Friday, August 2, 2019

Sucreabeille Compass Rose Collection Reviews: Compass Rose + True North + Far East + Due South + Out West

We all wish we traveled more. Even those of us who don't actually like traveling (me) wish they can say they've traveled more. Thankfully Sucreabeille has my back with their Compass Rose series - a journey around the map (or at least the cardinal directions) in five scents. They launched Out West today - and are having a sale! So, now is as good a time as any to well... explore with them.
(Also shout out to Andrea for sending me full size EDPs tor review for this. Whaaaattt?? That is NUTS. They did make for a pretty photo though!)
The perfumes covered in today's review are:
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 spray perfumes/EDPs: I gently give them a little shake. I then wrap my arm in a towel except for the test area (again, top of the arm or back of the hand.) I then spritz the EDP on with a couple of pumps then remove the towel. The goal is to keep the EDP restricted to the test area.
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 I get to review Sucreabeille's EDP 1oz bottles! They're sprayers and from what I can tell... fairly standard for 1oz EDP bottles. A couple of notes about them:
  • As of the date of this review (8/2/19) these bottles can occasionally have leak problems. I had one leak in transit. I mention the date because Sucreabeille is actively investigating how to 100% prevent leaks with these.
  • Andrea was extremely understanding about the leaks and sent new labels (which she will do for everyone!).
  • These bottles do need to be stored upright. Since they're spray bottles and EDPs last forever it's best to apply them at home (Spray! Delay! And walk away!) instead of carrying them with you.
  • It takes a couple of 'dry' pumps to get them going the first time then they spray really well.
I mention this not to deter anyone from buying their favorite scents in these kinds of bottles - but mostly to help prevent any accidents from happening. Stored upright (which is easy with large, square bottles) they have no issues at all that I can tell.
The labels on the Compass Rose set are some of the best ones Sucreabeille has done. My favorite detail on them is that with the four cardinal direction scents you can arrange them to form a full compass rose, like a Yu-Gi-Oh player forming Exodia The Forbidden One
A reminder: Each nose is different and each skin’s chemistry is different. Your mileage may vary.
Compass Rose
Fair warning: Andrea mentioned to me that her goal with this was to make a true oceanic - so that might influence my perceptions.
In the bottle: Rosewood - right down to the kind of deep green undertones - and sea brine. It’s been a long time since I smelled real rosewood, but this smells so much like it. A little touch of something peppery and herbal (it’s not cilantro but it kind of reminds me of it). As a note - as Andrea intended - the ocean-like elements in this are realistic ones, not idealized ones.
Wet on my skin: Quite dry and woodsy - salt, sea air, and brine mingling with rosewood. The rosewood is not as forward as it was in the bottle. Very gender neutral and ocean-y. Like if you’ve ever picked up a shell at the beach and smelled it that’s the vibe here. Edges of that peppery herb.
Drydown: Man, EDPs dry really fast compared to oils! There have been some changes - that green, peppery scent has moved to the forefront of the scent and I think I’m getting something citrus adjacent in there. Like a lime leaf - or some lemon verbena. This is followed by a salty tang and swirls of rosewood. Or it could be the rose and the wood are separate - I’m getting some of the ‘dank’ elements I got in Blood Rose… but here they work because they add to the Real Ocean smell for me. At the base of the scent is the ocean brine - ocean water, dark green (probably seaweed) and tanginess.
After 30 mins: Wearing a bit fainter, and the tart, peppery and salty notes dominate along with the woodsy ones.. Still edges of rose and an undercurrent of realistic sea brine.
I want to emphasize this is a ‘dry’ scent that will have that slightly sharp quality that reminds people of mainstream colognes and some perfumes - primarily from the resinous elements of the wood. However, in utilizing a realistic ocean scent it is moving away from the kind of scent profile you see in mainstream scents.
Solid throw on it - as is the case with most EDPs I’ve encountered.
