Monday, December 3, 2012

My Indie Perfume Collection

*Warning - this is a super long, pic heavy post. 

In the last few years I have gone a bit bonkers with indie perfumes, pretty much since I became solidly aware of their existence, really. I've always liked perfume oils, but I never realised they were available outside one's local hippie shop (which for me was Back to Basics in Geelong - their vanilla oil was responsible for a lot of my romantic action throughout a great chunk of the 1990s).

Anyway, after having acquired a ton of perfumes, and then spending a year or so destashing the majority of them, I now have a pretty manageable size collection, and with one or two exceptions, I try to only hang on to those ones I truly love, and either give away or sell whatever I'm not totally gaga over. Today I'm going to show you what I have, for no reason other than I just felt like it. If there's anything in particular you'd like a review of, let me know, though I must warn you that despite my long-standing love of fragrance, I am bloody hopeless at describing them. I'm like Melanie Griffith doing the museum tour in that Simpsons episode ("This room's nice, this room's nice too..."), or those You Tubers who sniff a bottle and say, "This smells - *sniff* - just - *sniff* - it's just amazing!"

These are all Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab limited editions, mostly picked up from sales in the Livejournal Australian BPAL community (and if you're an Aussie looking for BPAL bargains, that's the place to be hanging out - those girls have the goods, and they're lovely to boot). I don't buy much BPAL anymore, not because I don't like it, but because it's gotten quite pricy for indie perfume, and there's just way too much of it. I get overwhelmed with choice and then I give up. It's like MAC and their endless collections sometimes. I much prefer to just pick up stuff here and there on the lj site when something piques my interest.

More limited editions. Pomegranate II is one of the very rare fruity scents I like - although I reviewed it when it first came out and wasn't overly keen at the time. It has since grown on me. In that same post I also talked about The Shadowy and The Sublime, which I ADORE. I actually hate the smell of Diary of A Lovestruck Teenage Cannibal (there's a turned cream note in there that's really gross), but I love the name and the label, so it stays in my collection. Womb Furie is one of my all time favourites - I raved about it here, but if you want to read a proper sensible review from someone who actually knows what they're talking about, check out Su's.

I think the first three are the only general catalogue BPALs I have in full size at the moment. Jazz Funeral is a floral with a note of grave dirt, that sounds like it shouldn't work but somehow does. I love it, but I don't wear it much because I really don't know what is an appropriate occasion for such a scent. I bought Hell's Belle unsniffed because I love anything with magnolia, and it didn't disappoint. It's a big headkicking white floral - gorgeous. Snake Oil is their most popular scent and rightly so - it's a beautiful smokey incense and vanilla fragrance, and I can't get enough of it. Love's Philosophy is my favourite BPAL scent, maybe even my favourite indie scent. In fact, maybe my favourite scent entirely. For ages all I had was an imp that a lovely girl from the lj community had sent me, and I eked it out, not daring to use it too much because I loved it but couldn't seem to find any full bottles anywhere. Then all of a sudden two popped up for sale within months of each other and I snatched them both. They are slightly different - one's heavier on the saffron - but still both amazing. Love, love, love.

Firebird Bath and Body (formerly Flourish) is an Etsy favourite of many bloggers, in particular their gorgeous Almond Milk, which is fighting it out with Love's Philosophy for my favourite perfume ever. I talked about it here. I've got a back up tucked away, and I also bought one for my mum, who isn't really a perfume person but does like vanilla smells. Su did a review of Woodsmoke & Vanilla recently that's worth reading, and I mentioned that and Vanilla Amber in my old blog ages ago. Macaroon is a hard one to pin down - it's very much a gourmand scent, but I don't really get the coconut that's supposed to be in it, mainly the white chocolate and the sandalwood underneath. I like it, but it's a little overpowering for everyday wear.

I've probably been hanging on to my bottle of Chocolate Passion from The Garden Bath for a bit too long, but I intend to replace it in the next few weeks with a new one anyway. Su talked about this the other day, and thankfully liked it, since she bought a full size bottle unsniffed purely on my reco. I talked briefly about Vanilla Nutmeg here, and Fresh Roses is an old favourite - a true old style rose scent.

Lady Victoria, Cheshire Moon, White Queen's Bouquet

Poison Apple Apothecary are the masters of gentle florals and soft warm gourmand scents. If you like these sorts of fragrances but you don't want something that's going to give anyone within 10 feet of you a migraine, this is the store to check out. Their customer service has always been great too. I can't speak highly enough of them.

I talked about Cheshire Moon and White Queen's Bouquet on my old blog, as they were originally released in an Alice In Wonderland limited edition collection. None of the three perfumes I have are currently listed on their Etsy site, but their website says they're away on their honeymoon, so I don't know if that means these fragrances are no longer available or if they just need to be relisted. Lady Victoria was one of the first ones I bought from them, and I still love it.I recently bought some mini sizes of their body creams just to check out some more fragrances, and there were a few of those I really loved too. They're on my 'to buy' list for the nearish future.

