I’m baaaaack! Sihaya & Co Spring Box Review

Hey everybody! I have been away from my blog for a long time. Mostly for good reasons– my jewelry business has kept me pretty busy. I’ve been working on a new soldering technique and happily creating tons of new stuff with stones and crystals. It’s pretty fulfilling. And I’ve been prepping for the Spoutwood Faerie Festival in Glen Rock, PA, at which I will again be co-vending with Faerie Magazine, and dancing with my troupe, Transcendence Bellydance Collective (we’re billed as the Faerie Ring Dance Collective out of cheeky tradition).

So I’ve been keeping pretty busy, and just not having a lot of time to do reviews– although to be honest, I’ve been on a low-buy in general. I’ve been working so much, I’ve been doing my makeup about two days a week at best, and so buying new stuff hasn’t been much of a priority. I’ve picked up some new things here or there, and hopefully I’ll get a chance to write about them soon.

I did want to review some things that I tried recently, though– but I want to be clear that it’s a project I started, and I’m very excited about. In January, I founded Sihaya & Company, a four-times-a-year seasonal box. Focused on indie makers, it’s a gift box full of bath and body, household items, sweet treats, and other fun surprises.

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The Spring box, which I am reviewing here, has come and gone, and cost $75 for goods worth nearly $100. I was so thrilled to start out the project with a group of makers I absolutely adore. It featured products from Deconstructing Eden, Villainess Soaps, Paintbox Soapworks, Blooddrop Fineries, Leccare Lollipops, Dryad Tea, and my company, Sihaya Designs. The summer box will feature new collaborators (aside from me!), but I am so in love with all of the companies that I selected that I hope to create a rotating roster of regular participants.

I did want to write up my thoughts on the contents of the Spring box, so here they are.

Deconstructing Eden contributed a 5ml perfume spray, Soft Awakening, created especially for the box. It honestly surprised me that I fell so head over heels in love with it. When Toni was telling me about the scent she was crafting, it sounded floral and aquatic– my two least favorite scent families. But I also knew to trust her– she has created many scents that I didn’t expect to like very much, but absolutely surprised me when I tried them on.

Soft Awakening was love at first sniff. It opens with a burst of lavender maillette, a soft lavender that is not at all heavy or medicinal. But what follows it is just spring in a bottle. It’s the scent of cold morning dew on a freshly-tilled field, and raindrops clinging to quivering fresh buds. It’s so incredibly realistic– this is the way hiking smells on a day after rain, that clean dirt and condensation and soft breeze smell that instantly relaxes me and brings a smile to my face. I have worn it at least six times in the month since I received it, and I anticipate wearing it all through the sticky summer months. Even though it was created for the box, Toni has the option of releasing it in her own collections if she so chooses, and I really hope she does, because it’s just that great. It’s a real hit for people who love fresh scents– it reminds me of a springtime version of another favorite DE scent, Anael. So if that sounds like something you’d like, be sure to tell her!

Paintbox Soapworks contributed a 2 oz guest soap, Song of the Lark, also custom made for the box. It is a two-color soap; the bottom layer is a lovely lavender, and the top, a beautiful peach dusted with golden shimmer. The listed notes are “The soft air of dawn, flowering bulbs, sweet earth.” To my nose, it’s a bouquet of soft pastel floral notes. The “earth” note isn’t as prevalent here as it is in some of Hayley’s other earthy blends, like Hiraeth or Potting Shed In A Deluge, two of my favorite PBSW scents to date, but it’s there, softly underpinning the florals. I can’t really tell you what the florals ARE, but I can tell you what they probably aren’t– I don’t smell rose, gardenia, jasmine, or carnation. Overall, it’s a clean floral, just a touch powdery, and not at all heavy or cloying. The formula is Hayley’s glycerin formula, softly moisturizing, and so silky.

