4 Little & Grim reviews: An Ironing Machine + Look Out! + Say AAAH + Total Eclipse of the Sun
Confession time: I have only seen the Little Shop of Horrors musical once. I probably ought to see it again what with various large, Audrey-looking carnivorous plants becoming a Halloween staple. And with Little & Grim releasing a whole Little Shop of Horrors collection for this Halloween... which I'm reviewing!
In a sea of spicy, gourmand, and more traditional fall scents this collection is noteworthy for going some very different places. It keeps with the themes of the movie, it's dark, it's a little twisted, and it shows off a variety of shades of green.
The perfumes covered in today's review are:
An Ironing Machine
Total Eclipse of the Sun
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 ( a little under a week for 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, 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 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.
So, eagle eye'd readers will notice that these bottles look a bit different from the ones L&G usually uses. That's because they are! Alex mentioned she was not happy with these bottles and would be replacing them once it was possible to do so. I do wanna address some pros and cons with these bottles real quick, but, if you're reading this in the far off world of the future L&G is probably using their standard 1ml sample bottles and not these.
So, with the Different Sample Bottles
Pros: They're very cool looking and seem leak resistant. You're unlikely to accidentally open one.
Cons: They are somewhat difficult to open (there's a trick to it with some wiggling and twisting), and they are prone to splashing when opened because of the force needed to open them.
All in all I'm glad L&G are gonna go back to their standard bottles - though these are very pretty little 1mls.
I will note that the labels for this collection just seem to be standard ink-on-paper and have smeared when encountering my sweaty and/or oily hands.
See my prior review of L&G's standard 1mls [ here ].
A reminder: Each nose is different and each skin’s chemistry is different. Your mileage may vary.
An Ironing Machine
I recall this one has some sort of smooth-plastic note and a fresh cut grass note. I’m a little hesitant about the fresh cut grass note, but, when I opened this for a test sniff it smelled mostly smooth, floral, and sweet
In the bottle: The fresh cut grass smell blends with a white floral in the topnotes. The fresh cut grass note is blended to the point where my nose reads it as almost like a flower petal, or a slightly indolic-sharp hyper-realistic flower. Beneath that is a note that reminds me a lot of L&G’s ylang ylang: a thick, silky, very sweet white floral.
Beneath that is the plastic note. It’s a very smooth, very accurate plastic - it smells a lot like the smell of Zip-lock bags. Sweet and smooth
Beneath that is a touch of resin - an amber I think. A bit of gold in an otherwise white-and-pastels tinted scent.
Wet on my skin: A quirky fruity floral. It’s very similar to how it smells in the bottle but now a fruit note of some sort is coming out. It reminds me of peach, or maybe apricot. I could even see it being a fruit blossom instead of a fruit proper. It blends very heavily with the fresh cut grass note. Beneath that - now more subtle - is the other white floral. I still think it’s really similar to L&G’s ylang ylang.
In the midnotes is the Zip-lock plastic smell, and at the base is that kiss of resin. There might also be a gourmand note blended in here - it’s so sweet it almost reminds me of bubblegum and there’s this hint of muskiness to it that kind of reminds me of a vanilla.
Overall the perfume smells on the ‘mainstream’ side but with a bit of an unusual twist to it with that plastic note and how sweet it leans. It reminds me a bit of Stereoplasm’s first bloom but with a more atmospheric twist on top of the fae-bright florals.
Drydown: The florals have quieted down some - they’re still there but just not quite as strong - and as I sniff them I am wondering to myself if I’m imagining things because of the name of the scent or if there’s something a touch metallic in here.
The midnotes are a bit stronger in the scent than they were wet - mostly because the florals in the topnotes have calmed down some. You have that Zip-lock plastic smell paired with the fruit and that bubblegummy-sweet smell that’s gone a little powdery. Then, at the base still, golden resin and a touch of something musky.
After 30 mins: Wearing fainter overall now - it’s detectable but I need to be about an inch, inch an a half from my hand to hit the scent cloud. It wears fairly close to the skin.
The florals are more of a subtle nuance now than a distinct notes-section as they were when it started out. From the topnotes most of what remains is the fresh-cut grass and an edge of metallic tang.
In the midnotes I get the plastic and that musky-powdery scent - it almost reminds me of heliotrope in that dry, powdery-dusty way heliotrope can get. Maybe some faint memories of whatever the fruit in this was. I’m not getting much of the resin now.
