Thursday, February 19, 2015

First Impressions: Deep Midnight Perfumes

I've been trying to avoid trying new perfume shops all willy-nilly, as I have perfume coming out of my ears. But I had a good reason for trying Deep Midnight. G's birthday was on February 2nd, and as I browsed for potential gifts, I found that Deep Midnight (a name I had heard mentioned in reviews occasionally and favorably, but still fairly obscure) had a set of scents based on characters from The Walking Dead. G and I have just started getting into it in the past couple months, and he is totally obsessed. I'm not usually into fandom type things, but the descriptions seemed well-developed and thoughtful, like the owner wasn't just tossing some random notes together and slapping it with the character's name. So, I decided to take the plunge and order the sample set.

The owner of Deep Midnight, Cat, has a pretty huge scent selection on Etsy, and it's kind of overwhelming. There are lots of fandom collections, gothic scents, seasonal/holiday, steampunk, scents inspired by different times and places. The overall tone is a little more edgy/gothy/dark than other shops I've tried, but there is a wide variety of scent styles to choose from. When you order, you're allowed a free sample per purchase, and you can choose your own or let Cat choose for you. There are themed sample sets or choose-your-own, which vary in cost according to the number of scents included. All of the full size bottles are 9 ML cobalt blue roll on bottles, and are $17.00. After much deliberating, I left a note in the comments that I would like White Moon, or Lady of Light if that one was unavailable as my free sample.

I ordered on January 21, and my order shipped on the 28th. I got it on February 2nd, just in time for G's birthday. Everything was packaged securely in a little black bag, with a business card. Immediately I noticed that I got both White Moon and Lady of Light, and the included invoice said as a new customer with an order of $15.00 I got a second free sample. So that was a nice surprise.

For something a little different, since this haul was mainly for G, I'm going to share his thoughts on the scents. He doesn't know notes, so he went with some general impressions, how the scents made him feel, because that's how he rolls. My thoughts will be after. He knew the inspiration behind each one going in, and he was impressed with how well each one meshed with his perceptions of the characters for the most part.

Angel Rising 
 Inspired by the character of Daryl Dixon. Virtually abandoned by his family and abused as a child, Daryl was a survivalist from birth, perfectly suited for the end of the world; he assumes the role of hero after finally finding family among the group. He is known for his iconic angel wings vest and crossbow.

Main notes of leather, vetiver, oakmoss, red cedar and a touch of spicy clove, combine with Maplewood, yellow jasmine, and mountain laurel to create a scent that is woodsy, spicy, and warm. This unisex scent borders slightly on the masculine side of the scale.

G: It's goooood. Fresh, ethereal, comforting. Nuanced, like the character. Comfort and safety.

Me: It's a little dirty and grimy in a leathery, peppery way. Like a worn leather jacket smeared with engine oil. The leather and spiciness of the clove makes me think of Sixteen92's Salem. It is a stoic, comforting scent, like G said. I would feel pretty safe in the arms of a guy smelling like this. But that might be my own personal Daryl bias talking here...

Cherokee Rose
 Inspired by the character of Carol Peletier. Carol was a loving mother who suffered abuse at the hands of her husband. After losing her both her husband and daughter to the zombies, Carol grows to be strong and independent survivor capable of making her own hard decisions. When the search is on for her missing daughter Sophia, Daryl Dixon gives Carol a Cherokee Rose.

This feminine blend contains main notes of: Cherokee rose, tuberose, and other soft florals.

G: Pretty, gives me chills. It's feminine, a moving scent.

Me: I get creamy tuberose and a light, pink rose from this. It's not an in-your-face red rose, but more like a delicate, dewy Victorian tea rose. It's really pretty. Because G is awesome and open-minded, he's worn this a couple times and it always takes me aback. It flips the script for me- what smells so good? Oh, it's you. You smell like roses. It's pretty, but also kind of sexy now. It's a trip! This one actually had the strongest sillage of them all- I could tell G was wearing it when I got in our car with him. With the others he had to hold his wrist to my nose.

