Sixteen92's Summer 2016 collection drops on May 27th, and I have had my mitts on it for a couple weeks since I renewed my Circle subscription. With the 30% off seasonal full sizes and a standing 10% off other items codes, it was just a good deal for me to renew. And I really ended up liking a few of these so that 30% off code will come in handy.

This collection's theme is a throwback to  90's girl rock and the riot grrl movement. I never got into it much, I'm not sure why, but I was and still am a HUGE Fiona Apple fan, and quite like Tori Amos too, though I haven't listened to her as much as Fiona. She was my muse through my tumultuous high school years and as a recreational closet singer she was always my go-to for practicing. Nothing is more cathartic for the tortured soul than belting out some Fiona, people. I highly recommend it.

Anyway! Onto the scents:

Bells For Her (Tori Amos)

Sweet basil, dandelion, star jasmine, green vines, mandarin, ozone, green tea, crushed mint

I pretty much knew going in that this would be a winner for me. It seems like most Sixteen92 collections have some sort of green/earthy/watery/or herbal scent, and they almost always work for me. The Grass Harp, Eternal Return, the Primrose Path, I love all those, and if those work for you I suspect Bells for Her will too. This starts will a blast of sweet, herbal basil, quite like The Grass Harp, but minus the orange blossom that might have been too "cleaning product" for some noses. The jasmine is not heavy or indolic. Overall this scent is very green and dewy, a refreshing garden scent-like ivy winding up the brick walls of a regal estate, supported by subtle florals. I can't quite make out the crushed mint as a separate note, but I suspect it just lends a a cool, uplifted vibe to this, and there is a hint of fresh green tea. I would wear this on hot, humid days to feel clean, dainty, and non-sweaty. Very pretty, and full size for sure.


Bruise Violet (Babes in Toyland)

Red lipstick accord, dusting powder, white iris, violet leaf, Damascus & Bulgarian rose, red grapefruit zest (premium)

How weird! This one smells so nostalgic, it's triggering some sort of memory, though I'm not sure what it is. It's supposed to smell like lipstick, and it really does, but I can't tell if that is the memory it's tapping into. Some other product I used growing up? Not sure, but it makes me happy. It's a creamy, sweet, almost candied rose, iris and violet-powdery but not heavy. It sounds like it could be old fashioned,but there is something edgy about it, like it's lipstick not perfectly applied with a brush, but smeared and venturing defiantly outside the lines, a fuck it kind of lipstick. I suspect the grapefruit adds some punch and lift to this and is what makes it smell both powdery and bright at the same time. Nostalgic yet modern. Liking this one too!


Doll Parts (Hole)

Rhubarb, white cake, white peach, cassis, osmanthus, ginger flower

I was pretty certain this would be a no-go. Sixteen92's stone fruit scents don't really work for me, and I wasn't sure what rhubarb smelled like, but I was pretty sure it wouldn't help matters. But this isn't bad! I don't think I'll get a full size, but I kind of like it. It smells like a combination of super fruity gummi candy, and some kind of medication I might have encountered as a child- a cough syrup but not a traditional cherry one, something else I can't put my finger on but I find strangely compelling. It's an intensely sweet, syrupy, creamy, cakey, peachy scent. I like this most on cold sniff and first applying-after it dries down it starts to do that peachy-body odor thing which is the bane of my perfume existence. But those initial minutes are perversely delicious!



New Radio (Bikini Kill) 

Vanilla milkshake accord, maraschino cherry, pink lemonade, grass clippings, waffle cone

This one drove me crazy folks, because I knew I'd tried something very similar to it before, but I couldn't figure it out. Not a memory of something else, but another perfume. It took me a week or so before I figured out it smelled a lot like Haus of Gloi's Satyr ( Italian blood orange drizzled with blackened vanilla). It was hard to pinpoint because they don't really have anything in common so it wasn't a natural connection, but yeah, this smells so much like Satyr. It's got a creamsicle vibe to that I really like-even though I normally don't like cherry, this is more a general sweet, creamy vibe that keeps it from being sharp or medicinal. It has a festive, carnival-like feel to it- like fair foods. I very occasionally get a faint whiff of grass, but it's very subtle and sometimes I can't pick up on it at all. Another winner!



