31 Scents of Octoberween, #31: BPAL, Quintessence of Dust

Quintessence of Dust

Quintessence of DustWhat a piece of work is a man! How noble in reason, how infinite in faculty! In form and moving how express and admirable! In action how like an angel, in apprehension how like a god! The beauty of the world. The paragon of animals. And yet, to me, what is this quintessence of dust? Man delights not me. No, nor woman neither, though by your smiling you seem to say so. Hamlet, Act II, Scene II

I’ve saved the best til last.

There is no way that I can adequately explain how much I adore this scent. It is peculiar and unusual, and I have never found another like it. As strange as this sounds, it is literally what it says on the tin – the closest perfection, in scent, to dust.

It’s part of the Only Lovers Left Alive collection, and it is one which is one which most perfectly captures the scene on which it is based. It is the dusty scent of books which comes out most strongly on my skin, but they are tinged with something sweeter, and it is probably the beeswax. There’s also a cold note here – the knife blade – and what is used to create that strange coldness I have no idea.

This scent warms and lasts and changes wonderfully. I put it on at 06.00 – its now 21.49, and it’s still here, following me around in a parchmenty vapour. The throw and staying power of this scent are incredible – I don’t own another like it, and almost always when I wear it someone asks what smells so good. This is sexy and cold and ancient and full of knowledge and wisdom and it is beautiful.

Well, this has been my last 31 Scents post. I’ve enjoyed doing them, and I hope you’ve enjoyed reading them. I’ll be doing one more blog in the near future, doing a mahoussive Halloweenies haul which I hope will come out around Bonfire Night. It seems…apposite.

Disclaimer: I am not a perfume expert, nor am I sponsored by BPAL or, indeed, anyone.

To find the notes for these scents, click the link in the name.

31 Scents of Octoberween, #30: BPAL, Mare Vaporum

Mare Vaporum

Mare VaporumThis is a very odd and ambiguous scent. There is something both cold and warm about it; the pale white sandlewood contrasts so beautifully with the oudh and golden amber, and it offers a scent which is both smoky and sweet.

This scent is part of the Lunacy line, which contains scent focused on the moon and its topographic features. This scent is about Mare Vaporum – the Sea of Vapours – which is an extremely ancient feature on the surface of the moon, and which was named by the Jesuit thinker Giovanni Battista Riccioli in 1651.

And it is a vaporous scent indeed. There is something so familiar about this, but I cannot explain what it is…something weirdly primitive – musky and comforting, a childhood nursery, baby powder, laundered sheets, a mother’s milk. And yet there’s a fireside quality hidden behind it too, aged and yet not, interminable and transient.

A spooky scent for the night before Halloween…

Disclaimer: I am not a perfume expert, nor am I sponsored by BPAL or, indeed, anyone.

To find the notes for these scents, click the link in the name.

31 Scents of Octoberween, #29: BPAL, Jezebel

Jezebel

Image is the cover of Biosphere's 'Departed Glories' album, which is glorious.

Image is the cover of Biosphere’s ‘Departed Glories’ album, which is glorious.

This is very feminine and sexy. On the first application, the rose comes out strongly – and I think rose is one of the florals which I can wear, which doesn’t turn to dishwasher soap. So it’s a pleasant scent, within which there’s a barest hint of Turkish delight; just a touch. Perhaps that’s the honey.

This dries down to something which is still sweet, but which has a harsher edge (appropriate, I suppose). It’s the sandalwood coming out, I think, lending it’s arboreal acridity to this fragrance. It makes it sinister, something more than a rose oudh. As my skin warms it, the sweetness of the honey returns, and with it comes the orange blossom; not a bright, disinfectant citrus, but something more powdery and soft.

It’s lovely, this, for when one wants to be womanly. But it doesn’t last on me, sadly. There’s still a vague memory of it about six hours into the wear, but I think it mostly dissipated after about two. That’s a shame, and it’s probably my skin rather than the fault of the perfume.

The clocks go back tonight, perfume lovelies. I’ll be enjoying my extra hour in bed, and might be taking Hag Musk with me so I can see whether the rumors that it’s a good sleeping scent are true. Also so I can start work on my big Halloweenies review!

Disclaimer: I am not a perfume expert, nor am I sponsored by BPAL or, indeed, anyone.

To find the notes for these scents, click the link in the name.

