Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Traces of Thedas - Geek Chic's Dragon Age perfume collection

So I bet you're thinking - "oh no, there's NO possible way she can still be going on about Dragon Age". Well, you'd better believe it, kids, because Geek Chic Cosmetics - otherwise known for their makeup collections based on World of Warcraft, True Blood, Serenity and Portal (among others) have released their very first perfume line, namely Traces of Thedas, and the news of this sent me into such a flurry of excitement I have never logged into Paypal so fast.

So I received my little bundle of solid scents today - for the uninitiated, these are a heavily scented waxy balm that you rub onto pulse points, as opposed to normal alcohol-based liquid perfume - And first was stunned at how many there are. I only vaguely remember buying the whole lot for about $20 and I think I mentally allotted that at maybe four scents. Nope - eight.

Read after the break for smellz!

So I thought this might be a golden opportunity to let you know how this host of dearly loved characters - from both Origins and the much maligned DA2 - smell. Cos you know, that's a vitally important part of the gameplay experience. Have them nearby and inhale deeply whenever you engage one of your doods in conversation. Oh - and do check out the collection page, they've rather wonderfully put an image of a cosplayer down for each character. God I love cosplayers.

Witch of the Wilds

Ah, Morrigan, you get cosplayed so much. I was never a huge Morrigan-er, but she was certainly fascinating, written to within an inch of her life and voiced with such a wonderful cool cynicism. And her personal story arc in the game (no spoilers) is pretty damn full on. And a bit awesome. She's someone who always ended up in my companion team because she snarked about everything and it was entertaining.

So unsurprisingly her scent is a love-it or hate-it. It's quite strong and incensey and is one of the ones you feel burn through your sinuses. Lots of clove, a fair bit of patchouli (one of my least favourite smells, and puzzlingly a staple in most indie perfumes) and a tiny bit of vanilla as it settles. Not likely to be one I'll wear much - it's just a little too teenage-goth-doing-tarot-readings for me.

Prepare to be Boarded

Oh, Zevran, my personal favourite Origins character (sorry Alistair) and voiced like Antonio Banderas wishes he sounded. Zevran splits the household - Luke takes the first opportunity he can to kill him off, I have a very tough time not hooking him up with my character. Male or female. Such is his boundary-less charm.
(Hot tip: don't google-image Zevran. He's a bit of a Deviantart favorite)

So Prepare to be Boarded (full quote: "Aaarr, Pirate Zevran reporting for duty. Prepare to be boarded!") has a primary note of leather. It is almightily leathery. Again lots of cloves, a big dollop of cinnamon, and whilst it's apparently been tempered by a touch of tonka bean and vanilla, the sweet notes are all I'm getting. Certainly all that remains when the initial leather wears off. If the final product on the skin smelt as it did in the tube, I'd say it was a very fitting adaptation for the character. As it is - it's a little bit sweet and delicate. Intended as a masculine scent and really isn't.


Oh, Merrill, never has there been such a sweet blood-magicking demon summoning poppet. I never could quite bring myself to hook up with this one - the only one I couldn't manage, mind you - mostly because every other character so violently opposes her I couldn't be nice to her without upsetting everyone else. Also I just - couldn't bring myself to. She's such a little girl. Though I kept her around lots because her chirruping Irish singsong is a nice counterpart to everyone elses griping.

I think this has to be my favourite scent, which I'm a little sad about because she's not my favourite character. And not because she's badly done - she most certainly isn't - I've just been more invested in other storylines. It's fresh, sweet, very distantly floral and reminds me quite pleasantly of - pears? Yeah, pears. It's also a bit reminiscent of Ralph Lauren's  Ralph fragrance; very summery, a bit aquatic, very refreshing and young without being a cloying musk-stick youthful scent. This is really lovely! Easily the most feminine and fresh scent in the bunch.


There's Etsy buttons making the rounds with "Damnit Anders" on them, which is ultimately the thesis for the majority of Dragon Age 2. Anders is a character first introduced - in a more chirpy, kitten-loving form - in Dragon Age: Awakening, the substantial Origins expansion. In the time that's elapsed, he's taken on a spirit passenger called Justice who, combined with his own helpless rage, morphs him into a being he refers to as Vengeance. Thus the perfume name.

Vengeance is not an overly masculine perfume. It's got a fair bit of clove and mint in it, and thus smells a little medicinal, and the drydown/final scent is very sweet. Boy smells tend not to be sweet. In fact most boy smells I've met tend to be borderline unbearable in the bottle but when combined with general man-smell they mellow out into something lovely. Vengeance feels very feminine to me. And um, not a perfume I'd have called Vengeance. Ser Pounce-a-lot, maybe? In keeping with the more lighthearted side of character?

