Wednesday, 30 July 2014

The Summer of Darling Clandestine

I feel like everyone and their dog/cat/turtle/pet rock are currently obsessed with Darling Clandestine. Since Evonne, the shop's owner, has recently moved and turned DC into her full-time job, more amazing things have come out and everyone has been going nuts/buying all the things, myself included.

The allure of DC, besides the great customer service, excellent value, great products, etc., is the complexity and sheer oddity of the scents. I feel pretty confident in saying that it's not just me who thinks so.

Anyway, so when Evonne had her shop reopening post-move on July 8th, a bunch of us ahem had jumped the gun and snagged stuff while she was unofficially open. I ordered a solid of Fire Eater, a Dulcinea lip balm, and a three pack of bitsies (her larger than sample, but smaller than full size bottle of oil) in Pistolas, Pestanas and Gram-Negative.

Then a day or so later, Evonne made a listing for what she called "Stone Suicide." She's been selling suicide mixes for a while. If you're unfamiliar, they're the leftovers from batches of solid perfumes all mixed together. Typically, she sells them in the standard half-ounce tin she uses for her solids. But these ones were poured into some leftover soapstone containers from her Christmas scent, Galilee (which I am getting this year. Mark my words). So I jumped on that, and Evonne very obligingly combined it with the first order.

Her TAT has gone down to 2-5 business days; my order shipped on July 15th and arrived in my mailbox on July 25th. I was worried that her move to Texas would make my wait longer, but it got here faster than my packages I got when she lived in Chicago. Go figure.

The goods, just out of the package.

Prior to getting my order, I had heard of people's solids from this set of orders being super-sized. Evonne had been nervous about getting a shipment of tins for her solid perfumes, and had instead used the 1-ounce tins she was going to use for her Field Shark balm (more about that in another post some other time). I too was super-sized.

The largest tin of Fire Eater ever.

Evonne has wonderful stories she writes for her perfumes, but they are wordy and so I've taken the relevant bits for this post. You can go read them on her Etsy.

Fire Eater

This version lights up with hot mesquite wood and bluegrass, bursts of wild grape and apricot and lilac, and that blaze of blood orange and gasoline.

In the tin: it smells like grape candy and something deeper. Woodier? On my skin, it is a musky grape candy, with something deeper and edgier in the background. I think it's the gasoline, though it doesn't smell like gasoline. It reminds me a lot of Pyrotechnik, but less spicy and more grapey goodness. I really like it. Which is good because I have a ridiculously large quantity of it. It's unusual, like so many of her scents. It lasted about five hours on me, but I'm not sure how accurate this is; I've noticed the humidity around here is skewing the longevity of my perfumes.

Bitsies! They're so cute.


Gram-Negative is deep, damp, earthy essential moss; sticky green leaf resin; a whisper of black tea; and a rare, rich, mellow, buttery orchid essential oil that is just divine.

This is wet dirt. Like a walk in the woods after it rains, maybe a run through a marsh (I grew up on marshland, so it's a very homey scent to me). It's a kind of sharp for the first bit, almost too much wet dirt and woods. Then the orchid comes through and mellows it out into more of a garden after a heavy rain. This was a surprise standout for me  I did not expect to enjoy it that much or find that slice of home in there. It lasted about six hours on my skin, but again, it's stupidly humid here right now.


Pistolas is soft, mellow gardenia and lavender (Abuelita's favorite), with an undercurrent of city sidewalks and just a kiss of tobacco leaf.

In the vial, I caught something deep and dark and stony under the gardenia, but on my skin it was just gardenia. A very pretty one, too. I got Pistolas to try and sate my hunger for Solstice Scents' Gardenia Enfleurage, of which I have a sample and love. It's a decent substitute but it doesn't have the same-stick-your-head-in-a-flower sense I get from the enfleurage (which is also super luxurious). I like it pretty well, though. It eked out three hours on my skin, alas (but I bet this will improve when it stops being gross here. Yes, I am going to whine about the weather at every available opportunity. I'm Canadian).


PestaƱas is a whirlwind of memories, from my grandparents' courtship to the home they nurtured together in Illinois, including notes of cotton, tobacco leaf, rose, marigold, leather, machine oil, amber, lilac, pepper, copal, chocolate, wine and pimento.

I hated this in the vial. I hated this for the first ten minutes on my skin. I thought I had made a huge mistake. I was WRONG. After ten minutes, it mellowed to a beautiful, smooth, slightly sweet, slightly musky scent on my skin. I don't know how to better describe it...Evonne strikes again. This is fantastic (as long as I remember not to sniff myself right away). I got it just to fill out my bitsy pack and because I was getting Pistolas, and I'm so glad I did.

My pretty, pretty suicide mix.

I'm not going to spend too much time on the Stone Suicide, because you can't buy it, but if you haven't tried a suicide mix, I strongly suggest it. It's a fun concept, and even though this one had a whiff of coffee in it (coffee is the WORST. Emphasis needed to convey my hatred) on my skin it obligingly vanished. This stone container is somewhat impractical because I can't carry it in my bag very safely, but it looks so pretty. 

I haven't any pictures of the Dulcinea lip balm because it arrived a bit melty and I forgot to take some daylight pictures later, but it's a lovely balm. The formula is not the same as her regular balms, and this one is creamier and I find it to be more moisturizing. It does leave a brown tint on your lips that you will want to be careful about if you're planning on wearing other lip products. It's a nice chocolatey scent. I've been using it as my bedtime lip balm since I got it and my lips are loving it. Plus it's a lifetime supply of lip balm on its own. 

This order was a wonderful treat. I had no disappointments (my skill of picking out things I will like unsniffed + the fact I actually have very few perfume things I dislike + the fact my tastes are wide and varied = lots of success for me and an empty wallet) and a few happy surprises.

You can buy all sorts of strange and wonderful scents and lip balms, including a new bitsy size of lip balms that allows you to conceivably get through a jar in your lifetime, at the DC Etsy shop here.

And a parting thought from Evonne:

D'aww. I like you too, Evonne.

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