Friday, December 28, 2012

More Twyla Perfumes

A couple of weeks ago I had a bit of a rave about some Christmas LE perfumes I had bought unsniffed from Twyla Perfumes & Apothecary, and now I'm back to talk about some more that I got in the same order, this time the samples. I have to say, this is pretty  much my new favourite store - I want a full bottle of almost every one of these. They're so beautifully blended and they smell divine. I'm already working out my next order, and pushing it ahead of a bunch of others I'd had planned.

Twyla sells samples in a set of 3 1ml vials for $6US, called Little Drops of Poison. I bought 2 sets because as much as I tried, I could not narrow down to 3. I was pushing it to narrow down to 6. Postage was $7.25US (that was also including 3 other full size bottles that I don't know if I will review as they were seasonal scents that are no longer available). I ordered on 1 December and received them on 17 December. 

I believe these are all from the regular catalogue, not Limited Edition, though admittedly I hadn't thought to ask. I will check up on that and correct this if necessary. I have 7 in all (the 6 I bought and one freebie) and quite a bit to say about them, so you might want to make yourself a drink.

The innocence of spring flowers, a whiff of tobacco. Scented letters, church pews, rain and lots of squalor. 
A heady floral blend with grounding tobacco, amber and woods.
Jasmine, spring floral blend, Blonde Tobacco, Amber, Bitter Orange, Ylang Ylang, Sandalwood and Cedarwood. 
In the vial and when first applied, the ylang ylang dominates at first. This scent makes me think of proper old school grown up perfumes like Van Cleef & Arpels First, or a more palatable Chanel No. 5 (which rivals Thierry Mugler Angel for my most hated perfume of all time). It's not that Love and Squalor smells like either of these - it doesn't - it's just from that class of perfume that I think of as 'screams old money'. The kind of thing you expect to smell when one of those rich old ladies who does their grocery shopping in David Jones wanders past you. Ironic considering the name, I guess. 

Love and Squalor doesn't have a lot of throw, and my skin ate it pretty quickly. I reapplied it after about an hour as it had faded to become indiscernible. After the second application it stuck around longer, lasting a good few hours, though still close to the skin. I never did pick up any other distinct notes aside from the ylang ylang, but it's a gorgeous blend and I kept sniffing my wrist constantly while I was wearing it. It is a very 'perfumy' perfume.

Leather boots and our mothers' tossed-off hippie dresses; magnolia trees and incense, perfume oils from the pagan shop; red wine, diner coffee and exotic tea, Indian cooking and the sound of Tom Waits wafting through the apartment building's thin walls.  
Opening up with a beautiful magnolia, floral blend and exotic spices, this scent opens up slowly to reveal the lovely but subtle musky pink lotus and incenses, swirling in the background of this complex perfume.  Just when you think you've pinned it down, it shifts ever so slightly to reveal another side. Exotic and sexy yet somehow innocent, this scent captures the essence of a time, a feeling, and a place on Magnolia street.
Magnolia, pink lotus absolute, zdravetz, nagramotha, cannabis flower, coffee flower, peach blossom, sandalwood absolute, aged patchouli and a generous swirl of spice.
Any mention of magnolia in a perfume and I am all over it - I adore it. I used to live in a property that had a big magnolia tree out the front and one of the best smells ever is when it's flowering and it has just rained. Heavenly. In the vial and when first applied I can smell a gorgeous big dose of magnolia and something veeeery faintly sweet and lollyish. That might be the pink musk - does pink musk smell like pink musk lifesavers? I don't know. Whatever it is, it makes the scent really lovely. The patchouli comes out more as it dries down. Let me just take a minute here to talk about patchouli. I hate it. Haaaaaate it. So much so that I actually wavered over whether to even bother trying this scent. However, this is not that yukky hippie shop patchouli oil smell. This is something altogether different. And I.... like it. I never thought I'd say that in a million years about patchouli. Huh.

I forgot I was wearing this one for a while when I was testing it, and didn't sniff again for another hour or so. By then the leather had come out, blended with the patchouli and a faint floral. Again, this one doesn't have a lot of sillage (most of Twyla's scents sit close to the skin, which on the one hand is nice for those who don't like their perfume to enter the room before they do, but on the other hand is sad for me because I want these scents to walk down the street with me screaming 'DOESN'T SHE SMELL GORGEOUS!'), but it lasted a fair while, at least 5 hours. That patchouli gives it an edge I don't have in any of my other magnolia or leather scents, and I definitely want a full bottle of this.

Milk Flower
A creamy floral, fresh and sweet yet complex.
As a kid, i was so in love with the scent of lilacs - i wanted to pick them, put them in a bowl and eat them with fresh, cold whipped cream and sugar. This scent is about as close to that as I can get.
Lilac, carnation absolute, tuberose absolute and white rose drenched in vanilla, amber and cream with the faintest breath of fresh mint absolute.
In the vial, this is a creamy mint. When first applied it reminded me a lot of Latherati's Tara, another floral with a mint note that I used to love.  The mint subsides fairly quickly to the background, and this mellows to a sweet (but not sugary) delicate creamy floral. It's so, so pretty, but my skin just ate it - within half an hour I could barely smell anything, and even when I reapplied it disappeared entirely within a couple of hours. I decanted the rest into a tiny roller bottle and found that slathering it on that way made it last much longer, so that's my plan for when I get a full bottle of this one. It's beautiful.

