30 Scents in 30 Days – Day 26 – Alkemia – As Dark Things are Meant to be Loved

I hope everyone had a wonderful Holiday and a Happy New Year!  Hopefully Santa brought everyone what they wished for.  And if not, well, get it yourself, you deserve it!  (Totally what I am telling myself.)

To ring in the New Year, I’ve pulled out Alkemia’s As Dark Things are Meant to be Loved.  It’s been sitting for a little over three months in a cool dark spot to get its groove on.  And groove it did.

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photo by smellallthethings

As Dark Things are Meant to be LovedLapsang souchong tea, dark Russian leather, aloeswood, smoked black amber, aged dark patchouli, tonka, Amazonian breuzinho, Moroccan bhakoor, labdanum, temple incense, caramelized opium, black coffee, black coconut, and tabac leaf.

I remember when I got this it was funky, and not in a good way.  The leather was sharp, the tea over powering, and the patchouli was screaming in the background like a banshee.  All in all, it was not a good first impression.  But, there were so many notes that just called to me that I had to give it a chance.  So I tucked it away, safe and sound, and just now pulled it back out.

This blend has completely blossomed.  It has changed and settled and smoothed out into this gorgeous smoky, incensy goodness that just begs to be worn and worn proudly.  Now I love it and it has turned into something different than I thought it would be, but loved nonetheless.

As this goes on wet, the leather screeches just a bit but almost immediately backs down.  The lapsang souchong tea is strong in the wet stage but slowly makes its way to the background as the blend dries.  There is a heavy dollop of smoke that weaves its way through this blend.  It’s strong at first before it dissipates – though it never truly leaves.

Once it begins to dry down, the scent stays strong and has a heavy throw to it.  The patchouli is heavy as is the opium and the incense.  They get their turn in the limelight before calming down and becoming one with everything else.  The leather is dark, well loved and well oiled, and slick but not that shiny black leather that can be sharp and overwhelming – this is soft and pliable and heavily scented with the oil used to care for it.

Now that it is dry and has sat for a bit most of the individual notes are nearly indecipherable from each other.  What I am left with is a gorgeous incense blend that swirls around me and makes me feel strong and confident.  It makes me think of inner peace and outer strength.  The throw is still good, though not as strong as the dry down phase.

I’m so glad I kept this.  It is something I want to bring out again and again to experience.

30 Scents in 30 Days – Day 12 – Alkemia’s Ishq

So I approached today’s scent a little differently in that … I slathered and ran out the door.  I had to.  Errands don’t run themselves (yet).  While running my errands, I made mental notes of how this particular scent

Today I grabbed Alkemia‘s Ishq which was created to help TapRoots music by being a perk of donating.

Ishqdark oud, opium infused tobacco, smoked black amber, Arabian ambergris, a rare animalistic dark musk, and heavy bakhour incense.

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photo by smellallthethings

There is no doubt at all when smelling this that it has that super funky oudh, or that it’s musk is dark.  You get a real funky scent coming from the wet stages – it’s animalic, dark, and just plain weird, to be quite honest.

The throw, while wet and drying, was kind of intense.  I found the scent followed me everywhere, which was very interesting because I got to smell it while it shifted and morphed and settled into this warm, golden, and kind of funky scent.

I’ll be honest, that funky animalistic scent never really went away.  It stayed, though it never really got to be too much.  Nothing about this scent was ever really too much – it was just skirting the edge of too funky, too animal-like, too musky, but it never crossed that line.  Instead it toed it and left me rather enjoying the overall scent and it’s phases.

A few hours later, when all my errands had been accomplished, the scent only wafted lazily, barely having the energy to make itself known.  On my skin it was musky, a touch golden from the oudh, and slightly narcotic from the opium.  And then, for as loud as it started, it just … faded away.

I really enjoyed experiencing this blend.  You can feel the thickness of the blend, like molasses (not the oil, just the scent perception).  Unfortunately, I don’t think it’s something I could wear very often, but this sample will most definitely be kept around when I need an extra oomph of oudh.

