Friday, August 9, 2019

4 Deep Midnight Reviews: Light Court + Dark Court + Carnivale Rouge + Sugar Breeze

So, I actually wrote these reviews a few months ago and kept delaying them... then Deep Midnight took a vacation break! I'm excited to say they're now back! However I will note that prices have gone up slightly - e.g. their f/s perfumes are now 23$ instead of 21$ and their sample packs are 20$ instead of 18$. I dunno the reasons for the change - but I assume it's either tariffs, etsy pushing for free shipping, or a combination of both.
Anyway - these reviews are a while back on my Perfume Journey - see me meet my beloved frangipani for the first time - but I still think they're worth sharing. Deep Midnight needs more love for the quality, variety, and uniqueness of the scents they're crafting!
The perfumes covered in today's review are

Old photo is old - but waste not, want not

All perfumes in this review were allowed to rest for several days (over a week for these, if I recall correctly) after arrival. The perfumes were kept in the dark in a plastic box if small enough. If too large for a box they generally sit on top of a bookcase or bedside table, or inside of a drawer. 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 Dove sensitive skin, or almond Doc Bronner’s.
Before doing test periods I often wear or play with other scents in my collection (that I wash off). I also am often wearing scented lotion on my feet and ankles (that I do not wash off). so theoretically there could be cross-contamination.
For oils: Each sample was gently swirled before application. Then applied directly to skin - typically the top of my arm or the back of my hand.
Each review is written without looking at the notes in that moment. Frequently I will glance at a perfume’s notes beforehand. At the end of the review I will list what the official notes are and comment on how I think they interacted.
Bottle Review
Please see my review of Deep Midnight's 1ml bottles [ here ]
A reminder: Each nose is different and each skin’s chemistry is different. Your mileage may vary.
Light Court
In the bottle: Silky, honeyed florals and sparkling white wine. It smells transcendent, bright, efflorescent and a little narcotic.
Wet on my skin: This is somehow even more beautiful than it was in the bottle. Waves of honeyed florals come forward like gauze curtains in the wind. I feel like I’m getting what feels like a white rose in there - and something that reminds me achingly of a clover blossom. Other than that I am not sure. The sparkling wine forms a base note. There might also be a blond wood or something brightly resinous (a white amber maybe?). This is one of the first ‘clean’ scents I’ve liked - it isn’t sharp or acrid.. It smells like what I imagine a maenad fresh out of the bath smells like. Her laugh is infectious and a little frightening. Her eyes glitter even when they shouldn’t.
Drydown: Very similar to wet. Addition of the ‘clean’ becoming almost herbal in quality - like lemon grass or a white patchouli. A tiny hint more of the wine but this isn’t a heavily ‘boozy’ scent. More floral and herbaceous with edges of sparkling wine.
After 30 mins: A touch more wine, a touch more of the herbaceous note (almost sure it’s white patchouli now) but otherwise it’s been remarkably consistent for 30 minutes. And a great throw! I keep catching glorious whiffs of it. It makes me feel joyful and a little bit feral.
Official Notes: White Amber, Jasmine, White Roses, Red Raspberries, Sparkling White Wine, Sweet Myrrh.
Well, I got the amber and the white roses. The jasmine in this must be what reminded me of clover blossoms - it’s a little similar to an ylang but not quite there. Nothing remotely screechy about it. Got the sparkling white wine for sure. The myrrh must be the resinous/herbaceous note I was getting that I was reading as white patchouli. The raspberries must be blending with the fruitiness of the wine note - I don’t get them distinctly.
Verdict: In my next Deep Midnight order I’m getting a full size of this. No waiting to use up the bottle. No debating it in my head. All time great level perfume for me. No maybes whatsoever. Need I say more? (Update: I upsized this! As a note this does need a bit of a rest and a good shake for the jasmine in it to blend properly when in the 9ml bottle).
Dark Court
In the bottle: Dominant patchouli - not the darkest patchouli I’ve smelled but certainly dark brown. Hard to pick out other notes over the patchouli. Spicy-sweet slightly pink floral (Frangipani? I think frangipani was in this) and a hint of something vanilla-esque but not quite. Given that aged patchoulis can pick up hints of vanilla I wonder if it’s just the patchouli or if there’s some tonka or something in this. There might be spices in here beyond the spicy flower… but it’s difficult to tell with all that patchouli.
Wet on my skin: The patchouli is less dominant. The scent is still quite dark, and certainly patchouli centered but now other notes are coming out. That spicy-sweet floral in there is quite nice and there’s another floral that reminds me of a dark rose. There’s that round vanilla-ish scent that could be part of the patchouli, or could be tonka. It’s earthy without smelling unclean, mulch-y, or dirt heavy. The floral sweetness in it is dark and kind of coy. I think there might be honeysuckle in here.
Drydown: The patchouli is now properly behaving as a base note and showcasing those heavenly florals! These are amazing! I am almost certain there’s honeysuckle acting as kind of a cool white veil over the spicy and pink-orange frangipani (I think). There’s definitely more spice in here than just a flower would provide. There’s something verging on alcoholic, but not definite booze note (could be a resin - it’s sharp and tingly and kind of woody in a way that seems different from the patchouli)