Elderberry Alchemy
 Inspired by the character of Hershel Greene. A quiet farmer and veterinarian, who believed in the good of people, had to learn long and hard lessons when the word fell apart. He always believed in doing the right thing and helping people. When illness comes to the group of survivors, he takes an unimaginably bad situation and turns into something transcendent with his hope in simple, natural healing and his faith in the ability of the human race to continue on.
Main notes of sweet elderberries, twigs and leaves, combine with a dry and sweet wood note, and a faint touch of patchouli. This scent borders on the feminine side of the scale.

G: Smells like something a little girl would wear. Sweet, almost treacly.

Me: Yeah, so I have to agree with G here. I don't like many berry-centric scents, and this one on cold sniff is almost cloying berry-scented-candle. The dry down is more earthy and incense-y however, and makes it a lot more wearable and interesting. But still, I think this was the most underwhelming of the bunch for both of us. EDIT: well, I checked back with him just now that he's had it for a while and he says he likes it more now than he did initially. My opinion stands- not much for the cold sniff, but dry-down is a vast improvement.

Samurai Surprise 
Inspired by the character of Michonne. Forged in the aftermath of the disease that swept away civilization, Michonne is a hard edged katana-wielding warrior hiding a gentle and childlike heart (and a candy bar in her backpack).

Her scent is comprised of: Nag champa, amber, rich chocolate, and a light dusting of citrus and florals. This is a unisex scent.

G: Smells like a mysterious Tootsie Roll pop. Hmmm...not just one thing. Strength and playfulness.

Me: This does have a Halloween-y Tootsie Roll chocolate note on top, which made me nervous. But as G said, there are more layers. The fake chocolate fades, and I can pick up a faint citrus bite, and I can definitely get some incense too as it dries down. It's got a dusty, musty kind of new age shop thing going on, too. This one I like better on G than myself.

Walking Paradox
Inspired by the character of Rick Grimes. Is the memory of light enough to save him from the darkness? Struggling to maintain his humanity in a world where goodness and a trusting nature can get you killed, Rick is forced to find balance between the peaceful life of a farmer trying to rebuild some semblance of community with his group of survivors and the brutality of a man who will stop at nothing to protect his family.

Masculine woody notes of red cedar, sandalwood, amber, and bergamot entwine with the calming notes of tomato leaves, cucumber, and herbs to create a scent that is both strong and warm and green and cool. This unisex scent borders slightly to the masculine side of the scale.

G: Makes me feel like life is a good thing- like being in the woods on a spring day, earthy.

Me: I'm usually not much for cucumber in perfumes (usually paired with cliched melon), but this one is garden fresh, herbal, kind of like a men's cologne, but much more interesting. I'm not sure if it qualifies as a fougere, but it has that ambiance to me. I really, really like this. I get hints of wet soil, with sunshine soaking in. It really is cool and warm at the same time. This may be my favorite. 

Bonus samples: 

Lady of Light
Beautiful main notes of orange blossom, vetiver, and oakmoss combine with light and complementing notes of honey, azalea and woods.

This is inspired by the Tolkien character Galadriel, and it works for me! I adore orange blossom, and this is how I love it best- where it is more floral, less citrusy. It's elegant and earthy, with a coolness almost reminiscent of tea. I love this.

White Moon
 The Moon of Light. The palest, most sensual amber envelops notes of mimosa, orange blossoms, ginger, and finishes with delicate notes of lighter florals, ozone, and woods. Sensual, bright, and magical!

This has a similar vibe to Lady of Light, but it's warmer, more heady, and just a little bit spicy from the ginger. If Lady of Light is a cool spring morning, White Moon is a sultry summer night. 

So, Deep Midnight really exceeded my expectations. I had just hoped to give G a neat, quirky birthday gift, but instead I found a shop that I'm really interested to explore more! I was really quite pleasantly surprised. The scents were all thoughtfully blended, and had plenty of depth and nuance. Some of them really needed to be be worn to show their true colors, but the complexity and quality was there. I'm already plotting my next order!

Monday, January 26, 2015

Solstice Scents Woodland Collection

I've only had my samples from the brand spanking new Woodland Collection from Solstice Scents for two days, but I'm getting my review done quickly this time so my first impressions are fresh in my mind. I can tell straight away that my loyalties are likely to shift from one scent to another as I spend more time with them- I like them all but it will take a little while before I can decide which ones I must have full size bottles of.
Brief first impressions are written blind, then I go back in and add more details and observations as needed. 


