Category Archives: Smell Bent

Smell Bent – Walk Of Shame & Mocktail

Hey guys :) Have been pretty busy recently so sorry for the lack of updates.
Anyway! I ordered two bottles from the Smell Bent sale and they arrived the other day :)
One was Dead of Winter which I reviewed before (a great anise with vanilla, musks, heliotrope and a white-chocolate-vibe) and Walk Of Shame (a blind buy). Walk of Shame is described on the Smell Bent website as:
“overcast skies, the chill of cold concrete, a waft of bodega blossoms and a bit of morning-after musk”. The few reviews I’d read had described it as safe – slightly minty, with a hint of floral-soap – generally clean. So I wasn’t expected an avant-garde beast of a thing like it sounds don’t worry :) But I do really like it!…
Mocktail is a sample I got with the order…

Walk Of Shame

Walk Of Shame opens with a subtle pink pepper, an almost aquatic carnation (translucent clove-y floral), a chlorine-like, muted mint… and a similar vinyl accord to Skai by Comme Des Garcons. OK, so it sounds crazy – but it’s not. It’s a subtle, almost ozonic spice – cool, slightly mentholated – a touch of smoke… but thankfully has underneath it a sweet, cream of something that bulks it out just a touch – it’s minimal from the get-go, and a little mysterious (the kind of thing you’d ask someone for an opinion on and they’d have no idea what to say…).

It’s one of those fragrances with such muted topnotes it smells from the start like it’s been on your skin for hours. I don’t normally like that – but having read reviews on this one, I expected it to be a subtle musky thing not too dissimilar to what I expected from Commando (but instead got a powerfully sweet, animalic musk that I love!).

Walk Of Shame gets sweeter as it goes on, the pepper and carnation tame down considerably, the mint is “just there”. If anything it reminds me a little of The Smell Of Weather Turning by Lush (although that was unbearably loud on my skin – something rare!) – it has the same damp, slightly smoky, other-worldly feel that is hard to pull apart.
The concrete accord? Only in the same way that people claim Narciso Rodriguez For Him has (a touch of violet leaf?) – but yet again, that one was horrifically strong (and all-round gross). I don’t really get it – unless I try to…

I think I get touches of saffron, a little suede, and a heavy tonka-laden musk in the base. The suede as I read somewhere else online (and agree with), has a Tom Of Finland by ELdO feel to it. Very soft, very safe – it’s more of a sensation than a smell – something I’ve wanted for far too long in my wardrobe. It begins to smell like last-night’s cologne (or someone elses) over warm skin, slightly diluted by a cucumber note… I know it doesn’t sound like me… it isn’t… but the subtly unique combination is something that I’ll wear a ton :) <3 Nice one!

Mocktail

Mocktail opens kind of hideous… I get a similar, plasticky, very-loud fruit bundle to the peach in Saddle Warmer. Quickly undercut by a ton of sour, bitter citrus fruits (blood orange, apple, maybe a touch of pineapple?). Hugely synthetic and intense – it throws itself off the skin with an almost aldehydic-intensity. I have no idea what I’m smelling underneath but something is soiling Mocktail – it smells like rot.

There’s a cleaning-product-style lemon piercing the top of Mocktail that drags right through to the heart. If you’re enjoying the citrus accord then you’re lucky because it’s sticking around for a hell of a long time (a feat in itself!).
Underneath is an unidentifiable bitter resin and woody accord that smells like a mixture of harsh, heated plastic, and fuel. The painful thing about this review is that I sound like one of those people on Fragrantica who use the most immature, idiotic descriptions about a perfectly fine fragrance… this is hard to describe though.

At times, I think I kindda get on with it! I get glimpses of it from afar when it smells like being on holiday, arriving at the airport in some sunny country. At these points I get bitter orange, plastic and strong dry woods – then up-close I get the chemical experiment that I struggle to keep on my skin.
As it begins to settle it gets a little musky, a little sweeter (tonka again?), with this bizarre dried wood that doesn’t quite smell like cedar – and a very, very bitter amber – all wrapped in an unmistakable burnt-plastic smell. Interesting, but not for me :)

Oh and just to brighten the post a bit more – I’ve been super busy tattooing this week booking in a lot of my own designs, so, hope you like ‘em!

