Blooddrop’s autumn collection has been a prolific several-part release this year, and while I’ve skipped a lot of the offerings, I couldn’t resist getting in on a decant circle for part 1 of the release. And since my Forever Head Cold has finally started fading and I can actually smell things again, I figured a review was in order. (So many reviews are in order. Seriously. I still haven’t gotten around to testing out my decants from Blooddrop’s summer simplicities release. As you may be aware, IT IS NOVEMBER 18TH. I am the worst.)
Anyway. As always, reviews were done as blindly as possible, though since the notes are printed on these decant labels it’s not easy to avoid them entirely. Notes and descriptions were added after the fact.
Enchantment: A beguiling blend of white tea, apple cider, a squeeze of Italian lemon and fresh ginger.
In the vial: hot cider with a heavy squeeze of lemon. On skin it’s mostly the same – apple cider, lots of tart lemon, and a kick of something a bit spicy. Not your typical mulled cider spices, though – no heavy cinnamon – it’s more like fresh ginger. That spiciness gets a little stronger as it dries, but it never ventures into cinnamon candle territory, which I appreciate. The lemon keeps it light.
Enchantment is nice, if not bottle-worthy.
Interlude: An elegant little perfume of black tea, vanilla shortbread, and strawberry jam.
In the vial: Ick. Very generic and artificially fruity strawberry, a little buttery, with something headache-inducing in the background. On skin I get black tea, lots of it, coupled with that artificial strawberry. The combination smells like one of those fruit-scented markers I loved when I was a kid – fake and harsh.
I really hate this one.
Bats in Silhouette: Wild blackberries, meadow sage, soft dirt and barn dust, St. John’s wort, cranberries, clove, and pumpkin.
In the vial: All I get from this is glorious dirt. Love. Further sniffing reveals earthy sage and a hint of berry sweetness. On skin it’s berries, dirt, and sage – it smells like a cup of very earthy blackberry sage tea. After a few minutes it takes on a dusty quality that really works with the herbs and berries and dirt-y goodness.
I love this one. 100% bottle-worthy and hands down my favorite from this collection.
Sweets for Rowan: Dried apples, vanilla sugar cookies, gingerbread, and cinnamon oats.
In the vial: Smells like apple crisp. Buttery apple, oats, brown sugar, spices. On skin I mostly get apple and spice, with little of the butteriness or oats I smelled in the vial. It’s not bad by any means, but it’s much more generic-smelling. More like an apple cider-scented candle or autumn potpourri than delicious apple crisp. So that’s disappointing.
I almost bought a bottle of this one un-sniffed, but now I’m glad I didn’t.
By the Light of the Moon: Pastures edged with forests, shadows of mice, deer, and owls dancing their nighttime waltzes, cool air stirring up the fragrances of fallen apples, boysenberries, moist tree bark, moss, silver fir, and herbs all by the light of the moon.
In the vial: Berries at first, and then damp wood and earth. A little musty. On skin it’s a very cool scent, wet, crisp apple with a hint of herbs. After a minute the berry sweetness comes out again, then the damp woodsy smell. It’s deeper, earthy, more herbal, but still a bit crisp and fruity-sweet. It smells like standing in an orchard at night. Needless to say, I’m a fan.
This is one I might need a bottle of, in the imaginary world where I actually need a bottle of anything, instead of the real world where I’ve been collecting indie perfume for more than 5 years and I’ve never even finished a single sample vial of anything.
Reality! What a bummer. Suck it, loser.
Side Note: When I was looking over the offerings for this release, I immediately honed in on this scent and Bats in Silhouette, because dirt, forests, apples, moss, sage, dust, etc, etc. These things are like catnip to me. I was also curious as to how Bats in Silhouette and By the Light of the Moon would compare, because the notes are sort of similar. Well, to my surprise they’re not much alike at all – By the Light of the Moon is deeper and fruitier, heavier on the apples than the berries, and less dirt-y and herbal. Bats in Silhouette is heavier on the dirt and dust and herbs, very earthy, and less sweet.
Of the two, I prefer Bats in Silhouette (MOAR DIRT), but I really like both.
Buckskin: Teak wood, honey, black tea, butterscotch, and black musk.
In the vial: Butterscotch candies and musk. On skin it starts out all sweet butterscotch, but some other notes quickly appear underneath – the musk I smelled in the vial, plus a bit of wood – and after a few minutes, quite a lot of black tea. It smells like you dropped a butterscotch candy into a mug of black tea that’s sitting on a polished wood table.
It’s interesting, but I don’t think I need more than a sample.
Chestnut: Warm apple, cinnamon oats, cider, chestnut cream, gingerbread, nutmeg, and tangerine.
In the vial: Apple, orange, holiday spices. Smells like mulled cider, but creamier. On skin it’s spiced cider with a big shot of orange. The apple and orange are both bright scents, not overly spiced. After a few minutes I get a bit of the toasty creaminess I that I smelled in the bottle, but it’s much more subtle. Overall the scent is very holiday-ish, and I’m sticking with my original assessment – warm, spicy mulled cider with a squeeze of orange over a creamy base.