Rid of Me (PJ Harvey)

 Magnolia, Sambac jasmine, ylang, white pepper, grapefruit blossom, ambrette, satin musk, Oudh (premium)
  
This reminds me a little of  La Llorona, but instead of being a peppery, citrusy rose, this is a peppery, citrusy white floral. Usually there is a scent in each collection that I'm sort of "meh" about, and this is that one. I don't have strong feelings about it either way. I don't dislike it but it's not moving mountains for me either. But it's perfectly nice if you like white florals with a little pep!


Shadowboxer (Fiona Apple)

Jasmine fleur, May rose, blond sandalwood, mango flower, praline (premium)

 I had high hopes for this considering the inspiration, but this is the one that just didn't work for me at all. There is something very acetone-like upon cold sniff, like sharp, alcohol-y nail polish remover. Upon application, it's like nuts steeping in nail polish remover. A few minutes after that, I get more of a pungent, bordering on too-indolic jasmine and woodsy scent with something fruity? It morphs a lot and once it finally dries down it's almost manageable, but the journey with this is too fraught with peril for my blood.


To recap!

Love: Bells for Her, Bruise Violet, New Radio
Like: Doll Parts
Meh: Rid of Me
Nope: Shadowboxer
So I was thinking of something to call this post that wasn't some boring, lame apology-for-being-gone-so-long title. And then I thought that 2016 has me feeling a little like Season 3 The Walking Dead character Milton (spoiler warning I guess if you haven't seen it?) after he got beaten, pummelled, and stabbed by the Governor, and locked in the torture chamber to die, turn, and inevitably kill handcuffed Andrea. So they talk, share heartfelt feelings of regret and hope, and he periodically tells her "I'm still here...I'm still alive," helpfully reminding her to get her ass moving to free herself, but instead she just keeps rambling on and on with no real urgency considering her impending demise. But I digress...

So I feel like 2016 has been my personal Governor, but despite feeling pretty run down, I'm still here, and still alive. In one of my last posts, I talked about work changes, dealing with my anxiety, and starting medication for it. All of that has been challenging enough, but in mid April, a week before my 35th birthday, my dad had a stroke. And a week after that, the new library opened, and all the chaos that has come with it. So this past month or so has just been me trying to deal with these changes and keep myself sane.

My dad has been in the hospital almost a month, and is supposed to go to a nursing home for rehab this week. When he had his stroke (he got a blood clot, fell in the bathroom, and my mom had to call paramedics and they had to tear the door down to get him), I wasn't very hopeful. The surgeon couldn't remove the clot manually and he made it sound like he wouldn't get any better and said we needed to prepare for him to have a worse and more debilitating stroke. His bedside manner was lacking and had me basically mentally planning dad's funeral, and freaking out over what my mom would do. But dad survived, they dissolved the clot, and has improved so much more than I imagined- it affected his left side and speech, swallowing, ability to control that side was affected. He has progressed to eating regular food and can speak pretty clearly and can turn his head. He can stand for almost a minute though he is in pain and needed a double knee replacement before this. He still is having trouble with left hand/arm coordination though, but still, he is in good spirits considering everything and is focused in getting better. I know walking will be the biggest challenge for him, but I'm just happy he's alive.

My parents have always had health issues and I was no stranger to hospital waiting rooms as a child, but this was the scariest experience, the one where death was truly staring me in the face. I have NEVER cried at any of their health crises, but when that surgeon came out, I did break down. I think the medication I've started has actually helped me a TON with all of this, and has also helped me express myself without the crippling fear and anxiety that had me holding back for much of my life. I don't find myself getting worked up, anxious, overwhelmed, or angry over things as much, with far fewer fight-or-flight responses, but I don't feel emotionally flat either. I feel more comfortable saying things, expressing feelings without second-guessing myself as much as I used to. My mom is, as I've mentioned before, pretty much mentally ill and at times very self-centered and difficult to deal with ( I was emotionally abused growing up, no two ways around it) but G has been amazing taking her to the store, getting the rent paid, running errands with her, even though she hasn't always been super nice to him. I am grateful he's taken this on board as work as sucked up a lot of my energy.

I am also grateful I started the meds back in February when I did, as all of this would have been so much harder without it. Work has been crazy busy, so much more so than I'm used to, and adjusting to the huge new building, larger staff, and generally different way of working as been challenging, but I am...dare I say it...doing OK? My new co-workers are really nice and friendly for the most part and it's kind of nice spending time with some fresh blood, though we don't have much time to talk yet and get to know each other. It's been a lot of trial by fire and just fumbling our ways through, but there hasn't been a lot of drama or head-butting yet.