Bone Flower
Bone Flower, another name for the lovely tuberose.
Tropical flowers on a grave - mysterious, cool, ethereal and beautiful. The complex tuberose blended with the musky scent of loamy, tropical soil and unearthed bones.
Tuberose Absolute, Balsam of Peru, Maile leaf (used in Hawai'ian funereal services), Styrax, Sandalwood Absolute.
In the vial and when first applied, it's all tuberose - big and lush and lovely. It made me think immediately of Frédéric Malle's Carnal Flower, but when I compared the two they're not really the same at all. Like Milk Flower, this is another beautiful scent that sits very close and gets eaten by my ravenous skin. An hour later I couldn't smell it at all; I reapplied but it disappeared quickly again. I wonder if it's because my skin has been dry lately? I might have to experiment, but regardless, this is going to be another full bottle purchase (let's be real, they pretty much all are). 
"It's dreamy weather we're on / You waved your crooked wand Along an icy pond with a frozen moon / A murder of silhouette crows I saw  / And the tears on my face / And the skates on the pond / They spell Alice..." ~ Tom Waits
Every time i hear this song, it evokes such strong images, feelings and smells. This is my idea of what the air smells like in this little world - the cold pines, a keepsake box that smells faintly of a woman's perfume. Sandalwood, soft musk, cedarwood atlas, orange, pine scotch, vanilla and myrrh.
I would have assumed from the name that this was yet another olfactory spin on Alice In Wonderland, but apparently not. In the vial I get orange and something faintly sweet... maybe the musk? It's so pretty. The orange is floral, not citrus, and this is another quite 'perfumy' scent; it's very feminine. Unlike many of the others, this one has quite a bit of throw and lasted longer. Do I need to spell out that I love it?

This is the second in a series that was intentionally created to fall into the category of both aromatherapy AND perfume. Created to ease anxiety and stress, this oil smells like lovely lemon-flower cotton-candy (due to the sweetness of the vanilla and lemony scent of melissa, not because i used synthetics), white lotus-flowers and sunshine. 
With several calming essentials including melissa (a powerful relaxant, some studies have shown it to help ease clinical anxiety and help calm children with ADD - although current research will show more solid results one way or another in time), lotus, which has a calming and some say euphoric effect; sandalwood, which is commonly used in anti-depressant and anti-anxiety blends for it's soothing aroma; rosewood, ylang ylang and vanilla - all three of which are soothing and comforting to the senses.
This is another one that might help some of you sleep... I find it extremely calming. Most effective as an inhalant or in a room-diffuser/oil burner for several minutes if used for anxiety - but absolutely LOVELY as a perfume!
Lemon! But not floor cleaner lemon, a sweet, herby lemon that smells lovely. This scent doesn't really change all that much, though the lemon mellows a bit after a while. Like Only Alice, this one has more throw than the others and stays around a fair while. It didn't help me sleep, though nothing really does so that's not a deal breaker. I also tried this one in an oil burner and it made my little lounge room smell so pretty. 
A beautiful, truly unisex, androgynous woodsy blend with the unique and very complex poplar bud absolute, pine scotch, sweet amber, honey absolute, bourbon vanilla, immortelle, tarragon absolute and resins and a few drops of my very special vintage, 20 year-old patchouli. Redolent of a lush, green and ancient forest.
This was the freebie included with my order, and this vial was about twice the size of the others (it's not in the photo because I've sent it off to Su today with some BPAL imps). In the vial and when first applied, it is dominated by a sweet, sharp pine smell. There used to be an area surrounding the park where we did PE at school that was full of pine trees, and it reminded me of that. It's quite masculine and strong, with more sillage than most of the others, and pretty sharp close up. I could smell vanilla in the background but mostly got the wood and resin, with that pine sticking around throughout. I can see why a lot of people would like this, but I'm not a fan of pine and it was too masculine and sharp for my taste. This is the only one I wouldn't personally buy in full size. If you like woodsy scents, I'd highly recommend trying it out though - it's another beautifully blended perfume. 

As I said above, I'm already working out my next order - at least a couple of full bottles of the above (once I decide which ones I want first), and I also want to try Slammerkin, Tequila Rose, and grab a sample of the one of the more expensive aromatherapy ones - Migraineur - to see if it can help Noodles with her recently developed insomnia.


  1. They all sound so good! Love the sound of all those florals. I will keep your reviews bookmarked for when I place an order. Very excited about trying Soma, thank you :)

    1. Oh Su, the florals... the florals.... swoooooooon.

    2. Oh, the florals, the horror!! Except for the tuberose one perhaps, Bone Flower... ;) But Dryad sounds nice!

  2. i too have fallen in love with Twyla and her magical blends! really enjoyed reading your review.

  3. Dee! Thank you so much for the lovely review!
    Just a hint for the perfume-eating skin problem (which i have in the winter-months here in Chicago, too!) - moisturize like CRAZY. It really does help. Dry skin will eat essential-oils like nobody's business, i've found.
    Natural perfumes don't have as much throw or sillage as synthetic, fragrance-oil based perfumes to begin with, it's true - and dry skin will just make them disappear so much more quickly.
    I'm going to be increasing the strength of my scents a wee bit as well, starting in the new year. Not to the extent where i need to hike prices, just a drop or two more of EO-to-carrier ratio. I know that, from what my lovely customers tell me, that if there is one thing they'd change, it would be the strength of the scents.
    So, you ask for it, you got it!
    Thanks again, Dee - i'm so happy you like my scents so much <3

    1. OH! And yes, those scents are all part of the general catalogue :)

    2. I suspected dry skin might be part of it. I tend to get lazy with moisturising because all the body lotions and butters I have are scented and I don't want them to clash with whatever perfume I'm wearing. I need to get an unscented one. :-)

    3. Definitely a good idea - you can get them from a bulk supplier for very cheap (google for stuff in your part of the world) - look for one that sells oils and supplies to perfumers and soapers and such, then you can add the perfume to it and do a layering thing, which will make the scents last even longer! I'll eventually do scented lotions, but that will take some testing of which lotions work best to carry the fragrance, etc so it'll be a bit :).