One Hand Washes The Other, Halloween 2013, Review & Photos

Sorry for putting this review up after Halloween. It’s been pretty out of control over here. I have my university final exams starting THIS FRIDAY! :O So blogging hasn’t been something I’ve had much time for. Hopefully by the end of this month I can put more things out here, but my last exam isn’t until November 21, so expect more silence, unless I decide to procrastinate again ;)

One Hand Washes The Other has released their Halloween collection (THE collection of the year that I always look forward to from OHWTO!) and once again, it did not disappoint. The collection for this year is much more diverse, in terms of it’s theme, and also in the variety of fragrances put forth. The collection itself encompasses some more traditional spooky themes such as urban legend favourites, Slenderman and Zalgo, along with some creepypasta “Who Was Phone”, back to some traditional folklore characters with Baba Yaga and the Boo Hag, to the blends inspired by the seasonal treats and creepy scenery associated with the holiday. Let’s move forward with the review.

Product

6 full size solid perfumes in:

  • Camp Crystal Lake
  • Baba Yaga
  • Zalgo
  • Slenderman
  • Se7en
  • Trick

6 sample oil vials in:

  • Who Was Phone?
  • Boo Hag
  • The Great Pumpkin
  • Smashing
  • Poison Apple
  • Incantation

and there was a bonus scent included with my order that was also apart of the Halloween 2013 release: Spectre. (This is in a solid, which OHWTO no longer provides for purchase. Just wanted to make that clear incase new shoppers were not aware. The solid sample pods are what OHWTO includes for bonuses with orders. So you can’t order solid sample pods :P )

Packaging

The solids are adorned with the signature skulls on the labelling, which appear on every Halloween perfume, and the sample vials have some adorable bats printed on the stickers.

Now for the best part ;)

Camp Crystal Lake

Deceptively still waters hide an unspeakable darkness just beneath the surface. Crystalline waters, Canoes, Carnations, Spruce forest, Sandalwood, and bone Musk.

Camp Crystal Lake also known as Camp Forest Green, and, more commonly Camp Blood, was a summer camp for kids in the Friday the 13th film series. Image from: http://kweenytodd.blogspot.com.au/2012/04/happy-friday-13th.html

This was something that I was not expecting at all, something aquatic! As of late I’ve been in a very aquatic/marine zone, and the combination of this being a halloween themed perfume almost sealed the deal that this was going to be a must-try.
The blend starts off as a spicy carnation perfume, that is backed with pine, and the overall scent is sweet. Comes across like a magical forest. The carnations then begin to bloom and become more dominate as it dries down, however the carnations smell like actual fresh flower carnations, not as “perfume”. You know how sometimes there are two sorts of florals, the more nature identical ones and that ones that smell like the idea of a flower? That’s what I’m getting at. The overall effect of the blend during this dry down phase is a little dry , and it becomes quite heady. No doubt from the carnation. It’s not until after some serious wear does the carnation recede and the pine returns, providing some cool relief, and it’s also at this point that on my skin I take notice of any of the more watery notes, and the blend sweetens a little. This was a little challenging for me, because carnations are not my favourite floral, because of how in your face they can be. I spent too long trying to puzzle out when the aquatic was going to emerge that I forgot to just appreciate the blend on its whole. It’s a very lovely carnation blend, that even though it gets strong towards the middle, it does step back a little. The pine-y note in here is really lovely, smooth and sweet, and isn’t sharp, and is a really nice pairing. I know some people tend to avoid some blends with contain evergreen notes, because sometimes they can be too sharp and dry, that’s certainly not the case here. Anyone who was a fan of the Final Girl perfume from the Halloween 2011 collection, for the carnation note in there, will probably enjoy Camp Crystal Lake too. I would consider this unisex to feminine, depending on how strong the carnation or evergreen pulls on you.

Baba Yaga

Baba Yaga is a witch from Russian folklore who lives deep in the forest in a hut on stilted chicken legs- she flies around in a mortar, wielding a pestle, and just might eat you if you cross her. The forest floor, fallen leaves, chrysanthemums, spiced black tea, dried citrus rinds, beeswax, patchouli, and a curl of smoke coming from the chimney she flies in and out of.

