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Paul & Joe Bleu Perfume Review
Best Of, Perfume, Reviews - Comments Off - August 24th, 2012

I’ve been in love with the Paul & Joe brand for several years now. Their makeup is the epitome of luxe, in my opinion, with beautiful textures and colors. I sniffed both of the fragrances offered by Paul & Joe a few years ago, and decided that Bleu was my preferred of the two (there is also Blanc). I suspect it’s being discontinued, because I saw it selling for quite a low price from Amazon.com, so I snatched one up. I’m really happy I did, because it’s as good as I remember it.

If you read the reviews on Basenotes, most reviewers mention the similarity to Guerlain’s Shalimar. I’m a very bad perfumista, and can’t actually remember what Shalimar smells like (although I have smelled it before). Clearly, I’ll try to remedy this soon.

The note that catches my attention the most in Bleu is the cumin. My skin magnifies cumin notes LIKE CRAZY, so it’s a really good thing I LOVE the scent. Some people liken cumin to a sweat smell – perhaps this is so. But I still really like it, and it’s somewhat unusual to encounter it in mainstream perfumery. Bleu also has notes of bergamot, coriander, caraway, cardamom, ylang-ylang, jasmine, rose, sandalwood, oud, myrrh, vanilla, and musk. It’s a very smooth scent, but also very rich and very spicy. It has excellent sillage, and wears for hours. I love the pretty blue glass bottle, with its vintage look.

If you love a slightly unusual, warm oriental type of perfume, try to snag this one at the very discounted price. It’s totally worth it.

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One Hand Washes The Other Halloween 2012
Perfume, Reviews - Comments (4) - August 16th, 2012

Good news, Lovelies! I have samples of five of One Hand Washes The Other’s 2012 Halloween scents, and they are FABULOUS!! I also have either full size or samples of a couple of returning fragrances, so I’ll talk about them too. OHWTO’s Halloween scents are some of my favorites, and the new scents do not disappoint.

These are some of the most complex and interesting fragrances I’ve tried from One Hand Washes The Other. They are not simply a mish-mash of individual notes, but instead are finely blended scent “stories.” I continue to be impressed with OHWTO’s growth in perfumery.

First up, is Jack. In Black. Z.O.M.G. I am SO IN LOVE with this scent. It’s got notes of charred, sooty, dirty pumpkin flesh, Arabian musk, pomegranate, tea, and a handful of penny candy snatched from an unsuspecting trick-or-treater’s pillowcase. On first sniff, I get a lovely tea note, and then it develops into a deep, musky smell tempered by the freshness of the pomegranate. This one leans on the masculine side, but works just as well on the ladies. It’s just amazingly good, and I will definitely need this in a full size!

Dullahan is a tribute to the original headless horseman! There is no way to bar the road against a dullahan—all locks and gates open on their own when it approaches… Spooky! This one has notes of harvest spices, black leather, black tea, clary sage, buttery caramel, and civet. On skin, the buttery caramel is the first note I notice, and it’s yummy. The fragrance settles into a sweet gourmand, but the leather, sage, and tea keep it from being too food-y. I think this one will be popular!

Dudleyville, based on a particularly frightening ghost town, is my next favorite after Jack. In Black. When I first put it on, my thought was mmmm… dirt and fennel. Sexy. The notes are dried leaves, wood smoke, patchouli, fennel, dirt, palo santo, petitgrain, spectral musk, amyris, catnip, ginger, and cardamom. It’s got a definite masculine feel, so this one could be good for the guys. I don’t think it’s so masculine that a chick wouldn’t want to wear it, especially if you like herbaceous scents. This is the dirt smell I’ve always wanted. It settles into a warm scent that reminds me of fall, with the dried leaves and wood smoke. I really, really like this one.

