Bought - 2/3/13
Shipped - 2/8/13
Received - 2/14/13
I bought 2 full-sized bottles and set of 6 samples, and mother truck, I got FIVE free samples?!?!?!
I left a little note for the shop owner, Tina, asking if she could give me an extra amongst the following list (shameless, much?): Wildling, Artorius, Blue Blood, or Eidolon. She gave me FIVE freebies. Even though one of them is a repeat (Epicurean), I think the gesture was extremely kind and generous. Who doesn't love free stuff? More smellies for me. WOOHOO. The free samples were: Wildling, Artorius, Blue Blood, Epicurean, and Psyche.
I thought the order was fairly expensive. Two full bottles plus 6 samples turned out to be $47.75 (shipping already added in), so with the 5 extra samples, I think the price is not as bad (13 items for $47.75 makes $3.67 per item, given that usually each sample costs $3 and the oil only fills 3/4 of the sample vial). I'm also very pleased that I didn't have any omg-what-the-fuck-is-this-shit reactions after smelling from all of the bottles/vials. That fact usually leads to a higher chance to my liking the smells when I try them on. I actually thought some of them smelled pretty good. It makes the price somewhat justified...
Now here are the pictures. My thoughts on each of the scents after the pictures.
PICTURE BELOW: All of the vials on the LEFT were free.
Alright. And now the testing + results.
Dragon's Blood with notes of amber and vanilla, a dribble of sweet cream and a soft bouquet of Asian blossoms, underscored with a soft powdery musk.
I placed this whole order for the sole purpose of owning Dragon's Milk. I've been eyeing for a long while, tempted by this description on the item page: "The dry-down on this is soft, powdery, and feminine without being cloying in the least."
So what do I think? It smells sweet, powdery, a bit spicy, and a tiny bit like menthol. It somehow reminds me of a watered down, powdery sweet version of Chinese menthol/Eucalyptus oil for body aches/pains.
My family always has at least one bottle of each of these in the house at any given time. Dragon's Milk probably smells more like a watered down version of the bottle below as compared to the green bottle above which is more of a really really strong menthol.
Back to the point. Dragon's Milk is very comforting and very very soft (you won't be able to create a large personal perfume cloud with this one; it wears very close to the skin). I like it.
Bombay red musk & sweetened it with wildflower-laced honey and benzoin. You'll also notice the occasional tendril of sweet temple incense winding it's way through the dry down.
Sniffing from the bottle, I get a bit of something tart hovering above sweet incense. It actually kinda reminds me of Arcana "Venous Return" minus the gagging and plus some softness.
Venous Return - The saline warmth of blood flowing back to the heart. Orange flower, bitter chocolate, dragons blood resin, red myrrh, musk, peppercorn, cassia, and iron-distilled patchouli.
What the hell? The only common denominator is the musk. Interesting.
So what do I think? Incense. INCENSE INCENSE INCENSE. Ever been to a Buddhist temple? Ever owned some Chinese incense sticks that you can get from the Asian supermarket? That is the smell of Epicurean:
Picture below: My house actually has a few boxes of this brand of incense. Who knew that my new perfume would smell like it?
It doesn't smell bad, but I don't want to walk around smelling like I just did a shimmy in the incense burner either. I don't get any of the other notes. This isn't an "occasional tendril of sweet temple incense winding it's way through the dry down," it is taking a vat of ground up incense sticks and repeatedly clobbering me across the head with it from the point of application until the dry down. I'll let it sit for a while to see if it gets better over time. If not, maybe I'll mix it with something sweet.
Pale honey, creamy Shea flower, & Moroccan rose absolute.
So what do I think? It smells like sweet, creamy jasmine. Maybe that's what Shea flower smells like. I usually don't like any flower smells, but I find it kinda nice. It starts to make me think of room spray or potpourri after a while though, like a fragrance I would use to freshen up my house and not to wear on my body. Haha.
Bourbon vanilla, ylang ylang, jasmine.
So what do I think? I do smell each of the components, but put together, it reminds me of the smell of bánh in, which is a Vietnamese confection that has a layer of sweet filling (typical flavors would be mung bean, durian, or lotus seed) sandwiched between crunchy and crumbly slabs of sweet rice flour. Ile Bourbon specifically reminds me of the squishy version which is made out of glutinous rice flour (think mochi), named bánh in dẻo, instead of the crunchy version that is the more traditional form. I could only find a picture of the crunchy version.
If you want to know more about this sweet food, you can look >>HERE<< Coincidentally that blog shows the brand that I usually buy from. Getting back to the point, Ile Bourbon is a pleasant smell, but it doesn't make me want to immediately buy a full size.
Soft white florals, bourbon, dark vanilla & Egyptian musk.
