Grab a cup of tea, kidlets - this is going to take a while.
Way back last year I read about Common Brimstone on Reddit, and since I'm always up for a new perfume company to try out, I pretty much immediately placed an order. When they arrived (one full bottle and 10 samples), I found that a lot of them had leaked, and the sample vials were those horrible milk bottle shaped ones with the flexible wands that you get thumb blisters trying to remove.
The sample vials were so annoying that after testing a few I gave up and put them aside. What was even more annoying was that of the perfumes I tried, I really, really liked them. Rei, the full bottle I took a risk on, was a gorgeous gentle floral with notes of cherry blossom, white musk, magnolia and gardenia. Honey Badger (not pictured because I think it's in my bag somewhere) is amazing - a not-too-sweet honeycomb and beeswax blend deepened with musk and chocolate. Most of the scents I chose and tried out were quite feminine and either distinctly foodie or floral, both of which are right up my alley. These perfumes were totally my jam, but the packaging put me off so much that I wasn't sure I could go back again.
Then someone on Reddit mentioned that the sample vials had been changed to tiny roll on ones. So I decided to do another order around Christmas, picking out two full bottles from the Christmas releases - Chalet Girl and Special Snowflake. I also ordered a set of 5 samples. Again, I was really happy with the risk I took on the full bottles, as I loved both scents, and again, the samples smelled amazing.
The problem was that yet again, the samples leaked - to the point where I couldn't really read half the labels - and worse than that (and really weird considering the leakage), I couldn't actually get any of the product out! I would roll the ball over my wrist and it would leave a lingering scent - as these are fairly potent - but no actual oil came out, so the smell was gone in 10 minutes. I was desperate to slather myself in the caramel and spices of Caramel Chai, so tempting in the vial, but it was just not to be. Nothing wanted to come out. Again, I gave up and put the sample aside, intending to get around to decanting them once I could figure out how to remove the really tiny roller ball. I decided that was enough Common Brimstone for me - as gorgeous as the scents were I just couldn't deal with the packaging.
Cue a couple of months later and someone on Reddit asked about indie perfumers in the UK, and someone else mentioned Common Brimstone. I said that although I loved the perfumes, the packaging was a pain in the arse, and the person who'd recommended them said that the owner Naomi had announced on Facebook she was changing to little screw top sample bottles. Cautiously, like a starving dog who's already been kicked twice, I ventured over to Facebook and sure enough there it was. Okay, I thought - one more chance. I love the perfumes, I like the owner, I really want this to happen. So I took a deep breath and did a third order, which just arrived today. And you know what? JACKPOT.
No leaks, easy to open - these little screw tops are the perfect sample bottle (for me, at least). I could easily get into it all and am currently covered in a messy smoosh of smells after dabbing them here and there all over myself. It's funny how I rarely take a chance with full bottles unless I'm pretty confident I know the perfume company well enough (I'll do it for Possets limited editions, for example, but not for Haus of Gloi, which I find really hit and miss on me), but every time I've risked a full bottle with Common Brimstone I've chosen really well because I love it. In fact, I have not yet hit a CB scent that I outright don't like. Some I'm just kind of meh about - "Yeah, it's okay but it's not really me", but most of the ones I've tried are now on my full bottle wishlist.
My full bottle with this order is Starlight, a natural blend of white amber, jasmine, tuberose, lemon bergamot and sweet orange. I was tossing up about this one because lemon so often goes straight to floor cleaner on me, but in for a penny and all that. The orange is the most prominent note on first application and it's really bright and sunny. Regular readers know how much I hate fruit scents, and I'm not super keen on citrus, but this one is just so cheery I can't help but love it. The drydown is more floral, but the citrus sticks around and the amber gives it a lovely warmth in the dry down that is not at all as overpowering as amber can often be on me. This is a perfume I'd probably wear a lot in the spring and summer, and it's just lovely. Being a completely natural perfume it doesn't have a long lasting time, but I don't really care about that - I'm happy to re-slather regularly.
So all that was a roundabout way of saying now that Naomi has worked out the kinks of her sample packaging, anyone who likes indie perfumes needs to go and check out this store. There's a ton of stuff to choose from, including a handful of solid scents if that's your bag (I haven't tried those yet but I will when our weather finally cools down properly). Shipping is worldwide and very reasonable - my shipping cost for this most recent order was about $8.50AUD. And the perfumes are really beautiful.