Baba Yaga, flying in her mortar and pestle and her hut. Image from: http://intothehermitage.blogspot.com.au/2010/11/marvels-and-tales.html With other beautiful drawings you simply have to check out!

For starters, you all know you want a Baba Yaga house. Don’t deny it.

This blend was surprisingly more bright than I had anticipated. Nice, tangy citrus burst in the openine, which reminds me of these Satsuma bath oil capsules I got from The Body Shop eons ago, so that was a nice memory to bring back :) There’s a little hint of the tea, but the citrus in this is quite strong when you first wear it. As it dries down the other earthy pieces begin to emerge, first with the beeswax and the smoke. It really just is a hint of smoke, and it’s just perfect as well. At this point the blend is very atmospheric, and becomes less of  perfume and becomes more of an experience, to me personally. I never found the patchouli to be heavy in this, so for those who loathe heavy patchouli, and was considering this blend, consider it :P The overall effect of this perfume really makes me feel like I’m sitting in the witches house, smelling all her dried herbs and candles hanging on the walls, and staring out the open doors, smelling the cold, dampness of the forest that surrounds me. A very cool leaning blend, that will probably satisfy those who enjoy a good citrus perfume. This is more on the earthy side, but the citrus burst in the opening lingers for a very good while. Probably more of a feminine to unisex blend.

Zalgo

The scent of those unnamed things which lurk and creep where we can’t see them; say their names, and they will come. The Green scent of brush underfoot, murky grey Puddles, wilted, faded Flowers, ritual Herbs, sharp peppery Musk, tinged with Fear.

To start with, I had NO IDEA what Zalgo even was, so did some searching. It’s pretty creepy overall, so no wonder it was a theme for perfume in this collection.

“Zalgo is an Internet legend about an ominous entity believed to cause insanity, death and destruction of the world, similar to the creature Cthulhu created by H.P. Lovecraft in the 1920s. Zalgo is often associated with scrambled text on webpages and photos of people whose eyes and mouth have been covered in black.” Excerpt taken from here .

It’s a very cool and watery opening for this perfume, and it does indeed have some peppery bite to it. Slightly floral tinge, and it smells like still, nighttime air, almost that calm before the storm vibe. In it’s opening it’s very light and refreshing, something I wasn’t expecting from such a creepy inspiration! As it wears on it has a very clean, almost soapy-clean quality to it, and has a bit of crispness. It’s a little sweet as well, but more of a green sweetness. Again, it smells very still and almost lifeless. In it’s dry down it shows a base of herbs, but on my skin it’s quite subtle, but it still holds on to this clean feeling. It’s blended quite well, with nothing dominating or muddying up. The gem with Zalgo is, that it’s going to be a blend that I’m going to use over and over during this coming summer. It’s light, refreshing, has a ‘neutral’ feeling to it, so it can lend itself to year round wear. Zalgo is very unisex (just like the actual entity itself has no gender, so will attach to anyone…ooooh I see what you did there! ;) ) and will be loved by those who adore anything that’s fresh, crisp and ozonic. Definitely a blend I keep sniffing and sniffing, so it’s no wonder it’s my favourite of this release.

Slenderman

A modern-day urban legend, Slenderman is described as very tall and thin with unnaturally long arms which it can extend. He has a white, blank head and wears a dark suit. Slenderman is usually seen in and around the forest, where he can easily camouflage himself to better sneak up on unsuspecting victims. The cologne of a well-dressed man, hidden in plain sight among trees and ferns in a creepy copse, the creaking of a heavy mahogany door in an abandoned forest retreat nobody has entered in decades.

