Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Elizabeth Arden: Green Tea

When Green Tea first came out, it was quite a hit in the region where I lived. I had a bottle back then and I liked wearing it. Even then, I did not think it was a great perfume. But there was a freshness about it that was soothing in the heat.

I rediscovered Green Tea a few weeks back. I grabbed a 100 ml bottle for $15 at Priceline's Christmas sale. No doubt it is perfect for summer. I rarely find citrus based scents which are both refreshing and soothing. I'm generally not a lover of citrus. That is the reason why I have not explored citrus enough. Spreading my wings with this cheapie! Green Tea is like able even for me.
  •  Top: Caraway, Fruity Rhubarb, Lemon, Orange Zest and Bergamot
  • Middle: Cool Minty Peppermint, Green Tea, Sweet Jasmine, Spicy Carnation, Fresh Fennel, Crisp Celery Spice
  • Base: Oakmoss, Musk and Amber
Green Tea is not a genius. It is an average perfume that somehow works, especially for hot weather. It begins with a revitalising tea note which soon turns into citrus. It is more citrus than green. I think it should have been called lemon tea. The tea note dissipates somewhere around the 5 minute mark. It pretty much stays in the citrus territory. The dry down is something vaguely perfume-y, which reminds me that I'm wearing a perfume, not a deodorant.

Green Tea is very light, almost 'invisible' but evidently fresh. It so light that it is impossible to over apply it even if you bathed in this stuff. Actually it is something you have to apply heavy handedly. The concentration it comes in is a 'vapouriser spray', which means it is the strength of an EDT or less. I think it is a good concentration for a fresh scent. The lasting power is alright, generously applied it doesn't give you body odour at least! I have 100 mls to work with. It goes to my "Finish The Bottle" list. I'm thinking sterilising tweezers, getting rid of shoe smell, etc.

In a nutshell, it smells like this.... "Laaaa lalalalalaaaa la la la......" This song plays in my mind every time I wear Green Tea!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Villainess: Smooch! Review

Before I review Smooch! by Villainess soaps, which I am so excited about, let me sum up my shopping experience with Villainess.net

I came across Villianess soaps through Black Phoenix Trading Post. Villainess soaps is the company that makes soaps for the Trading Post using the BPTP/BPAL scents. I loved the BPTP soaps I used, so I checked out the website and everything was very tempting to me, including the theme, the packaging and the scents. Naturally I got carried away and added things to the cart like a crazy girl. I also registered with the loyalty points program and was just about to check out. I had a shock when I saw that the shipping to Australia was more than the cost of things I bought! I mean $40 odd (the cheapest rate offered) for shipping from US to Australia, who in their sane mind would pay that much?!

Larie to the rescue, thanks to my American blogger friend! I got the things shipped to Larie for $7.95. Larie had to send me a swap and she was kind enough to include my order with it. How sweet!

Apart from unjustifiable shipping charge, which I successfully dodged, everything was smooth. The communication was good. The shipping within US took about a week. The company is generous with freebies. You can choose 2 soaps as freebies with any order and I got 1 extra on top of that. The packaging is perfect and so beautiful. I'd order again just for how nice everything looks!

Now for the exciting part, review of Smooch! 
Smooch! is the name for the body products by Villainess. Aptly named so because, it gives smooch-worthy skin! The products range from sugar scrubs to salt scrubs to warming scrubs to body conditioners. The scrubs have an Abrasion Scale based on the exfoliating particles, ranging from salt foot scrub which is highly abrasive to the smooth concoctions which just give a ticklish feel. They come in gorgeous, mouth watering scents, cost $10.50 USD.

The Smooch! I got is in Bourbon Vanilla scent (in collaboration with Ivy Keep teas) It is described as "Sharp shreds of black tea in a delicate interaction with creamed vanilla bean"
It smells OMG delicious! Boozy vanilla with just the right amount of sweetness to it. Just yummy!

Like most sugar scrubs, this one is suspension of sugar crystals in skin nourishing oils. It is free from water which prevents the sugar from being melted into it. The sugar is in a mixture of skin nourishing oils (like grape seed oil, coconut oil, mango butter) Sugar and oils are in the proportion of 65% and 35%.
It is sealed to prevent leakage and spills in transit
Sugar crystals in nourishing oils
with shreds of vanilla bean and black tea
The consistency is thick, which means you only need little to get it working. Once it goes on the wet skin, it emulsifies beautifully. The sugar crystals dissolve when gently massaged onto the skin and oils mix with water to nourish the skin. By the time the sugar completely dissolves, my skin is left exfoliated and nourished at the same time. The gorgeous boozy vanilla makes my skin smell so good, though the scent is not very long lasting.

