It’s one million degrees here in Philly with no plans to drop below 90 for the foreseeable future, so I can’t say I’ve been too eager to try out my Sixteen92 fall and halloween collections. It’s gross, I’m sweating, the last thing I want to smell like is spices and pumpkin and candy. But since the fall collection goes on sale September 1st, I figured I should push through my heat-induced misery and try to get this review up before then.
But I’m not happy about it. Eat a dick, Philadelphia summers.
Bela Lugosi’s Dead: Night black clove bud, tobacco absolute, smoked benzoin resin, flame.
In the vial: Sweet resins with a bit of woodsmoke.
Wet on skin: The same sweet resins, a little spicy. Very warm. The smoke isn’t too noticeable here. It’s much sweeter than I expected from the description, the benzoin is almost vanilla-y.
Dry down: There’s the smoke. It’s not overpowering, but it becomes more apparent as it dries. It also gets a little less sweet and a little more spicy. However I’m pleased to say that the clove doesn’t take over and go nuts on my skin, which is what usually happens with clove (and cinnamon, and spice in general). It does get a little stronger with wear, but nothing crazy.
Short & Sweet: Very true to cold sniff on me. Sweet resins with a little woodsmoke, warm but not too spicy. Sweeter to start, smokier on dry down. The clove is more apparent with wear. Sillage is low.
(Every Day Is) Halloween: An overflowing candy pail, the crunch of leather boots on fallen leaves, cold stones, damp air & a wisp of bonfire smoke.
In the vial: Leather and chocolate. Further sniffing brings out some damp stone.
Wet on skin: Lots of candy at first, mostly chocolate to my nose. Then the leather comes out, then the damp stone and leaves. The sweetness hangs over everything and brings it together. I’m not fond of leather but the blend is very fall appropriate.
Dry down: Lots of leather. A little smoke comes out here too, but not a ton. It’s less sweet here, more leather and stone. I hated this one, but then after about 20 minutes it really surprised me – the leather fades into the background and becomes less sharp, and the candy sweetness develops a more vanilla tone that’s really nice with the cold stone and leaves. And suddenly I’m a fan.
Short & Sweet: Chocolate, vanilla, leather, and cold stone and leaves. More chocolate to start, then lots of leather and just a touch of smoke. A while into wear the sharp leather softens and fades, and more vanilla comes out – it’s a really nice development. Sillage is medium-ish at first but drops off to low pretty quickly.
Last Exit for the Lost: Orchard apples, woven wood baskets, dried hay, distant chimney smoke on cool air.
In the vial: Apples! And hay and wood. Not sweet, it smells like very dry hard cider.
Wet on skin: Dry, spicy apples and green hay. It smells like standing in an apple orchard in the fall.
Dry down: A little more wood, but mostly the same. Dry, crisp apples, green hay, wood. Nothing bad about this. A while into wear, the faintest hint of smoke comes out.
Short & Sweet: Dry, crisp apples, green hay, and wood. Slightly smoky and a little spicier with wear. Nothing revolutionary but a nice fall apple scent. Sillage is low.
Lucretia, My Reflection: Orris root, immortelle, white sandalwood, blackened vanilla, star anise.
In the vial: Anise, dark vanilla, and a little powdery sandalwood. It smells like spicy Amish root beer and cedar wood.
Wet on skin: Anise party! It’s mostly anise with a little powdery sandalwood. More spicy than sweet here.
Dry down: The anise is a little calmer and a good deal sweeter, but it’s still center stage. It smells like a spicy root beer float. The sandalwood grounds it in the background, but isn’t super present on its own.
Short & Sweet: Strong anise and a powdery sandalwood to start, dries down to a spicy-sweet root beer float. Sillage is low.
Spelllbound: Creamed pumpkin, spiced bourbon & tahitian vanillas, sticky marshmallow fluff.
In the vial: Pumpkin cake with cream cheese frosting. Delicious.
Wet on skin: The same. Sweet, spicy, creamy, totally edible.
Dry Down: A little less creamy, a little more spicy. A while later the marshmallow really comes out, which gets a big thumbs up from me.
Short & Sweet: Pumpkin cake with cream cheese frosting. Dry down is a little less creamy and a little more spicy, but it remains solidly in the “pumpkin cake” perfume family. A while later, marshmallow! Yum. It’s spicier and more cakey than Haus of Gloi Pumpkin Eater – my bottle, at least, which is several years old and starting to read almost a little peachy. I don’t have it to compare, but image their Pumpkin Cake Pops scent would be closer. In any case, it’s a nice foodie scent and fall-appropriate but not unique. Sillage is low.
Overall Thoughts: My feelings, they are mixed. I’m not over the moon about any of these, but I do like a few of them. The real problem is that they all suffer from a pretty severe lack of sillage and staying power on my skin. Most were barely detectable by the two hour mark, and the ones that stuck around longer wore so close to the skin that I had to shove my wrist under my nose to smell them. (Every Day Is) Halloween and Spellbound fared the best, with the rest disappearing at about the same rate. Obviously this is a YMMV situation depending on your skin chemistry and a host of other factors, but it’s disappointing that these are so fleeting, especially since these kinds of spicy/foodie/resinous scents tend to stick around better to begin with.
(Every Day Is) Halloween is my surprise favorite – it became really nice on the dry down after starting off as a terrible leather explosion, so I’ll probably end up picking up a larger size of that one. But I’d prefer an EDP if it comes out in that format, since those tend to stick around a little better. Lucretia, My Reflection is nice if you like anise, which I do, but I’m not sure I need more than my sample, especially since I already have Arcana Genteel, which is another sweetened anise scent with much better longevity on my skin. Bela Lugosi’s Dead is a classic spicy fall scent, but not really my thing, so that’s a pass. Last Exit for the Lost is apples, so it’s catnip to me, and I do like it a lot! But if I’m being honest I have several similar scents. Arcana Apples Crave Orchards and Comfort Me With Apples, and Haus of Gloi Old Cider Haus are all in this same wheelhouse. Do I need another one? Realistically, no, especially given the lack staying power. Spellbound smells awesome, but you can’t throw a rock without hitting a pumpkin cake scent in the fall, so given the longevity issues I’m on the fence about getting a larger size. This is another one that I might grab in EDP format if it’s available that way.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to take a cue from my cats and sprawl on my back on the cold tile floor in the bathroom. Wake me up when it’s actually fall and we’re past this weak-ass “it’s September, pumpkin beers and spicy scents are everywhere but you’re still wearing tank tops and running the air conditioner” bullshit.