Winter Dove
Vanilla Crystals, Spicy Carnation, Nutmeg, Cream

Carnation, a little spicy. Smooth, cool, creamy. Vanilla- has a kind of sweet frosting tone. Almost butterscotchy- ah, no, it's boozy. Almost Irish Creme. 

 It was clear that this was Winter Dove because of the carnation, but it took me a minute to remember that it had nutmeg in it and was supposed to have a subtle eggnog note. This is beautiful- I'm normally not a huge eggnog fan but it actually complements the spicy carnation very well. It's not the same by any means, but if you are missing Lace Draped Spectre, there is a fair chance you will like this. It's got the same elegant, refined, slightly haunting feel that LDS evokes for me. But a little more jovial and festive because, yay, eggnog!

Hidden Lodge
  Dry Wood Blend, Oud, Woodsmoke, Spices, Castoreum (Botanical Interpretation)

Tobacco- rich, spicy, warm. Smokey, woodsy, dry. Reminds me of scents like Sirocco and High Noon.

So, I butchered part of that. Don't know why I thought it was tobacco. Everything else stands, though. I think the dry spiciness is what brought Sirocco to mind, but there is something underneath that feels a little more animalic- extremely faint, but it's pleasant to me. I'm not familiar with Castoreum as a note (googled it- wow.), but I'm guessing that's it. It leans traditionally masculine but it settles beautifully on me- that woodsy, smokey dry down that Solstice Scents does so expertly. 

White Fox
Vanilla Musk, White Fur, Wood Blend, Frozen Dirt, Snow

Delicate, white, musky. Cozy, fluffy. Nostalgic somehow. A hint of cedar.

 This one was easy to put a name to as well- it really does have a furry feel to it. I definitely get a pale woodsy, cedar note especially once it starts drying down. It reminds me of something but I can't decide if it's a childhood memory kind of thing or just an echo of some other scent I've tried. I've tried so many it's hard to keep track any more! There is an interesting contrast to this- the chilliness of dirt and snow, the warmth of fur. It's a softer, more skin-hugging scent, but wearing it early today I would get little wafts here and there, so it has some tenacity though it's more subtle. This may be a good work appropriate scent.

Grey's Cabin
Smoked Cocoa, Cedar, Embers, Black Musk, Copal Bark, Tobacco, Spice

Chocolate, syrupy, sweet and dark. Inviting. Makes me think of Halloween candy.

This is seriously chocolate at first, but there are so many other things going on. The chocolate/foody/Halloween candy pail elements seem to fade quite quickly and what's left is just comforting goodness. Sweet, smokey, softly smoldering (alliteration alert!) I don't know copal bark, but perhaps it's the syrupy, resinous note I'm smelling. Or maybe it's the tobacco! Either way, it's intoxicating. Do I wear this myself- or give it a certain special someone? Decisions, decisions.

That chili recipe is looking seriously yummy, I may have to try it

Rich Red Musk, Fir, Juniper, Cedar, Frankincense, Labdanum, Moss

Well, hello beautiful! Deep, red, musky. Powerful and intense. But cooler and greener too- some shadowiness. Dark, mysterious forest.

I knew this was Monarch because it was the scent I was most skeptical about- red musk and fir? That was a world gone mad in my book. I had no idea how those would play together. Ah, but this is Solstice Scents, and I shouldn't have doubted- they play together very nicely. They are really blended seamlessly together, so what I smell is mostly a red musk with just some faint, cool woodsiness and greenery weaving in and out. And as it dries down it becomes more of a warm, sexy,  resinous incense with the frankincense and labdanum. Really love this one.

Night Watcher
Forest Floor, Tree Tops, Bark, Mountain Air, Fir Balsam, Juniper, Moss, Oud, Dried Herbs, Cedar Tips

Grape? I know it's not but it has a "purple" feel- dusky. Then something green/herbal/fern-like. Reminds me of Solarium, but not humid.

This is an evocative one- I don't know if it's just the scent's picture on the website influencing me, but it really does bring to mind the woods at twilight, where it's getting darker and the forest is full of mysterious, disembodied noises- creatures calling and rustling through the leaf-strewn forest floor. Like Solarium from the Manor Collection- it does have that purple/green tone, but instead of a humid greenhouse, it's a cool, mossy forest. The dry down is fainter on the herbal, airy notes and focuses more on the woods and deep, dark greens. This has a lot going on- need to spend more time with it!

