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December 7, 2014

Indie Weekends: Darling Clandestine Shark Friday Perfume Review

Darling Clandestine doesn't do a Black Friday sale since the owner had a conference to go to during that time, so she did Shark Friday on November 14th instead. I had a coupon code from ordering a few weeks before, so I used it to get almost everything that was available for Shark Friday!

Darling Clandestine is an indie perfume company, located in Texas, owned by Evonne, and is known for some weirder perfume scents. There are seasonal releases, and a few that pop up out of their season every now and then. The entire perfume catalog is located here, and each scent has a "boss level" which is on a sliding scale of 1 being something that could totally pass as a mainstream perfume, to 10 being really weird smelling.

Shipping - This order was placed on November 14th and shipped on November 25th via USPS. It arrived 3 days later from Texas to California.


Here's everything that I ordered, but there were a few Shark Friday scents that I actually already had, as they were just regular winter scents. I forgot to include them in the overall photo, but I still have a review for them! You can really see in this photo how small the full size bottle of Grace is. It's shorter than a Bitsy vial, which is 1 dram.

Product Size - The Itsy Bitsy vials hold 1/2 dram (the 3 on the top left in the above photo), the Bitsy vials hold 1 dram (the 2 bottles on the top right in the above photo), and the solid Bitsies are 3 grams each (the 3 tiny plastic jars in the above photo).

Free Samples - I have not received a free sample in either order I've made. 


Grace - "Eleven different botanical essentials and extracts are featured in this year’s Christmas exclusive, Grace. Elements include sharp, bright spikenard, the oil used by Mary Magdalene to anoint the feet of Jesus Christ, as well as lively gingergrass, moody Haitian Sandalwood, piquant blue lotus, sweet Melissa, mellow myrrh, and that precious oud."
  • Suite: Hot/Deep
  • Traditional gender preference: True unisex
  • Boss level: 9
This was the special Christmas perfume for this year, and each tiny full size rectangular bottle was anointed with a special ribbon and wax seal that was unique to each bottle, and it came in an organza bag stamped with the Darling Clandestine logo. Just a beautiful presentation and packaging. I've heard that this one smells not good when you first put it on, and I have to agree. It's bitter and just weird. If this isn't a boss level 10, then I don't know what possibly could be. It hurts my throat just smelling it. Then it starts to smell citrusy with a touch of spiciness to it. Possibly the gingergrass is causing that. After a while longer it starts to finally smell tolerable, like the Sandalwood and the oud.


Halochrome - "Tanika showed me a really pretty fluorescent germ-cell stain. It made me want to create something deep but bright. She told me she’s fond of the term “halochromism”—color changes that happen in certain substances and tissues because of a change in pH. I suddenly decided I wanted a fragrance with a “color shift,” one that would run the gamut of ROYGBIV. Thus was born a synaesthetic adventure for your skin. She's a rainbow."
  • Suite: Hot/Wet/Deep
  • Traditional gender preference: True unisex
  • Boss level: 7
I was almost dreading testing this one, just because I knew I would have no clue how to describe it and the notes I was smelling. At first it smells watery and green, like fresh lettuce and florals, then it starts to get into the hot portion. It smells like a deep citrus, and a touch of lime possibly? It's spicier though. Then it gets deeper and smells like really good vanilla. After quite a while on the skin, I just sort of want to just stick my nose in this and not move. What it smells like, I have no idea, but it's kind of fruity. It's interesting because the longer you inhale the scent, the more it changes.  That's about all I can get out of this one, I knew it would be impossible to describe.


Hellbender - "A rich, decadent, gourmand delight. Raw ginger, toasty amber, brassy saffron, deeeeep vanilla."
  • Suite: Hot
  • Traditional gender preference: True unisex
  • Boss level: 6
This is one of the ones I already had in my stash, and thus didn't order it for Shark Friday. This has the warmth and spiciness of the ginger and amber, and the vanilla is really deep and dark. I mostly get the amber out of this one at first, so it smells really yummy and sweet, but it's not the most exciting of the bunch I have. A lot of people really love this one, but after smelling some of the others, this one just isn't quite a high enough boss level for me! But if you love vanilla scents, this is perfect for you. I do love this though after it's been on the skin for a little while. Then it really starts to get magical.