 I am out on the floor almost all day now, spending time "roving" with a walkie-talkie and a tablet, which means walking around, asking people if they need help, assisting with check-out and returns, computer help, etc. Then I spend an hour on the desk doing general circulation/reference work, then an hour "greeting", yeah, pretty much like a grocery-store greeter. And around and around like that. I'm in charge of supplies so my off desk time is mostly spent keeping track of that. I feel more productive/competent in a way, and patrons have been excited and mostly positive about the new building. I still get to see my favorite patrons from my original branch. A few naysayers have been grumpy about using the new technology for self-check and have claimed we staff now "have nothing to do" (yeah, right) or saying the building is "soulless" compared to the old branches, but mostly people think it's cool and have been super impressed. We have huge wall mounted TVs for kids to play Wii and Playstation, a recording studio, meeting and conference rooms to reserve, a cafe, so this has been major culture shock, but somehow in the midst of everything I'm adapting.

I have a lot less down time at work now, so getting any blogging done is going to be strictly an at-home venture, but I really want to get back into it as I have so many new smells and it would be a pity to leave them un-reviewed. Now that I'm starting (fingers crossed) to get my bearings and hopefully dad will continue to improve I hope to start posting again. I don't even know if anyone reads this anymore, but I will try to keep doing it at least for myself, so I can keep connected to the things that make me happiest.




Eden Botanicals is one of the companies I've purchased from this year while exploring various ingredients for perfumery for my own education and blending attempts. Eden has some really precious, rare, and high quality ingredients that the average consumer can afford to try as they have samples available for the price of the average indie perfume sample, 2-3 dollars. They do have some REALLY precious ingredients that come in itsy bitsy size samples, about 6 drops, and also some materials that have been pre-diluted. They have carrier oils, hydrosols, organic essential oils, co2s, absolutes, all kinds of goodies. I love that when you order, you get a free sample for every 20 dollars you spend, and each sample vial has useful information about the ingredient: what it's made of, where it's from, etc. 

While I was exploring the perfume side of things, I noticed they had some excellent oils for skin care. I love skin oils but they can be really pricey (for example, Josie Maran's argan oil is 48 dollars for 1.7 ounces). I decided to whip up my own using Eden's ingredients, which allowed me to customize specialty oils for my own benefit.  I purchased 1/2 ounce of organic Argan oil from Eden for $7.00, 1/4 ounce of Rosehip seed oil for $9.00, and sample vials of Sea Buckthorn oil and Pomegranate Seed oil for $2.00 each. The site has lots of info on each oil's benefits and usage guidelines too. I composed  my blend to focus on healing and nourishing, with good for sensitive skin, anti-aging, and high in anti-oxidant ingredients.


For my face oil I used a base of Argan oil, about 50% of a 5ml pump bottle, and added Rosehip Seed oil until the bottle was about 75% full. To that I added 10 drops each of Pomegranate Seed oil and Sea Buckthorn oil. Sea Buckthorn oil has a scary orange tint due to high levels of beta carotene so you want to use it very sparingly and in dilution as it can stain skin. Even with only 10 drops this blend is pretty orange but it blends out easily. If you're nervous about it, add fewer drops. 



After that, I added some essential oils to scent the oil. You don't have to add any, the oil is fine as is, but I enjoy some aromatherapy with my skincare, especially when I get to decide what's in it. I used 5 drops of Frankincense co2, 5 drops of Geranium, and 10 drops of Bulgarian Rose absolute that was already pre-diluted to 10%. This makes a pretty strongly scented oil, it smells spa-like and relaxing! Kind of Aveda-like, if you've been in one of their shops. But definitely sniff after each addition to tailor the scent to your liking. I've made another one I enjoyed replacing the Geranium with Lavender Maillette, and that was also really lovely.



I've been using this oil as my primary leave-on skincare (aside from some Aveeno moisturizer) for about a month now, and I adore it! It soaks in so quickly and is super gentle. My skin has been extra sensitive the past few years and prone to nasty allergic reaction type rashes, and this doesn't trigger those for me and it also hasn't caused any major breakouts. Any breakouts I get seem to be soothed and healed more quickly when I use this. I use a few drops at night and in the morning, and I do think my skin is happier for it. 



