90-100: blooddrop winter simplicities II

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I’m not even going to get into how behind on the review-a-day count I am; it’s painful. JK: I’m 18 reviews behind. EIGHTEEN. Ugh. So in an effort to catch up a bit, here are quick-fire reviews of Blooddrop’s Winter Simplicities (part 2).

These aren’t available anymore, so… sorry about that… but here they are for posterity. I thought I had a decant of Roasted Nuts, but I’ve had this package sitting on my desk for quite a while so I’m guessing I misplaced it somewhere along the line. Sadness.

90: Brioche: Sweet, wonderful brioche bread accord. Delicious!

HOLY YUM. In the vial this is sweet, buttery bread. It smells the same on skin, like a delicious croissant (or, you know, brioche). I love this one.

91: Dandelion: Bright, green, yellow, and very Spring-y!

In the vial: PERFECTION. Fresh, soft green, like holding a buttery dandelion under your nose. It’s mostly the same on skin, though it gets perhaps just a touch perfumey. I find that to be the case with most of Blooddrop’s grassy scents. But mostly this one is lovely.

92: Forest Soil: A dirt accord with forest notes.

Not what I was expecting. A strong, abrasive dirt scent with sharp pine. Not the kind of dirt scent I like… it smells like an “forest breeze” air freshener. On skin it smells like Pine-Sol. Blech.

93: Golden Accord No. 1: A blend of amber, myrrh, vanilla, orange, musk and soft florals to create this golden accord that has an ever so slight foody touch to it.

In the vial – musky orange and vanilla with a bit of incense. On skin the amber and myrrh get a little stronger, and then a lot stronger. It mostly drowns out the orange/vanilla creamsicle goodness, alas. This one also gave me a headache.

94: Guava: Lush, ripe, and exotic.

Intensely sweet and tropical in the vial – like guava candy. On skin it’s slightly more tart, but retains a kind of candy/gummy vibe. Love.

95: Irish Cream Liquor: An olfactory interpretation of your favorite after dinner drink, so do not drink!

In the vial – sweet, creamy whisky. It almost smells like irish cream candy. It’s the same on skin, a really light, delicious boozy scent.

96: Pineapple Candy: Sweet pineapple hard candy.

SWEET sweet sweet pineapple in the vial, very candy-ish, and something about it reminds me a tiny bit of bubble gum. On skin the bubblegum bit is stronger, oddly, but it smells good. Very tropical and fun, with a slightly powdered sugar vibe, like crunchy pineapple sugar candies. (Are those a thing? Probably not.)

97: Saffron: Earthy, distinctive saffron.

Ooh, this is weird. In the vial it’s earthy and very, very sharp. It’s pretty much the same on skin, maybe a little less sharp. I’m not a fan of this one.

98: Sweet Grass: Fresh, soft grass note. Different than a mown grass accord.

A slightly perfumey grass scent in the vial. Definitely not your classic “just mown grass” note. On skin it’s even more perfumey and reminds me very much of a “spring grass” scented candle. Do not like.

99: Tiramisu: Lady finger cookies soaked with espresso liquor and layered with sweetened mascarpone.

Very strong coffee liquor and a hint of cookies in the vial. The coffee has a sharp, very alcoholic edge. On skin it’s a bit sweeter and much creamier, and less alcoholic.

100: Toasted Rice: Rice lightly toasted with a hint of butter.

Sweet, buttery rice! Not sugary sweet, just like… a mild, starchy sweetness. On skin it’s a little less sweet and a little more toasty, but it also develops a kind of spiciness that I wasn’t expecting.

Overall Thoughts: Blooddrop is pretty hit or miss for me, and the Simplicities don’t often catch my attention, but this one had so many interesting options that I couldn’t resist. Out of the ones I tested, Brioche, Dandelion, and Guava are my favorites. I actually wish I would’ve tried these sooner so I could’ve picked up a bottle of Brioche, because actual bread scents are pretty rare and this one is amazing.

