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posted by [personal profile] ethaisa at 07:48pm on 03/04/2015 under ,
- these are available until Jun4, so I have time to ponder or get testers, but I'm not sure I'll get a tester-set; I'm only really interested in 4/10, and vaguely curious about a couple others.

A Grievous Swarm
- Black pepper and vetiver with cardamom, blackened vanilla, and tobacco absolute.

A Very Grievous Murraine
-Brown musk, myrrh, and sun-baked leather afflicted by splotches of saffron and red musk.

About Midnight
-Judgement rendered: vanillic sandalwood, holy balsam, cedar, and frankincense.

All the Dust of the Land
-An infestation of Ceylon cinnamon bark, black patchouli, tonka absolute, bitter almond, and frankincense.
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posted by [personal profile] ethaisa at 05:41pm on 31/03/2015 under , , ,
bottles -

IVORY VULVA - Marshmallow root, coconut, macadamia milk, cream accord, and a drop of golden amber.
-really, really nice (J); horrible on me :(

COMPARISON OF CELEBRATED BEAUTIES - Vanilla cream, mimosa, and almond blossom.
-creamy almond with a hint of orange. (lots of almond for a 'blossom' scent; almost marzipan, with the vanilla, but not food). likely bottle worthy

STARTLED TOAD - Golden amber and coconut with frankincense, frothy vanilla, carnation, sweet aged patchouli, and lemongrass.
-was worried about the lemongrass in this, but I'm really liking it so far… otoh.. the lemongrass is getting stronger as it dries; hope it settles down! Drydown is gorgeous! bottle worthy.

PROSPEROUS FLOWERS OF THE ELEGANT TWELVE SEASONS - Patchouli and honeyed saffron with labdanum, leather accord, and wood vanilla.
-this is amazing, from start to finish. What honey there is sweetens and rounds the resins. Dark and woody and the leather is luscious. This is going to age amazingly well. Definitely a bottle.

MOUNT FUJI REFLECTED IN LAKE MISAICA - An oakmoss chypre with black cypress, wild mint, labdanum, pine needles, white sandalwood, and white cedar.
-dry, woodsy,rather delicate chypre; sharp when wet but dry down is all cypress cedar goodness. I do adore chypres. Someone compared this to Gacela of the Dark, and when dry, I do see the comparison, but Gacela has that lovely clove and this is more cypress focused. Pretty sure I want a bottle of this.


ARISTOCRATIC COUPLE - Bourbon vanilla, preserved apricot, and cardamom.
-soft fruity cream, very nice dry down, could do with a hint more cardamom

A COMMENTARY - Ripe apricots and neroli-tinged red musk with bergamot, bitter clove, and vetiver.
-red musk is almost subtle here, as is the vetiver, adding just a bit of smoke. Clove is harsh as first but settles down. Liking this quite a lot. I like apricot and this might suit me better than Aristocratic Couple

RIDING IN THE PALANQUIN - Lacquered wood, mother of pearl, bamboo, silk, ho leaf, and jasmine blossoms.
- This opens up with a bit of a green watery lemon kick, but settles back close to the skin. Ends up as a really delicate jasmine blend, very smooth and rather unusual, but I have lots of jasmine blends I adore so I think I can resist this one.

MINAMOTO NO YORIMASA AND THE LOTUS FLOWER - Lotus root, lotus petals, and blue lotus absolute with frankincense, black amber, and blackcurrant.
-not generally a big fan of lotus, and blackcurrant is often a death note. But tested this anyway. There's a harsh almost chemical edge in the imp and on skin… yeah, there it is, the blackcurrant misbehaving. Which is a shame, because the lotus *isn't* going bubble-gummy for once. As I expected, so not for me.

PLEASANT EMBRACE - Lemon-silvered musk and white pear.
- I love pear but wasn't expecting to like this, as I'm not big on the lemon. But.. somehow, I think this is working. Must test again. Damn, as lovely as this is, it totally disappears on my skin in about 30mins.