I really think Eden is a great resource and I'm definitely going to buy more supplies for my skin oil when I run out. This is going to be a staple for me! Your mileage may vary, and this post isn't meant to diagnose, prevent, or treat any conditions, illnesses, and all that jazz. Your mileage may vary, and be sure to do patch tests when trying something new like this.

Hope you all have a great day, and let me know if you have any questions!
Recently I got my final Sixteen92 Circle order for Spring 2016. New subscriptions will be accepted starting April 1. Will I renew? I really want to! If I have the funds, I definitely will. Sixteen92 can be hit-or-miss for me, but I usually find at least one or two scents that I love from each collection, and the coupon codes make the investment well worth it. Plus I love knowing that I have a guaranteed collection of samples coming to me every season without worrying about saving back for it, or deliberating about which ones I want to try. 

So- onto the scents! I took this picture on the greenest spot I could find in our yard, which is sort of feeble and sad, but we've had a couple of sunny, 60 degree days lately so I have gotten some use out of these scents already. I'm kind of boring in that I tend to only want "springy" scents when it actually feels like spring. 




Blanket of the Dark
Narcissus absolute, two Jasmines, yellow Champaca blossom, coffee bean, bergamot, oakmoss, benzoin

This was the one major miss of the collection for me, and G didn't like it either. He pretty much insisted I wash it off, and I was happy to oblige. So this assessment is only from cold sniff and immediate application. Cold sniff was akin to burning rubber. Sixteen92's blends with  heady florals like jasmine don't often work for me- they are just too indolic and heavy. This one has two jasmines, so nope. nope. nope. It has a potent dose of heady, vaguely mothball-y and indolic florals and is also kind of bitter (from the coffee?) that makes it translate to a burning rubber smell for me.

Merely a Madness
White sandalwood, clover honey (vegan), sweet orange, rosewater, blond patchouli, cedar heart


This reminds me of a lighter, more wearable version of their Blood and Honey scent, which was too cloying and sticky for me to wear. This is more brighter and more delicate, with a softer woodsy finish. I don't really love it, but it's pleasant enough.


The Primrose Path
Soaked earth, lichen, ancient oak roots, grass, water lily, heavy stone, a tangled garland of faded spring blooms

I told you I can rely on loving at least one or two scents from each collection, and this one is it. Yes! Something to get excited about! This one smells strongly of fresh green grass, with some wet earthiness and soft florals in the background. It smells like a rain-spattered garden, when the sun comes out and starts warming up the raindrops still clinging to the leaves and petals, making them sparkle. Ugh, this is gorgeous and happy and I am pretty sure you can tell that Sixteen92's earthy/garden/rain scents are most likely to be winners in my book. Full size for sure! 


Storm of Fortunes
Star jasmine, orange blossom, tuberose absolute, hyacinth, ambergris, Mysore sandalwood

What's this? A most unexpected hit given my previous railing against the evils of jasmine. I actually really like this! It's got some of my favorite notes supporting it, (hyacinth and orange blossom) which seem to temper and tame it for me. Without them I may not have liked this so much. This is not aquatic per se, but it has a bright, sparkling, watery quality to it that I really like. It's almost sweet/juicy: fruit-but-not-fruit.  The dry down is more woodsy and sexy- yeah, there is something sexy about the drydown- something animalic in a good, not-overpowering way. The ambergris maybe? It reminds me a little of one of the other few jasmine scents I enjoy, Juliet from Sweet Anthem.

A Thousand Times More Fair
Honeysuckle nectar, magnolia blossom, passion flower, white peach skin, ripe plum, bright vanilla bean, delicate musk


This one I see as being likely the most universally attractive scent, the most popular. Just not for me, sadly. For a peachy scent, it's not bad, but peaches and plums as well as white florals- the cards were stacked against it. It's more summery and almost a little humid/tropical than light, springy and breezy to me, Truth be told, peaches often just end up smelling like funky body odor on me, so it's just not a good match. I'm guessing if you like their Lolita scent you may like this, though this is a more "mature" peachy scent. I'm contradicting myself here, but I actually do sort of like Lolita, as that smells more like sweet boozy gummi bears than actual peaches.

