Perfume Review: Darling Clandestine

Copied and pasted from my tumblr. Written circa December 2012.

Received a package from DC today! Official smell descriptions from the facebook and my own very short one or two-line descriptions and impressions italicized.

This is my second order ever from Darling Clandestine. This order... man. I LOVE EVERYTHING. Obviously my ravings about how great the service, shipping, TAT speed, and overall image/theme still stands.


Go get some: http://www.etsy.com/shop/darlingclandestine

FALCHION: Dark, earthy, sultry, sexy, with a bit of chocolate. Contains cinnamon leaf, and this batch opens with a particularly cinnamony kick. Boldly unisex.

Thoughts: Warm, smokey, woody chocolate. Love. (Tried on skin. Not from this purchase; won in a small contest.)

FIRE EATER: Odd, hot and spicy. Unisex. The kind of fragrance you might dig if you're a fan of the smell of burning leaves and gasoline puddles. Not that it smells like those things specifically, but that's the sort of sensibility Fire Eater might jive with.

Thoughts: Smells like a 2:1 mixture of Tapadero and Serpentina. Nice and fresh, but then gets a little deep on the drydown. (Tried on skin.)

STEP RIGHT UP: Blue-green, spicy, oceanic, nostalgic, fascinating. Very unisex.

Thoughts: PEPPER. With a touch of something sweet in the back. Quite comforting, really. (Tried on skin.)

WHITEFALL: Intense buttery oatmeal and sweet toasted basmati rice, tea and honey, topped with a whiff of gunsmoke and leather and horses and a tussle of kicked-up grass. :) Begins very foody.

Thoughts: A creamy, buttery, oatmeal and porridge mix, a tiny bit sweet, but oh-so-yummy. Metallic underlying smell. (Tried on skin.)

ARAGON: Bright, crisp lavender deepened with sea salt and wine, a bit of leather and a touch of chocolate and caramel. Divinely fresh, rich but never cloying.

Thoughts: Leather and something herbal (the lavender, maybe?). Somehow reminds me of unfiltered Los Angeles tap water. (Tried on skin.)

MAUDLIN & BEDLAM: Dark, warm honey and herbals and wood frosted unsettlingly with weeping green leaves. Unisex.

Thoughts: Pine trees and herbs and somehow a bit of pepper? Like a run through a pine forest, or wrestling a Christmas tree. (Tried on skin.)

VARDOGR: Dark, damp, herbal—mossy forest floors, sunken alleys, underground spaces—with a dozen unlikely notes including pure essential German chamomile, bitter black coffee, hazy Indian musks, sharp herbs and a whip of leather. Unisex.

Thoughts: Can't put my finger on it. A bunch of smells pushing each other around. Something sweet, like pastries (?) with herbs and moss. On second try, I'm getting rubber or plastic with moss. LOL. (Tried on skin.)

PYROTECHNIK: Bright, spicy cantaloupe on a bold black sky of sandalwood and earth. Unisex to feminine.

Thoughts: Ripe, sweet cantaloupes. Later smells kinda like incense. (Tried on skin. Solid perfume.)


Perfume Review: Midnight Gypsy

Copied and pasted directly from my tumblr. Written circa September 2012.

***EDITS MADE ON 2/15/13. Original order placed on 9/7/2012, shipped on 9/12/2012. I don't remember when I received it. All of the content under "My thoughts" were first impressions after smelling straight from the bottle or vial.

Finally received it. What I got:

1. Wicked Jack (full size) - Lavender, pumpkin, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, vanilla, cream, caramelized sugar, molasses, sweet hay, beeswax absolute, Haitian sandalwood, dark patchouli, blood orange


Edit: After further testing and using this on my skin several times, I found it to be alright. There is a very nice sugary caramel smell to it. On first application, there is a sharp, sour citrus note that I don't like (I'm not very fond of citruses). That eventually fades to a spiced caramel, brown sugar, vanilla-y smell. The drydown is like pumpkin spice. Not bad. I actually found it a bit too sweet, and because I was so bothered by the orange smell, I mixed it a bit of Darling Clandestine's Mayfly into it (which is a perfume that I think is not sweet enough). The result is a pretty nice balance between sugary sweet and light and moody floral.

2. Cakes & Ale (sample size) - Sweet, sugared pumpkin cakes, heavy cream, hot buttered rum, ginger, clove

My thoughts: Holy fuck, this smells goddamn amazing too. Very sweet and mouthwatering.

Edit: Smells VERY tooth-achingly sweet (if you've ever stuck your face in a jar of brown sugar and inhaled and felt the back of your nasal cavity ache a bit--I have--this is what Cakes & Ale does as well) with a bit of ginger. It's nice, but a little too sweet. I think I might've poured this into Wicked Jack or into Darling Clandestine's Mayfly. I can't remember.

