Archive of ‘scents & sensibility’ category

Solstice Scents Spring 2017 Collection

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Today at Haute Macabre I’m pleased to review Solstice Scents’ Spring 2017 collection, whose refreshing vernal fragrances were a lovely change of pace during the hellscape that is July in Florida.

Are you a fan of bracing cocktails, lemony gourmands, Appalachian meadow Bambis,  or watercolor florals & haunted breezes? Or perhaps the idea of the eerie olfactory equivalent of this image below piques your interest? In that case, you may want to avail yourself of some of these lovely spring scents before they are sold out!

Film still from Jean Rollin's Les Démoniaques

Film still from Jean Rollin’s Les Démoniaques

 

Summer Scents For Those Who Shun The Sun

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Content by S. Elizabeth originally posted on the bloodmilk blog, July 13, 2015.

When I was younger, summertime, to me, meant curling up on a sweaty vinyl chair on the screened-in back porch with a pitcher of powdered iced tea drink and reading stories of ghosts and monsters and possessed children. If I was lucky, the skies would darken at midday, the winds would pick up, and a fearsome storm would thunder through the area; this is a common occurrence on a summer afternoon in central Florida, and normally would not last more than ten minutes.

I avoided the sun when at all possible; I did not relish playing outside with my sisters or the neighbor’s kids, I did not care for trips to the beach, I didn’t like being hot and sticky and gross. And I didn’t really have any friends to do any of those things with, anyhow. But then again, I’d never had many friends, so I really didn’t know any better and I didn’t feel badly about it! These long, sweltering days on the back porch voraciously tearing through stacks upon stacks of cheap, lurid used bookstore finds are some of the happiest memories I have from my pre-teen years. This was how summer was supposed to be, I thought, and at the ages of 11/12/13, I was young enough to have the luxury of spending that time however I liked. And after the daily rains, which were impatiently anticipated and perfectly inevitable -that was my favorite part of the day: a few glorious moments when the humidity dropped the tiniest bit, the air cooled a few degrees, and the sun disappeared entirely, culminating in a rich scent that still tugs at my memories and the edges of my dreams many years later. The musty scent of disintegrating paperbacks, the air heavy with the sweet, musky fragrance of jasmine, the tang of ozone, just before a heavy rainfall. This was the scent of my summers.

Years later when it comes to scenting myself for summer weather, I steer clear of many of the perfumes marketed for these sizzling, stifling afternoons when the evil day star holds sway. I don’t want to smell like the synthetic coconut of greasy suntan lotion, nor do I want to smell like those generic aquatics that are supposedly “crisp and refreshing” or the ubiquitous green tea and cucumber/melon melange which smell like so many country club air fresheners. Yes, I do want something lighter, for anything richer and heavier would certainly suffocate and strangle me in our notoriously murky, muggy Southern summers…but I want a scent that also evokes some sort of nostalgia, triggers a memory, conjured a long-forgotten dream.

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Below is a list of my five preferred fragrances in this vein; scents for these summer months that are at turns cooling, invigorating, revitalizing and imaginative: summer scents for those who shun the sun.

Coriandre by Jean Couturier is a light, lovely chypre launched in the mid-70’s. If you are not familiar with chypres, well, they seem to be a rather divisive grouping of scents, with perfume lovers falling squarely in either the Love Them or Hate Them camps. To me, generically, chypres smell a bit cold and astringent, distant; but Coriandre is on the warmer, more familiar end of the spectrum. It does remind me of something from the 70s; it’s got a hazy Polaroid quality to it. A warm, grassy summer day recalled through the yellowed veil of memory. It’s dry and woody and musky and I think it smells a bit like a lovely little secret that you might never be ready to share.

Annick Goutal’s Mandragore reminds me of a scene in the 1980’s vampire film The Lost Boys, when the main characters’ grandpa says “….well that’s about as close to town as I like to get.” My perfume shelf is filled mostly with deep, dark, resinous fragrances, and Mandragore, with its bright lemony/peppery opening that quickly fades to a soft, minty bergamot, is as close to a “summer scent” as I like to get. It’s a lovely, (softly) zingy scent that calls to mind some sort of mildly alcoholic herbal shandy one might drink to refresh one’s self at the close of a balmy June afternoon. Unfortunately, much like the buzz from this weak cocktail, the scent lasts but a moment and is gone.

