Indie Friday: Darling Clandestine #3 - Scents of Summer | Hello Pretty Bird! - A beauty and not-so-glamorous lifestyle blog

25 April, 2014

Indie Friday: Darling Clandestine #3 - Scents of Summer

Bought It

Insert "I can't believe it's already Friday"cliché here. But really, where did this week go?

3 Darling Clandestine fragrance oils bitsy bitsies vials Carny Wedding, Harpy, and Bête Noire.

For this week's Indie Friday I thought I'd talk about a few of the "summer" scents that just popped up in the Darling Clandestine shop. I realize I've been talking a lot about indie perfumes lately, but since some of them are seasonal or limited edition I wanted to mention them while you can still buy them. Makes sense, right?

For those unfamiliar, Darling Clandestine is an Etsy shop run by a woman named Evonne. I think she is best known for her unusual fragrance solids and oils with circus-y themes. Having sniffed many of her scents now (some previous reviews can be found here and here) I can say that they're probably not for everybody, but if you like perfumes that are complex and a bit unusual then her shop is worth a look. In a surprising twist, the three scents I'll be reviewing today are amongst the most un-weird (is that a word?) I've tried from her, so I guess take note if you just like things with odors in general. Sniff sniff.

DC has a small core catalog of scents that come and go throughout the year, plus a number of other scents that come and go with the seasons. Two of the scents pictured above (Carny Wedding and Harpy) are listed in her summer catalog and the third (Bête Noire) is a brand new addition to the shop, so I'm not sure where it will fall on the calendar if/when it will be sold again in coming years. In any case, you can read the entire scent "discography" here.

Blah blah blah, let's move onto the smelly stuff.

Carny Wedding ($16 for 1/2oz oil, $9 for a solid):

"Carny Wedding opens butter candy sweet and unfolds to a tangy, charred wood resin, ends in a puff of sweet smoke. Some love it for the sweet, some love it for the smoke. Unisex."

That description is SPOT ON. Upon initial application this smells very sweet on me, then very quickly turns into a smoky woodsy smell, but after that wears off the sweetness pokes through (albeit more subtly) again. If you're a fan of toasted marshmallow scents then you may like this - it's not as cloyingly sweet, but its has the same cozy toastiness, if that makes sense. Low sillage.

Harpy ($16 for 1/2oz oil, $9 for a solid):

"Carefully blended and infused by me in vintage glass wine bottles, Harpy is a sailor's delight, with notes of sea salt and dark bay rum, milk and coconut and a twist of lime."

Another apt description. I get the coconut and milk first, followed by a splash of salt and lime. This doesn't smell super-boozy to me, but the rum is there. It's like a delicious cocktail that won't make you smell like a drunk! The only negative thing I can think of about this oil is that its sillage and lasting power is sort of weak...  this wears VERY subtle. I would say that the vast majority of indie fragrance oils last about 3-4 hours on me, but this one disappears in 1 or 2. I suppose that's not a bad thing if you have to work in close quarters with other people though.

Bête Noire ($18 for 1/2oz oil, $9 for a solid):

"DC friend Hillary had a jones for a scent with "a sneeze-worthy amount of black pepper, combined with a more sensible, feminine floral . . . a fierce floral suitable for nights out." The result is fierce indeed, with four kinds of pepper grounded in artemisia, greened with herbals and juniper, stretched taut with a sharp bitter carnation, and "purpled" with violets and orchids. Moody and intriguing, it draws attention in that "can't put my finger on it" sort of way."

This is a new addition to the DC lineup. When I saw the words "pepper" and "bitter carnation" and "purple" I knew I had to have it. Indeed, this is a very spicy  - this starts out on me as a straight-up peppery scent, then as it wears on it gets more powdery and floral, but the pepper never disappears. Moderate sillage, and I would totally buy a full size of this. If you've been looking for a floral that isn't candy-sweet then this is definitely worth checking out, though I suppose it's not for those who are very sneeze-prone. I should also mention that the owner posted this on her Facebook wall a couple of weeks ago:

"[Bête Noire] really shines in solid form . . . the "cooking" brings out the fierce pepper and the bitter florals so gorgeously. Just thought you should know."

I had already ordered the vial pictured above when I saw that message, but it might be something to keep in mind if you're planning an order of your own.

Purchase information:

In addition to the links provided above, DC also usually offers her scents in "bitsy" vials (which are what you see in the picture). Those are one dram bottles (I think) and cost $5 for one or $13 for three. I highly recommend purchasing in that format if you're new to her shop.

Have you tried any DC fragrances yourself? Which of these three sounds most appealing to you?


  1. I don't usually have luck with indie scents since I'm so very particular about which notes I like... have you tried HoG's custom perfume option? I was thinking about taking a stab at it soon.

  2. I can not say I have tried any. I find with the allergies I have talked to you about, that it is best for me to be able to be there and try it out in the store and walk around with it on to see if I can wear it. But on the other hands I really think I would like to try some perfume oils. So, who knows what I will do.....LOL!

  3. You've definitely gotten me even more curious about this shop. I would love to try out the Bete Noire for every keyword that you pulled out ha! Although if I do, I will probably go for the solid. I'm definitely adding it to my list of "to be considered" for my next etsy haul (which is soon, I hope!).

  4. Well, if you do decide to order some perfume oils definitely get samples or minis to try first! That's one advantage of indie companies - many of them offer samples at a small cost.

  5. Nope, never tried it - I don't know what I'd want for my custom blend! Not sure what you had in mind, but they seem to blend gourmand/foodie fragrances especially well.

  6. If I hadn't bought some yet I would definitely go for the solid too, after seeing that Facebook post! I generally like her solid tins anyway - they have interesting artwork on them.

  7. I wonder if my blend would clash too much. I would really love a rose and almond-centric fragrance, but I'm not sure how to anchor it. I'm not a fan of traditional base notes like resins and ambers, so that makes it more difficult. Maybe I'll just message Britton and see if she can't give me suggestions. x_x;

  8. Rose + almond + amber + vanilla is a combo I would personally be willing to risk trying. Unless you hate vanilla, of course. But yeah, she'd probably know best...

  9. Harpy. Coconut, bay rum, lime, milk and sea salt. Sign me up.

    If you need me, I'll be in my hammock.

  10. My thoughts exactly. Though not having a yard makes it tricky - perhaps just lying down on my fire escape is an acceptable Brooklyn alternative?

  11. Certainly. But move every now and then or else people may wonder if you are dead.

  12. Nah, looking alive is overrated. Plus what happens on the fire escape STAYS on the fire escape.