Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Little and Grim Divination collection: Tasseomancy + Selenomancy + Necromancy + Aleuromancy + Botanomancy + Cartomancy

I have it on good authority that a good number of fans of indie perfumery are fans of magic. (Please, contain your shock at this revelation!) Therefore it's a little surprising that there's not more perfume based on forms of magic people have (and still do) practiced in the real world. Little and Grim is helping to alleviate this deficit with their Divination collection.
The perfumes covered in today's review are:
  • Tasseomancy
  • Selenomancy
  • Necromancy
  • Aleuromancy
  • Botanomancy
  • Cartomancy
L&G doesn't do individual perfume listings so [ here ] is a link to their scent list and [ here ] is a link to their store front.

All perfumes in this review were allowed to rest for several days (around a week in this case) 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
See my prior review of L&G's 1mls [ here ].
A reminder: Each nose is different and each skin’s chemistry is different. Your mileage may vary.
So, Google tells me this is divination by tea leaves… so I’m gonna go ahead and take a wild guess that this is a tea scent.
In the bottle: Tart, fresh lemon, an herbal smell that might be tea (maybe Earl Grey? This is really citrusy) with a creamy base. Bit of an edge that seems floral in quality.
Wet on my skin: Creamy, citrusy (in a really fresh lemon smelling way). Kind of glassy - I think that is what I was reading whatever is glassy in here as floral when it was in the bottle - now I can’t tell if this is a super creamy floral, a white musk, or both. Lil undercurrent of bright tea. Overall this is a bright, ethereal creamy-citrus-tea scent.
Drydown: This has gone from a citrus-centric scent to more of a ‘clean’ scent. There’s still a little edge of a citrus, but it’s mostly a hint. What it smells like now is topnotes of light and creamy tea with a citrus edge layered over a clean musky smell and a woodsy base. Might be a pale floral edge in there. Very clean, light, and a little feminine. It’s a little green - wondering if the tea is green or white or something.
After 30 mins: Pretty much like the drydown - perhaps a bit smoother and a bit more citrus returning. Still clean. Still kinda feminine. Something in here reminds me of Little and Grim’s Footfalls scent. Maybe the wood note is a cedar?
Official Notes: A swirling blend of black and herbal teas, topped with a slice of lemon. Notes of black tea, chamomile, Egyptian musk, bergamot, and orange.
Hm! So the lemon is the lemon. The musky scent is the Egyptian musk. The floral is the chamomile. I did in fact detect bergamot early on (it’s what made me think of Earl Grey). One of the teas must be reminding me of a wood - it’s kind of astringent. I don’t really get much orange in here - what’s in here must be really tart and blending with the lemon or the bergamot.
Soft throw at arm’s length. Wore pretty strongly.
Verdict: I’m not really into clean scents and this one is kind of painful to me in the way green scents usually are. If you’re a big fan of clean, lemony scents that are more on the astringent side of citrus than the sweet side you’re in luck with this one. I’ll be passing on my sample.
So, since I’ve watched the American dub of Sailor Moon I know Selene means moon! The American Cartoon Network education system did me good - didn’t have to ask Google at all. But I am expecting some lunar qualities from this. Also when I was looking at the notes for Tasseomancy I saw this had what looked like a ‘grassy’ note though I coulda read it wrong.
In the bottle: Sweet, silvery, luminous. The first thing I get hit with is sweetness and faint touch of powder (not baby powder - think ‘moth’s wing’ powder). After that comes lavender - more floral than herbal/medicinal. It took a second to clock it as lavender.
Beyond that is something fruity - reminds me of a melon… and then there is something I could see as a ‘dried’ grass but it doesn’t smell like fresh cut grass. Lacks that ‘green’ aromachemical that hurts my head.
Wet on my skin: More than one floral in here. I think there’s a lily and a lavender. It’s not powdery at all once it gets on my skin (that’s one of the things tipping me off its lily - lilies tend to go powdery, or start powdery then go ‘not powdery’). The florals are sweet, smooth, and light with a bit of an edge from what I’m reading as lavender. There is a touch of golden-grassy in here, but, again, not terribly green. Getting less of a fruit - but there is something quite sweet in here that’s giving the whole perfume a quality that is somewhere between ‘honeyed’ and ‘marshmallow’. There might be a touch of bergamot in this.
Drydown: Now I’m wondering if there are three florals in here. I’m getting what I clocked as lavender and lily but also my brain keeps screaming ROSE. Below that is a soft, musky, sweet smell and a citrusy/grassy smell. The citrus and grass could either be a lemongrass or a bergamot and a golden grass. Little touch of powder. Sweet, luminous, and very, very feminine.
You know that song, Kiss From A Rose by Seal? This smells like that song sounds.
After 30 mins: Pretty much the same as the drydown. This is a stable scent.
Official Notes: Cool air, dewy grass, and the reflection of moonbeams on a quiet lake. Notes of clean rain, ozone, lavender, and rich myrrh.
