Wednesday, December 26, 2012

The S-A-D Project

Sample-A-Day, that is! I am excited to announce a new blog project for 2013! It is basically a review of a perfume sample, ideally one per day for one year. But given all other boring real life commitments, I am going easy and will do a review as often as possible. This will be for one year, the year 2013. I don't think I have 365 different perfume samples. So, it will be a review a day for one year or till I run out of samples, whichever comes first. It is going to be a mix of mostly indie (90%), commercial, niche, whatever I have in my stash. One really good thing about the project is that I have promised myself that I will not be buying any more perfume till I review everything I have! Great motivation to cull spending and flex my nose with what I already have!
So, here is what's happening! A lot of sorting and smelling!

Many thanks to Dee for inspiring me to do this. She is the best! She is starting a whole new blog for the sample project. I for one, can't wait to read it! 

Perfume Synopsis 2012

On personal note, 2012 was a year of uncertainty, followed by hope, followed by confusion and more uncertainty. We moved, we settled and we are moving again in 2013 (just locally this time, but still). I sold most of my unloved perfumes, gave away the rest to friends and family and I was left with a manageable collection of perfumes I love and wear. I also made some big ticket purchases. In spite of having new fabulous perfumes as well as old favourites, I haven't worn a lot of perfume, variety wise. I have been sticking to a few and worn them on rotation. Yeah, it is dripping with scented irony and all.

I have kind of blacked out on what I wore for the first six months, before I moved from Australia to England. It seems so long ago because a lot has happened since then. Looking back and reading from this blog, I seem to have worn Agent Provocateur Strip, BPAL Womb Furie, Bvlgari Jasmin Noir a lot.

Then I moved and carried only two perfumes with me, Kiehl's Musk Oil and BPAL Snake Oil, packed and sent off the rest while holding my breath for their safe arrival. I wore these two continuously for 5 weeks that spent in India. Loved every minute of it, the stay and wearing the perfumes. I wore them so much that my mother complained that all the clothes in the house smelt of my scent days after I left! Some powerful stuff! Then I bought By Kilian Back To Black. Love it, wore it a lot and I am going the second refill. I'll get these refills as long as I can. Another favourite from the line is 'Love - Don't Be Shy'. It smells like upmarket orange blossom flavoured marshmallows! 'Yes, please' for refills!

Through the summer, The Body Shop Amazonian Wild Lily took care of me. It is a light, fresh, watery floral perfect to keep cool and smell feminine. I fell in love with Honey again and again, discovered many indie perfumes on the way. I bought my first Lush. Finally I got this gorgeous set to finish the year off.

I totally forgot my second blog birthday which was in July! Can't believe it has been such a long time!

Just like last year, counting the money spent on perfume..... sigh... comes to £636 + AU$277 = US$1,313. As much as last year but I also sold some of my stuff, so kind of makes me feel better. But imagine the year where I will not buy any perfume at all! That is a saving of thousand odd dollars and having the satisfaction of using up and enjoying every perfume I have! Ideal world, no?! In that attempt, I am starting a new blog series of reviewing every perfume sample I have got for one whole year. It is similar to what Dee is doing. Watch this space for details!

Monday, December 24, 2012

Most Used Makeup Of 2012

Most used = Most loved!
MAC Studio Fix Powder NW30, Guerlain Meteorites Mattifying and Illuminating powder in Beige
Dior Serum de Rouge in 650, Elizabeth Arden Desert Rose, Lakme Abolute Skin Cover, Estee Lauder Double wear in Desert Beige, i-Nuovi blush, Sleek blush in Rose Gold
Estee Lauder Double Wear is perfect for hot humid days. It stays put, gives awesome coverage and perfectly matches my skin colour. That, topped with MAC Studio Fix is unbeatable even without a primer. Lakme Absolute Skin Cover is like a BB cream, feels light great coverage plus brightens the skin. i-Nuovi is a good peachy blush for everyday and Sleek Rose Gold is for when I want a jazzed up look.
Dior Serum de Rouge is my second one, in the same colour. It feels sooo good on the lips! Elizabeth Arden Desert Rose is a safe pinky nude that I have been wearing all round the year.
Dior Grege mini palette, Lancome Marvellous Amethyst, MAC Fluidline in Macroviolet, Ben Nye Lumiere powder eyeshadow in Cosmic Violet
MAC Kohl in Smoulder, Lakme Absolute eyeliner in Electric Violet, Too Faced Lockdown primer/eyeshadow in Bedroom Eyes
DiorShow New Look mascara, Maybelline Falsies
Dior Grege mini palette and the New Look mascara was in a set. I got both for about £20. Grege palette has nude shades that I thought I would never wear but it turned out to be the most worn. Two shades in the palette hardly even show on my skin tone. Nothing exciting at all but perfect for non exciting days. The New Look mascara is good and I have been wearing it a lot but not really better than drugstore ones. Maybelline falsies is nice and I have used a lot of it in the first half of this year.

Too Faced Lockdown is a cream eyeshadow infused with Shadow Insurance. I love it on its own but topped with eyeshadow it works the best! Bedroom Eyes is a skin shade which goes perfectly under any colour of eyeshadow. Ben Nye Cosmic Violet, wow, a mindblowingly beautiful duochrome pink/violet. The best shade I own! Lancome eyeshadow and MAC Fluidline were gifts from a friend and both are matching shades. Love to wear purple/plums! MAC Kohl liner is awesome for water line. Only thing that bugs me is this should be sharpened and I much prefer twist ups. But it is so good that I can forgive and keep sharpening. Lakme eyeliner is a metallic blue that is super pigmented and stays on forever!

MAC Studio fix is the one I have used the most. Hit the pan long ago and planning to use it till its last swipe! It is such a hard working powder. It will be repurchased but till there is none left of it, I got a daintier powder, Guerlain Meteorites pressed one. It is simply beautiful! Not as hardworking as the MAC one, but still, soooo pretty!

