Whore of Babylon by Conjure Oils

Hopefully, by now, names of perfumes in the Indie world are no longer surprising.  However, snickering like a little kid at names is another thing entirely.  I admit, I snickered.  And then I sniffed … and I was in love.

I purchased this bottle from the lovely Rhinestone Housewife.  Always recommend going through her if you can.  It not only supports RH, but it also supports the companies she stocks, as well as opened up the opportunity for internationals to get items they sometimes can’t get from the Indie companies themselves.  /shameless-unpaid-plug


photo by smellallthethings

Now for the scent.  It is touted as Conjure Oil’s MOST POPULAR blend.  Ever.  I did not know this going in.  Now that I have smelled it, I can completely understand.


Whore of Babylonscorched vanilla, champagne and pink diamonds

I … would not have guessed that note list in a million years.  My husband said red grapes.  Cold sniff for me was wine.  On my skin, it smelled like spicy currants.  So … yeah.

Wet on skin, now that I know the notes, I do get that fizzy champagne scent that, with the “pink diamonds” equates to a sweet wine-like scent.  The pink diamond accord has to have currants in it.  It just has to.  I love currants and can usually pick them out of a lineup.

As this dries the boozier aspect dies down and that vanilla comes out.  I don’t know where the scorched it coming from.  It has some good depth and a touch of darkness, but I can’t quite place what is causing that.  The vanilla in no way smells burnt, or charred, or scorched.  It smells like deep vanilla, sweet (almost tooth-achingly so) but not bitter.

Dry this is intoxicating.  Sweet and drifting but with an edge I can’t accurately describe.  It’s almost spicy after a while, which it typical of currants on my skin.  The champagne manages to keep this effervescent despite the depth and complexity these “three” (we all know it’s not just three) notes portray.

I am holding myself back from getting a backup bottle, that’s how much I adore this scent.

Arcana – The Righteous Uterus

photo by smellallthethings

The name, the label art, the cause … it’s all wonderful!  For the unawares, The Righteous Uterus is part of Arcana’s bid to help Planned Parenthood40% of proceeds from this scent are automatically transferred from each sale to Planned Parenthood.  Julia, bless her hedonistic heart, is very transparent in how much has been sent thus far.  Curious?  Visit her company’s Facebook page or the fan page.

Like I said, the cause is wonderful.  Even if the notes are not “your thing”, this is another way to donate to a worthy cause.

But that label art!  And the notes!  And the name!  It’s the complete package really.

The Righteous Uterus – A power blend of fresh ginger root, bergamot peel, black vanilla, spruce branches, balsam of Peru, and sparkling water rests on a base of unbreakable sandalwood and corporeal amber.

In the bottle this is a huge, freshly peeled blast of ginger root.  I’ve peeled and grated enough and I enjoy that scent (mostly because I enjoy the food I’m cooking it in as well).  And on the skin that fresh ginger root is there, it’s strong and flowing.  It’s so strong that it’s overtaking everything else at the moment.

As this dries down I get that citrus-y bergamot peel and something that is reminding me of Arcana’s “fir jam” which might be the spruce branches (maybe a bit of the balsam as well) coming through.  Eventually I get that dark, caramel-y vanilla scent and it pulls the sandalwood and amber with it as it makes its way through the brighter notes.

It takes a while, but fear not, the ginger and bergamot falls to the back of the line and lets the other notes come to the fore.  The throw is not as large as it was when wet, but it’s still nice and I get a waft of it whenever I move my hand.

I really like this.  It wasn’t anything like I thought it would be.  I’d seen it compared to ginger ale, and I don’t like ginger ale.  I don’t think it’s like ginger ale.

Once this has had time to settle it is a gorgeous, soft scent with an edge.  It has that feel that is quintessentially Arcana.  Soft, slightly sweet, with a brightness that lifts you up and a base to keep you grounded.

Hyde + Alchemy – 020

I received my full size bottle of 013 (the purple one) the other day and I’m in love.  I can’t explain how it’s different than oil AND alcohol based perfumes, but it is.  I could smell it morphing throughout the day and my temperature rose and fell.  It was crazy.

photo by smellallthethings

So, of course, I have to try more!  Nabbed 020 out of the pile I still have from the discovery set.

020 – orange blossom, peony, iris, tonka bean, patchouli, vanilla

Sounds simple, right?  We will see!

In the vial I get something that seems like a very traditional feminine perfume.  Soft, floral, floaty.  Nice, but like I said, traditional.  Something not unique.