Freddie Albrighton Tattoo
Unfinished

Freddie Albrighton Tattoo

Freddie Albrighton Tattoo

Freddie Albrighton Tattoo

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Smell Bent – Dry, Woody, Chastity Begins @ Home

I received these three free 4ml spray samples with my order from Smell Bent, and thought I may as well review them, especially as I’m surprised by two of them…

Dry and Woody are from the Vocabulary line. Since these were released, I (among with many perfumistas I believe) dismissed them. I don’t like the names, the concept, the story. Everything about them to me screams extremely dull, especially coming from such a playful line. So I was a little surprised to receive them in my sample pack, but then again, if they are not selling well for example, then it is understandable to try and get them out there to potential customers – but this is just my opinion, they may be great sellers who knows.

Chastity Begins @ Home was something that I loved the look of, but the notes list just didn’t intrigue me at all, and I had read nothing about it, so I was quite interested to try this one. Anyway, I’ll crack on with them now :)

Dry opens quite bizarre. It appears translucent, with some unusual herbal notes in there that made me think of fennel and cloves, but I don’t think it’s either. Over the next minute, this becomes thicker and more opaque and as described: bone dry. The leading note heads up from underneath the herbal notes: frankincense. A smoke trail of resinous frankincense begins to take the lead and hovers over the crumble of almost anisic greenery.

There’s some sheer woods, and a super resinous amber underneath it all and remains, warm spicy and yes, dry, from here on.
The dominating frankincense is the “churchy” kind, and I cannot help but compare this to Comme des Garcons’ Avignon. They have a very similar vibe going on – church incense, devoid of sweetness, crisp and clear. The difference however is that Avignon is actually smoother with the chamomile and vanilla, this is more resinous and reminds me of the cold stones of a church in a hot, sandy country. Very visual I know! But that’s the best comparison I can make. The great thing about this is the cool atmosphere that comes off it, with this notes list you’d think it would be a hot fragrance but it’s not, to me, it is cool, but with this underlying heat. It’s very unusual, very wearable, and not to be overlooked.

Woody apparently has a root beer note. I’ve actually never smelt root beer but my partner said that Tubereuse Criminelle opens like root beer, I now understand the comparison….
Woody opens thick and caramel sweet, and then instantly an extremely medicated “root beer” accord comes in, and it is absolutely fantastic! I really expected this just to be a plain, wet woody fragrance with some vetiver and earthy notes, but I was so wrong.

As I said, there is a great, sugary sweetness to this with a slight burnt quality. On top of this, an acrid, medicated smell that apparently is that of root beer. The bitterness of it is completely sweetened up, warmed, with a lovely balsamic edge to it.
Of course this has got a “woody” aspect to it, but to me, it’s not a leading note at all. There’s amber, balsams, root beer and the sugary sweetness – which is probably the amber actually.

Whilst the medicated notes do quieten down, they are still present throughout. The fragrance although linear seems to change leading notes quite regularly and I keep picking up little new bits from it each time I spray it. I’m not sure but, I may end up with a full bottle of this!

All in all, don’t be distracted by the labels and bland names, if the rest of the line are anything like these two they are DEFINITELY worth trying! Great perfumery :)

I expected something really raunchy from this, some animalics, a filthy leather, maybe some musk and spicy florals? The notes list doesn’t quite fit that so I guess I should have known better. It is quite interesting though…

Chastity Begins @ Home reminds me initially of Smell Bent’s discontinued Exquisite Corpse. There’s that bizarre unappetizing bergamot note but thankfully instead of the pepper and tuberose, there’s an indolic jasmine and green herbal notes and old fashioned rose. It has that overripe quality of Charogne but not as extreme (and as yummy!) with a translucent smoke of birch tar ready to come out a little stronger later…

So there’s a jasmine (not the kind I like), a soapy rose, some green herbal notes and bergamot. It sounds like quite a plain opening but as I said, there is something quite “off” about it. It smells very old fashioned and actually quite classical, but this more traditional quality comes through a little later down the line.