Official Notes: the ocean on a stormy morning; crisp white sails floating in the breeze, anchored to a mossy, kelp-strewn ship; pipe tobacco; bay rum; a perfect red rose and a lingering touch of vanilla.
So - I definitely get the ocean. The description mentions it ‘fading’ into the topnotes which, yep, as the perfume wears it blends and the ocean notes definitely develop into a (har har har) undercurrent. The crisp white sails I think are where some of the sharpness and the citrus-y notes are coming from. The mossy, kelp strewn ship is where I think I’m getting some of the kind of dark green and realistic ocean notes as well. The pipe tobacco must be the peppery green herb. I can sort of see the bay rum when the note is in front of me - as part of that entire kind of woodsy element - but it’s not a boozy scent or a rum centered scent. Definitely get the rose - I don’t really get much vanilla. If there is some it’s mostly adding a musky element and deepening the rose.
The greens in the ocean kind of remind me of oakmoss, green tea, and seaweed, for what it is worth. No idea if those are accurate - more just the impression that I get.
Verdict: I am a mountain child. I’ve been to the ocean to visit, but I wouldn’t want to live there. However, as the hazy, humid, cloud-strewn mountains create nostalgic scents for me I’m sure a realistic oceanic will conjure up happy memories for some of you. I will probably be passing on my bottle of this - it’s a great scent for what it is trying to achieve, but, I’m not personally interested in smelling like super realistic ocean. Conceptual oceanics that smell like a fancy drink with an umbrella in it are more my thing.
True North
So, when I got these scents I opened up True North… then tested in it… and then my vision danced with stars and I turned, physically, into a half-deer forest spirit and frolicked through the woodlands. Once I was done I freaking had to look up the notes and I remember several of them - galbanum, fir, mint, vanilla are the ones I recall.
Also, spoilers, I really liked it.
In the bottle: A pine forest swirled with a musky vanilla and fresh mint. Underneath is a sticky, dark green resin that must be the galbanum - honestly, it paired with the pine smells like pine tar. I feel like I get edges of dusty fallen leaves and something that reminds me of lush fur. All of my Northern Werewolf In A Bottle dreams are in this perfume.
Wet on my skin: This starts with an aggressive hit of mint that makes my tongue tingle when I breathe it in followed closely by that musky vanilla and the fur-like scent. There’s a hint of something ozonic to this which actually reminds me of the tang the air around here gets when it’s foggy. Coupled with this are pine and that sticky, earthy resin.
The forests around here are a combination of evergreens and deciduous trees with the latter dominating - but this scent reminds me so much of being in the forest, slipping between two close together pines. It reminds me of the tar and sap that dot their bark. It reminds me of the fur of living things, musky, slightly animalistic, and sweet.
Drydown/After 30 mins: Combining this since EDPs dry down so fast. After half an hour on my skin the mint has retreated to an icy, whispering edge. The fir and ozone swirl in a cloud around the base of dark green resin, vanilla, and muskiness.
Official Notes: Peppermint swirls in warm vanilla milk with cardamom. Candle wax, cedar, and lush, green galbanum
Oh man, I misremembered - it’s cedar, not fir. Gosh it smells like fir. Well, just go in there and replace ‘fir’ with ‘cedar’. It does smell like pine tar when combined with the galbanum. I guess the galbanum must be where some of the ozonic qualities are coming from. The peppermint is the mint. The vanilla milk is the musky vanilla. The candlewax, some of the milk, and the cardamom create the impression of warm, lush fur to my nose. It smells almost exactly like my greyhound’s clean fur (they are not doggy smelling dogs - just kind of smell generally mammalian smelling).
Throw on this was very good - but again, EDP - they tend to throw very well.
Verdict: So, remember what I said about being a mountain child? This is A Mountain Scent. I am over the moon with this scent, one of my top Sucreabeille scents. Keeping my bottle which I can see wearing often.
