Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Haus of Gloi Yule Collection

Disclaimer - all products purchased by me.

Haus of Gloi launched their Yule collection recently and I was able to grab every scent offered as a perfume oil (except for one which I got in pumpkin butter and whipped soap form). Originally I passed on this collection last year because the scents didn't appeal to me but I figured it was worth a shot since my tastes have changed over the past year.

A little about the company - they are a bath and body company based out of Oregon and run by Britton and Matt. They offer a large selection of handmade scents and products that include perfume oils, body butters and lotions, sugar scrubs, whipped and bar soaps, lip balms, bath bombs and hair oils. They have a large range of scents that are offered year round but their seasonal releases seem to be the most popular.

Shipping time is quoted as 12-14 business days but I usually receive a shipping notice well before that. I ordered the day of the Yule release and had my shipping notice in 5 business days. They combine multiple orders and even refund excess shipping fees automatically. And every order includes a hand written thank you note along with a free perfume sample.

For the sake of transparency I wanted to discuss customer service as I've seen this issue come up a few times and also have an experience of my own to share. The most common complaints that I've seen come up are a lack of communication and missing items once orders are received. The Haus team can be a bit difficult to reach through email and social media and it's not uncommon to see people mention that their email inquiries have gone without a response. This was my experience a few months ago. An item was missing from my order and it took around two weeks of poking and prodding them through email before they sent the missing item. Of course I understand they are a small operation and can become swamped given their popularity but I shouldn't feel like I have to make that much effort when the mistake was made through their end.

There was also a complaint that concerned bugs and other foreign contaminants found in some products. You can read about that here and here. Now things like this happen from time to time, no biggie. But it's the untimely and inappropriate initial response that I find bothersome. Customer service can make or break a business so it's hard for me to understand why they don't always seem to place a bigger emphasis on customer inquiries. I dunno. It's a great company run by good people so I hope they can get their priorities in order and improve this aspect of the business.

I'll be reviewing all of the seasonal and general catalog scents that I've accumulated over the past year (though mostly seasonal) but for now I'll start with the Yule release since there will be a restock coming up on Cyber Monday.

Eggnoggin - the Haus 'nog! Cream, sugar and a shot of dark rum topped with fresh grated nutmeg. This...doesnt smell like eggnog? Is this mislabeled? It reminds me of the butter rum LifeSavers that you see around the holidays. I smell the rum and something sugary sweet like butterscotch with a pinch of nutmeg in the background. As it wears on my skin the rum and nutmeg fade completely so I'm left with a sugary creamy vanilla. It's a nice scent and the drydown is delicious but this just doesn't remind me of eggnog. Wear time was 4+ hours.

Fancy Bread - ripe banana, roasted nuts and brown sugar folded into a delicious quick bread. In the vial it mostly smells like warm banana bread straight out of the oven. I get an additional whiff of banana that has a candy sweetness rather than smelling like the actual fruit. On the skin the sweet banana disappears quickly and I'm left with a realistic warm banana bread. This one didn't morph much and lasted around three hours.

Hearth - the warm glowing center of home. Autumns last apple pickings, warm bread, orange rind, various fire roasted nuts, cracked black pepper all nailed down by an oozing sticky benzoin. In the vial I get mostly orange with warm baked bread underneath. No apples. On the skin the orange begins to fade slightly and I begin to smell a combo of bread, pepper and the roasted nuts. The end result is a warm blend of fruits and nuts and this one lasted several hours before it faded completely.

Mama's Porridge - brown sugar sweetened oatmeal with a splash of milk and a piece of buttery cinnamon sugar dusted toast. Tons of cinnamon on top of brown sugar and bread straight out of the vial. As soon as this hit my skin the cinnamon amped up but never took over completely. From beginning to end it didn't morph much and smelled just like cinnamon toast. Wear time was several hours.

Plotter's Breakfast - oatey porridge, stove smoke, kindling wood, a hint of gun powder and pinch of sweet tobacco smoke. Out of the vial I smell lots of smoke and gun powder. And although I can detect a subtle warmth from the porridge this isn't a foody scent at all. After an hour on my skin the gun powder and smoke fade and I begin to smell a soft whiff of the tobacco. Now normally this is a note I avoid like the plague but I can tolerate it here, maybe because it stays close to the skin. This lasted around two hours.

