80: sixteen92 the orchard keeper

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And he no longer cared to tell which were things done and which dreamt.

Night blooming jasmine, peach, apricot, pink pepper, sandalwood.

In the vial, The Orchard Keeper is all strong jasmine, with just a hint of peach and a kick of pepper.

Wet on skin – ohhhhhh jasmine. All the jasmine. After a minute or so the peach and pepper come out more, but jasmine is still the most prominent note on my skin. Very floral, spicy, and a tiny bit fruity. I really dislike jasmine, so I’m not loving this.

During dry down, the pepper and sandalwood get a little stronger. The jasmine does get a bit quieter and less heady as it wears.

If you like jasmine, you’d probably love The Orchard Keeper. Alas, I pretty much hate jasmine, so this one’s not for me. I don’t out-and-out dislike the scent, though, which is saying something. The other elements are quite nice, especially the peach, which is subtle but lovely and juicy-smelling. I won’t wear it, but it’s a nice floral blend.

Elevator Pitch: A floral/fruity blend of strong jasmine, subtle juicy peach, and a kick of spicy pepper and sandalwood. More heavily floral to start, the other elements get a bit stronger as it wears.

79: sixteen92 the sound and the fury

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The field only reveals to man his own folly and despair, and victory is an illusion of philosophers and fools. 

Southern sweet tea, Carolina jessamine, balsam, fern, warm skin musk, loam.

In the vial, The Sound and the Fury smells… kind of off-putting, in that way that makes your nostrils flare. It’s hot and woody and herbaceous, with a sharp, acrid edge. It smells a little like turpentine to me, somehow.

Wet on skin, it’s hot and woody, green, musky – but also a tiny bit sweet. Sweet tea. I can’t say the combination is entirely appealing to me, but it evokes a very particular atmosphere – a covered porch on a scorching hot Southern day, lush green vines creeping up the pillars, sweat running down every limb and beading on every glass of iced tea. Oddly, though, there’s also a kind of cooling sensation when I sniff this – like smelling a bag of mentholated cough drops.

The sweet tea gets stronger as it dries, and the edges of the scent just soften a bit in general. I also start to pick up a hint of hot, dusty earth – a welcome addition to just about any scent, as far as I’m concerned. I like this stage the best.

This is an odd duck. I don’t know that I really like it, but I don’t dislike it either – it kind of falls into that valley where I find it interesting as a scent blend, but probably not something I’d wear myself. Tea notes are tough for me, but I like it here – it adds some much-needed sweetness – and the scent as a whole is well-blended and very evocative. I don’t know. Maybe I do like it? I think I’ll break this out again in the summer and see how I feel about it, because it reads very much as a hot weather scent to me.

Elevator Pitch: A hot, woody, musky, green scent with a splash of sweet tea and a waft of hot, dusty earth.

78: sixteen92 wise blood

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Next up from sixteen92’s spring collection: Wise Blood.

There are all kinds of truth … but behind all of them there is only one truth and that is that there’s no truth.

Champaca absolute, tuberose, white pepper, Orris root, guaiacwood, cardamom.

My first reaction to sniffing this in the vial? Oh, no. Nope. It’s all cardamom, pepper, and powdery orris root. This is the scent I was least excited to try, because the notes list is chock full of things I don’t like, and right out of the vial? Yowza.

Wet on skin, I get mostly cardamom and pepper. It’s much softer on skin than in the bottle, thank god. It’s spicy and tangy in that distinctive cardamom way, and a bit powdery.

The cardamom stays at the forefront as it dries – my skin does love to amp cardamom, for reference – but something slightly sweet starts to develop as well. A very smooth touch of sweetness… maybe the champaca? In any case, it’s a nice counterpoint to the pungent cardamom.

I surprisingly don’t hate this. I actually kind of like it! It’s still a predominantly cardamom scent on me, so I don’t think it’s something I’ll need a bottle of, but the smooth sweetness that comes out during the dry down makes it something really interesting and pretty. If you like cardamom, you’d probably love Wise Blood. And hell – if you don’t like cardamom, you might still like Wise Blood.

