I'm not a girl, you see. As such, I know jack shit about fragrance. Pre-BPAL, I'd been using the same perfume for about ten years (a custom blend from Garden Botanika - two scents, fresh wood and desert musk, both "recommended for men").
So my BPAL reviews will not be as complex as y'all's. I'm seeing reviews of how things smell in the bottle, on the skin, ten, twenty, sixty minutes after application... topnotes, undernotes... and it just makes me all blinky. So. I am just going to say what I like about it, pinpointing things if I can identify them.
I have not actually ordered any of these imps. I've never ordered anything at all from there, largely because their counterintuitive website makes it difficult for me to determine what I'd want! So this has another purpose as well: there are a bunch of you reading me who are absolute BPAL gurus. If you happen to have an idea of what I might like to try, based on what I try and like, please tell me! One note at the outset: heavy florals gag me. I am not a rosebush. I don't want to smell like one.
I was overwhelmed by the bunches of imps y'all sent me (thank you, kizlj, never1eighty, phinnia, and shugenja!), and just fixated on two to start with. My absolute favorite? Kathmandu.
The scent of sacred incense swirling up the steep slopes to Swayambhunath Stupa. Saffron, blessed sandalwood, Himalayan cedar and the miraculous lotus of the Buddha with chiuri bark and Nepalese spices.
My immediate thought when I uncorked this? "Candy!" No one on the forums seems to have had the same reaction, so maybe this is just me being weird. But there's something about this that delights me. From the description, you'd think it would smell like a newage (sounds like sewage) bookstore, but I tell you that it does not. The predominant scent is those mysterious "Nepalese spices". I smell delicious. Earthy and sweet and candy-delicious. It is not a subtle scent. I am not a subtle girl.
The other one I brought to Boston is White Rabbit, which is, as australian_joe put it, "more of a daytime scent" than Kathmandu.
Strong black tea and milk with white pepper, ginger, honey and vanilla, spilled over the crisp scent of clean linen.
I do not find it to be very gingery - a shame, as I love ginger. And I do not find it very vanilla-y, which is good; vanilla can be a fine accent, but gets overpowering quickly. The main note I pick up is honey. And tea. Good things. A much lighter scent.
Okay, let's try something new: Absinthe.
Fall under the spell of our Green Fairy! An intoxicating blend containing wormwood essence, light mints, cardamom, anise, hyssop, and the barest hint of lemon.
I was assured that this would be light on the lemon, as citrus nauseates me. Thankfully, it is!
Definitely smelled the mint in the bottle, but it doesn't seem to have made it to my skin. I am getting the anise. Which is good. I like anise. There's something in there that's not quite right. That gives it a Smell of Grandma. I'm not sure what it is, as my late grandma certainly did not have an absinthe habit. Wormwood? Hyssop? I doooon't know.
Hm. *narrowing down* It smells like soap. It smells like fancy grandma guest soaps. And the anise has died and is dead.
I will wait on this to verify that the granny-guest-soap thing lingers before getting rid of this one. But. Yes. Anise good. Guest soap bad.
Review from Adam: "Smells like licorice."
Me: "That's the anise. Smells soapy, too, though."
Adam: "Ah, okay. I'm catching the licorice more than the soap."
And behold, the anise does seem to be struggling back to overturn the soap. Erf. I see why you guys sit around and keep smelling as time passes. Interesting.
Okay - one that shugenja didn't like, but I had to try, based on the description: The scent of warm, glowing jack o,lanterns on a warm autumn night: true Halloween pumpkin, spiced with nutmeg, glowing peach and murky clove. Jack.
In the bottle, I'm getting... buttered popcorn. o.O That, and the universal pure-sugar cheap Halloween candy, the compressed-and-dyed sugar pumpkins and candy corn. No clove. Kinda gacks me a bit, actually. Pretty overpowering. Let's slap some on anyway. For science.
*sniffs arm* Oh holy hell this stuff is nasty. It's not just nasty, it's narsty. It is utterly clove-free and nutmeg-free, and that is not what pumpkins smell like, that is what cheap pumpkin-scented candles smell like. I smell like a cheapass candle. A cheap ass-scented candle. *claws at face to get stench away* AAAAAGH.
*makes as if to throw it at swap pile with great force, only pulling back because if it breaks her room will smell like chemically-processed fake pumpkin forever*
Peach, too, a bit. It reminds me of the Sawgrass Mills Mall in South Florida. They had a kiosk there whose theme was peach-scented everything. I wanted to vomit every time I walked past it. This is that kiosk, ground together with three-year-old rejected Halloween candy and stale movie-theater popcorn.
I am going to go scrub my arm clean now. Because OMGeww.
So. Yes. Hi. What have you tried that you think I'll like? What should I stay away from?