Autumn is my favorite time of year, and I was incredibly excited to get my hands on Sixteen92’s Fall and Halloween collections. I’m splitting the release into one post each for Fall and Halloween (which I will likely post within the week). The Fall collection will be released August 24 and Halloween in late September. I’m rushing this post a bit because I want it to be up before the scents go live, so it’s available for people making purchasing decisions. Because of that, I’ve only done 1 1/2 tests of each scent (except Bridget Bishop, which only got 1 test) – a full wear and testing multiple at once, as opposed to two full wears spaced a couple weeks apart, which is my preference to account for settling and skin chemistry flukes. So my opinions might change a bit with time. Without any further ado, here are the reviews.
Night-blooming flowers, belladonna, bergamot peel, resinous oudh, nutmeg, ambroxan, scarlet musk (premium)
In the vial: Sharp musky floral, very strong and headachey. Something woody and rose-like as well.
Wet, it strongly reminds me of Rid of Me, with that sharp heady floral. Maybe magnolia is in there? Extremely perfumey. Also a strong citrusy bitterness from the bergamot peel. It’s a bit heavier and more mysterious than Rid of Me, and by 15 minutes I start to smell something like tomato leaf, which would probably be the belladonna – the plants are related. It continues developing with more complex musky florals and that tomato leaf.
By an hour, I can smell nutmeg fairly clearly, bringing a nice slightly sweet spiciness to the mix. It’s overall quite mysterious. The wood becomes more prominent over the next hour, and together the spice and woods warm up the scent. The florals are still quite heady with prominent belladonna, but they get smoother and dreamier. Very well-blended. After a couple more hours I can clearly smell the scarlet musk as well. It’s almost like red rose musk, with the vibrant almost juicy quality of red rose petals (not sweet though), rather than the rich sweetness that I associate with most red musks.
Verdict: I wasn’t hopeful for this after cold sniff, but the tomato-y belladonna is a brilliant addition. It gives it a special witchy weirdness that still feels incredibly wearable in the context of the classic florals. It’s definitely more perfumey than I like my florals to be, but I think it’s beautiful. A femme fatale kind of scent. Dark, powerful, mysterious.
Sillage and longevity: Strong sillage that will knock you over if you overdo it. High-average longevity, not wearing close until about 6 hours, fading past 10.
Summary: A dark and perfumey floral featuring tomato leaf-like belladonna, warm spice and woods.
Blackened patchouli, woodland mosses, sweet herbs, dried helichrysum, woodsmoke, lamplight, ink, ash and flame
In the vial: Dark, sweet, mossy. It’s a heavy scent with a strong smoky undercurrent.
Wet, it’s definitely sweeter than I anticipated, with a rich vanillic scent like tonka or benzoin. The moss and smoke are strong and give a bit of bitterness. An inkiness emerges, reminiscent of ink in a new book, but not quite as sharp and chemically. By 30 minutes I smell an undercurrent of brown sugar – I’m guessing that’s the helichrysum, which can have quite a strong caramelized scent.
After an hour, the moss gives it a slight men’s cologne feel, but it’s woody, smoky, and a little sweet, and feels quite unconventional. There’s something that reminds me a bit of tobacco leaf as well. The smokiness gradually falls into the background, although I can smell something ashen. Overall it’s quite heavy, fairly masculine but with an intriguing sweetness. And it just gets better the longer I wear it. It is quite woody and mossy with that persistent caramelized note. It’s rich and warm and comforting, masculine but not harsh at all. Every once in a while I get a touch of that inkiness again. Past 5 hours, the brown sugar scent sticks close to my skin and the sillage is mostly a soft warm mossy scent.
Verdict: I love this more than I thought I would. I will be coming back to it frequently when the weather gets chilly so it can wrap around me like a warm blanket. It’s the kind of scent I want to snuggle into after a long day. It’s also one of the few times moss has worked for me – usually moss usually gets very bitter and powdery on my skin, even from Sixteen92, but here it’s wonderful and woodsy.
Sillage and Longevity: Strong sillage, I smelled it nearly constantly for the first several hours, even with a small dab. It wears closer after about 6 hours, maintains low-but-not-weak sillage until 10 hours, and is easily detectable on my wrists long past 12 hours, which is long-lasting by my standards.
Summary: A well-blended, deep woodsy scent with dark sweetness, caramelization, moss, and occasionally inkiness.
Heliotrope, honeyed tea, rosehips, sugared almond, creamy sandalwood, milky vanilla
In the vial: Powdery sugared almond.
Wet, it stays true to the vial scent – mostly sugared almond and heliotrope (almond/cherry/vanilla scent). It gets less powdery after a few minutes. By 10 minutes the rose hips begin to bloom with their rosy floral fruitiness, joining the creamy cherry-almond tones already present. The tea note becomes stronger as well – pale, heavily creamed, and honeyed.
At around 30 minutes it settles for a while. It is a very sugary, creamy scent, forward with almond and heliotrope without screaming almond extract at all. The almond is very prominent but is somehow probably the least intense almond note I’ve tried. The sweetness is definitely sugary rather than syrupy, and there’s enough floral that it’s not a pure gourmand. It feels elegant and slightly perfumey.