Some eye looks that I have been wearing quite a lot: These were not intendedly photographed as EOTDs or FOTDs, just selfies taken for fun to check how looked! Yes, my narcissistic self does that a lot. All taken in different lights, no filters used.
Lakme Absolute eyeliner in Electric Violet
Lancome Marvellous Amethyst + MAC fluidline in Macroviolet
A goofy looking FOTD (complete with chipmunk cheeks as a result of smiling while avoiding to frown in direct sunlight) with all those products and Dior Grege on the eyes. My face hit by the rarest of the warm winter Sun and gently powdered with Guerlain pressed powder! Oh, the glow!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

The Best Buy of 2012: Frederic Malle Coffret

 When I saw this gorgeous thing at Frederic Malle counter at Liberty London, I saw my name written all over it and I bought it! Not entirely impulsively but because I knew I would love every drop of every perfume in there and I could somehow justify/afford a splurge. It cost £175, the most I have spent on perfume at once. The thought of returning it back has crossed my mind but I have convinced myself that it is the best buy ever. I am gettting 75mls (15 x 5mls) for £175 = £2.3/ml. Still a lot of money but doesn't sound so bad when broken down. It works out better than buying decants. If I had to buy a 50ml bottle of say, Carnal Flower, I would have to spend £140 and I might never see the day I'll be wearing the last drop of it. Instead for £35 more, I got a set of 15 gorgeous perfumes! Yes, that is 15 different perfumes, all great ones! According to husband, one for each month till next year. That makes a lot of sense because whenever I am tempted to buy anything else, I can think of this beautiful set (what a great mental picture!) and stop myself from further unnecessary purchases. That is saving money, right?!!

How is all that for logic? I would have added the Christmas reason but I don't really celebrate any festival other than my birthday which is half a year away! But I don't care and I have decided to love it and enjoy it as the ultimate treat. Also, we all know that the world is going to end (well, someday if not right now and life is short!).

Just can't get over how gorgeous the set looks! 
The favourites that I know and love: Musc Ravageur, Carnal Flower, Iris Poudre
The ones I can't wait to try: Noir Epices, L'Eau D'Hiver and all those Rose ones.
The ones for the husband: Cologne Bigarade, Angeliques Sous La Pluie

Comes with a set of postcards with nice artwork, one for each perfume! Nice!

I am one happy girl this holiday season and I smell of Christmas: wearing Musc Ravageur, the smell of cinnamon, vanilla, musk, so perfect!

Wishing everyone a very Merry Christmas and I hope everyone does something, little or big, that makes them happy :-) 

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

L'Artisan: A Perfume And A Candle

My haul from L'Artisan! 
Thè Et Pain D'Epices Candle: (translates to Tea and Gingerbread. read here)
"Time for Tea. The scent of smoky tea, crystallized orange, spices and honey. A slice of gingerbread by a roaring fire. Cosy and warm, this is the perfect comfort candle"
Very excited about this! It is based on Lapsang Souchong Tea! It is smoky, aromatic and has the refreshing bitterness of tea. I don't really get any gingerbread or orange or sweetness. The smell of smoky tea is subtle and totally relaxing. Puts me in the best of my moods instantly. The candles burns well, after an hour or so of burning, there is just 1 centimeter of wax missing. This little treat costs ₤13, it is pricey for its tiny size (35g) but a nice indulgence. If you are looking for a similar perfume, Tea For Two is a good choice.

Mûre Et Musc EDT: I didn't expect to like this fragrance at all. Berry scents in general are not my thing. But Mure Et Musk in the strength of EDT is delightful. It has a beautiful green opening of basil with a very light lemony citrus. I am surprised that I get the smell turmeric on my skin! Not powdered turmeric, but the smell of turmeric root, raw and crisp. It adds a nice freshness to the opening. The berry part of it is really, really mild and thankfully so. I do not get any syrupy berry smell, may be because it is EDT (EDP has slightly pronounced berries). The best part of the perfume is of course the musk. It is a floral musk, very simple but very beautiful. It is not animalic or clean, but has a radiating sweet warmth. This perfume was made in 1978, the first fragrance of L'Artisan. But it does not smell like it is stuck in a decade. It is much ahead of its time. The musk does smell like a trip to 80's (think the Jovans) but the combination is modern and young. Overall, it is a nice, sweet, fresh musk. I could wear it everyday and not get bored!
I got the 15ml spray bottle as a deal with the candle purchase for ₤20 (total of ₤33 for both candle and perfume, great deal!)

I bought this at beautifully displayed L'Artisan pop-up store in Westfield, Stratford City. A shout out to Lisa, the store manager, who was very friendly and such a pleasure to talk to! She was full of information about every perfume I asked to try. We chatted about perfume in general for about half an hour and I was impressed by her passion for perfume. So impressed that I had to make a purchase. I was given 3 samples, one of which I am quite fond of, Timbuktu and other two need proper testing. I also fell in love with Poivre Piquant, a milky honeyed pepper scent, which I may soon get a bottle of when I visit the flagship shop at Covent Garden, London. Can't wait to visit that place!

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Les Senteurs Gourmandes: Tendre Madeleine

Yummy stuff, guys! Very yummy stuff! In fact, entire Les Senteurs Gourmandes line of Laurence Dumont is yummy. I have sampled almost all of them through TPC decants but haven't bought a full size because I had no access to a store that sold/shipped perfumes from the brand. Marks & Spencer has been stocking these perfumes and I am happily trying each one whenever I visit. Recently I picked up a body lotion in the most amazing Madeleine scent!
Tendre Madeleine EDP is a really sweet perfume. It is a bit too sweet even for me, a well known lover of all things delicious. As it progresses, I get very hints of zesty citrus and mild almond in a sweet cinnamon/vanilla concoction. Oh, the delicious bakery smell! It is so nice that I want to eat myself up! As for the Tendre Madeleine part, I get the beautiful cinnamon-vanilla-baked smell but it is not as dainty as a madeleine would be. It is not 'light as air' because of the sweetness but delicious for sure.

The body lotion is lighter on the sugar and cinnamon, has lemon zest to balance out the sweetness, but does not compromise on the vanilla-bakery goodness. Suits me just right! It is light and nourishing. The scent lingers on all day. Great scent for winter but a bit too much for the heat. I can easily finish the bottle in the next couple of months when it is still cold. Next scent to tackle, Bourbon Vanilla!