Safran Troublant by L’Artisan is a wonderfully restorative, heart-warming/opening scent. It should be part of a comforting bedtime ritual at the end of a long, hot day where one has done a lot of yard work or gardening. There’s a comforting sweetness to it, though not at all sugary or cloying. A creamy sandalwood pudding, a lukewarm bath lightly infused with milk and rose petals and a deep, enveloping hug. You’ll sleep quite well and be visited by the loveliest midsummer dreams.

Danube, by Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab is a beloved scent that is, for me, more about memory than the actual fragrance itself. It is a deep blue aquatic scent – but not salty, ozone-y, beachy aquatic, nor is it murky, swampy aquatic. Like a cold swimming pool on a hot day (maybe if you were adding grapefruit to your pool instead of chlorine) with every blue flower imaginable floating on top of it. Imagine being 6 years old and holding your breath and submerging yourself in a swimming pool, then slo-o-o-wly sinking to the bottom. The water is chilled, you feel like the only person in the world and everything is totally silent. Imagine peering up and seeing the sun streaming down into the water, between all of the blue petals. It’s calm and soothing and serene and is an absolutely a must for hot, sticky weather and for people who haven’t got a swimming pool. Unfortunately, I do believe that Danube is discontuned. For other other unique summer scents from BPAL, sniff out Fae (sweet, floral, peachy), and Zephyr (light musk, soft lemon and florals), and Aeval (dried herbs & sweet pea & tonka and it smells like all of my favorite occult bookshops at once -herbs and oils and stones and crystals and and the crisp pages of unopened books filled with unlearned knowledge.)

When I was 18, I was dating the boy who used to live next door to me, but who had since graduated high school and moved to Indiana to attend Notre Dame. We spent a week together on summer break, during which time he had flown down South to stay with me and my family. It was early in this visit that he proposed to me on the beach one night, and I accepted…though something told me that this was a doomed venture. I knew it was not going to last, and yet I agreed anyway; I suppose I just liked the idea that something interesting loomed in the distant future for me. One late afternoon a few days later, we took a drive; the sun hung low on the horizon, the windows were down, and on the wind that ruffled our hair was the musky, sweet scent of orange blossoms, as we had just driven past a massive orange grove. Jo Malone’s Orange Blossom smells like that summer afternoon, sweet blooms and dying suns and the melancholy of tears yet to be shed for reasons you’re not quite sure of.

A bonus scent, which I have mentioned before, so it didn’t seem quite fair to list it above: Comme des Garcons Incense Series: Kyoto. To be honest, Kyoto is my go-to fragrance no matter what the season; it’s austere and meditative and calls to mind a dark prayer in a cool, shadowy forest temple. But there is something exceptionally wonderful about it in the summer months. On a day of wretched, heated summertime oppression, do this: draw the curtains, dim the lights, strip naked, and liberally spritz yourself with Kyoto. Lay on your bed, mid-afternoon in the dark. Nap for a time. Dream of cooler places. And for what it’s worth, I just purchased my 5th bottle of this particular scent (and you know I have quite a lot of perfumes to choose from) so Kyoto is obviously getting a lot of mileage.

What scents do you dream of in summer time? What cools you down & soothes your brow when the temperatures soar?

