BPAL Dragon Doodle
A scribble of honey-drenched strawberry and white pear.
Much like Daenerys Targaryen, I have always loved dragons. As you might imagine, I always look forward to BPAL’s Dragon Con scents, since they are themed around my favorite mythological reptile. This was the scent I was most excited for from this year’s collection.
In the bottle: SWEET. Very, very sweet and fruity. I’m not really surprised by that, but I do hope that it softens on the skin.
On the skin: The sweetness becomes more bearable compared to what it was before, but it’s still a very sweet scent. The notes are really balanced: I get an equal amount of each note, and their smell is distinct. They go together very well. But there’s something about the quality of the honey and the way it’s mixing with the sweetness that I don’t like. It’s powdery, but also weirdly pungent. It’s hard to describe. Needless to say, this isn’t a scent for me.
TL;DR: Very sweet honey, strawberry, and pear. Smells weird on the skin. 3/5.
BPAL Sir Thomas Sharpe
Black amber darkens a pale fougere.
Sometimes the second-hand indie perfume market can be insane. For instance, this particular scent from the limited edition BPAL Crimson Peak collaboration collection usually sells for $80-$100 per bottle. I think that’s kind of crazy, personally. That being said, you’re probably wondering how I have this scent then; I somehow managed to find someone selling a bottle of it for retail price! Of course I had to snap it up to see what all of the fuss is about.
In the bottle: This is a true BPAL fougere! I’m definitely getting some lilac and perhaps some lavender in there as well. It actually reminds me a lot of BPAL Jareth, which is a good thing since I love that scent. I do hope it changes a bit on the skin to become different from Jareth.
On the skin: Oooh, okay, now we’re getting somewhere. It’s definitely warmer and spicier than Jareth, with a very masculine cologne kind of edge. I also feel like I can detect some bay rum and lemon in there, even though it’s not listed. The amber has a distinct powderiness to it that threatens to go into baby powder territory, but it doesn’t. This is a very classic, gentlemanly scent, which fits it’s namesake to a T. I think it smells great on me, but I think it would smell awesome on a dude too. It can also see it layering well with other scents. Bonus: the oil is a deep crimson color, which is perfect for a scent based on Crimson Peak. If you’re a lover of masculine scents, this one might be worth hunting down for a reasonable price. Besides, who doesn’t want to slather themselves in Eau de Tom Hiddleston?
TL;DR: A warm, spicy fougere blend. Classic, gentlemanly, awesome. 4.5/5.
BPAL The Perilous Parlor
Soft white pear and sweet vanilla.
Why don’t more perfume brands make pear-centric scents? Pear is an absolutely gorgeous note, and it’s really not used that much! Therefore, anytime I come across a pear scent, I have to try it.
In the bottle: Oh lord, that’s sweet. I knew that this was going to be sweet, but I didn’t think it was going to be that sweet. It’s really candied and sugary. It’s quite artificial too.
On the skin: The scent becomes less artificial smelling, but it’s still way too sweet for me. It’s like…pear and vanilla candy that’s gonna rot your teeth. If you’re someone who likes really foodie, super sweet scents, you’ll like this, but it’s not for me.
TL;DR: Ultra sweet pear and vanilla. Too sweet for me. 3/5.
BPAL A View of Cascading Cherry Blossoms
A tumble of cherry blossoms falling into a pool of white musk and crushed strawberries.
Strawberries are an interesting perfume note. On one hand, they can smell extremely sweet and artificial. But on the other hand, if done well, they can be so beautiful and fresh and fruity. BPAL Lupercalia Shunga scents are often my favorites when it comes to their yearly releases, so I knew I had to try this.
In the bottle: Dear Lord, this is one of the best things that I have ever smelled. I’m getting sweet, jammy strawberry with beautiful, gently floral cherry blossoms. I hope it stays this way on the skin.
On the skin: I just love this. It’s a 50/50 split between the cherry blossom and the strawberries, which is exactly what I was hoping for. The strawberries are realistic and sweet, but not candied, and the cherry blossoms are so stunning: floral but not too floral. The musk ties it all together. It’s like a less sweet, more floral version of Diligent Instruction for the Bridal Night.
TL;DR: Sweet, realistic strawberries and cherry blossoms. I love this. 5/5.
BPAL Lavender Lace
A cascading bouquet of French lavender, smoke-touched, with bourbon vanilla and caramelized tobacco, pricked by tiny daggers of cognac.
BPAL has a line of scents called the Laces, and every scent has a wispy, gentle tobacco note in it to represent that soft, delicate lace. I haven’t tried any of them (Antique Lace is not a part of that collection) until now. I love lavender, woodsmoke, bourbon vanilla, and cognac, so the only worrying note is that tobacco. Will it work on me?
In the bottle: Herbal lavender with something else that I can’t put my finger on. I’m not sure how I feel about this.
On the skin: This is a really unique scent. The lavender is quite herbal, and the smoke pairs with that very well. The tobacco doesn’t turn into an ashtray on me, which I’m thankful for. It almost adds a peppery kick to the blend. However, while I like these notes individually, I feel like they’re not working well together on my skin. The result is a scent that smells like an expensive, feminine, department store perfume, which just isn’t my style.