Friday, December 7, 2012

Back To Black Vs Chergui Vs Tobacco Vanille: Comparison

The amazing tobacco note in perfumes! We are talking about fresh moist, coarsely cut, pipe tobacco here which is rich, dense, luxurious and all those gorgeous things. I have never smoked in my life and hate the smell of cigarette smoke with a passion. But I can stand and do enjoy the smell of pipe tobacco, not the smoke, but the smell of the fragrant leaves. Tobacco perfumes are usually pitched for the male perfume audience and very few tobacco perfumes are marketed as feminine (think Vivienne Westwood Boudoir). Tobacco can smell gorgeous on a women as it can on a man. It smells irresistably sexy on me, even if I do say so myself! My personal taste in tobacco fragrances leans towards sweet ones. Luckily for me, there are some great perfumes to choose from and unluckily my taste comes with a biggish price tag. Over the past few months, I have added three awesome tobacco perfumes to my collection: Tom Ford's Tobacco Vanille, By Kilian Back To Black and Serge Lutens Chergui.

These three perfumes are centred around the tobacco note and the comparison is inevitable. But each of them is unique because there are subtle (or not so subtle) undertone differences which make each perfume what it is: an icon. So, it is not really 'versus' because there is no one winner. It is an experience is to smell them, wear them and simply enjoy them. After all, that is what perfume is all about. I have received a few emails requesting for a comparison. I absolutely adore all three but will not let that bias my thoughts. I'll try to be as objective as possible, so that someone somewhere looking to get a sample or a full bottle will find this helpful. Also remember the golden rule: Sample first!



Tom Ford Private Blend Tobacco Vanille: It is all about pipe tobacco and bourbon vanilla. It is sweet but the sweetness from the vanilla is cut down by fresh cigar smell of tobacco and the mild spiciness of clove/cinnamon. The result is an out of the world fresh tobacco scent, that is sexy, delicious and so rich.
You may not like it if: the combination of sweet and spice is not your thing. There is generous amount of tobacco, moderate amount of bourbon vanilla and mild amount of cloves and cinnamon. It is loud and gets you compliments. Stays on the skin forever. The man and I share the bottle.

Serge Lutens Chergui: It is unique in so many ways. There is tobacco but it is not dominant. I get this strange but beautiful smell of sugared dry hay dipped in honey! It also somehow makes me think of bread! It also has faint hints of dry herbs, dry fruit and mild spices (yes, old and dry 'fruit bread' smell!) but doesn't smell edible at all. It is sweet, powdery (only mildly powdery compared to Back To Black) and it is really soft and sensual. While Tobacco Vanille is rich, Chergui is dense. It is not loud and it is something that blends into the skin.
You may not like it if: This is the safest blind buy in my opinion. I don't think it will offend anyone. It is soft and it doesn't scream for attention. It stays close to the skin. Although it is complex, it is easy to wear and the strangeness (sugar/honeyed hay) works in your favour . This bottle was actually bought by the man and he uses it a lot more than I do.
Fumerie Turque is also tobacco based but personally I feel it is a riskier choice than Chergui. It is more prominent on the tobacco, drier, deeper, smokier and is very leathery. I like Chergui more and actually don't think I can wear Fumerie Turque as a perfume.

By Kilian Back To Black: This is awesomeness! Yes, it is a honeyed tobacco and it is absolutely sexy. The honeyed tobacco is boozed up with smoothest of Hennessey cognac and has a soft amber undertone with a tinge of berry. The honey has a prominent but soft powderiness, not an 'old lady' powder or baby powder but a soft, sweet, sensual powder. It is sultry and sensual in the most lavish, sophisticated way. It is so gorgeous that you can knock me out with a feather when I am smelling this!
You may not like it if: Boozy/honey is not your thing or for that matter 'powdery' note is not your thing. It has good staying power but it is a bit soft projection wise. The man did not like it on him but loves it on me. I LOVE it on me!

Comparing costs: Cost for 50 mls (UK RRP):
Back To Black (refill): £65; (bottle): £145
Chergui: £69 
Tobacco Vanille: £135

Self questionnaire
If I could just get one:
Tough choice between Tobacco Vanille and Back To Black. 
I'll say Tobacco Vanille because I have wanted to get this for ages and the first of the three I got.

The one I will replace
Back To Black

The one I can wear anytime, anywhere:
Chergui

I am really curious to know if you have a favourite of the three. Which one would you like to try, if you haven't tried any?

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Nevermore Body Company

Another day, another Etsy store! Today, it is Nevermore Body Company. I have tried 5 samples (thanks, Michelle!) and I've been really impressed with the scents. Gathering my thoughts about the scents before I place an order!

Chapiteau: Violet, Vanilla, Patchouli, Sandalwood, Musk
Smells like violets, has a Parma Violet like vibe but not totally edible. It is a sugared violet scent on a woody/musky base. It dries down to a sweet powdery feminine floral. Nice.

Madame:  Apple and oak, with a spice mahogany bouquet, soothing hints of vanilla, cinnamon and dark wood, ripe tones of sweet figs and infused with a blend of tobacco, black tea and fruit spices
This is my favourite of the lot and probably one of the best scents I have ever smelt! The woods are feminine without being harsh. The combination of ripe figs with vanilla and very mild cinnamon smells very grown up and does not smell like anything you would want to eat. It has very faint hints of black tea and barely there tobacco making the combination gorgeous! The spices fade quickly and it dries down to this beautiful fig-wood scent. It is very pretty and easy to wear. Goes straight to full bottle list!

Vaudeville: Chocolate, Spicy Pepper, Merlot, Espresso
This is chocolate! Pure chocolate when smelt from the vial. It smells a bit sour, may be due to the merlot note and then it turns into spicy coffee. Really rich and dark coffee with bit of grape like Merlot and quite a bit of chocolate. It is really beautiful. I like the merlot in it very much. It is not very sweet nor (cough) syrupy. Nice combo of wine, chocolate, coffee with a hint of spice. I agree with Michelle, it smells like Black Forest Cake! Yummy!

Burlesque Lounge: Leather, Tobacco, Plum, Apple, Lemon, Vanilla
I smell leather. It is rather a cold leather with mild smokiness. Leather comes with fresh and juicy apple and plum. It smells like apple and leather in the dry down. Unusual but nice and refreshing.

