Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Haus of Gloi - Summer Collection Review

FYI: There's spoilers for Game of Thrones Season 1 ahead! Venture forth with caution.


It's summertime! If there's one thing I'm learning about Haus of Gloi it's that they're really on top of their seasonal releases. So, taking a page from HoG's book, I made sure I was ready at the gate for their summer collection to go live. Happily, it paid off and I was able to grab up everything from my list! (Yeah, I make lists. Wanna fight about it?) I was able to get samples of every perfume other than the two full sizes I (somewhat rashly) decided on. I also managed to snag a few lip balms and a couple samples of their pumpkin butters - both products are firsts for me so I was pretty pumped about it!

Now, on to the reviews!

Beguiled and Zazz

Beguiled: Lemon cake made with the tang of fresh buttermilk and raspberry coulis - an otherwise innocent cake corrupted by cardamom and deceptive pink peppercorns.
Just call me Sansa - if there's anything that'll help me get over witnessing the horrific beheading of my father it'll be lemon cake. Beguiled was a guaranteed full sized buy for me with all the right notes - lemon cake, raspberry, pink peppercorns and even though I really have no idea what cardamom smells like, it only added to the intrigue. Cold sniff is pure lemons and raspberries. It's sweet and creamy which gives it that "cake" feel. Application on me brought out the cake scent even more but the lemon and raspberries are still quite easy to pick out. The lemon note actually reminds me a lot of Solstice Scent's Lemon Ginger Cremes but where LGC is warm with it's ginger and vanilla notes, Beguiled has the fruity raspberry note which makes it feel much brighter. As it dries down the fruit fades out a bit (but never all the way) and the pink peppercorn gives it a bit of zing without overpowering the overall sweetness. I honestly have know clue what I'm looking for when trying to pick out cardamom but it may have been blending in nicely with the peppercorn (which I'm not 100% knowledgeable about anyway.) The perfume itself lasts a fair amount of time for me and the sillage is decent enough that I can occasionally smell it on myself without having to bury my nose in my wrists. I was hoping for just a touch more tart lemon but I'm fairly happy with the scent overall.

Zazz: When something feels a bit lackluster, dull and boring, it obviously is lacking, zazz. To fix this we recommend something definitely zazzy and not overly complicated: Tart cranberry, pink grapefruit, sparkling champagne all shook up with crushed ginger root.
Look at that list of notes! How could I not get a full size? How could anyone not want a bit of zazz in their life? The first descriptor that popped into my noggin upon cracking the bottle was 'fizzy'. This stuff smells straight up effervescent. The ginger note is very strong which makes you feel as though you've just cracked open a bottle of ginger ale. There's a touch of something a bit soapy underneath however and I'm not entirely sure which note is the culprit. Sadly, on my skin at least, all traces of bubbly ginger ale is lost and that soapy note amps like crazy. It almost smells medicinal and ended up a bit headache inducing. Not zazzy at all. I may try layering it with something that I know stays tart and fruity and wonderful and see if I can't at least impart that lovely fizziness on a scent more worthwhile. Otherwise this bottle will go the way of Blossom Jam Tea Cakes and end up in a box on my shelf just waiting for the day I trade/sell/pawn it off.

Driftwood, Komodo, Narcosa, Sanctum, Sol, The Brier Path

On to samples! I was able to get a sample of each this time, luckily enough. Though my free sample ended up being Beguiled which I thought was... odd. Anyway, let's get to it!

Driftwood: Sun bleached driftwood, dry black musk, warm sand, dune grasses and a damp oceanic breeze.
Out of the vial Driftwood reminds me a lot of Selkie from their spring line which I assume comes mostly from the driftwood note. All together I don't really find the scent all that pleasant. The black musk smells a bit dirty to me. Once applied I'm even less of a fan. Where Selkie was an old lady's beach house, Driftwood is an old man's basement - warm, musky and damp. I can almost smell the mildew. If Selkie was your jam and you enjoy a bit of musk Driftwood might be right up your alley. But I just can't, you guys. It's a bit too much for me.

Komodo: Mangosteen, Tahitian vanilla bean, dragon blood resin and faded tropical blooms.
I was a bit tempted to pick this scent up in a full size but that dragon blood resin had me feeling a bit apprehensive. I did the responsible thing and stuck with a sample. Out of the little vial I get tart yet sweet tropical candies. Very luscious, very tasty but I still wasn't getting ahead of myself. To me dragon's blood means incense and incense means bad news. Applied the mangosteen is top dog with the floral notes keeping everything grounded in the background. There's something a bit resinous in the background also (obviously the dragon's blood) but it's not unpleasant. As Komodo dries down the tropical florals come to the surface a bit more and the scent is overall quite pleasant. The dragon's blood does it's job in the background and never comes out to bother me at all. The vanilla peaks out at the end in a last ditch effort to be an important team player but it's too little too late as the perfume has faded mostly away at that point. I'm really digging Komodo but I'll probably go through the sample vial before I decide on whether or not I'll be needing the full bottle.