3. Fomhar (sample size) - chocolate, caramel, myrrh, vanilla, sandalwood, patchouli

My thoughts: Sweet, chocolatey goodness with a bit of something deep. Mmmmm.

Edit: On skin, it smells like tootsie rolls from application until dry down. I wanted a richer deeper chocolate, but oh well. This is a bit of a disappointment. I think I poured this into the Wicked Jack bottle.

4. A Murder of Crows (sample size) - smoky sandalwood, cocao absolute, honey, myrrh, sweet coconut milk, peppery carnations, patchouli

My thoughts: Also sweet chocolatey goodness, but something smoky and earthy underneath so it's less sweet than Fomhar.

Edit: After further testing on skin, I decided that I dislike this one. On first application, it has a quick burst of very bitter chocolate. Once the oil soaks in and my skin is dry, there is this really sour, sharp wood smell that is off-putting. That smell persists until several hours later. Once the smell is mostly faded, I detest the smell of tootsie rolls. I forgot what I did with my vial (I mixed it with something, but I can't remember what).

5. Hearth (free sample size) - chestnuts roasted over the fire, caramelized sugar & butter, rum, sweet vanilla cream


Edit: This is the same as Cakes & Ale minus the ginger and plus a smoother feeling (so it doesn't stab the nasal cavity as much), possibly from the vanilla and the lack of spices. It's a very warm and comforting scent. It's a bit too sweet and foody for me though, so I probably won't buy a large bottle, but I will cherish and use the vial that I have.

6. Hesperides (free sample size) - honeysuckle, sweet pea, apple, amber, vanilla, cedar, sandalwood, champa, animalic musk

My thoughts: Smells like Dimetapp (synthetic grape-flavored cough syrup). I'll have to try it on my skin to figure out if I like it or not. For now, sniffing from the vial just gives me synthetic, sharp, and cloying fruitiness. Even after testing on skin, it still gives me that same impression. I think I mixed this in with some other bottle which I can't remember.

Satisfied with 5/6 items for now. Not bad.
In order from favorite to least favorite:
1. Hearth
2. Cakes & Ale tied with Wicked Jack
3. Fomhar
4. A Murder of Crows
5. Hesperides 

Edit: In the end, I only really like Hearth. Wicked Jack needed some tweaking, and the rest ranged from okay to repulsive.

Check out Midnight Gypsy here: www.etsy.com/shop/MidnightGypsy

Perfume Review: Darling Clandestine

Copied and pasted directly from my tumblr. This was written approximately in September 2012.

Overall, I'm half satisfied and half not for my order, but I still recommend DC. Read for why.

Total cost: $34.36
Total number of items ordered: 3
Total received: 6

1. Mayfly (full)
2. Circassian (full)
3. Carny Wedding (full)
4. Serpentina (free sample)
5. Tapadero (free sample)
6. Mad as Birds (free sample)

Before I get to the reviews of the scents, I will say first that my usual preference in fragrance is for foody/gourmand, sweet, smoky, spicy, woody, and resinous smells.

Descriptions of each taken from DC's facebook and my thoughts italicized:

MAYFLY: Opens very bright, deceptively sweet and floral, mellows to soft, moody woods.

In bottle, wet on skin, and dry it smells all the same: I can't detect anything sweet in this; just really heady, nauseating incensey flowers with a touch of wood. It gave me a headache, and it reminded me a lot of a Mannaia Fragrance I got some time back that I didn't like. There are only two reasons that would make me dislike a perfume: 1) It gives me a headache, and 2) It smells like something that I would not want to make myself smell like. Unfortunately, Mayfly gets both strikes. To be fair, I hate all florals. A surefire way to give me a headache is to bust a floral smell within my vicinity. Florals smell good, but I can't stand them long enough to enjoy them because the nauseating migraines always come immediately. Call it a psychological aversion caused by repeated trauma (pain). I'm sure someone else will probably think Mayfly is the best thing in the world, but for me, it's just not my type. Makes me a little sad.

CIRCASSIAN: Chocolate and black coffee, with an intriguing floral note.

In bottle, I smell fancy Belgian chocolate cookies (like Delacre's european biscuits). Wet on skin, it smells like chocolate, then when it dries, I get more coffee with something a little sour and sharp. It's not a bad smell though. I never get the floral note. After several hours, it smells like milk chocolate (like Hershey's). Doesn't give me a headache and smells sweet. The only con I could find is that the notes are a bit simple and singular on my skin; it is mainly chocolate and coffee. Durn body chemistry sapped up the other smells. It really is a rich chocolate and coffee smell though, not cheap shitty 99 cent body spray stuff. This is like an ultra-sophisticated European chocolate biscuit collection with a nice cup of espresso. I like it! If I ever run out, I think I will repurchase.

