Monday, August 5, 2019

7 Stereoplasm Reviews: Early Reflections + Jellybones, + Agnus (Lamb) + Procyon Lotor (Raccoon) + Erethizon Dorsatum (Porcupine) + Rubecula (Robin) + Ursus Americanus (American Black Bear)

So! STEREOPLASM IS BACK. U.S. Customs really screwed them over, and it was very big of them to close the shop for a month to fix replacing the orders that U.S. Customs had seized. Somewhere out there there's some unlucky chump testing tiny bottle after tiny bottle and finding that they contain... absolutely no drugs whatsoever. Sigh.
But Stereoplasm is back with their long awaited Summer release! Some months ago I did a preview of 6 of the summer scents [ link here! ] and today I'm covering the other two ... plus four of the animal-of-the-month scents. I know these animal scents are not currently available. But I also know that Meaghan has some plans for them in the works - that'll presumably happen some time after all of the chaos has settled down some. I figured it's as good a time as any to get some of these reviews out.
The scents covered in today's review are:
  • Early Reflections [ store link]
  • Jelly Bones [ store link ]
  • Agnus (Lamb)
  • Procyon Lotor (Raccoon)
  • Erethizon Dorsatum (Porcupine)
  • Rubecula (Robin)
  • Ursus Americanus (American Black Bear)

All perfumes in this review were allowed to rest for several days (well over a week in the case of most of these) 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
So, you can read my thoughts on Stereoplasm's 1mls [ here ].
The animal of the month scents come in Stereoplasm's 2mls. These are fat little 2mls that I think actually hold more than 2ml (probably more like 2.5 ml or even more). They have screw caps and an orifice reducer. Have I mentioned how much I love orifice reducers? They're second only to rollerballs. They help so much with preventing me from spilling my perfumes.
I haven't had any issues with leaks from the 2mls - but I do generally store them upright. I've noticed that sometimes they come with thread wrap tape on the inside, sometimes without. In transit I haven't had a 2ml with the current design leak on me.
With Stereoplasm's labels (on both 1ml and 2mls) I love the design and aesthetic - and a while back they moved to oil resistant labels. I will note that these are resistant - not proof. While the plastic with the label no longer melts I have had some of these oil resistant labels smear when in contact briefly with oil, or with another label that had oil on it I was unaware of.
As a note: With the 2mls pictured some have labels that are from the pre-oil-resistant days and one came to me from a swap in a leaky bottle that had to be decanted. It was one of their older scents (Raccoon) and had an older 2ml design - similar to the one for Black Bear in the photo.
Early Reflections
… I think this one has a sparkling pear note in it or something? Maybe some lime? Grapefruit? Can’t really remember but thought I ought to mention in case it influences my opinion.
In the bottle: A wave of fruit layered over something that reminds me of makeup or heliotrope - kind of golden and powdery at the edges. There’s a shimmering note in there. The fruits are bright but in the bottle are not particularly distinct. I can tell there’s something that might, indeed, be pear and some citrus. The overall impression is bright, fruity, shimmery and soft.
Wet on my skin: Tea! This smells like a grapefruit tea. Sparkling grapefruit tea (either an herbal tea or a light tea) coupled with a slice of almost floral pear. A resinous, woody basenote is peeking out here. Definitely bright, fresh, and summery. It sits on that border right between ‘sweet’ and ‘dry’. Quite a feminine fruity-dry-slightly-woody scent. No powderiness at this stage.
Drydown: This reminds me a lot of the kind of scent Sixteen92 puts out a lot. A dry, kind of ‘perfumey’ fruity scent with feminine undertones. There might be a floral in here too - or just a particularly kind of floral pear note. The tea is particularly strong to my nose - but I tend to amp greens so that isn’t a surprise. Whatever the green note in here is it’s strong enough for it to hurt my head to smell. Mostly at this point I get a kind of pear-tea-resinous-floral scent with some citrus at the edges.
