Today I will be reviewing the two new scents from indie “Darling Clandestine” (heh, see what I did there?). Although I’m sure many of the readers of this blog are probably already familar with the brand and it’s owner, I will give a brief overview for the uninitiated. I will confess upfront that this review is not exactly impartial, as I am a bit of a Darling Clandestine fangirl, myself. Since discovering them through the r/Indie Makeup and More Subreddit last year, I have placed, oh, maybe an order a month? It honestly reawakened a passion for scent that I had long since abandoned due to the current mainstream industry’s repetative nature (and a hatred for gourmand scents, which seem to be a fairly dominant force). DC and it’s lovely and passionate creator Evonne** shun all that and seem to start from scratch, creating scents that are not only unlike any other, but also tend to be almost beyond definition, typically schewing the whole note description thing of traditional perfumery and describing each scent with a short piece of prose, meant to evoke the scent itself and the mood intended.
DC has a roster of year round regulars, seasonal offerings, and the occasional surprise release scent, just for kicks when the inspiration hits. This is review is for lattermost, two surprise fragrances that likely won’t make it far past labor day, along with those emergency beach flip flops you picked up at Walgreens, so get them while you can.
The perfumes smell much better though.
One curious element of the Darling Clandestine scent descriptions are what Evonne calls the “Boss Level” of the fragrance, referring to how challenging the fragrance may be to the person*** smelling it.
Here’s the blurb for this scent:
I couldn’t bring myself to rank a fragrance Boss Level 10. Not yet. ‘Cause that would be the *final* boss, no? Instead I went for a concoction that swings unusually wildly between “Oh, yeah, this is pretty! This is classic, fancy perfume! I can totally wear this to the gala at Norman Osborn’s mansion!” and “Wait, no. This isn’t perfume. Let’s do something else. See that boat down there? Let’s just take it.”
It’s the DarlingClandestine dichotomy of conflicting elements, ramped up a bit for the season of summer blockbusters. Had a lot of internal conflict with this one. “No, no, that’s too intense; nobody’s going to want to wear this anywhere.” “Augh, now it’s too normal! Folks’re gonna think I’m a big ol’ hyperbolic dramapants!” I toyed with high-end elements like chypre and amber and teak, added some criminal underbelly with white mushroom and crushed cranberry, and then crashed through the skylight trying to create impressions of humidity-soaked canvas and scorched fabric. Of course, as with all DC fragrances, please don’t take these “notes” to mean “ingredients” . . . there are more than 30 individual ingredients in this fragrance. I dunno, man. I like it quite a lot.
Bossfight! is a very accurate name for this fragrance. It morphs on a person’s skin, and rapidly. From the bottle, I get a sweet warm skin scent (DC’s signature), almost like warm dough without the yeasty smell. But it quickly turns to an aquatic with a bit of a green top note, kind of leafy. And then it gets a little lemony? Hey where did those flowers come from? I quickly realize that I may have jumped into the deep end with this review. It acts similarly to a previous DC scent, Halochrome, meant to represent the different colors in a fluorescent germ-cell stain. But whereas Halochrome was sparky, and to me, somewhat offensive (and headache inducing), Bossfight! is familar and warm. I can smell elements of other DC scents that I love, like Inked and Maudlin and Bedlam, maybe some Blue Valentine and Smother? This is truly a big battle, but between characters you love to watch. It’s the Avengers movie of the DC universe: a charming, likable tussle with a few unexpected turns. A definite must for DC lovers and an interesting introduction for beginners, if you’re daring enough to take on the challenge. I will also offer that this is the longest lasting DC fragrance I have. Many of the oils tend to last only an hour or so, but thi sone seemed to stick around for at least 4, which is nearly unheard of for me. Showing off I suppose? Rarely does a blockbuster come in under 2 hours anymore, so I guess I should have expected it.
Bossfight! only comes in one size, a large 2 dram bottle for $14. I luckily got it when it was $12 a couple weeks ago when it was introduced, but believe me, it’s worth every penny. The extra $2 wouldn’t put me off one bit today.
Here’s the blurb for this scent:
The fragrance is Arylide, a dream painted in yellow. Angelic plumeria and about ten other elements that comprise my take on late-summer sycamore leaves.
Ergh. Here’s where I hit a wall. This is not my cup of tea, or more accurately, my cup of floor cleaner. Or is it hand soap? It starts promisingly with a light, powdery floral, (the plumeria, I’m guessing) but gets heavier and more intense as it sits on my skin. I can smell the notes very clearly, almost too much so. It does have a late summer haze to it, like the first evening you see the sun go down and start to realize that the days are getting shorter again, and it makes you a little sad. I don’t have much experience with the scent of plumeria or sycamore, so I’m not sure if it’s the notes themselves that just don’t agree with me? Granted, this is all a personal experience, and it may not react on you as it does on me.
Luckily, this scent is available in an itsy bity vial (1/2 dram) for $6, which is what I got it in, and a larger 5 mL squared glass bottle for $11, both featuring very interesting artwork of what looks like a cat sucking the breath out of a sleeping woman!? These is my kind of people. Here’s information about it below, from Evonne:
The image is Yellow Cat, by my aunt Pilar Acevedo. “This particular piece was inspired by a child’s fear of an old wives’ tale.” Find Pilar’s work at PilarAcevedo.com .
As far as the logistics of ordering and delivery, her shop on Etsy is easy to navigate. Evonne also has impeccable communication with her customers, giving accurate updates on order times and responding to customer’s inquiries in short order. While her turn around time does tend to be much longer than other indie shops, keep in mind that it is a one woman operation, and is worth the wait. I received this order is probably 6 business days, which is way shorter than usual, but I think it’s because Evonne was leaving for a trip. She regularly keeps customers up to date through the Facebook page as to goings on and new releases. I highly recommend you check it out.
**also hilarious and talented. Might have a little bit of a girl crush.
** Is there a word for a person smelling perfume? “Smeller” sounds weird. “Scenter?” “ Perfum-ed one?“