All the World's a Stage
Rum-soaked apricots, dark chocolate, hazelnut liqueur, praline, amber, bourbon vanilla


This was an exclusive scent that came with Circle subscriptions, so unless you find it in a swap, you won't be able to get this. This is sweet, rich, and boozy, with a fair amount of apricot, which is only marginally better than peaches in my book. This has fun little droplets of cocoa absolute suspended in it, and has a similar vibe to the winter 2016 scent This Is Just to Say, with the combo of chocolate and stone fruits. It makes me think of something a classy gentleman or lady might drink in a Victorian era parlor/smoking room, it's refined yet festive and indulgent. I don't often go for chocolate in perfumes, strangely enough, but this one is nice enough, and the fruitiness isn't too pervasive for me.

Winners: The Primrose Path, Storm of Fortunes
Meh-to-Like: All the World's a Stage, Merely a Madness
Dislike: Blanket of the Dark, A Thousand Times More Fair





Ah, I was doing so well there for a while, posting all over the place. I have so many new scents and things I could be reviewing, but finding the energy to write lately has been hard. Because now of course the holidays are gone, with nothing to distract me from the elephant in the room that is looming over me and sitting on my chest. Most of this is work related. Our library system is undergoing a MASSIVE overhaul, and everything is changing. It's becoming LIBRARY, with one of those little trademark sign thingies next to it. Branded everything. Job titles changing, have no idea what exactly I'll be doing. Our little run-down branch is closing and we're merging with two other small branches into this huge shiny new branch with state of the art technology, a cafe, and virtually no personal spaces or proper desks to call our own. I have spent considerable minutes fretting about only having one staff restroom, despite having 3x the staff . I guess all the money they've spent on new gadgets and fancy furniture, they forgot about the fact that we are in fact human (not automatons) and do need to pee on occasion.

The one thing that made my job enjoyable is doing displays and artwork, making flyers, signs, etc. Will I be able to do this at the new library? While I've been assured that "every effort" will be made to allow staff to continue doing special tasks they prefer, with all the new branding and homogenization, I have come to the conclusion that this too will be taken away. It's going to be loud, busy, stressful, with no where to hide. A lot of our time will be spent on the floor as "greeters." My blood pressure is rising just at the thought of this. In addition, the only real acquaintance/ friend I had here got a gig at another branch just recently, so I am quite alone here now, with no one to commiserate with over all this nonsense. Just me and the few marbles I still have rolling around in my head. So it seems silly that I would cling to something that doesn't benefit me just because it's familiar and somewhat comfortable. I feel like when Red in The Shawshank Redemption talked about longtime prisoner Brooks being an "institutional man":

These walls are funny. First you hate 'em, then you get used to 'em. Enough time passes, you get so you depend on them. That's institutionalized.


I guess some days I feel like I'm institutionalized too. I loathed these walls when I came here 9 years ago (where did the time go?!), then I got used to them. Now I'm being forced to leave and start over with new staff, and new walls, and I'm scared shitless. It seems so pathetic, doesn't it? Change can be good, it can be cathartic, it can shake the cobwebs from your eyes. I really wish I could be one of those people who is super optimistic and YAY! GUNG HO CHANGE! But some days I can't see those possibilities at all and feel nothing but dread and skepticism and immense loneliness and fear that I'm the only one crazy enough to feel this way. Some days it feels like nothing more than impending doom for someone like me. Even though I've been around the block long enough to know that sooner or later I'll accept these new walls like they've been there all along, and I'll become institutionalized all over again.   

EDIT (a few weeks later):                            

All this stress and anxiety has literally been causing my blood pressure to be high, so recently my doctor put me on a medication to help me with the anxiety rather than start me on blood pressure meds. It's extremely new to me as I've always dealt with my anxiety on my own with varying degrees of success. It's been a difficult adjustment so far and I had a lot of side effects at first that were concerning. But I think it's finally starting to settle in and I'm starting to feel human again and like myself for the most part, not a zombie.The big work changes are going to be happening in the next few months so I won't make promises to post a ton during this time, but I really want to keep up with all the great scents I've been trying and do them justice. It just doesn't help me to put pressure on myself to post, only to feel like a failure when I don't come through-as it's only my own expectations, no one else's.