My haul this weekend also included two full sizes of favorites of mine- Edge of the Night and Foxcroft Fairgrounds.

Lots of adventurous things going on in this collection- you might think think that a woodland collection might start to smell "same-y" but all of the scents have complex, unique profiles that really bring to mind a variety of places, animals, moods, etc., that keeps it interesting. If you have any questions or comments, please let me know!

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Ulta Love Your Skin Event Haul

I think I am pretty much stocked up on skin care products for a while. I got an Ulta gift card for our Christmas family gift exchange (kudos to G for suggesting it to his brother-in-law, who drew my name) and I decided to use it during their Love Your Skin event for maximum bang for my buck. They had a promotion early in the month where, if you bought 65 dollars worth of skin care products, you would get a tote bag chock-full of skin care samples, some of them deluxe, Birchbox-sized samples. It was a lot more impressive than I expected!

This is what I actually purchased online:

Clean and Clear Advantage Oil-Free Acne Moisturizer Miracle Skin Transformer Transformation TrioNeutrogena Make-up Remover Cleansing Towelettes 25 CtNaturals Purifying Pore Scrub Naturals Purifying Cream Cleanser Pore Refining Moisturizer (free full size GWP) The Body Shop Seaweed Iconic Clay Mask Aveeno Eczema Therapy CreamL'Oreal Hydra Fresh TonerDr Teal's  Eucalyptus Epsom Salt Relax    

 The rest were all freebies that came in the green tote bag!
I've used some of the purchased products before. I love the Miracle Skin Transformer as a primer and the Aveeno Eczema Therapy Creme is my go-to lotion when my skin is being itchy and difficult. I just finished a bottle (it lasted me a good four months of regular use) and this was a re-purchase. It's gentle enough for me to use on my face and is rich but doesn't feel oily. I've never bought the Dr. Teal's Epsom Salts before, but I will definitely repurchase. It's cheap, smells amazing, and is great for soaking sore muscles.

Ahhhh... nothing makes me happier than a huge pile of samples to try. I'm kind of overwhelmed by the options! This was an awesome promo, really glad I got it.

Friday, December 26, 2014

DIY Vintage Wood Pallet Signs

Hello all, hope you had an excellent Christmas or whatever winter holiday you choose to celebrate. I've been so busy with cooking and craft projects lately my little blog has been woefully neglected. But today I'm going to share what I've been up to!

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Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Solstice Scents: Foxcroft's Autumn Festival

My favorite time of year has arrived! Solstice Scents has released their new fall collection, and though I said it with the Manor Collection, and then with the Foxcroft Collection, Angela has once again pole-vaulted over my high expectations with Foxcroft's Autumn Festival, another visit to this wondrous, mythical town that seriously needs to be an actual place. Really, I need this place to exist. Maybe she can work on that for next year?

 I digress...onto the scents!

I questioned the necessity and fairness of doing blind reviews, as I'm always so entranced by the scent descriptions that I read them multiple times and was already pretty well versed in the note lists of each one before I even received my samples. But, for funsies and all, I will share my initial thoughts on each one. For the most part they were easy to identify based on what I knew about each one; only a couple tripped me up. Before I smelled Sycamore Chai, for a second I suspected that Riverside Hayride was it. But as soon as I got to the actual Sycamore Chai, it clearly stood out as the real deal.

Mystery Scent #1: Nutty, toffee-ish, malty, buttery, a little boozy but very smooth. Reminds me a little of Sugarvale. The butteriness reminds me of Haus of Gloi's Sweet Potato Treat. 

Owl Creek Aleworks
Sticky English Toffee Pudding, Blackburn's Parlor Vanilla Ice Cream, Caramel, Toasted Coconut and Hazelnut, Sugared Pumpkin Cream Stout

This is delish! It's very warm and cozy. It does have a similar vibe to Sugarvale, so I'm guessing if you like scents like this, and maybe Kitchen too, you might like this. I can pick up on the malty, nutty, spicy, toasty notes, and can pick up faint hints of coconut here and there too. The butteriness that reminded me of Sweet Potato Treat is pretty much just on cold sniff. It stays steady after that and dries down to a pleasant, warm, pumpkin-spice type scent. 