And now I’m only 8 behind! … Which is still a lot, but better than 18.

89: arcana apples crave tea

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apples_crave_teaToday has been grey and drizzly, so I felt like something warm and spicy – enter Apples Crave Tea. I didn’t intend to pick this one up when I chose the scents I wanted from the Apples Crave line, but Julia threw in a sample and I very surprisingly liked it so much that I ended up getting a bottle.

Smoky black tea leaf, golden musk, cardamom, and baked winesaps.

In the bottle, is very warm and spicy, a bit sharp, with juicy baked apples.

Wet on skin the cardamom is pretty prominent, and almost a bit medicinal. This initial stage put me off, because I generally don’t care for cardamom scents.

After 5-10 minutes, the cardamom mellows a bit, and the apples start to come out again. It’s sweeter, lightly musky, fruity, and spicy. It smells more and more like spicy baked apples as it dries.

This one was a surprise for me. Wet on skin I wasn’t a fan, but the dry down is really nice. Definitely a fall-ish scent, but appropriate for a chilly, gloomy spring day as well. It makes me want to burrow under a blanket with a cup of spicy apple tea and hibernate.

Elevator Pitch: Spicy baked apples – warm, musky, and sweet.

88: sixteen92 the awakening

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the_awakeningWhere am I? What is blog? Am I blog? Is this real life?

Things have been so busy lately that blogging has fallen by the wayside a bit. Obviously. Usually by the time I’m able to sit down at night and breathe for 10 seconds I’m too tired to want to write up a review or edit pictures. I haven’t even been fully able to keep up with basic physical and emotional wellness stuff (exercise, not eating like I’m a human garbage can, getting more than 5 hours of sleep), let alone hobby stuff. It’s depressing. Even weekends have been eaten up with freelance work and house chores/fixing. We painted the living room today and now my back hurts and I want to sleep for six years. And we still have seven rooms to go! And I still need to do my taxes! In the immortal words of Cathy: ACK.

But anyway. Here’s The Awakening from sixteen92. It’s the one I was most excited to try from the samples I picked up, so naturally I saved it for last.

She looked into the distance, and the old terror flamed up for an instant, then sank again.”
- Kate Chopin, The Awakening

The scent of solitude among laughter, release through isolation. The distant merriment of boardwalk, salt and sand under the soft beckoning of a tragic sea. Ocean air, dark water, damp mosses, gulf mud, saltwater taffy.

In the vial, The Awakening is watery and mossy, dank and a bit murky, and salty with a touch of buttery sweetness.

Wet on skin the salty-sweetness is most prominent, over a base of dark, ozone-y water and moss. It really is quite reminiscent of the boardwalk in summer. (I’m not a beach person, really, especially in the summer – too hot, too crowded – but M and I usually take a day trip to Ocean City, NJ during the spring to play games on the boardwalk and eat our weight in saltwater taffy. Pro tip: some saltwater taffy contains egg derivatives, but Shriver’s taffy is vegan!)

As it dries, the ozone gets stronger and a bit perfumey, though it’s not as airy and blue as a lot of water scents can be. It’s definitely got a murkiness to it, but I wish the moss and mud were more prominent. They do get a touch stronger with wear, but not as much as I’d like. The salty-sweet taffy fades into the background a bit, too, but always remains sniffably present.

This one was a bit of a let down! Not because it smells bad or anything, it’s just not quite what I wanted it to be. It’s a bit too ozone-y and perfume-y, and the dirt, moss, and taffy get kind of buried underneath. But if you like watery scents but want something a little different, this would definitely be worth a shot.

Elevator Pitch: A dark, murky water scent with a bit of moss and dirt, and salty-sweet taffy. The taffy is most prominent to start, but the water gets a bit perfume-y as it dries. The moss and dirt also come out a little more during wear.

 

87: sixteen92 southern gothic

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southern_gothic“Men and women, they were beautiful and wild, all a little violent under their pleasant ways and only a little tamed.”