Slenderman, in his most favourite of hangouts - the forest. Image from: http://creepypasta.wikia.com/wiki/The_Slender_Man

This is most certainly a smooth, deep mahogany blend. In it’s opening it’s sweet enough to remind me of gummie lollies (however don’t quote me on that, because I haven’t eaten those sorts of lollies for about 5 years. Gelatine is a butthole.). There’s a little bit of a crispness to the opening as well, that almost ozonic vibe. It almost has a deeper, syrupy quality to it, but I’m quite terrible in describing anything that is sweet. This actually reminds me a lot of Solstice Scents Monster Mash (now reformulated and renamed Loggia), however Monster Mash was lighter whereas Slenderman has more depth, and is more darker. Any fans of Monster Mash will probably love Slenderman! Sometimes, something comes across as an earthy kind of note, that makes me think of tobacco? I’m not sure what it is, but on my skin it’s not very noticeable, and it’s mainly mahogany that is all I can smell. I find Slenderman not to morph too much during the whole time it’s on my skin. Overall, the blend is too sweet for my preference, so I don’t enjoy it as much as the others in this range, however the menacing vibe comes through for me. Maybe Slenderman knew that I was not partial to sweeter woods, and is making his attack? Unisex with more of a feminine lean, and I only say feminine lean because of how sweet this pulls on me.

Se7en

Seven little headstones, all in a row

Seven little bodies down below
Seven little hearts
stopped in Seven little chests
Seven little victims laid to rest.
Seven was a good start
Seven was fine
but after Six came Seven
now it’s time for Eight and Nine.
Damp, almost peppery, freshly-dug soil, rolls of sod, floral arrangements, Ferns, Woods, and an uninvited guest, watching from the outskirts.
This was another reference I wasn’t sure about so went to double check. The almighty google gave me two responses: “Seven is a 1995 American thriller film. Two detectives, a rookie and a veteran, hunt a serial killer who uses the seven deadly sins as his modus operandi. ” (excerpt taken from IMDB and wikipedia), and “ Choi Dong-wook ( Korean : 최동욱, 崔東昱 [ citation needed ] ; born November 9, 1984), better known by his stage name Se7en , is a South Korean singer from YG Entertainment . “. (Excerpt taken from wikipedia.)So as much as the idea of manufactured pop stars freaks me the hell out, I’m thinking the reference lies with the movie ;)