Far East
Before going into this one I want to note - it’s a chypre! The first identified chypre I’ve tried. I’d been nervous about it because chypres are, by definition, green. I have a history with fresh greens - they give me headaches - but I was pleased to discover that chypres aren’t in that family of fresh-cut-grass style greens. For anyone unfamiliar: My research on chypres mentions that they’re a family of perfumes containing a citrus topnote, a labdanum midnote, and an oakmoss base note.
In the bottle: Lush and woody - like a fresh cut bough is woody. The citrus is heavy, green, and kinda bitter - I think a bergamot or something. It’s layered with spices and kinda-musky herbal resin I’m going to guess is labdanum. Tiny bit of darkness at the base - probably oakmoss. The scent invokes rich, glittering golden-green hues in my mind.
Wet on my skin: Sensual, rich and spicy. Something warm and kind of floral coming through. That bitter citrus glitters as a topnote and contrasts against the dark green of the oakmoss. I’m getting some salt at the edges - especially in the throw. Little bit of muskiness to the scent in the midnotes pairing with the herbal character of the labdanum. It smells different in the throw than it does close the skin. The throw is very similar to how it was in the bottle - kind of salty, sweet, woodsy-spicy with citrus tartness. Close to the skin it’s more green-wood, musk and spices with a tiny bit of herbaceousness to it (reminds me of Suc’s sage note) - less resinous. A little animalistic.
Drydown/After 30 mins: So at the start of the drydown it was all sage and musk - but after a couple of minutes it returned to how it smelled in the bottle with a hit of animalistic musk. Perhaps a tiny bit less of the bergamot smelling scent. But to sum up - top notes of citrus, woods, and spices, midnotes of resin and an animalistic musk, anda base of soft, dark oakmoss.
Official Notes: labdanum, bergamot, oakmoss and patchouli. A green accord twines with a floral topnote of Lily of the valley, and a citrus splash of red Brazilian mandarin. Atlas cedarwood and a deep, rich sandalwood complete the mellow base notes
So, yup on the labdanum, bergamot, and oakmoss. A little surprised to see patchouli - there’s a little woodiness but not the In Your Face earthy I associate with patchouli. I’m not sure what the green accord is - but it’s more in the ‘a green bough of wood’ family than ‘green grass’ family - perhaps that’s where I was getting some of that ‘sage’ smell.
I think the sandalwood is what’s reminding me of an animalistic musk - thick, pillowy, and kind of feral. To be honest the mandarin blends with the bergamot. Like, I can pick it out with the word in front of me. The cedar is the really woodsy component in this - it doesn’t remind me of a fir tree at all here. It’s funny how similar notes can smell so different in different blends.
Verdict: Love it. It’s a glittering, kind of feral, and a little masculine - all three are qualities I enjoy in a perfume. And hey! It taught me I’m into chypres. Keeping the bottle!
Due South
In the bottle: Green. Very green. Extraordinary green. I’m getting notes of: Lush palm fronds, aloe vera, vines, mosses and dark, wet, logs with some herbal edges. There’s a certain humid or wet element to it. There might be a musk base in this but I honestly can’t tell because it smells like a hothouse with a water fixture.
Wet on my skin: Some drier, more resinous elements come out: I could see an amber of some sort in here. Layered on top are still 1001 green things, both bright and dark (moss, cucumber, palm fronds, decaying logs). Definitely getting something very dark and musky, and something very wet. Sweet in that very, very green with hints of wet-decay way. I also think there might be a strong, deep rose note present.
Drydown/After 30 mins: Still green, still musky, still wet - a bit less of a decay note. The musk notes dominate more than they did wet, and the various greens are all blending, but otherwise fairly stable.
Official Notes: Hot red sands, exotic spices weave through petals of black jasmine, dragon’s blood and ocean spray.