Back to the traditional quality, as the initial top notes burn off and we go into the heart of the fragrance, the oakmoss begins to show up. At this point, Chastity Begins @ Home reminds me slightly of Mitsouko… Mitsouko without the peach, and made by Chanel (slightly more traditional and soapy). I hope that makes sense? It doesn’t have the complexity, but the notes are similar – bergamot, jasmine, rose, oakmoss, vetiver, a little bit of spice/herb. The leather in CB@H is synthetic and plasticky, and I guess makes it more modern? It’s a faint whaft a birch tar that’s add a rough smokiness but not naughty or loud enough to tackle the bergamot/pepper and florals. The whole feel, is quite old-fashioned still.

I actually am reminded of a scented body cream with this. It smells like a very slightly medicated body lotion and once I got that association in my head I couldn’t let it go. The florals fade slightly, the bergamot disappears, and the oakmoss, leather and woods remain, but with a strange overtone of body cream. Chastity Begins @ Home is certainly interesting, and so different from what I expected. I wouldn’t consider it dirty, or naughty, but instead quite a classic floral chypre, but done with a modern/synthetic edge. I’m glad I got the chance to try it :)

Dry & Wood both 50ml EDT Smell Bent – $45 smellbent.com
Chastity Begins @ Home 50ml EDT Smell Bent – $45 smellbent.com

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Commando – Smell Bent

I never really had the urge to even sample Commando, well I did, but I was constantly distracted by the rest of the creative line of Smell Bent. I felt that Commando would be “plain”. I obviously read many reviews, I felt that the “fecal” references were most likely over dramatic after comparisons with Muscs Koublai Khan and such, and I heard many just saying “smells like clean skin – white musk” and that put me off.

I’m not all that keen on “skin scents”, which is what perfumer Brent Leneosio describes Commando as. I imagined Commando would be almost scentless, with the slightest clean musk overtone and a sweet base. I’m not sure why I expected no dirtiness in this fragrance, especially as Brent is known for making some filthy musks (most famously my previously reviewed Untitled No.8 which is the skankiest musk I have smelt…).

Anyway, I chose to blind buy this. I thought as I was putting in my order for Saddle Warmer and Desperado, I may as well get something else. I was torn between some of this fizzy, fruity, summer fragrances and some of the other classic characters I really wanted to try. For some reason, I settled on Commando. I figured it would fill the musk gap in my collection as I don’t currently own a musk fragrance. I also thought that it would indeed be a great choice for when I don’t feel like wearing something heavy and overpowering – like most of my collection.

Commando opens with an intensely sweet musk, that out of no where, turns heavy, and recognizably fecal. It is impossible not to make comparisons to Muscs Koublai Khan, it has the exact same fecal notes, only much stronger and not disguised by the rose notes. This is overlayed with some much cleaner white musk, but the whole feel is undeniably dirty… I am absolutely in love with it.

On card, this fragrance remains much more on the clean side, on my skin, the filthiness pushes right into the foreground. It is so, so much more than I hoped for. MKK was high on my “must have” list, but this… well, with this I don’t feel like I currently need it. Without the rose (which was never a big deal in the Lutens’ musk for me), I am left with just as described “a motley crew of animal musks” and it is heavenly, sweet, filthy and clean. There is no skin smell about this to me, other than the fact it melts into it perfectly.

Commando lasts for ages, it survived a shower, and projects strong. Underneath all the musk is a tonka bean base which really smooths everything out and seems to provide a real warmth to the musk.

It takes a good couple hours for the dirty musk to calm right down, and the clean musk comes more to the top. It never completely wins the fragrance over, but it makes Commando much more wearable to anyone uncomfortable with dirty musks. The linear fragrance never gets tiresome and providing you like the opening, your nose will struggle to leave your wrist for the rest of the day.
I can’t tell you how happy I am I made the decision to go for Commando. It is something that was missing in my wardrobe, and to me, an absolutely perfect musk fragrance.

Long lasting, undeniably skanky, sweet and creamy, and absolutely sits proud in my top 10 fragrances. Outstanding :D

Commando Smell Bent 50ml EDT – $45 smellbent.com

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Desperado – Smell Bent

Smell Bent blind buy no.2…

I chose Desperado (which is part of the discontinued Wild West Trio including the previously reviewed Saddle Warmer), as I heard it was a great bitter leather, and I read the notes of saffron and cedar and that was all I needed really. I expected something quite smoky, maybe full of some un-listed birch tar, and a subtle warm spice.

