All perfumes in this review were allowed to rest for several 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 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). 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
These are similar bottles to the ones I reviewed from Stereoplasm before. Please see my previous review [here] for my opinion on them. The only thing I have to add is: I want to emphasize how fragile the labels are on these. These are kept in a plastic tool/crafts box, stored upright, with very little jostling going on as I move them. Even so just from being in my perfume box the labels are covered with dings and scrapes. While the labels look great when they're 'fresh' they're so easily damaged that I hope in the future they'll be a little more durable.
And with that - on to the reviews proper:
A reminder: Each nose is different and each skin’s chemistry is different. Your mileage may vary.
In the bottle: Musk (that… actually smells like a bird? Like I have a cockatiel and this musk is pretty close to bird-smell), dragon’s blood, some sort of textile scent - reminds me of a warm sweater, rich background floral, something that reminds me of a sea breeze - kind of salty.
Wet on my skin: A brief sweet wave of dragon's blood. Musk and sea spray smell stays strong - significant note of hay (that I can taste when sniffing deeply).
Drydown: A gray-brown, dusty smell comes forward wreathed in the bird musk. Hints of dragon's blood and florals adding a bit to midnote sweetness. I can still taste the hay when I breathe deeply. There’s something in there that’s rounded… almost like a fruit note. It could be part of the dragon's blood or it could be another resin or even a hint of fruit. Slight creaminess. Something that reminds me a bit of corn (update 5 mins in: this reminds me of lanolin/wool smell!).
After 30 mins: The lanolin/wool smell and hay/straw at the forefront. Still a bunch of musk. Midnotes of bone-dry dragon's blood. Most of the saltiness is gone (but not all of it)… very faint florals are back again. It’s only had slight morphing and a lot of staying power.
Notes on the site: Warm sandalwood, sweet fresh hay, alluring ylang ylang and zesty bergamot. Lingering top notes of under-ripe green berries, dried beach grass and crimson dragon’s blood
I think the sandalwood and hay are where I’m getting the musky, musty, dustiness from that smells like a cockatiel. This is not a surprise - my bird's food is either made from seeds or is seeds and I wouldn't be shocked if the hay note is derived from grass seeds. It's a much less 'dank' (in the wet/moldering sense) than many hay notes I've smelled. The dragon's blood is there, but isn’t a central note. I’m getting basically no ylang ylang and only a hint of creaminess from the bergamot - it’s like...they might be there as part of the florals I get sometimes. I think the green berries are the fruit note I was getting. The ocean smell I’m getting must be the beach grass.
Verdict: Probably a swap. A scent that’s perfectly fine - just not my vibe. It’s very warm and soft like a well-worn sweater, but lacks the bit of ‘zing’ I like in my personal perfumes.
In the bottle: Pale, sweet florals - smells like tree flowers . Fruity smell (reminds me of fruit by the foot) Something slightly creamy, haunting, almost boozy.
Wet on my skin: Creamy pale florals, the fruity smell is in the background. All of it is framed by that slightly haunting almost boozy note.
Drydown: Orange blossom (or a similar fruit-tree blossom - white and creamy and reminiscent of fruit), something like… dogwood tree blooms? That fruit note is still there and pink and welcoming. The creamy-boozy-haunting note forms the base. This makes me feel like a dryad when I wear it.
After 30 mins1 hour: The florals have gone to the edge- they’re still there, but, much less forward. The fruity note is still there as the midnotes, but is also fainter than it was. The perfume is mostly that creamy-boozy-haunting note. It’s kind of a pale, dreamlike, slightly feminine scent. Otherworldly. Ethereal. (Opens thesaurus) Empyrean?
Notes on the site: Peach and apricot blossoms, french musk and sparkling cream soda
The apricot blossom must be the tree flower I’m getting. With the peach, I can’t tell from the notes if it is a peach blossom or actual peach but I’m betting that’s the fruit note I’m getting. The boozy-creamy-haunting note must be the french musk + cream soda.
Verdict: At first I thought this was a little delicate for me. But I kept finding myself coming back to it. It's a scent that smelled 'angelic' or 'fae' to me in the first pass and while that's not normally something I think of as a 'me' scent the creaminess and the quality of the florals kept drawing me back. I fully intend to upgrade this to a larger size though... haha... funny story.... I was a real silly billy and was so stoked to place my most recent Stereoplasm order (which was all upgrades in size) I forgot to include a full size of First Bloom. Whoops. Guess I'll have to get in another order before their Spring collection goes into the vault.
Lights Across the Sky
In the bottle: Herbal fennel (a golden-brown herb, not a green one. Verging on anise), tea and something creamy down below. I can taste a lot of their scents after deeply sniffing them - and with this one I could taste the tea.
Wet on my skin: Very herbal fennel! This smells a lot like absinthe (not a shocker) with a little less anise. It’s “green” in the sense that absinthe is green but it’s not like… a green scent if that makes sense. Creamy tea undertones.
Drydown: The fennel is still the core of the scent but it is surrounded by a growing milky-cream note with a touch of tea and hay. It’s kind of an eerie scent - which I like.
After 30 mins: This one’s gone pretty faint compared to the other scents I’ve tried from stereoplasm. It’s mostly golden fennel and cream in the drydown with a whisper of something herbal. The hay smell might be blending with the fennel some.
Notes on the site: Circles of sun-bleached wheat, twilight musk, English lavender and upturned fennel bulbs. Shaking saucers under steaming cups of Earl Grey sink into comforting vanilla cream
I think the wheat is the hay note I was getting to. The twilight musk… that might be contributing to the absinthe vibe (and the overall eeriness of the scent)? The lavender is super tame - I didn’t get it as a distinct note, just as an herbal component of the fennel. I got a bit of the tea - especially early on. The vanilla cream is very milk-creamy and wouldn’t be something I’d ID as vanilla without being told.
Verdict: This ended up being an upgrade-to-a-full-bottle. At first I didn’t know what I thought of it, but the more I spent time with it the more I found myself returning to it. It reminds me kind of conceptually of a Twilight Zone episode where it’s got its aesthetic together and is kind of eerie and puts me off balance. How can fennel and cream be eerie? I’m not sure, but it is! This is probably the most ‘witchy’ feeling of the Stereoplasm scents I’ve tried so far.
One thing I notice is that I'll like a Stereoplasm scent on first pass but not be sure how I feel about it. Either I'll write it off as being a keep-the-sample-but-don't-upgrade scent or even a possible swap. But in the days that follow I keep finding myself wanting to smell it (and smell like it) again. Their scents have a universal kind of creamy-hazy component to them I like. Something about their work feels a little indefinite, a little dream-like, and of all the houses I've smelled they most consistently hit the 'otherworldly' vibe. Their stuff is so unique I find it hard to compare to other houses I've tried.
I see a lot of raves for their customs (which I haven't tried yet) but I want to emphasize that their catalog is more than worth it to check out. I've enjoyed working my way through a chunk of their spring release and I eagerly await (with gremlin-like glee) for whatever they've got in store for the future.