Elevator Pitch: Extremely pungent in the bottle, Wise Blood is a mellow cardamom scent on skin – spicy and tangy, a little powdery, and balanced out by a lovely smooth sweetness.

77: sixteen92 the heart is a lonely hunter

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Ahhhhhh, I’m so behind! Ugh. Forgive my absence last week – life things were getting super busy/stressful and I was feeling very run into the ground, so something had to give, and alas, it was reviewing. But I’m going to try to bang out double reviews most days this week to catch up, so let’s get started!

When I ordered Supercell from sixteen92, I also picked up a spring sample pack. Claire’s spring collection is, I believe, inspired by the American south and literature pertaining to it, and most of the scents contain at least one floral note, which of course immediately puts me on red alert. But I’ve been sniffing perfume long enough to know that scent preferences shouldn’t be hard and fast rules, so here we are – and first in line is The Heart is a Lonely Hunter.

The way I need you is a loneliness I cannot bear.

Tuberose absolute, soft skin musk, oakmoss, fresh earth, vanilla, iris.

In the vial, THiaLH smells fresh and earthy, a little spicy and sweet, with just the vaguest hint of florals.

Wet on skin, it’s sweet, fresh earth, soft musk, and something that’s reading just a little citrusy to me. Not sure what that is, but it’s very nice. The tuberose and iris scared me away from this one, but at this stage it’s really not terrible floral at all.

During dry down it gets a little spicier – I get more of the oakmoss, but a little more of the vanilla as well. The tuberose and iris, while I’m sure they’re contributing to the overall blend, aren’t very prominent on my skin, for which I’m very thankful. It does get slightly more floral as it wears, but never enough to make me dislike it.

I didn’t think I’d care for this one, but it’s really very nice.

Elevator Pitch: Fresh earth, soft musk, spicy oakmoss, and a touch of sweet vanilla. It’s earthy, spicy, and a little sweet, while still remaining light and fresh – very much a spring scent. Not very floral on my skin, though it does get a touch more so as it wears.

76: sixteen92 supercell

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supercellMy sixteen92 order arrived today, and while I haven’t even taken the spring sampler out of its little baggie, I had to test drive Supercell immediately. I had really high hopes for this scent, and man alive it did not disappoint.

SUPERCELL is a conceptual, atmospheric fragrance that bottles the essence of a Spring thunderstorm. The first cracks of ozonic lightning in the distance, rolling humid air, sharp green grass under heavy grey skies, the smell of rain on hot asphalt, crushed green stems, windblown hay, soaked earth and ancient branches snapped open by the forces of nature. 

In the bottle, this smells so much like a Darling Clandestine scent. It reminds me most of my beloved La La La, All Right, but it’s different. La La is brighter, where Supercell is darker and moodier. Maybe a little bit of Fisticuffs, without the sweetness. The particular greenness just reminds me so much of DC. It’s weird. Comparisons aside – it’s very green and humid, with a sharp, hot smack of asphalt.

Wet on skin, it’s super strong, humid, and green at first, but mellows quickly into a steamy rain on hot dirt and concrete scent. It’s a little dusty and very realistic.

After 5-10 minutes, it smells like strong wind blowing through grass. I realize I’m biased because I know what the inspiration for this scent is, but I swear to god that’s what it smells like. It smells windy. Hot air that’s rapidly cooling, dust blowing hard through sun-baked grass, a smattering of grey raindrops freckling the ground. It’s incredibly atmospheric, and really just gorgeous.

A little while later, any remaining traces of sharpness are gone. It’s dusty, grassy, a little sweet. The smell that hits you when you step outside after a storm. There are broken branches and flattened flower beds, but the air is cool and everything is washed clean.

You guys. Claire has outdone herself with this one. Supercell is absolutely stunning. Not only is it a crazy realistic, it just smells so good. I love dirt/rain/petrichor scents, and this is hands down the best one I’ve ever tried. La La La, All Right used to top that list, and it’s wonderful, but where La La gives me the impression of a summer storm, Supercell IS a summer storm. It is, in the very literal sense of the word, awesome. It inspires awe.

