5 Stereoplasm Reviews: Les Belles Dames Sans Merci collection ( Temptress of the Ancients + Rubies from your Lips + His Heart to Drink) + Ogyoptynx (Paleocene Owl) + Nigrum Cattus (Black Cat)
Wow! So it feels like it's been a month of Sundays since I've posted a Stereoplasm review... much less written one! But my order got here with fall press samples galore in it and uh... a super special surprise where Meaghan just sent me three Appalachian perfumes to apologize for the delay. I am going to review those eventually because we're all going to have to collectively peer pressure her into doing a wide release of them because y'all. Y ' a l l.
But that's not what today's review set is about! Today we're covering the two animals of the month that came with my package and the Belle Dames Sans Merci collection. I've got no clue when the Animals of the Month will be available other than 'presumably pretty soon'. One is an extinct owl which is possibly the spookiest perfume animal Meaghan could conceivably use aside from Beelzebufo (giant extinct toad large enough to eat dinosaurs and literally named Devil Frog) or that one stupid giant extinct snake.
Let's get SPOOKY with implied faerie witch blood drinking.
All perfumes in this review were allowed to rest for several days ( about 5 days) 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 products other than perfumes the testing procedure for that item will be covered in the review itself if necessary. If the item has a standard use procedure just assume I am using that unless stated otherwise. E. G. for soaps assume I washed my hands or took a bath with them, for lotions assume I used them on my skin and gently rubbed them in, etc.
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.
I was going to link my prior review of the 1.5ml bottles from Stereoplasm... but as I went through my past reviews I realized that I'd never properly reviewed them! I just referenced a review where I'd reviewed the 1mls. WHOOPS. Plus, I think these 1.5mls might be slightly different than the ones Stereoplasm was using 6ish months ago. The caps on these seem to fit better for starters.
They're slightly narrower and taller than 1ml bottles. They're screw caps, and the caps pop off with ease. I've had no issues with leaks from these in the one box I've had them in.
In regards to the 2ml bottles: These look like new 2ml's! Their shape is slightly different than the 2ml's Stereoplasm has used before... and they've got a different orifice reducer in them! This one has a little built in 'cap' you can pop out rendering the bottle as leak proof as this form of 2ml can probably get.
I found them easy to open and at first was over the moon with the special little orifice reducer. No splashes! No leaks! But the orifice on this gets uh... really reduced. I found it slightly hard to get the actual oil out of the bottle and for slathering on the perfume for the purpose of reviewing I ended up taking the orifice reducer out. Fortunately it popped out easily and went back in with no fuss.
Also, props to Meaghan on the labels. So far these have stood up to my typical use without getting dings, melting, or smearing.
A reminder: Each nose is different and each skin’s chemistry is different. Your mileage may vary.
Temptress of the Ancients
In the bottle: Sweet, woodsy resin. Sharp, bordering on herbal. Sweet and tangy and a little medicinal. Maybe a touch of smoke in there. Smells like fresh pine wood, burning herbs, spices, and perhaps something like a copal? Golden and a little silvery.
Wet on my skin: Okay, at the top I’m getting herbs. Fennel maybe, or wormwood. Beneath that is a dark resin - a copal or a frankincense. A little grungy, but also very classical smelling. At the base is either a sharp cedar or a pine. Little bit of smokiness to the scent but that could just be from the resin. The scent is aggressive, sharp, but also oddly pretty with a bit of woodsy sweetness to it.
Drydown: I’m wondering if this is a chypre, or something chypre adjacent. I can see some of the sweetness at the top being from bergamot. So what I get now is a kind of sweet-bitter-citrusy smell paired with herbs (fennel or wormwood) at the top. Beneath that is a resin - could be frankincense, copal, or labdanum… and then the cedar or pine but I could also see an oakmoss being in here adding a bit of darkness at the base. That, or it’s just a dark wood at the base.
Still has fangs. Woodsy, kind of foresty-feral fangs.
After 30 mins: Stable to the drydown - sweet-bitter-citrusy at the top, herbal, resinous and woodsy. Scent has the strong scent cloud starting 3-4 inches away from skin. Wears close to skin with throw staying subtle.
Official Notes: Dried lavender, joshua tree, hanging gardens, magnolia champaka, camphor and fresh fig
Okay, so, at the top the sweet-bitter-citrusy scent that reminded me of bergamot has to be the magnolia champaka. For how it smells imagine if a white floral had a baby with a resinous citrus. It’s really interesting and unique. The herbs I get under that are the camphor and the lavender. The resin which reminded me of pine or cedar must be the joshua tree. The hanging gardens is probably adding some of that dark greenery and that copal-frankincense reminiscent resin to the scent. I don’t get much fig in this apart from hat bit of darkness at the base that reminded me of oak moss.
Verdict: Not sure. It’s really resinous/herbal. It wears very strong and is probably one of the more “challenging” Stereoplasm scents I’ve tried - in line with Lights Across the Sky with how it leaves me kind of baffled. I haven’t decided if it’s my thing or not - but I do love how that champaka is blending and contrasting with the resin. I might keep my sample, I might pass on my sample, or I might upsize. The fact that I keep going back to sniff it bodes well for it.