Desperado opens up close with a strong, almost mushroom type note. From a slight distance, a very strange smell hovers around. I find it very hard to break this down and it really reminds me of something from my childhood.

There’s some hot, raw cedar wood almost like pencil shavings, but with a strange mentholated note that contrasts, keeping it cool.
After just a matter of minutes, the saffron comes forward which I absolutely love. It is heavenly fragrant, dusty, and beautiful combined with the dark woods and the other strange notes. I haven’t smelt saffron that much in perfume but have loved it whenever I have. To compare it with a recent saffron note I smelt, compared to Aoud Lime by Montale, this saffron is much darker and almost bitter. I find it has an almost animal like quality and a slightly furry texture – wonderful.

Whilst being full of deep, dark notes, the fragrance is actually light and dusty. It has the same feel as Dark Aoud by Montale in that it almost has (and smells like) an atmosphere, more than a personal fragrance, and I love that.

As a leather, I would compare it to the smell of extremely old leather-bound books. It has an almost papery quality to it also.
I’m sure this review sounds terrible and un-descriptive so I am sorry for that. There are some notes in this which I am completely unfamiliar with, and am having to resort to being visual.
It is very dry, almost like the cracked earth smell I got in Turtle Vetiver Front by Les Nez, and it has this smoky, metallic twang to it which is fantastic. I also think the metallic notes come from a “petrol” type accord, although it’s much more oily and sour than petrol, more like I imagine jet fuel. Once I’ve picked up this jet fuel note, it remains pretty prominant, and I only picked it up on my fourth or fifth wearing.
I am almost reminded of gunpowder with this scent, it is all blended into this one seamless, dry, spicy, smoky, bitter, papery leather, which I am sure I will soon only be able to describe as “Desperado”… similar to how many cannot break down the classic Guerlain’s.

If I was to compare Desperado to any other fragrance, the only thing I can think of is Yatagan. Now, I don’t have that much experience with Yatagan and have only sniffed it briefly, but there is that similar green vegetal note in them both (more celery in the Caron, and maybe a celery/fennel in this), as well as a kind of food condiment quality (some people have said Yatagan smells like ketchup). This comparison is only a faint memory so please don’t hold onto that.

On first sniff, I wasn’t too sure on this one. But I have, by writing this review, grown to understand it more, and I honestly think I will in time grow to absolutely love this, it is really wonderful.

Desperado Smell Bent 50ml EDT – discontinued smellbent.com

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Saddle Warmer – Smell Bent

This is going to be the first post of a few regarding Smell Bent.

I absolutely love Smell Bent. I think the website is great, I think their approach to fragrance is fun and fresh, and their scents are brilliant. Oh, and the prices are unbeatable.
I really don’t think this house gets enough recognition, probably because most take themselves too seriously in this industry, it’s great to see a perfumer proud and confident in his low prices, cartoon imaging and playful approach.

If you read my previous Smell Bent posts, you’ll know that a while back I ordered the gift pack – 5 x 4ml samples of my choice and a full bottle at the end once I’ve made a decision. I had great fun sniffing the samples, and stupidly decided to blind buy a bottle instead of choosing one of my samples.
I say stupidly just because at the time, the fragrance wasn’t what I was expecting – I did however grow to wear it often and thoroughly enjoyed it, it just wasn’t initially what I expected. This surprise is now what I’ve discovered to be a common thing with Smell Bent, every fragrance has surprised me thoroughly. These next few posts will explain this in more detail.

I discovered this fragrance (Saddle Warmer) online, it is discontinued, and read nothing but bad reviews on it. I had to have it! It sounded extremely confusing, and completely different to anything I have already. So I emailed Brent Leonesio at Smell Bent, and blind bought Saddle Warmer (along with Desperado and Commando which will pop up here over the next few days).

Saddle Warmer opens pretty putrid! There’s this rank, over-ripe fruit note of peach, and a really filthy boozy note up top that Smell Bent call a “moonshine” accord – I’m not familiar with Moonshine but apparently it is a whisky! There’s a bitter, wet green-ness to it that smells like a very strong kitchen herb.