After 30 mins: Only getting edges of fruit now - mostly getting that makeup smell from the start paired with a kind of resinous scent and the tea. The scent is less ‘dry’ feeling and if there was a floral it’s dissipated now. Just mostly tea + soft resin + makeup + edge of fruitiness.
Official Notes: Pink Grapefruit, Melted Shea Butter, Warm Skin, Yuzu Rind, Ripe Guava, Crushed Pineapple
So yes on the grapefruit - but this is like a straight fruity scent. The shea butter must be what I was reading as a kind of… smooth resin (it reminds me a lot of a sandalwood) and the warm skin must be what reminded me of makeup. I don’t know what’s so sharply green and dry in here to my nose if not tea - maybe the guava? Or Stereoplasm’s yuzu rind note? I think the pineapple was what’s adding sweetness to it. I’m gonna guess the pineapple and maybe the guava gave this the kind of round-yellow-fruitiness that I mistook for pear.
I want to note: While I got an edge of powderiness in the bottle I didn’t get any of that once it went on my skin. It was all very classically ‘perfumy’ smelling fruits.
I think what happened with the notes I thought I remembered for this was I got it mixed up in my head with the notes I’d seen for Jellybones. Whoops!
Verdict: Pass for me, for several reasons. One was how it wore - my skin ate large portions of this one in the 30 minute test window. The other is something in this hit that specific ‘fresh greens in the grass family’ harsh aromachemical and is painful for me to sniff. However, if you’re into the kind of ‘dry’ and sharp/glassy fruity scents Sixteen92 does give this one a spin.
Jelly Bones
So I think this is the one I mixed up remembering the official notes for with Early Reflections. I think this one has tea, and pear, and sparkling water, and lime and uh… lipstick or something? I think I actually remember a lot of the notes.
In the bottle: This is like a mirror to Early Reflections. While ER is bright, dry, and shimmering this is sweet like gummy candy (appropriate, given the name) and much more mellow to the nose. The pear in this is actually a little spiced smelling. I don’t get anything particularly ‘green’ in this apart from the lime… mostly it’s just Lime Gummy Candy and syrupy spiced pear. Kind of like a fancy lollipop. Something a little thick at the base of it. It reminds me of another scent but I’m having trouble placing it.
Wet on my skin: Ah, I know what it reminds me of - there is a fizzy note in this but it’s blending with the lime, reminding me of Sucreabeille’s lime tree… but even sweeter. This is a fizzy lime drink, a piece of pear candy eaten at a table where someone is drinking a pleasant black tea. That, or you have a fizzy lime drink and they’re drinking tea and eating a pear tart. The whole thing has an additional dark and sultry vibe I just can’t place. Something about it at the base smells like a fancy nightclub looks. It’s kind of musky.
Drydown: So - while tabbing over to my collection spreadsheet I did happen to see the notes for this. … and one was incomplete. I think there was a typo on the sheet where it was sent from. I saw ‘Ruby red’ and I think that’s where I got the lipstick from. Since I’d seen the notes anyway and this was no longer blind I went over to Stereoplasm’s Instagram to see if there was more clarifications of the mystery Ruby Red note. It’s grapefruit!
And ah yes, I can see that here. While the grapefruit in early reflections is very dry and tart this is like.. Deep, dark, sugared grapefruit. The other perfume this one is reminding me of is BPAL’s Cheshire Cat. It’s dark! It’s deep! It’s candied but in a really kinda… sultry way?
So you have your topnotes of sparkling lime and spiced pear layered over an almost ozonic tea. The official notes I glanced at said this was a green tea, but it’s one of the least “green” green teas I’ve smelled. More of like… an oolong or something to my nose. At that base is that almost musky grapefruit.
After 30 mins: A little more musky but otherwise stable. Other than the topnotes dying back some this one has been pretty stable on me.