Kendraberry - "Created for a dear friend, this is a bright, effervescent honeysuckle spritzer, tempered with fresh fruits and juniper and green tea and amber and ozone. Intense and feminine, perfect for those who enjoy a more "traditional" perfume but don't like the headiness that comes with a commercial eau."
  • Suite: Hot
  • Traditional gender preference: Feminine
  • Boss level: 3
This is one I already had in my collection, and it's very much more like a traditional perfume than some of the higher boss level scents. It's quite fruity, but also a touch of floral. It's also fresh and bright. You can smell a little bit of the tea as well. This totally smells like a perfume you'd buy at a department store, but better. 


Love & Sharks Blue Edition - "There's no cherry in this blend. Complementing the salty sharkskin instead is a swirl of blueberries and blackberries, taffy-pull vanilla, aged rum and a dusting of dark cocoa."
  • Suite: Hot
  • Traditional gender preference: True unisex
  • Boss level: 9
It's like a fruity perfume with a dusting of salt that just makes everything food related better. If this was a dessert I would totally eat it, well as long as there was no actual shark skin in it! I have smelled the original version before, but I never tried it on, so I don't quite know how it compares. However, to me this doesn't feel like a boss level 9 to me, sure it's got a strange salty component to it, but it feels like a very fruity perfume. Nothing too weird about that. This feels much less salty than the original, the original Love & Sharks smells salty, watery, and just like you'd imagine shark skin smelling, or like a surfer who just got back to shore from conquering a giant wave. I definitely really like this one, but I don't think I'm regretting not getting a full size. So if you really like fruity perfumes that are just a little different, this is a perfect scent for you.


My Lady Ser - "Muddy roads, dinted iron, horses and stables and miles in the saddle, whispering woods, misty fields, a cup of watered cider in a dark tavern, a flash of steel, a breath of wildflowers. But not roses. Never roses."
  • Suite: Deep
  • Traditional gender preference: True unisex
  • Boss level: 8
Out of the bottle this smells like cold steel and leather. On the skin this opens up into something not quite florally, but there are definitely flowers in it. B said immediately after applying it, it smelled like a premium Disney hotel suite. It's really good, B and I both loved it, it's sort of a classier and less feminine floral. I actually wore it to Rave of Thrones, which was an event DJ'd by the actor who plays Hodor in Game of Thrones. And since this perfume is inspired by Brienne of Tarth on Game of Thrones, it was a great fit! And I put a little on B and it smelled similar, but like a manlier version of it. That's one of the great things about Darling Clandestine perfumes is most of them are unisex and can easily be worn by either a man or a woman. And they'll smell a little different on each!


Smother Whirl - "A non-monochrome addition to the four-scent suite, a brother from the same mother. Green, woody natural pistachio (no pudding here), rich moss-covered oak, and a shy bloom of a gloriously superior essence of jasmine grandiflorum." + "Bright summer citrus and passionfruit mellowed with sage and other wonders. Juicy and fruity but not too sweet, candy for grownups."
  • Suite: Wet + Hot
  • Traditional gender preference: True unisex + Feminine
  • Boss level: 8 + 2 (I'm not sure how the math on this works)
The scent is what's called a Franken Bitsy, which is two of the perfumes mixed together in one bottle. It's a combination of Smother and Tilt-A-Whirl. Yummy, this is a fruity floral that I can really smell the jasmine in. There's the bit of citrus in it as well, and I think I can also pick out the sage. I haven't smelled either of these separately so I'm not sure how they smell on their own, but as a blend it's wonderful. After dry down, I can start to smell more of the pistachio. After a little while it starts to get greener, and it actually reminds me of another perfume I have, but I'm not sure which one.


Tiny Ice Bees - "I wove a wisp of damp silk—crisp, delicate, ozoney, watery—with a subtle splash of pineapple and tart green orange and grapefruit. No honey. Come on; that’s predictable. This is a thing that happened in the dead of terrible winter."
  • Suite: Hot
  • Traditional gender preference: True unisex
  • Boss level: 7
Out of the container, I can definitely smell the pineapple, but once it's on the skin the grapefruit comes out more. It smells like a fresh and tart perfume, definitely very citrusy.  But it's also a little watery with a touch of sweetness, probably from the pineapple. It's like a wintery fruity perfume, it smells a little icy to me. It doesn't last long, I had to reapply several times throughout the day.