Mystery Scent #2: Atmospheric, earthy, super-sweet, like taffy maybe. Sugar explosion. But something else too. Intriguing.

Foxcroft Fairgrounds
Cotton Candy, Cream Soda, Vanilla Taffy, Gridling's Funnel Cakes, Powdered Sugar, Crisp Fall Air, Woodsmoke, and a Tendril of Incense

This one, I wasn't quite sure what to make of when I first smelled it. It is sweet. Chewy taffy and cotton candy and a hint of something sugary and fried. I like the sweet stuff, and I wasn't sure if I could do this one. But there is something compelling and compulsively sniffable about this. Once the vanilla tinged sweetness starts to burn off, there is a very soft incensey note that draws me in. Though extremely sweet, the latter notes keep this from smelling too "young" or cutesy. I suspect this is a blend that would react to people's skin in different ways, leaning towards either the gourmand or the incense.

Mystery Scent #3 : Tea.  No. Not tea. More earthy, like hay or grass. White florals, a little spicy. Sharp and refreshing. Faint fruitiness.

Riverside Hayride
Moist Dirt, White Carnations, Fallen Leaves, Bare Branches, Hay and a Hint of Pressed Apples Carried on the Breeze from Corvin's Apple Orchard

Swoon. Solstice Scents does atmospheric so well. I don't really think of florals in the fall. Mostly it's the usual gourmands and spices, maybe some dirt thrown in. Florals? Not so much. But for me, carnation always translates into a wistful, haunting, slightly melancholy floral, so what better flower to evoke a mysterious nighttime hayride? This smells really elegant to me, and while it sets the scene of the Riverside Hayride perfectly literally with the breezes and dirt and whiff of apples, it also just smells like a really classy perfume. The white carnation is sweet, delicate, and invigorating  rather than super spicy/clove-y. Beautiful.

Mystery Scent #4: Now, that is tea for sure! Spicy chai tea, strong on the ginger. Clear, astringent quality. Reminds me of the ginger in Lemon GInger Creams. Will have to layer.

Sycamore Chai
Vanilla Chai Tea and a Ginger-Pumpkin Roll Filled with Marshmallow Creme

I noticed I sometimes use "clear" as a word to describe certain scents, and I'm not sure why I do that. Some scents make me think of a clear, clean glass of water, rather than, 
say, a cup full of thick, dark molasses. So maybe it's a visual thing, but I think I also mean clear as an auditory thing, like certain scents smell to me like the ringing of a chime or bell, rather than the deep strum of bass. Scent construction is often described in terms of musical notes, so maybe I'm not too far out in the stratosphere? Sycamore Chai has that clean, clear smell to me. The tea note is very apparent along with the ginger and a touch of cardamom, but the bakery notes, the marshmallow and pumpkin roll, aren't as readily apparent to me. Perhaps as it dries down it starts feeling a little more like sweet goods, but it doesn't feel heavy. 

Angela has recommended this for layering and I agree. I tried it with my Lemon Ginger Creams, and YUMMO! The ginger in both provided a nice spicy bite, and the tea and lemon cookies melded perfectly together. She also suggested layering it with Manor on Facebook and I tried that too, though I had my reservations: no, it is really lovely as well! That dusty, vanilla woods mixed with the tea and spices worked better together than I would have expected. Worth a sniff if you have both.

Mystery Scent #5: All Apple. All the time. Creamy too. Like an apple cider float. Big mounds of vanilla ice cream floating in a mug of apple cider. Is there such a thing? There should be.

Corvin's Apple Fest
Apple Pastries, Caramel Apples, Fresh Apples, Warm Apple Cider, Vanilla, Apple Pie, Apple Cream Cheese Danish

This scent is, and I don't use this word often to describe scents,...scrumptious. It is the appleiest apple scent to ever fall from the perfume tree, and I love it so. It's fresh and creamy and I get a fair amount of cream cheese tang too, which was interesting and not what I was expecting since it was way at the end of the description. But oh man. It is, here's that word again, scrumptious. My only complaint is that it fades really quickly on me, though the description clearly states it has lower sillage and is nice for work environments. It's an apple-centric scent, and as a top note, that's just the nature of the beast. The dry down is mostly vanilla with some mild apple cider spices. I am crossing my fingers for a restock of the glaces, as I want to be fully ensconced in that most apple of fests, and the glaces seem to sometimes have stronger sillage and staying power than the regular oils. If you like apple...try it. That's all I've got to say about that.