Okay, so hm. The dragon’s blood note in here must be what reminded me of blood rose. Suc’s dragon’s blood is different from any other I’ve smelled - it’s less Dr-Pepper-Resin and more dark, sweet, and cloying in the way blood is - kind of like… coppery but without a metallic tang. The sand I think is what’s giving me that mid-note of thick-golden-brown that reminds me strongly of a musk. The black jasmine is the floral and it’s very heavy, very dark, and I assume has to be quite green given how green the scent is. There’s a particular note in here that reminds me of cucumbers and it’s either the black jasmine or the ocean spray. The ocean spray itself is very kelpy to my nose - think the ocean note in Compass Rose instead of a more idealized ocean note.
One of the spices combined with that cucumbery note must be what’s reminding me of decaying wood.
This is note light, spicy, resinous and sharp - it is thick, sweet, slightly cloying, wet and dark. Think ‘thick steamy jungle’ instead of ‘dry desert’.
Verdict: Not my thing. I’m very sensitive to decay notes, and very sensitive to green notes. While this didn’t give me a headache it goes firmly into that category of ‘this reminds me of a hot house’ along with The Strange South’s Heat Lightning, Sucreabeille’s Belladonna, or Area of Effect’s Hist Sap. If you like any of the perfumes I’ve listed give this one a spin. I’ll be passing on my bottle.
Out West
I know this one has a palo santo and a chocolate note… but don’t know the rest!
In the bottle: Palo santo is an herbal-woodsy-smoky tree scent - and it’s present here along with a milky chocolate. Hovering in between the two is a kind of musky, thick scent that adds a tang. I think I’m getting some of Sucreabeille’s whiskey here down near the base of the scent. The result is something that borders on gourmand but is something else entirely. I know floral-gourmands are known as ‘flormands’ - I guess this would be a resin-gourmand. A uh… resmand?
Wet on my skin: Creamy nuttiness layered over chocolate, smoke, and a touch of vanilla - the musky scent isn’t as strong but is still kind of a nuance here. The palo santo is at the base of the scent along with the note that reads to me as whiskey or bourbon. There might also be a really, really soft leather in here (not acrid at all - the only thing acrid in this is some tanginess that borders on booziness).
Drydown/After 30 mins: As this dried down some fruity smelling elements came out. There’s something tart at the very top that reminds me of a citrus. Along with that there’s another fruit smell in here that’s much deeper and sweeter. It reminds me of figs, maybe of coconuts (or even a green banana).
To sum up what it smells like: In the top notes there’s that tartness, some smoke, and a little powderiness. Beneath that is a creamy smellI initially ID’d as a vanilla - but it could also be a coumarin/tonka and that fruity smell that reminds me of fig/coconut. In the base is the palo santo and a tiny whisper of a boozy smell. The chocolate is just an edge at this point. It’s a lovely dark scent that starts out a tad masculine then moves into gender neutral bordering on feminine.
Official Notes: Scent notes: a gourmand swirl of honeyed chocolate with a smoky undertone of palo santo. Sandalwood, black musk, coumarin and a drop of camphor create a mysterious, dark undercurrent.
Again, pretty good throw on this. Not quite as distinct as some of the other EDPs but was definitely getting whiffs of it throughout.
So, yup on the chocolate. The honey combined with the black musk is probably what made me think of fruit - both can take on the same rounded, dark, sweet tones. The palo santo is that herbal tree smell - and is probably adding some of the piquancy that reminds me of a citrus. I think the sandalwood is what reminded me a bit of the smell of whiskey/bourbon and the sharpness that smelled a little boozy was the camphor. The vanilla-tonka smell is the coumarin. The sandalwood adds creaminess and smokiness along with the palo santo.
Verdict: This is a very nice scent! I’m easy to sell on Gourmands With Non Food Elements. My only wish for it is for the chocolate remained more prominent in the scent throughout - but this might be helped by applying more or applying it to hair. This scent is all dark secrets in the pale moonlight - which is A Big Mood. I’ll be keeping my bottle.

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