So, I think the ‘clean rain’ note is what’s reminding me of lilies and citrus. The lavender is the lavender. The tangy aspects in this - what I was reading as kinda like lemongrass - is the ozone. The myrrh is the sweet, slightly musky, smooth scent that forms the core of the scent… and I do wonder if there’s an unlisted rose note somewhere in here.
Verdict: Too feminine for my tastes - but it is very lunar-light-at-night, and very, very pretty. Will be passing on my sample but strongly recommend it for people who love feminine smells and want to smell fresh, sweet, soft, and lunar.
I'm pretty sure we all know what necromancy is. I remember this one having er… a vine and stone note or something? Let’s see what Eau de Evil Wizardry smells like!
In the bottle: Topnotes of incense/frankincense, followed by a sweet, damp smell and spicy-green smell. The spicy-green reminds me of Spanish moss, but the overall green impression is more in that fresh-cut-grass family than Spanish moss is. Kind of a cool, earthy smell I could see being stone.
Wet on my skin: Topnotes of just like, a touch of smoke, then frankincense followed by cool, sweet dampness (might be a myrrh note in here too). Under that is a soft spicy-green that is darker in the bottle - kinda reminds me of oakmoss (it also kind of reminds me of the vines note used in Deep Midnight’s Tara’s Burning). Little bit of that earthy-stone note - smells kind of like stone covered with a dusting of dirt.
Drydown: I am liking this a lot more than I thought I would.The whole scent is slightly cloying in an eerie way and the earthiness and greenery I figured would mean that this is a hothouse scent! But it’s not! It’s more of a sweet-earthy-musky-resin scent with slight spicy-greenery at the edges.
I’ve often said that I’d like to smell like I grew up under a bush raised by groundhogs. This is a grew-up-under-a-bush-raised-by-groundhogs scent. It doesn’t go strongly decaying, sharply green, and the resin is more of a classical resin than ‘incense stick from a new age store’. A really lovely scent.
After 30 mins: Similar to how it is wet with the only big change being more of that spicy-green coming through. The green is stronger in the throw of the scent than it is up close. I spilled a little bit of the scent (the dangers in applying to my right hand with my left when I’m right handed) so that might be impacting that - but, it’s worn strongly and had a good throw in this test round.
Official Notes: Heady incense. Dark words. Notes of sandalwood, spicy Spanish moss, ylang ylang, hay, cinnamon, gingery rum, tobacco, neroli, and birch.
Hahaha! That’s why I love this - it’s got two of my favorite white florals in there. And gosh, they’re so sweet and honeyed I mixed them up with myrrh. Like, I can instantly see the neroli in front of me when the word is there - it’s really, really good neroli. The ylang ylang just adds some piquancy that is reminiscent of citrus.
No stone - the rum, hay, and tobacco are adding those earthy notes. The cinnamon adds a rounded quality to the earthy notes. The birch in this is super subtle, and more enhances the sweetness of the flowers than does it’s own thing. While incense is mentioned the only note I see in here that screams ‘resin!’ to me is the sandalwood - maybe the cinnamon and birch are also adding to that some.
The spicy green note is, of course, the Spanish moss.
Verdict: This is an upsize and surprise love from me! One of my top two L&G scents so far! I’m kinda gobsmacked they managed to pull off a dark, earthy, white floral AND that I love it this much.
Google says this is divination by flour/baked goods, so, I’m going into this expecting a gourmand.
In the bottle: Toffee-like sugar cookie dough and something kind of fruity.
Wet on my skin: Unbaked cookies. They smell like sugar cookies to me - though now that I’m smelling this I think I’m recalling this having an almond note as part of the cookie accord. If there is almond is is super sweet and smooth. Something red-fruity and syrupy smelling at the base (could be a very sweet dragon’s blood) and maybe a hint of musk. Very rounded, buttery cookie gourmand.
Drydown: So, the cookies have moved into the background and now smell more like baked cookies. I could see them being a shortbread or almond cookie. Still quite buttery. In the foreground you have the red smell - it smells like a blend of cherries, a resin (possibly dragon’s blood), and something a little medicinal - almost like a lavender. Still a little musky at the edges.
After 30 mins: Wearing a little fainter - but otherwise stable to the drydown. Overall it’s worn fairly strong and had a decent throw.
Official Notes: Almond cookies dripping with sweetness and secrets. Notes of almond, chocolate, tonka, sandalwood, musk, ylang ylang, bergamot, cashmere, vanilla, and caramel, in bed.
The almond, vanilla, and caramel are what makes up the cookie accord. The chocolate is just a tiny bit of bitter darkness at the edge - part of what read as that red, resinous scent. The tonka, musk, and cashmere give the scent a kind of ‘creamy-musky-but-almost-resinous’ vibe. It’s a soft, sensuous core to the scent. The sandalwood is probably where the bulk of the resinous vibes. The ylang ylang adds the kind of syrupy-sweet vibes and the bergamot adds that tangy-bitter vibe - together they remind me of cherries.