31 Scents of Octoberween, #28: BPAL, Haunted

Haunted

HauntedIf a scent could be sad, it would smell like this. It wails when you first put it on; there are echoes of Hand of Glory here, the decaying musk, almost sickly sweetness, of a human corpse. And they come out strongly on the first application; crying out for life.

This is not a cold scent – it is not deathly. It is a desperate clinging to life, warm evaporating from a body. It softens down beautifully, into a warm, soft amber scent – it glows golden, and lasts for hours. The more warmth you apply, the more it regenerates, and I can still smell my one application ten hours later. It doesn’t change a great deal, but in this case, it is so gentle that it doesn’t really matter.

My bottle is an old one, gifted from a friend, and I do not know how old it is. I would like to smell a new bottle to compare, because I feel like this is a smell which ages beautifully. It reminds me of old storage areas in the back of museums, where there are objects made of skin, and sweetly aged, incensed relics.

Disclaimer: I am not a perfume expert, nor am I sponsored by BPAL or, indeed, anyone.

To find the notes for these scents, click the link in the name.

31 Scents of Octoberween, #27: BPAL, Caliban

Caliban

CalibanBe not afeard; the isle is full of noises,

Sounds and sweet airs, that give delight and hurt not….

This is indeed a scent which is full of noises – albeit briefly. It begins very aquatically – astringent and sickly to me, and though not disgusting, there’s a memory here of lobster pots. And it is strong at the start – almost overwhelming, like being bowled into the sea by and swallowing a nose-and-mouthful of brine.

But within 20 minutes, it has become something completely other, a soft musk, a pleasant seaweed brackishness dusted in icing sugar. And it continues to change, heading from this gentleness into something with a much more acrid quality – I wonder if there is sandalwood here, for there is a definite wooden note. And a sense of burning; the bitterness of a wick in tallow.

Two hours into the wear, there is something even stranger going on. This scent has developed a herbal quality, and I am reminded of wormwood; a green and hardy herbal scent, such as one would find in a hedgewitch’s drying-house.

This is part of the Illyria line, which is based on the plays of Shakespeare (or Marlowe ;)), and in fact there are so many characters that I wish were here. I am glad of Iago, of Robin Goodfellow,but I would love for there to be a scent for Ariel, for Mercutio, who are perhaps my favourite characters. And Ophelia and Hamlet (a much better romantic duo than Romeo and Juliet, imho).

I wish this lasted longer on me, for Curiosity’s sake, because although it is not my favourite scent to wear, it is a volatile and protean scent; animalistic, then mineral, and never either of these things.

Disclaimer: I am not a perfume expert, nor am I sponsored by BPAL or, indeed, anyone.

To find the notes for these scents, click the link in the name.

31 Scents of Octoberween, #26: BPAL, Sea of Glass

Sea of Glass

Sea of GlassThis scent, when first applied, is epic. In quite a genuine sense – it is unknowable, strange, almost inhuman. Cold. Aquatic. There’s something pure about it. If were pushed to give it a descriptor, I would say it was a logical smell, with a clarity of purpose. It smells of water, and of blowing glass under a high heat. Exactly what the notes claim, and I do not have the nose to distinguish individual fragrances. I wish I could.

But it fades. It fades so much, and so fast. I could not smell this on my skin within an hour. I would love for this scent to waft and change; I like the morphers, the complex scents. And I find that that doesn’t happen with aquatics – they remain one thing for most of their scent-life – on me at least.

This had potential to be something grandiose and wonderful. There is no heat here, nothing mammalian. It is alluringly alien. If it smells like this at the feet of God, then he is a cold and terrifying creature indeed.

Disclaimer: I am not a perfume expert, nor am I sponsored by BPAL or, indeed, anyone.

To find the notes for these scents, click the link in the name.

31 Scents of Octoberween, #25: BPAL, Masquerade

Masquerade

MasqueradeThere’s something very smoky about this – and it wafts, like ashes. But there’s a sweetness behind it – like a dessert canapé. It is a beautiful scent, and on the initial application there is something very heady about it – the smoke has an almost tallow-like quality, as if you were burning lights made from animal grease. Behind it, there’s a candlelit ballroom – packed with sweetmeats and unknown, disguised guests.