Very cool green notes and a most fabulous damp dirt. I seriously love the dirt notes that OHWTO has in their blends, they’re just too cool! When I first put this on, it made me think of Dudleyville from last years Halloween release, and Dudleyville was my favourite from that collection. The same sort of feelings are shared: peppery dirt and murky forest scenery. This is a much lighter and sweeter blend than Dudleyville, and it has the ferns in there to shake things up. I don’t really have many perfumes which have fern notes, infact as far as I know, I only have 1 other, and that’s Courtyard from Solstice Scents (now discontinued). The ferns in this really smooth things out, mellow it down a notch and make the blend feel a little warm and takes some of the edge of the dirt notes. I like to think of this as an overrun garden, that hasn’t been tended to in many years, because the owner of the house has long gone, without a trace, and nobody new has since moved in. We all have that 1 creepy, un-inhabited house in our neighbourhoods, or that 1 house where you know someone lives there, but you never, ever see them. This is what Se7en puts me in mind. Those creepy neighbours we all have! Very unisex, with more of a masculine lean to it. Those who enjoyed Dudleyville last year may also enjoy Se7en, and it’s certainly a blend for those who prefer darker green fragrances.
Trick
Sensuous, Floral Amber, Skin Musk, Sandalwood, Oak, Pomegranates, and Sweet Oranges and Plums.
I was trying to decide between Trick or Treat, and was leaning more towards Treat because of the fig, leaves and ginger notes, but I was scared off by the inclusion of cream, so decided to try Trick. It seems that I was evidentally tricked, because Trick is much more sweet than I had anticipated! It’s a very fruity blend, and on the skin it opens into a bright and tangy blend. It has something which reminds me of fizzy sherbet lollies! It makes me think of berries, but berries aren’t listed in the description xD It’s probably just me not being able to tell apart fruit, oh dear xD It’s bright opening quickly settles down, and I get more of a pomegranate finish, which is actually very lovely, and light, however of course fruity sweet. When the blend dries down further, the citrus tang fades with it, and the blend has this almost “purple fruits” scent to it. I notice the oak here and it grounds the blend further, but still it’s too sweet for my preference. Trick is not a favourite of mine, but I’m sure this will be a favourite for many of those who do enjoy those types of scents! This is definitely a blend I can see being worn all year round, as it isn’t too heady and in your face, and would make for a nice summer blend too. Feminine lean.
The Great Pumpkin
Pumpkin flesh with lashings of Orange blossom honey, wild Roses clambering over ancient Oaks, Ginger, Frankincense, Myrrh, and Amber.
Starts out cool, slightly airy and crisp, like a brisk autumn dusky afternoon, just before the sun has fully set, backdropped with pumpkin jack-o-lanter you’ve set up next to the rose bushes. It’s a pretty charming opening, and one that will surely excite those who love rose scents. As it dries down the rose becomes a little sweeter and more noticeable, but not overpowering. It makes me think of Rose City from Haus of Gloi, in the sense that this is a ‘dirtied up’ sort of rose, and doesn’t make me think of anything delicate or ultra feminine. Just very natural and a little haunting in this case, as the pumpkin dies down and rounds out the blend. Further wear reveals a slightly spicy side that makes me think of ginger, but it’s nothing more than a nip. Pumpkin blends can be hit and miss with me, because I’ve had some overly gourmand pumpkin blends that have made me lose interest, and then I’ve found more darker, inspired blends. I’d definitely consider this to be more of the darker type, and is not in any way a foody/gourmand experience. I never notice any pungent honey, like I have noticed with some other honey blends, so I very much appreciate it’s subtelty here. Possibly unisex, but I’d think this is probably more feminine from the rose.
Incantation
Sacred incense, Atlas cedar, Spiced pumpkin, Sandalwood, and Rose.
Another of the darker rose blends, and fans from a previous OHWTO halloween release Exhume, may enjoy this as well (if darkened rose is what you’re after, and not a duplicate scent, because this is no dupe!). Infact the opening makes me think of Sugar Skulls, as it has a sweet, light floral and warm spice tone to it. I didn’t find the pumpkin to overwhelm in the blend either. Further wear reveals something to smell a little citrus? (maybe it’s my nose muddling up the cedar in a way.), and the rose to diminish a little and to lose it’s spiciness as well. It becomes a little more woody and finally at the very end, on my skin, it has an soft incense finish to tie it all together. At one point during the wear, it had a slightly soapy clean tone to it, which I’m not sure what my skin was doing there :( From the ingredients listed you would expect this to be quite heady, but it actually sits quite close to the skin, and is quite light to moderate in intensity. Feminine.
Who Was Phone?
Dad’s cologne, Powdery perfume splash, freshly-Shampooed hair, and a stolen bottle of red Wine from Mom’s secret stash.

Image from captionsearch.com

The very first thing I notice with this blend is that it does smell like shampoo! I breathe it in deeply and it’s that familiar, soapy clean scent. Sometimes I’m not all that happy with things that smell soapy or smell like anything that I would use in the shower. Only because I prefer different types of products for showers, than I do for perfumes. My shower gels are all fruity and florals, because I find them energising. However they rinse away, and then I can perfume myself the way I like :P Anyway, back on track, the shampoo. I can smell berries and the ‘shampoo’, and after a while it all becomes a little powdery and soft. Again, reminding me of shower times :P I do however find myself feeling refreshed, but probably because I keep making these shower references xD I don’t really smell the wine, but then again, I don’t really remember the smell of wine anymore, at least not enough to be able to pick it out if used subtlely. Overall, I find this to be quite a fun fragrance, adding a little bit of novelty to your perfume wardrobe if you haven’t already. Come on, we all have those types of perfumes in our collections, and if you don’t, then maybe give this one a whirl ;)
Boo Hag
Gullah folklore warns of vampires without skin, called Boo Hags, which will enter your home at night through any crack or crevice they can find, sit on your chest (they call this “riding”), and suck your breath- your very life force- from you while you sleep, until the sun rises. The best way to ward off an attack is to keep a broom by your bedside, as Boo Hags are compelled to count the bristles and will not be able to “ride” you until they have completed their counting- by which point the sun will have risen, forcing the hag to retreat until the sun sets again.Southern peaches, ripe from harvest. Palmetto fronds, cotton bolls, magnolia blossoms and Spanish moss, touched with a hint of incense and patchouli.

