115: darling clandestine mayfly


mayflyI’d heard a lot about Mayfly and how disappointed people were that it was discontinued, so when Evonne brought back a reinvented version, I knew I had to try it out.

This is the new, reinvented version of my original Mayfly fragrance. I’ve kept the initial inspiration for Mayfly—the hot, heavy, vapor-rising-from-the-pavement flash of an early summer rain—but I’ve made the florals a bit greener, a bit twangier. Opens deceptively sweet with notes of plum blossom, lilac and other damp, delicate budding blossoms, then gets deeper and jade-greener and muddier and woodier. Petals on a wet, black bough.

In the bitsy, Mayfly is dark and ozoney. A little green, a little floral.

Wet on skin it’s sharply floral on a canvas of black ozone – dark, sharp, thin. As it dries it gets a bit greener, a bit muddier and more earthy. There is still a sharpness to it that I don’t love, though. It’s the combination of ozone and floral elements; they come together to create a scent that reminds me very strongly of laundry detergent or dryer sheets. That’s not the only thing I smell here, of course, but it’s there. It sort of fades in and out of prominence as the earthy green elements wax and wane. Further into wear those are stronger in general, and I get more of the “vapor rising from pavement” vibe mentioned in the description. However, it does always smell just a bit like laundry detergent to me.

I do really enjoy parts of Mayfly, and I don’t dislike it as a whole, but it’s not my favorite from DC and I’m happy with just a bitsy. I was originally tempted by a full bottle because I’m a sucker for rain-on-pavement/petrichor scents, but in my opinion La La La, All Right (which should hopefully be back soon so I can finally get a bottle and stop rationing my bitsy, my preciousss) is a lot more along those lines than Mayfly.

Elevator Pitch: Sharp floral and green elements on a base of dark black ozone. Gets greener and earthier as it wears, but always smells just a bit like laundry detergent.

56: wild hybrid lover’s walk


Wild Hybrid is a new company for me – I’d only heard of them in passing until Jeanine from The Rhinestone Housewife slipped this bottle into one of my orders as an extra.

A moonlit beach walk.  Beach daisies, peony, spiced peach, cassia, honey, blue musk, citrus peel, petitgrain, golden resins and vanilla.

In the bottle, Lover’s Walk is a sweet, resin-spicy floral.

Wet on skin, it’s very strongly floral – white flowers, sweet, with a sort of citrus bitterness and a musky base. It’s strong and definitely not my usual style, but I actually kinda like it.

After a few minutes, a bit of fruity peachiness develops, not overly bright but sort of resinous and golden in tone.

A little while into dry down, the golden resins and vanilla are more present. The florals are still very much center stage, but they’re not heady or too perfumey. It gets slightly sweeter and smoother, a bit less floral and more golden, as it wears.

Sillage is very strong on this one.

This scent is surprisingly lovely. I didn’t really expect to like it, being floral and all, but I have to say I’m impressed. Lover’s Walk is a sweet, interesting floral blend that I actually like quite a bit. I had pretty much planned to test it out and then destash the bottle, but now I’ll definitely keep it around, and look into trying out some more scents from Wild Hybrid.

Elevator Pitch: A sweet floral scent with a shot of citrus and vanilla over a base of musk and golden resins. Strong and definitely a floral scent, but sweet and complex enough that floral haters might want to give it a try.

Bonus Boy Impressions: “I get something vaguely apple-y? I don’t like it the most of anything you’ve had me smell, but it’s not bad.”

P.S. I don’t know about you, but the first place my mind goes when I think “lover’s walk” isn’t holding hands while strolling along a path lined with wildflowers. It’s this:

spike_lovesbitchI’m not sure that version of Lover’s Walk would smell so good, but someone please make me a Love’s Bitch perfume for next Valentine’s Day? Smelly Yeti, you hear me girl?


32: arcana pushpadhanva


My first non-Arcana Month scent-a-day post is… an Arcana review. Deal with it.