The Moon Is Leaving for the Wheels - "The tang of tawny dead grasses, parched by sunset, dampened by first frost. Brooding vetiver, ripe blackberries, sweet Melissa, shy mosses, pettigrain twist."
  • Suite: Deep
  • Traditional gender preference: True unisex
  • Boss level: 8
I would definitely say this is pretty unisex, it smells like a slightly sweet almost traditional perfume. I can't really pick out any of the notes since I don't know what most of them smell like, but I get a little of the blackberry. But of course it's a very high quality blackberry scent, nothing artificial or gross about it at all. This one always gets me because I don't understand the name, and the abbreviation on the lid makes me forget what it's actual name is. I put this on B to see how it would smell and it smells spicier, almost like leather but I think it actually disappears quite quickly on him. This one kind of baffles me, I don't know what it smells like, although I think I notice some of the vetiver coming through after dry down.



Tyto - "For Bridget’s owl companion; his story is to come. Bright, tart pomegranate, blinks of green undergrowth and a tangled suite of woods, including a divinely excellent oud from Sumbawa, courtesy of an Indonesian friend."
  • Suite: Hot/Deep
  • Traditional gender preference: True unisex
  • Boss level: 7
The pomegranate note in this just blows every other pomegranate notes you've ever smelled out of the water in terms of quality. And it's fruity, and green, and the oud...so I've never smelled actual oud, but I have read about what the high quality ones smell like, and this is it. It smells like a tropical paradise in winter. This to me is definitely more of a summery perfume, but since there is pomegranate in it, and that's a winter fruit, you could get away with wearing this all year long. It doesn't seem to stay as bright for very long on me, it dissipates very quickly, and starts to remind me of the smell of freshly washed sheets.


Vardogr - "This weird little concoction is truly a masterpiece. Oh, it's gooood. And weird. Dark, damp, herbal—mossy forest floors, sunken alleys, underground spaces—with a dozen unlikely notes including pure essential German chamomile, bitter black coffee, hazy Indian musks, sharp herbs and a whip of leather. It’s not for everyone. It’s strange. But oh my, is it fantastic."
  • Suite: Deep
  • Traditional gender preference: Unisex to masculine
  • Boss level: 9
Immediately after applying this, I get coffee, smoke, incense (probably the Indian musks), and a bit of leather. It smells very incense-y to me, almost exactly like a stick of incense I bought back in my teens. So this probably won't be a favorite, as incense is not friendly to my head anymore, but I will say that this perfume is not overpowering. It's more masculine to me, so I bet B could wear this and smell amazing. Not my favorite, but it's interesting for sure.

Overall, I am just really growing to love all of the Darling Clandestine scents. They are such high quality, the sample sizes are so generous, and even though some of them are a little strange, they smell so good! My favorites by far were Hellbender and My Lady Ser. I didn't expect to love My Lady Ser as much as I did, but B loved it, I loved it, it's just a really great unique perfume. Plus, I love that so many of them work double duty, and B could wear them too. I don't think he'd ever wear them on his own, he'd never know which was the one he liked, but he doesn't seem to fuss too much when I put them on him. I like the solid Bitsies for convenience and ease of use when out and about, but the Bitsy vials are such a nice large size. I don't feel like I'm going to run out anytime soon. If I could do Shark Friday over again with the knowledge I have now, I would probably grab My Lady Ser in full size, and I might consider not buying Grace.

Customer Service - I did not have to contact Evonne about any problems with this order. I only emailed her about getting my Shark Friday code, and she was quick to respond back.

AvailabilityDarling Clandestine is currently closed until mid-December. Evonne is not sure which winter scents will make a come back at the re-opening, but some of these may be available then. Otherwise, it will not be until next winter.

Overall Satisfaction - My favorites were Hellbender and My Lady Ser. I wish I bought My Lady Ser in full size. I will be probably purchasing every scent I can possibly get my hands on from Darling Clandestine from now on. Even the ones that don't work for me are usually still good in some way.

What did you think of the Darling Clandestine Shark Friday perfumes? Let me know in the comments!

For all other Darling Clandestine reviews, click here

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