I have dry skin and stay away from exfoliating things because they can rip my skin right off the moisture but this Smooch! is non drying and actually quite nourishing for the skin. Very pleased with the experience!

Villainess website also has some more curious things with naughty names like Smack! Whipped! mud masks, skin cleansing oils and of course soaps and perfume oils. I have a lot of soaps samples that I'm using up and enjoying. The perfume oil is not very satisfying for me right now. Everything will be reviewed soon.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Thierry Mugler: Alien Body Lotion

Thierry Mugler's Alien: What can I say about Alien that hasn't been said before? Alien is rightly named so. It is an other-worldly jasmine. Jasmine is somewhat cold, shrill but something about it makes me want it more. This brassy beginning has a wonderful dry down of lush feminine floral woods. From my point of view, it is an 'in your face' floral with a wow factor. This is something I normally like, but it is bit too much for me, mind numbingly so. 
How very Alien-like is this gorgeous bottle!
The words "Alien" inscribed like some space language, with the mirror image.
I recently picked up a bottle of body lotion from a run down perfume auction store for a meagre 15 bucks. Catch! Since the way Alien begins kind of blows my nose away, I thought trying a body lotion would be a tamed down version of the perfume. I was right. The body lotion has the strength of the jasmine minus the harshness. It wears really well, to the point that at some point during the day I keep wondering what gorgeous perfume I'm smelling. It has all the essence of Alien with amplified femininity and sophistication. 

The body lotion is called Voile Porridge, which is a really weird use of the term porridge because it doesn't have that consistency or texture. It is called Prodige: "extraordinarily wonderful" thing! (Thanks Lana). Well, it is a body lotion and applies that way. Light yet nourishing. It is lilac colour, like a lighter colour of the bottle. The bottle is shaped like Alien's perfume bottle only it is plastic and the two claws on the side. The bottle opens at the bottom, which is very handy, to get every last drop out. The scent is long lasting, which is a plus.

I'm glad I picked this up because it is Alien in a nicely bearable form. It has made me like Alien much more.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Haul: Soaps & Smellies!

This is what arrived in the post today. Happy!
 Villainess soaps order, huge thanks to Larie for making it happen for me! I ordered 
Soap sampler set (12 generous soap samples) 
Perfume oil in Jai Mahal, 
Smooch! (sugar body scrub) in Bourbon Vanilla
3 soaps samples were freebies

Just look at the way everything is presented. How lovely is that black ribbon bow! 
Soap Samples
Smooch! Sugar body scrub
 I just love the ampoule shaped bottle of the perfume oil. I have a very strong urge to snap its neck and stick a needle in it!
The Morbid The Merrier order also arrived today. I ordered 5 ml bottles of Horseman, Delina and got Lucy as freebie (Black Friday offer, buy 2 get 1 free) I was thrown in a 1 ml vial of Quentin as freebie.

The Swapalooza has completed one loop and has come back to me! Swapalooza is the brainchild of Ki, where we swap perfume oils based on our tastes so that we can find new favourites. Our swap panned over three continents involving Larie, Lizzy, Ki and myself. Thanks for a great Swapalooza, ladies!

I haven't sniffed them all, but I already love Flourish Woodsmoke Vanilla and Scent By The Sea Ganache.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Arabian Perfume Oils: What Doesn't Kill You Can Only Make You Stronger?!!

The world of Arabian perfumes, oud in particular is my alien territory. These mysterious and exotic perfumes have made me flex my olfactory muscles and use a bit of grey matter as well. Oud especially has grabbed me by my throat and hasn't let go. It is something that I'm undecided about, still exploring and trying to figure out what exactly I'm smelling. If you have read my previous post of my difficulty in liking Oud, you will know what I'm talking about. For me Oud is an acquired taste, that I'm still trying to acquire.

While Montale, By Killian, Amouage, etc are the exemplars of Oud in Western perfumes, Arabian perfumes are a league of their own. In my pursuit to understand oud and in an attempt to experience the "real" stuff, I took a plunge into the world of Arabian perfumes. The brands like Ajmal, Al Haramain, Al Rehab are the much coveted and reputable brands and use oud in the purest form from the sustainable agarwood plantations from all over the world.

Oud being extremely expensive, I looked for a good deal without having to spend a fortune on something I might not even like. I ordered a bunch of oils from an eBay seller, Paradise Perfumes (Thanks Michelle, for introducing me to the store). I gather that the 3 ml roll-on bottles are genuine but these "decants" (or so called "loose" samples) are from generous samples given out by the retailers. This explains the affordable price.