On my skin this reminds me so, so much of something I tried on at Sephora one time when I was looking for a scent that was more main stream.  I want to say something from Tom Ford but don’t quote me on that.  It’s almost like Tom Ford’s Black Orchid mixed with Lancome’s La Vie est Belle.

That comparison doesn’t last long though.  Literally by the time I got back with my bottle of La Vie est Belle (to spell it right) the scent had morphed.  Now the fuzziness of the tonka bean is making its way through the scent.  That fuzzy part doesn’t last long either.

Not even going to lie, this is amazing so far.  It’s really like the best of two or three of my favorite mainstream perfumes kind of mashed into one.  Take Tom Ford’s Black Orchid, mix with a touch of Yves St. Laurent’s Black Opium, and toss a healthy splash of Lancome’s La Vie est Belle on top and you have #020 by Hyde + Alchemy.  It’s really an intoxicating scent.

I could sit here all day and describe the different phases this goes through on my skin, but I’ll save you from that.  Instead, let me just say that while this may have a traditional vibe to it, it’s still amazing and a good deal cheaper than buying all three of the aforementioned perfumes and layering them.

020 is so bright, so fun, so full of life but it has that deep mysterious edge that has me hooked.

Love by Arcana

Best way to get back to something is to just jump right in, right?  Sure it is!  So, as I’ve mentioned I had some issues with changes in medication and I was trying to figure out just how the changes had effected me and my chemistry.  Well, the good news is that most if not all of my favorite blends got BETTER.  Didn’t think that was possible but there ya go.  So far there’s only been one or two blends where I just … I couldn’t take it but they had been on the fence for me anyway so it was no love lost.

photo by smellallthethings

Speaking of love …

For my birthday coming up, I placed a small order with Arcana.  I saw a few reviews on Reddit’s IndieMakeupandMore subreddit and just couldn’t pass them up.  Of course, after hitting “buy” I am second guessing myself and wondering if I shouldn’t have tossed Love into my cart.

I guess I’ll find out today if I need to place another order.

Love – A breathtaking vanilla accord is accompanied by fresh cream, sugarcane, soft musk, and a pinch of tea leaves.

In the vial this is a blast of sweet cream.  Like the mixture for my Great-Aunt May’s Sweet Cream Pie before it gets cooked.  But there’s something sharp on top of it, like a bright citrus or something … maybe the tea leaves?  It’s odd but not off-putting so to the skin it goes!

Wet on my skin this is like a buttery crust of some kind.  Like a puffed pastry that’s only lightly sweetened.  This is way more foodie than I think I was expecting.

As this dries down that bakery smell is not going away.  I find this quite amusing.  But I’m fairly certain my skin is turning the fresh cream from something delightfully soft and flowing into something approaching curdled – but not quite there yet.

I find I am having a very hard time putting what I’m smelling together with the notes as listed.  They just don’t seem to be jiving.  I’m getting pastries, but the notes don’t add to pastry in my mind.  I’ve got a friend who is a gourmand queen (you know who you are) and I may let her have a go at this to see if it’s just me and my weirdo chemistry or if I’m totally reading the scent wrong.

In the end I had to scrub this off.  It became a cloying sweet pastry that was making my teeth ache.

Ah the fun and joy of experimentation!!


Delay in Posting

I know it has been a while since I have posted anything, and for that I am truly sorry!  Right now I am going through some medicine changes and they are really, really messing with my chemistry and what smells good.  I’m sure allergies are not helping either.

As soon as my skin and sniffer get back to some semblance of normal (even if its a new normal) I’ll be back!

Much love and smells!

30 Scents in 30 Days – Day 27 – Hyde + Alchemy – 013

I’m slowly but surely making my way through the massive Discovery Kit from Hyde + Alchemy.  Today I pulled from the pouch 013.

photo by smellallthethings

013ylang ylang, jasmine, orchid, gardenia, vanilla, olibnaum, patchouli, amber, sandalwood

The liquid has a slightly purple tint (on the site it’s much more noticeable) and it was the first one when browsing their site that caught my eye so I’m super excited to try it!

Without even opening the vial I can smell the florals as they wheedle their way out, intent on being sniffed.  Good thing?  Bad thing?  Guess I’ll find out!

Jasmine! Gardenia!  Ylang ylang!  The orchid is just sitting back like “‘sup?” knowing it’s awesome without all the yelling, jumping, and screaming “me! me! me!”.  Thankfully that initial period is short lived.  Like it took me longer to write that then the actual phase lasted.  Which is cool.