LOVERS AND A FAN - White coconut, thick wildflower honey, and threads of saffron.
-oh, I really wanted to like this, but there's something here that's sharp and almost sour. And the coconut fades almost immediately. Honey can be iffy on me, but I've never had a honey blend go like this before. Disappointing.

SERVING TEA AFTER COITUS - Green tea, heady honey, white plum, ambergris accord, and vanilla flower.
-not sure about this one; the honey seems to behave, but the tea is really sharp and I could do without the plum; ultimately a little too floral for my tastes in tea blends, though the final dry down is nice.

SEATED COUPLE LEANING ON HIPS - Sake, skin musk, and ambrette seed.
- another one I really wanted to like but it's very faint on skin, and I can't see myself reaching for this.

JOYFUL ROMP - Plum blossoms and white sandalwood with indigo, tuberose, plum musk, and a drop of vetiver.
-very floral fruity (probably too much so for me) to start, but I do like the woody smoky touch. Drydown is lovely but I have other plummy florals, and doesn't have great last on me, so don't need this too.

A PECULIAR SPIRIT - Tobacco absolute with neroli, oudh, benzoin, and black tea leaf.
-licorice tea, which I could like, but there's a high floral in here that drives this to headache territory. Might retest for the dry down, but I already have tea blends I adore so I don't need this one.

THE ONNAGATA AND THE PILLOW ROLL - White musk and Himalayan cedar with bergamot, rose absolute, white patchouli, pink peppercorn, and hay absolute.
- This settles down into a rather complex but nice spicy cedar-floral blend, fairly delicate but a little too high for me and in final dry down it reminds me of others blends I already have (oddly, White Rose, a fav). I don't think I'd reach for this.

THE WET NURSE AND THE OLD MONK - Red sandalwood, peach, white tea, and champaca.
-interesting, but too fruity-floral, which is disappointing

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posted by [personal profile] ethaisa at 12:05pm on 08/12/2014 under ,

I white cedar, black pepper, golden amber, bay leaf, 4yr aged oudh
-gold and spicy incense - gorgeous wet; Wow, even better on dry down; definitely a MUST HAVE bottle!

II gurjum balsam, rose geranium, opoponax, violet leaf, brown leather accord, patchouli
-wet, the rose jumps out and bops me on the nose; takes a bit to calm down and the opoponax warms up; the patchouli is very mellow
-dry, its very much a rose incense with a hint of spice feel to it; wasn't expecting that. very nice but not sure I *need* it.

III bourbon vanilla, aged patchouli, honey, Ceylon cinnamon
-rather like this but the honey doesn't play well on my skin :(
-later dry down is nice w/everything blended together

IV Somalian myrrh, orange blossom, champaca flower verbena
-begins with sweeter lighter myrrh & prominent orange/lemon top notes; can't really separate out the florals so when wet it's a very floral myrrh blend. very incense-y - wearable nag champa-esque with the myrrh having more woodiness and subbing in for the SW
-smoother hints of floral on the dry down, where sweet woody myrrh shines; another bottle contender

V Haitan vetiver, tea leaf, Himalayan cedar, apricot rind
-vetiver really dominant while wet; soft fruity finish on dry down

VII tobacco absolute, myrrh, opoponox, black sandalwood, black pepper
-oh, this is really nice, both first sniff and wet application; pepper slowly steps up but myrrh remains a constant sweet dark base.
-drydown is also lovely; this one may be bottle-worthy MUST HAVE!
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posted by [personal profile] ethaisa at 06:21pm on 10/04/2012 under

"100 Foods to Try Before You Die"

An interesting list, but literally all over the map. I wonder how they came up with it.

