All perfumes in this review were allowed to rest for four days after arrival. The perfumes were kept in the dark in a plastic box. I did crack them open to sniff them directly after arrival, and with a couple to do an initial test. The reviews are not based off of these initial impressions - though if a rest did change the smell I’ll note that. I’m doing them in two parts so some will have an even longer rest.
I’m doing a half-hour skin test with each perfume then washing them off before testing the next one. Before beginning the first test I did a wash with a scented soap (it’s all I have available - shea butter Dove soap or almond Doc Bronners). The night before I was experimenting with some other perfume in my collection, so theoretically there could be cross-contamination.
Each sample is gently swirled before application.
Each review is written without looking at the notes (in that moment… I obviously looked at them when I bought). At the end of the review I will list what the notes listed in the shop are and comment on how I think they interacted.
As a reminder: Each nose is different and each skin’s chemistry is different. Your mileage may vary.
Sample Bottle Review:
Deep Midnight’s sample bottles are wand-style bottles that are made of amber glass. There is no sticking out ‘tag’ with the labels - they simply wrap flat around the little bottle. The labels are clearly legible and don’t seem prone to smudging (though I didn’t handle them with oily/wet hands). The lids are sealed firmly on but are not difficult to remove. They can be somewhat difficult to put back in. There is a small ‘lip’ inside the bottle that prevents splashing (I freaking love this lip) - the only time I had any of the oils get on my fingers unintentionally was with the more-full bottles and replacing the caps. Even then it was only a very small amount. The bottles were not leaky for me.
These were easily the best sample bottles I’ve encountered of the ~8 indie perfume houses I’ve handled the wand-bottles of.
Children of the Night
In the bottle: Okay this is going to sound weird but the first impression of the bottle smell is Play-Doh. I knew these were children of the night but I was thinking that was metaphorical (yuk yuk). After a couple of deep breaths this is less Play-Doh and has more complex woody smells coming through along with a dash of fruit and patchouli.
On my skin wet: Play-Doh going woody then fruity. It sinks into my skin very rapidly and I kind of go scent-blind to it. The scent lingers in my nose and the top of my mouth. Not in a… bad way it’s just definitely lingering with my sniffer.
Drydown: Even though I smell almost nothing close to my wrist I catch wafts of it at arm’s length. What I smell close to my wrist is still kind of Play-Doh but like… in a gothic way. Goth Play-Doh. The sweet fruity smell seems to be coming forward and the woods are playing nice (often woods in smells go badly acrid on me) grounding the scent. There’s some gentle florals in there somewhere.
After 30 mins: Definitely more ‘there’ than it was half an hour ago. A scent has come forward that I think is dragon’s blood. It’s resinous but it’s kind of a cherry dragonsblood note. The woods are still there - still really rich and creamy smelling and not overpowering or acrid. There is still a distinct Play-Doh note. Something around the edges is floral.
Listed notes on the site: dragon’s blood, champaka flowers, deep vanilla, dark black fig, and haunting heliotrope.
I’m definitely getting the dragon’s blood and the fig. I don’t know what I was reading as rich woods. The heliotrope maybe? Or maybe it’s an earthier fig than I thought? Now that I know to look for it part of the vanilla is definitely there - but faint, kind of at the edge of the scent.
Note: This is a scent that morphed after a rest. Originally it just smelled like not very much of anything - just kind of a hit of what smelled like patchouli and vanilla and even that was faint. But after three days I took it out to show to someone and it had taken on that Play-Doh smell which was retained until today.
Verdict: Okay, so, through every stage in the review process this one smelled like some variety of Play-Doh. I don’t know what’s giving it that combination of sweetness, childlike whimsy, and earthy-saltiness. I’ve tried to figure it out. I’ve been on messenger with my sibling throughout being like ‘is it the dragon’s blood!?’. Here’s the thing though: I don’t dislike it. It smells like goth Play-Doh and I am here for it. It’s slightly masculine on me - but still firmly in androgynous territory. I’m… gonna keep this vial.
The Goblins’ Market
In the bottle: Dried fruit (very realistic), Chocolate, an edge of florals. Cherry is -very- forward among the dried fruits.
On my skin wet: Very similar to the bottle with something citrusy coming through and the floral amping slightly.
Drydown: Much like Children of the Night this one sinks into my skin fast and the scent dials back. The cherry and chocolate are central - the smell reminds me of the cherry cordials I eat at Christmastime, or a lil like tootsie-rolls… but… refined tootsie-rolls. It isn’t an edible smelling foody scent - but more like… a person who works around food or a place where food is. It definitely smells like an intentionally worn scent instead of just being like you’ve rubbed cherry cordials on your wrists.
After 30 mins1 hour: I got distracted and didn’t take notes at 30 minutes WHOOPS so this is after uh, and hour with the perfume on. Definitely more tootsie-roll-y, but again elegant. Chocolate and cherries with something dry and salty underneath. The chocolate is kind of a dark baker’s chocolate - a little earthy. Appropriate for a market run by Goblins.
Listed notes on the site: luscious peaches, ripe cherries, juicy pears, decadent chocolate and a hint of sweet violet
I don’t actually have much to comment on it other than the fruit notes smell more dried and the cherry stands out strongly from the other fruit notes which just kind of harmonize behind it. But, yeah, all the notes listed on the site are there. Good description.