A couple of hours after application, the orange blossom comes out really strongly, and it’s gorgeous. I have said before that I am not a florals or a citrus person, but the citrus hint here is beautiful, tempering and tempered by the underlying white bloom. Later, it fades to a gentle scent – the aroma of opening Gran’s toiletries box, the one where she keeps the talc. Not overly floral, sweet, gentle – powder and candy. It lasts, too – it’s still here, 13 hours and more after I applied it. And it’s having something of a Renaissance – stronger and muskier, as if the ball has danced itself out, the candles extinguished, and all that remains is to return home to a wine-sweetened slumber.

Disclaimer: I am not a perfume expert, nor am I sponsored by BPAL or, indeed, anyone.

To find the notes for these scents, click the link in the name.

31 Scents of Octoberween, #24: BPAL, Bloodlust

BloodlustThis starts off so metallic – like iron. As though you’d been shot and were tasting the memory of the bullet and your blood.

Sanguine. Red.

What a wonderful way to be reminded of your elemental qualities – to smell like iron. But strangely there are no metal notes in this – perhaps it is the cinnamon and vetiver, doing something odd and strange. Maybe it is just my skin chemistry. But it is powerful – and it is martial.

It softens down such a lot though, and it is beautiful when it does – it becomes almost powdery, like old skin. In the fourth hour it becomes super soft and musky – sweet, and purple. And that scent is still there, close but powerful, hours later – perceptible if you wave your arm around. A trail of violet scented air.

This is…this really is, and I know it sounds so pat, but it really is, the scent of a vampire’s skin.

Disclaimer: I am not a perfume expert, nor am I sponsored by BPAL or, indeed, anyone.

To find the notes for these scents, click the link in the name.

31 Scents of Octoberween, #23: BPAL, Drink Me

Drink Me

Drink Me(I am slightly afraid that this review is hobbled by a snuffly nose and a misjudged application of scented body conditioner this morning).

It’s a lovely smell – sweet, cakey, and not – to me – massively distinct from Eat Me. I don’t get a scent of toast, toffee or turkey (the latter of which I am quite grateful for). But when this first goes on, I do get pie crust…specifically, pie crust that has been recently doused in custard. The custard gets stronger the longer you wear it – and it isn’t an egg custard, but the kind of custard that comes out of a packet, as powder – the pleasing scent of childhood puddings with Grandparents. At some point, it morphs to pink – that pink custard-which-isn’t-custard that many British kids of my age will remember, a strange combination of strawberry milkshake and condensed milk.

I’m remembering the dining halls of my primary school as a write this, and a visceral recollection of a meal of lamb, and a pudding of jam sponge, where the lamb was so tough that I couldn’t finish a bite within the lunch break. The scent of that hall is remembered (more pleasantly) here in this perfume. It is a dining hall where the cake dominates, and that special kind of jam sponge with sprinkles and custard has dominated over any attempt to force chewy sheep-flesh into my gullet.

What a weird paragraph. Sorry about that.

But you know, one of the things I love about BPAL is its ability to provoke memory. Phantom Calliope smells like one particular Christmas in Wales, where the lights all went out and we had to hope that the petrol generator would power the fridge till the electricity came back, and I could smell gasoline and cranberry sauce, and the wax candles we were burning to see. The Dream recalls a holiday in Norfolk where I saw lavender fields in bloom. Egg Hunt Grass Stain – rolling down a hill outside some castle  – again, very likely in the West somewhere – and thinking how wonderful a smell green was.

What a wonderful thing, smell; basic, and animal, and oh so sublime.

31 Scents of Octoberween, #22: BPAL, Twinkle, Twinkle Little Bat

Twinkle, Twinkle Little Bat

BatThe lime note in this is AMAZING.

I’m not generally one for ‘clean’ scents – I feel like a freshly mopped bathroom floor when I wear them, and they don’t (fortunately in that case) tend to last terribly long on me. But damn this lime is lovely.

Sadly, it dominates all the other elements in this scent, and eventually chokes down to cleaning fluid. I don’t get much tea, or anything other than a strong citrus, vaguely rimed with sugar…a limey cheesecake which leaves a soapy aftertaste. Pleasant, in a way, but not my kind of scent and not one which I would typically associate with bats.

Then again, what does one associate with a nonsense rhyme about flying tea trays?

Disclaimer: I am not a perfume expert, nor am I sponsored by BPAL or, indeed, anyone.

To find the notes for these scents, click the link in the name.