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I don't just write lengthy opinions of books; I write lengthy opinions of perfume oils too, often when I really should be writing something else.

Yet there's something so pleasurably difficult about trying to summarize your sense impressions of something as elusive and under-reported-upon as scent.

I often think I'd like to write short stories in the form of reviews (or other formats I find myself using often), but these are just reviews.

Pognophobia (Fear of Beards)
BPAL description: Definitely bad news if you live in Silverlake, Williamsburg, or the Mission. A tangle of patchouli, upcycled leather, artisanal honey, and a couple of oils youve probably never heard of.

Sexy, smoky woods and patchouli. Wonderfully warm. The best hug from the guy with the best beard and the softest red plaid shirt infused with wood shavings and tung oil from his fine carpentry project for the microbrewery downstairs.

The honey comes forth in the drydown. I agree to a vanilla echo. It's predominantly a patch party on me, but the other elements add complexity. I can't imagine anyone this wouldn't smell good on. Everyone should always wear this forever.


I'd applied this and was huffing contentedly and taking notes every five seconds or so when I bumped the bottle with my sleeve. Today's meditation: rescuing spilled perfume oil with an eyedropper.

Salted Caramel Shortbread
BPAL Description: Dusted with cocoa and crushed nuts.

I've been hunting BPAL for the perfect caramel scent and the perfect salt scent and was delighted to find the possibility of the two together.

In the bottle: Butterscotch! Delicious butterscotch candy. Very tasty, though definitely more butterscotch than the caramel note I've loved elsewhere. Still, no complaints.

Wet: Butterscotch candy with an edge of salt, morphing towards pure salty butter.

This stays close to the skin, but when I move, sweet butterscotch wafts through the air.

Dry: Dry nuts, flour dust, and sweet salted butter. To me, it smells more like getting ready to bake than the finished product -- the ingredients set out in the kitchen.

I like it, though I wish the butterscotch/caramel hung around longer. Not the caramel/salt of my dreams.

Socerophobia (Fear of Parents-in-Law)
BPAL Description: A scent of judgement and scorn: blackened vetiver, smug vanilla, and a dismissive, sneering dribble of black coffee.

Hmm. Sometimes coffee is coffee on me, and sometimes it turns into something wholly other, as in The Two Old Men, and now with Socerophobia.

My vetiver is green rather than earthy or very smoky. In the bottle and on my skin, this is a juicy green smell like an expensive florist's shop, or a very upscale line of botanical skin treatments. I get a faint peppery/smoky edge like chrysanthemum, and throughout there's a sense of rich, heavy floral / botanical oils. There might, in the bottle, be something that almost smells like cherry. There's an elusive peekaboo vanilla effect that sweetens the botanicals.

This smells like a classic perfume to me, something worn by a woman with authority and taste. It's both heady and cool, just the emotional tenor you'd expect from the phobic scenario.

A new BPAL perfume oil is like a new poem to read, one in a language I only partly understand. Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab was something I heard about on LiveJournal and coveted for years before I took an active role in smelling things with clever names. I keep promising myself I'll retire from buying any more -- save for old age and such instead -- but then the Halloween and Yule releases almost always ensnare me anew.

(Also posted at bpal.org)

Crossposted from Dreamwidth (http://radiantfracture.dreamwidth.org/1883.html), where there are comment count unavailable comments. Comments either place are great.


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