Now it’s like this funky floral incense.  Funky in a good way.  Funky like that dress you want that is kind of like a hippy-type dress but modernized and you know you could rock the hell out of it but you’re like kind of afraid to go for it on the off chance that your family just doesn’t get it.  Yeah, that kind of funky.  That cool funky, laid back funky, the kind of funky you like having around even though you might not pull it out all the time, but it is great for those moments when its down-right needed.

The vanilla is strong in this.  Stronger than other vanilla’s I’ve smelled when supported and surrounded by this many other strong scents.  There’s also something a touch spicy in here – one of the florals with that edge to it.

Small bit of a soap phase going on here.  Gardenia’s can sometimes go soapy on me so I’m thinking that is the culprit.  Going to walk away and do something else and let this meld with my skin and settle for a bit.

… 5 hours later …

image via hyde + alchemy

To say this became something wholly different than it was initially would be an understatement.  Oh. My. Gosh.  This became a super sexy, slinky, black cocktail dress and f–k me shoes of a scent.  Little red lipstick smeared on a napkin with your number as you tuck it into a hot guys back pocket of a scent.

What I’m saying is … it’s sexy.  Ahem.

On my skin it’s warm and a touch spicy.  Reminds me of those classic gems Shalimar and Opium.  The florals are soft and skin close.  The muskiness of the Olibnaum and patchouli sneek out and rope you in further.  The vanilla is there but intertwined with the amber so that it’s a golden sweetness.

Seriously an addicting scent.  BRB going to slather!

30 Scents in 30 Days – Day 26 – Alkemia – As Dark Things are Meant to be Loved

I hope everyone had a wonderful Holiday and a Happy New Year!  Hopefully Santa brought everyone what they wished for.  And if not, well, get it yourself, you deserve it!  (Totally what I am telling myself.)

To ring in the New Year, I’ve pulled out Alkemia’s As Dark Things are Meant to be Loved.  It’s been sitting for a little over three months in a cool dark spot to get its groove on.  And groove it did.

photo by smellallthethings

As Dark Things are Meant to be LovedLapsang souchong tea, dark Russian leather, aloeswood, smoked black amber, aged dark patchouli, tonka, Amazonian breuzinho, Moroccan bhakoor, labdanum, temple incense, caramelized opium, black coffee, black coconut, and tabac leaf.

I remember when I got this it was funky, and not in a good way.  The leather was sharp, the tea over powering, and the patchouli was screaming in the background like a banshee.  All in all, it was not a good first impression.  But, there were so many notes that just called to me that I had to give it a chance.  So I tucked it away, safe and sound, and just now pulled it back out.

This blend has completely blossomed.  It has changed and settled and smoothed out into this gorgeous smoky, incensy goodness that just begs to be worn and worn proudly.  Now I love it and it has turned into something different than I thought it would be, but loved nonetheless.

As this goes on wet, the leather screeches just a bit but almost immediately backs down.  The lapsang souchong tea is strong in the wet stage but slowly makes its way to the background as the blend dries.  There is a heavy dollop of smoke that weaves its way through this blend.  It’s strong at first before it dissipates – though it never truly leaves.

Once it begins to dry down, the scent stays strong and has a heavy throw to it.  The patchouli is heavy as is the opium and the incense.  They get their turn in the limelight before calming down and becoming one with everything else.  The leather is dark, well loved and well oiled, and slick but not that shiny black leather that can be sharp and overwhelming – this is soft and pliable and heavily scented with the oil used to care for it.

Now that it is dry and has sat for a bit most of the individual notes are nearly indecipherable from each other.  What I am left with is a gorgeous incense blend that swirls around me and makes me feel strong and confident.  It makes me think of inner peace and outer strength.  The throw is still good, though not as strong as the dry down phase.

I’m so glad I kept this.  It is something I want to bring out again and again to experience.

30 Scents in 30 Days – Day 25 – Solstice Scents Gehenna EDP

For those that know me, it’s no surprise I’m a huge fan of Solstice Scents and especially their EDP’s.  It’s also no surprise I love red musk.  So of course Gehenna was an absolute need to have!

photo by smellallthethings

Unfortunately, I never smelled Gehenna prior to last years reformulation, so I cannot offer comparisons to any previous incarnations of this scent.

GehennaRed Musk, Dragon’s Blood Resin, Burning Wood, Somalian Myrrh, Egyptian Musk

On initial spray this is a healthy dose of a dry, almost fruity red musk.  It explodes and then almost immediately settles.  Like the way a flame is huge just as its lit, then settles into itself.  The dragon’s blood resin is only slightly spicy, but it has an amber-like quality to it – but instead of golden, it’s fiery red.