This is one of the nicer “spiced cider” scents I’ve tried; they tend to turn extremely spicy or candle-ish on my skin. The heavier citrus note really works. Not a bottle candidate, but it’s nice, and I’ll keep the decant.
Palomino: Sunny mimosa, honey, vanilla milk, Italian lemon, and white grapefuit.
In the vial: Smells like lemon-scented bug spray. On skin it’s more of a light citrus – not just lemon, but some more bitter citrus as well – with milky vanilla. Not overly sweet. It’s a bit fizzy or bubbly as well, which I think is what made me think “bug spray.” (I swear that connection makes sense in my head.) And the longer I have it on, the more it just makes me think of that or a citronella candle.
I’m not a huge fan of bubbly scents, and citrus can easily go floor cleaner-y on my skin, so it’s no surprise this one doesn’t work out too well for me. It doesn’t smell bad, but I don’t really like the smell of it for myself.
Dappled Grey: Earl grey tea, sea moss, pussy willow accord, palo santo, and grey sky accord.
In the vial: Black tea and the ocean – ozone, salt, seaweed. It’s kind of a nose-wrinkling combination. On skin I get mostly Earl Grey (my favorite tea, though Earl Grey perfumes usually don’t do anything for me for some reason), with a sort of salty-sweet marine undertone. There’s an ozoney bent to it as well – looking at the notes, I’m guessing that’s the “grey sky accord.” If this perfume were translated into colors, it’d be pale grey and seafoam green, so kudos to Astrid for nailing the theme.
It’s not for me – I’m finding that Blooddrop’s black tea scents don’t appeal to me, and honestly I find the combination of black tea with marine notes pretty off-putting myself – but it’s an interesting blend and if you like marine scents and/or tea scents, I think it’s worth a shot.
The Frozen Horse: Its scent is an angel food cake cupcake with pear compote filling and eggnog frosting dusted with pumpkin pie spice.
In the vial: Holy yum. Some kind of lightly spiced pear cake. On skin it’s pear-heavy at first but the light cakey sweetness comes out quickly, followed by spice that reminds me of eggnog – nutmeg, mostly, but some cinnamon later on as well. The cake here isn’t a heavy yellow cake, it smells like light, fluffy white sponge cake. After a little while the spiciness increases, mostly thanks to my #2 nemesis cinnamon. It’s not completely overpowering, and I do like the scent, but I wish – as I almost always wish – that the cinnamon spice factor was more subtle. I realize that this is almost entirely a skin chemistry thing, though, so if your skin doesn’t grab onto every tiny particle that might at one point have even been in the vicinity of cinnamon and turn it up to 11, this will probably smell like a delicious fruity eggnog-y sponge cake on you, and you should know that I’m very jealous.
Thankfully, the cinna-splosion calms down after a little while and I end up really liking this one. I’ll definitely be keeping my decant, but I may also grab a bottle of this after a few more tests.
The Coffin Horse: Its mourning cake is that of pale vanilla infused with rose and topped with white butter cream frosting and thin slices of candied white grapefruit cut to look like cross bones.
In the vial: Seriously sweet vanilla cake with a little bit of citrus to lighten it up. On skin it’s like a softer version of the cold sniff – more cake and less frosting, but it’s definitely white cake, very delicate and sweet. The citrus is probably grapefruit, and it’s also very sweet and smooth. This is a lovely little cake scent, not as heavy as they can often be, and not cloyingly sweet. It smells like wedding cakes look.
Looking at the notes, I see there’s a bit of rose in this – I don’t get any at first, but after a while it does come out to play. I sort of wish it didn’t – I’m starting to realize I don’t love Blooddrop’s rose notes – but it’s not overpowering and it totally fits with the overall vibe of the scent. And with the wedding cake thing. Sweet, delicate, pretty. I like this one. Not bottle-worthy, but the decant’s a keeper.
The Falling Horse: The Falling Horse’s cupcake is vanilla cake sweetened with maple syrup, holding a hidden center of pumpkin apple butter and covered in lightly spiced butter cream frosting with a maple candy leaf on top.
In the vial: Spicy sweet pumpkin and apple. Kind of reminds me of pancakes. Or a candle. Pancake-scented candle? God someone please make that happen. Anyway. On skin it starts off all spicy pumpkin, much more reminiscent of an autumn candle than delicious pumpkin pancakes. After a minute some apple starts to peek out, but not enough to interrupt the Pumpkin and Cinnamon Show. After a little more time the apple mostly fades away and I’m left with a wrist that smells like cinnamon Red Hots or Big Red gum. Every time! Every single time! GAH. Damn you cinnamon!
Looking at the notes – maple syrup, wherefore art thou? Cake, why hast thou forsaken me?
There you have it! Bats in Silhouette, By the Light of the Moon, and The Frozen Horse are all winners. Interlude, Palomino, and Dappled Grey are at the opposite end of the spectrum – the end where I where I would like them to be very far away from my person, particularly my nose – and will go (or have already gone) in the swap/sell pile. The rest fall somewhere in the middle and will likely sit in a sample box until I decide I’ve got too much stuff and go on my next stash-busting spree.
All of these scents and the rest of Blooddrop’s autumn collection can be found here.