone and moss, very interesting! I have no idea what the other notes are and what they smell like. I'm trying hard to find the vetiver note because it is my favourite, but my nose can't sense it. Overall, very feminine, dense and lush floral. 

BPAL:  High Strung Daisies  The Garden of Live Flowers from Mad Tea Party, Alice in Wonderland collection.
Daisy, pink carnation, pink pepper, and sugar.
Sugar, sugar and more sugar! Mixed with pretty daisies and carnations, it smells like bubble gum when sniffed directly from the imp. After a while, sugar is gone and my skin is left with just pretty flowers. Light, girly and just lovely! 

The Morbid The Merrier: Ursa
Black carnations, musk, creeping ivy, and a tiny whisper of orange marmalade.
When I smelt it first, I had no idea of the notes. I could have sworn I smelt almonds! Very faint almonds with musk and flowers, can't quite put my finger on the florals. To my surprise, there is no mention of almonds, nevertheless, a very lovely perfume!

Wiggle: Buxom
Soft feminine rose mixed with warm buttery vanilla bourbon! Enough said! It is warm and cozy, yet there is something of a femme fatale about it. The combination of powdery rose and hearty vanilla is opaque, dense and openly sensual!

I have only tested these so far, more reviews of the rest coming up!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Life and its effect on perfumes: Rant

I have been quiet lately, not because there is nothing to say but because there is so much on my mind and I don't quite know where to start. There are some exciting things and not-so-exciting things happening in life. Well, that is life I guess. I somehow feel that it has all come to influence my perfumes.

I have an announcement to make. I am moving to Sydney with family, where we will be living for at least the next couple of years. It is all so very exciting, life will faster and I am hoping there will be a lot of more good things in store for us. At the end of December, I will have a post graduation in Paediatrics, with no job. Career wise Sydney seems hopeful but someone like me who is cautiously optimistic I see both hope and disappointment in my future career. But again, that is life.

The move will have its effect on my perfumes. Firstly, there will be no more online orders for the next three months or so as I cannot risk late deliveries and I will have no address till at least mid January.

eBay is still an option as the sellers do deliver within a week. Yesterday, I was bidding on a BPAL, Good Judy and some perfume oil-lot which had numerous full size bottles and many samples. I think I did everything right, I was watching it since it was listed. I bid when there was 30 minutes left. I did not take my eyes off the ticking clock when literally in the last minute, when there was 45 seconds left, someone outbid me by $5, damn! I did not even have time to react. I was close to tearing up.

As rebound or something, I placed my last online order from StrawberryNet, which is for Christmas, New Years and Valentine's Day combined. I ordered YSL travel coffret with 5 miniatures. The deal was good and I adore minis. I have always loved Opium. I recently tried Cinema and it smelt like cake! Plus Bobbi Brown Shimmer Brick Eye Palette which I totally did not need as I have 3 regular Shimmer Bricks. I really can't reason why I bought it. Oh well, it was discounted and I got thrown in Gosh Cover Me Up Mousse foundation. I think I did good!

I haven't really been quiet in my retail shopping either. I just got Flower by Kenzo miniature set, which is such a lovely powdery feminine floral. I am in love with it. Also bought some makeup tit bits from Inglot which also I happen to love.

Another aspect, an important one, about moving is packing and actually moving. It is amazing how much you accumulate over years. In October 2006, we landed in Australia from UK with two suitcases. Now we have a houseful of furniture and a Baby Elephant! Packing is a great task ahead and I have no idea if my perfumes will be safe in the transit or not. All I can think of is my perfumes evaporating, oils spilling, bottles breaking..... Oh no! 

Then the actual move itself. My Baby Elephant cannot fly, so we have a road trip planned. Again, it is all very exciting exciting. Here's to all good things to come, here's is to Sydney!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Storage Box

Look what I found at The Reject Shop! I was so thrilled when I saw it, it looked perfect to store all my perfume oils. The pale wood looks really good, it seems to be strong and sturdy. There are 12 compartments for storage. The transparent glass lid with the hinge is just perfect as I can see what I want to pick up. It cost me $12. There was also a smaller one which was $9, which had nine compartments. Though the lid is quite secure, I would have preferred a locking latch just so that it sits tight and it is easy to transport.

I need another one (maybe two) for my perfume miniatures. I'm slowly filling this baby up with perfume oils and there is another little stash to go in there, but I think I need to go shopping!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

More Blending... Exotic Floral

I finally have the time and the inspiration to start blending again! My inspiration for this blend is Thailand, the blend is an exotic floral. I have never been to Thailand, but I have been craving for Thai food since a few days! Coconut, lemon grass, chillies, yummm! Even more than the food, I love the idea of the exotic place. Thailand, this is the picture that come to my mind....slowly sailing in a boat on lake full of blooming lotuses, bamboo bushes around, smell of coconut in the air, the serenity of Buddhist Temples with flowers and incense burning..... very blissful!

Some details of my concoction:
I used In Essence essential oils, some fragrant oils from New Directions and a batch of pure essential oils that I was sent from India, the brand is called Nirvana.
Composition and ratios:
25% top notes, 20% middle notes and 55% base notes mixed in Sweet Almond oil as the carrier oil in 1:1 ratio.

Top Notes = 14 drops
Bamboo, White Tea and a drop of Coconut

Middle notes = 10 drops
Lotus, Ylang Ylang

Base Notes = 30 drops
Musk, Sandalwood and I couldn't resist putting in a tiniest drop of Frankincense.

It turned out pretty well. It really smells exotic! It is a heavy floral fragrance, given the Lotus and Ylang Ylang but still soft. The bamboo and the White Tea add greenness to it. The Musk and Sandalwood add depth. I was not heavy handed with the Frankincense as it can turn the whole thing into something resinous and something that comes packed in sticks! I think this blend is very wearable and feminine. 
I really need to buy some decanting supplies soon!