Hey folks, so a while back I bought a Thorn & Moon pack and I'm finally getting around to reviewing the second half of it. (They were kind enough to have sent me two extra samples with my 5 pack!). For those who missed my last review: While searching for smaller houses in the backlog of IMAM I came across glowing reviews for House Of Madame Josephine. When I went looking HoMJ had closed down... because the owner had opened a new shop with a friend - Thorn and Moon. So if you are looking for further reviews of T&M's catalog make sure to check and see if someone reviewed the scent under the House of Madame Josephine name!
Anyway, the perfumes I'm covering in my reviews today are:
- Mephisto [store link]
- Spidra [store link]
- Claudia [store link]
- Zada (This isn't in their shop yet - so just putting a general T&M store [link])
|The depth of field isn't what I wanted but the composition on the other pics I took was wonky. That's photography for you - you win some, you lose some.|
All perfumes in this review were allowed to rest for over a week 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 a half-hour skin test with each perfume. They are always applied to skin that has either been washed or hasn’t had perfume on it that day. Sometimes I will run one scent on one wrist/hand/arm and the other on the other wrist/hand/arm. When I wash my hands for review purposes I wash with a scented soap (it’s all I have available - shea butter Dove soap or almond Doc Bronners). Before doing test periods I often wear or play with other scents in my collection (that I wash off), so theoretically there could be cross-contamination.
Each sample was 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
Please see my previous bottle review at this [link]. The only thing that's changed is in the interim there's been some leaking and some weird yellowing of the labels. In the picture you can see the big oil splash on Spidra and Mephisto and the yellowing on Claudia and Zada. Mephisto splashed and from how my box smelled for a few days leaked some too - I think that's what got on Spidra.
I'm not sure what caused the yellowing because it doesn't have the 'damp' look that oil will give a label. I've seen this happen with some of my labels printed on standard printer paper across several brands. I don't know if it's light damage, or if being in a box near other oils is causing it or handling or what. I do prefer my labels to stay crisp since I try to sell/swap off that which doesn't work for me. It would be nice if a) I knew how to prevent the yellowing and b) that the labels were a type of paper resistant to it.
A reminder: Each nose is different and each skin’s chemistry is different. Your mileage may vary.
In the bottle: Leather, smoke, and the spice from a BBQ potato chip.
Wet on my skin: This is a very good leather note, sweet and soft smelling like real leather. It’s accompanied by a tangy smoke, BBQ potato chip spices, and something really cloyingly sweet. Like almost a super-sweet cucumber or cucumber-melon or even like ultra sticky tobacco. It verges on a kind of ‘over-ripe’ smell.
Drydown: The smoke has come forward more and now the scent is centered on the smoke + BBQ potato chips smell. There’s edges of leather and that ultra-sweet-plant smell that’s somewhere between cucumber and tobacco.
After 30 mins: At this point it smells like, and bear with me here, Dr. Pepper with smoke and a faint leathery tang. It’s like sniffing a big plate with something heavily smoked, some BBQ potato chips, and a huge glass for Dr. Pepper next to it while the person across from you is wearing a leather jacket. It is a very, very sweet scent.
Notes on the site: Leather, Smoke, Vanilla and Tobacco
Okay so I got the leather, got the smoke, and I’m sure what was smelling so sweet to me was the vanilla + tobacco together. I have no idea where the BBQ potato chip smell is coming from unless the smoke or the tobacco has some Additional Spices in whatever accord they’re using (or there could be an unlisted note). I also have no idea what made it morph so hard into Dr. Pepper. It is a very nice leather note though - not astringent and well… actually leathery smelling.
Verdict: Swap. Too sweet for me. I think if the smoke were dialed back be about 25%, there was no BBQ spice, and the vanilla and tobacco were about 75% less sweet and if there was a liiitle something earthy to balance it all out I’d be all over this. But for me the balance is not in a For Me place. I want to be clear I can definitely see this being for some people - especially with houses that lean heavily sweet (like Hexennacht) being big hits around these parts. I’d say if you like your perfumes on the sweeter side T&M is gonna probably be a big hit with you.
In the bottle: Sweet musk, floral, and a touch of incense.
Wet on my skin: I honestly can’t tell if this is a very fruity smelling floral, or a floral smelling fruit note! It’s a very, very sweet floral I think, like a sugared rose, it could also, possibly be a hibiscus or passionfruit I think. It’s red/dark pink, regardless. As for the incense - it’s at the edges. I think I recall it being a nag champa? It smells kinda like nag.