Scents Of The Week {3}

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Wow, has it really been since the end of January that I’ve compile a list of stinks o’ the week? Lordy. Well, better later than never, right? Though I guess in this case is more like “scents of the month/s” But we won’t dwell on my faults and laziness, okay? Previous weeks: one // two

Kiehls

First up, Kiehl’s Original Musk: I do think this is the perfect musk; it hasn’t got that lofty sneeze-inducing quality that I associate with Egyptian musk, but it does have a feral edge of skankiness, and an underlying bittersweet powderiness that keeps a scent that is mostly warm and clean from becoming bland and blah. Kiehl’s musk is exactly what I imagine 1974 to smell like. Astrology enthusiasts, embroidered caftans, and an endless parade of Tupperware parties through your rust & mustard & olive wallpapered kitchen. {perfume sample pictured alongside the utterly exquisite “black mirror” snake pendant from Flannery Grace}

mandragore

Mandragore by Annick Goutal. Mandragore reminds me of a scene in the 1980’s vampire film The Lost Boys, when the main characters’ grandpa says “….well that’s about as close to town as I like to get.” My perfume shelf is filled mostly with deep, dark, resinous autumnal fragrances, and Mandragore, with its bright, effervescent lemony/peppery opening that quickly fades to a gently minty bergamot, is as close to a “summer scent” as I like to get.

Absinth

Absinth by Nassomatto. Bittersweet mosses, green woodsmoke, and sinister woods. It’s a bit of a nose-jarring scent at first sniff, as if the punk-poet green fairy quit bohemian Paris to live amongst the ancient dryads and they didn’t get on well but eventually formed an uneasy friendship. It’s a softly surreal, slightly subversive scent, and I totally imagine Meatface here wearing it.

avignon

Avignon from COMME des GARÇONS Incense series. In short, it smells like the melancholy elegance of a poet who writes with terribly expensive pencils. Pencil shavings & poet’s tears. All of CdG’s Incense fragrances smell like poetry to me, so here is Avignon captured alongside some of my favorites.

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Pink Sugar by Aquolina. If you’ve not tried it, it’s exactly what you think it is. Which is to say an ultra sweet, teeth-aching miasma of fizzy spun sugar. Marshmallow and a tiny twist of lemon with a barely-detectable licorice spike. It is wretched. It is divine. I inexplicably adore it. I buy the “hair perfume” version so I can spritz with manic pixie dust mad abandon. The dry down is sweetly vanillic and woody, like maybe the bark of the mythic candy floss tree in the dime store candy forest. I know heaps of folks who hate this stuff. Oh well. More for me!

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Me, Myself, and I by Ego Facto. I’ve had this bottle for over a year but haven’t really worn it much until recently, and I’m here to tell you, it is strangely addictive. I was initially intrigued by the notes {Hemlock flower, exotic basil, Tuberose absolute, lavender flowers, Java Vetyver roots, Gaiac wood} and I’ve read that hemlock is an unpleasant scent, but anytime it’s listed in a fragrance, I can’t help but to want to give it a go. Me, Myself and I is sort of raw and green and smoky all at once. There is something just this shy of mentholated to it, and though it’s slightly bitter and almost musty at first, hours later it’s a really lovely, flowery-fresh, woody scent. What I love about it most, though, and this is going to sound weird (and maybe gross to some of you), is that it smells vaguely like the handbag or the scarf of a long-time smoker. There was a girl I went to high school with, the sister of my boyfriend at the time, who was beautiful and popular and had her shit super together, and she was, at that time, a somewhat heavy smoker. Every time she’d swing her waist-length, impossibly shiny black hair around, I’d catch a whiff of cigarette smoke, perhaps tinged with her expensive shampoo, (it was probably Origins; a store had just opened in the mall at that time) and I’ll be honest, I thought it was an unbelievably gorgeous, sophisticated scent. (Note: I’m not even a smoker, I have never smoked anything in my life. I’m just a weirdo, I guess.)

guardianGuardian from Solstice Scents. Described as a forest chypre blend and a botanical talismanic perfume, it smells of dense earthy shadows and amber sunlight through a forest canopy, and feels like finally coming home.

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Death & Decay from LUSH. I wrote about this back in 2015, for Death & The Maiden, and my thoughts have not changed much. A mass of white lillies, a wreath, perhaps – sweet and clean and full, waxen, and with a dignified clove-like spice, you can almost envision their alabaster form and curve. A calming, quiet, meditative, floral, almost too fresh to call classic, but it certainly evokes a kind of nostalgia. This fragrance calls to mind little girls dressed all in white, playing hide and seek around an open casket because they don’t know yet to be sad at funerals.

