Saturday, 28 November 2020

The Rare Witch Project: A REEK Perfume Damn Rebel Witches hunt - with a lot at stake...!

Source: REEK Perfume

I say, did you go a bit mad this Black Friday? I didn't buy an enormous telly, an Amazon Ring Stick Up Cam Battery (in contrasting white!), a Ninja Foodi 7-in-1 Multi-Cooker, or anything of that gadgety ilk, but I did do some impromptu Christmas shopping, the nature of which I obviously can't reveal. I also scored some bargain health supplements - neither vitamins nor minerals as such, but offbeat vegetal things that purport to cure oxidative stress, lower cholesterol, and generally finetune your brain like the Holland & Barrett equivalent of WD40.

Oh, and I stocked up on no fewer than three jars of Neutrogena Hydro Boost Water Gel for my particular type of normal/combination skin, about which I wrote a mini-review a year ago. It is usually about £12, occasionally discounted in Boots by a third to around the £8 mark, but these pots were £6.99 each, so had to be snapped up. I am indebted to Caroline Hirons for this moisturising epiphany, and have been using it non-stop ever since I saw her talking about it on a morning TV show. It is fantastically hydrating, and though goopy going on, soon dries to a silky soft consistency. It doesn't contain any SPF, so I apply a tinted moisturiser by Paula's Choice that has SPF30 in it on top. It truly is like an instantly plumping bath for my increasingly crepey skin.

Source: Amazon

Then the other day a friend contacted me (he features in a number of past posts, including this one), to say that his daughter had fallen in love with a REEK scent I had given him to try in one of my lucky dip bundles of samples, and which he had in turn passed on to her, to wit Damn Rebel Witches - not to be confused with its rhyming stablemate, Damn Rebel Bitches. She had tried to google it with a view to buying a bottle for herself, but drew a blank.

Should anyone need reminding, this duo of perfumes was the brainchild of historical novelist Sara Sheridan and her daughter Molly, in collaboration with perfumer Sarah McCartney of 4160 Tuesdays. They wanted to honour the feisty exploits of Jacobite women, whom the brand describe as "powerful" and "unapologetic". The two REEK scents were sold in the Urban Reivers pop-up store in Edinburgh, which opened at the time of the Edinburgh festival in 2016, and sold a variety of Scottish-themed "luxury treats and gifts".

As an aside I simply must mention that my friend Clare had a dog Meg - no longer with us, sadly, but who has been featured on Cafleurebon! - and was also the offspring of a pedigree spaniel rejoicing in the patrician canine name of Whaupley Reiver. This list of his equally whimsical progeny is easily as absorbing as anything you will read on here!

Anyway, my friend's daughter drew a blank with stockists of her new favourite perfume, Damn Rebel Witches, so turned to me for help via her dad. Always happy to help foster the cause of niche perfume in any way, shape or form, I thought to contact Sarah herself, to inquire if she knew of any stock still knocking around the UK - assuming the REEK brand had indeed been discontinued.

Sarah did confirm the demise of REEK, but gave me the good news that she was now poised to resurrect the Damn Rebel perfume pair under her own brand, and pointed me in the direction of her Hot Pink Weekend sale. Knowing Sarah to be an individualistic canoe paddler, I am not at all surprised that she wouldn't be so dull and conformist as to stick with Black.

Source: 4160 Tuesdays

Having consulted with my friend as to his daughter's quantity requirements, and bearing in mind the very attractive discount applying this weekend, I custom bought a couple of bottles, which should last her a good long while. You never know when things might be discontinued again for one reason of another, so it made sense to stock up, I felt.

It was nice to reconnect with Sarah through this quest: she has the rare distinction of being the only perfumer ever to visit Bonkers Towers (on her and her husband's way down from Morecambe). I was very glad to help track down this proxy lemming, and it was a happy coincidence that I knew Sarah and was able to get to the bottom of the supply situation.

Then I learnt from a piece by Suzy Nightingale for The Perfume Society, that another one of Sarah's scents, Maxed Out, is amongst Molly Sheridan's top five smells, along with bread, petrol, Chanel No 5 and Elnett hairspray - august company indeed. I have a sample of Maxed Out somewhere and am curious to give it another go, even though I am not at that point, despite my Black Friday splurge...;)

The empty vial that sparked the hunt!


Maureen Carter said...

Another wonderful-way-with-words-post, Vanessa. Thanks for cheering my day.

Vanessa said...

Aww, thank you, Maureen! A thumbs up from you means a lot.

Tara said...

Hi V
Good work tracking down a supply for your friend's daughter. It's rough to create a lemming for someone that can't then be fulfilled.

I have happy memories of visiting the pop up shop in Edinburgh during the festival and trying the original perfume. Look forward to returning one of these days.

Vanessa said...

Hi T,

Yes indeed - would have felt bad if I had created a lemming in a vacuum as it were. Such a thing could so easily happen with the comings and goings of perfumes today.

How nice that you got to try the REEK original in its 'natural habitat' of the Edinburgh store. I am sure you will get back there in 2021.

Undina said...

I know exactly how you feel being able to find that perfume! And I hope your friend's daughter will appreciate it and enjoy it even more now knowing that it wasn't that straightforward to get :)

I put that Neutrogena gel into my Amazon shopping cart to try one of these days (though, I must say, you are a a much bigger authority for me than Caroline Hirons; I wonder when she will launch her own skincare brand...).

What supplement have you bought?

Vanessa said...

Hi Undina,

I hope you like the Neutrogena gel when it comes. Another friend bought it on my say so. I feel quite a weight of responsibility, haha. However must actual 'influencers' feel?!

I have ordered Vitamin B9 (L-methyl folate), L-theanine and GABA, also hawthorn and skullcap. Plus one or two other things that I can't bring to mind at the moment - at 40% off it seemed rude not to, and hopefully something will do me good. Am also trialling collagen supplements for both joints and skin - may even do a post on that in due course.