The final shipment in my 2015 Circle subscription arrived recently – the Spring 2016 collection, inspired by the women of Shakespeare! This shipment also included the Circle-exclusive full size fragrance, All the World’s a Stage.
I’ve really, really enjoyed my Circle subscription and will absolutely be re-upping for 2016. It’s so nice to not have to worry about ordering samples for new collections, and between the amount of samples, free shipping, discount codes, and exclusive full size, it’s honestly a really great deal. Bravo to Sixteen92 for their flawless execution of a wonderful idea.
This collection goes live on February 12th, so let’s get to the reviews!
Blanket of the Dark (Lady Macbeth – Macbeth): Narcissus absolute, two jasmines, yellow champaca blossom, coffee bean, bergamot, oakmoss, benzoin
In the vial this is earthy, a little woody (at first I thought sandalwood, but I’m guessing it’s the oakmoss), and heavily floral.
On skin the floral notes are more subdued, though it is definitely a floral scent. Jasmine is the most prominent, but jasmine always is to my nose. Soft but still heady, waxy and white. After a minute or so I can pick up the bitter bergamot, tamping down the headiness just a bit.
Further into the dry down I get a little bit of coffee bean, which is an unusual addition that works surprisingly well. At this point it’s an earthy, slightly woody white floral with touches of bitter bergamot around the edges. It’s a little sweet but not what I’d call a “sweet floral,” per se. Sillage is low, but I only dabbed on a bit for testing.
This isn’t really for me, as my dislike of heavy floral scents is well-documented, but I actually don’t hate what it turns into. It’s a really interesting blend and I imagine lovers of white florals will really enjoy this one.
Short & Sweet: And earthy, slightly woody white floral with a really interesting coffee note and touches of bitter bergamot around the edges.
Merely a Madness (Rosalind – As You Like It): White sandalwood, clover honey (vegan), sweet orange, rosewater, blond patchouli, cedar heart
In the vial I get fuzzy, woody sandalwood with a bit of citrus and a slight patchouli dirtiness.
Wet on skin I smell mostly sandalwood, cedar, clear honey, and orange, with a tiny bit of patchouli. It’s kind of woody and watery at the same time, sweet-ish from the honey, with a nice citrusy brightness.
The white sandalwood is pale and sort of fuzzy-smelling. It’s nice but also a little bit headache-inducing for me personally, though I’m not sure why.
Further into dry down, the woody elements are stronger and the honey has faded. I wish the latter didn’t happen, in particular – the honey note that’s there in the beginning is quite nice.
Short & Sweet: A fuzzy, woody orange scent. The sandalwood and cedar combo is pale and a bit powdery, and there’s a nice clear, sweet honey note in the beginning that doesn’t last into dry down.
The Primrose Path (Ophelia – Hamlet): Soaked earth, lichen, ancient oak roots, grass, water lily, heavy stone, a tangled garland of faded spring blooms
In the vial: wet dirt and stone, very earthy, with the slightest hint of papery florals.
Wet on skin it’s very wet and green and vegetal, like a forest floor matted with wet leaves after a heavy rain.
Further into dry down it’s still quite green, but a little drier, with an edge of papery flowers, like they’ve been dried and pressed until nearly translucent. There’s a wateriness to it, but I don’t get the dirt or wet stone I was smelling in the vial, which is a little disappointing.
I like this one on skin, even if I like it more in the bottle. I want more dirt! Still, it’s a nice green spring scent, and I appreciate the inclusion of something a little less flowery in the collection. This will probably be one I get a bottle of.
Short & Sweet: A wet green scent with an edge of papery dried flowers. More vegetal to start, a bit drier and more aquatic-floral on dry down.
Side Note: This basically smells like my favorite painting of Ophelia, by John William Waterhouse. Smells the way it looks, anyway. I imagine the real thing smells like oil paint.
Storm of Fortunes (Desdemona – Othello): Star jasmine, orange blossom, tuberose absolute, hyacinth, ambergris, Mysore sandalwood
(Fair warning: there are so many things that I hate in this perfume. All the things.)