Hasta la Muerte, Horseman

The Morbid The Merrier is no longer open, and there was also some drama about the owner not fulfilling orders but then opening another store. I don't know... it was a bit of that Le Gothique thing all over again. You can read about it here if you're so inclined. Regardless of that drama, I'm sad that this store is gone, because I loved it. So many beautiful perfumes, and the lip balms were one of the few brands I liked. I still have a couple floating around, but they're getting old. Had I known it was going to shut down I might have hung on to my other perfumes from there. Oh well, it's not as though there is any shortage of awesome indie perfumes out there in the wide wide world of web. I raved about Horseman back when I bought it a couple of years ago. Hasta La Muerte is from a Valentine's collection that was maybe two years ago. It's pretty - carnation and lily over a spicy vanilla base. It's not one of my favourites, though.

I could have sworn I had more Haus of Gloi scents, but I must have culled them all. I do have a few of their body lotions and scrubs around the place, so maybe that's what I'm thinking of. The one with the label rubbed off is Vice, a delicious chocolate and coffee scent that's very popular among the perfume junkies I know, and Troika is a beautiful vanilla-ish gourmand scent.

I did a review of all of my current Sarawen Perfume scents the other day, so I'll say nothing more about these.

Again, I talked about Blushie Cosmetics fairly recently after buying some samples on Etsy. This was the only one I really wanted in a full size. The foodie scents are very sweet and sugary - if you like that sort of thing (and many people do, but I'm too old for them) it's a store worth checking out. Gypsy Woods is more of a masculine woody scent with an amber and musk base. I really like the little bottle too, very cute. I probably would have bought a full size of True Rose if I hadn't already ordered The Garden Bath Fresh Roses.

These are all testers, mostly BPAL as I tend to get rid of anything else I'm either not that keen on or have bought full sizes of. There are also a few 5ml commercial fragrances from The Perfumed Court in there to remind me to use them up. I don't dig into this as often as I should - I might need to work out some kind of structure for testing again.

These are called 'sniffies' - empty or almost empty imps and testers, again mostly BPAL. Proper collectors like these because they can at least get a sense of what a perfume oil is like even if there isn't enough to actually wear it and test it properly on the skin. They're in a bowl because I put them aside for someone I know who collects perfumes, but I haven't gotten around to asking her if she wants them yet. Note to self: get on to that.

These are my tester favourites - either perfumes I love and want to get in a full size, or perfumes that are limited edition and not available in a full size so I have to use them sparingly. And speaking of, do you want to see some of my wish lists? You've made it this far, so why not, eh?

Phew! Well, that was a lot of work. If you've come this far and you have any other indie perfumes to recommend, please do so, I'm always keen on hearing about them!


  1. This is awesome! LOVE your collection, Dee! So much indie perfume love <3 I get so excited when you speak about perfume :)
    I need me some Poison Apple scents because I still have Cheshire Moon and White Queen Bouquet samples you sent me ages ago and I love both. I need Sarawen and Blushie too. And Wiggle, Solstice Scents..... So many!
    Oh BPAL, my GC list is getting long which includes Dana O Shee, Sudha Segara, Miskatonic University, my third bottle of SO. I may do a huge order when (if) Glowing Vulva/Giant Vulva and some interesting LEs come out for Valentine's Day.

    1. Well, Giant Vulva is on their Etsy site, but the shipping is the same, so probably not worth it unless you're going to buy a bunch of other stuff from there at the same time.

    2. Oooh thanks and how tempting! There is no SO listed but there is Boomslang. There are 18 bottles of Giant Vulva left which gives me a lot of time to decide :)

  2. I love Hell's Belle - it makes my eyes roll with pleasure. If I didn't have a million other indie perfumes, I might wear it more often and consider it my signature scent.

    My "going on holiday" signature scent is OHWTO "Besos del Sol" - I heard it was inspired by Estee Lauder's Bronze Goddess, but the site describes it as:

    "a summery floral blend which is best described as the scent of sun-warmed skin, Besos del Sol is a feminine and flirty scent. Creamy coconut and white gardenia star, supported by notes of white grapefruit, resinous amber, jasmine, a touch of deep, smoky vetivert, and a dash of bourbon vanilla. It's a great summer floral, and is really just the perfect fragrance to wear with little sun dresses or shorty shorts ;) A floral for those who hate florals, Besos del Sol was created as a custom request for Ms Lena."

    1. I've never tried OHWTO, though it's been on my 'to do' list for years! Must get on to that sometime.

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  4. This was seriously AWESOME! You have inspired me to do a perfume collection post <3

    1. Oooh, please do! I love nosing around other people's collections. :-)

  5. You just reminded me that I need to test out some Firebird Bath and Body perfume oils. I believe they are based in Baltimore, which is where my perfume shop is based as well. Always awesome to support locally. Thanks for your post! It was a pleasure reading it.
    -Ricki, Pith Fragrances