Sherlock: Our new scent "Sherlock" is far from elementary"! With the rich floral aromas of an English garden experience the scents of damask rose, geranium, patchouli, sweet lavender all combined in a sweet blend of orange honey and smokey vanilla. 
In the vial, it smells like a sour rose, sourness coming from orange honey which becomes more prominent as a it progresses. It is a really nice perfume. It is made for the boys. If you like rose scents, you can definitely wear it whether you are a girl or a boy. If you are a boy wearing it, I would like to smell you!

The scents have a decent staying power, though some stay better than others. I feel like I should place an order very soon. There are really nice looking body butters, lotions, liquid soaps, scrubs, sprays, lip balms and a lot of stuff for boys like aftershave, shave cream etc. along with some great perfumes. 'Test Tube Of Perfumes' is a set of 3 perfume bottles which look like vials of antibiotics and come packaged in a test tube! It looks really cute and I really want the set!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Comfort Cravings

I love winter because I can wear two of my most favourite things: all those gorgeous, resinous, heavy, vanilla perfumes and sweaters! Gosh, I love sweaters, all those fancy cashmere ones to 'nana chic' sweaters, mostly grey sweaters but love coloured ones too. I also love sweatshirts (I live in my med school/high school reunion sweatshirts) silk scarves and cute hats! And coats, oh, I love coats! It is safe to say I love warm clothes in general, a little excessively actually. I recently went shopping with a lovely new friend and she must have thought I am bit cray cray for sighing orgasmically at every sweater I looked at! I picked up this really soft and comfy sweater that is also quite stylish. It is the background of the picture above and seen here.

This winter, I have taken a deviation from my usual perfume liking of heavy resinous ones to warm, snugly, light perfumes. I still love an occasional spritz of Shalimar, all my intense ambers like Prada Intense, Tom Ford Amber Absolute, my most beloved Tobacco Vanille and a dab of my Snake Oil, but I seem to be hooked on comfort. The two perfumes I wear a lot these days are Love's True Bluish Light and Boo!

Ava Luxe: Love's True Bluish Light
The beauty of this lies in its simplicity. It is a simple blend of Vanilla and Musk. It smells innocent, pure and uncomplicated. The musk is gentle and delicate, very skin-like. Vanilla just adds a nice touch to the skin musk making it more graceful. It is such a pleasure to wear, it is something so gentle and so beautiful. It stays so close to the skin, like a dainty silk scarf rather than a woollen sweater but keeps you warm and comfortable.

Every time I wear this perfume, I am reminded of how many beautiful perfumes are made by Ava Luxe I need to get more of these gorgeous blends sometime very soon. My eyes are set on Madame X, Royal Parvati and Milk.

BPAL: Boo!
Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab
LE for Halloween
"Eerie billows of spun sugar, fluttering white cotton, and sheets of cream"
It smells like milk and sugar! It is rich, warm, delicious, creamy milk with sugar and vanilla dissolved in it. The "fluttering white cotton" is adds something clean and a freshness to it. My bottle is from 2009 and it is well aged. When the bottle was new, I used to get the eeriness from something which I thought was incense. I also remember that it had a creme brule like burnt-smokiness to it, which was very mild but was still there. Now all that is gone and it is pure and simple milk and sugar - awesomeness! Boo has certainly got better with ageing. It is such a gorgeous scent to wear on cold winter night and stay in. It is so warm and comfortable.

I am also loving the entire Shea Butter range from The Body Shop, which I bought a ton of and some really nice body products from Molton Brown. After all, winter is indulgence time I enjoy the most, unlike summer where I struggle with 'fresh' perfumes and also with what to wear!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

I Swatched ALL My Lipsticks!

I did it because it was fun! I was cleaning today and chucked out many lipsticks that were old/smelly/gross and kept the good ones. So this is what I have that are less than a year old. Broadly classified as reds (those I hardly wear) and pinks (those I love to wear, but don't wear that much):
 Top row L-R L'Oreal Infallible Refined Ruby, L'Oreal Color Riche Serum Ardent Sunset, Shiseido Perfect Rouge RD 305, Elizabeth Arden Lush Red, Evil Shades Diabolical, NYX Violet Ray, NYX Peach, Ulta3 Plum Purple, Rimmel True Vintage, Estee Lauder Hot Kiss, Maybelline Copper
Bottom Row L-R Australis Flamenco, Tom Ford Pure Pink, Revlon ColourBurst Fuchsia, NYX Spellbound, NYX Gem, MAC Pink Frost, Innoxa Pink Peony, Lancome Color Fever (?), Rimmel Glamourous Pink, MNY Colorsensational Pinkalicious, NYX Rose Bud, L'Oreal Pretty Peach
 Top L-R L'Oreal Infallible Charismatic Coral, SAX Coral, MNY ColorSensational Madison Mauve, Australis LE1 (that pretty grape purple!), Revlon Colorburst Pink Nude, Elizabeth Arden Soft Rose.
Smashbox Demure and MNY's one other lipstick on the bottom left.

The truth is I haven't worn most of these in ages! I have been rotating the following three shades regularly over the past 6 months:
Dior Serum De Rouge 650, Elizabeth Arden Desert Rose and Lakme Absolute Day Kiss, all of which are almost the same shade of muted pink, no shimmer or frost, very wearable and they go with everything! I wear Rimmel Glamourous Pink more than others and Tom Ford Pure Pink when I feel indulgent and that is pretty much it.

I don't have a lot but surely think I have a lot more than I wear. Using just 3 out of 33 lipsticks is such a waste of 30 other lipsticks. I am stuck in a 'Lipstick Rut' perhaps? The sane thing to do is to wear more of what I have. But I am getting this sudden urge to go lipstick shopping for more wearable shades!

Friday, November 23, 2012

The Garden Bath: Chocolate Passion

Ever felt the urge to get something as soon as you read a great review about it? I am sure everyone has! For me it was this post on Dee's blog that made me buy The Garden Bath's perfume oil after about 5 minutes of reading it (and seeing how nice the bottle looks!). I trust Dee's chocolate perfume recommendations and bought a full size bottle of Chocolate Passion. Dee is so right! I love it! It is just as described:  "Dark, rich and almost sinful, like a scrumptious piece of moist chocolate cake covered with sweet fudge icing."  I don't find it overly sweet or too rich but just the perfect chocolate perfume oil. I am loving myself sick with Chocolate Passion slathered all over me! It needs to be applied generously and I am absolutely willing to do so!
I really love how adorable the bottle is! It is a square frosted glass bottle with a round cap and it is a roll-on! It is actually compact and tiny for a 10 ml bottle which makes it so cute! 
The dimensions of the bottle correspond roughly to the length of 1 ml sample vial.
Cute!
It is a pleasure to deal with lovely Donna who owns the shop on Esty. She offers a sample with every purchase and she also let me choose a perfume from her unreleased Winter Limited Edition collection. I chose Pumpkin Pie and Winter Woods. Pumpkin Pie (LE for Halloween) is a light but delish pumpkin scent. Winter Woods is intriguing. It reminds me of fresh snow on pine trees! It smells of cold incense and pine on a woody (cedar?) base. It is unisex, leaning towards masculine but I really like to wear it. It would make an amazing room spray/candle. 