So it doesn’t sound particularly pleasant? It isn’t. But it is fascinating! I haven’t smelt even one of these notes in perfumery before and having them all combined is overwhelming.
There is a real fecal smell to this, but it is not a musky scent, it is instead more of a fecal leather. I’m not even sure if there’s any leather in this, but there is definitely a strong leathery presence or feel, whether it’s a combination of the notes I don’t know! Back to the fecal comparison, it is more like the floor of a stable, but not like the sweet hay of L’Artisan’s Dzing!, it is hard to describe, maybe I am buying into the “Smells like a horses butt” comments on Fragrantica…

There’s also something mentholated in here, it provides a real coolness to the fragrance and it’s very medicinal.
Just as a side note, I have this sprayed on my hand, but I’m reviewed based on a spray on card, the note breakdown is much easier and slower as the development is actually quite speedy on skin.

On skin, after the shock of the top (which is probably one of the most challenging openings I have ever smelt), the peach comes forward more than any other note and it slightly loses it’s over-ripe mould. Instead it remains green, fresh, and gloriously synthetic. It is still a bizarre accord once all the other weirdness as burnt off, the peach becomes the tiniest bit aquatic, slightly herbaceous and robotic: delicate and subtly strange.
In one line: peach chewing gum and bad breath.

A fragrance I am not sure I’ll wear all that much, but it’ll definitely have it’s shining moments! I can’t wait to give it a real thorough wearing, but I’m also a bit nervous!

Saddle Warmer Smell Bent 50ml EDT – discontinued smellbent.com

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Serge Lutens – Miel De Bois & Smell Bent – Hansel & Dreidel

Honey.
This is the theme of this post. I’d include Indochine in here… but I already reviewed it.

I chose this as a topic for two reasons: No.1 – I realised I hadn’t reviewed Miel De Bois on here! Which was my first Lutens’ purchase and my first introduction to honey dominated fragrances. No.2 – Hansel & Dreidel was my blind choice for my Smell Bent voucher… but I’ll go into that mistake later.

I love the smell of honey, it’s rich, sickly sweet (generally) and very human. I have only recently understood the relationship to urine with honey fragrances, but I don’t always find it off putting. I find honey to be more sweaty sometimes, it has a breathy like quality to it that’s kind of off-putting, but really sexy at the same time (myrrh does the same thing for me).
I’d love to include Maison Francis Kurkdijan’s Absolue Pour Le Soir in here, but, I don’t have a sample to refresh my memory.

Anyway, onto my little reviews:

Miel De Bois‘s sharp, hot honey flies off the skin and stings your nose as soon as it exits the bottle. Just as you recover from this a barrage of wood splinters attack you on top. It’s intensity is extreme, almost so sweet it becomes bitter? It hits the back of your throat and your nose with a rugged and masculine texture.

The volume turns down just a couple notches, as a musty “old-book” smell creeps in (maybe dry sandalwood?). It is here, that the pissy notes come forth…
So, I have owned this fragrance now for 8/9 months (updating this post 08/07/12), and only have I in the last few weeks began to pick up the intense, infamous urine of this fragrance. I never understood it or detected it before – I expected it to smell like fresh pee and I never got the association. However, as dreadful as this sounds, I passed a homeless man in a subway on my way back from the gym the other week, and he smelt exactly like the intense honey in Miel De Bois… it is the scent of hot, dried, old urine – yes, it’s ugly, but in a fragrance’s orchestrated composition? – it’s hilariously fascinating (and wearable).
The urinous honey is hot, and sweet, but counterbalanced by the bitterest of cedar splinters. Miel De Bois is a challenging fragrance of dramatic textures.

The honey in Miel De Bois isn’t the thick, creamy set honey like in Indochine, it is sheer but sharp. I always get the visual image in my head of wood smeared in honey and left in the sun, until it is radiant and amber in colour. The piercing scent is that of Miel De Bois – it’s raw and animal, still with a screeching volume.

The fragrance is relatively linear, but constantly morphs between the dominating honey and cedar on the skin. The play between the notes is fascinating to wear, and it never full becomes comfortable. The late dry-down sees the sharp edges of the woods, sanded off into a smoother tone, and the honey cooling slightly, gaining a bit of opacity and taking on the breathy quality I described earlier. I also find that Miel De Bois feels damp on my skin, maybe a continuation of the mildew like musty notes I get during the opening.

