Indie Friday: A few fragrances by Darling Clandestine #1 (review) | Hello Pretty Bird! - A beauty and not-so-glamorous lifestyle blog

07 February, 2014

Indie Friday: A few fragrances by Darling Clandestine #1 (review)

Bought It

Attention: Who likes to smell good? Well, today I'll be sharing a few ways you can do that in my favorite (semi) weekly feature... that's right, it's Indie Friday!

darling clandestine solid fragrance perfume tins oil bottle sample vial size

The indie du jour is Darling Clandestine, an Etsy shop featuring a variety of wonderfully smelly things and the occasional piece of handmade jewelry. I've collected a number of her scents in various formats over the past few months, and rather that overwhelm you with all of them at once I'll just be focusing on a few of the solid fragrance tins today.

Before I get into the specific scents, a little background info: Darling Clandestine is run by a woman named Evonne and is based out of Chicago. The shop tagline is "Smell Different", and I think that's quite apt because her fragrance blends can be... well.. surprising and unusual. If you're the sort of person who tends to like very light and sweet scents then most of her fragrances probably won't appeal, but if you like scents that are more complex, moody and unisex, then these should definitely be on your radar.

Darling Clandestine has a small core catalog of scents that come and go year-round, but many of their offerings are seasonal - you can find the complete scent list on Facebook if you're curious what might be popping up in the shop soon. Her fragrances are available as oils or solid scented wax in tins (or sometimes both), plus she has some fragranced lip balms and body balms on offer. Each scent listing in the Etsy shop has a rather florid story accompanying it, which I like because it sort of evokes a "mood" for the fragrances, but if you just want to see a straight-up listing of the notes then refer to the Facebook page linked above.

The solid perfumes are beeswax-based and come in a 1/2 oz tin. They all have a vinyl sticker on top featuring a representative image. Prices vary depending on the scent, but so far as I can tell all of them are $10 and under.

review tins Limerence Serpentina Brasao y Kinolau solid fragrance perfume notes Darling Clandestine.
Top: Limerence - Bottom: Serpentina (L), Brasao y Kinolau (R)

Limerence (Year-round, $10):

"A floral for those who hate florals. Not “oriental” or grandmotherly, but a green, tangy, moody blend of bruised Casablanca lilies, bittersweet succulents, full-bodied herbal essentials, a heady crust of sea salt, and a wonderfully fine mitti attar that’s the essence of first rain hitting sun-baked earth. Unisex to feminine. Though this one is part of my year-round line, its appearances are less frequent than some."

The first time I put this on, my boyfriend exclaimed "You smell like a flower shop! One with lots of plants!" And you know what? He's totally right. To me this scent smells more green than outwardly floral. The lilies are definitely noticeable too, but not cloying. Also, that "heady crust of sea salt" - it's tough to describe, but this fragrance has an edge to it that reminds me of ocean spray minus the ocean. If that even remotely makes sense. I guess if I had to categorize Limerence as more masculine or feminine I would say it's more on the feminine side, though I put it on my boyfriend and it didn't smell overwhelmingly "girly" on him. Just like lilies and dewy greenhouse plants.

Serpentina (Year-round, $9):

"Green tea with a smoky opium bite. Unisex to feminine. This is a hands-down favorite among my female customers, and a great primer for folks who are cautious about plunging head-on into the weird world that is DC. It’s fresh and invigorating, and comforting, but has just a little bit of snarl, a flash of a dark underside."

I would say the catalog description of Serpentina is spot-on. When I smell it in the tin I get tangy green tea with a bit of something incensey in the background, but when I put it on the smokiness comes out more. Based on the the description I actually wasn't sure if I would like this one or not, but after actually smelling it I think it might be my favorite (plus the most "accessible" of the Darling Clandestine scents I've tried). Definitely worth picking up at least a sample of it if you're not sensitive to smokey smells. To me this seems solidly unisex, but I wonder what other people would think...

Brasao y Kinolau (Summer, $10):

"Created for the amazing Liz Azevedo, to celebrate her family roots and mine: Fresh, green, non-Christmasy holly, pink peppercorn and old-world wonders, fused with the maile vines of Hawai'i, spiced with a tiny touch of cinnamon and sweetened with coconut and honey. It's green and tart and languid and floral-but-not-floral and breezy and deep. This lovely makes appearances when she takes a fancy."

