5 Deconstructing Eden Reviews: Black No. 1 + Delaunay + Morrigan + Haunted + El Sol
Some months ago (I think it was for the 4th of July sale?) I bought a sampler pack of Deconstructing Eden scents from Sucreabeille's Indie Marketplace [ link, if anyone is wondering where to get it ]. Today is the day I finally review them.
I'm pretty stoked to finally get around to them because I had the opportunity to collaborate with Deconstructing Eden's Toni on Roasts and Toasts. What really stands out to me about her perfumes is the note quality: She's doing Indie scent profiles in a classical way ( no fragrance oils! ) and it really shows.
All perfumes in this review were allowed to rest for several days ( a few weeks for these scents) 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). Sometimes I wear scented hair products simultaneously. 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. (Note: this time if I was only running one scent on one side I didn't bother to use the towel - I did 3 of the perfumes before taking a shower and two after).
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.
Deconstructing Eden's sample bottles are 2.5 ML spray EDPs. The tops remove easily, and they spray easily giving a nice cloud for such a little nozzle. The fonts used on the labels are all easily legible and didn't seem to smear or be damaged from typical use.
The bottles seem quite impossible to open though - this is good in terms of preventing leaks, but, I often do bottle-sniff reviews as part of my reviews. I've had to skip that section with Deconstructing Eden. In most cases I don't think this will matter because if you want to sniff a perfume you can just go ahead an apply it.
The only downside to them is they come shrink wrapped tightly in plastic - it has a preforated line on it but when removing this plastic it never once tore neatly along the line for me. Getting the bottles out was a mini-wrestling match for each bottle. I get that this is yet another precaution against leaks - a good idea when shipping EDPs - but I do wish the plastic were a little easier to remove.
A reminder: Each nose is different and each skin’s chemistry is different. Your mileage may vary.
Note: Since these are all EDPs and drydown very quickly (sometimes even before I've finished the 'wet' section) I've combined the drydown/after 30 minutes sections.
Black No. 1
Wet on my skin: Spicy, sweet, earthy resin with an anise-edge. Might be getting some black myrrh and leather in here. It reminds me very strongly of BPAL’s Schwarzer Mond but a bit spicier and fresher.
Topnotes of sweet anise (maybe some cashmere? - something soft in there, it could also be a tonka). Midnotes of leather and a sweet resin - maybe myrrh. Basenotes of earthy and spicy resins - could totally see a black amber and an aged patchouli.
Drydown/After 30 mins: Pretty stable to how it went on, but more nuance is coming out.
At a glance this smells like soft leather and sexy, evil Dr. Pepper. Like, it isn’t fizzy but there is something in there that reminds me of a cola note or a Dr. Pepper note.
I’m getting topnotes of leather, a little bit of anise (like it’s seriously off at the edges at this point), and a little bit of resinous piquancy.
In the midnotes I’m getting the kind-of-like-spicy-cola smell, the ‘soft’ smell (could be cashmere, could be a vanilla), and sweet resin. At the base it’s all dark, smooth resins.
Official Notes: Milk white skin, a haze of clove cigarette smoke, burning leaves and the blackest patchouli in my collection.
So, I think the soft smell is the milk white skin. The spicy-cola smell is the clove cigs, the burning leaves are the ‘sweet’ resin and possibly adding some of the piquant resin I’m getting at the top. It might also be where I’m getting the kind of ‘leather’ vibe from. The base is that fabulous, very black, aged patchouli.
Verdict: If you’re a fan of sweet dark resins definitely check this one out. I am quite fond of it and will be keeping my sample - possibly upsizing when I run through said sample (they’re 2.5ml which is almost a dram).
Wet on my skin: Mist, water, ozone, with an edge of a floral. This smells exactly like cool misty water with some florals and warmth with a little bit of a resinous traditionally masculine scent in there. Maybe a touch of citrus at the outset and an undercurrent of musk.
Drydown/After 30 mins: Getting topnotes of something bitter, musty, and papery - it’s either a pepper note (white pepper maybe) or a pipe/cherry tobacco. It’s hard for me to make out the rest of the scent under that - I get edges of those phenomenal water notes, a bit of the traditionally masculine smelling resing, a tiny kiss of citrus and some sort of sweet floral. But it’s all dominated by that bitter/sharp, musty, papery scent.
Official Notes: Ambergris, red leaves, black agarwood, a touch of leather, amber key accord, rosewood, cassis, a touch of lime and the barest drop of fresh apple.
So, the ambergris in this is what initially smells warm and aquatic. It’s amazing. The topnotes I’m getting must be a mix of leather (which is kinda acrid), the cassis, the amber and the red leaves. This mixture smells bitter, dusty, papery, and peppery so I figure the leather must be adding the acrid/sharp notes to it, the leaves must be adding the papery, the amber is probably adding the kind of ‘dusty’ notes, and the peppery note - along with some of the earthiness of the scent - must be coming from the cassis (blackcurrant liqueur). What’s reading as a floral to my nose must be the rosewood. The black agarwood must be the resinous base. With the fruits I get that kiss of the lime and at the edges I can, with the words in front of me, make out the barest tiniest hint of apple you can imagine.
Verdict: Loved this wet when that amazing ambergris dominated. I’m not a fan of the particular papery-peppery combo that lives in the topnotes of the scent. It certainly is masculine, and it certainly is dark, but it’s heading into that Old Book Smell category I’m not a huge fan of. If you’re one of those Old Book Sniffers out there, and someone who likes masc scents, give this one a spin.
