Heck Yeah, Hexennacht!

After Portia’s review of Never Was a Cornflake Girl from indie Hexennacht, I knew I wanted to try it for myself. I also have a good friend who’s into indie scents; her tastes are similar and she really likes their stuff. Let’s face it, there are soooooo many brands right now, which is in some ways a good thing, but it means I’m always running across whole scent lines / brands I’ve never tried.

I ordered up some samples from Surrender to Chance (they have 30+ scents from the line) without stressing too much about making “perfect” choices; I aimed for an appealing assortment that sounded different enough from one another. I think they’re all perfume oils and thus highly concentrated and may take a moment to bloom on the skin. I gave each of them multiple wears.

In no particular order:

Never Was a Cornflake Girl – honey oat cereal, fruity pebbles, cinnamon toast crunch, raisin bran, rice krispies, sweet sugary milk at the bottom of the bowl. This was the first one I tried, and hahahahahahaha it is fantastic! Weird, but wonderful. On me it cycles repeatedly through several phases – milky cereal, fruity pebbles, hay, raisin bran, something sweet and raspy, rather like immortelle… it shares some DNA with Lostmarc’h Lann-Ael along the way, and my guess is if you liked that, you’d like this. (Sidenote: I’m thrilled to see Lann-Ael is still available!) After several hours it dries down to a soft, lactonic sweetness that lasts well into the evening on me. I want a bottle.

Honeycomb Calcite — notes of creamed honey, wild honeycomb, beeswax, cedarwood, amber, musk, vanilla, basmati rice, brown sugar, woodsmoke, almond, oats, benzoin, acacia absolute.  I had high hopes for this one! I mean, look at those notes. On my first attempt I was partly anosmic to it, a problem I have occasionally with honey scents … I could sense it around me, it was definitely there, but I was only catching bits of it. I get an odd, almost mineral note at the top, then buttery rice and bits of pollen-forward honey. On subsequent attempts I got a rich, dark honey with a bit of funk to it, less sweetly lactonic than I expected given those notes, but still: lovely.

Mojo Dojo Casa House — notes of vanilla, oakwood extract, benzoin, burnt caramel, labdanum, guaiacwood, frankincense, rum succan absolute, cognac accord and tobacco absolute. This is the most conventional of my set of samples – it’s got a fancy-niche vibe, something you might find By Kilian. It smells like it sounds, mostly benzoin, booze, woods, and sweet tobacco. Look, it’s very nice; I think I’m simply disappointed it’s not weirder. Lasts a full day on my skin.

Desert Rain – “the smell of the scent of actual desert rain with notes of sweetgrass, cactus flower, summer rain, ozonic accord, black sage, cedar, sandalwood and pink pepper.” I mean … I had to try this one, right? Since I live in a high desert climate and I’m always interested in people’s fragrance interpretations of the desert. (Do cactus flowers have a scent? They bloom here spring and summer but they’re always full of bees so I haven’t sniffed.) It’s sweeter than I expected and while nice enough, not amazing or wildly interesting. If I sniffed in a shop I’d think, that’s a pretty floral, and move on.

Dark Shadows — benzoin, caramel, pipe tobacco, myrrh, incense, honey amber, sandalwood, vanilla rice milk and cardamom. Okay, maybe I didn’t do as good a job as I could have on diversifying my selections. I was hoping for more incense; instead I get all that richness of the edible notes in an oddly … non-edible way? On me there’s an overlay of something peaty / rich soil compost. This is deeply weird, but I can’t decide whether I find it enjoyable or unpleasant (rather like Portia’s response to Cornflake Girl.) It’s not boring, though, and it definitely has its fans.

The Hexennacht website is a slog – their search feature at the bottom of the page is clunky (e.g., you can’t search successfully for a particular note) and the best option is to wade in there and read the detailed descriptions which are roughly sorted by type. I’d find this deeply annoying on a site by MegaCorp Perfume Brand but hey, roll-on bottles are only $13 and there’s a ton of really interesting-sounding scents, so they’re forgiven. They recommend this site if you want samples, or you can get some from StC like I did. Based on what I’ve seen, heard and tried, I can recommend their gourmand scents, tobacco, and incense, but there’s probably something for everyone in terms of appeal, if you dig, which is what I’ll be doing.

Did anyone else try Cornflake Girl? Do you think it’s weird that I want a bottle? Or have you tried any others?

images via Pexels

  • Dina C. says:

    I’m so glad to read that your nose is working well enough now for you to get enjoyment out of scents, March. These reviews were fun to read. I haven’t ventured into trying this line.

    • March says:

      I think I have more … general success with certain lines, smelling them, and I never know in advance. I was happy I could smell these when they showed up!

  • alityke says:

    When I was going through StC Cornflake caught my attention cos of the Tory Amos song. It’s now been an earworm since Portia’s piece.
    I’m another who can’t be arsed to deep dive into indies with loads of output.

    • March says:

      Ha, me too! They riff on some of her stuff and Kate Bush as well. I’ve been playing that Tori Amos song when I’m driving around.

  • cinnamon says:

    I had a weird reaction to reading about these — a strange, visceral hair-rising-on-back-of-neck, no, these are not for me. No idea why. I tried re-reading the post to see what triggered this but couldn’t pinpoint anything. Suffice it to say I won’t be having a go. Like Maya, but to a lesser extent, I’m not hugely engaged by these off-piste independents with tons of offer to wade through.

    • March says:

      Hey, that’s a perfectly reasonable response, even if you can’t pinpoint why. I more or less wandered into this line because of Portia and the fact that I have a friend who likes their stuff.

  • Neva says:

    I’ve read the word milk and lactonic too often in this review. It seems that it will be the new trend because there are suddenly many lactonic perfumes out there – Blanche Bete, Bianco Latte…unfortunately I’m not a fan of milky notes but I think I’d be interested to try Desert Rain. Those notes seem appealing to me.

  • Portia says:

    YAY! I’m taking ENABLER PINS for both you and Tom, March.
    Thank everything for the STC choices. It made looking and finding 100% easier.
    Wouldn’t it be interesting to go meet the Hexennacht crew and spend a day really getting to know them, their process and the fragrances…
    Portia xx

    • March says:

      My friend apparently knows … the nose? Something about them? And is a fan. And YEAH they’d be a ton of fun! Thanks for pointing me this direction.

  • Tom says:

    Well you’ll read my take tomorrow (I managed to do four you didn’t choose and the cornflakes one) and uhhh, well you’ll find out tomorrow.

    I will say there’s a lot of milky cereal in this line..

    • March says:

      There is indeed, and some extremely weird ones — latex? Gasoline? Didn’t get around to those either. I’m looking forward to your hot take! I hope you said this is coincidence and we’re not shilling for the brand; I had no idea you were similarly curious!

  • Maya says:

    I stopped checking out indie perfumers a long time ago because the majority of them were disappointing. (I do have a couple of indie perfumes that are nice.) I don’t want wade through pages of perfume names to find ones I might want to try. I’m just not interested enough.