This is the (admittedly very delayed) continuation of my previous Conjure Oils review, which is found here. Today I’ll review Maman Brigitte, March – Storm Moon, Marie LaVeau, Set, and Shapeshifter.
Tobacco, peppered rum, spicy clove, piquant cinnamon and graveyard dirt
In the vial this is honeyed pecan and rum with a bit of spice. After a few minutes on my skin, it develops a clear but gentle cinnamon note (unless, as I did on a later wear, you dump 1/4 of the vial on yourself by accident, in which case the cinnamon is not gentle). It’s like spiced pecan cookies or, a bit later, kind of like snickerdoodles, but nuttier. With a bit of rum in the batter. It’s not terribly sweet despite that.
By an hour, there’s a lot of sweet cinnamon and rum, almost like a boozy cinnamon roll. I still get a bit of that pecan scent, but it verges on dry tobacco now. Overall warm, sweet-spicy, strangely sexy. By 3 hours it’s mostly sugared rum, cinnamon, and a bit of clove, with some indistinct but definitely present earthiness. Around 5 hours the rum leans a little sour, and I think it’s the alcoholic bite of rum coming through, as opposed to most rum notes that I’ve tried which tend to be very sweet. It does the same thing in Marie LaVeau (see below).
Verdict: Really like this, other than the occasional sour edge. It’s warm, boozy, spicy-sweet, and sexy – a very unisex kind of gourmand. If I had a boyfriend, I would give this to my boyfriend, and then probably steal it back later anyway. Sillage is a bit on the low side, but still some decent wafts. Longevity is good, not getting very weak until around 9-10 hrs.
Summary: Spiced cookies turn into a sweet spicy boozy earthy unisex gourmand.
March – Storm Moon
Tender dogwood blossoms, gentle daffodil and jonquil moistened with spring rain
In the vial and first on, it’s a fresh floral, verging on soapy, with a touch of green grass. It’s pleasant after a few minutes, a slightly sweet floral (I want to say daffodil?) and soft aquatic, giving a dewy impression, but it quickly starts smelling exactly like laundry detergent. I guess fairly nice laundry detergent, if you’re into that?
It remains a very, very clean floral until around an hour, when it’s a sweeter floral with a soapy, white musk edge. It becomes gradually less searingly soapy, and around 5 hours it’s a pretty, light floral, fairly sweet. I don’t know what dogwood and jonquil are supposed to smell like, but the floral here smells vaguely lilac-ish to me, or maybe hyacinth-ish.
Verdict: I hate soapy scents so unsurprisingly, not a fan. Someone who does like clean florals might really like this, but I honestly have no idea how to judge fresh clean scents like this, so I’ll keep this short. Sillage is soft but not a skin scent until after 5 hours, and longevity (as a skin scent) is average.
Sarsaparilla, French vanilla bourbon, a handmade lace shawl and a shot of rum for Papa Legba
In the vial, it’s a creamy sarsaparilla scent, and develops an almost jasmine-like sweet cream scent on my skin before settling into pale vanilla, sweet sarsaparilla, and a bit of not-very-sweet rum. By 30 minutes it has a a pale, almost-floral linen element, from the lace shawl. It adds a clean edge, but not like soap or detergent.
It evolves slowly, a creamy sarsaparilla-spiced vanilla-y scent with a shot of non-sweet booze and a lingering clean edge, somewhat perfumey but definitely not conventional. Around 2 hours I get that slight sourness that I got from Maman Brigitte, on and off, but it doesn’t ruin the otherwise nice balance of the cream, vanilla bourbon, and perfumey-clean lace shawl. By 5 hours, it’s spiced rum-vanilla/boozy vanilla, but also kind of clean still. It ends a soft spicy rum skin scent around 10 hours.
Verdict: It’s too clean for me to reach for often, but I kind of love that creamy sarsaparilla-vanilla/booze opening and the lace shawl note makes it very unique. It also wins the prize for the most feminine rum-heavy fragrance I’ve ever smelled, there’s something quite elegant about it. Sillage starts strong, evens out to average after a few hours, and turns into a skin scent around 7-8. Good longevity, not fading completely until 12-ish.
Summary: Creamy, sarsaparilla-spiced vanilla, not-very-sweet rum, and a perfumey clean edge.
Egyptian red amber, black patchouli, vanilla bean hull, sycamore, black musk, beeswax and vetiver
In the vial, I smell a lot of grassy-leaning vetiver and sweet resin. On my skin, it quickly turns very sweet with honey-dripping beeswax and amber taking over the sillage, but there’s some earthiness hiding underneath, especially vetiver, but also something that smells like mineral-y dirt. After 30 minutes, the beeswax becomes more waxy than honeyed, with a rich but not-too-sweet amber and a very earthy dry wood and vetiver combination at its core. There’s also a pronounced woody-nuttiness at deep sniff, like hazelnut – maybe the sycamore.
After an hour, there’s a LOT of beeswax, followed by vetiver, rich amber, and woodiness. The patchouli gets stronger and stronger, and is very raw and earthy. Another hour and there’s a dusty layer of black musk as well as a sweet high note, maybe the vanilla bean hull? After 4 hours, there’s a ton of patchouli, melded to dry dusty vetiver and dark incense resins. Around 6 hours, the vanilla and amber take over, and before long, it is suddenly very syrupy sweet amber without any of the dark woody notes.
Verdict: This isn’t very balanced as perfumes go, but it is great as a very dark, sweet, resinous scent. Masculine-leaning but not at all cologney. My biggest complaint is after 6 hours, it gets far too syrupy sweet for me – but I tend to prefer a drier, spicier take on amber. Sillage is strong and longevity is good, easily 10 hours before becoming faint.
Summary: Honeyed beeswax, rich dark amber, and earthy vetiver and patchouli. Ends sweet syrupy amber.
Mysterious moonflowers and jasmine are darkened with stealth black leather, opium and smoked amber
In the vial, this is basically smoky cherry cough syrup, which scares me. But after a minute on my skin, it turns into a reddish, somehow non-foody take on charred marshmallow, with sharp leather in the background. By 30 minutes, it’s very smoky amber with a thread of something fruity (opium?) and a grounding of very dark leather – a balance of smoky and sweet.
Around an hour, it’s very smoky with that subtle cough-syrup thing still going on, and something kind of musky, almost sweaty. That doesn’t sound very nice at all, admittedly, but it’s strangely enticing. By 4 hours, it still has a slightly syrupy red quality under a thick veil of smoke, along with a very creamy thick floral, kind of like tuberose – which could be the combination of white flowers and creamy amber. By around 7 hours, this is mostly vanilla-y amber with a faintly smoky trail.
Verdict: Despite an unpleasant start, I really like it. It’s unique and definitely very complex, with sweet, smoky, resinous, floral, musky, and even red fruit aspects playing together. Very unisex. Sillage is on the low side of average, longevity is average.
Summary: Complex, sweet, and smoky, with dark leather, a creamy floral, and a subtle cherry cough syrup undercurrent
From this order overall, my favorite is definitely Jamila, but it would have competition from Set if not for the syrupy amber drydown. I also really like Maman Brigitte, Shapeshifter, Brigid, La Maceta, and Marie LaVeau. Still not quite sure what to make of Apollo, and Kali Ma and March (Storm Moon) were too soapy for me. Even so, this is a good success rate for me.
Overall – would definitely order again. I liked that all of the scents were evocative and true to inspiration, and I’m willing to brave a long TAT for great quality perfumes.