Ravensblood is …ooh. On skin, my first thought is berries and incense. The notes are blackberries, dark musk, licorice spiked with clove, guiacwood, labdanum, sandalwood, patchouli, and a bright twist of lemon. It’s surprisingly light (in character, not in lasting power, which is excellent) after a while, which I credit to the lemon and clove. It’s not a berry pie smell. I really like how the blackerry note sticks around for a long time though, like it gets juicier on your skin. This is a lovely scent!

Equinox is like visiting a harvest dessert festival and sitting by a bonfire. The notes are fresh apple butter, spiced breads and iced pastries, just-pressed cider warmed with ginger and mulling spice, roasted figs, berries, pomegranates, bonfire smoke, amber, and patchouli. It’s gourmand for sure, but not in a “you smell like food” way. The base notes keep it in the perfume realm, by providing a wonderful richness in the drydown. This is definitely a must if you like spicy scents!

Those are the five I’ve tried so far. Seance, Pumpkin Bread Pudding, and Down A Dark Path are also on my list for sure, based on the descriptions!

I also have a few returning fragrances to mention. Sugar Skulls is a long-time favorite of mine, with its notes of sweet baked goods, vanilla cookies, anise, and roses. It’s such a comfort smell. I highly recommend it.

Pumpkin Eater is what a non-foodlike pumpkin smell should be, with its mangled pumpkin, spiced cider, tilled earth, and patchouli.

Burning Times is really complex and spicy, very, very spicy, with notes of vanilla, clove, patchouli, pink peppercorn, suede, musk, sandalwood, cinnamon, cedarwood, and the smoldering Embers of a thousand years. This one is such a great smell for cooler weather!

Solanum is quite nommy, with the almond announcing itself first to me (I LOVE almond), and then the fruits and spices come forth. I didn’t order this one last year because I thought it would be primarily an apple scent – it’s not. It’s definitely more gourmand than fruity, and the apple and raspberry play a supporting, rather than starring, role. I love it!

Mirror Witch smells bright and clean to me, with notes of pomegranates, dried figs, white sage, candied ginger, and a vision of white musk. If rich and heavy isn’t your thing, but you still like a traditional autumn scent, Mirror Witch fits the bill perfectly! I just love the ginger in this one.

Are you excited for the Halloween collection from One Hand Washes The Other this year? Which scents are on your must-have list?

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OHWTO Queen Bea & Violette Solid Scent Review
Perfume, Reviews - Comments (3) - August 11th, 2012

I’ve almost got all the One Hand Washes The Other summer scents now, either in full size or sample form. I just need Eva, Tea Rose Mimosa, and Berry Amber to make my life complete, lol. ANYWAY. My last OHWTO order included Queen Bea and Violette Solid Scents, so I wanted to do a quick little review since summer is going by quickly and they’ll soon be gone.

Violette smells like my childhood. I still can’t put my finger on WHAT, exactly, but for some reason violet smells trigger a very strong scent memory from my childhood. I think it might have been a soap or bubble bath or something like that. Violette’s notes are wood violets, leather, and honeycomb. It’s not strictly a violet scent though – it’s not very powdery at all, like you might expect with violets. It reminds me of a shampoo I’ve used, actually, which is not a bad thing. It’s very fresh, and a bit sweet, and just really NICE. If Violette were a person, she’d be Miss Congeniality.

Queen Bea is sexy. It’s got apricots, lots and lots of apricots, and honey, plum wine, peonies, freesia, a whiff of violet, cardamom, and white patchouli. I get a big dose of apricot first (I LOVE apricot smells), and then the honey and spices start to warm things up, and then the flowers bloom. It’s soo good, especially if you’re a sucker for apricot, like I am. I lurve it.

I have samples of One Hand Washes The Other’s upcoming Halloween scents. You jealous?

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Lavanila Vanilla Summer Rollerball Review
Perfume, Reviews - Comments Off - August 11th, 2012

Lavanila introduced a new fragrance this summer called, appropriately enough, Vanilla Summer. The rollerball format is something I haven’t tried before either, so I’m happy to check it out!

