Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Darling Clandestine Fragrances Thoughts and Review

Let me just start out by saying that I have absolutely no faith in my ability to describe a fragrance. So why am I doing a perfume review? Because for the first time I've smelled perfumes that actually evoked feelings in me besides "that smells good" or "ew, that smells nasty". I had visceral responses to the scents that gave me strong images in my head. I began to concoct little stories and scenarios in my mind. And what moved me most of all is that many of them gave me a sense of deja vu. Not that I felt I had smelled them before, but they reminded me of experiences in the past. After becoming jaded with perfumes from big corporate brands, I'm more interested in indie perfumes.
I'm pretty hard to please when it comes to perfume. I don't like food smells, I don't want to smell like a cupcake or a flower. I don't like perfume-y, synthetic smells. Most perfumes smells vaguely like plastic or chemicals to me.  I'll probably still wear them, but they don't speak to me on a deeper level. I love earthy, raw, warm scents. Sandalwood is probably my ideal single note scent.

I love the esthetic of Darling Clandestine. It's dark, but not dreary. The perfume collection (she also sells hand made earring) is called Calliope Crash and has a circus/carnival/freak show theme that comes across as very original. The copy writing is extremely well done and entertaining. You can tell a lot of thought was put into creating each scent, each label, each photograph, and each description. The owner, Evonne, is extremely thoughtful and sweet.  All my dealings with her have been very positive. She is the type of person you feel proud to support.

My order came with each Bitsy vial in it's own bag and all the samples together in another bag. I like the tickets used for labeling; it works well and maintains the theme.

I ordered 3 Bitsy Vials ($4 each for a 1 dram vial) and a sample pack with 3 sample vials (3 5/16 dram glass vials for $3.50). The owner was nice enough to include an addition Bitsy Vial and AND an additional sample vial. I'm glad she did because I ended up purchasing a full size of the extra she sent.

I just wish that the Bitsy vials were labeled with the scent names because I'm paranoid I'm going to forget which one is which.

The written description for each fragrance are interesting and fun to read, but in the interest of brevity, I'll just give a brief quote of how Darling Clandestine describes the scent followed by my own thoughts.  I have to say that I thought each and every one of these smelled good, even if some weren't something I would personally wear.

Curiosities' Ball

Shop description- "Sensual black pepper dancing with ozone and dark green leaves. Very unisex—thoroughly appropriate for gents and ladies who aren't into the sweet stuff."

My thoughts- In the vial my strongest impression is of crushed ivy leaves. It reminds me of climbing an old stone wall enveloped in ivy with the ivy crushing under your palms and staining them green. I don't get the pepper smell so much, but after awhile on the skin the amber emerges. I like the amber and the green leaf smells separately, but together they feel a little disparate to me. Over time the ivy scent mellows down and I like the way it smells on me better..


Shop description- "A sting of sea salt and leather with splashes of communion wine. It evokes raw skin, sexy and wearable. Unisex."

My thoughts- In the vial it smells strongly of leather. Before it became too dangerous to do so I would go to Mexico often. They have these shops were everything is made of leather and now I associate the smell of leather with Mexico. This scent smells very masculine to me like a Mexican leather shop and my grandpa's after shave. Not that I think the scent smells like "old man cologne", just that it reminds me of him after the leather has time to mellow a bit. The strong leather overtones dissipate rather quickly leaving a comfortable, homey scent. It reminds me of sitting in my grandpa's lap on Sunday mornings and reading the newspaper's comics together. I usually like more masculine scents, but I'm not sure I could wear this one just because it smells like pure man to me.


Shop description- "Ethereal, fresh green tea with a little opium bite. Feminine."

My thoughts-  In the vial it smells strongly of green tea. When I put it on it smells exactly like my  favorite Japanese Green Tea incense while it's burning. I smell the slightly acrid smoke, the sweet perfumey scent of green tea, and the background earthy incense smell. This was a weird thought, but it smells round. Yeah, like the shape. I'm weird. The green tea scent sticks around for awhile, which makes me happy. I love this one and I bought a full size of it.