Generally Arabian perfume oils are very concentrated, they are 'blow-your-mind' strong! They can be extremely overpowering to the nose at first. They need time to develop on the skin to acknowledge the presence of oud and fully appreciate the depth.

The staying power is super! It lasts on the skin for the whole day, on clothes forever and I can smell traces on it on washed scarfs and sweaters. May not be a good thing if you end up not liking it!

Most of the Arabian perfumes are linear. They do develop on the skin and change in the intensity but most of these are made to highlight one note, like Oud oil which is all agarwood, Attar which is flower extracts and Mukhallat, a 'mixture' of substances like amber, musk, rose and jasmine with or without oud. More the concentration of oud, more expensive they are.

Ajmal Liquid Gold
Oud is generally referred to as Liquid Gold because of the rarity and the cost. Ajmal's Liquid Gold is textbook oud. At first, it is super concentrated and harsh, just like what oud would really smell like. It transforms on the skin and softens to a woody aroma, still intense with smokyness. The agarwood is nice, not plastic-y and not head achy for me. Even though the agarwood is super intense, it has a delicate nature. With agarwood, comes a light but prominent hint of sandalwood, making it woodier and more exotic. Liquid Gold is earthy and strong and has given me an example of how oud is used in Arabian perfumes. 

Ajmal Red Velvet
Fruity sweet at first sniff. Very strong. This takes a long time to mellow down, even longer than oud. It is like those celebrity fruity floral, only with an edge that makes it superior. I smell apple, melon, cucumber, mild spices like cardamom. It is a really nice perfume once it develops. 

Al Haramain Mukkhalat Burj
It is a rose based perfume. It smells like foody rose and has that Rahaat Loukhum or Turkish Delight feel to it. This perfume is like rose which is processed into a jam of some kind. There is a lot of sweetness which is honey like. The rose is accompanied by some other florals which I can't put my finger on. It is a sweet floral. Not my favourite personally.

Al Haramain Musk Amber
More musk than amber. The musk is black, animalic and raw. I also get hints of oud in it too. I don't get any sweetness that amber should have. It turns into a really enjoyable perfume with the dry down of musk on a soft woody base. 

Al Rehab Sultan
Clean and masculine. Kind of smells like expensive soap. It could easily pass off for a high end cologne. 

My verdict: Arabian perfumes have taken me to a different time and place, a great experience. These perfumes need understanding before liking them. My nose needs to develop more to appreciate them. As for Oud, I am liking what I am smelling. I can appreciate how delicate and intense it can be at the same time. It is a refined taste. Personally, I'm not sure if I can handle oud in its purest form and enjoy wearing it. For me, Oud has to come with some notes I like, to add that special something to the perfume. I'm still partial to Tom Ford's Oud Wood, which is a modern take on oud with some beautiful resins. To be honest, I'm generally partial to modern ouds than traditional ones. 

Thursday, December 1, 2011

BPAL: Black Phoenix

Black Phoenix being the signature oil of the Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab, I have always wanted to try it. I recently got hold of BPAL's Black Phoenix (and many other fabulous perfume oils), thanks to Dee's generosity! Dee is the person who introduced me to the wonderful world of perfume oils and she is always there is enable and motivate me!

Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab
Black Phoenix
General Catalogue
"Our signature oil. A dark, languid scent. Promotes hedonistic tendencies and extreme self-love. You won't stop kissing mirrors for a month."
Black Phoenix is something of a mystery because the notes are not listed. What I smell is wonderful and keeps changing throughout. 
Initially all I smell is almonds, almonds, almonds! Almonds are laced with some kind of sweet booze. Almonds go on for about 5 whole minutes. Almonds being my favourite note, I love it! The perfume gradually transforms into rose with teeny hints of green, fresh patchouli. At this stage, the rose dominates and what I smell is essentially a foody rose. I can't say that I'm a fan of this at this point. But the dry down is to die for! There is a dense powdery rose, somehow dark and deep. The musk (the Lab's famous Red Musk) emerges. After an hour or so it turns into an incredibly beautiful skin scent. The musk is delicious with very light spices, very powdery and just becomes a part of the skin.

This is a definitely a big perfume. Rosy powder reminds me of old world makeup. It is deeply romantic, just tipping over to the 'bad girl' territory. It has a vintage feel to it, very charming. Usually not the kind of perfume I'd like, but I love this! It has wonderful staying power and great silage. Simply love!
I also have an old tarted imp of Black Phoenix which has aged for about 7 years or so. Compared to the new one, it is LOT boozier and sweeter. The almond phase lasts less longer. The progression to floral powder is lot a quicker and dries down a lot faster. If you are not a fan of almonds, maybe you should let it age.