Mystery Scent #6: Leather, soft smoke. Sort of like Library. Tobacco comes across as sweet-reminds me of scents like Old Havana and High Noon. Not heavy though, quite earthy and airy.

Gibbon's Boarding School
  Dusty Wooden Desks, Paper, Carefully Hidden Tobacco Pouch, Dying Fire, Dried Leaves, Leather Chairs, Autumn Breeze

This is really nice. The most squarely unisex of the bunch, this would be your safest bet for the gents in your life if you're contemplating holiday gifts. It does remind me of Library, but loftier, full of rustling leaves. I keep flashing on those scenes in the Harry Potter movies filmed at Lacock Abbey, with the open stone hallways with the elegant arches alongside the green courtyard area. Even though its a woodsier scent I think of that setting for some reason. It's more fresh and airy and infused with nature than Library, but still has the woodsy warmth and leatheriness of the latter. 

Mystery Scent #7 : Honey and smoke.

Smokewood Apiary 
Smoked Honey, Creamed Honey, Beeswax, Amber, Wooden Frames, Ginger & Vanilla

Yep, this is honey and smoke. It's actually really beautiful. It's quite balanced, the smokiness is nowhere near as intense as in scents like, say, Smoky Mountatin Mallow. The various honey notes include, as far as I can tell, something similar to the honey in Sun-Warmed Honey, that one wasn't bad, but I like the honey in this much better. It doesn't remotely turn into the dreaded honey "pee" note, which was a great relief. The smoke keeps it from being cloyingly sweet and the honey tempers the smokiness. Once it dries down I get more of the amber and vanilla and it really evokes scents like Conjure at that point. To me it's a really wearable, sexy scent!

I liked every single one of these, which is not terribly surprising but terribly inconvenient; I must be ruthlessly selective in my full size decisions! After much contemplation and hand-wringing, on my to-buy list are Riverside Hayride, Sycamore Chai, and ideally a glace, but a perfume will suffice in a pinch, of Corvin's Apple Fest. But, this collection may become permanent so hopefully someday I'll have the opportunity for the others!

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Pumpkin Everything: LOTD and Autumn Shenanigans

For our 12th anniversary a few weeks ago G and I went to a Pumpkin Festival at 
Young's Jersey Dairy. It's a working dairy farm that sells ice cream, cheese, and has lots of animals to see and special seasonal events. The Pumpkin Festival is one of their most popular. The weather was unseasonably cold and drizzly that day, but it was still packed to the gills.

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Friday, October 17, 2014

Sixteen92: Fall Collection

Today we're going to do something a little different...blind reviews! I thought that Sixteen92's fall collection would be a perfect opportunity to play around and test out the scents first without looking at the names/notes. It's a big enough collection that I couldn't remember all of them by heart, so it was easier to get some true blind impressions. 

In this order I also bought a full size of Shadow Show. It came rolled up in a little logo-stamped cardboard tube...super cute! The order didn't have any extra samples, but did come with some promptly eaten Halloween candy. 

Now...let's see how good (or really bad) I am at this blind smell test business! I just wrote  out very brief phrases or notes I thought I smelled, so I will elaborate after I reveal the scent name.

Mystery Scent #1:  Slightly acrid smoke..lapsang tea? Leather maybe. Very rustic, intense. Leaves, dirt, like an extinguished hearth fire. I like it.

#1: Helsing
Smoky Lapsang Souchong tea, dragon's blood, cedar wood, fir balsam, leather, saffron, chai spice accord

It was pretty easy to pick up on the Lapsang- I've never had it, but I recognized it from Smoky Mountain Mallow from Solstice Scents, and it has a very distinctive smokiness. Yep, it is totally how a vampire hunter would smell. Rugged, primal, and on the prowl. 

Mystery Scent #2: Vanilla, reminds me of Haus of Gloi's Twice is Nice, almond, super sweet, a little treacly.

#2: Wicked
Three vanillas, aged patchouli, marzipan buttercream

Duh! How did I not get the patchouli in this? It's so totally there. Granted, on cold sniff it's mostly the sweet top notes, and then once I put it the patch starts peeking out more, but still. Step up your game, Vix.

