I’m raising this blog from the dead in preparation for some reviews from my new subscription to Sixteen92’s Circle. I’ve always waited with baited breath for any early reviews from Circle subscribers, and now that I’ll be getting collections a month before their official launch, it’s my turn to give back!
About a month ago, Sixteen92 announced on Facebook that they are adding three scents to their General Collection: Baba Yaga, Last Exit for the Lost, and Waking in Winter. I happen to love all three of these, so this seems like the perfect opportunity to review them. I’ve added some bonus notes on how they age, because I’ve had these for a while now.
Fiery dragon’s blood incense, sweet woodsmoke, dried herbs, dripping candle wax, forest dirt.
Baba Yaga opens with sweet, smoky beeswax and incense, but a somewhat perfumed take on it. There’s nothing too heavy or waxy about it. I recognize the dragon’s blood from Goody Proctor – warm, spicy, red-smelling, and sweet in a resinous way – and it melds perfectly with the beeswax candles. The whole thing settles into a sweet but earthy incense.
While it stays a glowing warm incense scent, the herbs and dirt creep out more on drydown. I’m not sure which herbs exactly, but they are definitely dry and not garden fresh. They honestly remind me most of the scent of a box of herbs I put together to use in incense and tea, which included some more unusual herbs like mugwort and hyssop, so this is appropriately witchy. Herbs tend to be astringent on me, and this is true here, as well. But rather than making me wrinkle my nose, that somewhat bitter scent adds a spooky edge to the blend, especially with the dirt. It really reminds me of an old room filled with a dozens of dripping beeswax candles, air heavy with the smoke of dragon’s blood incense, strange herbs hanging from the ceiling and dirt scattered across the floor. I get a bit of a new age store vibe too, but it still strikes me as more a secluded witch incense than hippie incense. Despite that visual, I find it a very wearable incense scent, somewhat feminine due to the sweetness.
Sillage is strong – a dab will leave me in a cloud of scent – and lasts all day.
Aged: I have had my sample for 6 months, and it ages nicely. The herbs were initially much more astringent, which I didn’t like. With time, they have mellowed, the dirt has become more prominent, and the whole scent is more a sweet smoky atmospheric cloud rather than very defined notes.
Summary: A witchy, smoky, incensey cloud of beeswax and dragon’s blood.
Last Exit for the Lost
Orchard apples, woven wood baskets, dried hay, distant chimney smoke on cool air.
First on, Last Exit for the Lost is crisp realistic apples with a soft background hints of smoke and hay. The apples smell green, like Granny Smiths. When my sample was newer, it was definitely just apples and smoke upfront – a simple and unconventional combination that worked wonderfully. The contrast has become more subtle with time.
Once dry, the apples still have some crispness but aren’t as green. Gala apples, maybe. They remain the predominant note, but are backed by curls of soft woodsmoke and the lovely woody-grassy character of hay. It’s very much like a basket of apples sitting on some hay in an orchard. The smoke note is truly wonderful, never smelling harsh or chemically, just soft and rich. It’s very nuanced, feeling above all atmospheric and autumnal. The official listing describes this scent as unisex, and I agree. Apple orchards for everyone!
Sillage seems fairly soft to me, but I got a compliment from someone who was a few feet away from me so it must be decent. It does seem to settle into more of a skin scent after about 6 hours.
Aged: I’ve had this for 6 months as well, and it has aged AMAZINGLY. The smoke has softened and become more wispy and atmospheric. The apple, which initially went through an almost candy-like stage, has become even more realistic. The hay and wood have emerged more and make this truly complex and beautiful.
Summary: Fresh apples, soft woodsmoke, and a woody orchard atmosphere.
Waking in Winter
Fir needle, hemlock, soft snow, pale woods, delicate mint, frost-blanketed leaves, cold metal, distant hearthsmoke.
This has several iffy notes for me: mint, metal, and pine needles. I was hesitant to try it. Very hesitant. But I took a chance, and I’m glad I did!
Waking in Winter starts with a cold minty blast that amazingly doesn’t remind me of toothpaste at all. The fresh mint is joined by green pine needles and a woody undertone that is reminiscent of pale sandalwood. It does remind me of a pine forest in winter. The aromatic top notes give it a passing resemblance to more traditional colognes, but I wouldn’t actually describe it as “cologney” and it doesn’t have the harshness that I associate with mainstream men’s cologne.
Dry, it’s gets sweeter and woodier. The pine needles and peppermint mingle together over soft sweet woods, and it seems like there’s a bit of pine sap too. There’s a lot of depth to the woods, including a subtle touch of smokiness. Fortunately for me, there’s nothing metallic here to my nose. While at first this scent is like a brisk winter wind in a forest, the drydown is cozier, like you’ve finally reached your destination in a little cabin, and have brought in some frosty pine boughs to decorate.
Sillage is low-average, longevity is average.
Aging: I’ve had this for about 4 months. Changes have been very subtle – the mint has softened a bit, the pine has become equally prominent as the mint, and the drydown is a bit woodier.
Summary: Peppermint, pine, and sweet woods – somehow both fresh and cozy.