1. Venison – y
2. Nettle tea -y
3. Huevos rancheros – y
4. Steak tartare -y
5. Crocodile
6. Black pudding -y
7. Cheese fondue -y
8. Carp -y
9. Borscht -y
10. Baba ghanoush – y
11. Calamari – y
12. Pho -y
13. PB&J sandwich – y
14. Aloo gobi – y
15. Hot dog from a street cart -y
16. Epoisses - y
17. Black truffle - only minuscule shavings, but yes
18. Fruit wine made from something other than grapes – y
19. Steamed pork buns -y
20. Pistachio ice cream – y
21. Heirloom tomatoes – y
22. Fresh wild berries – y
23. Foie gras -y
24. Rice and beans – y
25. Brawn, or head cheese -y
26. Raw Scotch Bonnet pepper -y
27. Dulce de leche -y
28. Oysters – y
29. Baklava – y
30. Bagna cauda - yes, though it made me ill (boo, anchovies)
31. Wasabi peas – y
32. Clam chowder in a sourdough bowl –y
33. Salted lassi - y
34. Sauerkraut – y
35. Root beer float – y
36. Cognac with a fat cigar – yes to to cognac, no to the cigar
37. Clotted cream tea - y
38. Vodka jelly/Jell-O shot – y
39. Gumbo -y
40. Oxtail -y
41. Curried goat -y
42. Whole insects - assuming candied and/or dipped in chocolate count
43. Phall  -not authentic UK style
44. Goat’s milk -y
45. Single malt whisky – y
46. Fugu
47. Chicken tikka masala – y
48. Eel – y
49. Krispy Kreme original glazed doughnut -y
50. Sea urchin -y (not an experience I'll repeat - texture issues)
51. Prickly pear -y
52. Umeboshi -y (just this last year, definitely an acquired taste I didn't acquire)
53. Abalone -y
54. Paneer – y
55. McDonald’s Big Mac Meal – y
56. Spaetzle – y
57. Dirty gin martini – y (vodka martinis aren't martinis)
58. Beer above 8% ABV – y
59. Poutine -y
60. Carob chips -y
61. S’mores – y
62. Sweetbreads -y
63. Kaolin - isn't this more a supplement than a food?
64. Currywurst -y
65. Durian -y
66. Frogs’ legs -y
67. Beignets, churros, elephant ears or funnel cake – y
68. Haggis -y
69. Fried plantain – y
70. Chitterlings, or andouillette -y
71. Gazpacho -y
72. Caviar and blini -y 
73. Louche absinthe -y
74. Gjetost, or brunost -y
75. Roadkill
76. Baijiu
77. Hostess Fruit Pie – y
78. Snail – y
79. Lapsang souchong -y
80. Bellini – y
81. Tom yum -y
82. Eggs Benedict – y
83. Pocky -y
84. Tasting menu at a three-Michelin-star restaurant
85. Kobe beef - wagyu yes, Kobe waygu no
86. Hare -y
87. Goulash – y
88. Flowers – y
89. Horse
90. Criollo (isn't this a cuisine, in which case yes, rather than a specific dish?)
91. Spam -y
92. Soft shell crab -y
93. Rose harissa -y
94. Catfish – y
95. Mole poblano – y
96. Bagel and lox – y
97. Lobster Thermidor -y
98. Polenta – y
99. Jamaican Blue Mountain Coffee -y
100. Snake =y
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posted by [personal profile] ethaisa at 08:27am on 01/03/2012 under ,
White chypre, French Lavender, rose geranium, opopponox, Peru balsam, bois de rose, lime & vanilla absolute.

White scents, especially florals, aren't my thing, but I love me some chypre, and lavender, so I had to try this one. The lavender is dominant, as expected, but there's a sense of spice there along with the expected powder. The lime is drifts in and out; it works unexpectedly well with the sharp lavender. It definitely hits that 'dapper gentlemen' note that chypre/lavender blends often evoke but there's a resinous undertone that grounds and rounds and the drydown is gorgeous - if this sort of scent is your cuppa tea. I can totally see how many would consider it overdone and soapy (which I often get from white scents) but this one works for me.
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posted by [personal profile] ethaisa at 09:08am on 29/02/2012 under ,
In the midst of moving and reno madness, it's time to stop and smell the roses admist the sawdust. I managed to get a few decants, so I'm going to attempt to review some of them here.