I hope I haven’t put you off with my reference to homeless men and pissypants… I love this scent – it was my first ever blind buy and I got it for an amazing deal on eBay. My vintage 50ml spray bottle is treasured and I feel very lucky to have it in my small collection. It is without a doubt a must-try for honey lovers, and a one of a kind scent for the brave.

After my thrill of trying out my sample pack by Smell Bent, I did something really stupid. If you’ve read my post, you’ll know that I absolutely adored a couple of the scents, and was insistent that I absolutely loved Totem Eclipse, and I still do – an outstanding earthy, wet wood that verges on unwearable (fantastic!). I also thoroughly enjoyed Mountain High.
However, in a burst of spontaneity and excitement I came up with the crazy idea that “Well, I have a voucher for a full bottle, I might as well blind buy one so I can enjoy more of the line and buy one of these ones I’ve tried when the samples run out!”. God knows why and I desperately wish I just bought my Totem Eclipse…

Anyway, my choice was Hansel & Dreidel. With notes of honey, wheat, baking spices and musk, I thought it would be a great honey fragrance that I would reach for more and use on a regular basis. The baking spices – I imagined a nice sprinkling of cinnamon, but it would be dominated more by a savoury wheat note with Brent’s signature filthy musk in the base. That’s the thing with blind buying, you just imagine what it will be like – it’s impossible to do.

Hansel & Dreidel opens with a pleasant, oriental mix of spices and sweet, clear honey. The bucket loads of spices are gourmand “Christmas-y” notes of cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger etc. It brings to mind spiced cakes, eggnog, and candles. There’s a thick kind of cocoa note going on in there too but I think that’s more of an impression of the sweetness and the wheat. The wheat in there is really delicate and gives it a very nice bread-y texture, with a slight powdery edge.

Unfortunately, I completely forgot that one of the most popular baking spices, is clove. Yes I go on about clove all the time as though it’s in everything! But it does seem to spring up on me on everything in even the smallest doses. I hate cloves and of course, this is the baking variety of cloves, not the medicinal dentist office clove like in Stephen Jones which I can just about put up with. The cloves come on pretty strong within the first few minutes, and once I detect them I struggle to let it go. However, they do begin to disappear from a distance, and become more subtle the more you search for the notes surrounded the shiny black spice.

Hansel & Dreidel has a lovely distant sillage from the first spritz where the honey appears thicker and very tame – it is up close that the spices and the cloves dominate.  The spice basket is all too much for me – but the wheat helps to keep the fragrance wearable, bringing to mind Bois Farine given a Starbucks makeover.

However, the more I wear Hansel & Dreidel, the more I enjoy it. I began to notice the sillage throughout the day reminded me of a German Christmas cake and I slowly began to appreciate the fragrance as a whole – rather than the notes I don’t enjoy. The honey treatment here is completely different from Miel De Bois. Whilst the late drydown of H&D has a dense, mild honey (more reminiscent of Indochine’s), the opening is as equally sheer as the Lutens’ work, but without the urinous intensity and given a more gourmand/spiced angle. They are both lovely honey’s, but I prefer the upfront scream of the Lutens’.

The drydown brings in a little musk, and a thick, heavy sandalwood – paired with the honey, it also brings to mind a more heavily spiced Jeux De Peau, without the apricot.
The fragrance is lovely if spice dominated scents are your cup of tea (I ended up selling this bottle as it wasn’t mine!), and the honey is used to perfection – not too sweet, not too thick, not too animalic etc. I have a great deal of respect for the Smell Bent line and this is just another example of Brent Leonesio’s wonderfully creativity.
For now I’m happy with my Miel De Bois, and whilst I don’t reach for it so often – maybe I’ll soon discover another lovely honey that’s a little more wearable and won’t scare anyone on my train to work.

Serge Lutens Miel De Bois 75ml Bell Jar – 125 Euros from sergelutens.com
Smell Bent Hansel & Dreidel 50ml EDT – $45 smellbent.com (only available until the end of February)

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My Smell Bent Sample Pack! Part 2

Ok, so on to the North By Northwest 3 that I ordered. I’ve figured that it kind of sounds like I’m smelling these for the first time, I’ve given all of them a brief sniff, but none a proper wearing (apart from Mountain High which I’ll get on to) but plan to wear them all thoroughly before I make my full bottle decision! So my initial reviews are pretty fresh and may be different to what I think of them over the next few days, any major updates and I’ll…well, update!