TL;DR: Smoky lavender with spicy tobacco. Smells like a mainstream scent. 3.5/5
BPAL Ivory Vulva
Marshmallow root, coconut, macadamia milk, cream accord, and a drop of golden amber.
There are several BPAL Lupercalia scents that have become very popular despite only being around for one season. This scent is one of them. It’s part of the Shunga collection (no surprise there), with several other scents sharing the name of that particular part of the female anatomy. The notes sounded lovely, so a friend sent me a decant of it.
In the bottle: A very sweet, rich, buttery vanilla. Seriously, it really smells like buttercream frosting. I’m getting that’s from the marshmallow and cream. It’s yummy.
On the skin: It’s definitely less buttery on the skin. It’s a very creamy, sweet scent overall. I don’t get any coconut, which is disappointing since I love coconut. There’s a slight dryness in the background, probably from the amber. Overall, this scent sort of reminds me of Volcano in Springtime, but I think I prefer that scent since it’s more unique. I’ll keep my decant of this, but I don’t need a full bottle.
TL;DR: Creamy, sweet marshmallow. Pretty basic, but done well. 4/5.
BPAL Spinning on Graves
Dorian and lavender mist, crushed grass, cypress leaf, and a drop of clove.
Every year, the owners of BPAL and BPTP release a set of perfumes for their daughter Lilith’s birthday. This scent was a part of the BPTP side of that collection. I knew I had a to try it once I saw the notes, since I love the scent Dorian as well as lavender and clove and cypress. This scent can be purchased on the BPTP website for $24 US.
In the bottle: Sugary herbal lavender with green elements! I’m also getting a hint of clove for the spice. It’s really fresh and beautiful.
On the skin: That sweet, herbal lavender is still the most prominent alongside the green notes that lend an almost wet feel to it, like morning dew on a leaf. The Dorian comes out more on the skin, and the black tea and lemon from that are just perfect alongside the green and lavender. It conjures up the image of a misty morning at an old Victorian mansion. I’m so glad I bought a bottle of this!
TL;DR: Sweetened herbal lavender with softly wet greenery and Dorian. Misty and calming. 5/5.
BPAL Volcano in Springtime
Whipped vanilla cream and white sandalwood with a touch of lotus root.
Cream has a bit of an infamous reputation in the indie perfume community, because it has a tendency to turn curdled and spoiled on a lot of people. However, I wanted to try this scent since it was a favorite from that year’s Lupercalia collection. Normally, I also include a photo of the bottle, but I won’t for this one, since it is extremely explicit. This scent is no longer available.
In the bottle: Definitely vanilla, but I’m getting something kind of green and wet. I’m gonna guess that that’s the lotus root. It’s odd, but I kind of like it!
On the skin: The vanilla is kind of dry and a little dusty, which is think is a result of the sandalwood. It’s feminine and delicate, and almost a little woodsy. In the back, I get that same green, slightly wet floral note from the lotus; it’s a great contrast to the dryness of the sandalwood. The blend as a whole is alluring in a very subtle way. This is honestly a really pretty, unique scent, and it reminds me a lot the Monet painting series “Water Lilies”!
TL;DR: Dry vanilla sandalwood with slightly aquatic, green lotus. Beautiful. 5/5.
BPAL Cave of Treasures
Sweet amber and golden honey, cream accord, blue lilac, and a drop of cardamom.
I’m not a huge floral person, but I’ve discovered that I really enjoy the smell of lilacs. They’re a big part of one of my favorite scents ever, Jareth, and a friend was kind enough to decant a little bit for me to try. Since this was a BPAL 2017 Lupercalia scent, it is no longer available.
In the bottle: Florals and spices. This actually reminds me of a commercial “oriental floral” type of scent.
On the skin: This scent definitely becomes more nuanced on the skin. The lilacs become more distinct, and I can also smell the cardamom. It’s a delicate cardamom however, not very powerful, but enough to add some spicy dimension. There’s a creamy smoothness to this as well that I think pairs really well with the lilac. I like this!
TL;DR: Lilacs with a soft undercurrent of creamy spices. Very feminine. 3.5/5.
BPAL Mme. Moriarty, Misfortune Teller
Red musk, vanilla bean, pomegranate, black currant, patchouli leaf and wild plum.
I think that patchouli gets a bad reputation. Yes, it can smell like a hippie who hasn’t bathed in two weeks, but if blended right, it can be earthy and rich and very sexy. This particular scent is considered one that you need to try if you like patchouli, so a friend sent me a decant of it. Since I love pretty much every note in it, I was very excited to finally try it. You can buy this scent on the BPAL website for $24 US for 5mL.
In the bottle: Mostly patchouli, with a berry undertone. This is a dark, dirty patchouli with a lot of earthiness and I like that.
On the skin: The patchouli is…gone? Despite being a very powerful note, I can’t smell the patch anymore and it’s really weird. Instead, I’m getting tart pomegranate and a very red wine kind of smell, possibly from the currant. I’m really disappointed by this! I wanted a fruit and patch blend and I’m not getting that at all. It’s just boozy and sour on me.
TL;DR: Tart pomegranate and red wine. No patch when on the skin. Disappointing. 3/5.