This season, Sixteen92’s theme is stones and crystals, complete with elemental and magical correspondences. I never have any idea of what to expect from winter collections, but I was happy to see this collection seemed to have a decent variety of options with woody, incense, gourmand, spicy floral, and cold floral options. As it turned out, I had about a 50/50 success rate. I’ve grown to enjoy a lot of florals from this brand, but this time around the woody/incense scents worked much better for me than the florals.
Saffron, oud, blackened woods, tonka, vetiver, copal, suede (premium)
In the vial: Tonka, copal, and sweet leather.
On my skin, I get a lot of suede, complete with a suedey texture. It’s very evocative and reminds me of the scent of a leather school I visited in Florence. After some minutes pass, the woods really come out, and they’re beautiful. There’s something very sandalwood-y in there. By around 30 minutes, it’s very woody, with sweet copal and a bit of vetiver emerging – somewhere between the grassy and smoky varieties. It’s not super dark, actually, but it really fits its inspiration.
By an hour, there is a ton of vetiver. Earthy, woody, dry. Overall it’s about equal parts vetiver and soft sweet woods, like rosewood or sandalwood. The suedey note lingers as well, and there is a soft resinous base of copal with a hint of sweet tonka. For anyone unfamiliar with copal, this note is somewhat similar to frankincense without the citrusy sharp aspects, it’s softer and sweeter, but not as sweet as amber tends to be – but there’s also distinct in a way that I can’t quite describe. By 3 hours, I mostly smell vetiver, sandalwood or a similar wood, and a dusty resinous base. It weaves together very well, smelling dark but soft. Around 8 hours there’s something almost sour that comes out, but it’s not enough to ruin the scent for me.
Verdict: I really love this, and I think it’s going to be one of my favorite scents in my collection. It’s very comforting, warm, dark, and cozy. I spend an excessive amount of time huffing my wrists when I’m wearing it, and I got a compliment on it as well. The description mentions this stone is associated with grounding and protection from negative energies, and I definitely feel grounded and safe when I wear it.
Sillage and longevity: Sillage is decent, it builds up nicely so I can wear either a dab for something subtle or a big swipe for strong scent pay-off, but it’s more low-average after 5 or 6 hours. Longevity is great, not vanishing until 15 hours.
Summary: Dark but soft and suedey, with vetiver and sweet woods in a dusty resinous base.
Fiery clove bud, espresso, dry coconut husk, black vanilla pod, blood orange
In the vial: Very foody, like a cinnamon mocha.
On my skin, I get more creaminess and vanilla, almost more like a cinnamon white chocolate mocha, if that’s even a thing. After a few minutes, there’s more espresso, and a little bit of the coconut husk and clove. Mostly it smells sweet and creamy, but the bitter espresso and clove give it a kick. By 30 minutes, it’s sweet and just a little spicy. If I really look for it I can detect a bit of blood orange, but it’s more orange-colored than citrus-orange, if that makes sense. Mostly I smell very soft, pillowy, warm vanilla with that clove-coffee undertone.
After an hour, even though this has clove instead of cinnamon, it smells a little bit like a frosting-heavy cinnamon roll to me, next to a cup of coffee – but in a fairly abstract way. While this is definitely gourmand, it isn’t insanely foody/edible, and the vanilla kind of washes over the rest of it. By 3 hours, it smells like a smooth, almost buttery vanilla latte with an afterthought of very soft, subtle clove. I tend to amp up spices, so I’m a bit surprised by how subtle it is. By 6 hours, it’s just vanilla. A really nice, creamy vanilla, almost like a whipped-cream vanilla, but just vanilla.
Verdict: I like this, because it really is a lovely vanilla and I like the spiced mocha stage as well. But it lost almost all of its distinguishing notes after just a few hours, and overall it strikes me as unusually simple for this brand. I’m also not getting much of the fiery and courageous carnelian that was mentioned in the description, but that’s a bit tangential. Nothing wrong with a creamy vanilla scent.
Sillage and longevity: Sillage is low-average, but doesn’t fade into a skin scent until around 6 hours. Longevity is good, and it lasts past 12 hours.
Summary: A spiced mocha gourmand that quickly fades into a pillowy soft vanilla latte, emphasis on vanilla.
Smoked resins, hazelnut, caramel, temple incense, white sandalwood
In the vial: Very sweet with warm, oddly coffee-ish hazelnut – vaguely like a caramel latte.
On my skin, it starts out just sweet and warm with that hint of hazelnut. After a couple minutes, the caramel lightens up a bit and I get incense resins that remind me of the ones in Alkemia’s As Dark Things are Meant to be Loved. They’re slightly smoky and rich, and there might be some opoponax in there. After five minutes, I smell those resins, a sweet higher note (like chilled caramel?), and sandalwood. At first I think I smell an anise-y note, but then I realize it’s just reminding me of Sixteen92’s Lucretia, My Reflection, which shares the white sandalwood note. By 20 minutes, it’s dark and warm but with that slightly chilly edge.