Narcosa: A thick haze of tonka and black vanilla, three jasmines, tuberose and ylang ylang.
The notes in Narcosa don't really speak to me but there's something about the description that just makes it sound sexy as hell. I was excited to give it a try. Out of the vial the scent instantly reminded me of a Lush shop which was really odd. I think it may be the abundance of jasmine and the ylang ylang - it reminds me of Lush's "Lovely Jubblies." (TMI Time: I tried a sample of Lovely Jubblies and it smelt wonderful, made everything extra soft and lovely but it left certain parts of my... mammary anatomy... painfully sensitive. FYI.)  Anyway, Narcosa is definitely pure white florals from the vial. It's a bit much for me but I held out hope that the vanilla would swoop in and save the day. Application only brought out the powdery florals to almost diaper levels and I was not impressed. However, as it dries down, Narcosa eventually looses that super powdery, somewhat musky vibe and sweetens a bit. The tuberose note (much like in Solstice Scent's Nightgown) cools the perfume and makes it feel breezy, almost minty at times. It ends up being really nice even without the vanilla (which shows up right at the end much like the vanilla in Komodo) but I don't think it's nice enough to warrant a full bottle. The sample size is good enough for me.

Sanctum: A welcome respite: Muskmelon, coconut water infused with bergamot flower, kaffir lime, polished ho wood and sticky benzoin.
Another delicious scent straight out of the vial. The melon and lime notes are really refreshing and make a fantastic summer fragrance. Applied, the melon and lime are still pretty prominent (along with a touch of the coconut water) but lose a bit of their brightness as the base notes start to come out. The benzoin goes right over my head as I have no clue what that shit's supposed to be but I can pick out the ho wood beneath everything and as strange as it is I'm really diggin' it. It reminds me of that shitty balsam wood we did projects with in middle school which, honestly, seems like it might be gross but actually blends really well with the rest of the notes. Other than that, this perfume doesn't morph too much - it just warms a bit over time. I'll probably give this a few more good go's before deciding to grab a full bottle but it's definitely a possibility!

Sol: The sun, at its apex: Dry gingergrass, litsea cubeba, neroli, frankincense tears, saffron infused honey, rosemary and the faint touch of true cinnamon bark.
I honestly don't know what half those notes are but a perfume described as "the sun at it's apex" is going to pique a bit of interest. I cracked the vial and instantly hated it. After wafting it about however, I could see the appeal. It's very warm and sunny - as dumb as that sounds. Too much incense for me though. I applied it anyway and honestly I loved it. It's really citrusy which left me fairly surprised! A quick round of Google later taught me that if I'd known what most of those notes were I wouldn't have been. It's also spicy but not hot pepper spicy. It's desert spice market spicy. I can also pick out the honey which gives Sol a golden, syrupy sweetness. And then there's that touch of cinnamon~ I honestly was extremely surprised at how much I was enjoying this perfume! Then my skin chemistry decided to not play nice and amped up the frankincense so much it literally drowned out all other notes. Can you say emotional roller coaster? Anyway, this scent left me feeling depressed so I'mma go with no on this one. >:(

The Brier Path: Sun drenched trail leading to a day dream of ripe berries and wood rose, rich forest loam, ozone, dark amber and cream.
I really like that this perfume tells a little story. That plus the excitement buzzing around reddit for it's imminent return had me pretty excited for The Brier Path. Alas, it was not meant to be. From the vial I get a lot of rose. Too much rose and the barest hint of mayyybee berries. Lurking in the background is that musky dark amber. On my skin everything just turns to "old lady." The ozone note pops out for a second and the whole scent takes on an almost Christmasy feel. That rose note is still queen bee though, just sittin' at the top. I think I catch a bit of loam underneath it all which is a bit woodsy and dirty and just not for me. Overall, an easily determined disappointment.

Sanctum and Beguiled - Duhhhh.

Next up are my first ever pumpkin butters in Sanctum and Beguiled! I only picked up a couple of the sample sizes and luckily both were scents that I ended up really enjoying. The texture of these are amazing and they're not greasy at all. I love 'em. I'll for sure be picking up a few full sizes in the near future. I haven't tried layering them with perfumes so I'm not sure what sort of effect they'll have on their lasting power but it's something I'll be needing to try soon!

Lehp Behlms

Finally we have lip balms! Haus of Gloi's lip balms always sell out quick so they were the first things I threw into my basket. I only grabbed up three (as tempting as they all were) and each ended up being nicer than the last! The flavors I chose:

Beguiled: Lemon cake, raspberry, cardamom and peppercorn.

Mango Cream: Fresh mango and rich cream.

Rootbeer Float: Fizzy rootbeer with lush vanilla ice cream.

When I first opened them I found the scents/flavors to be surprisingly weak but as I used them they strengthened up and were extremely true to their descriptions. Just took a bit of breaking in. As for the formula itself: these aren't overly slick and oily. They have a smooth, thick texture that has lasting power on the lips. I didn't find them super hydrating however which was a bit disappointing but they smell and feel lovely so they'll still get lots of use!

To lump it all up, I found Haus of Gloi's summer release to have a lot of ups and downs. A few more downs than ups really and there's nothing here that I'd cut a bitch for. But the things I like are definitely things I'm happy with. Summer has been my second season shopping with HoG so here's looking forward to autumn and winter!


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