Hope you all had a great holiday season and New Year! I had a pretty good one, and on New Year's Eve G and I went to our favorite Thai place and went to see a movie, Room. I've been wanting to see it for months and it finally came to the small arty theater in our area, and it was so. so. good. If you can, see it. Anyway, it's time for my post in which I document all the baked goods I made for the holiday season.

First up- I made THESE sugar cookies and made royal icing as well. I am not even a huge sugar cookie fan but these were quite good, they have almond and vanilla extracts, and lemon zest, so they don't taste as boring as sugar cookies sometimes can. I had all these big plans for more elaborate decorations for the cookies, involving swirling different colored icings together with toothpicks-and that so didn't happen. I had to accept that border and flooding icing and sprinkles was as fancy as it was going to get, and they didn't turn out too bad! A little rustic (messy), but charming and tasty enough.




For gifts, I made little cookie parcels as usual- I did all new-to-me projects, and often used Smitten Kitchen's recipes. I tried to do those super cute Christmas Tree meringues, and while very nomtastic,  looked a little sad and droopy, so I called them "Charlie Brown Meringue Trees," so it totally looked intentional. 

I think my favorite things were the chocolate dipped candied orange peels and the toffee walnut cookies. I don't even like walnuts much but these were delish, and also from Smitten Kitchen. I've never made spritz cookies before, but I got a pristine, vintage metal cookie press from my cousin when she was cleaning out my aunt and uncle's house this past spring, and it was nice and nostalgic to use something my uncle (who got the baking gene) must have gotten lots of use from.







I wanted to do a vintage style Christmas "menu" for the goodies, so I found free clip art from The Graphics Fairy and they turned out nicely.







On Christmas morning I made (yes, again) Smitten Kitchen's Gingerbread Waffles. OMG, guys. These are so sweet, with crispy outsides and soft insides, and they don't need any toppings except maybe a pat of butter and sprinkling of powdered sugar just for show. They are SO good. Make them, I implore you.





Finally, a little furniture rehab! My dad found this wood laminate bookcase on the side of the road and it was in good condition, so he picked it up and gave it to me. The laminate was ugly, so I decided to paint it. Now, painting laminate can be wrought with complications (it's not really wood, so paint tends to not stick properly and bubbles up, I've heard), but I didn't have too much trouble. Long story short, I gave it a coat of Zinsser white cover primer in spray format, and then a couple coats of a  sandy beige chalk paint. I used Michael's brand because it was a bit cheaper, but I think I prefer Americana's Chalky paint a bit more, it seems to have better coverage. I used chalky paints to do some stenciling on the back on the bookcase, just for a little color, and then sealed everything with a polycrylic. Maisy likes heights, so she's adopted the top of the bookcase as her own personal perch for looking down upon her kingdom, and since this wasn't a very pricey project I don't mind. 

See that Christmas calendar there? I've had that since I was little and I remember imagining living in that tiny, cozy little house, and playing with the toy mouse that marks the days. I love that thing, and Maisy does too. We caught her on multiple occasions reaching up and grabbing the mouse from its pocket! So maybe she doesn't love it so much as want to destroy it. Anyway, enough chatter for one day. Until next time!




Happy Christmas Eve, everyone!

Today's haul is my Winter 2015 order from Solstice Scents. A lot of these are new additions to the EDP line-up or returning scents, so if you want to see my reviews for previous years' scents please check out my posts HERE and HERE. I bought Lemon Ginger Creams ganache and a mini Snowshoe Pass EDP as gifts and my full size Snowmint Mallow oil is a scent I've tried before, so the reviews for those items are in old reviews (some of the things in those reviews aren't available anymore-sorry!)

Onto the new stuff!

I bought mini EDPs of Desert Thunderstorm, Estate Carnation, Manor Fire, and my free sample was Wolf Spirit. I somehow got an extra sample of Conjure Dark, which was a pleasant surprise.

Check out the gorgeous artwork of the Manor on Fire- it kind of makes me sad to see it go up in flames, and then I have to remind myself that it is a fictional place, after all-but there is a kind of perverse guilty pleasure in enjoying the scent of the poor place being destroyed. Feelings are weird.