By an hour, the caramel becomes more distinct rather than just smelling like generic sweetness. It mostly smells like caramelized incense resins and plenty of sandalwood, but there’s a surprising amount of complexity here. It’s soft and rich and, strangely, almost heady and narcotic in a way I expect from florals like ylang ylang instead of incenses – there’s nothing even vaguely floral here, but that dreamy heady feeling is here. It’s somewhat smoky, but there is no “smoke” as a distinct note. By 3 hours, there’s also a creamy sweetness that reminds me of a not-too-sweet vanilla cream soda. It’s woven into lots of pale velvety incensey sandalwood and a base of dark resin. By 5 hours, all I get is caramelized opoponax/myrrh and maybe something hazelnut-ish. And it stays that way. Because myrrh wants to be my BFF.
Verdict: I love this, and I’m glad that the myrrh doesn’t overwhelm everything until later on – I have serious amping issues with that note. This is very mysterious, comforting but unusual, and very meditative like its description suggests. It’s not cloyingly sweet or gourmand despite the caramel. There is some similarity to Black Tourmaline, especially with the sandalwood, but Kyanite is sweeter, warmer, and more resinous.
Sillage and longevity: Good throw, good longevity – probably through 12 hours, but I stopped taking notes when I realized I had single-note myrrh yet again.
Summary: Heady, caramelized dark incense resins and velvety sandalwood with a slight chilled edge.
Mandarin, narcissus, licorice, warm amber, labdanum, sandalwood
In the vial: Narcissus, licorice, and dry amber.
On my skin, the floral is definitely at forefront. It’s fresh, green, and a little heady. It reads as a fresh spicy floral after a few minutes, fairly perfumey. The licorice note is spicy and distinct, but not turning my stomach like real licorice does. By 30 minutes, this kind of strikes me as a musty classic department store floral/floriental. Fairly headachey. But it does evoke its namesake – there’s something chilly, something dark, almost an aqueous quality between the floral and resin. I back off for the next hour because I really can’t deal with the Macy’s floral thing, but I cling to the surprisingly appealing licorice note, which is sweet and spicy.
By 2 hours, the spicy licorice and labdanum are the most prominent notes, with the green floral falling more into the background. There’s some sandalwood coming out too, which softens the overall effect. It’s not as sharp, dry, or heavily floral as it was at first. Over the next hour, the sandalwood becomes more prominent and the labdanum sweetens the scent, while the dry amber gives it a strong base. By 6 hours, it’s fresh-sweet-spicy licorice, resin, and sandalwood. There’s a slight bitterness, but not in a bad way. It stays that way until it fades out.
Verdict: It’s probably obvious already that I really don’t like how this one starts. But after it dried down I thought it was actually pretty nice, and I was really surprised at how much I liked the scent of licorice, considering I hate the taste. I would recommend this to someone who likes more classic, spicy florals. I’m also impressed by how evocative it was of labradorite. But I’m not sure I could get past the wet stage to wear it again.
Sillage and longevity: Sillage is low-average. Longevity is average, fading out not long after 10 hours.
Summary: A fresh, spicy, classic floral with prominent licorice and labdanum.
White iris, amaryllis, tuberose, winter violets, chilled honey, ozone, vanilla (premium)
In the vial: Slightly sweet, pale, cold florals.
On my skin, it’s icy violets. After a few minutes, I can smell a subtle honey-vanilla in the background, but it doesn’t add any warmth. Very clean. It makes me think of a frozen version of Mellifera. By 30 minutes, there’s a really heavy iris note joining in. Almost metallic. It smells very feminine on me, but I actually think this could work well for a lot of guys because of the strong cold/metallic qualities that mirror some ozonic sporty colognes. There’s not much change for the next hour, it remains icy metallic florals with vanilla underneath.
By 2 hours, there’s a lot of iris. Slightly musky. Very dry vanilla. There’s a slightly sweeter undercurrent now with a bit of honey peeking out after a little while longer, which adds more of a feminine touch. The iris is getting earthier, rather than metallic. After while longer, “earthy” begins to read as “dirt.” Like dry, mineral-y dirt. Floral dirt in a bed of vanilla. By 5 hours, it’s earthy iris/violet and silky vanilla. Slightly mineral and clean. There’s some dryness still but it’s mostly mildly sweet. It actually stays very similar until it almost fades out, never getting too muddled.
Sillage and longevity: Sillage seemed low at first, then average once it warmed up, dropping to low around 5-7 hrs. Longevity was surprisingly long, though 12 hours.
Verdict: I think this could be very popular, and it grew on me in drydown (which reminded me vaguely of Possets’ Nuut with the mineral-y dirt + dry vanilla), but it’s really not my thing. I don’t like cold, metallic, iris, or violet, so I’m not surprised. I really wish I got any hint of the tuberose. This is absolutely appropriate for a moonstone scent, though.
Summary: Icy, metallic, and eventually earthy iris and violet in a dry vanilla base.