Red musk, carnation, myrrh, and honey.

Carnation is the diva here, with a trumpeted red musk salute. A big floral, nothing subtle but the honey (often a problem) seems to be behaving (crossing fingers). As the carnation settles down into its aria the myrrh plays the anchoring chorus. This is going to age beautifully (I haven't found a red musk/resin blend that didn't!); despite being loud it's a balanced scent with moderate throw. And good last.

This scent is also designed to go with a bath oil (which I often use as post-shower moisturizers. The oil is a combo of carnation, orange blossom honey, myrrh and neroli and it works wonderfully with the perfume oil. The honeys are behaving (perhaps because of the hint of bitterness from the neroli) and on the long dry down the myrrh has mellowed everything out.
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posted by [personal profile] ethaisa at 02:13pm on 04/04/2011 under , ,
 BIWA...  tangerine, black currant, white musk, honey and tagetes. 

This starts off with delicate, zesty tangerine with a hint of musk and honey. The marigold note is light and adds a floral complexity to the blend. The honey powders upon drydown, and with the musk creates a long-lingering loveliness that I wasn't expecting. I barely pick up the black currant at all, except perhaps as a hint of sharpness in the blend, but that could be the marigold's doing, too; I'm uncertain. I probably won't get a bottle of this, but I"ll certainly enjoy the decant when I want a delicate bright citrus blend that isn't predominantly lemon.

And I'll mention here a blend of great fail on me, one that doesn't get SotD status 'cause I had to wash it off almost immediately.

.... vanilla infused amber, leather, beeswax, cyclamen, oakmoss, peru balsam, orange blossom, red ginger, tonka, opoponax, myrrh and black pepper.

So many notes that I love in this one. So many. And yet this scent is a complete disaster on me. In the vial, it's fiery ginger and orange blossom and leather with hints of pepper and oakmoss and resins. For a brief glorious moment wet on my skin, its a spicy conflagration and the beeswax and vanilla open into luxurious creamy goodness. And then, POW! WHAM! sour plastic. If it was honey rather than beeswax in the blend, I'd suspect the same honey note that makes O such a disappointment, but I don't think I've had a scent turn so bad so fast on me since WAR which, surprise surprise, also has red ginger. Is this the villain? maybe (but I love VILF!).  So definitely not for me -- the decant might scent a nice candle, tho. 

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I wore an old favourite, Lucy, Kissed, (2009, from the Trading Post) when I went off this morning - one of my many red musk blends, this one with dark roses and violets, yew and juniper, patchouli and oude. Perhaps because I felt like I was one of the living dead at the time. But the day was actually far more pleasant than I expected, bright and sunny through the late morning/early afternoon and it actually felt springlike despite the piles of stubborn snow scattered about on gardens and under trees.

But its time now to look to the new Shunga scents, which are only up til the end of the month. So here's the first:

: wild plum, lemongrass, frankincense, honeysuckle and teak.

I'm surprised I like the plum and lemongrass notes as much as I do in this; they are mild and sweet and add a roundness to the frankincense. Even the honeysuckle is delicate and restrained. The frankincense remains the dominant note in the drydown, deepened by the woody teak. Intriguing blend.

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posted by [personal profile] ethaisa at 11:10am on 20/03/2011 under , ,
THE RING... antiquated amber, frankincense, patchouli, hay, oakmoss, skin musk and white mint.  
This starts off smooth and mellow, with the amber and frankincense in soft, dusky accord, and just a faint hint of mint. The skin musk keeps this close as the moss and patchouli warm up and the hay is prominent but its all very well blended. I get a hint more mint on drydown but unfortunately the dreaded playdoh note develops, probably from the skin musk. I can see where this would be a lovely, dusty earth and soft incense scent on the right person, but sadly, not on me.