Villainess contributed one of their mainstay sugar scrubs, Jai Mahal, in the Smooch formulation. The notes are “4 rich vanillas and tonka, Mysore sandalwood, bourbon and coconut. Expensive woods, incense and imported spices – cedar, amber, myrrh, cardamom and nutmeg.” It’s a definite crowd pleaser of a scent– the rich vanillas blend so seamlessly with the sandalwood and spice notes that it stops short of dessert-y, while still remaining an incredibly sexy gourmand. I love the Smooch formula, too– this particular one is middle-of-the-road in scrubbiness, and lathers a little bit. It’s such a lovely indulgence, and the one I almost always recommend to folks looking to try Villainess, so it made a great addition to the box.

Blooddrop created a box-exclusive linen & chamber spray, Douceur. It is described as a “gentle waking blend of powdery notes and florals, blackberries, sweet citrus, and lemon herbal tea.” When I spray it, I definitely get the powderiness loud and clear– very much like baby powder. I get a little bit of blackberry sweetness as well, and just a touch of lemony citrus. Overall, it’s a gentle smell like the cap of a baby’s head, and it’s a good choice for linen spray if you’re the type to need help with a restful night’s sleep.

Dryad Tea contributed a trio of deluxe tea samples in loose leaf form. Spring Sprite is “black tea and the kiss of spring blueberry.Mermaid’s Promise is “green tea with vanilla, warm chocolate, and anise notes.Moonlight Grove is “rich black teas laced with light spice and warmth. Perfect for Winter, giving way to Spring.” Of the three, Moonlight Grove was a favorite, as I am a chai girl. It wasn’t a chai, but the delicate spices were perfectly balanced, and the richness of the black tea stood up to milk, my preferred way of drinking tea. Spring Sprite was best without milk, and with a little bit of honey– that way the blueberry really stood out! Mermaid’s Promise was surprisingly tasty, as I am neither a green tea drinker nor an anise lover. The chocolate and vanilla added enough of a gourmand flair that even I liked it!

Leccare Lollipops sent a selection of four lollipops for the box, and even made them with special vegan flavorings to approximate honey and marshmallow. The flavors I received were Lavender & Marshmallow, White Peach & Rose, Marshmallow & Hibiscus, and Marigold. I loved all four, but of them, Marshmallow & Hibiscus was my most favorite. Marigold had a bit of a citrus lemon flavor. White Peach & Rose and Lavender & Marshmallow delicately balanced the flavors so that neither was soapy at all, but they still felt very lush. Each box got two lollies, and I was so very pleased with their inclusion.

As for me, I created petite owl pendants in the box– 16mm painted cabochons on an 18″ sterling chain. I did the owls in petal pink, sky blue, and mint green.

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And, since I wanted the inaugural box to really be something special, I added a trio of mini travel candles, 4 oz each. I blend the scents for my candles by hand (ie, I do not use stock scents), and overall I was very happy with the three I ended up with.

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(Those are the candles before I trimmed the wicks.)

Lavender & Cream: I know lavender can be major hate note for people if it’s too strong, so I made something that fit my idea of lavender silk– I cut the lavender with a young coconut note (which doesn’t smell like coconut the way we Westerners are used to smelling it) to give it a very smooth, soothing feel, and blended in a milky note that was fresh and not at all sour. So it felt very silky overall, and not “perfumey” like some types of lavender can be.

Antique Sandalwood & Madagascar Vanilla: My original scent profile for this blend in prototype was to achieve a non-sweet vanilla (because in a candle, that can very quickly get cloying and headache-inducing),  blended with a very woody sandalwood. I had originally envisioned the blend to be more vanilla than sandalwood, but one of the sandalwood notes I tested was just STELLAR, and so I decided to make it the dominant note. It ended up a very rich, warm sandalwood blend with a dry vanilla pod note– much more vanilla extract smelling than sweet bakery vanilla. I was thrilled with how it turned out.

Ginger & Wild Peach: This was overall the scent I was the most worried about in the blending process, and I tried three separate ginger notes to get the right one. Ginger is a weird one, and it can either be too aggressively spicy, or it can be weirdly soapy, depending on the source. I wanted a baking spice ginger, but one that wasn’t diluted with cinnamon or cassia, so I was pretty picky about my ginger. For the peach, I actually ended up blending two different peach notes– mostly I used a farm-fresh peach note that smelled more like peach skin than peach juice, but I also blended in a bit of a peach candy note to give it that sweet juiciness to keep the ginger from taking over. The final result was totally mouth-watering, and I am definitely keeping the recipe so I can release this again in the future. I loved it so much.