Antique Lace

Antique Lace from Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab (discontinued). Many years ago, a friend spilled my beloved bottle of Antique Lace. Which made me awfully sad, I can assure you. I was even more devastated shortly thereafter to discover they had discontinued this soft, sweet, whisper of a scent. Imagine my surprise to learn, seven or eight years later, that they are offering it again! It may have sold out already, but you can bet your fluffy pantaloons I hastily procured a replacement bottle for myself.

Lupercalia 2017 at Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab + A Giveaway!

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 Today at Haute Macabre I dive into the smutty, salacious glory that is Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab’s Lupercalia collection. Whether you see these lurid delights as a dare, or as merely as a to-do list, and no matter how singular your tastes may be, there is all manner of delightful debauchery here to appeal to aficionados of arousing, amusing aromatic experiences from the smut peddlers at BPAL

Psssst…there’s an obscenely generous giveaway, as well <3

Scents Of The Week {2}

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My week in fragrances, week two. (Which is more like a week and a half’s worth and I am now on week three if you’re being really picky about it, but I’m not, so you shouldn’t be, either!) I am almost to the end of January and so far I have not purchased any new fragrances, not even tiny samples! Let’s see if I can keep this up for another month.

Previously: Week One

Morocco (formerly “Old Morocco” from Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab). This is one of the first BPAL samples that I ever received, and one of their first scents that I fell in love with, but it took me a while to commit to a full size bottle. When I did, it was no longer “Old Morocco”, but instead, just plain “Morocco”. This is a scent of tender comforts, of being swaddled in plush saffron robes after a long, dusty day of travels, and sipping a honeyed, milky draught of something unfamiliar and yet strangely comforting before slipping into bed. Your pillow is filled with carnations and sandalwood shavings, lending a gentle spice and dry warmth to round out the sweetness. You dream for days.

CourtesanCourtesan by Worth. I purchased this many years ago, and sometimes I seriously question what I was thinking. It’s a frou-frou, one-two punch of pineapple pixy stix and a feathery poof of some sort of vanilla jasmine laundry powder that manages to be creamy, cloying, and yet very sheer. It’s like being smothered in a veil of phantom custard.

St. PhalleNiki de Saint Phalle, a light, grassy chypre interwoven with dry, autumn floral accents. It conjures imagery of late summer afternoon daydreaming on a mossy hill and brushing dried blooms and other herbaceous detritus off your sun-warmed skirts when you’ve finally roused yourself to head home.

 

Scents of the week {1}

An informal reporting on the scents I’ve been wearing lately, in a concerted effort to appreciate and use what I already have, as opposed to continually adding another fragrance to the collection (and another, and another). Previous to now, this collection has grown, unchecked, and has reached a point where I will never wear all of it, even if I had ten lifetimes to scent.

For week one, we have Tokyo Milk’s Arsenic, Mississippi Medicine by DS & Durga, and Chanel Sycomore from the Les Exclusifs collection.

Arsenic

As strange as it sounds, I think Arsenic smells like fresh marjoram, which, in turn, reminds me very much of Christmases when I was a little girl. I think that’s because when I first smelled fresh marjoram (which to my nose smells a little sweet, slightly piney, maybe a touch of citrus, and vaguely musty?) I realized it smelled exactly like the worn, cardboard box of Avon Christmas ornaments, gewgaws, and tchotchkes that we’d haul down from the attic, dust off, and disperse throughout our home every year for the holidays.

Medicine

Mississippi Medicine opens with an astringent, peppery cypress, and gives way to a pine-crackling, smoky fire, sweet birch, muddy grass and scorched leaves… and dries down to a sweetly herbaceous, woody, resinous scent that would smell devastating on either a man or a woman (I mention this because it is marketed toward men.) All told, this is the scent of waking with strange incense in your hair and the vague dream of descending into the dark, dancing and divining with ancestors, and having been part of rituals older than you can imagine. A scent of potent magics – both sacrificial and healing

Sycomore

Chanel Sycomore. Foliage and tall trees and rich, gritty dirt; soft smoke and damp greenery, and all the best smells of a forest ramble–but the hiker is garbed in expensive elegance, Prada boots, an Hermès scarf, Burberry coat, that sort of thing. This scent of a woodland spirit turned posh socialite; a dryad who quit the forest, now living on the Upper East Side.