This was, sadly, a limited edition scent. Both batches sold out with a quickness, so it’s no longer for available, and who knows if it ever will be again. If it ever is, I’ll break my “no backups” rule in a heartbeat and buy two more. I want to bathe in this scent. I want everything I own and everyone I come in contact with the smell like this. It’s that good.

Wear-wise, sillage is medium to low and it’s not a powerhouse laster. This is consistent with almost all of the scents I’ve tried from sixteen92 so far. But Supercell is so great while it does last that I don’t even care.

Elevator Pitch: A powerful summer storm in a bottle. Supercell starts off humid and dark green with a sharp asphalt edge, goes through a hot, windy, rainy stage, and dries down to a dusty, grassy, slightly sweet scent.

75: blooddrop chocolate covered apple cider donut

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Today I’ve got the counterpart to yesterday’s review: Chocolate Covered Apple Cider Doughnuts from Blooddrop.

The ever-popular Apple Cider Doughnut recipe plus a chocolate glaze.

In the vial, CCACD smells like waxy chocolate and an apple cinnamon candle. Yuck.

Wet on skin, the apple cider scent is the strongest, with a cocoa sweetness laid over top. At first it was less cinnamony than Apple Cider Doughnuts, but after a few minutes the cinnamon started to amp up again. The chocolate here is really off-putting… it’s like… watered down hot chocolate, weak and a little powdery and very artificial-smelling.

Once it’s dry, the chocolate mostly fades away and I’m left with an inoffensive apple cider scent with just a hint of cocoa. It’s a little spicy, but not nearly so cinnamon-heavy as Apple Cider Doughnuts.

Verdict: meh. I hated it at first, but the dry down is comparatively fine. I don’t like it, but it’s not a scrubber, either. Meh.

Elevator Pitch: This one starts off smelling like waxy chocolate and apple cinnamon candles, and dries to a sort of generic apple cider scent with just a hint of cocoa. Not too spicy.

74: blooddrop apple cider doughnut

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When Apple Cider Doughnut returned to Blooddrop last fall, I knew I had to get my hands on a decant. My fiance (M) looooves apple cider doughnuts. Whenever we go apple picking in the fall, he buys at least half a dozen and they never last the weekend.

So how does the scent compare? (Spoilers: Not great, Bob.)

Apple cider and spice doughnuts dusted with cinnamon sugar.

In the vial, Apple Cider Doughnut smells like an apple cinnamon candle. Slightly tart apple, lots of dry cinnamon.

Wet on skin, it’s a little less candle-y, but only a little. Mostly dry cinnamon with a touch of apple. The apple that’s there is nice, though. I wish it were stronger.

During dry down, we return to the candle aisle. Or actually, it smells exactly like the autumn wreath and decorations aisle at a craft store. I worked at a Michael’s while I was in college, and I always hated that scent – fake fruit and overwhelming dry cinnamon. Either way, it’s not great. I don’t get any kind of pastry or donut from this at all.

A while later, the dry cinnamon does soften a little bit and let the apple shine through more, but not enough to save it for me.

The usual caveat applies here – my skin amps cinnamon to high hell, so your mileage may vary.

Elevator Pitch: Slightly tart apple and overpowering dry cinnamon. Smells like an apple cinnamon candle, or the autumn wreath aisle at a craft store.

73: blooddrop magpie

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magpieToday I’ve got the other scent I picked up from Blooddrop’s (not currently available) Aviary collection: Magpie (Eurasian).

Oreo-cookie colored and very common, the magpie is like Europe’s crow. The bird keeper didn’t intend to house these birds, but several magpies chose to “not leave” during an expedition several years ago and it was decided to bring them home and allow them to join life in the aviary.

Osmanthus, vanilla cream, soft violet, lemon blossoms, and ripe apricots.