Image from: http://www.atlantaghosttours.com/Pages/StoryBooHags.aspx

They remind me of Incubi and Succubi! Also, I love the expression of the Horse in this picture. Makes me think of Doge Shibe. In this Boo Hag’s defense, I probably would have the same expression if I had a demon horse literally breathing down my neck whilst I was trying to get my daily dose of maiden life force. The nerve.
For such a sinister inspiration, the opening is quite bright and friendly. It’s very peachy, but it’s not very sickly sweet, just a really nice fuzzy peach, quite natural. For some reason on initial application I get something that smells a little like coconut. Oh my nose thinks it knows what it knows, but my nose doesn’t really know…okay I’ll just stop that. After about 20-30 minutes I find the peach to be almost gone, it’s just barely hanging on, and is replaced with a creamy, white floral. I actually prefer this stage the most, even though I really do like peach, white florals can sometimes have that almost elegant touch, and make a blend very special. Along with the floral there’s something a little green, and later on a more mossy/earthy tone emeges and this becomes an entirely different perfume! Honestly, it smells so different from initial application. MORPHER ALERT. Feminine, but only really if you wear this for the opening stage only. Otherwise it’s unisex.
Poison Apple
Of course, the best-tasting apples are always the ones laced with some kind of deadly toxin. Maybe just a little bite… Tart apples, sugared carnations, and a poison-soaked splinter of wood jammed into the core.
It’s not a halloween release without an apple fragrance, just as it should ;) Opens with an almost almond like bitterness met with a beautiful tart apple. It’s not juicy or fresh, but think darkened. It wears pretty much as an almondy/apple for a little while until the carnation pulls through. Not a very strong carnation, but adds a little more depth and a bit of creaminess. Not a lot, just enough to fool you into taking a bite before you realise you’re a goner. I was wanting this to be a little more woody, but it didn’t quite get there for me on my skin. However, it’s a nice blend, but overall a little too sweet for my liking. Although it’s a more dark apple, yeah, that sweetness. I’m rather picky you see :P
Smashing
Mischief Night, Cabbage Night, call it what you will- the night before Halloween is reserved for troublemakers and all manner of shenanigans. Sooty charred pumpkins, their smashed flesh strewn along sidewalks and on door stoops, dried apricots and figs, and a smidge of sandalwood.
You all know you were thinking of this.
Fans of last year’s Dullahan and Jack in Black should be enticed by the offering that is Smashing. I think of this as the third in the trio that is the “black halloween” blends from OHWTO, at least that’s how I categorise them in my mind. These three all have much more than just a dark vibe, they just feel a tad malevolent. Just a hint of burnt pumpkin flesh mingled with smoke and makes for a rather potent opening, that is warm and a little salty. It almost takes on a dry, papery essence further on down the line, and every so often a little soft sweetness (which I imagine from the dried fruits noted) peeps through to cut through it. The fruits in this blend, at least on my skin, are not very strong, nor do they linger. Just peeping in and out. Definitely for pumpkin lovers, but not for those who are after gourmand pumpkin. Unisex.
Spectre
Barely-there, an echo of the past? Or perhaps a supernatural visitor. Milk Sugar, Vanilla, and Tonka beans on a base of Skin Musk.
This was my gift with purchase scent, and taking a look at the notes, some of you may have already realised this could not have possibly be something I’ve chosen. Well you know what, I’m actually really glad that Becca threw this in, because this is pretty damn enjoyable. I guess there’s a few sweets that gets past this barrier every now and then! I would’ve thought from the description that this was going to be something that smelled of milkshakes and milkybar chocolates (they really don’t smell too good for me). This is a rather creamy, light and white fragrance, that has a beautiful vanilla in there that isn’t too strong or bakery in taste. The vanilla here, or the blend in general makes me think of After 5 Somewhere from the private stock line, and that might be something to take a peek at if you’ve tried Spectre and enjoyed it. For me, I don’t really find this to change all that much, or get out of control and smelling like a sugar bowl. Very feminine and floaty. I’ve heard that apparently Spectre smells reminiscent to Prada’s Candy. I cannot comment on that, but if that sounds good to you, then you know what you have to do ;)
So there we go! Thank you for making it all the way through, and if anything from this release interests you, make sure to go check out the store before the winter stock rolls in (which I don’t think is happening until late November/early December.).