Mystery Scent #3: Apples! A little bite of tea. Very clean smelling. 

#3: Raven
Spiced apple, tea leaves, tobacco, guaiac wood

This is by far the "safest" one of the bunch, I think. The most accessible. I don't get tobacco or the guiacwood, it's just a clear, clean apple and tea with a very soft spice. It's nice, but it didn't really wow me.

Mystery Scent #4: Urgh. Fruity. Sharp, kind of resinous or animalic. Oud? I don't know if I like this.

#4: Hallowmas
 Fossilized amber resin, spiced Bosc pear, red apple, black musk, heliotrope

Ok, no oud but maybe the amber was tripping the animalic vibe to me, so I'll give me a point for that. No, this is the kind of fruity I hate. Cloying, cough-syrupy. Just not my jam. That kind of fruit, I like.

Smelly rainbow!

Mystery Scent #5: Cleaning products. I swear I smell pine. Very astringent. Nope.

#5: Vespertine
Aged, double-distilled patchouli, precious mitti attar in sandalwood oil, white thyme, frankincense, rich black myrrh, long-dried rose petals, cannabis flower

 There are so many notes in this. Mitti attar, where are you? OK, so it's not pine, but it does smell very cleaning product-ish. I get a childhood memory flash of my mom in our kitchen with a big bucket full of Pine Sol, mopping our hideous yellow tile. She won't let me come in until it's dry. I guess that's sort of nostalgic. I still don't want to wear it. Now I can pick up on the patchouli a little,, still nope. 

Mystery Scent #6: Leather, woods. Tea? I keep smelling tea. Very sexy, kind of incensey. Decidedly badass. Yes.

#6: Salem
Damp leaves, church incense, worn leather, dry birch woods, clove bud absolute, bonfire smoke

This smells like a little chapel built in the woods, abandoned, and then swallowed up again by the forest over time, covered in ivy, with tree branches breaking through the walls still sooty with incense smoke. Shattered stained glass windows, the outside world spilling in. This smells like two worlds colliding. And the result is something totally sexy, wild, and unpredictable. I feel invincible when I wear this. Is that weird? Well, I do.

Mystery Scent #7: This is really sharp and medicinal. Kind of bitter. Coffee and pine? That can't be right.

#7: Huntsman
Cardamom and vanilla infused coffee, fossilized amber, Agarwood (oud), tilled soil  

More pine that isn't pine. Cardamom...huh. Of course. It is a lot sharper than other cardamom blends I've tried. Usually it's a really floral, perfumey spice but this does have a medicinal edge to it. It's probably the coffee doing that. I actually
 like the dry down when it's more deep and earthy and not quite as pungent, but that cold packs a bitter punch. 

Mystery Scent #8: OMG I want to drink this. Can I please? Cinnamon and cake/cookies and something's creamy. Cinnamon is muted, not like red-hots. Love this.

#8: Calaverita
Pan de muerto sweetened with cinnamon sugar, Calaveras (sugar skull candies), crisp November air, and an ofrenda of sweet incense and candles to honor los difuntos

This one is killing me. It smells like something from my childhood, something very concrete and particular, and I cannot for the life of me place it. It seems like a straight-forward gourmand, but it's got this creamy, waxy feel to it. Like actual candles. A very soft, barely noticeable incense. And there is a very faint hint of chocolate, though it's mostly a muddled, creamy cinnamon. I narrowed it down to something I might have encountered on a family vacation, a gift shop that sold both candles and fudge perhaps? It's a possibility, but that answer doesn't make me sigh with relief and dawning realization. I get the nagging feeling it was something I could actually hold in my hands. Don't you hate when that happens? Anyway, I really love this, despite the mental anguish it's caused me.

So this is how these break down:

Love: Salem, Calaverita
Like/Indifferent: Helsing, Wicked, Raven, Hunstman
Dislike: Hallowmas, Vespertine

Even with the scents I didn't like, I could still tell they were blended with care and were definitely unique! This is not your standard fall collection- not a pumpkin pie in sight. More incense, leaves, woods, smoke, spices, earth, and just a smattering of sweetness. Taken as a whole, they make me think of what Sleepy Hollow might smell like.  Sixteen92 continues to impress!
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