In the bottle, Magpie smells creamy, fruity, and lightly floral – vanilla, lemon, a bit of violet. There’s a powdery edge that, combined with the citrus, makes it smell kind of like Smarties or Fun Dip.

Wet on skin, the powdery floral notes are much stronger, with a little tart lemon and creamy vanilla in the background. It still kinda smells like Smarties. Like crunchy, powdery sugar candy with that citric acid tang.

During dry down, the powderiness gets stronger, and the vanilla cream is mostly lost. It’s just slightly lemony now, but mostly a sweet, powdery scent with a bit of violet and an artificial-smelling tang.

I’m not a fan of this one. I liked it in the bottle, not so much on skin. Another addition to the destash pile.

Elevator Pitch: A sweet, powdery scent with a bit of violet and an artificial-smelling citrus tang. Reminds me of chalky sugar candies like Smarties.

Bonus Boy Review: M said it “smells a little grape-y.”

72: blooddrop kea

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keaApology time! Today’s review is for a scent that’s not available anymore: Blooddrop Kea. I picked up two bottles (Kea and Magpie) from the Aviary collection on a whim before they were taken down from Blooddrop’s website.

Muted green, medium sized parrot native to New Zealand. Amazing bold, naughty, intelligent, and rabble rousing bird. They seem to purposely seek trouble wherever they are. On several occasions, they have set off the aviary’s security system and stolen many of the bird keeper’s pens and notebooks.

Tangerine, vanilla pound cake, graham crackers, and fresh ginger.

In the bottle, Kea smells like sweet orange cake. Reminds me a bit of Les Madeleines, which is one of my favorites from Blooddrop, but Kea is a little brighter and less caramelized.

Wet on skin, I get a blast of straight-up graham crackers, and then the tangerine joins the party. Vanilla cake too, sweet and rich, with just a little shot of spicy wet ginger.

During dry down, the ginger gets quite a bit stronger on my skin in a way I’m not super crazy about. It really dominates the orange cake sweetness that I liked the most about this one in the bottle and on first application. It doesn’t smell bad, I just wish it smelled more like cake. Which is a wish I have fairly often if we’re being honest. It’s right up there under wishing things tasted more like cake. Or just were cake. That would be good too.

Later on, I get a little bit of a rubbery smell – like opening up a bag of rubber bands? That kind of thing. It’s odd.

Anyway. Loved it in the bottle, liked it wet, not super into it dry. It’s a little too ginger-heavy for me. Not enough cake. The weird rubbery smell sealed the deal – this one’s headed for the destash pile.

Elevator Pitch: Starts of smelling like sweet orange cake, dries down to a much less sweet, ginger-heavy scent. The ginger is wet and fresh and just a little spicy, not dry or powdery. Goes kind of rubbery on my skin after a while.

 

71: blooddrop broomstick

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broomstickAnother old-style bottle from Blooddrop today: Broomstick.

Sweet summer apricots, crisp early fall red apples, moist spice cake, clove and brown sugar. Just some of the things any good witch will have in her pantry!

In the bottle, Broomstick smells like late summer/early fall baked goods – peach pie and spiced apple cake.

Wet on skin, it’s fruity and spicy, juicy, with lots of clove. The apple is a bit stronger than the peach (or apricot). There’s a toasty brown sugar sweetness to it.

As it dries, the apricot comes out more, and the crisp fruitiness gets strong enough to balance out the spice. In the bottle it smelled like pie, but here it smells like a peach pie before you put it in the oven, when the fruit is still fresh and bright.

This one smells good, but it does have a bit of a scented candle-ish quality to it – stronger at the beginning, less so as it dries. It’s not bad, but it gives me that impression. I thought it might be similar to Solstice Scents Kitchen, which is one of my favorite fall scents, but it’s really not – Kitchen is much sweeter and richer, while Broomstick leans more fruity and has a bit of brightness to it. If Kitchen is fully autumnal, Broomstick is the transition from late summer into fall.

Elevator Pitch: Lightly spiced apple and apricot with a brown sugar sweetness. It smells like a peach pie before you put it in the oven, when the fruit is still fresh and bright.