Vanilla Summer contains notes of mango, pineapple, coconut milk, sugar cane, and of course, Madagascar vanilla. The coconut is probably the predominant note, but it’s not exclusively a coconut scent. As it dries down, the coconut settles down and the vanilla really shines. It’s a great summer scent, not too overpowering or cloying. It has pretty good wear time, and the portable format means it’s easy to touch-up.

I really like the rollerball. It’s a nice sturdy bottle, and the cap is tall – less likely to leak. The rollerball itself has a firm, tight fit, so it doesn’t just dump out a bunch of perfume. I hate it when rollerballs do that, so this one gets a major thumbs up for being awesome.

The rollerball size is 0.32 oz. for $19. This is the perfect size to toss in your beach bag, and is also air-travel friendly as well. Vanilla Summer gets two thumbs up!

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Flora Theo Natural Perfume Review
Get Local, Perfume, Reviews - Comments (2) - August 8th, 2012

Flora is a little boutique located in Downtown Portland. It’s best described as an eclectic mix of gifty things, including jewelry, tea, funky doodads, bath things, and more. I promise, if you are looking for a gift, either small or large, you will find it at Flora. There is, quite literally, something for everyone.

Flora also offers their own line of sprays, balms, and perfumes. When I was there, I just HAD to pick up the Theo Natural Perfume, because, well. THEO. It wasn’t named after my cat, but anything that shares a name with Sir Pawsome has to be good. Theo has notes of notes of cocoa, bourbon geranium and woods, specifically cedarwood. Ordinarily, geranium is a non-starter for me. In this blend, it adds a freshness that’s a nice counterpoint to the richness of the cocoa and the cedarwood. Theo goes on rich, and stays rich. As it warms on your skin, a sweetness starts to develop, but it’s not cloying. Theo is ultimately a very comforting scent, like a wool blanket you’d pull around yourself on a cold day.

Flora Natural Perfumes are made with only pure essential oils, absolutes and organic botanical infusions. They are blended in a base of fractionated coconut oil and/or jojoba oil. They come in a dainty rollerball bottle, and it’s small. There isn’t a size listed, but I’d guess it’s around a quarter to a half an ounce. Theo is $35.

If you should find yourself in Downtown Portland with some time to kill, do check out Flora and sniff the perfumes. I’m sure you’ll find something you like.

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One Hand Washes The Other Haul Post
Perfume, Reviews - Comments Off - July 7th, 2012

I have more stuff from OHWTO to write about, because I can’t stop myself from throwing money at Becca. IT’S ALL SO GOOD!!! I ordered another Snayk Oyle because I can’t get enough of it, plus a few more solid scents. SO HAPPY.

The Snayk Oyle is in the fragrance Besos del Sol. It’s really, really awesome for summertime (or for reminding you about summer, if it happens to not be summer where you are right now). Besos del Sol has notes of creamy coconut and white gardenia star, supported by notes of white grapefruit, resinous amber, jasmine, a touch of deep, smoky vetivert, and a dash of bourbon vanilla. It is not overly coconut-y or overly floral, but rather a nice blend of everything that reminds me of suntan lotion and swimming pools, circa 1994. It’s the smell of my teenage summers, in a bottle. Snayk Oyle, should you need reminding, is an awesome body moisturizer that’s perfect for slathering over your skin after a shower. You’ll smell good for hours afterwards.

Stolen Bouquet and Tilly are summer scents, so snag ‘em now if you think you want them. Stolen Bouquet is a blend of purple flowers – lilacs and violets, accented with orchids, with a dash of powdery vanilla added to ground the scent. It’s so pretty, and very floral. I love how feminine it is. Tilly is described as “sweet, juicy peaches, rows upon rows of tomato plants ready to harvest, damp earth and Lily-of-the-Valley underfoot, a trail of fragrant honeysuckle, and a locket filled with intoxicating amber.” It’s not nearly as fruity as I was expecting it to be. It really is a well balanced scent, with no single note demanding attention. They’re both lovely for summer, and I look forward to wearing Tilly in the dead of winter, to remind me of July.