It’s kind of a musky fruity-atmospheric with floral and gourmand nuances.
Official Notes: An Ironing Machine: There's plastic on the furniture to keep it neat and clean. Notes include freshly cut grass, blossoming tulips, clean laundry, and expensive ladies' perfume.
So, I get the grass, the tulips are the non-white floral in there that reminded me of the smell of flower petals and possibly even the bubblegummy. The clean laundry’s ozonic tang is probably where I’m getting the powderiness and metallic notes. The plastic is the Zip-lock smell. With the expensive ladies’ perfume: I’m guessing that’s the fruity-floral-musky-amber at the heart of the scent that shines so much when it is wet.
I am not sure where heliotrope fits in here - maybe it was used as part of the plastic accord, or to get the powdery note for the laundry - but there’s this smell in the scent in the deep drydown that’s somewhere between lipstick and baking flour… and that’s something I associate with heliotrope.
Verdict: Grassy, feminine, and clean-laundry… all categories I’m not huge on in general, so I’m surprised this one was appealing as it was wet. I think it’s the bright springlike fruity florals shining through. If it weren’t for the grass note (which, as always, headachey for me) I’d consider this as a soap. It morphed too much on my for me to use it as a perfume. It’s a pass from me, but wet it represents a big dose of shining, slightly-manic springtime that I appreciate the construction of.
In the bottle: The first time I smelled this I went ‘Oh GOSH that’s good’. In the bottle this is so firmly in my wheelhouse: There’s some sort of white floral (reminds me of ylang ylang but could be something else) mixed with a vanilla-musky-sweetness, an almost gourmand bit (reminds me of sugar cookies), and a base of a powdery white wood that remind me of oud. This is giving me strong musky-flormand vibes.
Wet on my skin: Musky-woody and sweet in a way that reminds me of sugar cookies. The white floral is more of an edge note wreathing that core of creamy-vanillaish-musk and oud-like wood. It’s all sweet and white and golden in a kind of dark way - like a bat shaped cookie at a Halloween party.
Drydown: Musky sugar cookies wreathed in a white floral. The sugar-cookie musky part reminds me a bit of VBN. There’s also kind of a rubbery character to the scent and I can’t tell if that’s part of the vanilla or a separate note entirely. The floral is the tiniest bit bitter - now it has me wondering if it’s a neroli instead of an ylang ylang. There’s still some of that wooden note in there, but it’s got an almost herbal-cool edge to it. As it smells now it reminds me less of oud.
After 30 mins: Very similar to the drydown, perhaps wearing a bit fainter. I can pick up the scent cloud about three inches from my arm and got whiffs of it throughout the test period.
Official Notes: Notes include peach, mixed berries, rain-soaked flowers, chocolate, white musk, vanilla marshmallows, cedar, amber, and sandalwood.
So, the sugar-cookie scent is the chocolate, white musk, and vanilla marshmallow. The rain soaked flowers are the white floral, and I can perhaps see a bit of wetness in there. The berries are very subtle - maybe a bit of fullness in the floral part of the scent.
I suspect what went rubbery on me is the peach. I know peach is a note infamous for morphing - I didn’t get anything in here that strongly went ‘peaches!’ to me.
The powdery-white-wood is the cedar, amber, and sandalwood. The almost-herbal edge that came out is the cedar - the amber is what added that bit of powderiness and I can totally see the sandalwood (which blends with the kind of cookie notes) with the words in front of me.
Verdict: If this hadn’t morphed on me it’d be a strong upsize. As it is it’s a ‘hm… perhaps as a soap…’ scent. It is, indeed, a musky flormand… but with subtle fruity nuances that (when it is wet) blend with the florals. I think if it works on someone as a perfume will depend on that peach note and what it does.
I know this is a dentist scent with uh… mint and a couple of other notes? I want to say vanilla, latex, and lavender notes but I’ll be damned if I can remember for sure.
In the bottle: Ozone. A ton of ozone. It smells like a pool of mildly chlorinated water. There’s a kiss of lavender and a tiny hint of mint. It’s an almost antiseptic smelling scent aside from that lavender.
Wet on my skin: Ozone with edges of mint and lavender. The lavender is a very nice lavender - riding that sweet spot between medicinal and sweet. It’s bright, almost citrus-like, and combined with the mint gives the scent an edge like scalpel. The ozone scent now smells like a combination of vetiver, chemicals and chlorinated water. It reminds me strongly of the smell of the garden department at a hardware store. It’s actually a little headache inducing for me.
