If you know me even a little bit, you know that I have a background in the theater and if you know me a little bit better than that you know that I have a special fondness for A Midsummer Night's Dream. In fact, for the last few years I've been noodling around on a young adult novel that imagines the characters in a contemporary setting.
Thus, when I started getting interested in Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab, I was delighted to learn that they offered a collection, called Illyria, inspired by Shakespeare characters, including Hermia, Helena, Titania, Lysander, Robin Goodfellow, and Oberon.
I can't try Helena, because the notes include night-blooming jasmine, which might as well be labeled "cat urine" for the way it smells on me, or Robin Goodfellow, which is another collection of death notes, including dark musk. Titania, which includes white grape, white peach, iced pear, musk rose, sweet pea, moonflower, and snapdragon, is super pretty on me, and what you might imagine Titania might smell like. It's a good thing I like it, since I managed to spill half an imp of it all over my desk. Lysander turned out to be a sweet-smelling men's blend, but that I didn't care for even though most of the notes (tonka, lilac musk, lime rind, etc.) sounded nice to me. I haven't yet received Oberon, but with orchid, bergamot, white musk, juniper berries, and earthy patchouli, I look forward to it.
That left Hermia, who is my favorite character in the play, and today I got around to trying her scent. With pink pepper, golden amber, honeysuckle, and passion flower, what's not to love? The pink pepper leaves a spicy tingle that stays on top of the blend, even as the sweet flowers and warm amber float around. It really does capture the essence of "little" and "fierce" Hermia.
The Rappaccini's Garden collection offers a Love-in-Idleness scent, so naturally I had to sample that as well. Unfortunately, like many in that collection, this one, while pretty at first, has a rooty base note that reminds me of nothing so much as washed armpits. I'm keeping my vial of it, though, in case I ever need a sniff for inspiration while writing, or have any opportunity to cause someone to fall in love with the first person seen upon waking.