So that was the first box! The second box will go up for pre-sale the first week of May, for shipment by the Summer Solstice. The theme is Forces of Enchantment, and it will retail for $60 or under. I am REALLY excited– fairytales and magic are among my absolute favorite themes. Also, look at the promo art, by Merle Pace Arts:

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I’m practically giddy about it. I will be releasing a pre-order for a candle trio at the same time, to be based on lore of faery queens: Titania, Mab, and Nicnevin. They will be able to be purchased separately, or included in the purchase of a Summer box.

If you’re interested in keeping up with Sihaya & Company, you can visit us on Facebook, Twitter, or search the #SihayaAndCo hashtag on Instagram or Twitter. I’ll be releasing more information about the box’s contents and contributors as we get close to the May pre-sale date.

It’s my aim to create a consistently stellar box and provide a great platform for the indie companies I love, so if you love indies, too, be sure to check it out!

Deconstructing Eden Yule ’14 Reviews!

Hey everybody! I’m taking a break from working my fingers to the nubs to bring you some reviews of Deconstructing Eden‘s Yule/Winter Collection. I have tried everything except Three Kings.

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Ice King: Where the Snow Queen is soft, the Ice King is cold and brittle. Brittle white musk, dry cool air on a background of black pines and bare trees and snow. 

This one was very prominently white musk on me, and a little bit wooly. Very chilly. It wasn’t really my thing until about a half hour in, where in sweetened considerably on my skin, and I got subtle fruity notes. Something about the drydown reminded me of the lovechild of White Diamonds and Lolita Lempicka.

Snow Queen: A companion scent to my Ice King fragrance, this delicate and sweet tribute to the Snow Queen is powder soft snow, crisp cold air blowing through pine trees and a sweet dry down of vanilla.

On first spritz, it was a very grown up vanilla mint. The sweetness is very tightly controlled here– it is a very white scent, and the mintiness stays close to the skin. It is indeed quite soft, but also bright. I liked this one very much. I didn’t smell any pine until the drydown, and even so, it remained faint.

Winter ’14: Snow sparkling under a distant sun, cold winter air blowing through black pines and Douglas fir trees, snow crocuses sleeping under a blanket of snow on a base of very subtle base of cocoa, mint and vanilla. This unisex blend is the embodiment of a cold winter day.

Ah, a deeper, darker scent. Wet, I got pine, black musk, and something that almost took on a leathery tone to it. It’s actually a much warmer scent than I’d have thought by reading the description. On the drydown, the cocoa and mint come out, but they stay close to the skin. I’d call this one unisex. It was nice, and not too out-of-the-box that it wouldn’t make a good gift for someone who enjoys traditional colognes with a twist.

Yule ’14: Sweet and tart cranberries, bayberries, cold air and snow on a bed of deep wood, white chocolate and sweet vanilla.

This was allll cranberry & chill to me. Thankfully, I didn’t get any of the white chocolate, which often smells sour on me. Unfortunately, I didn’t get much wood, either. It stayed pretty tart– cranberry and bayberry– all the way through, with some subtle vanilla on the drydown. I wore this Christmas ornament shopping and it was perfect. I love cranberry scents, so this was my favorite of the bunch. I need to layer this over something with a strong balsam note, and I’ll be in heaven.

The Magi’s Gifts: Deep and resinous, The Magi’s Gifts pays tribute to the gifts brought to infant Jesus. Frankincense, myrrh and golden amber this blend uses primarily essential oils for it deep woody character.

Yep! Warm golden resin-y goodness. It all blends together on a woody base– it’s kind of like a hug or a a favorite sweater. Very unisex.

New Autumn & Halloween Scents from Deconstructing Eden!

Hey guys! Long time no post. Work has been BURYING ME. Technically, I am supposed to be on vacation for a week starting tomorrow. But while my family is chillaxing on the beach in North Carolina, I will be in the top deck of our beach house rental, working away. Looking at the ocean, working on Halloween. Talk about mental disconnect!

