common brimstone review, part 1

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5 ml + adorable 1 ml sample bottles.

Last week I received my first Common Brimstone order, and first impressions were positive! I really liked almost all of them in the bottles, and I was already starting to plot my next order. Well, this week I’m finally getting around to skin-testing them, and unfortunately the results have been a bit of a let down. The scents themselves are quite nice, but they just don’t last! It’s the weirdest thing. I’ve never had perfume oils vanish as quickly as these do on my skin. At first I thought it was a fluke, maybe specific to one scent, but no – as you’ll see, it’s a theme that ran throughout my experience with this first half of my order.

I’ll continue to test out the second half of my order, of course, and maybe some of those will fare better, but right now I have a feeling that Common Brimstone just may not be a brand that works for me. And that sucks, because a lot of her scents sound great and I was really looking forward to exploring the rest of the catalogue.

Anyway, let’s get to it. All reviews were done without looking at the notes. Descriptions were added after the fact.

Lady of the Lake: Fresh green apples with warm red clover, and a hint of briney lavender with fresh, cool notes of water and spring rain.

Watery and fresh, with lots of green apple. On skin it’s a bit less sweet and I get a strong dose of herbal lavender. It plays very well with the green apple. I’d like to tell you how this dried down, but I can’t – it disappeared literally minutes after application. Before the oil was even dry the scent disappeared completely. I put my nose directly over the spot on my hand where I was testing it out and all I can smell is a vague ghost of lavender that reminds me a bit of dyer sheets. I really, really liked this one in the bottle and for the 20 seconds it lasted, so this is incredibly disappointing.

September Bride: Peach and blackcurrant will peek through playfully every now and then, but the star attraction here is the luscious blend of pumpkin and honey-lavender absolute. And it’s all given depth and warmth with just a smidge of hay and nutmeg.

Juicy harvest fruits – peach and plum, maybe. On skin it’s sweet and fruity – in addition to peach I’m getting some berries. But it’s that kind of warm, golden fruitiness of a fall scent rather than the bright, zingy fruitiness of a spring scent – all stone fruits and honey. After a few minutes the fruitiness has quieted down and it takes on an almost resiny tone. There’s something very lightly spicy in there, too. This one is really lovely, but unfortunately it also falls into the “little throw, disappears quickly” category.

Bonfire Night: …hints of baked apples and marshmallows spiked with warm cinnamon. There’s a dollop of sticky toffee and orange peel on top, and a whisper of woodsmoke underneath.

In the bottle, this is a sweet, spicy fall scent. Fruity and a little smoky. On skin it starts out quite a bit smokier (my skin has a tendency to amp smoke), but not unpleasant. Underneath the smokiness I get a bit of apple and orange and sweet, sticky things. As it dries down I get a bit of spice – hello, cinnamon – but it’s not going crazy. This one doesn’t change much on dry down – it’s sweet, smoky, and fruity with a bit of spice. Very autumnal. This one lasted slightly longer than the rest, but the throw was still very weak.

Second Breakfast: A tangy start of apples gives way to porridge with just a hint of almond and nutmeg before finishing with a herby base of basil, thyme and fresh grass.

In the bitty bottle, I get green apple and herbs. It’s very fresh-smelling. On skin the herbs really come out – thyme and basil? it’s a bit spicy – and the tart, sweet green apple floats behind them. As it dries down I get a little nutmeg, and something a bit milky and sweet. The dry down is significantly warmer than how it started. By this point the apple is, alas, well in the background.

While I wish the apple stayed more prominent, I do like this one. I enjoy herbal scents, and this is a good one. My only reservation is that it – again – disappeared very quickly on my skin. It was nearly gone by the time I finished this review, which is a damn shame since otherwise this one would be a full bottle purchase.

Noir: Coffee. Lots of coffee, with a dash of whiskey for good measure, a touch of sandalwood, and a helping of nectarines and apricots to finish.

Coffee and whiskey, heavy on the whiskey. A bit of fruitiness. On skin the coffee is stronger, and the fruitiness is definitely apricot or peach or some other fuzzy stone fruit. The combination of coffee, booze, and fruit is very strange to my nose, but it’s not bad. It’s really interesting. The fruit gets a bit stronger as it dries, but as is a clear trend with CB on my skin, it’s basically gone before it’s even fully dry.

Goldilocks: Warm, golden notes of oatmeal and honey, lightly fragranced with almond. It winds down to a woodsy experience of amber, copal, pine, and beautifully lingering copaiba balsam.

Almond extract. On skin almond is still the dominant scent, but it’s sweeter and less sharp. After a few minutes it gets warmer and muskier with a good dose of amber. A few more minutes and it’s gotten a bit woody or resiny, and I smell oatmeal – unsweetened. The almond is mostly a background note at this point. It’s a very mild, fuzzy kind of scent.

This one is nice enough, but nothing I need more of. And again, the lasting power and sillage were very poor on my skin.

I have six more Common Brimstone scents to review – will any of them break the cycle of mysteriously vanishing scents? WE SHALL SEE. In the meantime, if any of these sound interesting, they can all be procured from Common Brimstone’s etsy shop.

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