So what do I think? I smell a deep, rich, sweet vanilla. The deep, rich sweetness reminds me of Hearth, another perfume from Midnight Gypsy that I got from the last time i ordered. It's the kind of sweetness that hits the very back of your nasal cavity, almost like you can taste it. When I tested out Seraphim, I was going to go to a friend's birthday party, so I just took the opportunity to slather it all over myself. I found that putting it on my neck makes it lasts a lot longer than on my wrist. I like Seraphim. It smells really good, and my friend said when she hugged me, "You smell like candy!" She said the same thing in the morning when I hugged her after sleeping over at her apartment (more than 12 hours after application!). I might consider getting a full size after I finish the sample and some of my other perfumes.
Bulgarian rose, fruity jasmine sambac, fragrant hay, beeswax absolute. A gorgeously sweet floral lavender absolute rounds it out a bit, while smoky amyris and sweet benzoin resin anchor it all.
So what do I think? Very light, sweet flower smell with hay. Kind of reminds me of chamomile. This is a flower smell I can actually tolerate. The flower smell fades after the oil soaks in a bit, leaving just the sweet hay smell (which smells like dried chamomile flowers and stalks). Pleasant smell, even though it is very different from my usual taste. I'll probably finish the vial, but I don't know yet if I'll be buying a full bottle. We'll see if I like it more over time.
Amber infused with exotic cardamom for a bit of a spicy, sultry kick, softened with peru balsam and grounded with the finest grade of aged dark patchouli, while a blend of dry exotic woods balances the whole glorious mélange on an elegant, smoky base.
So what do I think? Not a bad smell, but I don't particularly want to smell like this either. On application, cardamom immediately followed by woods and Chinese herbs. If you've ever been to a Chinese medicine/herb shop and noticed how the spiced herbal smell just hits you as soon as you're about to walk inside (sometimes you can smell in within 15 feet of the entrance), that is what Nomad smells like. A sharp, woody, herbal, a bit sour. Yep. After a while, this actually kinda gave me nausea. Hm.
Exotic woods from the far reaches of the earth come together with sensual amber, musk & just a hint of patchouli to round out this complex scent.
So what do I think? Men's shaving cream. Fresh, spicy, clean, manly, and somehow a very "blue" fragrance. Once when I was a kid, I played with my dad's Gillette shaving cream and slathered it all over myself. I washed it off but couldn't get the smell off, so he knew I was playing with his stuff but I denied it. This smells like his shaving cream. It's not a bad smell, but I don't want to smell like a man...
Sweet pipe tobacco & stout black tea, ripened dark fruits & crushed clove. Exotic citrus, sweet hay, with a lovely heart of rose and lavender absolute to round it out; underscored by rich, balsamic bourbon vanilla, dark patchouli & just a hint of smoky oakmoss. Surrounding it all are notes of teak & mahogany, leather-bound books & hand-penned parchment maps. A bed of elegant musk melds it all together.
So what do I think? I get tea, honey, a TINY touch of leather, and a touch of roses, with the latter two softening the sweetness of the honey smell. The leather and roses fades within 15 minutes after application. There isn't any honey listed in the notes, so maybe I'm getting the honey smell from the fruits? I don't even know. It smells sweet and fresh. I think I might consider getting a bigger bottle after I finish the sample and some other stuff from my stash. The listing says that this smell is unisex and good for "ladies who like a little kick," but I think it's very sweet and probably better suited for females. I also don't get any "kick"; just sweet honeyed tea.
Crushed dark berries, sweet candied figs, and vanilla with soft florals, moss, amber and a whisper of musk.
So what do I think? A fruit-scented candle. I swear I've smelled this somewhere before in a candle, but I don't remember where or what or anything. It smells good though. Sweet, light, and fruity.
Finest grade of fossilized amber, frankincense, sandalwood, cedar, rock rose, smoky oakmoss and vetiver. Just the tiniest titch of black pepper and patchouli.
So what do I think? A softer version of Nomad. It's still woody, dry, and a bit sour, but it's not sharp. It actually has a soft effect to it. Pretty manly smell, no sweetness at all.
Heady narcissus and jasmine spiked with honeyed blood orange and a dribble of peach nectar, embraced in the faintest whisper of deep, golden musk. This is a painfully gorgeous, heady oriental floral blend - if heady florals are not your thing, then you might want to run, run away now, my dearies.
So what do I think? As soon as I read the description, I panicked. I hate flower smells. Trying it on, I get OMG FLOWERS. Not sweet flowers, but like semi-bitter, semi-sour, very strong flowers. Think grandma perfumes. I don't like it. I'm going to scrub it off now...
[Note: This is one of the samples I asked for but didn't get.
Eidolon - Bulgarian and Moroccan rose absolutes – the finest in the world - grounded with a trio of earthy sandalwoods and sweetened with creamy orange blossom.]
Like/Possibly Buy a Full Bottle in the Future:
- Dragon's Milk
- Blue Blood
- Ile Bourbon