Our tribute to Pushpadhanva, Kamadeva, Manmatha, Ragavrinta: god of love, stalk of passion, shooter of arrows, churner of hearts. Scented with sweet, sharp ginger, mango juice, black tea, baked crumpets and a hint of milk.

In the bottle, Pushpadhanva smells sweet and thick, like mango pastries.

Wet on skin it’s a little sharper and spicier – there’s a lot of ginger. It complements the mango really well.

As it dries, the black tea comes out and kind of takes over. I can still detect the other elements, but at this point it’s more of a black tea scent on my skin than a mango one. The black tea does stay pretty prominent, but further into dry down the mango and crumpets peek out a little more. It gets just a bit milky as well.

Boo-urns, skin chemistry! I love black tea, but I’m discovering that I’m not so into it as a perfume note. Sad, because I love this one in the bottle. Still, I don’t hate it or anything. I like the bread-y crumpet note and the mango. There’s just too much black tea.

Elevator Pitch: Starts out with sharp, gingery mango pastries, but dries down to a predominantly black tea scent with a splash of milk and hints of mango and crumpets.

the longest journey: my first darling clandestine order


I love the vintage-y newspaper printed packing paper and ticket stub. A+ consistent branding.

Despite having been deep into indie perfume for years and hearing lots about Darling Clandestine, I never got around to trying them out. I’m not sure why, really. I think that somewhere along the way I got the impression that their scents were just not for me. But after yet more raving from the folks on /r/indiemakeupandmore, I decided to take the plunge, and when a small sale rolled around I placed a small order for a set of three bitsy vials (more on these later) to test the waters.

And these little guys had a hell of a time getting to me! I placed my order on April 29th, it was marked shipped on May 12th, and then… nothing. It shouldn’t take a package more than a week to travel from Chicago to Philadelphia, so I messaged Evonne, the owner, on May 22nd, and she said to let her know if it didn’t show up by the following Tuesday (the 27th, two weeks after shipping). When it didn’t, she responded that she would send out a replacement. According to the package, my replacement shipped the very next day (the 28th), and I received it yesterday, on June 2nd. When it arrived, there was an adorable shark stamp on the back, with a little speech bubble that said “Godspeed!” I die.

While it’s never fun to have a package go missing (for the shop or the customer!), Evonne was nothing but friendly and responsive throughout our interactions – I couldn’t ask anything more from a shop owner.

So now that they’re in my hands, how do they fare? These reviews were done blind, without looking at the scent notes – descriptions were added after the fact. Darling Clandestine’s scent descriptions are generally fairly long and prosaic, telling a story rather than simply stating a list of notes, so I tried to grab the most relevant bits.

Small Saga: Figs and apricot wine and sweet cream unfolding into a mellow, soft wood. Deceptively creamy at first whiff, but then comes the Darling Clandestine complexity you’ve come to know and love.

My first impressions are green and kind of floral, but a creamy floral. Like moldering roses? I don’t love it. On skin it’s a bit better – still green and creamy-floral, but I don’t get that “flowers left in the vase too long” kind of impression anymore. I think there’s sandalwood or something similar at the base of it – it’s kind of woody and a tiny bit spicy but with a powdery edge. As it dries, it sweetens up a bit, and it’s really nice. At times this verges on perfumey, but I actually like it quite a bit. From sniffing it in the vial I was ready to put this one in the swap pile, but on my skin it’s a winner. I like it more the longer it wears.

La La La, All Right: Sun-drenched summer breezes and road trips and rivers and cornfields and river and road. This is a very green, very earthy scent, with a similar accord to that of Fisticuffs, minus the sweetness.