Shop description- "Bursts of cantaloupe darkened with spice and intense sandalwood. Unisex to feminine."

My thoughts-  In the vial it smells purely of cantaloupe. Not a fake sweetened cantaloupe either, but of the an actual ripe melon. On the skin it smells like Whole Foods or hippies shopping for a melons from a produce stand at the farmer's market. The intense cantaloupe dissipates quickly but lingers softly brightening the earthy sandalwood. I absolutely adore this one. One of my favorite favorite things I have ever smelled on my skin. Even my boyfriend commented on how good I smelled and he NEVER comments on that type of thing.  Along with Serpentina, I also bought a full size of this one.

Monstre Delicate

Shop description- "Clean, blue, rainy, with haunting dark spicy notes. Unisex."

My thoughts-  Initially this smells crisp in the vial, almost like apples in the snow. You know how people's houses always have a distinct smell? And no one's ever smells the same? This one reminds me of someone's house from my childhood, but I can't remember who. The memory is dancing at the very edges of my consciousness and it's driving me insane! It does smell water-y, but definitely fresh water, not sea water. Beyond that I can discern specifics. It has a slightly powderyness (maybe, I dunno, I'm terrible with specific scent descriptions). That isn't a "me" smell, but I still like it.

Fire Eater

Shop description- "Bright, hot, spicy, odd, indefinable. Unisex."

My thoughts-  In the vial there is a sharp tequila smell mixed with molé (a sauce usually made where I live from unsweetened chocolate and chili peppers). On the skin it smells hot, like sweaty, dancing bodies. It doesn't smell like sweat, but you know how smells intensify when your body heats up? Like that. It loses the sharp tequila scent, but keeps the spice. I'm not a big fan of molé because of the chocolate, which is what keeps me from loving this scent. (I'm not really sure if it smells like chocolate or not. That is just my impression of it. I'm probably wrong, haha.)


Shop description- "Bright, crisp, golden-green scent with notes of warm hay and vanilla and mowed clover and marigolds and lemongrass."

My thoughts-  In the vial is smells strongly of herbs and straw. It smells like laying in the field amongst the drying cut grass and wild plants after my dad had just mowed breathing the fresh air next to my mother's herb garden and making shapes out of the clouds. Smells fresh and clean. The dried grass scent dissipates quickest and the vanilla becomes more apparent. I wish the grass would stay longer. The vanilla adds a roundness to the base (there I go with the round again) and is more apparent over time which disappoints me a little. I'm not quite sure my finally thoughts for this one yet. I'll have to try it some more. I may decide that I love it.


Shop description- "Bright citrus and passionfruit mellowed with sage and other wonders. Fun and fruity but not candy-like. Feminine."

My thoughts- Initially it smells like sour candy. The passionfruit is very distinct. I don't particularly like the smell of passionfruit. I think it's too floral for me? I was hoping the citrus and the sage notes would be more prominent. They are there, but overall it is just a bit too sweet for me. The citrus and sage do come out more as the scent mellows, however. I do think it smells amazing, like something I would want to drink cold on a summer day. Just not something I would want to wear as perfume. As I mentioned I prefer more earthy scents.

My only issue is that I wish the perfumes lasted a bit longer on my skin. They last for awhile, but I do wish I could smell them still at the end of the day. But for something this good and for a great price, it's worth reapplying.

So would I order from Darling Clandestine again? A million times YES! In fact I already have. My full size bottles of Pyrotechnik and Serpentina are on their way to me as we speak.  I highly suggest anyone at least pick up a sample set. It only costs $3.50 with $1.00 shipping.


Thank you for reading and have a great day/night/whatever!


  1. I LOVE Darling Clandestine!!! I think I have all but maybe 4 or 5 of her scents now, and have only known of her shop for maybe a month now. Definitely one of my top places to buy smellies now. I also really enjoyed your review and the memories you shared.

  2. Awesome post! I thought it was interesting that you described some of the scents as "round". I can't quite describe it either, but I think I know what you mean. Weird, but it kind of makes sense, lol!


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