- Margaret Mitchell

Mandarin Orange, Apple, Coconut Pulp, Southern Magnolia, Jasmine Sambac, Balsam, White Sandalwood

In the vial, Southern Gothic is woody, with white flowers and coconut.

Wet on skin, it’s sharp and woody at first, a bit gasoliney? Or something like rubbing alcohol. Very astringent. The main things I get underneath are magnolia, jasmine, and coconut, with a very faint fruitiness, but honestly it’s all kind of fuzzed beneath a thick layer of that rubbing alcohol/gasoline smell.

The floral elements become more prominent as it dries, heady white florals with creamy coconut and slightly powdery sandalwood underneath. The awful alcohol/gas smell that plagued this scent upon first application does mercifully lessen, but it never entirely goes away. The balance shifts, but I can always smell it in there, and I really don’t like it.

I pretty much knew that I wasn’t going to like Southern Gothic, but I was lured in by the apple and coconut. Alas, my initial suspicion was correct: this one’s a scrubber. If you like white florals, it’s worth a shot. I’m assuming the rubbing alcohol thing is my skin chemistry being wacky, so your mileage will probably vary greatly on that.

Elevator Pitch: Heady jasmine and magnolia over creamy coconut and slightly powdery sandalwood. Starts off on my skin with a strong rubbing alcohol/gasoline vibe that does fade over time, but never entirely disappears.

86: sixteen92 black sugar

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More sixteen92 today! Black Sugar, to be specific. I’ve only got a few samples left (The Awakening and Southern Gothic), but since I signed up for The Circle, sixteen92’s new yearly subscription thing, there will be no shortage of scents to review coming down the pipe.

“She says nothing at all, but simply stares upward into the dark sky and watches, with sad eyes, the slow dance of the infinite stars.”
– Neil Gaiman

A dark counterpart to Aquolina’s Pink Sugar. Spun brown sugar, red berries, vanilla and tonka bean absolute dance with a sprinkle of dirt, a swirl of cauldron smoke, and a drop of bittersweet cocao absolute.

In the vial, Black Sugar does remind me quite a bit of Pink Sugar, only darker, with a bit of incense or smoke. It also reminds me of Solstice Scents Foxcroft Fairgrounds that way – all cotton candy, dirt, and swirling incense smoke.

Wet on skin, it’s immediately very sweet, sugar and cotton candy, but there’s an undercurrent of cold, damp dirt.

The dirt gets stronger as it dries – a lot stronger. It’s still sweet and sugary, but the dirt is very prominent. It does still remind me of Foxcroft Fairgrounds, but FF is a little more subtle in its earthiness and its sweetness, and it has more of an incense vibe. Black Sugar is pretty in your face, and I mostly get a cotton candy/dirt pairing. A while into wear, the balance does start to tip back to the sugary side again.

I like it! I like sweet scents and I loooove dirt scents, so Black Sugar was pretty much destined to be a winner. Pretty decent sillage on this one, too.

Elevator Pitch: Sweet, sugary cotton candy and cold, damp dirt.

 

85: darling clandestine monstre delicat

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monstre_delicatYou guys, how far behind am I at this point? 6, 7, 8 posts? BLEH. Life is really blog-blocking me lately and it’s damaging my calm.

Anyway – today’s scent is Monstre Delicat from Darling Clandestine. I’ve had mixed results with DC’s blue/water scents, so I resisted the urge to hoard and only picked up a bitsy of this one.

Clean, spicy, rainy, moody, wonderful. Sweet blackened fig, rain water, spiced wood. The nostalgic longing for storms. It’s a haunting watercolor “blue” scent.

In the bottle, is a deep, spicy blue water scent. Not a clear, ozone-y blue, more of a dark, inky blue.

Wet on skin, it’s quite spicy, definitely a bit woodsy, and still deep, dark blue.

As it dries, it develops a kind of dark, murky undertone. It’s definitely moody. I read a description of Monstre Delicat once as being something like hard rain on a big city rather than a clean, clear rain on an open space, and I think that’s pretty accurate. There’s a darkness, a murkiness, a bit of grit to it.

