4 Deconstructing Eden Fall 2019 Reviews: Autumn Drive + Pumpkin's Revenge + September Sun + October Rust
Sometimes the intros come easy, and sometimes you're staring at the yawning expanse of white space and coming up with nothing. Today is a day in the second category.
So I'll stick to the facts: Today I'm reviewing 4 Deconstructing Eden fall perfumes. I'm always eager to try out Toni's creations because I know they're going to be, well, different. There's gonna be notes that I don't see other houses get near, and they're going to all be high quality - and the perfumes are going to be highly conceptual. I like conceptual.
All perfumes in this review were allowed to rest for several days (over a week 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, honeysuckle Meyer’s Clean Day or citrus 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.
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.
See my review of Deconstructing Eden's Sample Bottles [ here ].
A quick note before jumping into the reviews: Because I cannot get DE's sample bottles open the bottle-sniff section of the reviews is eliminated. Additionally, since these are all EDPs and EDPs tend to dry quickly I've combined the drydown and wet section... often by the time I'm finishing typing the description of what I'm smelling EDPs have dried substantially.
Wet on my skin/Drydown: Bright, soft topnotes of resin and citrus, edge of a sweet floral in there as well. In the midnotes there’s something kind of musky and soft - creamy almost. At the base I’m getting wood, forest debris, and a dark dry decay-like vegetative note. It might be several notes, as it slightly reminds me of a benzoin or patchouli combined with something dark green.
It’s kind of like a dry, dark chypre with some soft decay and earthy notes in there.
After an hour: Well, I lost track of time while wearing this. Thankfully from sniffing it’s been pretty consistent after the first 10-15 minutes. The foreground notes have mellowed substantially. I’m getting bright citrus (like a glass of orange juice), a bit of golden resin, a touch of salt and an edge of a floral (maybe carnation?). There’s some of that kinda-creamy, soft midnote… but most of this perfume consists of and is anchored in the base notes. They’re woody, dry, and laced with vegetative decay and just a tiny bit of cloying sweetness. It honestly smells like a darker, more decayed version of a pile of fallen leaves… like fallen leaves in late fall verging into winter. I think I’m getting patchouli and/or benzoin, some sort of wood (oak maybe?) and that dry-vegetation note.
This is a little less of a chypre than it was wet, but it still has that citrus-contrasted-with-resins-and-dark-greens thing going on.
Scent cloud starts about 2 inches from my skin, and is fairly strong in the cloud. The scent wears close to the skin however - I didn’t get much of a throw on it.
Official Notes: Cool autumn air, asphalt, red maple leaves, redwoods, grey musk, oakwood, flannel, and leather seats
Interesting! No listed citrus notes - I wonder if the redwood smells like citrus to me, or if it’s part of the autumn-air accord. The redwood is probably also where that golden resin impression is coming from The asphalt is one of the decay notes to me - probably what smells kind of dark and reminds me of patchouli/benzoin. The red maple leaves are the dry plant matter. The creamy smell is a combination of that gray musk. I bet the flannel and the leather are what I was reading as a sweet floral. The oakwood is the wood I was getting that I ID’d as oak.
Verdict: I like chypres, but the decay/asphalt notes in this are a bit rich for me. They’re right at that line where decay starts to bother me… which means for most people they’d probably come across as subtle. I do like the oakwood in this and the sunnier notes at the top of the perfume. This will probably be a pass for me as I can’t see wearing it but it does effectively capture the mood of sunlight on piles of fallen, slightly decayed leaves in late autumn.
I’m going to preface this with a confession: I’m not a huge pumpkin fan. Oh, I love autumn but autumn for me is a season of early twilight and misty mornings, maple and apple, and the promise of winter hanging in the air. The spice-and-pumpkin scented craze mostly whooshes right past me. So take my opinion on pumpkin anything with a grain of salt.
Wet on my skin/Drydown: As pumpkin spiced things go this is actually pretty nice. At the top you have a rich, clove-and-cinnamon spiced pumpkin and then something kind of tart-floral-nutty and then at the base of the scent you have a bit of woody-resinous darkness. It’s definitely a gourmand but not overly sweet or sugary - just a little bit of sweetness balanced heavily by the tart-floral-nutty scent and the deep basenotes.
After 30 mins: So, this has been itching a bit and I’m wondering if it’s just the cinnamon/clove irritating my skin (doesn’t usually happen) or if this has black pepper in it. I could see part of that weird midnote being black pepper, which, uh, I’m allergic to (gives me hives)… I only just realized this about 2 minutes before the test period was up and feel like a ding dong.
Sooo very briefly gonna run the scent down here. At the top I get clove and cinnamon - maybe some nutmeg. There’s something kind of ‘shining’ in here that I think might be a metallic note? I’m not sure. Under that is the pumpkin, a bit of nuttiness, and a bit of sweetness and a rounded, kind of sour-tart scent I’m struggling to place (I wonder if the cinnamon in this is actually a cinnamon leaf?). I think there is a possibility of black pepper in here too. At the base is the earthiness and a dark, sharp resin.
Probably the strongest part of the scent at this point is that ‘shining’ note. I get a scent cloud from this 3-4 inches away from the skin. Pretty good throw on this too - though some of that might be partially due to the amount I applied.
Official Notes: Sweet and buttery pumpkin flesh corrupted with black patchouli, sticky myrrh and smokey oud, all spiked with dark spice on a bed of graveyard dirt.