Verdict: So, I like this. My sibling said it reminded them of tootsie rolls, which, I can definitely smell it when it’s pointed out to me. But not like… an overly sugared tootsie roll. It’s grown up refined tootsie roll. I think it smells more like cherry cordials. My husband whiffed it though and went ‘Hm, reminds me of a urinal cake’. Apparently urinal cakes are often cherry scented?? Blew my nonbinary mind. Unfortunately it means that while I enjoy the scent I probably won’t be going for a full bottle of it since I’m not keen to remind my husband of a urinal cake. I’ll keep the sample though.
In the bottle: Utterly gorgeous ylang-ylang. I know that ylang-ylang notes can vary wildly in how good they smell - my sibling's seen some go baby-wipes, and I’ve seen some go screechy. This is not screechy. This is the ideal ylang-ylang supported by another floral (lavender - this is one I remember some of the notes on), and something slightly masculine and refined in the background.
On my skin wet: The woods come out but oh my god. Deep Midnight’s woods. They’re woods that don’t go into headache territory for me. They’re deep, soft, nutty woods. They’re woods that smell like a high gloss banister feels. There is no acridness to them. Just a creamy, soft, nutty but ultimately wooden note. It honestly reminds me so much of the smell of a wood shop. I normally do not care for woods and had been avoiding them in scents but now I’m emboldened to explore Deep Midnight’s woody scents.
The florals are subdued here but not gone. There’s the very, very edge of something a little damp.
Drydown: Welcome back, ylang-ylang. It rises from the depths of the woods like Venus from the sea. The nuttiness of the woods compliments the honeyed nature of a good ylang-ylang. It swirls narcoticlaly with just a hint of dangerous seduction without going overly mainstream-cologne. It ripples in creamy pale-gold waves shot through with streaks of dark brown and patina’d copper.
After 30 mins: It’s lightened to a soft version of what it was in the drydown. The florals are still center stage - but the lavender is getting a chance to shine along with the ylang-ylang. The woods are well behaved and stay in the background.
Listed notes on the site: Rich Oak and Mahogany Woods, French Lavender, Moss, Tangled Vines, Ylang Ylang, Ozone, and a faint hint of Absinthe.
This one is pretty accurate to the site. The rich woods are absolutely there as a base to support the florals. I don’t get the green notes hardly at all - maybe they’re that patina-on-copper color I got from it? The ozone and absinthe are perhaps what gives it a lingering tang. But this is… an ideal ylang-ylang scent for me.
Verdict: Fantastic scent! Extremely to my tastes. A little masculine, a little tempting, hypnotic and sweet without the sweet = food. I will be buying a bottle of this with my next Deep Midnight order.
In the bottle: A beautiful sweet, slightly smokey magnolia. Much like how Deep Midnight does a good ylang-ylang they also seem to do a good magnolia. Sweet and slightly acidic (almost like a citrus fruit) without going sharp. Behind the magnolia is another scent that’s slightly fruity (peach… I think?). This is another scent that lingers in the nose and palate after sniffing.
On my skin wet: Green note coming out! Kind of swampy, actually. The sweet peach is also rising - it smells very realistic from a distance. Close to my wrist it is a touch overwhelming (the smokey touch tingles the nose) but realistic, you could bite into it now peach is wafting up at arm’s length.
Drydown: The magnolia comes back, and the peach reins in some, and the green, slightly swamp scent hovers in the background - thankfully well out of headache range for me. The spicy, resinous note is coming forward. One thing that is striking me about Deep Midnight is how well behaved their perfumes are. Notes that would give me a headache or overwhelm me from other houses behave here. There is something slightly reminiscent of the scents used in soaps here without the scent going soapy itself. The smokey smell is interesting - it is more of a feeling than a smell. Like there’s a slight hint of burning wood and ashes but mostly there’s more of a nose-tingle than anything. It’s a really cool concept.
After 30 mins: Smoky, faint magnolia with some sweetness of the peach remaining. I will note that at arm’s length I was still getting peach whiffs. The barest, barest hint of something green at the edges and that cool, smoky, nose-tingly note in there too. I… liked this one more than I thought I did just from the bottle scent. It’s a really nifty smell that makes for a really unique perfume.
Listed notes on the site: ripe succulent peaches, aromatic magnolia blossoms, trailing vines and branches, a hint of smoky sweet copal, and touch of golden fruit.
I got all of the notes - except for maybe the branches. I have no clue how you’d tell golden fruit apart from peaches. The copal must be the nose-tingly note.
Note: There was slight morphing on this before a rest. The 'green' note from the 'vines/branches' was stronger in the bottle and reminded me strongly on the perfumes I have from a decade ago with oakmoss in them. That green dialed way back with a rest though.
Verdict: So I had initially written this one off as a ‘Oh, I’m glad I got the sample but no bottle’ scent on first sniff. However, after wearing it I… think this one might be a bottle scent.
I want to mention that this is my first order with Deep Midnight and one of my first forays out after getting back into indie scents after a decade off. They’ve impressed the pants off of me with my first order from the quality of their sample vials to how accurate to the site descriptions their scents are. I’ll talk more about this when I discuss the other three scents that came in my sample order but the short version is I’m deeply impressed and will be returning.