Before Darling Clandestine closed up for a little while, I went a bit nuts. I started out with a very modest order of one solid perfume and three bitsies. NBD. Then I added on another solid, a full-size bottle of perfume, and four more bitsies. … And then I added on another solid. And another solid. And another solid. And then (finally) three more bitsies. I made a grand total of 6 order over the span of about a week and a half, because I have serious impulse control issues and should seek therapy (of the non-retail variety).
Mental health implication aside, I had no regrets when my orders arrived, all packed together and bursting at the seams with candy. So many pretties. Such smells. Wow.
So I’ll be working my way through reviewing everything other the next couple of weeks, and first up we have three of the bitsies: Carny Wedding, Tapadero, and Aragon.
Carny Wedding: Opens with butter and sugar, unfolds to a tangy, charred wood resin, ends in a puff of sweet smoke. Some love it for the sweet, some love it for the smoke.
In the vial: smoke with a buttery sweetness behind it. It’s odd. On first sniff, I get lots of smoke and a little sweet. Sniffing again, it’s the other way around. On skin it’s definitely smoky, but there is a lot of sweetness to it as well. Buttery is the best way I can describe it – it’s like caramel corn, or marshmallows roasted to the point of charring. The smoke kind of wafts back and forth between being almost pleasant and being acrid.
After a while, something about the combination of scents really just reminds me of sniffing a fresh pack of cigarettes, or dry tobacco. I’ve never smoked myself, but one or both of my parents did for most of my childhood, so it’s a smell I’m familiar with. It’s not altogether unpleasant – kind of nostalgic, really – but it’s not something I really want to smell like either. This one is kind of a predictable miss – I almost never like smoky scents.
Tapadero: Bold and bright sage and roses, dusky sweet smoke and leather. Unisex. Very clean, very cuddly, fresh but comforting—open spaces and worn saddles.
When I first sniffed this, I got a lot of sage and smoke. It smelled like a smudge stick. But on second first sniff, about a day later, I get a strong rose with a little herbal sage. On skin it’s a fairly even blend of rose and sage, with very little smoke. It’s pretty. The rose isn’t perfumey or old lady-ish and the sage keeps it fresh and interesting. The rose gets a little stronger as it dries, and then further on a light smokiness comes out. It’s not the strong, cigarette-ish smoke of Carny Wedding, though. The best description is really my initial observation – it smells like a smudge stick, like a bundle of sage burning. Combined with the rose, I really dig it.
Looking at the notes, I’m really surprised that I got no leather at all from this. Not disappointed at all, though. I like it just as it is.
I really like this – it’s for sure my favorite of this testing batch. I’m not sure I love it, but it’s a pretty, interesting scent and I’m happy to add the bitsy to my collection. The question of whether or not I need more will require further testing.
Aragon: Bright, crisp lavender deepened with sea salt and wine, a bit of leather and a touch of chocolate and caramel. Divinely fresh, rich but never cloying.
Leather, sharp and sweet. When I sniff again, I get some lavender and sweet caramel. It’s very sharp and tangy. On skin the leather is the strongest note, but it’s not as sharp. It’s a soft, brown leather. The lavender is strong and herbal, and overall the scent isn’t as sweet. It’s got a salty skin musk kind of feel to it. As it dries it does sweeten back up a bit, but mostly it’s a leather scent on me. Leather and lavender. Further on a little more sweetness peeks out and I like it more, but there’s just generally a kind of nose-tickling tang or sharpness to it that I’m not crazy about. It softens as it wears, but never quite goes away.
About 20 minutes into the dry down it’s sweet dark chocolate, lavender and a touch of leather. Much nicer. So I’m a little torn. This one is interesting, and I quite like the dry down, but I think, overall, that it isn’t love for me. I’ll have to test it out a few more times before I decide for sure.
Looking at the notes, I think I expected it to be sweeter. And less leathery. This one makes me even more surprised that I didn’t get any leather from Tapadero. I think the wine might be contributing to the tang/sharpness that I don’t care for.
Darling Clandestine is closed for a month or so while Evonne moves and sets up shop full-time (woo!), but should re-open in mid July.