Official Notes: Iced green tea with sparkling pear, ruby red grapefruit and lime juice
Well, I did see the notes halfway through. Oops. So I think y’all know how they interact. I will note while no official ‘spiced’ note is mentioned this does have a distinctive ‘spiced pear’ quality - I’d say the sparkling blends more with the tea or the lime than it does with the grapefruit.
Verdict: This is what I’m TALKIN about! I guess it does take all types to make a world because this and Early Reflections are both basically straight fruity scents - but while ER is dry, elegant, and as traditionally feminine as a sundress this is sweet, dark, a little aggressively neon, and as traditionally feminine as a drag queen. Definitely an upsize for me.
Special Note:
Most of these animal reviews are ones I've been sitting on for months. Plus side: They're pretty much all briefer than what I write now. Minus side: They're also less nuanced than what I write now. If you're curious for more details about how a current scent plays out just ask in the comments and I'll make an effort to give a little more info!
Agnus (Lamb)
In the bottle: Hay and a yellow floral - a little spicy. Something a little musky. Very ‘springtime’.
Wet on my skin: Spicy yellow floral - slightly sweet. Soft creaminess. Edge of hay.
Drydown: Sweet yellow floral, spice is gone.Tiniest bit of creaminess and hay.
After 30 mins: Hay with a touch of sweet yellow florals and a bit of creaminess (...I’m sensing a theme here).
Official Notes: Bright yellow daisies, wild rose, field grass and juniper berry
Well, the daisies are obviously the yellow floral and dang that is a subtle, sweet rose. The field grass isn’t ‘grassy’ at all - much more of a ‘hay’. The juniper berry must be the lick of spice I was getting when it was wet.
Verdict: Swap. It’s not bad, just not a ‘me’ scent.
Procyon Lotor (Raccoon)
In the bottle: Stereoplasm’s cotton candy accord is like… the most noticeable thing. This is very, very similar to the cotton candy note in Lovesick Lake just here in the bottle at least it’s almost isolated. There’s a touch of fruitiness and something that reminded my husband of a sugar cookie when he smelled it.
Wet on my skin: Fruit! And cotton candy. The fruit is a pink, rounded fruit note. I remember this having nectarine in it I think? That sounds right. But a soda-pop or candy nectarine. Something definitely citrusy to it too. Since my husband pointed out to me that it smells like a sugar cookie with pink icing I can’t un-smell it.
Drydown: White floral coming through, I think. It’s a touch green in a way that gives it a bit of a metallic tang. I think I remember this having bergamot or neroli or something? Otherwise it’s still very fruit+ cotton candy (or sugar cookie with pink icing… dang it).
After 30 mins: Still going strong on a close sniff. It wears close to the skin but from the drydown hasn’t morphed much. If anything the cotton candy is kinda framing the scent instead of a super forward note.
Official Notes: Fleshy nectarine, pink grapefruit, cotton candy and bergamot
Okay, so, yes on the nectarine. The cotton candy is obvious but I wouldn’t have pegged the cotton candy as cotton candy if I hadn’t sniffed Lovesick Lake first. It is really similar to a sugar cookie with pink icing in a lot of ways The bergamot is kinda weird - almost metallic. Like just a dash of green to it. I’m sensitive to greens so I wonder if other people would detect the green. I can see the grapefruit now that it is mentioned… but it’s not a zingy grapefruit, it’s more like a very sweet pink grapefruit candy. Almost more like a dash of pink lemonade.
Verdict: The fact that this is one of the few perfumes my husband has said he liked means it’s definitely a keep and a surprisingly frequent wear. That weird kind of metallic note from the bergamot is the only downside for me and it’s pretty easy to ignore. More of a taste in my mouth on a deep inhale. This one might even get upsized one day if/when that opportunity becomes available. It’s also very on theme - it’s reminiscent of sticky little raccoon paws.