A Year In Fragrance: Month 12

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It was my intention to write about fragrances on a monthly basis in 2016, but I’m afraid I rather lost the thread of that back in November. I suspect this can be forgiven. November, for my family at least, has always been The Worst Month–relatives die, addiction and depression run rampant, all sorts of good stuff–but this November was, as I think we can all agree, particularly horrid.

And so, as it happens, I have only posted 10 installments of A Year In Fragrance– which I will link to below, if you missed any and wanted to catch up. I began this project envisioning that it would be mostly fragrance reviews, but I think it ended up being more than (and perhaps a little less than) that.  It was a year of scented memories, scents that I utterly loathed, and even some of my beau’s thoughts on certain fragrances. I suppose I will never get to the point where my thoughts coalesce into precise, well-thought out reviews; I’m doomed to ramble, and meandering rambles these perfumed ponderings shall doubtless remain.

holy mountain

For November, I will tell you that I purchased a full bottle of of Apoteker Tepe’s The Holy Mountain. Notes include “…over seven precious woods and resins along with a rare extraction of Lapsang Souchong tea smoked slowly over pinewood fires”, and if you are in the market for a smoky fragrance that smells like maybe the smoke cleared after a super-beardy wizard threw a mystical resin into a fire to conjure an ancient dragon lord or something, but the dragon flew away and the wizard has gone to bed and the fire has burned down so that only the embers are smoldering and the deeply scented, resinous smoke has seeped into all the old wooden beams in the top-most tower room where all the magical shit is locked up…well, The Holy Mountain may be the scent for you.

samples

In December, I tried to resume the practice of “shopping my own stash”, a handy idea and phrase I first heard over at EauMG; I mean, I am of course familiar with the concept of using up your own stuff before buying new things, I just don’t think I’d hear the process called that before. Clever! Anyway, I rediscovered some samples I didn’t even realize I had, and some of them are astonishingly gorgeous, Myrrh Casati by Mona di Orio and Etat Libre d’Orange’s Attaquer le Soleil Marquis de Sade chiefly among them. At the year’s end I realize: yep, still love those churchy incense scents. Perhaps 2017 will bring new loves?

A Year In Fragrance 2016:

January: Tea Rose
February: Willow & Water
March: Witch’s Workbench
April: A Dude Thinks On Stinks
May: Youth Dew
June: “Inexpensive” Stuff
July: Scents For Sleep
August: Hateful ‘fumes
September: A Tale Of Two Roses
October: Sweets For The Sweet

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A Year In Fragrance: Sweets for the sweet

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Otherwise knows as: Sweets for the (person who hates) sweet(s).

It is generally known (mostly because I know I am obnoxiously vocal about such things) that I am not a lover of sweet or foodie or gourmand fragrances. I do not want to smell like a cake or a toffee or a tropical fruit salad, thankyouverymuch. Nor do I wish to smell of chocolates or coffee or a banana split. Most days, even the thought of such things causes me to suppress a shudder and gag quietly.

Most days.

Preferences aside, I am sure it has a lot to do with the fact that most days, temperatures where I live hover at around 90 degrees Farenheit or higher, and really, who wants to smell like a dessert table in that kind of heat? But on the rare, dazzling autumnal afternoon when there is a whisper of chill in the air, or perhaps on a damp, drizzly grey November morning, well, now, that’s a different story,and a sweet scent can be warm, comforting, and most welcome on these occasions.

There are three such fragrances that I reach for when the weather kindly permits.

1.