Estate Carnation
Estate Vanilla, Sweet Opium Smoke, Carnation, Rose, Olibanum, Orris Root

When I think of carnation scents I tend to envision lightly spicy, kind of haunting, melancholy florals- think SS's Lace Draped Spectre and Riverside Hayride, Posset's Silver Carnations, Cocoa Pink's Fear of Cemeteries,  or dainty and mildly foodie like Winter Dove, that sort of thing. Estate Carnation is NOT like those scents. It's spicy carnation, but turned to 11, and bolstered by deep, resinous, sweet vanilla incense smoke (not gourmand) and rose. On cold sniff this reminds me just a little of Estee Lauder's Beautiful, and I mean that in a good way- when I first started getting into perfumes I really loved that one. I truthfully haven't tried many of the classic perfumes that may have inspired this one so Beautiful is the one my memory latched onto- it must be the rose/carnation combo, but Estate Carnation is much warmer and richer, to my nose. It's a very classic, strong, sexy scent- not as much as Edge of the Night, but it is potent and wafts quite a bit, so for me it's more of a night out or day off scent- I probably wouldn't wear it to work unless I had applied it well beforehand and it had already faded alot. It's not necessarily heavy, per se, but it does make its presence known. It's gorgeous and I love it.


Desert Thunderstorm
 Desert Sage, Pinyon Pine & Resin, Petrichor, Sweetgrass, Creosote Bush, Sand, Ponderosa Pine, Smoke


 I am a sucker for thunderstorm scents, and this is a unique one as it's got more of a woodsy and herbal element to it. Usually thunderstorm scents seem like they take place in a lush forest or on the ocean and are cool and watery, but this one clearly takes place in a dry, parched desert, and it creates that atmosphere vividly. I've never been in a desert but I can imagine this is a good representation of what it would be like. On cold sniff I am greeted by the familiar blast of dry sage that I got from High Desert, but this is lighter and smoother somehow, more palatable to me. It's very fresh, cleansing, and invigorating. It's got the memory of wetness- rain falling but immediately soaking into the cracked desert floor, leaving nary a trace. There is realistic ozone, but it's like heat lightning, not a typical thunderstorm. I will reach for this most probably in the spring and summer for actual wear, but it's nice to just steal a sniff every so often- it's invigorating but also kind of calming, too-much like real thunderstorms.

 Manor Fire 
Manor, Smoke, Charred Wood, Melted Beeswax, Wood Resin, Dry Wood, Burning Leaves, Worn Leather

This is the Manor I love, just charred a little around the edges. It's actually not as strong as I expected as far as the smokiness goes- it's not as smoky as Smoky Mountain Mallow but it does have a similar aura to it. I can pick up on a hint of leather and some creamy beeswax- I'm pleased this isn't acrid or jarring at all- it's quite smooth and wearable. I would love wearing this hiking in the woods- I bet it would mingle perfectly during the winter with cold air and real woodsmoke on the breeze. 

Wolf Spirit
Desert Sage, Pinyon Pine & Resin, Conifers, Cedar, Palo Santo, Soft Incense, Vetiver, Frankincense, Fur, Juniper

I knew this would be an iffy one- I have some Palo Santo essential oil from Eden Botanicals- and I don't like it at all. There is something terpenic about it-sharp, uber-fresh, bitterly citrus or like turpentine, it's a common element found in conifer-centric scents, and it's not very pleasant to me. So Wolf Spirit smells a lot like that Palo Santo on cold sniff, and it sticks in my throat, like it's a physical thing I'm trying to swallow. I wore this to bed- and while it's not my favorite SS scent by any means, I do appreciate that after a few minutes the Palo Santo recedes and mellows, and I'm left with a serviceable soft incensey, woodsy scent that I probably will use as a nighttime scent as it is sort of meditative after the first few minutes.



Conjure Dark
Amber, Frankincense, Sweet Incense Smoke, Dried Rose Petals, Sandalwood, Vetiver, Woods, Oud, Vanilla

Despite the name, this doesn't smell much like the original Conjure. The longer scent description mentions this, but I thought it worthwhile to reiterate. Whereas Manor Fire clearly has Manor interwoven with other notes, Conjure Dark is, I'd say, inspired by Conjure, but definitely not the same or merely layered upon. It's not overly dark to me either, but it's smokier than the original Conjure for sure. It is a deeper resinous incense blend with hints of agarwood and vanilla. Any sweetness is extremely muted.  It also has a churchy vibe to it with the frankincense- it makes me think of soft incense smoke, just a bit edgier. Nice!

Whew- posting this a few minutes past midnight so it's technically Christmas! Hope you all have a wonderful day :)
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