After 5 hours, the floral aspects have mostly vanished and I get a bit of a honey tone as well, so it’s sweeter and more gourmand overall. After 7 hours, it’s mostly almond- and honey-touched vanilla sugar with something a bit heady hanging around, like a sheer floral note. An hour later, and it’s pretty much just slightly melty sugar, and a bit of very creamy tea if I take a big whiff.
Verdict: I was pleasantly surprised by this. I think the floral aspects and elegance makes this accessible to both gourmand skeptics and those used to mainstream and niche scents, but the delicious sugary almond and creamy tea should draw in gourmand fans as well. It’s very, very pretty and feminine. Of the scents in this collection, I think this would fare the best in warmer weather and would make an amazing spring scent.
Sillage/Longevity: This is a soft enough scent that the sillage isn’t going to punch you in the face, but as it warms up on my skin I get decent sillage. It fades to being a skin scent by 6 or 7 hours and fades completely a few hours later, which puts it on the low side of average for me.
Summary: Sweet and sugary but not heavy, with sugared almond, pale creamy tea, and floral-fruity rosehips.
Charred maple leaves, black pitch, fresh-baked bread, dried black tea leaves, sweet orange, chimney smoke
In the vial: Warm baked goods with a touch of orange and smoke, but not extremely gourmand.
On my skin it’s like orange-flavored pastry dough, fairly sweet. I get a slight charred or or bitter scent in there, but it’s not too strong. As it dries, it really has the dreamy quality of a bag of black tea leaves – like assam or darjeeling. The orange stays very warm and soft, like it was baked into bread.
Between 1-3 hours, this is amazing. It’s yummy without being incredibly gourmand, and has a bit of brightness from the orange. I can definitely smell the maple leaves – sweet but dry and woodsy. The fresh-baked bread makes a star appearance – it’s not photorealistic, but it’s identifiable. It all blends together into a sweet-but-woody perfume with a bit of dry powderiness around the edges.
Unfortunately, at 3 hours that dry powderiness takes over, turning it into powdery woods with pastry overtones. And by 4 hours, it’s really just slightly sweet dusty powdery wood. It’s not awful, but it’s very bland. It stays that way until it fades away completely.
Verdict: If this held on to its early drydown scent for just another couple hours, I would like this scent a lot. As it is, it spends more than half its time being bland and powdery, but I’m willing to put the blame on skin chemistry here. I think otherwise this is a very nice and cozy semi-gourmand scent.
Sillage and longevity: Strong sillage. Lasts through 6-7 hours before significant fading, about average for me.
Summary: Orange, baked goods, and tea leaves, very well-blended, but after 3 hours, it’s just powdery wood.
Hawthorn, gingerbread biscuits, tobacco leaf, burning resins, rye, sweet woods, beeswax candles
In the vial: Honey-heavy beeswax, ginger, resins.
Wet, this is slightly smoky beeswax and something that reminds me of warm baked apples. Fairly sweet overall. In the second test, it smelled oddly of grape juice for the first hour, and I’m not sure why. A candied ginger note appears quickly and hangs around until about 45 minutes, when it and the fruity note start to integrate into a single spicy gingerbread cookie, still beneath the smoke and beeswax and flanked by woods. It’s very warm and sweet.
By two hours, the gingerbread has really integrated into the woods and resins, so they’re not very easy to pick apart, but the scent overall is quite spicy without feeling sharp. The beeswax gives it all an amazingly glowy golden warmth. There’s a perfumey feel because of how well it’s blended, but it doesn’t feel heady. At this stage, it’s reminding me of Alkemia’s Arabesque, and I wonder if there might be benzoin in those burning resins.
Past three hours, the woods are even stronger, and there’s a really amazing woody note in there that I’ve never come across before, so it might be the hawthorn. There’s almost a slight nuttiness to it? The gingerbread is very subtle now but I’m still getting a lot of general spiciness. The beeswax continues to give it a golden glow, and has lost its smoky edge. It continues to develop like this, becoming more and more blended, and in late drydown it becomes a wonderful warm glow in the air around me.
Verdict: I love this scent. It’s warm and comforting but still spicy and mysterious, it has a lovely sweetness without being gourmand, it’s well-blended without feeling muddled, it smells like its components without being strictly literal. I’m surely a bit biased because beeswax and gingerbread are two of my favorite notes, but if this ages well it will probably become my new favorite perfume.
Sillage/Longevity: Average gently wafting sillage for the first few hours, then the sillage becomes more of a warm golden glow than distinct notes, with the gingerbread and woods sticking closer to my skin. Longevity is average for me, being detectable but much softer after about 7 hours.
Summary: Warm glowing beeswax with spicy gingerbread, lots of woods, and resins well-blended into one spicy-sweet perfume.
I think these are all quite approachable, much more so than the upcoming Halloween collection, which tends to be more offbeat. Tituba and Cotton Mather are new favorites of mine, and there’s nothing here that I actually dislike. I think Mercy Lewis will be a new fan favorite.