Hermèssence Ambre Narguilé by Hermès, created by perfumer Jean-Claude Ellena, is a scent that blends the “honey of amber with a swirl of the Orient”. Says Ellena: “Amber, the Western expression of Eastern fragrances, has a warm, sensual, enveloping, almost carnal smell. I wanted to imbue this idea of amber with the memory of the East I love by recreating the ambiance of those lively places where tobacco – blended with the smells of fruit, honey and spices – is smoked in narguilés, or water pipes, and where swirls of smoke diffuse a sweet sense of intoxication.”

Ambre Narguilé gets a lot of apple pie references from perfume reviewers, but I don’t quite sense that myself. Pie filling, perhaps. Dried fruits–raisins and plums, stewed in honey and rum and spices, and left on the stove very nearly too long. It’s been cooked down to a syrupy essence of its former self, and if you hadn’t pulled it from the flame, the caramelized sugars might have started to smoke and burn. I don’t know if I smell the tobacco, but then again, many people think tobacco smells like raisins, so…

This is as sweet as it gets for me. It calls to mind a cozying up by firelight with a charmingly old timey book, while wearing an oversized sweater with thick cables and toggle buttons. If Ambre Narguilé is overly burdensome on your wallet, Fille En Aiguille from Serge Lutens is in a similar stewed fruit and spices vein, and can be found for much less.

2.

Chanel’s Coromandel is a “spirited oriental fragrance that reveals itself by interrupting its amber vibrato with dry notes and finally settles into a long, restrained, voluptuous accord.” What are you even trying to say here? OK, marketing people. You’re drunk, go home.

Created by Christopher Sheldrake and Jacques Polge, Coromandel is part of the Exclusifs colletion and was inspired by the exotic Chinese lacquered screens, that, when Coco Chanel first observed their their “blend of opulence and austerity, of dark sheen and bright gold embellishments” (via), she proclaimed that she would “faint of happiness” and that she will live surrounded by them. Depending on where you get your information from (the Chanel site isn’t very helpful on this point) Coromandel is comprised of jasmine, patchouli, woody notes, amber, benzoin, frankincense and possibly citruses, bitter orange, neroli, rose, orris, incense, musk, and Tahitian vanilla. Oddly, I never see white chocolate listed, but it is what people seem to love most about it.

There is something nose-tickling and sharp, almost camphorous and earthy when the first spritz settles on your skin. Soon, a dark sprinkle of pepper atop a mug of palest milky cocoa, smooth and rich on the tongue, but tinged with that underlying musty bitterness. The strange interplay between those primordial notes and that velvety decadence does somewhat call to mind dueling impressions of opulence and austerity; imagine thoroughly enjoying a delectably elegant beverage…on the damp, cold floor of a limestone cave.

3.

In Irish folklore the Dana O’Shee are a fae, elven people, eternally beautiful and eternally young. They are said to be vengeful and treacherous and possess a streak of mischievous malice, and offerings of milk, honey and sweet grains were made to placate these creatures. This is the basis of Dana O’Shee, the scent created by Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab.

I won’t sugar-coat it–of my three sweetly scented choices, this one is the least complex/most linear among them. But, I think, there is much to be said for simplicity; what you smell initially is what you get for the duration, and if you’re in need of a comfort scent that is not too heavy or cloying, this is a good one to have in your collection. Reminiscent of rice pudding with a soft pour of cream on top, and/or perhaps a honeyed milk custard, and stir in some sugared marizpan… but imagine dreamy spoonfuls of all of this while a faint incense lingers in the air. Or, perhaps, envision a a stick of sugared milk custard incense! It sounds delicious, but don’t eat it! Tempted though ye may be.

*Bonus Sometimes (shhhh!) I actually wear Aquolina’s Pink Sugar which is admittedly teeth-achingly sweet at the onset, but if you give it some time, it dries down to a vaguely woodsy, lightly musky, and …okay… still very sweet scent…but it makes me think of a make-believe forest, with cotton candy trees and maybe you are having a secret rendez-vouz with a sexy marshmallow satyr. No doubt something I read in a saucy fairy tale a long time ago.

Are you a lover of sweet fragrances, or, like me, do you save your sugary scented treats for more tolerable climes? What are some of your favorites when you wish to live deliciously? Whisper your sweet nothings in the comments below!