ANYWAY. I have been amassing things to share with you guys next week. I got a bunch of Aromaleigh shadows, the start of my Ipsy subscription, a few goodies from Sephora, and some new Autumn goodies from Cocoa Pink, among other things. I’ve already taken most of the swatches. Now, just to find the time to edit the photos and write the entries.

But in the meanwhile, I have some reviews from the Autumn / Halloween collection by Deconstructing Eden. Returning to this year’s collection is Jack ‘O Lantern, but as far as I can tell, it’s the same version as released last year. I reviewed it previously, but considering I’ve been wearing it a lot lately, I figured I’d drop you a link!

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New for this year:

Trick or Treat – Dark chocolates, jack o’ lanterns, honeyed cider, bonfire smoke and a touch of black pepper.

Sweet and spicy, this one opens with a basket full of apples and cider spices undercut by what smells to me like patchouli. As it dries, you get some of the smokiness also blended with dark chocolate– but this is definitely not a scent in which the candy is at the fore, nor is it overly sweet. It’s more like an artisan chocolate bar downed with dark apple cider. Very nice, I like this one a lot! Continue reading

Deconstructing Eden- Love: Light & Dark

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Hey everybody! I am back with some reviews from Deconstructing Eden‘s latest collection, Love: Light & Dark. I ordered 5 samples from the collection, plus a pair of Goddesses, Bast and Lakshmi, which are not part of the collection. I received Adore as a free sample.

 

Adore: A rich and sensual composition of violets, citrus, jasmine, ylang ylang, lily of the valley, magnolia, tuberose, lotus, iris, bourbon vanilla, white musk and rose.

This was the free sample I received. I don’t really have much to say on it beyond “it’s a cheerful, inoffensive floral” because it is the polar opposite of the things that I enjoy in a perfume.  The ylang ylang and tuberose are dominant.

Beloved: A soft, sweet romantic fragrance that is a subtle and delicate blend.
Pink lady apples, pink lilies, cucumber, gardenia, soft white woods, nectarine blossoms, linden blossoms and honey.

In the initial wet stage, this reminded me strikingly of BPAL’s Titania scent, with which it shares no actual notes, but a similar summer fruits and light florals theme. Fortunately for me, this does not turn into hairspray on my skin, as recent batches of Titania have done.  But, considering this reminds me of Titania-of-yore, it’s no surprise that I thought the initial wet stage was heavy on sweet pea, though it is not listed as a note. The wet stage also smells of sweet honeyed apples, but not overly cloying. As it dries, you get a nice bed of woody white with cucumber beneath the apples. This is a lovely daytime fruity-floral, juicy and fresh.

Dominate: Skin laid bare, the kiss of leather whips, blood red dragon’s blood, sharp juniper berries, petitgrain, opulent tobacco leaves, Peruvian clove leaf, a touch of Tahitian vanilla and Peru balsam.

Wow. This is a heavy, commanding scent, just as you would expect from the name. It certainly is an attention-grabber.  Right off the bat, you get heavy black leather, tobacco, and musk.  As it dries, you get a bit more of the juniper poking out, the bitter spice of clove. This is a unisex scent, incredibly and obviously sexy. It feels like my favorite slinky black leather corset. Wear this, and you’re sure to get noticed. Rawr.

Éros: Deep, dark amber, gardenia, lily of the valley, velvet red roses, cinnamon and Egyptian jasmine to evoke that earth shattering moment of instant attraction.

A spicy little oriental floral number. It begins with cinnamon-dusted rose petals on a bed of deep, sumptuous amber.  Thankfully no gardenia pokes through, although as it dries you do get a little bit of the same golden Jasmine used in Jasmine House. This would make for a lovely scent day or night. It’s got sex appeal, but it’s not too overwhelming for the office, either.

Jealousy: Green figs, linden blossom, lime, basil, herbal accord, green mandarin.

Ooh, this one is so refreshing! As someone with synasthesia, I love wearing “green” scents in the summer. We start with a cocktail of lip-puckering mandarin and lime tempered by herby basil, and rounded out by fig.  More of the herbs come out on drydown as the citrus topnotes burn off, and some of the linden lingers close to the skin. Overall, a great choice for warm weather.

