Black Baccara Grab Bag Sampler

12 May

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Near the tail end of Black Baccara’s closing sale, they had some INSANE deals. Like a grab bag of 12 perfume samples for $12. Yeah, I jumped on that pretty fast. It even came in really cute packaging! All 12 samples were tucked in a red satin bag, and then put into a clear plastic case with a business card. I didn’t expect something so fancy given that they just closed. The only downside is that now that the shop is down (and reviews for their perfumes are scarce), I can’t find listed notes for a lot of these!

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Magdalene (almonds and hints of flowers which meet many subtle notes on the dry-down before settling into a deep, earthy oud with hints of oakmoss): Mmmm, DIRT. Dirt and marzipan! This is probably nope-the-heck-out-of-here territory for most people but I am in love with Madgalene. It’s like eating fancy candy in a mucky forest.

Alice’s Tea Party (freshly brewed green tea mix with tart wild cherries, oranges, pomegranates, honey, marshmallows, whispers of vanilla and the faintest hint of baking bread): I get marmalade and fruit here, very jam-y without being overwhelmingly fruity. I usually HATE fruit blends but this one is nice enough. However, the baked bread, marshmallow and vanilla are missing! And, of course, those are some of my favorite notes.

Love Spell (none listed): Cinnamon and fruit. What is up with all the holiday-spice notes in Black Baccara blends? This is actually one of the last scents I tested and by this point it was like “oh god not the holiday potpourri again.” I really don’t like fruit so the apple and berry undertones were not helping. I feel like I am in a craft store right before Christmas when I wear this.

Chao (green grass, moss, sap, fresh sage, and lemon give way to whispers of jasmine and raspberries): From the notes, this should be my favorite of the bunch. Green green green! But this turns IMMEDIATELY to soap on my skin. I think it’s the jasmine–it tends to go very sudsy on me. I don’t get any grass, moss, sage or lemon. I’m so sad. It sounds AMAZING but the damn jasmine. It’s killing me.

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Trippy (none listed): From the name and lack of scent notes, I was expecting patchouli–a scent I sometimes get along with and sometimes loath. However, this is DIRT. All dirt, fresh and loamy. It evens out after an hour with a kind of spicy undercurrent–nutmeg? Clove? It is very soft though, and gentle. This is such a perfect scent for me.

Goddess (geraniums, lush roses, and a hint of pumpkins unravel to reveal fresh white musk, ambrette, sandalwood, and the faintest touch of ylang ylang): This is a soft, grown-up floral. Rose is the strongest note but it’s undercut by spice (the pumpkin I presume? more like pumpkin spices than actual pumpkin) and hints of musk and sandalwood. I do love a good rose blend and this is a sophisticated and earthy take on the classic flower.

Bathory (deep red wine and flowers, which dry down to a dark amber, balsam, clover and clove bouquet): The wine came off a bit fruity on my skin but this is a nice, feminine blend. The clove and clover I was SO excited for, but neither showed up (this seems to be a trend–I like a listed Black Baccara note, it’s not there). The wine and flowers are most prominent, with some amber that comes off powdery but not in a terrible way. It’s lovely, but I expected a more… dark? blend for the Countess. You know, something like wine with leather, blood, and a hint of cosmetics. BPAL, get on it.

Eternal Winter (none listed): In the vial this smells like… jelly beans. SUPER fruity, ick. But on my skin it’s very much a holiday scent–strong cinnamon and wine notes, like mulled cider, with hints of myrrh. I was expecting a “cold” scent with snow notes, but this is kind of like one of those spiced pinecones. It’s too tied to a season for me to wear regularly, but I will whip this out around the holidays.

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Ebenezer (none listed): I get pine sap, cinnamon and something vaguely metallic from this. I was not expecting a Christmas-y scent: I was expecting tobacco soot and and dry parchment. But, hey, it is Scrooge. So of course I don’t get what I want! I’ve found that many of Black Baccara’s blends have this underlying layer of rich incense–not, you know, an actual incense note but the feeling or vibe of an incense blend, and it’s super prominent in Ebenezer.

Marquis de Sade (leather, tobacco, merlot, dragonsbreath, bay rum, clove, opopanax, and oakmoss): Leather, clove, oakmoss? That is literally a DREAM of mine. But the other notes are in heavy competition here, creating a well-mixed masculine blend that melds together so seamlessly it’s hard to pick out any individual smells. I get leather, definitely, and then a rush of strong (alcohol-free) cologne, with hints of smoke at the end. This is a bold fragrance, especially for a girl, but I really adore it.

Poisoned Pudding (Marshmallow, chocolate, and vanilla blend with the faintest touch of fire and roots): This is SUCH a rich foodie. I’m kind of overwhelmed by the chocolate, which I do not usually like, but the wonderful marshmallow note smooths it out for me. I am a marshmallow perfume addict. Sadly, I don’t get any fire or poisonous plants–just pudding!

Carnival of Ghosts (pumpkins and kettle corn, slowly revealing whispers of apples, licorice, freshly turned soil, and a cauldron of witches brew. Candy apples and popcorn merge with damp, earthy darkness): I was really worried about trying this one out. It has a lot of notes that I LOVE–dirt, popcorn, pumpkin–and one that I hate-licorice. And then, there’s apple. I dislike fake apple, but love crisp apple. So Carnival of Ghosts was a crapshot. Thankfully, it turned out delightful! Musty in a pleasant way, with subdued soil & spices and hints of sweetness backed by a very tart hint of apple. It’s very much a fall scent, but a playful fall scent: which is nice, so often they read as warm and cozy!

A grab bag of perfumes is always going to have hits and misses–there is no way a random selection of twelve will work perfectly on anyone! But given the price I am very happy I took the plunge. Some of these are very season- and time-specific, but given that they are only sample vials that isn’t exactly a problem. A few did not work on me, but will make excellent swap fodder or layering experiments. And, as you would expect, there were true gems: why did I not buy a full sized bottle of Trippy when I had the chance?!

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