PREVIOUS INSTALLMENTS
A Year In Fragrance: A Tale Of Two Roses
A Year In Fragrance: Hateful ‘fumes
A Year In Fragrance: Scents For Sleep
A Year In Fragrance: “Inexpensive” Stuff
A Year In Fragrance: Youth Dew
A Year In Fragrance: a dude thinks on stinks
A Year In Fragrance: Witch’s Workbench
A Year In Fragrance: Willow & Water
A Year In Fragrance: Tea Rose

Currently {October 2016}

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Alice Sweet Alice (1976) officially licensed poster by Nikita Kaun

This has been a strange month so far. After the excitement and panic of the hurricane, while things have calmed down a bit, they still don’t feel “normal”. I haven’t had the energy or motivation I need to finish (or, ahem, start) many of the things I would have hoped to have done now that the month is almost over, and as melodramatic as it sounds, I feel as if I am languishing under the threat of some unnameable doom.

In the meantime, here are some movies I have seen recently, and my one word assessments of them.

Phantasm, remastered (in the theatre)— yes
Jupiter Ascending — nope
Alice Sweet Alice — yes
The Night of the Hunter — absolutely
The Legend of Hell House* — yes
The Haunted Palace — no
The Conjuring 2 — no
The Uninvited* — no
Housebound — YES
Dead Silence* — no. But maybe yes.
Ava’s Possessions* — yes (it is worth mentioning that the main character was watching the above listed Alice Sweet Alice on her tiny tv set at one point during the film!)

We also watched season one of Ash Vs. Evil Dead which was a lot of fun, although a great deal…saltier than I expected? Maybe I am getting old. Gosh.

*these titles can be found on netflix

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RE: Books/reading…

I was loathe to delve into any book at all after finishing the very excellent Southern Reach Trilogy, but as it happens, everything since I’ve read since then has been wonderful. The Night of the Hunter was unexpectedly, profoundly beautiful, and come to think of it, I might use those same words to describe Michael Schmeltzer’s book of poetry, Blood Songs. Monstress boasted exquisite, intricate art, complex characters, really fantastic world building, and a thrillingly mysterious story; I cannot wait to read more. Giant Days (Volume 3), Wicked + The Divine (Volume 4), and Over the Garden Wall were all just as much fun as I would have expected, and I think I also read every gorgeous, weird thing that Tin Can Forest ever published. Oh, and also–The Girl With All The Gifts, which was an uncomplicated, but still pretty engaging read (I wasn’t even going to pick it up, but the film was receiving such great reviews, and if I am going to see the movie, my general rule is that I must read the book first!)

BPAL Salon Halloweenies

Over at Haute Macabre today I review some of the Salon scents from Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab; I did not purchase any of the pumpkin or apple scents or anything candy related because they’re not really my thing, but I guess that probably translates to “I’m a pretentious git who hates fun”. So be it! .

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At the beginning of October, my hair dresser was supposed to give me purple hair. Somehow I came out of the salon looking exactly as I had when I walked in. I guess it’s been that kind of month.

What are you up to this month? Has it been all weirdness and strange times for you, as well?

Needful things

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A Love That Casts No Shadow by EC Steiner

There must be something exceptionally splendid and special in the air right now (or could it simply be that we are now in the month of October– the most wonderful time of the year?) My beloved friends are really outdoing themselves with regard to their current creative ventures and artistic endeavors, and I wanted to take a moment to spotlight, (for all of my twelve readers, haha) some of the remarkable things that are available right now from these dazzlingly brilliant visionaries.  See below for an array of outstanding projects and collaborations resulting in needful things of the most enticing and uncanny sort.

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Whispering Death by Becky Munich

Munich Art Studio and Casketglass Art have teamed up to celebrate a month of haunted days by releasing an extremely limited set of art prints inspired by the mystery and magic of Halloween. An intimate experience, only 20 print sets are available for purchase and will not be re-released, and in honor of the joyously macabre traditions of the Halloween season, each order is shipped with additional ghoulish treats for you to keep or share with others.