Rosy Cheeked - pink grapefruit, fir needles, juniper berries, rosemary, a sprig of parsley and bright winter lilies. This is a bright and cheerful citrus blend that smells mostly of grapefruit and fir with a touch of rosemary. The lilies weave in and out...sometimes I can smell them right away and other times not at all. As soon as it touches my skin the rosemary combines with the fir as the grapefruit begins to fade and it's now an herbal-citrus blend. Eventually the lilies begin to emerge but at this point Rosy Cheeked starts to remind me of cleaning products like Pine Sol. The sillage was strong after two hours but I had to wash it off so I can't really comment on wear time.

Snow Wolf - bristling and prowling, lonesome and haunting. Three howling firs, white frankincense, vanilla bean husk, tainted with droplets of blood cedar. When I first opened the vial I was convinced I had spilled some Rosy Cheeked on my fingers because I was smelling citrus. But no, it's all Snow Wolf. I see what Britton meant when she described her silver fir scent as "almost fruity" because all I smelled was a cold icy citrus in the vial. The longer I smell it I can tell it's definitely fir but at first sniff Snow Wolf has a fruity aroma. But that disappears on the skin after a couple minutes and the white frankincense begins to emerge with the faint cedar lying underneath. At this point it stays pretty close to the skin and I have to press my nose to my wrist to smell it. Eventually the vanilla is the only note that remains and the scent fades completely after 90 minutes. I really enjoyed this but I'm not sure if I'll repurchase yet.

Sweet Potato Treat - for me this is the epitome of holiday comfort food: sweet potatoes with mild spices, butter and brown sugar baked off with marshmallows. Creamy sweet potatoes and cinnamon in the vial. Very realistic. Once on my skin the cinnamon amps up and competes with the sweet potato for the first thirty minutes or so before it begins to retreat. Butter and brown sugar then begin to emerge and hang around until the scent fades completely after three to four hours.

Three Treasures - sacred gifts of frankincense, myrrh and gold. Smoldering with warmth and brightened with a touch of mandarin rind. In the vial this is very sharp and almost medicinal. The mandarin itself is difficult to detect but this scent smells slightly citrus-y...is that frankincense? Once it hits my skin it almost immediately begins to smell like black licorice and never morphs beyond that point. Sillage was strong even after two hours when I washed this off.

Winter Divinity - sugary white vanilla divinity with a surprising jolt of peppermint. This was the scent I was most excited for so I went ahead and bought a large pumpkin butter and whipped soap. It's vanilla and mint...a safe blind buy, right? Well not exactly. The pumpkin butter smells like a rich chocolate with a subtle peppermint background. I don't smell anything that vaguely resembles vanilla. It also disappeared completely on my skin after a half hour. On the other hand the whipped soap is mostly peppermint but instead of chocolate I get a plastic aroma. I'm starting to think it's the whipped soap base because some of my other scents smell very different in this format, particularly Zazz. Winter Divinity was worth trying but this isn't one I would repurchase.

Ye Olde Cake of Fruit - rich brandy soaked spice cake filled with candied citron, pecans, candied cherries and pineapple. Maraschino cherries, brandy and lightly spiced cake out of the bottle. The cherries are strongest and make this scent very sweet in the beginning but that sweetness fades quickly on the skin and I'm left with a warm boozy cake with subtle spices. This morphs into a comforting festive scent once the cloying cherry note fades. Wear time was several hours.

Final thoughts - I'm glad that I tried this collection but for now I'm undecided on whether I will repurchase anything here. Possibly Sweet Potato Treat and Ye Olde Cake of Fruit but only in a smaller size pumpkin butter and scrub. It's a well-rounded collection but I feel that some of these scents like Fancy Bread and Mama's Porridge would be better suited for home fragrances rather than bath & body. Eggnoggin was the one I was most excited for but it missed the mark completely. And I would've loved to have seen a cranberry or fig scent offered so for now I'm crossing my fingers for the Cyber Monday sale.

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