Great name: Otter Luvr. Strange opening however… fishy comes to mind, even though it doesn’t smell of fish. This must be the algae… it’s green, but not in the earthy/leafy/woody type, it’s a watery green, that’s slightly salty, painfully sweet but incredibly inedible.

My sample choices were quite strange for me, I don’t normally like green scents but thought if anyone could do one I would like, it would be Brent, and it would be something pretty kooky. However, my nose is not good with green scents and I’m pretty poor at distinguishing woods and mosses and vetiver and iso e super and such so these reviews may be a bit poor sorry.

Anyway back to Otter Luvr: I can just about pick up the bitter oakmoss and bay from my brief experiences with chypres… however I think I’m kind of kidding myself. There is however a familiar bitter spice to this that must be the oakmoss. I can pick up a little bit of cloves, which is my least favourite note in perfumery ever, but it’s very subtle here.
For the sheer amount of animalics listed here, I can’t actually detect that many, maybe because they’re used so differently to what I’m used to. There seems to be some amber in here, but again it’s not creamy, it’s dry and crumbly, maybe this is the natural ambergris? It’s very good whatever it is.

The whole effect for me after the opening is a slightly clovey, slightly resinous fragrance and some watery green notes. It’s bizarre, but not quite as bizarre as it sounds. I will wear this much more, as there’s something there that I can’t stop sniffing I just need to figure it out…

Yes, Mountain High smells like pot, but, it’s not like a burning smoky joint of it, it’s more the neat, fresh, juicy leaf smell that people like. It’s the pot smell without the grime that goes with it.

There’s also some fresh lavender up top, and some other green notes. It’s very juicy as I said earlier – in the opening, almost moutherwatering. It’s got a cool feel to it that is not quite menthol, but very fresh.

Once the opening begins to wear off, a vanilla/tonka/patchouli support the faded reminants of the cannabis stained skin. The patchouli is quite clean, and somehow the mix of patchouli and pot remains un-hippyish. It’s pretty impressive stuff, and although I’ve given it a very brief overview, it’s a definite contender for the prize of the full bottle :P It’s completely original, brave and a word that I’d never normally want to use due to it’s sports-cologne connotations – uplifting! Bravo!

Oh here we go, I’ve gotta end with something that I sprayed and instantly loved: Totem Eclipse (Of The Heart).

Totem Eclipse opens with a huge blast of fresh, wet wood, but it’s not like any wood I’ve smelt in a fragrance before (must be this red cedar). It smells completely overripe which must be the champaca (which I don’t have any experience with). I get a huge association with banana skins in this fragrance which I just adore. I’m typing short sentences because I can’t quite get everything out quick enough to express my feelings towards this :’)

There is a compost-y type note that feels both warm and cool and very damp, it’s green, dirty, banana-skin-y, damp wood-y, very exotic, and just wonderful.
Slightly a bizarre reference but, my favourite smell in the WHOLE WORLD… is the queue line of the E.T ride at Universal Studios Florida – ridiculous I know. There’s something damp, and murky and ethereal about it, and my childhood memories associated with this smell, make me deliriously happy. This fragrance is the closest thing I’ve found to that smell, it’s very different, but there are just certain things about it, which are so close, and give me the same feelings. It’s truly – for me – outstanding!

In the three or four times I’ve sniffed this fragrance, I’ve just grown attached to it already, instantly this would be my full bottle choice but I don’t want to jump to conclusion, all these fragrances are wonderful and I want to give them all a chance to work on me, but Totem Eclipse = instant love. I’m definitely willing to see how the others grow on me more though.

All in all, I’m thrilled with my sample pack! I haven’t been even the slightest bit disappointed and Smell Bent is the best discovery I have made recently. I’ve been desperate to try their fragrances for so long now and am glad I’ve finally got round to it as it has completely re-inspired me :)

All available from www.smellbent.com

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My Smell Bent Sample Pack! Part 1

Ooooh exciting exciting! I treated myself to the Smell Bent gift set. Basically it’s a set of 5 samples of my choice, and a voucher for a full bottle of my favourite one (or a blind one if I didn’t like any :P), postage included, great deal, had to be done!