Lost At Sea is from the Private Stock collection (thus available year-round), and I’m in love. It’s got coconuts, citrus fruits, and salty sea air. I like it better than Latitude (from the Summer collection) just because it’s a little less about the sweet and a little more about the fresh sea air. It’s still definitely coconut, and I love me some coconut smells, but let’s just say I’m happy I have a full size Lost At Sea and I’m content to just have samples of Latitude.

I got a Buttella Solid Scent because I just had to have ALL THE BUTELLAS. Yup, I’m a sucker like that. I have my jar of original Buttella Whipped Cocoa Butter, half empty now (and I hear that the whipped awesomeness will come in OTHER SMELLS this winter! ZOMG!), Buttella Snayk Oyle, and now Buttella Solid Scent to carry with me for a portable chocolate-smell fix. Buttella’s notes are creamy hazelnut spread made with skim milk and cocoa, smoothed out with vanilla notes.

Just FYI, OHWTO’s Halloween smells (some of them, anyway) are available just this weekend, at least until Halloween. Go see!

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One Hand Washes The Other Summer Scents
Perfume, Reviews - Comments (1) - June 2nd, 2012

I was pawing through my OHWTO stash the other day and realized I have samples and/or full sizes of many of the 2012 Spring & Summer limited edition scents. W00t! I’m usually not so on the ball about reviewing limited edition stuff while readers still have time to actually PURCHASE said limited editions. Go me, being all timely and stuff!

Scarlett, described as a “deceptively complex blend of Neroli, Cilantro, and Rhubarb” is a bit sweet, a lot tart, and potent. On first sniff (after applying to skin) I get a strong whiff of the neroli, which I like a lot. The cilantro gives it a bit of quirkiness, and it starts to settle down into the tartness of rhubarb. Sniffed in the tube, it says “fruity” to my brain, but applied to skin it becomes more vegetal and interesting. This is one of my favorites for summer.

Highland Crest combines the scents of ocean breezes, plumeria blossoms, heather, and suede. On my skin, it starts off really heavy on the plumeria. I’m not a big fan of plumeria. After a few minutes, the rest of the notes start warming up and it becomes more complex and interesting. It never stops being primarily a plumeria scent on me though, which is why it isn’t a favorite.

Latitude is tropical-licious. It has notes of coconut flesh, lychee, mango and jackfruit, pineapple juice, vanilla, honeysuckle and magnolia. It’s basically a tropical cocktail in perfume form, perfectly designed to make your brain happy, just like the real thing.

All The Fires is green. Its notes include green tea, squash blossoms, tomato plants, sweet osmanthus, tangy kumquat, valencia oranges, vetivert, and wasabi. It’s fascinating. I don’t even know where to start describing it. It’s very garden-y. It has a herbaceous feel at the start, and then develops into something really orange juice-y on my skin. This is followed by lashings of vetivert to keep it grounded and the osmanthus flits through the scent. It’s basically awesome.

Anael is jasmine, apples, balsam pine, skin musk, and sandalwood. If apple scents are your thing, you’ll love it. I’m somewhat “meh” on the subject of apples, so I can take it or leave it. It’s very well-done though, with the jasmine floating airily about and the base notes keeping it grounded at the same time.

Oceanside, oh Oceanside. “Oh well, I guess I’m something of a ne’er-do-well- who fell asleep at the pealing of the steeple bell.” Oceanside has notes of ocean breezes, Monoi de Tahiti, beach grass, sea moss, tuberose, a white linen shirt, and rockrose and mimosa blossoms. It’s floral, it’s fresh, but not heavy or overpowering. Oceanside is beguiling. That’s the best word for it.

X’s For Eyes is a masculine smell, but I love to wear masculine smells so I bought it. The notes are cologne samples, sunscreen, citrus drink, night air, juniper bushes and the ever-present aroma of mom’s herb garden. It’s a good manly smell, not in an AXE kind of way but it a classy kind of way. Wear it and say “Yes I’m wearing a man smell, so?” and be proud.