Possession: An ode to another dark and unhealthy version of love, Possession is thick amber, the sting of black pepper, dark musks, dragon’s blood, dark woods, patchouli, orange blossom and narcotic honey.

Raise your hand if you have Sarah McLachlan stuck in your head right now.  All in all, this scent was much more subtle than I expected. I thought it would smell something like Dominate, but on my skin, it was much softer. The amber and honey are the strongest in this scent, with a bit of wood in the background. I get none of the pepper, the patchouli, or the dragon’s blood, which I generally amp. On the drydown, it remains, on me, honeyed amber. Which is perfectly lovely– but if you’re expecting something dark and heavy, I did not find that to be the case.

 

Bast: Jasmine essential oil, Rose absolute, rich ambers, a drop of spice, frankincense and myrrh and Egyptian Sandalwood combine to create a beautiful and warm blend with just the barest trace of feral wildness.

I have to say– this is my absolute favorite of the Deconstructing Eden perfumes thus far. It’s just– so gorgeous. It opens with a bouquet of sandalwood rose, subtly spiced on a bed of amber. The amber here is so creamy and luxurious, like silk.  It stays basically the same through the drydown, with maybe a touch of myrrh blending in with the spice. This scent is feminine, sensual, and feels like a satin robe on soft skin. It’s just wonderful.

Lakshmi: Deep, velvety red roses, two different types of amber, a touch of Sambac jasmine, and creamy mysore sandalwood.

Right off the bat, this is red roses, make not doubt about it. It’s not at all an artificial smelling rose, but what you’d smell if you shoved your nose into a vase of fresh-cut stems. There’s a little bit of the sharpness of jasmine in the background, but it stays fairly subdued. As it dries, the unmistakable scent of mysore sandalwood comes out, providing a soft bed of wood for the fragrant rose petals. If you’re a rose lover, this is a definite one to try.

 

In this batch, I basically batted 100%. The only scent I did not care for was a freebie! Score!

Deconstructing Eden: Kushiel’s Legacy Perfume Reviews, Part III

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For the third installment of my perfume reviews of Deconstructing Eden‘s Kushiel’s Legacy scents, I bring you four of the houses of the Court of Night-Blooming Flowers. As you might have surmised, these are all quite floral, which tends not to be my thing so much, but I am trying to branch out.

Cereus House: Pale, fair skin; cereus blossoms, moonflower and scattering of white rose petals for Naamah.

Of the scents I’ve reviewed previously, this reminds me most strongly of Phèdre. It is faint, floral, and creamy. Two sprays yield very little sillage. I would guess that what I’m smelling is moonflower– there is an incredible softness here, a demureness. It’s completely the opposite of everything that I personally look for in a perfume, but if you like white flowers or soft florals in general, this is probably right up your alley.

Eglantine House: Honeyed roses, a touch of mahogany, plums, an elegant amber accord, Champaca flowers, and of course, Eglantine roses, on a lovely white musk.

Upon initial application, there is a strong burst of mahogany wood, deep and rich and dark, underscored by the spiky insistence of the white musk. As it begins to dry, roses and greenery peek out, which also disappear as the perfume enters the drydown phase, which, on my skin is all soft white musk and honey.

Orchis House: Rare and precious orchids, a drop of vanilla orchid, living peach and pear, a soft touch of Naamah’s roses, topped with a sparkling citrus cocktail of pink grapefruit and sweet orange.

The intial application of this scent is a complete delight. There’s a burst of fizzy champagne mixed with grapefruit, utterly delicious, with undertones of juicy peaches and pears. Those fruity notes dull over time, as topnotes are wont to do, and eventually settle into a much less riotous white orchid and rose with subtle pear overtones. At the extreme end of wear, it almost gets a muzzy, ‘wool’-like note, like the one used in Joscelin.

Jasmine House: Bright and brassy on first application, Jasmine House smolders down to a warm and subtle sensuality. Three types of jasmine, on a bed of creamy sandalwood, Krishna amber, a scattering of deep, dark roses and a drop of coriander.