As a sidenote, the dude who voices him - Adam Howden - has one of the filthiest and funniest twitter accounts I've seen in a long time (@A_HOWDZ). Doubly odd because Anders' voice is really quite - gentle. So I read all Adam's tweets in Anders' voice and it does my head in. Oh, and Anders is also not a good one to google imagesearch. A lot of fan love for characters results in lots of badly drawn erotica, it seems.


A surprising amount of angst over the fact that the beardless, hairy-chested dwarf is not a romance option. Yep, Dragon Age kids play favourites.
Varric is a truly fantastic character. Even naysayers of the game unite in their love over this guy. Smart, seemingly authentically kind hearted, has some amazing lines of dialogue, and set somewhat above the other characters for being the character who narrates the whole game, telling the story retrospectively.

And of course it'd have the be the dwarf-smell that actually hits the mark on masculine. This one smells like tobacco, leather and booze. It's one that in the tube I actually kinda winced away from, but I had a moment of inspiration and applied it to Luke - and lo and behold, it smelt good. Ever wanted to know what a cynical, streetwise city dwarf smells like? Clue: it's hot.

Frisky Pirate

Ah, Isabela, all boobs and knives and innuendo. Unsurprisingly, Luke loves her. I enjoy having her around for hilarious party banter, but no matter how I distribute her skills she goes down very fast in a fight. Sigh.
Isabela is a pirate captain with a sunken ship, thus abandoned in Kirkwall. She sasses her way into your party and is mightily sketchy about certain details of her past which may or may not have something to do with the current tension in the city. I can't spoiler Isabela. Rest assured that she's rather important.

I made Luke smell this collection without letting him know who was who, and interestingly, all the fragrances he immediately guessed were characters he really liked. And fragrances he really liked. Most notably, Daisy (Merrill) and Frisky Pirate. When I think about Isabela, I would assume she'd smell of semen and gunpowder, but, no. Her fragrance is very aquatic, and quite soft and feminine. There's a little bit of booze in there, which is only fitting, but it's a very ladylike adaptation of a character that, um, isn't particularly.

Orlesian Nightingale

Leliana, your other rogue from DA Origins, is an Orlesian (i.e. French) Chantry sister reformed from a life of sabotage, assassination and dubious practices. Chased out of her country and betrayed by her former lover/mentor Marjolaine, she's a pretty, soft spoken killing machine. This was one I never managed to sleep with as well. Mostly because to get in her good graces you need to listen to her tell long and involved folk stories and then sing a bit and then talk at length about when she was captured and beaten up. So MUCH TALKY. I skipped forward a lot and went back to hassling Zevran.

AARGH ALMOND BOMB. My absolute least favourite smell is almond. I can't stand it. And sadly, Leliana apparently smells like a whole pile of em. In fact I'm completely incapable of finding any other notes in there. It's a fairly simple case for this one: like almonds? Get on it. If not? Avooid.

Ghost Warrior

Oh, man. Fenris. My adoration knows no bounds. The writers for him really went all out, and it shows. I am incapable of a companion group that doesn't have him in it. Unless, um, I'm going to go help the mages, in which case he gets left at home. This particular former slave has some very strong feeling about magic users. The Ghost Warrior title refers to this particular thing he can do - the lyrium tattoos on him allow him to phase his limbs through things. Like, through other people. Which he tends to rather spectacularly use to crush people hearts. Yep, adorable. 

So sadly, this fragrance also has the issue that the Anders and Zevran ones do - it should be very masculine, and doesn't really make it. Though it gets closer than the other two. It's quite musky and dark (the website suggests "baleful" which is a word I'd forgotten how much I like) and a bit - wet soil. In a good way. Smells like a rained on garden. I'm not sure exactly what I was expecting, but this would have been a good character to crack out the really strange, sharp notes for. It should be a bit forbidding and uncomfortable, and instead is a bit - soft and incensey. Once it's settled on the skin, the incense is really all you can smell and all the nice tangy initial notes are gone. Bit of a missed opportunity. 

SO YES - The first fragrance line from Geek Chic is a varied and intriguing set and worth a look. They're also a very small price commitment at $3.49 a tube - you want to smell like a hairy dwarf, yes? Of course you do. Who wouldn't?


  1. Wow this is awesome. I had no idea they had perfumes! By your descriptions I think I would also like Daisy the most. I tend to gravitate to floral scents. I do like strong scents as well, but I HATE patchouli!Hate it's scent with a passion. Thanks for the review :D

  2. Wow, this is so goddamm freaky! I love it.. need to smell it.. funky stuff