Drydown: I can’t tell if the muskiness is from the incense I’m reading as nag or not or not, but this is really sweet. Almost like maple sugar or maple candy. There is a pink floral note but it’s mostly sweet and incense-y
After 30 mins: Very similar to the drydown - maybe a touch less floral. This smells like a fancy candy served in a parlor where incense has been burned recently.
Notes on the site: Red Fruits, Sandalwood, Oriental Musk, Bergamot, Tobacco Flower
Welp! It was a red fruity floral lol. The floral is tobacco flower, the red fruits might involve a passionfruit (I am not sure). The musk is what smelled musky and it’s probably what’s adding the ‘spice’ that reminded me of nag champa… and the sandalwood must have been what was adding a resinous component. I will reiterate that this is very, very sweet - almost syrupy.
Verdict: Swap for me. Not a bad scent just to dark, heavy, and sweet for me. I feel like this is another one would be a big hit for folks who love Hexennacht scents.
In the bottle: Black tea with lemon and fruit punch (or gummy bears?). A distant waft of incense.
Wet on my skin: Gummy bears with a little bit of grounding incense. Little bit of tea with lemon.
Drydown: The black tea is a very mild black tea. Not bitter at all - and definitely lemony. It rests at the very top as a well… topnote. Below that is the kind of fruit cocktail/gummybears scent. Below that is a round, sweet, red note and a touch of incense. The incense isn’t overwhelming though - this is firmly a fruity/soft-tea scent. Reminds me kinda of Celestial Seasonings Red Zinger.
After 30 mins: Wears a little closer to the skin than the other Thorn & Moon scents that I’ve tried - and wears a little less strongly. It hasn’t morphed much: It’s still somewhere between a Celestial Seasonings Red Zinger, gummy bears, and lemon candy.
Notes on the site: Blood Oranges and Blackberries drenched in rich Black Tea (slightly spiced) and drunken wines with a whisper of incense
Ahh-ha. The orange note is what I was reading as lemon (it also could be mixing with the blackberry). It does smell a lot like candy - like a fancy citrus/berry/tea candy leaning a little more towards citrus. The incense really is just a whisper. Like, it’s there but this is not an incense scent. The wines are just kind of a red note rounding things out - not boozy at all.
As a note: This bad boy morphed with a long rest. Initially the ‘wine’ note was much more prominent on arrival whereas here it was just kind of a distant red base note.
Verdict: I quite like this one as a candy gourmand. Will probably be keeping the sample vial but not upsizing. I wish it had a tad more complexity.
In the bottle: Fair warning I recall this having tobacco flower… and I think maybe leather and vanilla? Smoke? Those last three could be misremembering. Let’s see what I sniff! Well, I definitely get sweet vanilla, and there’s a kind of lemony, clean smelling floral in there. I will be the first to admit I only have the haziest idea of what tobacco flower smells like. I could see there being a tinge of smoke or a slightly acrid leather… leeets see what this does on the skin.
Wet on my skin: V a n i l l a. I put it on and could instantly smell the vanilla a foot away. A kind of soapy, clean smelling floral. Is this what folks mean by aldehydic? I think I’m getting smoke and something else I can’t quite put my finger on. It’s a little green.
Drydown: This is growing on me - still a little green up close. But the throw is a nice balance of herbal smoky vanilla. Up close the floral kind of smells like… dawn soap but a plant. It’s gotten less soapy the further the drydown goes.
After 30 mins: Much smokier up close than it was initially, still a little bit of that dawn-soap-but-a-plant. Vanilla balanced with the smoke.
Official Notes: So, this is an unreleased scent - but I messaged them for the notes let’s… take a look: Tobacco Flower, Smoke, and Dark Vanilla. This is what happens when I see the notes and then can’t forget them lol. I would not have known tobacco flower without being told. I probably would have gotten the vanilla (or maybe just described ‘creamy sweetness’). I think I would have gotten the smoke - it’s pretty unmistakably gently smoky.
So, yeah, it’s all there. The smoke and vanilla are both accurate to well… smoke and vanilla. No clue if the tobacco flower smells like a tobacco flower.
Verdict: I’d actually be all over this with a different floral. The slightly green, slightly soapy nature of the floral isn’t for me. While it does develop into something I enjoy more in the deep drydown it takes too long to get there. For me I think this vanilla + smoke combo would go good with some lime (and maybe some gunpowder and/or graham cracker?). I think I feel this way because it reminds me some of key-lime pie minus the lime and graham cracker. Not sure if I’ll keep this sample or not.
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