Wet on my skin: Makeup powder (smells just like many lipstick accords with just a touch of soft powder), soft leather - at least one floral (going to guess rose, but could be wrong - there might be some violet in there too), something golden - could be heliotrope, could be vetiver. Softness reminiscent of a textile (cashmere maybe?). A wisp of something smoky. There is a resinous base - more like a grey amber than woody though.
Drydown/After 30 mins: This is reminding me of Sixteen92’s Mein Herr Marquis but darker and with an edge.
At the top I’m getting dark leather, soft powder, and what smells like rose and violet to me - with the violet being on the ‘creamy, almost like chocolate’ end of the violet spectrum. There’s kind of a shimmering quality to the whole scent I’m having a little trouble putting my finger on.
In the midnotes still getting that soft note and that golden note.
At the base it’s resinous and grey with a tiny, tiny bit of smokiness.
Official Notes: Grey musk, leather, dark red roses, patchouli, night blooming jasmine on a bed of wood.
So, the grey musk is what’s smelling soft in the midnotes and what’s adding that grey character I was reading as part of the base. The leather is the leather, and the rose is the rose - and given that there’s no violet in this I suspect the rose is adding that kind of floral-roundness I was reading as violet.
A bit surprised to see jasmine appearing in here - but I can totally see it now that it’s named. It’s adding to the ‘golden’ character of the scent and providing that ‘shimmery’ note (it’s a really nice jasmine!).
The patchouli is what is one of the base resins in the scent - and I think is adding a bit to the ‘golden’ portions, and then there’s wood. It smells like grey, weathered wood.
Verdict: I really like this one! It’s feminine, but with claws. Keeping my sample and will probably be upsizing when I run through it!
Wet on my skin: Rose and dark greenery - something bitter near the base, maybe some bergamot? I think I saw the rose note for this while copy/pasting the notes for another of the scents… but even if I hadn’t it would be hard to miss the rose in this. This is rose centric, for sure.
Beyond that rose in the greenery I feel like I’m getting two different kinds of greenery. One is that fresh cut grass scent and another is a darker, sweeter green. There might be an edge of another floral in this - a sweet one like ylang ylang or something.
The base note is some sort of dark wood, I think.
Drydown/After 30 mins: Rose, fresh greenery, dark greenery, bitter-citrus-kinda smell and dark wood at the base. Edges of that other floral that might be ylang ylang. It’s fairly stable to how it went on - perhaps the rose is a smidge less dominant but otherwise about the same.
Official Notes: Ghostly roses, ethereal lilacs, and wisteria. Pale, pale Asian lilies on a soft bed of delicate woods and ambergris.
So, yes on the roses. With the lilacs and wisteria - I maybe get a hint of purple flowers? It’s hard to tell under the rose. Like I can see a little powderiness from the lilacs, and some round purpleness at the edges that I had been attributing to the white floral. I think the wisteria is what I was reading as bergamot - a little woodsy and bitter, but also sweet and piquant. The lily is what I was reading as ylang-ylang. With that one I was at least in the right neighborhood with ‘white floral’. The base is in fact woods - with it written in front of me I can see a light touch from the ambergris, giving the woods a bit of gold in there with the darkness.
I’ve been trying to figure out what I was reading as greenery. The fresh greenery I could see maybe being from the wisteria, and maybe the ambergris was adding some of the dark greener? Or maybe it’s part of the rose accord to simulate a stem? I’m not sure, but, there definitely is a ‘green’ element to this from somewhere.
Verdict: Dark, feminine, and unabashedly rose centered. Rose lovers rejoice! I am not, personally, anti-rose - but it isn’t one of my great floral loves either. I’m largely ‘rose neutral’ if you will, and here the rose is a bit much for my tastes. This will be one I pass on.
Wet on my skin: Orange blossoms, ultra sweet citrus, overlaying amber, musk, and some sort of spice - cinnamon maybe? It reminds me of the smell of orange sticky buns minus the gourmand note. So, sort of like orange frosting with a tiny bit of fizz to it. There might be, come to think of it, some honey and vanilla in here.
Drydown/After 30 mins: Very, very golden and sweet.
Guessing at notes: With the topnotes there’s a bit of piquancy - but it’s not any citrus I can ID by my nose, so I’m guessing it’s something a little unusual - maybe citron. Then there’s Orange with a capital O which could be orange, orange blossom, or mock orange. It might even be a combination - I’m going to guess orange blossom and mock orange though.
In the midnotes I think there’s some ambergris here - it’s got that kind of ambery, musky, frothy smell ambergris has. I’m guessing there might even be a very sweet white floral in here too - like honeysuckle. Then I think there might be some honey and vanilla.
Finally I think there’s a base of amber.
Official Notes: Crashing waves, pineapple, coconut, driftwood, sweet oranges, neroli blooms, and redwoods.
Crashing waves I’m guessing is the ambergris smelling scent. The pineapple is what I was mistaking for an out-of-the-norm citrus (whoops) - a mistake I keep making with pineapple. A lot of the sweetness in the scent is coming from the pineapple, I think. The coconut is what’s kind of musky and reminds me of vanilla. The driftwood I think is what I was reading as part of the ‘ambergris’ smell - but I can pick it out as a unique odor with the word in front of me.
The sweet oranges are the orange, the neroli blooms are what I was reading as normal orange blossoms and the redwood is the resin at the base.
Verdict: A grown-up pina colada smell (minus the rum). For lovers of fruity oceanics (and orange flavored icing) this one is a real treat. It’s very sweet compared to the other scents I’ve tried from Deconstructing Eden so, if you like your scents sugary, this might fit the bill. For me? I’m conflicted. I’d love this smell in a lotion, or in a bath bomb or candle. As a personal scent I can’t decide if it’s ‘too sweet’ for me or not. No idea if I’ll keep my sample or not in the long run.