STANDING FEMALE NUDE... red rose and red currant with amber, blood orange, myrrh and golden musk. 
Red rose bursts out, juicy, bright and bold, with a faint dusting of amber. The fruits develop next, first the orange - a lovely blend with the rose - and a hint of sharper currant. The myrrh adds sweetness and grounds the mix (and I can only distinguish it as a separate note on late drydown; I love rose and myrrh together - they compliment each other so well). A lovely scent, but the currant adds a faint bitterness on my skin and as I have other rose scents I like just as much, or better, I can let this one go.

SLEEPING NYMPH AND SATYRS... wild woods, Bulgarian rose, tolu balsam, vanilla absolute, ambergris, honey & vanilla.
Honeyed woods (I suspect there's some teak in there) and rose, beautifully balanced with balsam added edge. The vanilla is distinct and yet adds overall creamy smoothness and the ambergris drifts and partners with the balsam in a lovely duet. This is one of those scents were I can pick up every note and yet nothing really outshines anything else. I like this more with every wearing - definitely bottle worthy.
    ETA sadly, I must revise this one -- there is something odd in the final drydown that I didn't catch before. Two more wear tests proved it not a fluke. I'll enjoy what's left of my decant in a locket, but this one is off the bottle list.

WRESTLERS... vetiver, guiac wood, peru of balsam, two musks, labdanum, saffron and rum accord.  
The rum and musks are prominent  at first, underlain with the saffron. The woods are rather light, and the vetiver takes its time but eventually beats down the musks. It's smooth and warm and faintly butterscotchy .... and then the rum (not unexpectedly) goes funky on my skin. woe! 

This is the last batch of my Lupercalia decants; time to do a final check on my favourites and put an order in before they come down on Monday. Thank goodness the Shunga scents are up until the end of April, as I'm still waiting on those decants and the Chocolate Box scents, too!  Tho those come down Monday as well, I ordered full decants of them, which I think will be enough since I have lots of foody chocolate scents already -- but I'll check the .org reviews anyway, just in case.

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posted by [personal profile] ethaisa at 02:15pm on 18/03/2011 under , ,
 The Venustas series, A Tribute to William Etty and the Elegance of the Human Form.

A very well blended scent: the mahogany is glorious beneath a drift of apple. It's surprisingly delicate with hints of rose developing as it warms up. There's a freshness here that plays well with the overall woodiness of the scent. Lovely but not enough that I'd reach for it before something else.

MALE NUDE, ARMS UPSTRETCHED... dark musk, linen and red chypre.
I was ready to like this before I opened the decants, and wow, do I!  A layered musk blend (I'm betting it's red musk holding the base of the chypre). The linen note gives the spice and wood a clean edge and plays nicely with the top citrus of the chypre (I'm thinking bergamot). Decent throw, incredibly drydown and despite the fact I'm brimming with red musk scents already, I have a soft spot for chypres too, so I'm sorely tempted to get a bottle of this one.

MANILUS HURLED FROM THE ROCK... frankincense, leather accord, sandalwood, Himalayan cedar, nutmeg & violet leaf.
Another scent that's right up my alley. Sharp - almost overpowering - leather over warm resins. Then the leather softens into something well worn and brown, and the woods warm up, making this drier and dustier with the spice of the nutmeg at the center of it all. The cedar grows a bit more prevalent on further drydown, with the violet leaf adding a hint of sweetness and the frankincense keeping it bright. This will age amazingly well. Definitely getting a bottle of this one.

NUDE WOMAN RECLINING... calla lily, honeysuckle, Turkish jasmine, ambrette, galbanum, iris and bourbon vanilla.
Loud, heady floral, opening with a blast of lily and honeysuckle, so much so that I almost didn't skin test this. But the other notes had promise, and it does grow creamier and smoother on dry down. The vanilla is remarkably subdued and I get only faint hints of the jasmine. This is a morpher and the final stage is sweet and creamy with dreamy floral hints, but its a long journey to get there and way too floral for me until then. 


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