Drydown: About the same as it is wet. Wears quite strongly with a scent cloud starting 3-4 inches away from my hand. Was getting pretty frequent whiffs of it as it dried down.
After 30 mins: The ozone has faded some (basically going from ‘very strong’ to ‘noticeable component’) and the more lemony nuances of something are coming out - pretty sure it is vetiver. The perfume still has that lavender edge slicing through it but a lot less of the mint - like, I can only detect a slight coolness that might be mint or might just be from the lavender. It still smells strongly of something between an antiseptically washed room and the garden department at a hardware store.
Official Notes: leather, vetiver, ylang ylang, and a bit of peppermint.
So the strong ozone-chemical smell is a leather, which, yeah, I can see. It’s a very acrid-chemical leather. The vetiver is the vetiver. For those curious what this one smells like: It smells like the vetiver BPAL uses a lot, which smells like the garden department at the hardware store. What I was reading as lavender must be the combination of mint and ylang ylang. They blend throughout the scent with the mint losing its distinctiveness and mostly adding a kind of herbal streak to the ylang ylang… which creates a smell that smells like a well… super balanced lavender. The kind of the lavender you take a moment to write home about.
Verdict: I can’t do the leather note in this. I don’t mind the vetiver - it does smell like a hardware store garden department to me, but, nothing wrong with that for adding a bit of earthy-but-very-clean smell to something. I’m very into the combo of ylang ylang and mint which had me thoroughly fooled. For fans of strong atmospherics, or people who like BPAL’s vetiver note (this particularly reminds me of how it plays out in BPAL’s Black Annis) or Sucreabeille’s Belladonna this one might be worth checking out - if only for that ylang ylang and mint combo.
Total Eclipse of the Sun
In the bottle: Earthy, green, fruity and dark with a floral edge. The first thing I get is a wave of dark greens - moss and/or oakmoss, something vegetable, and maybe a touch of an earthy resin. Under that is a thick, earthy fruit - perhaps a fig. The base is dark, sticky smelling resin. There might be tobacco in here mixed with a black myrrh. Thick, sweet, sticky and dark characterizes the scent when taken as a whole.
Wet on my skin: Fig and a floral underscored by dark greenery with a resinous base. Similar to how it smelled in the bottle but the fig and that floral take the forefront. The vegetable portion of the greenery has become more of an edge. A jungle-at-midnight fruity-floral.
Drydown: Sweet, silky florals and fig. The fig has lost some of its earthiness, but, y’know, it’s fig. It’ll always be pretty earthy. Beneath that is the greenery and resin. It’s wearing fainter than it went on, and more smoothly. It’s still dark - but more like… fruity floral jungle after the last sliver of sun has dipped below the horizon than at midnight.
For me this is juuuuust on the side of the line where green is enjoyable instead of overwhelming. And I’m diggin that floral-fig combo.
After 30 mins: About the same as the drydown - a little more faint (scent cloud starts about 2 inches from the skin) and I’m getting something a little piquant in a lemony way in there - like the edge of a ray of light in the darkness. Still very sweet in an earthy-floral-mildly-green-sticky-resinous way.
Official Notes: fern, moss, neroli, bergamot, light musk, star jasmine, geranium, valencia orange, tonka, oud, crisp veggies, and warm dirt
Okay so! The dark greens at the fern, moss, and crisp veggies. The veggies I only really got when it was wet, but the other greens persisted throughout with the harsher botanical edges mellowing as the cent dried down. The white florals are the neroli, the star jasmine, and geranium . The fruits are bergamot and orange which is honestly surprising to me. The best I can guess is they’re blending really well with the light musk and dirt to smell like a black fig dupe. The tonka and the oud must be creating the dark sticky resin at the base.
Scent cloud is detectable 2-3 inches away as mentioned earlier. The throw is also not bad - I’ve been getting whiffs of it this whole time. I do wish it had faded a tad less though it wears fairly mildly and heavily blended once it has dried down.
Verdict: Gonna upsize in some form! There will be some debate of whether it ought to be in perfume, soap, or lotion. There are merits to each: I like it well enough as a perfume though it fades a tad faster than I would prefer. As a soap though it would maintain the fullness of the scent throughout its use and my bathtub would smell like midnight jungle fruity-florals. As a lotion I feel like this wears mildly enough that it would make a good fruity floral ‘base’ to layer other fruity florals on top of.