After 30 mins: Very stable from the drydown with the biggest change being the patchouli becoming even less prominent. Like, this is now a spicy-floral centered perfume.
Official Notes: Dark Amber, Frangipani, Honeysuckle, Dark Cedarwood, Vetiver, Black Roses, and touches of Cardamom and Allspice
Well! I certainly get the frangipani and honeysuckle lol. The rose isn’t too much of a surprise - but was more prominent early in the perfume. The cedarwood must be the non-patchouli wood I was reading… and the cardamom/allspice are not surprises either. The amber is probably the slightly-vanilla scent I was reading as tonka. What is surprising is the vetiver. So… before the drama happened where the amount of vetiver in perfumes was regulated I had a couple of BPAL scents with a strong vetiver note (Troll and Black Annis). Vetiver smells like Lowes Hardware Store to me and I don’t get a vetiver note here. What I’m guessing is that there’s a vetiver accord in here that is, let’s say, patchouli adjacent.
Verdict: Originally I thought for sure this was just going to be patchouli city and was ready to swap it on that alone. I’m so glad I tried it on my skin though because those rich spicy florals stunned me. It’s definitely a keep and maybe even an eventual upgrade depending on how often I wear it.
Carnivale Rouge
In the bottle: Dry chocolate and toasted boozy almonds - my husband compared smelling it to the smell of slightly burnt brownies.
Wet on my skin: Dry chocolate, sweet playful florals, nutty and slightly boozy almond. Florals might be a kiss of rose? They’re sweet but not harsh.
Drydown: Slightly anosmic to the scent (it smells different in the bottle now than it did before application). It’s very faint on my wrist - but I suspect that’s anosmia. What I can smell (after moving my nose away and trying to reset it) with a nuttiness and a sweet floral note. A touch of something toasted or lightly burnt.
After 30 mins: Chocolate has gotten light, as has the nuttiness. Only a little of the booze note is left. The burnt note is more prominent. The floral - whatever it is - remains sweet and charming. But when I breathe it deeply it leaves a soapy taste in my mouth.
Official Notes: amaretto liqueur are deepened with balanced tones of the darkest cocoa, cappuccino, rich cream, and buttery amber, while background notes of oakwood fire, and citrus deepen the intrigue.
Well, I get the amaretto liqueur (boozy almond) and the cocoa (chocolate). I suspect the cappuccino could be read as the burnt note given the earthy way a coffee roast could smell. The burnt could also be the oakwood fire. The cream + the citrus creates what I think I was reading as a floral (and it might be the ‘citrus’ is derived from a neroli or a citrus blossom).
Verdict: This is SO close to a dupe of BPAL’s June 2008 13 - one of my all time fav indies from when I was really into them a decade ago. The notes in the two are different - but I think the chocolate they use is similar and I deeply suspect that citrus is derived from a citrus blossom (the BPAL scent uses apple blossom - but fruit blossoms can sometimes smell similar even when from different plants). I wish this were stronger in the drydown - more of a throw, and I wish I didn’t get that soapy taste when I deeply huffed it. I was SO excited to find a dupe for a relatively niche LE I like - excited enough that at the moment it’s probably in my top 5 for new perfumes for the last month or so. But I don’t know how this is gonna work out long term for me - the deep drydown is prettyyy close to 13 but not quite there. But right now it’s on my short list for Deep Midnight perfumes to take to full size.
Sugar Breeze
In the bottle: Sweet, sugared almost fizzy amber. It reminds me a lot of Bath and Body Works’ Sensual Amber (which I have in EDT form as a gift from a friend). Bright tropical whack of something like vanilla (which tbh might be part of the amber here). Bit of a fruity note in there. Reminds me of fancy sparkling water that comes in a glass bottle with a berry note.
Wet on my skin: It loses the fizzy, sparkling quality from the bottle and just kind of goes… buttery/frying oil smell on my hand. There’s some sort of note in there that reminds me of all things of fried chicken. It’s very savory. While still sweet and sugared with a whisper of berry that savory fried-chicken smell has taken over.
Drydown: I don’t know what this note is supposed to be. Maybe a caramel note? But god it pings Fried Chicken in my brain. So to describe what I am smelling: A fried chicken note along with a sweet-sugared-syrupy note with a bit of berry and maybe some amber in there. They could rename this scent ‘Chicken and Waffles’ and I’d be like ‘dang… they really captured the essence of Chicken and Waffles’.
After 30 mins: A bit more like it was in the bottle… but man it’s still really Chicken and Waffle-y. In the interest of thoroughness: I think there’s some sort of bright, pink floral in there. Kind of tropical. Berry note. Syrupy sugar. Amber. Fried chicken.
Notes on the site: Sugar Crystals and Sugared White Amber, this perfume rounds itself out with Freesia Flowers, Sparkling Water, and a kick of Ginger.
Well. Okay. The floral I’m getting is the Freesia. The sugar is the sugar. The amber is the amber. The sparkling water was the fizzy water smell. I’m guessing the ginger is what’s hitting me as fried chicken. It’s a really savory ginger, not a spicy one.
Verdict: Swap. There’s probably somebody in this universe who would lose their mind over a Chicken and Waffles perfume. I am not that person.

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