I really want to try all the rest now. I’m kind of a junkie like that.

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Darling Clandestine Solid Perfume Review
Perfume, Reviews - Comments (6) - May 25th, 2012

Sometimes you encounter people and you realize that they are just so cool, they intimidate you with their awesomeness. Then you discover that they are in fact cooler than you could ever believe possible, because they are totally approachable and kind and nice. Such is the case for me, with the talented and beautiful Evonne, who owns Darling Clandestine. Darling Clandestine perfumes are very interesting, very complex, and quite beautiful, much like the lady who creates them.

I ordered some of the perfume solids, and have four to write about. First, some minutiae to cover: the solid perfumes come in 0.5 oz. tins, which is A LOT. I mean, no kidding a lot. These puppies are going to last for a while. Each scent comes in a base of beeswax, rice bran, and grapeseed oils. The nifty vinyl labels feature some kind of cool picture on the lid. The packaging is great, and your order comes neatly done up in cool paper. The shop theme weaves throughout everything.

First, Maudlin & Bedlam.

maud·lin /môdlin/
Adjective:
Self-pityingly or tearfully sentimental, often through drunkenness.

bedlam
Noun: A place or situation of chaotic uproar, and where confusion prevails.

So, sentimental craziness? Perhaps. The notes are dark, warm honey and herbals and wood frosted unsettlingly with weeping green leaves. Mmmm. Honey, yes, and something that strongly reminds me of chai tea rich with black pepper, and yes some woods… it’s less green than I expected. I am really, really in love with this smell. There’s also something almost medicinal about it, but in a really good way. Spicy. I am seriously in love with this smell. It’s not so feminine a guy couldn’t wear it – in fact, I think it would smell AWESOME on a dude.

Whitefall is the second scent I have to share.

The fourth moon of Athens, Whitefall, a large percentage of which was owned by a woman named Patience. Whitefall was said to not be civilization “in the strictest sense.”

It’s a comfort scent, like tea and scones and clotted cream, sweet toasted basmati rice and finished with a whiff of gunsmoke, horses, leather and a rustle of kicked-up grass. It’s heavier on the tea and scones and sweet than the other stuff, and it has a funny almost fruity thing going on with it. Which is not to say I don’t like it – I do, quite a lot in fact. It’s not as mysterious and dark as Maudlin & Bedlam, but for a gourmand comfort smell, it’ll do!

There’s a shortage of perfect breasts in this world. It would be a pity to damage yours. -Westley

Morderteile Kelah is named for a “magnificent lady with magnificent knockers.” I have actually had the pleasure of meeting said lady, and can personally attest to how cool she is (and how magnificent her, ahem, knockers are). Amber, hyacinth, milk and strawberry jam are a few of the notes in Morderteile Kelah. It’s sweet, and spicy, but not too sweet, and it has a nice warmth to it. On skin, I get a hit of spiciness, but after a few minutes the strawberry jam and milk comes out. It’s very complex and very pretty. It’s my second favorite, after Maudlin & Bedlam.

A stranger has come
To share my room in the house not right in the head,
A girl mad as birds
-Dylan Thomas

Mad As Birds is a perfect summer scent. With notes of pear and mint and smoky amber and marigolds, it’s at once herbal and also sweet. I like the garden-y aspect of it, as though you were sitting in your yard, with crushed mint under your feet and flowers and dirt nearby. Pretty much anything with some mint in it will appeal to me, and this is a fresh crushed mint note, not a toothpaste note. I almost wish Darling Clandestine made liquid perfume because I want to mist this all over my skin on a hot day…

Overall, you don’t want to miss Darling Clandestine. At a mere $9 per tin, and with the option to purchase samples first, I’m sure everyone will find something they love. Two very enthusiastic thumbs up.

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