Wednesday, July 9, 2014

First sniff impressions: Geek Chic Cosmetics

The perfume newbie is back and ready to smell the wrong notes in indie fragrances.

I ordered these solid scents from Geek Chic Cosmetics--they have quite an array of makeup items (eyeshadow, blush, foundation, lipstick, gloss, etc.) and also a few solid scent collections. I got two from the Traces of Thedas collection, based on Dragon Age companions, and one from the Badasses of Fiction collection--the one based on Riddick, because obviously.

Full disclosure: I was hesitant to order from Geek Chic because of past controversies with their products. (Please do Google this if you are considering buying from them.) However, my fandom-nerding and curiosity won out, and I don't want what I know to bias this review.

Obligatory bit about customer service: I ordered from Geek Chic on June 18th. They shipped on the 27th within the stated turn-around time (seven business days, which is pretty short for an indie) and I received the package today, July 9th. So my shipping experience wasn't particularly fast as it has been with other indies lately, but it wasn't at all slow, and everything went smoothly without me needing to contact anyone. No samples were included, but I made a very small order, so.

On to the scents!

Props to Geek Chic: this is very cute packaging.

Prepare to Be Boarded
Leather, salt, something woodsy, and something very sweet (vanilla?) and vaguely floral? That's the order these things popped out to me but the sweetness definitely exists at first sniff and pushes to overpower the scent--while I think that's a neat way to interpret Zevran, it's maybe a little too much. This leather + sweet afterscent reminds me a bit of Bubble and Geek's Sunnydale Library, although the leather in that has a musty tinge and the endnote here is far sweeter.

Geek Chic's description:
Dark, earthy woods mixed with spicy cinnamon, cloves, fresh rosemary, and clad in tight leather. Tempered with fresh, juicy fig and Tahitian Vanilla with a touch of tonka bean. A robust, spicy, and manly scent. A good scent to wear while fist-fighting a grizzly bear.

I don't think I find the woodsiness of this dark or earthy--a little fresh and piney, maybe due to the rosemary. Leather is far more on the surface than perhaps I anticipated from this description. Cinnamon I should've picked out, but I'm not sure I get cloves or fig (maybe the fig is coming off floral to me...?). I think this scent is interesting as an interpretation of Zevran, but the cinnamon-tinged vanilla is too strong and bakery-ish for this scent to seem spicy/masculine to me. Not sure how I feel about this scent, so I'll come back to it, but I think it's not really as described for sure.

Lone Survivor
Wet dirt (not soil, dirt), sweat, Speed Stick, and something sweet but not as pushy at the end? I don't even know what is happening here but I am pretty amused by it because it definitely evokes Riddick to me. This also smells like my dad at the end of a day at work after he's washed his hands with that orange Gator soap, so though it's odd I like this scent. It's familiar and comforting.

Geek Chic's description:
Lone Survivor is a spicy sweet scent mixed with that fresh potting soil scent that just smells... alive. It's fresh and warm, and wears really well.
Top notes: Smooth, earthy vanillas and champa
Middle notes: Dark, cool, fresh soil
Base notes: Nutty cinamon and molasses [typo preserved, sorry GC]

I think the cool soil here really comes to the top for me, though I don't find it fresh-garden as much as I do sweaty-person-who-just-worked-on-a-dusty-construction-site. Earthy vanilla and molasses do sound like the sweet thing I'm smelling at the end, which is not too much like I find in Prepare to Be Boarded. Otherwise, I have no idea how the notes they have put down here correspond to what I am experiencing, but I like this scent. Again, I don't know that it's as described, but in this case it's better for me.

Swooping is Bad
ROSES--really strong roses--vanilla, and something boozy. I might've layered that over some sweat, steel, and maybe a little woodsmoke to be Alistair, but I don't make perfumes, so I can't complain--these are good notes for the character and smell pleasant together.

Geek Chic's description:
Swooping Is Bad has a cool, earthy oakmoss base with fresh-cut rose and airy midnotes, topped off with buttery sweet rum.  

Hmm, I probably would've felt this scent more if I could smell that oakmoss base, but the roses here are pretty insistent. The sweetness of the rum must be that vanilla hint I smell. In any case, this is pretty pleasant-smelling and totally wearable, so I'm cool with it.

I think Prepare to Be Boarded is probably a miss, but I really like Lone Survivor so I'm okay with that. Ultimately, these are $3.49 each, so although they're small, they're a pretty good deal and a small investment to try out a fragrance. I don't know that I would order again since the descriptions didn't strike me as matching the scents very clearly and I already have the scents I most wanted for the geeky novelty, but maybe if they do another collection of a rarely-represented fandom in future!

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