Rubies from your Lips
In the bottle: … A red floral aquatic? It smells like a red flower, dotted with fresh water, with traditional aquatic florals in the background. I also feel like I’m getting a red fruit in here but I can’t tell which one. So, a red fruity-floral aquatic, maybe? There might also be just a touch of musk in here.
Wet on my skin: Oh yes, definitely a musk. So at the top I’m getting soft, fruity sweetness. Maybe a stone fruit like an apricot? A bit of a white floral with just a tiny bit of an edge to it, water, and something a little earthy-foody layered over thick musk.
It’s a thick, luxurious scent. Very red, very soft, a little sweet, watery, and seductive.
Drydown: A honeyed, white floral dotted with drops of water, possibly a red floral too (or it might just be various parts of the same floral can go red or white) something a little foody-fruity, and thick musk dominate the scent. There’s a little edge of that traditional aquatic smell.
I like this as a conceptual interpretation of what I assume is blood (from the title). It’s thick, heady, kind of dark, a little sharp and alluring… without going heavily metallic.
After 30 mins: Stable to the drydown - perhaps a bit more of the central flower coming out. Scent cloud starts about 2 inches from my hand. The occasional whiff of it throughout the test period but wears fairly close to the skin.
Official Notes: Twilight musk, smoked woodsage, carnation corsage, holy water, green clove, damp soil and grave moss
So the twilight musk is the musk - and is probably adding to the ‘red’ character of the scent by way of purple - probably some white floral nuances as well. That carnation must be the central floral. The holy water is that water-and-traditional-aquatic note. I wonder if the green clove is what went kind of fruity-floral to my nose.
There’s maybe a hint of smoke in here, but the smoked woodsage is more of a subtle edge to the scent. I can get a tiny bit of it with the words in front of me but it’s not a core component of the scent.
The damp soil and grave moss mostly add some darkness at the base of the scent. They’re definitely there, and I was definitely getting them without them being strong enough for me to assign them a specific note when doing a blind sniff. Just more the ‘feeling’ of darkness.
Verdict: Upsize! I really like this one. Floral musks are my jam and this one evokes a vibe of fangs, blood, and seduction while remaining fairly androgynous.
His Heart to Drink
In the bottle: Sweet, spicy musk. Honestly it smells like a musky dragon’s blood and grape juice. There might be a floral in there, but, it’s very sweet in a way that leans more natural than a sugar-sweet without being specifically floral or fruity.
Wet on my skin: Very sweet - like honey sweet - fruity floral. The fruit has something a touch earthy to it, like a fig or a pomegranate. The sweetness is also slightly reminiscent of marshmallow. There is a floral in there I’m pretty sure but I couldn’t tell you what it is apart from the red-verging-into-deep purple going on here with the scent. At the base is spice, and something earthy. Maybe an earthy resin? Very dark. Very witchy.
Drydown: So while googling to see what the title was referencing - apparently a poem - google betrayed me and tossed up a graphic with the notes of this listed. Sigh. I only saw the first one - but that fruity smell in this is blackberries.
So I get the fruit - dark purple blackberries - a bit of a cloying floral, and then a spice. Under that is something creamy and kinda marshmallowy - maybe mallow root. At the base is what makes me think ‘earthy resin’ but could also be a blend of chocolate, or violets and something else. It’s dark, brown-heading-into-purple, and earthy-dusty.
During the drydown the sweetness recedes to a level I expect from a fruity perfume - it's still sweet, just not as cloying.
After 30 mins: Edges as the forefront of that blackberry and a core of what I believe is a floral blending heavily with the blackberry. Under that I get that creamy scent that I think might be mallow root, and something I think might be an ultra-smooth wood. It’s organic, but very, very smooth. At the very base is that dusty-earthy-resinous scent. Watch it be myrrh and me miss identifying myrrh again.
Official Notes: Sour blackberries, lodestone, deer musk, willow oak, copper, faded cologne and silver crucifix.
So yes, blackberries are that fruity scent that initially reminded me of grape juice. The thing that smells like mallow root - I bet that’s the deer musk. Interesting! The willow oak must be that super smooth sood. The loadstone and silver must be that dusty-earthy-resin at the base. The faded cologne is probably the whisper of a floral I was getting blending with the blackberry.
The copper I can see at the edges blending with the blackberry when the words are put in front of me. It’s not a heavily metallic copper, and I wonder if the initial dragon’s blood impression I got regarding the scent was part of the copper accord.
Verdict: TBH this one went over pretty well too. Of the three I’d say it’s my second favorite. I’ll probably end up picking up the set as a bundle if it’s available when I do my next upsize order. Ironically for the one featuring a cologne note I’d say this one was the most feminine of the three. Overall with the Belles Dames sans Merci set It’s a really neat, spooky set exploring themes of sensuality, danger, and power.
