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