I am looking forward to all the new body lotions and other goodies Donna will come up with in future, as I have heard a great deal about them!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

The Smell Of Smoke: Firebird Woodsmoke&Vanilla And Cinders

The smell of smoke is my most favourite natural smell in the world. Burning wood, burning leaves, campfire, woodsmoke, firewood oven, warm fireplace...... a nostalgic smell, a smell that is cozy, outdoorsy and romantic. I have always imagined how good it would be to smell like smoky firewood. Enter Firebird's Woodsmoke & Vanilla = Life Complete! It is my smoky dream come true. Ultimate comfort scent for cold weather. It feels and smells like a warm fireplace on a cold night. It is a grounded and simple scent of burning fragrant wood. Vanilla is more resinous than sweet and makes the firewood smoke soft and mild. It is such a pleasure to wear. It is so good that I want to bathe in this stuff! (Yes, they make a soap too!)

Cinders: "Burning leaves, woodsmoke, and creamy, smoky raw beeswax. This is campfires and hearth fires and a cabin in the mountains heated by wood stove and lit with candles. The smell on your clothes from tending the fire. The smell in the air after the light flickers out."
Cinders is much more complex than I imagined. It smells like beewax and maple syrup at first. On my skin, it has a kind of pine/camphor/fresh/juniper thing going on, but they are all burning! It has a fine underlay of smoke which comes out as the pine, etc. fades and the maple syrup turns into the smell of maple leaves. The result is the smell of burning maple leaves! The smell has grown on me and has become quite nice and enjoyable to wear as a perfume. It is a very realistic smell, perfect for autumn and cold weather. I advice to sample first, though I don't regret getting a full size straight away.

Firebird Bath and Body, (used to be called Flourish before) is an Etsy store with nice perfumes and awesome service. My order was here in just a week after I bought. The full size (15ml) perfume oil roll-on costs $9USD and you can get 3 samples for $5USD. They smell close to skin and need to be reapplied after a few hours which I can do with pleasure! Roll-on makes it more convenient to do so. They also have some nice looking soaps and lotions which are on my wish list.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Walk Into My Wardrobe: Organising Makeup, Perfumes & Clothes

As a final step of the move, we got our boxes delivered from Australia yesterday. I think we have officially moved to UK now. It took 4 whole months for the freight. I was getting fed up of waiting and fed up of living with minimum makeup, skin care and clothes. I couldn't even justify buying, say a blush because I would get about 10 if I waited. Finally, I am so glad to see all my stuff again. 

Everything got here fine, expect for a leak from my Aveda bath oil (the whole box smelt like mashes flowers!), a few powder spills from those tiny mineral makeup samples and moist-smelling clothes (will take me a week to do the laundry!). I can't find a few of my skin care stuff and a few brand new conditioners and shampoos I bought just before leaving. I haven't opened all the boxes yet, so here's to hoping they are in one of them.

It took me all of yesterday (and a couple of ibupropens) for unpacking and organising. Let's just not get into the boring stuff like electronics and books and go straight to interesting things! After toiling for 3 or 4 hours, this is how my walk-in wardrobe looks! There are a few boxes and a few huge suitcases but the room is also serving us as a store room.
Welcome! The white chest of drawers looks out of place with the rest.
Three drawers each containing makeup, perfumes and extras respectively.
Clothes on rotation. Bare minimum warm clothes. Summer clothes are in a plastic box.
I know, I don't have many clothes. It is not as easy to shop for clothes as easy as it is to shop for makeup or perfume!
Dressing table (just a shelf, really) L-R: hair care, compacts, deodorants, jewellery boxes, skin care, brushes, everyday face stuff, mascaras, pencil stand with eyeliners, cutlery stand (!) with mascaras and lip glosses, a box of lipsticks
Makeup chest.
I have this habit of keeping the packaging of makeup and perfumes. Keeping perfumes in their original boxes is normal I guess, but keeping the packaging of makeup is a bit insane. Is it a feature of hoarding or OCD? I don't know but it always comes in handy while packing and unpacking. It feels nice to see things in their little homes!
Perfume chest. full sizes, perfume oils, samples, decants, miniatures.

Drawer with extras. Reserve skin care. The red bag has Skin Physics LED Photon thing (Aveda oil spill on the white box!). There are 2 hair straighteners. The pink makeup bag has been stuffed with nail polishes and pigment pots of mineral makeup. The black makeup case has perfume samples stuffed in it.
I didn't take a lot of 'before' pictures because I was taken aback by the task ahead of unpacking and organising. I had two little mountains to deal with! One is an avalanche of makeup and second, a heap of samples. Some makeup was organised and what couldn't deal with went into the aforementioned pink bag. The samples went into the black bag.


 One thing I was nervous about was my perfume oil bottles breaking. I did not use any bubble wrap for packing. I tightly packed the glass bottles in a box, so that there was no space in between them to clash and break. The samples are in an empty plastic box (Natio body butter box) and a few in little cardboard cartons (packaging of L'Occitane creams). I am glad to report no breakages.