In the vial I get soft tan sandalwood, jasmine, and orange blossom.
Wet on skin the jasmine is the strongest element, followed by the heady, powdery orange blossom and hyacinth. God it’s like almost all of my least favorite things shoved into one perfume. It’s heavily floral, and not sweet at all, more powdery or chalky. I’m assuming the sandalwood is contributing to the chalkiness, but I can’t be sure since literally all I can smell is all of my least favorite floral notes assaulting my nose.
I feel personally victimized by this scent.
Further into dry down (I wanted to scrub it off but I left it on solely to finish this review, FEEL SPECIAL) I smell mostly jasmine, sandalwood, and orange blossom, heady and powdery, with a little bit of an oddly warm/salty/dirty scent that I associate with ambergris hovering around the edges.
I hate this so much. Sorry guys. Don’t listen to me on this scent; it might be beautiful on you and you might love it, but on me it is the worst and I want to kill it with fire.
Short & Sweet: Jasmine, sandalwood, and orange blossom, heady and powdery, with a little bit of an oddly warm/salty/dirty scent that I associate with ambergris hovering around the edges.
A Thousand Times More Fair (Portia – The Merchant Of Venice): Honeysuckle nectar, magnolia blossom, passion flower, white peach skin, ripe plum, bright vanilla bean, delicate musk
In the vial: sweet, fresh, and fruity – the peach and plum are the first things I smell, and then the floral notes start to come out.
Wet on skin it’s surprisingly spicy! Not sure what’s causing that, but it smells like spicy peach and plum, warm and musky, with vanilla and sweet florals layered over top. Honeysuckle is the strongest of the floral notes to my nose – it’s not quite a realistic honeysuckle scent (we have a bush in our backyard), but it’s not overly floral or heady like some honeysuckle scents can be. The whole thing smells almost candy-like, like one of those translucent hard candies if they came flavored with stonefruits and honeyed florals.
It stays pretty linear as it dries, no major morphing. The florals do get a bit more prominent, but never overtake the fruity notes entirely. I’m surprised to say that I really like this one! It’s sweet and fruity and floral, but not so floral that it’s overwhelming or heady. It’s candy-like and bright and girly, fresh and very definitely Springy. I’ll be getting a bottle of this one as well, and floral-haters should give it a hot.
Short & Sweet: Bright peach and plum, warm and musky, with vanilla and sweet honeyed florals. Candy-like (but not too sweet) and perfect for spring.
All the World’s a Stage (2015 Circle Exclusive): Rum-soaked apricots, dark chocolate, hazelnut liqueur, praline, amber, bourbon vanilla
In the bottle I get mostly chocolate and hazelnut with a bit of apricot. I just love Sixteen92’s chocolate scents. It reminds me a little bit of Arcana’s La Befana on cold sniff. (Turns out they’re nothing alike, though.)
Wet on skin I smell the boozy hazelnut liqueur, amber, and vanilla most strongly. The chocolate isn’t nearly as present as in the bottle. The apricots come out in a rummy, caramelly fruitiness. It almost reminds me a little bit of fruit cake, but with a touch of chocolate.
Further into dry down it develops a nice toasty, nutty tone, very warm, and the chocolate comes out a bit more. It’s still not a chocolate-heavy scent, though. More fruity and boozy with a strong praline scent. A while later, the praline softens and I get more amber, slightly powdery. Sillage is average and it lasted pretty well – I wasn’t tracking it closely but I’d say at least 6 hours.
I really like this one and am happy to have it in my collection.
Short & Sweet: A boozy, caramel-y apricot scent with some toasty, nutty chocolate. Sweet and fruitier than you’d expect, with a strong praline scent to start and more amber a while into wear.
Bonus Dude Review: I held my wrist under my husband’s nose and he made a face and said “it smells really flowery. And kind of like a daycare.” … ???
Overall Thoughts: This isn’t my favorite collection, but I didn’t expect it to be. Spring means florals, and you all know how I feel about florals. That said, I do like a few of them – The Primrose Path and A Thousand Times More Fair will both be joining my collection. The only one I really hate is Storm of Fortune, while the other two are just not for me.