Order the 2016 limited edition Halloween art print set here

 

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For the scented tapophile: in what will be an on-going collection, the new Haute Macabre + Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab collaboration is launching with two new fragrances, Burying Point and St. Louis #1. Made exclusively for Haute Macabre by master perfumer Elizabeth Barrial, the collection is based on favorite cemeteries around the world; the first installment features St. Louis #1 (drooping Spanish moss and crumbling marble, sweet olive blossom, 13-year aged black patchouli, and offerings of Bay Rum, Florida water, and tobacco), located in New Orleans, and Burying Point (damp clusters of brown patchouli, dried maple leaves, black sage, spikenard, and curled, misshapen mandrake roots), the oldest cemetery in Salem.

Purchase Burying Point and St. Louis #1 here.

 

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Two beautiful new pins are available for pre-order from our friends at Wormwood & Rue!

DAWN: Our hard enamel pin featuring a white hare wreathed in morning glories is 49mm (1.9″) tall and finished in gold plating.

DUSK: Our hard enamel pin featuring a black hare wreathed in glow-in-the-dark moonflowers is 49mm (1.9″) tall and finished in nickel plating.

If you choose to pre-order them individually they are $10 a piece, or you can get the set for $20.

 

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Friends who have visited our house and wondered at the ghostly chamber music and dark, dreamy sounds we sometimes haunt you with? It’s Meredith Yayanos‘ eerily beautiful music from The Parlour Trick’s Blessed Unrest album …and right now you can get the digital version on bandcamp for a mere $6.66–OR!–you can pre-order the vinyl repress (which you should do, because it will sell out in the blink of an eye!)

Purchase both digital and physical copies of A Blessed Unrest here.

 

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Visit Haute Macabre to read the introduction to the bloodmilk Book Club for this season, with Sonya Vatomsky’s “Salt Is For Curing” as the current selection. Also included in the post are two special giveaways: one, a chance to win a copy of Sonya’s book, and a second, a chance to win a jewel from the bloodmilk shop. The giveaway runs until November 1st, so there is still plenty of time.

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As you know, we sold out of the Occult Activity Book Volume Two even faster than anticipated! Neither this volume or the previous will ever be re-printed or re-created, so if you missed out on the opportunity to purchase this rare tome full of fantastical arts and word witchery, you will never again have another chance. HOWEVER! Don’t summon the demons to do your freaky time travel bidding just yet! Our friends at Haute Macabre are giving away one deluxe edition of The Occult Activity Book Volume Two, which includes the book and all the goodies. If you missed out on this exceedingly special project and are hovering at cusp of committing dire and dangerous magical crimes to acquire one for yourself, why not enter the giveaway instead?

 

AND, a few upcoming things that you need to keep an eye out for!

 

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Artist: Dana Glover

Morbid Fantasies is a richly illustrated reader’s guide to Gothic literature, guiding fans both old and new over the ever-changing face of this most ghoulish of genres. In its pages, scholar Jack Shear covers the history, key themes, and major books in the Gothic movement from its inception through the current day. It’s a love letter to this often misunderstood and under-appreciated form of entertainment, hand-bound and designed by Tenebrous Kate with featured illustrations by Dana Glover, Becky Munich, and Carisa Swenson.  I hear this may be available as soon as next weekend, so be sure to check over at hereticalsexts.com to grab a copy for yourself!

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California sprawls across a multitude of landscapes and has amassed a history full of the strange and unusual. There are secrets in the desert. Secrets in the cities. Strange and unusual happenings in the odd, dark places of the coastal state.

Strange California is 26 tales of strangeness, lavishly illustrated, that will pull you into another world, a world where migrant girls stand up to witches who live in orange groves, where trickster magpies try to steal souls from Russian sisters in the early days of Fort Bragg, where water is both currency and predator, and Gold Rush-era ghosts wander the streets of San Francisco alongside panther ladies.

I am particularly excited about this book because writer friend and fellow blogger Patricia Lundy of Something Eldritch will have a story in it! Back the book over on kickstarter here.

 

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