I did a wise thing by downsizing my perfumes and makeup collection before I moved. I have all I need and more. I have lived for 4 months with minimum things and survived. I feel I have enough for a lifetime now!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Lush Gorilla Perfumes 2012: Set In Stone - The Bug

I hardly ever enter a Lush store because the mixed smell of all those essential oil laden products simply overwhelms me. It somehow becomes this herbal chemical stuff that I can't stand. If you want to know more, here are the reasons why I am not a fan.
I happened to go a Lush store to check out the Emotional Brilliance cosmetics which I have been lusting after for a long time. When I spotted the new range of Gorilla perfumes, I proceeded to try them out, with much apprehension as I knew I would end up with a headache! The SA was very enthusiastic about them and we had a chat about how the only smell I like from Lush is Honey, I Washed The Kids. Gauging my taste, she showed me two perfumes which she thought I would like. They were Sun, a really orangey/citrus fragrance and Furze, which is a vanilla coconut smell, both of which apparently are best sellers. After spending some more time trying different ones (there are 10 new ones!) and testing a few on my skin, I walked out of the store and went on with my shopping. After getting a coffee and spending sometime at T K Maxx, I fell in love with the smell on my wrist! I did not know what Gorilla perfume it was but it smelt really nice! I went back to Lush and bought The Bug!

The new range of Gorilla perfumes from Lush is inspired by the stone circles, (the Stone Henge) and the nature and natural ingredients surrounding the stones and the English Countryside in general. Read all about them here. There are 10 perfumes, all made of natural essential oils. They come in various sizes, have different prices. I picked up The Bug in a 7 ml tiny bottle for £14.

Here is video of the launch: LushFest 2012: Set In Stone range of perfumes. People are sniffing stones! It looks like a totally bizarre New Age hippie circle in the woods, performing some kind of ceremonial chanting! Gosh, I wish I was there! I would have totally enjoyed the stone smelling thing!


The Bug: Lush says "Inspired by the paranoia of the modern age (and a track by the same name), this perfume was introduced by walking people through a dark corridor full of clips from cctv footage and glowing uv-lights. The perfume contains galbanum and black pepper."

(The Bug paranoia reminds of Ashley Judd's movie The Bug, which is a wacky psychological thriller!)

All these perfumes smell very powerful at the first sniff, very head shop like and too strong to even know what I am smelling. The Bug is no different. If I hadn't tried it on my skin, I would not even given these perfumes a second glance. The label says it has: Labdanum, Sandalwood, Elemi, Galbanum. No wonder I like it! The Bug is an arid but a warm perfume. 

The Bug is a green perfume, a really, really green perfume. It is all about Galbanum. The greenness is realistic, like sap and quite strong. It becomes softer as it progresses but it takes a long time to settle down when some more softer resins start to emerge. It turns into a dry, woody, ambery and balmy perfume. There is still a lot of powdery, green, slightly herbal galbanum. Its thick balsamic nature is so dry yet so soothing and so sensual. I want to call the dry down a dry, warm green sap, if anything like that ever exists. If you are a fan of labdanum or amber this is a must try. It reminds me of Agent Provcateur Strip and the Ambers from Prada. Those ambers with a lot of galbanum, that is how The Bug smells!

These perfumes are not for everyone (I'd never have imagined to like any of them) but I am sure they will strike a chord with many, especially Lush lovers. The perfumes are in alcohol form with a looming presence of the essential oils, which is kind of a turn off for me, as with Lush in general. I am glad I waited out till the perfume tamed on my skin. It is a nice perfume afterall. Other perfumes I liked are A Voice Of Reason, a smoky woody floral scent (it smells like cigarette smoke and flowers!), The Devil's Nightcap, a mossy floral and Flower's Barrow which is a berry floral. I don't think I'll jump to buy them before properly testing on my skin. The little bottles are cute and well priced (£10 to £20 for 7 mls, depending on the perfume). 

Because I finally liked a Lush perfume enough to buy, I also bought 2 ml set of old perfumes, the Exclusives to try out in the comfort of my home, without being surrounded by all the smells in the shop. Let's see how they fare on me!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

BPTP 'Weenie: Slaugh - The Muscle Rub Smell!

Inquisition: Trick or Treat 2010 (Limited Edition) 
Champaca, black tea, tonka bean, and sassafras.

It is no secret that I love the smell of muscle rubs, Vicks Vaporub, Deep Heat, Tiger Balm, Amruthanjan and such rubefacients. It is an addiction that started when I was in my crib aged 6 months, when I swallowed a little potful of homemade vaporub. To everyone's shock I didn't shed a tear and I was blissfully happy when they found me with the empty bottle. 30 years later, my nightly ritual includes applying a teeny amount of Vicks Vaporub to my nose and forehead before I drift to sleep, even without a cold. I don't know what exactly I like about it. I think it is all about the feeling of comfort that comes in the form of the counter-irritant effect of warmth and coolness. Pure hedonism!

When I first smelt Slaugh from the bottle, I thought I smelt something mentholic. Then it hit me, the Muscle Rub smell! Oh my, that was very unexpected and it made me smile. Slaugh, on deeper sniffing and on the skin, is all about Sassafras, the root beer smell. I am not crazy about the taste of root beer but I do find the smell interesting. Root beer has flavouring of Sassafras, safrole an extract of the plant's bark was traditionally used to flavour root beer. Safrole, after found to be carcinogenic, has been banned and is replaced by a commercial oil that is a by-product of Camphor production which has the same smell and taste of sassafras. Camphor has a mentholic smell to it that is imparted to the root beer. Methyl Salicylate (oil of wintergreen) is also sometimes used in the flavouring of root beer.

See what I am getting at? Root beer has the flavourings of camphor, menthol and oil of wintergreen, all of which are the components of any muscle rub! So yeah, Slaugh smells very much like muscle rub and I like it!

I have been cleverly and unexpectedly tricked by this BPTP 'weenie! Smelling like Deep Heat is probably the only exciting thing I am doing for Halloween, other than rewatch The Purge Scene from The Cabin In The Woods to look at all the hilariously depicted monsters and figuring out all the horror cult references. Merman is my favourite!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

More Honey Scents: HoG, HAEE, Possets, Love Potion, Violette Market

Like I mentioned in my last post, I recently got my hands on a job lot of honey themed scents from eBay. I paid about $30 for 10 bottles (partial/full) which is a bargain. The beauty of this lot is that I have been introduced to so many great perfume oil companies. They are all honey scents, one of my favourite notes in perfumes. Having smelt so many avatars of honey, I am not bored and only want more! I feel exactly like this:
and this

Honey Tree: "Quite rich! Right from the bee hive - honey amplified by seductive essence of resinous vanilla, darkened by a passing waft of mild rare wood smoke."
This one is an old favourite. Well, I can't say this perfume is a typical honey scent. There is honey and it is sweet but the honey is complex. True to its name, it is a woody honey. Honey in milky vanilla, with a bit of bee waxy resins and a woody base. I don't get much of smoke but the woodyness is definitely there. It not that edible kind of honey but a nice and comforting honey scent.


