Hello, gentle readers! It’s been a while. My schedule was seriously crazy for a while, and as soon as my workload lightened I managed to sprain my back working out. Which: ow, avoid this at all costs. So I’m sidelined from my usual leisure time activities for a while, which sucks mightily, but also leaves me with no excuse for neglecting the blog. I’ve been spending my minor convalesence reading, catching up on podcasts and tv (including my new obsession, Outlander – which is also occupying the reading category), and yes, working through my massive backlog of perfume. I am, it goes without saying, dreadfully behind on my review-a-day project, but hopefully I’ll be able to remedy that before too long.
And as a first step in that direction, I present to you Sixteen92’s summer collection! My summer Circle subscription arrived earlier this week, and I’ve now tested out all five of the samples included. The inspiration behind this one was the Jazz Age of the 1920’s, and the scents lean toward the fruity end of the spectrum, which is always okay by me.
The Beautiful & Damned: Sparkling pink grapefruit, strawberry, raspberry, and currant with soft violet, gardenia, and tahitian vanilla absolute.
In the vial TB&D is more floral than I was expecting – gardenia and violet over a sparkling grapefruit cocktail. Wet on skin the gardenia is strongest, but there’s a good dose of bright fruitiness as well. The sweet berries are more noticeable on skin, as opposed to the bubby grapefruit I got in the bottle. The floral elements get stronger as it dries, and soapier as the violet, well, for lack of a better word… blooms.
My skin tends to amp florals, especially white florals and violets, and I’m not fond of either scent to begin with, so The Beautiful & The Damned was probably never meant to be for me. And it’s not. The fruits are nice, but I can’t with the gardenia and violet. At all. This one got scrubbed off.
Elevator Pitch: Gardenia and soapy violet over a sweet cocktail of berries. More floral than fruity,
Blood & Honey: Blood orange, wildflower honey (vegan), pale amber, honeysuckle.
In the vial, Blood & Honey is a resinous honey scent with a lightly floral edge. Wet on skin the honey is super strong, all golden and dripping. After a minute or so a slightly bitter orange comes out. The honey note here is wonderful, and gets even richer as it dries. The lightly floral honeysuckle peeks out just a bit – this isn’t really a floral scent at all.
I didn’t completely love the bitter orange at first, but as it dries down it does provide a nice complement to the deep, sweet honey. It smells like some sort of honey candy, maybe one of those flavored honey straws you find beside the cash register at farmers’ markets and little country stores. I really like this one. It’s quite strong, too, with good sillage and lasting power, which is something that can be a bit lacking for me with Sixteen92’s scents, so that’s a real bonus. I put it on before I went to bed last night and can still smell it pretty plainly this morning.
Elevator Pitch: Sweet, golden honey is the star of the show, with a touch of bitter orange and a faint whiff of honeysuckle.
Eternal Return: Peat moss and damp garden soil, tomato leaf, beetroot, grass, herbs, lavender spikes, galbanum, sun-warmed oak bark.
In the vial, Eternal Return smells, well, like a garden. Sharply green and fresh with dark, damp soil. Wet on skin the sharp green galbanum is strongest, but the other notes bloom very quickly and I can smell fresh, fuzzy tomato leaf, herbal lavender, and damp soil and peat moss. It smells very literally like digging in a garden – our garden, full of lavender, herbs, and tomato plants (among other things, like brussels sprouts, because get in me), which we planted in a raised bed in our back yard about a month ago. It’s exactly that, and stays as such throughout wear.
I like this one. It’s not an everyday scent for me – I’d actually love it as a candle or room scent – but it’s so spot-on to digging in a garden that I can’t help but enjoy it, and I can definitely see wearing it occasionally when the weather is particularly hot. However, given that the sillage and lasting power are quite low, it won’t be a full size purchase.
Elevator Pitch: Sharp green galbanum, fuzzy tomato leaf, and herbal lavender over dark, damp soil and peat moss. Eternal Return smells exactly like digging in a new garden, before the plants have really taken off.
Paper Moon: Soft vanilla musk, benzoin, oakmoss, trailing ivy, peach blossom, tea rose.
In the vial, Paper Moon is lovely – soft vanilla musk and light, sweet peach. Wet on skin the peach is a bit stronger, and the vanilla musk takes on a very slightly deeper spicy quality. A tiny bit woody and resinous. The vanilla musk reminds me a bit of Solstice Scents White Fox, but more delicate. It’s really beautiful. Soft, sweet, and comforting. This is hands down my favorite from the summer collection, and I plan to pick up a full size bottle for sure, and an EDP too if it makes it to that format.
I’ve heard some comparisons drawn between Paper Moon and Talia, the limited edition scent included in one of the past Hello Waffle Visage boxes. I’m not a Visage subscriber, but I managed to acquire Talia secondhand, and the two do share some similarities. Paper Moon is sweeter, though, and fruitier. I really love both.
Elevator Pitch: Soft, fuzzy vanilla musk and light, sweet peach with just a tiny bit of resinous, woody spice. Beautiful.
Theda: Tart sangria infused with ripe summer fruits (white peach, nectarine, berries, citrus), dark vanilla, wild vines, rose absolute.
In the vial, Theda smells exactly like sangria – boozy fermented fruits and dark, syrupy sweet vanilla. Wet on skin the boozy element is softer, and it smells mostly like very sweet summer fruits and dark vanilla. As it dries down the tart booziness comes out again, and it really does smell just like sangria or some other fruit-filled summer cocktail.
I like Theda quite a bit. It extremely summery, perfect for drinking fruity cocktails on humid nights. A definite bottle purchase.
Elevator Pitch: Boozy fermented fruits and dark vanilla – sweet and tart, pretty much spot-on sangria.
Overall Thoughts: I really like this collection! It’s easily my favorite seasonal release from sixteen92 thus far. Paper Moon is my #1 with a bullet – I just adore it. Theda and Blood & Honey round out my favorites list. I like Eternal Return but am content with my sample since it disappears pretty quickly. The Beautiful & Damned is the only scent I can say I dislike – it’s just too floral for me.
This collection goes live over at Sixteen92 on May 29th at 9 am central standard time (so 10 am if you’re on the east coast like me). I’ll be there to pick up bottles of Paper Moon, Theda, and Blood & Honey. Claire has said that some of the summer scents will be released as EDPs as well, but probably not right away. I’m crossing my fingers for Paper Moon, myself, because I want to cover myself in this scent in every possible way. It’s wonderful.