In the tin this one smells really interesting: I get a strong green note with a bit of underlying sweetness and spiciness. On my skin, it dries down to a more powdery scent, but it's a powdery scent with a bit of that greenness and spiciness lurking underneath. "Breezy" is a probably the best word to describe it. I don't think I like Brasao y Kinolau as much as I like Limerence (which is more overtly green to my nose), but I still find myself in the mood to apply it occasionally so clearly there's something right about it. I would describe this as feminine, but my boyfriend wore it and seemed to like it, for whatever that's worth.

General Impressions:

I really like most of the scents I've tried from Darling Clandestine (including several which I will review at a later date), and based on my experiences so far I think she does green scents particularly well. The three scents listed above aren't the strangest ones I've tried from her, but they're definitely unlike anything else I've smelled. So perhaps a bit weird, but wearably weird.

I appreciate that Darling Clandestine's solid scents come in metal tins because I think they're more aesthetically pleasing than ones that come in plastic clamshells and lip balm tubes. I also like the stickers on the tins because they sort of highlight the "mood" of the fragrance, plus they're vinyl so they don't rub off as easily as paper stickers. I do have one minor beef with the packaging though - observe the bottom of the tins:

They all have the same sticker on the bottom, which lists the name of the company and the solid fragrance base, but not the actual name of the fragrance. Now, each scent does have its own unique sticker on the top, but if you're forgetful or have a particularly large perfume collection then it might be difficult to remember which one is which.

The weird labeling is only a minor complaint though, and hasn't put me off from ordering from Darling Clandestine again. Speaking of ordering, I've found their TAT to be in the 1-2 week range, so relatively quick. She doesn't e-mail out tracking numbers, but she will list the items as shipped in your Etsy account once they've been sent out.

Where to buy:

You can find Darling Clandestine on Etsy. I would also recommend following her Facebook page, as she posts updates when new stock is added to the shop plus the occasional discount code.

Which of these scents sounds most appealing to you? Do you have any favorite solid fragrances?


  1. Limerence sounds totally my thing. I love indie perfumes and I've never heard of this brand, so thanks for the introduction. How is the silage?

  2. Ah, good question! I would say that Limerence and Brasao y Kinolau are moderate and Serpentina is slightly less so. Like when my boyfriend wore Brasao y Kinolau I could definitely smell it clearly from the other side of the couch, but not the other side of the room. I wouldn't say that Serpentina is subtle, but it wears closer to the skin, at least on me.

  3. Thanks for the additional information. It was on my mind since I recently had a lady at my desk whose patcholi could knock over a rhino.

  4. I'm going to her shop now - I love solid perfumes!

  5. Shalunya TheChronicBeautyFebruary 7, 2014 at 8:23 PM

    I tend to be a super sweet kind of girl but I loved reading your blog post about these. You did a great job with explaining these things. I would be horrible at it but you ROCK! Thanks for sharing these with us.

  6. I usually due to my allergies can get by with light scents. I can wear Prada Candy with no problem on most days. So, not for sure if I could wear them if they are all bold scents. I liked her Facebook Page so I can get updates from her. They really sound interesting! How is shipping costs?

  7. I have yet to venture into the indie world of fragrances, but these look super cute. Although, I find that I prefer regular perfumes to solids as they last longer on my skin. That could be just me though.

  8. Let me know if end up getting any! I have yet to try everything from her massive catalog.

  9. Haha, thanks. I actually found this post sort of hard to write... fragrance is always hard to describe, and Darling Clandestine is kind of unusual so even more difficult. But if it helps somebody choose then it's worth it. ;)

  10. Her scents are definitely on the bold side, so if you have a sensitive nose I would be careful. The shipping costs are listed on the Etsy page, but as I recall it was something like $2.50 for the first item plus something like $0.70 for each additional item... nothing too outrageous. She just ships through normal first class mail.

  11. It's not just you, I find that solid fragrances wear off faster too. The plus side is that they're usually cheaper than fragrance oils, and certainly more convenient to carry around in your purse...

  12. Thank you so much for replying back to me about the shipping. Also thanks for the warning about the bold scents.

  13. These sound like my kind of scents! Great review, I will be checking them out!

  14. If you get any I'd love to know what you think!

  15. I'll have to wait until my spending ban is over, but if I get any I'll do a full review!

  16. It sounds like a nice product, but I wished that the cover photo for the package were in better quality...