Heaven And Earth Essentials
Pumpkin Honey Spirits: "Pumpkin pie meets fresh baked bread loaded with honey and spices and icing, and kissed by a glass of Southern Vanilla Bourbon."
I have to say, WOW! Pumpkin pie with a beautifully baked biscuity shortbread like pastry. Pumpkin is yummy and the freshly baked pastry smell is delightful! Just when I am thinking that I am in heaven, the perfume progresses into a whole new level. I get smoked pumpkin with sweet honey in the dry down. The smokiness is amazing, like wafts from a firewood oven. I don't know what I like more, the pumpkin pie/pastry smell or the smokiness!

Honey Pot: "Ooey, gooey, delightful sweetened Honey! If you like straight-up sweet honey, this one is for you!"
There is honey but I get a very 'perfumey' amber with it. It smells like a incense shop . It is a bit too overpowering for me.

Possets
Honey:
"As I was reminded by one of the Possetiers, some take honey in their tea rather than sugars. So, I am adding Honey to the things you can put with your tea. Rich, golden, flowery, almost too much but then just right. I was thinking about Maltese honey when I made this one, the finest honey I have ever tasted and smelled. Yum! Yum!"
Limited Edition. Summer 2011

Say hello to the best honey scent ever made! OMG, this is the honey scent. This is truly the finest honey. What is even more beautiful is how well it works as a perfume. It smells sweet but totaly wearable. It has a very prominent floral element that makes it smell light and feminine keeping it away from being cloyingly sweet. It is pure joy. The scent was released as limited edition for the Tea series in 2011.
Come to think of it, this is my first ever full bottle from Possets! Comes as surprise because I have about 20 samples from Possets and I have loved so many of those.

Mara Fox Love Potion Magickal Perfumerie
Honey Ho: "Gotta have that thick delicious sexy golden alchemy? Here it is: dark honey and honeycomb melded with honeyed amber, gourmand musk and brown sugar, made juicy by a dash of Nashi Pear."
Interesting perfume, this is. It is honey with sugared musk. It is warm but still it is light. The lightness maybe due to that dash of pear in it. Dries down to a sweet fruity sugared/sweet musk.

Hot Honeyed Fig:
I could not find the description for it but I get honey and I get fig. Fig is not really that juicy ripe fig which in my opinion would not have worked with something that is as sweet as honey. Fig is green, bitter and very much like the fig wood. It smells like the sap from the twig of the fig fruit rather than the fruit itself. It smells like that raw fig sap with sweet honey. I think the smell is growing on me and I will appreciate it more, the more I smell it.

Violette Market
Vined Watermelon Honey
"Sweet local honey and ripe watermelon on the vine."
Limited Edition 2011 
State Fair: Sun Bear Local Honey Co
Oh yes, straight forward honey with very ripe and juicy watermelon. So juicy that it feels like a bite into the centre of the wedge of a fully ripe watermelon, I want to wipe the dripping juice off my chin! Melon is fresh and with the sweet honey it is a fruity juicy sweet but light scent that would be perfect for summer.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

BPAL Rappaccini's Apiary: The Honeys - Daphne, Hemlock, Oleander

Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab
General Catalogue
Rappaccini's Apiary
"Within the vast gardens of Rappaccini’s estate lies a peculiar apiary, populated with bees of questionable tastes. Inspired by the Maenomenon of Pontus, Xenophon’s Retreat of the Ten Thou-sand, tales of St. Olga, and the exploits of the Heptakometes, Dr. Rappaccini slowly adjusted the pheromone emissions of his colonies, thus modifying their behaviors. His bees developed a predilection for unsavory nectars, and Dr. Rappaccini’s experiment came to fruition."

Rappaccini's garden must have been a dangerous yet a mystical place full of all those beautiful poisonous plants! Creating these toxin infused honeys by making the bees feed on the poison nectars (and sometimes genetically modifying the bees, Paduan Killer Bees!) is a genius idea of Dr. Rappaccini and even more genius of the Lab to present us with perfumes based on the story (Rappaccini's Daughter)

BPAL's honey note is to die for! I love O which features honey with warm ambers and absolutely adore Womb Furie which is Snake Oil with loads of honey. One great thing about the Lab's honey note is that there is as much sexiness to it as it is warm and cozy. It is gently sweet and powdery. It doesn't have any harshness to it nor is it very 'perfume-y' unlike many other honey fragrance oils I have tried. The idea of Apiary scents excites me for all the delightful honey in them. The whole concept of a poisonous flower with the honey note in itself is intriguing. I have 3 perfume oils from the Apiary, 2 full bottles and an imp that I bought from eBay with a whole lot of other honey based perfumes.

Daphne Honey: I have no idea what Daphne flowers smell like. The perfume smells like a really nice floral. It is very floral at the beginning and by floral I mean it is like a mix of orchids and jasmine. Very creamy and heady. May be this is how Daphne flowers smell like in real life? The florals merge into honey. It is very gradual and once it does, it becomes a gorgeous floral honey, something like the dry down of Defututa. Honey is there but not really prominent. Really lovely honeyed floral.

Hemlock Honey: Another flower I don't know the smell of. But Hemlock Honey smells all honey with just a hint of something floral. This one is all about the honey. It reminds me very much of O, in fact it is O straight up! So sexy and so warm. It is not as sweet as O but the ambery vanilla is replaced by a barely there floral note which adds an extra bit of powderyness to the scent. I think it could be called O with baby powder!

Oleander Honey: I know the smell of Oleander. Nerium Oleander leaves have a fatal cardiotoxin. The flowers are poisonous too but they smell really good. The best way I can describe the smell of Oleander: lush floral something like a cross between white rose and jasmine with a sweet powdery base. I also feel it is a bit 'oily'. Oleander Honey smells of a fresh oleander flower in the bottle. Very floral and heady. Sweet and even more powdery now that it has honey with it. There is a bit of greenness, like a hint to its poisonous nature! Good balance between the flower and honey.