CARNY WEDDING: Opens buttery and sweet, mellows to a deep, resiny wood.

In bottle, I smell buttery creaminess. It really does remind me of butter, and maybe a touch of sugar or caramel but VERY slight. On skin wet, I get the same smell, and once it dries, I get a huge dose of resin. It stays as resin while it fades. Overall, it stays true to the description. I don't know exactly what notes are in this one, but holy shit, it smells fucking good. It's my favorite item of my whole order. Holy fucking shit. I can't even explain how good this smells. I approve, and I will definitely repurchase if I ever run out.

SERPENTINA: Green tea with a smoky opium bite.

In bottle and on skin wet, I get green tea. As it fades, I guess it still smells like tea, but it also just smells fresh. I like it, but it's not really my type. Also if I put too much, it starts to give me a headache. I'm ambivalent about this one, but I think I like it more than not liking it.

TAPADERO: Bold and bright sage and roses, dusky sweet smoke and leather.

My... what can I say about this? Well, in bottle, wet on skin, and immediately after drying, I just get LEATHER LEATHER LEATHER GAHHHHHH LEATHER. Like a fresh and new leather couch. I'm very adverse to the smell of leather in perfumes. It doesn't give me a headache, but it just doesn't smell very pleasant to me. However, the strange thing is that once it's almost faded, it smells very calming and fresh, and I do get the roses and a little smokiness. So it only smells good once the leather is pretty much gone. I dislike this one and will not repurchase. 
EDIT: After several more tries and layering it with Serpentina and Mad as Birds, it actually kind of grew on me. I still wouldn't repurchase, but I've come to appreciate it.

MAD AS BIRDS: Sweet, cool, garden dew with notes of pear and mint and amber and and marigolds.

In bottle, I get mint and some other unidentifiable stuff. Wet on skin, it smells minty and a little sweet. Once it dries, I just get mint... and sadly it reminds me of toothpaste. It smells fresh and it doesn't give me a headache, but I can't stop thinking of toothpaste when I smell it. I think I'll pass on this. 
EDIT: After several more uses and layering it with Serpentina and Tapadero, I've come to like it a lot. It's a very refreshing smell and goes very well with Serpentina and Tapadero. I think I might actually want to buy a full-size now.

Good: Circassian, Carny Wedding
Meh: Serpentina, Mad as Birds
Bad: Mayfly, Tapadero

Good: Circassian, Carny Wedding
Good Meh: Serpentina, Mad as Birds, Tapadero
Bad: Mayfly (EDIT: As I don't have it with me in my current location, I never got to try it several more times the way I did with Serpentina, Mad as Birds, and Tapadero. I even came to like Tapadero over time, so I think there might be hope for Mayfly if only I had it with me at the moment.)
Despite anything negative I might have said, I would still recommend Darling Clandestine as a company to buy from. It just so happens that I have a very picky nose when it comes to perfumes, so although it sounds like I may be bashing stuff for smelling "bad," it could just be that I'm missing out on the beauty of them. Also, perfumes smell differently on everyone and people have different tastes on preferred smells, so please go and try stuff out for yourself.

Darling Clandestine

-FAST turnaround time and shipping. FAAAAAAST
-Wide variety of UNIQUE perfumes
-Very generously sized portions
-Very nicely priced & frequent offers/coupon codes
-Awesome overall theme and packaging

-Not every scent with be agreeable with everyone (but this holds true with the whole perfume industry, eh?)

I already have a wishlist for what to get next:
-Falchion (Edit: I now own it!)
-Vardogr (Edit: I now own it!)
-Aragon (Edit: I now own it!)
-Whitefall (Edit: I now own it!)
-Morderteile Kelah
-Pyrotechnik (Edit: I now own it!)

Check it out:

I hope no one was offended reading this. These are just my thoughts.

Obviously I'm still going to use all of them and maybe over time I will grow fond of the ones I said I disliked.

(EDIT: I did continue using them, and I DID grow fond of the ones I gave a second chance.)
EDITED 11/4/2012


First Post

I started this blog for three reasons.
  1. I really like indie perfume, and I have no one to spazz to.
  2. Because I really like indie perfume, I buy a lot of it.
  3. Whenever I want to buy something, I usually can't find reviews for it.
I am in no way a refined nose or anything remotely close to it. I just write down a lot of shit. Hopefully it will be helpful to someone.

Most of my posts will be imported from my tumblr (literally copied and pasted from there).

I might sprinkle in a bit of my daily life and probably some makeup blurbs as well (my other vice).