So my choices were:

Dead of Winter – anise liqour, vanilla, heliotrope, cedar and zombie musk

Totem Eclipse – western red cedar accented with champaca, skunk cabbage, evergreen and earthy, vegetal musk

Mountain High – fresh cannabis with balsam fir, lavender, vanilla extract, tonka, sandalwood and patchouli

Otter Luvr – bay, oakmoss, algae absolute, natural ambergris, castoreum, sweet resins and musk

Exquisite Corpse – bergamot, tuberose, white and pink pepper, upturned earth with animal notes

and Brent also sent me a free sample of:

Never Never Land – rich amber, desert rose, guiaic wood, vetiver and the arid outback

Now, I don’t normally list notes, but gosh! – these have to be mentioned, how great are some of them! “Skunk cabbage” “Zombie musk” “Algae” they just had to be tried, and after my love for Untitled no.8, I knew these would be awesome quality.
Anyway! These reviews are going to be brief so here goes:

Dead of Winter opens with spicy anise, that sambucca/liqourice note that is here – syrupy, alcoholic and sweet. It’s lovely, and the strongest anise note I’ve smelt in a fragrance.
This is paired with a beautiful creamy vanilla, and the all-round feel is gourmandy, syrupy, with a wicked sharp anise kick.

After a short while the beautifully solemn helioptrope peeks through, it remains slightly powdery, creamy, and is paired perfectly with the anise, almondy-vanilla and musk underneath. This “zombie” musk, is actually pretty clean, and is a pillow for everything else, and thankfully not clean in the laundry sense :)

A lovely, cosy fragrance, not as scary as it sounds, but I guess that’s why the skeleton has pink ear muffs… If you like liqourice notes, this fragrance is impossible note to like! A great gourmand.

Exquisite Corpse is, well, what can I say, oh dear Brent this is true to the name :’)

Green bergamot and a mix of crushed peppercorns open this, with the meaty tuberose providing a not so lovely floral edge. It is a crude opening, and kind of reminds me of the opening of Charogne by ELdO, in terms of feel not notes, they smell completely different.

It makes me chuckle this fragrance on sniffing it now for probably the 3rd or 4th time, it’s somehow gross, with there being absolutely nothing gross in it, just, the combination is pretty genius.

There are definitely some animal notes under there, and the whole feel is kind of surreal/uncomfortable yet completely natural smelling. It literally smells like a combination of the listed notes and nothing else, if I wasn’t given the note pyramid, I think I’d honestly be able to pick them out solely, it smells like I imagined but somehow I’m not dissapointed.

Exquisite Corpse isn’t ridiculously potent and sits pretty close to the skin shortly after the opening and bizarrely gets more pleasantly wearable, there’s something familiar about it and the more I sniff it the more I enjoy it! Very unique, I’ll have to give this a lot more wearings. Unfortunately, it’s been taken off the site though! Contact Brent if you want to try this as I’m sure there are samples and full bottles lying around!

Anyway! All in all, a bitter citrus/pepper/tuberose/animalic concoction… true to the name!

Never Never Land opens with resinous amber, sweet clean rose and has a slightly “Tauer – Incense Rose” kind of feel to the opening only a little more simplified and subtle.

Pretty quickly, a green note comes in which I can’t quite identify other than saying it’s “green”. It says there’s vetiver in here which could be it, I’m just useless with vetiver and am rubbish at understanding it…

I don’t know what more to add to Never Never Land. It’s a very nice scent don’t get me wrong! The amber is how I have recently been enjoying it – green, non-gourmandy and slightly medicinal, the rose is also green and translucent, and the woods in the background are subtle but excellent. It’s not quite daring enough for me, which sounds very silly, but it’s a lovely easy to wear fragrance and a great savoury amber – much better than the dreaded Ambre Sultan that’s for sure!

Update: Months on, and this turned out to be one of the best of the bunch. It has this bizarre jammy/juiciness to it that I think comes from the rose? It’s almost mouthwatering, and it sits upon a breathy note that’s kind of musky? Lovely stuff.

Anyway, to save me going on and on in this post, I’ll post the final three (which are all from the North by Northwest series) in a new post! So far… so good.

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