Gladly the Apiary scents are General Catalogue, which makes me happy because I can just include them in any order or buy them anytime. Other than these Apiary scents, I also have a bottle of Jerusalem Cherry Infused Honey from Paduan Killer Bees series deserves a fabulous review. Coming soon!

First Thoughts: By Kilian In The Garden Of Good And Evil

By Kilian is probably the only company I know that sends out new release fragrance samples which haven't even reached the market to everyone and anyone! An exclusive luxe brand with ultra luxe prices reaching out to people like you and me! The decision to buy a full bottle or even a refill relies completely on sampling because a mistake will be a super expensive one. It a privilege to even try By Kilian fragrances for many people, including myself (when I lived in Australia), because they are not readily available everywhere. It is hard to track down new releases and they aren't yet listed on the decant sites. Imagine my pleasure when I was sent these perfume samples to my door step! How awesome is that! I was one of probably hundreds of people who received the new releases (so new that that are not still updated on By Kilian website!). You can request the samples through By Kilian's Facebook page or by contacting the company directly via email.


In The Garden Of Good And Evil: The new line has 3 fragrances and it said to have been based on "The Myth Of The Original Sin". All I can say is that I am glad to see the word "Myth". What would Darwin say? Well, I take the interpretation for what it is, a purely artistic translation of a story into perfumes, some very well done perfumes indeed!

For fabulous reviews of the three perfumes, click here. I can't say it so well, but this is just how the perfumes play on my skin.

In The City Of Sin: Bergamot, pink peppercorn, cardamom, apricot, plum, rose absolute, incense, cedar wood, patchouli, white musk accord.
My favourite of the lot! First I get cardamom and mild spices. Then comes a beautiful incense which rests over a creamy cedar base. Incense is soft, luminous and a bit Amouage-esque. On my skin, I get no fruity notes or any patchouli. Rose is so light that there is just flash of it to merge seamlessly with the incense. Overall, it is a woody, mildly spiced incense scent that is gentle, light and very appealing. Probably the most unisex of the three fragrances. 

Good Girl Gone Bad: Jasmin Sambac, osmanthus, rose, tuberose, narcissus, violet accord, plum accord, cedar wood, amber, patchouli, vetiver, musk.
Wow, what a nice a floral perfume! Lush jasmine, a bit of orange blossom, faint but detectable tuberose, barely there rose, oh my! A heady but a delightful blend of florals, one of the floral blends that is easy to wear. Beneath this pretty exterior lurks something vintage. Something that gives the perfume an edge of badness, in a very classy way. That something is patchouli with musk (tinged with a teeny bit animalic quality). This is a statement-making perfume. It makes me feel like a pretty but a sophisticated woman with a 'bad' edge!

Forbidden Games: Apple, peach, plum, cinnamon, Bulgarian rose, geranium bourbon, jasmine, vanilla, honey, opoponax.
This should have been called Forbidden Fruit, no wait, may be just Fruit! Well, it is a fruity perfume but not so forbidden. Begins with fresh, ripe apple and peach, so fresh and ripe that they are dribbling with juice. Fruitiness merges florals (I want to say rose but I am not really sure). It is a fruity floral but a nice one. If you like fresh fruity perfumes with a realistic apple and peach, you'll love it. I like it too, as a fresh perfume for a summer day.

One thing I noticed about these perfumes is that they don't stay on my skin as long as other Kilians. The staying power is good but not as good as that of Back To Black or Love or Straight To Heaven. Back To Black has an awesome staying power which is why I dared to purchase a set. Love and Straight To Heaven are something I would consider buying. I wish my skin didn't eat away these new perfumes as much!

I base my perfume purchases on two very practical things, the staying power and how often I would wear a perfume, other than of course the fact that I should love the smell. Out of the three, I would buy In The City Of Sin not only because it is gorgeous but also because I can see myself wearing it on a daily basis and it has a nice-ish if not super staying power on me. I am sure I will be too tempted to get a refill of it when I see these perfumes at Harvey Nichols in real life. Would I get a big bottle with the oh-so-gorgeous clutch (which is actually the case for the bottle)? I would if I could! But sadly I can't afford to spend most part of ₤150 on a clutch that I wouldn't know what to do with but stare at with admiration all day! I bet the case for refills would be gorgeous in carved white stone. That, I might get!
The Clutch! 

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Cuteness Alert! Estee Lauder Solid Perfume 'Kitten' Compact

Look what I just got! Kitten compact from Estee Lauder! This little fella is from the year 2000 and his belly has traces of Estee Lauder Pleasures perfume, which was originally filled in. He is made of solid metal with gold plating, has green rhinestone eyes with an enamel pink bow and yarn ball and just the cutest kitten ever! Gosh, I love him! Beyond adorable!



The world of Estee Lauder Solid Perfume is a fascinating one. Yes, it is a world in itself, a collector's world. It is not about the perfume in it, but it is about the really special containers they come in. Estee Lauder has been producing these gorgeous compacts to hold a tiny amount of Estee Lauder perfume in solid form since 1967 and the tradition has been going on till today. The limited number, limited edition designs and the fact that some are old and rare make the 'Solid Perfume' perfect to have collections of and it is indeed a well tapped market. There are serious collectors who invest time, dedication, interest and money to build their collections which could be worth a few thousand dollars.
Some Jay Strongwater Solids from 2010 Holiday collection
SolidPerfume.com is a fantastic resource for Estee Lauder Solid Perfumes. Check out this amazing database for solids, with pictures, year and other details. 

I bought mine from eBay for ₤28 (close to $45) and I think it is a fair price. Mint In Box (MIB) with perfume in it will be more expensive and collectors recommend buying MIB as it keeps the collections from devaluation. Something to think about for future buys, but I am pretty happy with mine even though it is not MIB. I only got it because I loved the Kitten and not bothered about the future value, neither am I buying it as an investment. Well, it is not like buying an Omega Seamaster 50th Anniversary watch without papers or box, though some solids (faux Ivory series) do go for thousands of dollars even without being MIB!

This is my first ever solid and I sense the start of something sinister! It is really fun and thrilling to hunt down, collect and preserve these solid perfume compacts. I think I am hooked! I want all the cats, the owls... well, I want all the animals! I also want this year's Harrod's Exclusive Bear! Disposable income, where are you?!

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.