It gets spicier on my skin as it wears. I don’t always have the best luck with DC’s blue scents – I like Mishigami, but Step Right Up isn’t great on me – and this leans a bit toward the latter as it dries further. The spicy woody notes are stronger and slightly chalky or powdery, mostly overpowering the murky blueness. Further on, a tiny bit of sweetness comes out.

I liked the initial application, but unfortunately the dry down, while not quite a scrubber, isn’t something I’m very fond of. It’s strong, though, so if you do like it that’s a plus.

Elevator Pitch: A deep, dark blue scent with a heavy dose of spicy woods. It’s more murky and watery to start, but becomes quite strongly spicy and a bit powdery as it dries.

84: darling clandestine inked

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inkedAnother DC scent today – Inked. It’s one of the few “classic” Darling Clandestine scents that I haven’t tried yet, so I picked up a bitsy when I pre-ordered Mad as Birds.

A sting of sea salt and leather, splashes of communion wine, the essence of raw skin. Inked is one of my favorite little sex machines.

In the bottle, Inked smells sweet, sharp, and musky. A bit more perfumey than I expected.

Wet on skin, it’s deep and salty-sweet. I can see why this is sometimes described as smelling like sex; it smells like an idealized version of hot, sticky skin. Like when it’s not quite the end of a brutal winter and you’ve been so cold for so long that you’ve completely romanticized summer, so that when you think about it being 103 degrees and humid, instead of remembering how it’s disgusting and like being inside of someone’s mouth, your cabin fever-induced memories are all glowy sweat and tan lines and sunsets that don’t come until 9 pm. Like that.

There’s a sharp, leathery edge to it – I don’t tend to like leather scents, but it’s working for me here.

As it dries it loses a bit of the sharpness and sinks even further into that intoxicating salty-sweet skin scent. I’m really surprised by Inked – I didn’t like Aragon much at all (another DC scent with leather notes), so I expected that this one wouldn’t be for me either. But I actually really love it. It’s just sexy.

Sillage is pretty excellent on my skin as well – I can definitely smell it while typing this, nose-to-wrist contact required.

Elevator Pitch: Deep and salty-sweet, Inked smells like an idealized version of hot, sticky skin. Very sexy.

83: darling clandestine don gato

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See that plant in the background? I forgot it was there for three months and now it’s super dead.

Don Gato! This is a winter scent from Darling Clandestine, one that I heard a lot about but was never able to catch until this last release. I originally only picked up a solid (because I’m trying to be “frugal” or something?) and regretted it as soon as I sniffed it in the tin. So when I spotted a full size bottle up for sale in a destash recently, I jumped right on it.

So um… spoilers? I like it.

… It’s clean, sun-baked, green-soaked cat. It goes on subtle but lingers strong.

In the bottle, Don Gato is strongly green, sweet, maybe a little minty, and very fresh. I adore DC’s green scents, so this is off to a good start.

Wet on skin, it’s cool and green, a little musky. The most intense greenness softens pretty quickly, letting the sweetness come out. It’s warm and cool at the same time – cool from the bit of mint I swear I’m getting, warm like sun-soaked grass. After a bit longer it gets a little earthy, like clay or soil. Combined with he musk, which is soft and almost fuzzy, it really does give the impression of rubbing your face into the belly of a warm, adventurous kitty who may still have little bits of grass and dirt clinging to his fur.

My two kitties don’t go outside – we live just outside of a major city, and a few blocks back from a very busy thoroughfare, but even if we didn’t, they still wouldn’t go outside. I still get sad, nearly 10 years later, about my cat who was run over outside of my mom’s house in the middle of nowhere, in a little town with one road running through it. So, no. I get my warm, green kitty fix after they spend some time napping in our sunroom, which is home to most of the plants in our house. (Except the one in my office, which I murdered with my neglect.)