Verdict: I like this as a room scent or a candle scent. It might also rule as a bath bomb or bath fizz type scent. It’s not my idea of a personal scent - but I also tend to be very picky with gourmands as personal scents. I do love the use of cashmere, ylang, sandalwood, and bergamot in it. Worth sampling if you’re a big cookie fiend, like dark gourmands, or are into gourmands-with-a-twist. I’ll be “upsizing” to a bath product/room product depending on what’s available in the L&G store when I order.
Plant magic, I’m supposing.
In the bottle: Warm, wet, spicy and dark green with a shock of fruit. Smells like drinking an autumnal apple tea in a humid greenhouse.
Wet on my skin: Spicy apple cider and freshly crushed stems - a swirl of a floral at the edges. Something in there quickly rising to the top that reminds me of mint. Still quite humid.
Drydown: This is a little odd on me - I think there’s a birch in here going hard. Birch can smell kind of minty sometimes and I think that’s the odor here at the top. So I’m getting birch, spiced apple cider, crushed stems (reminds me of milkweed) and a whisper of floral. There’s something in here that’s kind of a sweet-decay note too. It’s not as harsh as some hothouse scents, but I think I’d call it a sweet, birchy, hothouse scent with a fruity nuance.
After 30 mins: Still a sweet, birchy, hothouse scent with a fruity nuance - but there’s also an earthy/brown note in there that I forgot to mention before. Maybe a patchouli or a benzoin? It’s in the midnotes, right near the base.
Official Notes: Fruit-laced herbal smoke and spicy glowing embers. Notes of fig, apple, lemon, ginger, sage, frankincense, caramel, cinnamon, and smoke.
The fig in this must be really, really earthy - I think that’s what’s reminding me of both patchouli and of that kind of sweet-decay smell. The apple is the apple - smells like a cider to me. The ginger and cinnamon must be the spices I detected. I didn’t really get lemon much except as maybe an enhancement to the apple cider smell or to the kind of acrid birch-like smell.
I think the sage, smoke, and a lil of the lemon are what’s reading to my nose as almost minty/birchy. The caramel accounts for some of the sweetness. The frankincense is probably that brown note I detected down by the base and some of the acrid notes throughout. No idea what in here gave a crushed-milkweed kind of vibe maybe some of the sage? Maybe sage blending with ginger? I dunno.
Verdict: I’m not a fan of scents that give me that ‘hothouse’ vibe. I know there’s some folks out there into hothouse scents but the whole genre is such a solid ‘no’ from me that I have no idea if this is a good example within that genre. Like, normally the scents are not this sweet or fruity or smokey. But this still firmly smells like ‘PLANTS!’ which is, I suppose, what it was setting out to do. A pass for me.
I recall this one having like… a cards note? And candles? And that cartomancy is divination by cards.
In the bottle: Lemony, dusty paper wreathed in soft, clean white musk. Kind of a clean-clothes-left-in-a-dusty room smell.
Wet on my skin: Citrus - maybe a bergamot, I don’t think it’s a lemon now - glossy playing cards, wax, and musk. Some resin at the base. But this is a very light, clean scent - I think I might also be detecting L&G’s ylang ylang note in this one. While Tasseomancy is an astringent-clean scent, this is a sweet-creamy-clean scent that really does have a ‘glossy’ note reminiscent of playing cards.
Drydown: While I’m getting wax, white musk, an ultra sweet floral and playing-card-gloss with a citrus edge in the throw… up close to my skin I don’t smell much. It’s pretty similar to how it was wet. I am getting something in here that reminds me of birch - kinda like in Botanomancy - I’m wondering if this is L&G’s smoke accord.
After 30 mins: Still fairly faint near the skin, but catching the scent in fairly strong whiffs in the throw. About the like the drydown. L&G scents seem to be pretty stable.
Official Notes: A deck of well-handled cards, a plume of incense, and the warmth of a dozen candles. Notes of nag champa, patchouli, dragon's blood resin, and a bit of milky honey to tempt the Other Side.
So, looking at the notes I would have assumed this is Dark Resin City. Not so much. I get the cards (and I can see how the nag champa might be contributing to the glossy card accord), I get the candles - there’s a certain waxiness to the scent - and the resin reminding me of the birch I could see theoretically being a patchouli blending with something. It’s a very light, clean resinous scent. The milky honey I think is the sweet part - it smells a lot like L&G’s ylang ylang note. No idea where the citrus smell fits in unless it’s part of the glossy-cards accord.
No clue how dragon’s blood fits into this except maybe as part of the sweetness? I don’t really get much of the kind of spicy, Dr. Pepper smell I associate with dragon’s blood.
Verdict: As I mentioned at the start of this I’m not really into ‘clean’ smelling scents. But I do prefer sweet-clean scents to astringent ones. This is very evocative for the concept - but I feel like the note list is either missing notes or that the notes listed are interacting in very unusual ways. The lightness of the scent probably ought to be (har har) highlighted. If you like sweet-clean scents this might be worth trying. For me it’s a pass.

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