No black pepper! I think! Maybe! I’m not sure what’s in dark spices - but I’m absolutely getting cinnamon and clove. I think the shining note is the myrrh as it can lean cold/shining/pale-metal in its smell. The pumpkin is the er… pumpkin. That odd note in the middle I was struggling to describe as kind of sour-tart is the oud I’m pretty sure. At the base is the black patchouli and dirt. It’s a good dirt note in there.
Verdict: As pumpkin spice scents go this is a pretty good one but ultimately it’s still a pumpkin spice scent. I think people who like pumpkin spice and wish that they could find a scent that goes a little less sweet and leans more into rich spices and dark notes will find that this one scratches the itch. A pass from me due to pumpkin spice not being much of my thing and it irritating my skin for whatever reason.
Wet on my skin/Drydown: Bright citrus, musky dried grass, acorns, a smell like soft fur or sunflower seeds, and a golden resin. So you get these topnotes that hit you with the bright citrus and this edge of resin - maybe even a very tart floral. They’re sharp and sweet. Below that is an almost cloying muskiness - rich, thick, sweet… somewhere between the smell of skin and cat fur. The muskiness overlaps heavily with a nutty scent I associate with sunflower seeds and acorns. Still in the midnotes there’s also a golden-grass note. At the base is a bright resin - it reminds me of the redwood note used in Autumn Drive… or maybe a cedar.
After 30 mins: Very stable to the drydown. The topnotes have mostly died back and the musky midnotes dominate. Rich, smooth, slightly animalistic and golden. Wears mildly when smelled close to the skin (scent cloud starts about 2 inches away and is not a strong scent cloud) but has a decent throw on it.
Official Notes: Sun brightened (vegan) honey, fossilized amber, bergamot, Somalian Frankincense CO2, Gurjun Balsam, Calendula flowers, and golden woods.
So I get the honey - I think that is what smells so musky-sweet to me. The amber note must be that bright resin near the top. The bergamot is the citrus. With the name in front of me I can see frankincense adding animalistic qualities and forming a dark-gold resinous base. The balsam and marigold also contribute to the scent - with the marigold contributing to those fur-like midnotes.
The golden woods I think are what smell like sunflower seeds and the golden-grass smell.
So, to sum up, the scent is dominated by the honey, balsam, and marigold/calendula. The bergamot and amber appear early in the scent but burn away pretty quickly. The golden woods add nuance and the Frankincense CO2 forms a dark gold base that gives this some animalistic qualities.
Verdict: A tad too musky/animalistic for my tastes in terms of personal scents. If you like the smell of cat fur (and want to smell like it) this is probably right up your alley. A pass from me but I can certainly see the scent having its admirers among animalistic scent fans.
Wet on my skin/Drydown: Floral/waxy topnotes undercut by something herbal (like wormwood, or holly maybe) and a red resin in the middle. Could be a dragon’s blood? If it is it’s a very red, very resinous dragon’s blood and less on the sweet side. A little bit of metallicness to this and some darkness at the base. There’s a bit of the scent I’d call almost like fallen leaves - but minus the scent of ‘decay’. The whole scent is sweet in the way blood is sweet.
Sniffing this brings to mind a full moon through leafless trees above a dark stone altar wreathed in holly branches and red flowers upon which is laying a rusty knife. It’s really evocative. Red, resinous, herbal, sweet and dark.
After 30 mins: So I’m struggling to describe this floral. It dominates the scent. It reminds me a lot of a thick, red rose but it’s not quite what I expect from just a rose. It’s like a rose had a baby with potpourri. I’m really struggling to determine exactly what it is because it’s really familiar but a name isn’t coming to mind.
Accompanying the floral is a kind of silvery note and an herbal note. The herbal note still reminds me of holly, and the luminous, silvery note is something I can’t quite name other than ‘hm smells silvery’. It might be myrrh, because myrrh can sometimes smell like that. Or maybe pine? It’d kind of resinous.
There’s a bit of a waxy note, and then a bit of a metallic note… and then red resin with a bit of sweetness to it like fallen leaves. Under that is a bit of indistinct darkness - it puts me to mind of stone but I’m not sure.
I got the scent cloud on this 5 inches from my arm (medium intensity) and it has the throw you'd expect with such a large scent cloud.
Official Notes: Cool rusting metal, the last of the maple leaves, black agarwood, crisp air, incense, bonfire smoke, blonde woods, and dark amber.
So the metallic tang is the metal accord, and the florals (whatever they may be) must be part of the rusting metal accord. I’m going to bet that accounts for the red resin as well. The black agarwood and blonde woods are probably adding some of that ‘potpourri’ scent. The waxy/fallen leaves scent is the last of the maple leaves note. The dark amber and crisp air are probably what’s putting me to mind of stone - but I think that ‘silvery’ note I ID’d might be part of the crisp air accord.
I don’t get much in the way of incense or bonfire smoke in the scent, unless the incense is blending with the general ‘very resinous’ character. I could see a tiny bit of smokiness at the edges blending with that floral.
Verdict: I like this one well enough to keep the sample, but not sure if I’ll end up upsizing it larger. I think I need to spend more time with it to cement my opinion - it's a very different scent from pretty much anything else I've tried. It’ll be nice for my more dark-feminine days. I especially appreciate that the leaf note in this actually smells like freshly fallen leaves with no decay notes present, and that the metallic notes are subtle and not overwhelming.