As this melds into my shirt I get a hint of burning wood.  But it’s not like an active fire, more of a soft smoldering off in the distance.  It’s not intrusive and not really smoky at all.  Just this lovely fragrant incense-type scent.  And around that is a beautiful myrrh – sweet but not in a vanilla or sugary type way – more of just a natural sweetness that some woods have.  And rounding it all out is a beautiful skin-close musk that is just barely detectable.

The wear time on this scent is amazing and every time I move I get a hint of it.  It’s not obtrusive and it sits in the background giving just this subtle hint of itself as you go about your day.

For me, it’s a very meditative scent.  It inspires introspection which is typically what gets my creative juices flowing.

I have the oil as well and there is very little difference between the two.  I think with the oil I get a little bit more of the red musk and dragon’s blood resin, but not enough to overwhelm.  As always, the EDP just seems to be so much more.  Though I love putting the oil and EDP on together.  They last throughout the day with no real need for reapplication.

30 Scents in 30 Days – Hyde + Alchemy – Day 24 – 019

photo by smellallthethings

I had to try more of Hyde + Alchemy.  Their formula is so strong – stronger than EDP’s, and a little is going so far.

This time I grabbed a vial labeled 019.  It has notes of lavender, iris, vanilla, saffron, musk mallow seed, amber, and Brazilian vetiver.

In the vial this is that familiar herbal lavender that so many people love and for some reason my body (namely my head) hates.  Unfortunately this lavender is no different in that it gives me a headache, slowly but surely.  With that lovely herbal lavender, however, is a beautiful sweetness – maybe from the iris and vanilla.

Wet on my skin the iris just blooms into this super pretty and soft floral note that is supported by the lavender sitting softly and almost green in the back while a sweet musk scent and golden amber float around.

Dry on my skin it is heavily floral, but not overwhelmingly so.  There is only a hint of the lavender and the headache that was previously threatening is easing up.  The musk from that mallow seed is gorgeous and soft, almost fluffy, almost like tonka.  The vetiver isn’t strong, nor overpowering, but it gives a beautiful brown earthiness to the whole blend.

Overall this blend is extremely comforting, soft, and cozy.  The throw on this is really good – I get a soft vanilla floral with a hint of musk and that glowing amber.  I’m really starting to fall for this company and their scents.

30 Scents in 30 Days – Day 23 – Hyde+Alchemy 012

Life, illnesses (running rampant through the whole family), and holiday’s kept me away.  Also going through my whole stash to get rid of things (check Indie Perfume Lovers FB group in a few days) and just slim stuff down because I quite literally ran out of room.

But, I’m here!  I’m back!  I smell good!  And hopefully you do too.

New company I was turned on to over at bpal.org forum.  Those ladies/gentlemen/lizard-people are hell on wallets – more so than any place else.  But it’s okay, because I love them.

photo by smellallthethings

Hyde + Alchemy!  Slick, sleek, modern, and minimalistic are all great descriptors for their website – but not for their scents as I am finding out.  Well the modern part fits.  This is more of a niche brand?  I don’t know, don’t care really.  The people there are awesome, the discovery kit is cool, and I’m looking forward to exploring!

From the bag I grabbed 012 – lavender, saffron, coffee blossom, tonka bean, vanilla, and amber.

Coffee blossom?  Like, who knew that was a thing?!  But I don’t like coffee.  So … we’ll see how this goes eh?

In the vial I get something that’s coffee but not, but coffee with a floral twist and a touch of sharp lavender.  It’s interesting, different yet a little off-putting because flower coffee isn’t something you really think of.

Wet on my skin though I get that familiar bitter coffee scent I dislike so much.  (Blasphemy yadda yadda I know, I know.)  Then around that I get that lovely fuzzy tonka scent that’s warm and comforting.  Under that is a warm and golden amber.

The drydown keeps it bitter, a touch sharp, but it has this undercurrent of sweetness that’s likely the vanilla and amber.  I don’t really get any saffron that I can tell.  Usually saffron goes weird on me and totally kills a blend for me, but so far I’m not getting that.

The throw on this scent is better than the skin scent.  That doesn’t happen very often.  Usually it’s kind of a what you smell is what you get – only rarely have I had this happen where the skin scent is enough to make me cringe but the throw has me searching it out.  Such a juxtaposition!  The throw isn’t powerful though, it’s very soft and flowing.  This blend is so different from anything I would ever chose for myself and it’s piqued my curiosity for sure.