If you’d have told me that I’d love this scent, I probably would have outright called you a liar. Jasmine, when worn on my skin, inevitably turns to a sour scent like cat pee. Or not so inevitably, as it turns out. This smells awesome on me.  I actually didn’t think it smelled brassy at all in its wet stage. Bright, yes. But not metallic or strident or astringent in any way. After about 10 minutes, it smells like a positively creamy jasmine, probably from the sandalwood underpinnings. I don’t actually smell any amber here, but there is also a sort of velvety quality that I associate with certain rose oils, so that might be it. Oh goodness, this is a good one. It’s a classy floral that you can wear in warm weather or cool. It’s bright and sunny but also very well rounded. Well done.

Deconstructing Eden: Kushiel’s Legacy Perfume Reviews, Part II

It’s been a little quiet ’round these parts. A big part of that is that I have gotten back to a normal work schedule after a long winter of being ill, and preparing for a multi-day vending / performing / watching extravaganza at the Art of the Belly bellydance festival in Ocean City, MD. I am selling my handmade jewelry as well as performing with one of my troupes, Transcendence Tribal. So, I spent two weeks hurriedly filling the gaps in my product line, making more labradorite, druzy, and fairy wing pieces.

In the process, I broke, like, five nails. Oh wait, six. It’s an occupational hazard when you hammer things for a living. Not to mention, the patina/polish process is hell on my poor cuticles. Sigh. Anyway, I had to cut all my nails pretty short, and I’m waiting for them to grow back. I also haven’t had time for anything more than the most basic makeup. But fear not, I will take shots of pretty bellydance makeup.

What I have had time for is spritzing on perfume, and so I have four more reviews from Deconstructing Eden‘s Kushiel’s Legacy line.

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Delaunay: Ambergris, red leaves (for his hair), black agar wood, a touch of leather, amber key accord, rosewood, cassis, a touch of lime and the barest drop of fresh apple. The fruits are not at all sweet and this blend is absolutely masculine.

Masculine is right. This is a scent I want to nuzzle. It opens with a punch of leather softened by ambergris, and dry, dry leaves. The woodiness reminded me a little of vetiver– that gravelly, musky manly smell– and I got absolutely no fruit. Overall, this gives off the impression of an Autumnal cologne.

Alcuin: Cool and clean as befits the character. Alcuin is white musks and white amber, the pale greens and grays of his marque, with moss and a chypre accord and a base of soft wood.

Alcuin is so subtle that you almost don’t notice it. Fitting, I think, considering the subtlety of the character it was created for. The impression I got from it was of white musk and reedy, blonde wood. There are overtones of ozone and aquatic, but this scent is so unobtrusive that I had to sniff my wrist closely to be sure it was actually there. It’s clean, bright, and unisex.

Melisande: This blend opens with cinnamon, Sambac Jasmine and fresh ginger. Heart notes of a chypre accord, amber essential oil, Egyptian musk, tuberose, and spice accord. Clean skin musks, ambergris, mahogany wood, black agar, precious resins, the barest touch of patchouli to darken the blend and leather form the base notes.

This opens with spice– cinnamon and ginger– backed by a heavy chypre incense base. After a moment, there is a creamy, musky scent as well– I am going to guess that’s the Egyptian musk, which always reads as sort of creamy to me. The creamy stage didn’t last particularly long on me, but on the drydown, I got a base of amber still touched with spice, and the faintest overtone of Jasmine Sambac. I think this perfectly expresses the character, and is a lovely take on the ‘oriental spice’ genre.

Prince of Travellers: Musk and leather, Tsingani spices, dusty tobacco and exotic woods.

I absolutely adored Prince of Travellers. Adored. The description is spot on– it’s leather and spice, backed by wood. To me, it smells like a Renaissance faire, particularly as it sweetened on my skin as I wore it. It’s the scent of mysterious parcels, of swashbuckling romance novel heroes, of rakes-with-a-heart-of-gold. I spent a good deal of time that day nuzzing into my own sleeve. A winner, for sure!

 

That’s all for now! I have some more of the Night Court houses and the fallen angels to review, so there will be more reviews forthcoming.

*Note: for this set, I purchased all but Prince of Travellers.