Anyway – after a while, I start to get a bit of something almost cucumber-y. Cool and green. It might be what I took for mint at first. Hmm. Interesting.

I really like Don Gato. I’ve seen a few reviews mention that it’s similar to La La La, All Right, which is my #1 favorite forever from DC, but they don’t really feel that way to me. They share some similar green notes, as most DC scents do, but Don Gato is mellower and sweeter, with a dusty or clay-like earthiness, as opposed to La La, which is sharper and more intensely green, with an earthiness that’s more like petrichor and steaming asphalt.

Sillage and lasting power are both pretty strong on Don Gato (in oil format). Bonus.

Elevator Pitch: A mellow, sweetly green scent with soft musk and a clay-like earthiness.

82: sixteen92 wicked

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Wicked was a free sample with my Supercell/spring sampler order, and Claire must be a mind-reader because I had it in my cart but removed it right before checkout.

I shall smile when wreaths of snow
Blossom where the rose should grow;
I shall sing when night’s decay
Ushers in a drearier day.
– Emily Brontë

Three vanillas, dark aged patchouli, almond buttercream.

In the vial, Wicked smells like almond extract or marzipan, with a dark underbelly.

Wet on skin, it’s sharp, sweet almond extract and dark patchouli. It’s like fresh almond muffins on the counter at a new age store.

More vanilla comes out as it dries, dark and sweet. I’m not a big fan of patchouli, but the combination here works pretty well – there’s enough sweetness to keep the patchouli from being overwhelming. There is a sharpness to it that I’m not overly fond of, though.

I’m middle-of-the-road on the this one. I kind of like it, but I think the patchouli is still a little too strong for me personally.

Elevator Pitch: Sharp almond extract and dark vanilla over a base of deep, resinous patchouli. Not too sweet, a bit heavier on the patchouli.

Bonus Boy Review: M said Wicked is “spicy… and almost kind of flowery?”

81: sixteen92 the grass harp

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So much for doubling up this week! The best laid plans, etc, etc. But here, finally, is the last scent from sixteen92’s spring collection, and the one that made me want to try it in the first place. This is a mix of notes I love – clover, basil – notes I generally dislike – orange blossom, hyacinth – and one I’m neutral on – grapefruit – so I’m interested to see how it unfolds.

The wind is us—it gathers and remembers all our voices, then sends them talking and telling through the leaves and the fields.

Orange blossom, clover, hyacinth, ruby red grapefruit, sweet basil.

In the vial, The Grass Harp is giving me lots of orange blossom. A truly unfortunate amount. There’s also a bit of spicy basil.

Wet on skin, the orange blossom is mercifully softer, but still the most prominent note. The scent is more green, though, with the basil and clover coming out to play. I get little to no grapefruit at this stage.

Oh, and there’s the hyacinth. It’s got a distinctly clean, slightly powdery, almost dryer sheet-y smell to it. It’s actually stronger than the orange blossom once it comes out, which is impressive, if not altogether an improvement since it also drowns out the lovely green bits.

As it dries, the hyacinth, and to a slightly lesser extent the orange blossom, are almost all I can smell. Clean, laundry-esque florals with a little bit of green and a very faint hint of sweet citrus. It only goes further in that direction as it wears, too, developing an a sharp, soapy edge that makes me feel like I’m going to sneeze when I sniff it too deeply.

Alas, Grass Harp, our love is not to be. This is the scent I was most excited for going in, but it actually turned out to be one of my least favorites. Almost a scrubber, to be honest. It’s definitely not something I’ll wear, but if you like clean floral scents this one’s worth a shot. Now I do want to try a blend that’s just basil, clover, and grapefruit, though. Maybe with a little raw sugar thrown in. That sounds awesome and also like it would make a delicious and refreshing summer beverage.

Elevator Pitch: A clean, laundry-esqe floral scent with a little bit of green and a faint hint of sweet citrus. Develops a sharp, soapy quality as it wears that makes me want to sneeze.