|The Opium Den. 19thc. Vincent G. Stiepevich.|
The other is BPAL. Their site makes my head explode. Pages and pages and pages of it. I don't want to sort through eleventy thousand elaborate description to find a couple of scents to order. Some of the descriptions are nice and simple - a few notes, not too hard to figure out, while others are paragraphs long with a metric boatload of notes, flowers and flowers, six essential spices, four atmospheric components, fresh cookie breath and the sweat of an Ethiopian lumberjack. At which point my head explodes again. Too many choices, too much information. My brain goes all BSOD and starts a memory dump. I've gotten a few imps as part of trades, and they've been nice but not what I would expect, given the hype. None of them have made me go OMG. Must. Have.
But...there has been one BPAL scent I have craved. Kathy Effing Jacobs described Red Lanterns in one of her Makeup Heroes videos. This one, I think. I've been stalking ebay for it ever since. BPAL describes it as "A tribute to the opium den cum bawdyhouses of Shanghai in the 1930's. Golden amber, blonde tobacco, Sudanese black coconut, rich caramel, black currant, white opium and delphinium laced with a sensual blend of Asian spice."
As luck would have it, after about a year of looking, I found (and actually won) a bottle of it just in time for my birthday. I was so excited I stalked the package on USPS tracking waiting for it to get here. While I was waiting, I checked out BPAL Madness to read the descriptions of the scent.
Uh-oh. Every description I read emphasized caramel. Not that I dislike caramel, but that's not what I'm looking for. I don't want it to smell like a Russian Tea House, I have Solstice Scents' delightful Russian Caravan from last winter for that. Russian Caravan is listed as a blend of smoked black tea, leather, pomegranate, black currant, amber & pink peppercorn. It's a lovely, spicy-sweet scent that makes me think of drinking hot tea in a horse-drawn sleigh. That's all well and good, but I want Red Lanterns to smell like an opium den* full of lounging odalisques. Smoky haze and a scantily clad Joan Chen. I began to fear this would be another Haus Amber. Great anticipation followed by a painful letdown.
|delicious, but not what I'm hoping for.|
|"A New Vice: Opium Dens in France", cover of Le Petit Journal, 5 July 1903|
In short, Red Lanterns is everything I'd hoped it would be; lush, smoky, sinful and delicious. I love it. It reeks of indolence, luxury and decadence.
*not an actual opium den, that would probably smell terrible. The romantic idea of an opium den.
As always, all products were purchased by me for my own use. My opinions are my own and always will be. Your mileage may vary.