Deconstructing Eden: Kushiel’s Legacy Perfume Reviews

Deconstructing EdenAfter my last review of Deconstructing Eden‘s perfumes, I went and purchased a bunch of the Kushiel’s Legacy-based scents, as I’m currently doing a re-read. I love the books. They’re so many different books all rolled into one– political intrigue, alternate history, romance, devotional, travel, and, uh, smut. But I love smut. So.

I purchased seven of the 2ml samples, so they’re not quite as pretty as the full size bottles. But they come in very sturdy atomizers, so if you’re the type who likes to change your scent often (as I do) or likes to have a backup in your purse without fear of spillage, the 2mls are perfect. They’re also perfectly affordable, at $2.50 a pop.

Deconstructing EdenThe first four scents I’m going to review are probably the most central to the book’s themes– the two leads and the two most important religious figures in the book.

Phèdre –  Fair and creamy skin, Cereus blossom (for the house she was fostered in); a touch of jasmine (for Phedre’s mother Lilliane, an adept of Jasmine House), rose for Naamah, a drop of pomegrante (for Kushiel) and a drop of red skinned apple (For Kushiel’s Dart) Devastatingly feminine, deceptively soft and yielding.

Phèdre begins its wet stage all white flowers and powder. I am not especially known for my love of white flowers, but this isn’t a scent that sends me sneezing. It lacks the sweet sharpness that I tend to associate with jasmine, so I suppose the scent that I smell is likely cereus blossom rounded by the faintest touch of rose. I never quite smell the pomegranate on my skin, which may be a blessing, as pomegranate often turns sour on me. What I do smell, on the drydown, is a certain creaminess to the blossom and a faint waft of apple in the background– overall, this scent smells predominantly of feminine, soft, white flowers. It is demure and somewhat traditional.

JoscelinA complex blend of white musks, the summer sky blue of his eyes, the sharpness of the cold winter air in Skaldi territory and grey wool.

Wow, this one IS a very complex one. It manages to take the very conceptual notes of the description and manifest them into reality. For fans of BPAL, the wet stage of this one reminded me very much of the now-discontinued Szepasszony, which is why, in my visualization, I associate this type of scent with cold, slashing rain. For the less conceptually-motivated, this translates as a base of white musk that blends with ozone and freshwater aquatic notes. As it dries down, there is sort of a white pepper note that sits in the background, which lends a sense of “wool” to it. The only conceptual note that I never seem to get is “summer sky blue” – to me, this scent starts out white and fades to grey. Is this a scent you’re going to want to wear? I suppose that depends on your feelings on ozone/aquatic. Is it a scent you’re going to want to wear while reading this book? Absolutely, ’cause it captures the character indelibly.

Kushiel – Bronze tipped leather whips, a drop of pomegranate, smoky incense, black agar, black pepper and black myrrh.

Far and away my favorite of this batch. This one is perfect for my resin-loving self. Seconds after application, there’s a brief punch of wet black leather, but that fades to the background almost instantly on me, revealing a thick, resinous base. The incense and myrrh are stunning, rich and ambery. As it dries down, the incense persists, but is joined by a bit of the black pepper and the warmth of the leather. Even so, I did not find this to be an overwhelmingly masculine scent. Instead, it’s a very sexy unisex.

Naamah – Rose attar and rose absolute, jasmine, ylang ylang, dove wings and amber. 

How well you like Naamah is going to depend on two things: 1 – how your own personal skin chemistry amps florals, and 2- how well you like ylang ylang. Unfortunately for me, I deeply dislike ylang ylang, but my skin LOVES it. Such is my plight. This one starts off very lush– blooming and rich red roses with an amber backing. Had it stayed there, I’d be wearing it all day, errday. Alas, after about 15 minutes, on my skin, the ylang ylang took over and never went away. If you love ylang ylang, you should definitely try this. If you don’t, stay far, far away.

As for the other scents I purchased, I’m still testing them. I also plan to pick up a few more, as per the Deconstructing Eden Facebook page, 11 new Kushiel’s Legacy scents will go live soon. After years of back and forth with Ms. Carey, there has finally been approval for Melisande, and I am also very excited for Delaunay and Alcuin.