Whoa. Green again, but this time green green – all green, with nothing moderating it. It’s like huffing grass. On skin it starts off incredibly green, a bit sharp, but quickly softens. It smells like humid air – like being outside on a hot day the very second before the sky opens up and pours down rain. I can almost smell the steam coming up off the pavement. It’s really interesting. I couldn’t pick out any individual notes here if you paid me (lemongrass? sandalwood?), but I really, really love this. (It has fairly decent sillage as well – I didn’t think it would when I first put it on, but I could smell it wafting around me throughout the morning when I wore it for real.)

At this point I’m getting the sense that DC fragrances are best not judged on cold sniffs.

On a side note, The Dude was passing through while I tested this one. He said it smelled “like church in the fall.” And I don’t think he’s far off, actually. As this one dried I did start to get some light incense-y notes from it. In any case, this is definitely the front runner so far.

Morderteile Kelah: This is a fragrance I’ve created in honor of a magnificent lady with magnificent knockers. Amber, hyacinth, milk and strawberry jam are just a few of the elements that capture Kelah. As if anyone ever could capture her completely. You need a butterfly net, I bet. It’s sweet and sultry and spicy and summery, and I’m so very happy with it.

First thought: yum. This smells like creamy, milky strawberry. On skin creamy strawberry is still the strongest note, but there’s something floral as well. It’s oddly familiar, and one I actually like. Hyacinth? The bluish purple ones. It reminds me of Easter flowers. I’d call this a fruity scent with a floral edge rather than the other way around, which is why I like it. And I do like it. A lot. It’s just pretty. And easily one of the nicest strawberry scents I’ve tried. Also: boobs!

(Note: It is hyacinth! I swear I didn’t look at the notes. It’s just a weirdly specific scent memory.)

To sum up: Worth the wait. No losers here! I don’t know if I’ll need more than a bitsy of Small Saga (at first I thought not, but the longer I wear it, the more I think I might… ), but larger bottles and/or solids of Morderteile Kelah and especially La La La, All Right will be finding their way home with me at some point in the near future. I’m especially curious about trying out the solids, to see if I can layer them for more intensity and for touch-ups during the day. (In fact I have already messaged Evonne about the possibility to getting a vegan solid of La La La, All Right. I needs it, my precious.)

A quick note about the bitsy vials: I love them. I wish more shops offered this size – bigger than a sample, smaller than a full bottle. It’s a great way to test-drive scents, of course, but it’s also enough product that if I like something but don’t necessarily want to bathe in it daily, a bitsy will be all I need.

Hit up Darling Clandestine on Etsy for spectacular smells and excellent customer service. (And shark stamps.)

intro post!


Hi, my name is Amanda and I have a problem with smells. I like them. I like them a lot. Some might say too much. Some like the overloaded top of my dresser and underloaded bank account, perhaps. I have a large and plentiful (and ever-growing) collection, it’s true. I find things I love, wear them incessantly for a week or two, and then put them in the perfume box with all the rest and go back to searching for my new preciousss. It’s a vicious and lovely-smelling cycle that I don’t have a ton of interest in breaking, to be honest – sure, it’s hoarding, but it’s not like I’m hoarding cats or creepy dolls or half-eaten sandwiches or something.

But in the interest of validating and/or enabling my addiction (and maybe providing a valuable public service at the same time? indie perfume reviews are hard to find sometimes), I’ve decided to start a blog to review all the stuff I’ve amassed over the years. Hopefully it will help me pare down my collection a bit (to make room for new things I’ll love more, of course) and help someone out there who’s Googling “__random indie scent__ review” in vain.

Justification is fun, kids! Try it at home!

Anyway. I’ll probably do these one at a time instead of reviewing everything I own from a given company at once, because depending on the company those would be some insanely long and unreadable posts. My very loose plan is to post one review a day, but we’ll see how long that momentum keeps up.

Also, I will probably post about stuff other than perfume occasionally, which is why I didn’t name this blog something like “Smellovision” or “Through the Smelloscope,” although I was tempted by the last one. Nothing I own smells as bad as a giant garbage ball threatening to destroy New New York, though. Thank god.

Enough chatter, let’s do this thing already.