Erethizon Dorsatum (Porcupine)
In the bottle: Very wet aquatic florals. Smells (in a good way) kind of like a swimming pool. The florals are blue and purple and blue-green to my nose. It verges on the soapiness of aquatics but not quite there - it’s quite pleasant compared to most aquatics I’ve tried. There’s a damp muskiness to it too. Kind of… morning dew over aquatic flowers nearby a fresh smelling swimming pool. Something a tiny bit sharp.
Wet on my skin: A little less sharp - and hardly soapy at all. That ‘chlorine’ tang is that green note - it smells more sweetly green now than chlorine-ish. Flowers are falling back and that green note is amping. I’d say this is a blue-green scent now with musky and aquatic nuances. (The green note reminds me of BPAL’s Yggdrasil)
Drydown: Blue-green with undertones of the bottle scent. Painfully green, almost metallic for me. Has a tang similar to freshly cut grass or crushed plant stems. I’m sure people who like green scents would love this as a green aquatic, but for me it’s super harsh. This isn’t a shock though because I amp greens and they give me headaches (I’m also very sensitive to picking them up)
After 30 mins: About the same as the drydown, maybe a touch less green. My time with this might have been slightly shorter than 30 minutes because while I tried to make it the whole time it did get a headache started. I just can’t do greens.
Official Notes: Wet musk, morning dew, broken twigs and flower buds
The ‘broken twigs’ must be the green note. Because I got the wet musk and the morning dew in the bottle along with aquatic florals. But on my skin that GREEN amps and is incredibly sharp and headache inducing. So just as a note - the twigs in this are not a woody scent, but instead are a bright green in the same family as crushed flower stems and freshly cut grass.
Verdict: Swap. Greens of the ‘freshly cut grass’ family and I do not get along.
Rubellica (Robin)
In the bottle: Faint blueberries (very slightly powdery), mud, gunpowder/incense
Wet on my skin: Very similar to how it is in the bottle except the blueberries come forward and blend with the gunpowder-y smell. The wet earth/mud note is a very rich base.
Drydown: Slightly sweet mud and g u n p o w d e r. It smells like fireworks on the 4th of July to me. The blueberries are basically gone. Kinda musky.
After 30 mins: About the same but the gunpowder/fireworks smell is even stronger. I’ve done a long wear on this before and I do know that after a while (like… after an hour or two) the fireworks smell dies back and the blueberries come out from behind it.
Official Notes: Wild blueberries, wet garden mud, nag champa and vintage musk
Yep! Get all of those. The nag champa is what dominates, and I am almost certain is what's giving me the impression of gunpowder. All the rest is definitely there. The mud/champa/musk combo is what's on my skin for most of the duration of the scent (with the nag forward) . The blueberries never completely go away and DO come back in the very, very deep drydown.
Verdict: Keep! I got given this as a gift. I like it in all of its forms - I can see the fireworks on the 4th of July scent being a great summer scent.
Ursus Americanus (American Black Bear)
In the bottle: Fresh water, blueberry candy, evergreen (I think this has juniper?)
Wet on my skin: Wet blueberry candy - almost a medicinal vibe to it from the evergreen. Smidge of something else. Hard to put my finger on. Kind of woody?
Drydown: This scent verges right on the edge of green without going into what’s headache territory for me. The blueberry is still kinda candy smelling but getting slightly more realistic. The juniper is subtle. The water smell is very forward. There’s that kinda touch of woodiness. I quite like this smell.
After 30 mins: Very similar to the drydown. A little less of the water - but still blueberry candy on the edge of smelling realistic, evergreen/juniper, and something kinda woody/the tiniest, tiniest bit green.
Official Notes: Ripe wet blueberries, sweet herbal honey and blue juniper
Ah-ha! It’s whatever the herbs are in the herbal honey that’s pinging me as very slightly green/woody. The honey might be contributing to what I was reading as blueberry candy. And yup, that’s juniper at the base.
Verdict: If/when the animal scents come back this is probably gonna get upsized. Wet, herbal, and fruity with gourmand nuances and a touch of something forest-y without going headachey.

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