This has also probably been the first Stereoplasm set I wish came in an EDP form. It seems like it would work really well as an aura-like cloud around the wearer.
Ogyoptynx (Paleocene Owl)
A few months ago in an email I mentioned to Meaghan I hoped she’d do an extinct animal for Halloween… and she did! Super cool! And what’s spookier than an extinct owl? Mentioning this because a) full transparency and b) oh my god an extinct owl y’all. I’m a big ole paleo nerd and tbh I don’t know why extinct animals aren’t more of a Halloween thing. They’re already known for being skeletal! One day Crazy Bonez will catch on and I’ll get a weatherproof plastic bone velociraptor to put in my front yard all the time during the Halloween season.
Anyway, on to the review.
In the bottle: Buttery toffee and irish coffee! This reminds me a ton of BPAL’s Miskatonic University minus the ‘polished wood’ notes. Very rich, very coffee. I feel like I’m getting something else in here but in the bottle it’s hard to put my finger on it.
Wet on my skin: Buttery toffee, pumpkin, creamy Irish coffee and a cold, kind of resinous smell.
Drydown: Still getting the toffee and Irish coffee. I’m not 100% sure on the pumpkin now. I feel like I’m getting some but it’s buried in the scent now between the smell of the coffee-gourmand, the sweets and this… other smell. This other smell is almost floral in quality - like a honeysuckle - but also really, really white-musky, and a little resinous. Sort of like a musk-honeysuckle-amber combo.
I really like this part of the scent - it balances out the gourmand really well and adds a bit of an edge… like, extinct owl talons. (TBH you’d probably have a hard time not selling me on an extinct owl perfume).
I also feel like at the tail edge I might be getting a hint of leather.
After 30 mins: Very stable to the drydown - still getting the white-musk-floral combo at the front layered over Irish coffee, toffee, and a cool resin (amber I think). I could also see pumpkin, leather, and maybe a hint of cinnamon in here.
It’s a fairly strong scent. Got whiffs of it all throughout the test period. Strong scent cloud starts 3ish inches from the skin.
Official Notes: Heaps of fresh candy corn, burnt brown sugar, and autumn air.
I can TOTALLY see the musk-and-toffee being candy corn with the word in front of me now. Yeah, this smells like it. The burnt brown sugar must be what’s reminding me of coffee in here - but I wonder if coffee was an actual component in this because I definitely get coffee… I suspect the cool resin, soft-floral, and that hint of cinnamon and maybe pumpkin and leather are the autumn air.
Verdict: I like this a surprising amount for a gourmand! It’s that autumn air accord and the muskiness of the candy corn y’all. While being definitely a sugar-sweet perfume it’s also not over-sweet. I don’t know if I’ll wear this frequently enough to upsize but definitely keeping my sample.
Nigrum Cattus (Black Cat)
I recall this one having a lime soda and gummi worms notes.
In the bottle: Yep! I get a lemon-lime fizzy soda at the top - very sticky and sugary. Below that is some of the kind of gummy-sugar smell of the gummi worms. I’m getting something else at the base but it’s overpowered by the fizz and citrus candy.
Wet on my skin: Fizzy lime soda at the top (smells less like Sprite now) layered over a caramel green apple with the gummi worms at the base. The lime and fizz give the scent bright piquancy while the apple mellows all the candied-sugary notes. I still feel like there’s something a little different at the base - something earthy. Like a whisper of fall dust or dirt or something.
Drydown: So the sugary-fruity scents die back some and this… other scent comes out that’s… a little sulpherous? Smoky? Earthy? Maybe a brimstone accord? It’s like a bit of fizzy limes and green apple with a smidge of heliotrope (I think the gummi worms turned into that) layered over brimstone. It’s like a contrast in bright green vs dusty gray.
After 30 mins: Scent it wearing much fainter with all of those fruity notes almost entirely burned off. Mostly just getting some nondescript creaminess and that dusty-gray-ashy-smoky-earthy scent with a hint of green citrus at the very edge.
Official Notes: Sour Gummy Worms, Twist of key lime and lemon soda.
Ah, so the original notes I got were the correct ones! I don’t know what the ashy smell I am getting is - perhaps part of the gummy worm accord? Or something from cross contamination?
Verdict: I liked this quite a bit wet - love lime soda scents. But the notes morphed and burned off very quickly. I think I’d like this as a lotion and might keep my sample to experiment with… or i might just pass it on. I won’t be upsizing it though since it didn’t play well with my skin for whatever reason. My opinion on this might be different - more along the lines of ‘omg lotion lotion lotion’ if this had stayed stable to how it was wet.
Update: So, I wore this a bit longer before I washed it off because I was busy... and I think I might have gone anosmic to it somewhat because when I went to wash it off I was getting a good 8+ inches throw off of it... but not much of the scent close to the skin.
I also wonder if I'm just having a weird time with citrus right now. My Doc Bronner's citrus soap smells like oranges and ashes to me right now, and a key-lime centered lotion from Little & Grim I've been using has also had a hint of ashes to it for my nose.