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What's that I smell?
Black davana, opium flower (or poppy to us laymen!), belladonna, poison hemlock, dartura (the moonflower), Queen of the Night (exquisitely rare night-blooming cereus), frankincense, oud and myrhh...allegedly!
Doesn't that list conjure up the most mystical, bewitching image? From the get go, before I even got my hands on it, I was salivating over this fragrance. My expectations were through the roof- I honestly expected it to smell like nothing I'd ever smelled before. The anticipation was high as I got my grubby hands on the sample and eagerly sprayed, to smell... Imperial Leather.
Honestly. The first thing I noticed, before the enchanting top notes, the seductive base notes, before anything else, was Imperial Leather. Cue instant flashback to my childhood- but strangely enough, it didn't put me off. Before I had time to make the decision that this was a perfume that would have me smelling like a bar of soap- albeit, a comforting bar of soap- the scent started to change on my skin, and that's when the attraction began.
As time goes by...
I admit it. After a few hours on my skin, I still wasn't feeling the Freak. It's a floral. Slightly musky, a little woody, and sometimes spicy- but on top of it all, a floral. Of course, I was expecting this, given the top and heart notes. But somehow, I just expected something more... diferent. Something edgy, something that walked right up to all the cheerful florals lining out shelves, and stuck out its tongue. I didn't get that with Freak. I got something which, surprisingly, reminded me of Narciso Rodriguez...although I much prefer Freak.
But it's not all doom and gloom! It sat nicely on my skin, and after around two hours settled nicely into mhyrr and frankincense territory, which I really enjoyed. It wears well on me, usually lasting about five hours, and getting spicier as it goes. It also has good sillage, depending on where you spray- if you're going for subtle, stick to the wrists, but for a full on frangrance extravaganza, spray away- Freak manages not to become overwhelming when over applied.
Looks aren't everything, but...
In this case, they really are something. This perfume is presented extraordinarily, with everything from the box to the bottle being truly exquisite. It's here, not in the fragrance, that I see Illamasqua, lauded for their always innovative approach. The box itself is something to be seen- it's not just a container, it really is a display piece. The plastic window shows the gorgeous bottle against a moonlit, eerie background, and on opening the dark glass is nestled comfotably in the bottom section. This set up makes it very easy- and very tempting!- to keep the bottle in it's box, as you simply pop off the top portion instead of having to fiddle around with little flaps of cardboard.
However beautiful the box, I just couldn't resist having the bottle out on display, and here's why. It's made of a beautiful dark glass, feeling heavy and expensive and just a bit deco, emblazoned with fantastical swirls and the Freak name. It sits at an angle, which is charming if a little inconvenient when you try to put it down the wrong way (doh!), but it's more than worth it to see the brilliant little decoration creeping up the side. A little silvertone snail, sliding his way up the plain to the cap. Absolutely awesome.
The 30ml bottle, whilst a little less enchanting, is still a nice decoration, with the same swirled lettering, this time in white, and a little snail printed above the name. Not as cool, perhaps, but much handier for throwing in your bag!
How much is that doggie in the window...
I find this fragrance, given how long it lasts on the skin and the level of detail in the packaging, to be well worth the money. You can get your mitts on the 75ml for around £59, and the 30ml for around about £30 depending where you go. Well worth it, in my opinion!
You and I Sexy?
I'm not the best to judge this, as I wear perfume and aftershave indiscriminately, picking the fragrance I think suits me best rather than going by the gender it's supposed to be for. With Freak, though, I can see their point. Yes, it's floral, but when the myrrh takes over, it does become a tougher, more 'masculine' scent. The Boy loves this, and has pinched my bottle on a number of occasions, so we're going with yes on this one!
How do I love thee...
I wanted this to be something so totally different, something strange and a little twisted- I mean, the clue is in the name! Illamasqua have built their reputation on daring to be different, and I find it surprising that this fragrance comes off so, well, normal. What is freaky, however, is how much I love it. In spite of totally contradicting my expectations, I love this fragrance. I find it incredibly comforting, and I've gathered more compliments on it than I can count. At the end of the day, expectations aside, I adore this perfume, so it's a win for me!
Ah, Alien. I have fond memories of this perfume- in fact, it was the first perfume I ever bought for myself, all the way back in 2005. Though I've branched out in my frangrances, Alien is still what I suppose you would call my 'Signature Scent', and more often than not, it's what you'll find me wearing.
It should probably be noted in passing that if you don't like jasmine notes in your perfume, Alien may be a miss for you. Though I've had others tell me they don't find it as prominent, on my own skin, I can smell the jasmine top note consistently- it's one of the reasons I love this perfume.
As perfumes go, Alien is not particularly subtle- it has decent sillage, and the mixture of jasmine and citrus makes a fair impression on the nostrils! Underneath the jasmine and citrus, Alien does have a soft, woody tone that's almost spicy, which really balances out the scent and makes it such a winner in my book- it's not quite as musky and bold as patchouli, but it's a similar earthy quality.
I get around six hours strong wear time from Alien when applied to my skin- if I spray it on my clothes, the scent lingers much longer- I've had scarves smell like it for days!
Though it's superficial, one of the littler things I love about Alien is the bottle. Though I'll only buy fragrances I know I'll wear, I love to display the bottles, and Aliens bottle is one which definitely lends itself to being displayed- it'd be almost criminal not to! The bottle is a deep, amethyst purple, and faceted to look like some ethereal gemstone (perfect for a perfume named Alien!) Though I often find gold-tone accents tacky, they're managed well on the bottle; they're minimal, which reads classy instead of cheap to me.
It's a fragrance I love and reach for again and again, and the range of sizes available is really handy. Definitely a keeper in my book.
I'll be the first to admit, I didn't expect to be keen on this fragrance at all. The marketing didn't appeal to me, coming off as just a tad tacky, and the blurb about having 'hypothalmus stimulating molecules' really did have me rolling my eyes. The bottle is nice, although looks a little too like it belongs with Vera Wangs fragrances, and it was only on the grounds of having another vaguely interesting bottle on my shelf that I gave this a try, not expecting much.
On first spraying, Loverdose doesn't smell like anything special. After the instant 'chemical' smell fades away, the best way I could describe the initial scent would be 'nice'. Just nice; not great, but certainly not awful. It starts out quite sweet, with a generally warm scent. But then comes liquorice- and there we have what made me change my mind about this fragrance.
It's a strong scent, almost 'sherbetty' against the soft vanilla tones, and completely makes this perfume for me. As for lasting power, after sitting on the skin for an hour or two, it does mellow down, smelling almost like star anise, but I love that initial liquorice burst, so I reapply frequently. Your mileage may vary, but I've found I can't really trace the scent on my skin after the five hour mark, but it lasts well on my clothing. The sillage is minimal, for me, with the fragrance staying close to the skin- I particularly like that, as I'm not keen on my perfume entering a room before I do!
Overall, this scent may not be the most innovative or exciting release, but for a perfume I was expecting to out-and-out dislike, it's snuck up on me, and I find myself reaching for it often.