Alkemia Perfumes – General Catalog Samples

More goodies from Alkemia Perfumes!  This is the last of the samples I currently have, though make no mistake, I’ll be getting more just as soon as I get over this small issue of moving states.  Always something hindering the perfume buying.

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photo by smellallthethings

De La Forêt contains notes of dry amber, golden musk, orris root, tonka, bergamot, rosewood, oud, sandalwood, paper, oakmoss, birch tar, and vetivert.  Oooh a paper note!  In the vial I get a nice amber and musk scent rounded out with lots of beautiful and fragrant woods.  On my skin this is so golden and soft.  The tonka is that beautiful brown fuzzy scent with a hint of the floral bergamot.  Some people have issues with orris root and/or vetiver … I am so happy I’m not one of those people (though it did take a few years for me to fully appreciate vetiver).  The birch tar gives this an almost sticky like feeling … you know when you get tree sap on your hand and it just never. goes. away.  In this case this is a good thing.  Oh wow, I get the paper too.  It’s soft, freshly pressed and almost papyrus like.  It’s homemade paper which was lovingly made by hand, not the college ruled paper from the store.   The oakmoss is soft and slightly green.  Overall I’m in love with this blend.  It’s perfect for a beautiful soft forest-like scent.  I could totally see this representing someone in the middle of a forest of tall trees looking up and soaking up the filtered sunlight.

Caveau des Innocents is all about the underground Parisian nightlife with notes of Tabac, dark coffee, piquant cloves, rum soaked pears, candied citron, dark caramel, and star anise bathed in intoxicating swirls of opoponax, labdanum, hashish, benzoin resinoid, vanilla incense, and guaiac wood.  In the vial this was mostly candied citron and a touch of vanilla incense.  Very soft and subdued – not at all what I was expecting.  On my skin this is still soft, but it’s got that slinky feel, as though softly traveling just above the skin.  There is almost a masculine quality about the blend, but it’s unisex too in a way.  No one note is really jumping out.  It’s all so very well blended and very intoxicating.  As this dries and warms on my skin it becomes almost overtly sexy – there’s no come hither finger wave but more of a grab them by their shirt and yank them to you.  Carnal is a good word to describe this scent.

Fumé Oud à la Vanille boasts notes of crushed tonka beans, woodsmoked amber, and bourbon vanilla aged with oud wood.  The woodsmoke is prominent both in the vial and on my skin.  There’s that wonderfully fuzzy tonka again and the oud is very fragrant.  Overall this isn’t heavy vanilla, but it’s not a bad woodsmoke scent either.  I would love it if the vanilla had come out more.  This is very masculine in my opinion, woody, a little smoky (not enough to overwhelm) and slightly resinous.

Aphrodesia will round out this set with notes of deep eastern spices warmed with creamy vanilla and a few drops of golden frankincense.  I have to confess I put this on yesterday when I was craving vanilla scents and fell completely and utterly in love with this.  In the vial there are these beautiful warm spices from an eastern market.  On my skin the frankincense comes out and you can smell those fragrant large resins being slowly and expertly burned in an incense burner.  Their fragrant cloud wafts up to caress your skin and that vanilla with those spices just makes for this intoxicating scent.  Sweet, a little spicy, and that lovely incense wafting in and out.  This is a very unisex blend – not overtly one scent or another, but all the scents melding in together.  It stays close to the skin and makes it a very personal scent.  Oh man, I still can’t stop huffing.  This is what I wanted another scent from another brand to smell like but it just never did for me.  Beautiful!

Alkemia Samples

More lovely samples from Alkemia!  I’m really enjoying exploring their catalog.  There’s so many to choose from.  I’m getting curious about their pheromone blends too, but that’s for another day.

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photo by smellallthethings

Who doesn’t enjoy vanilla?  (I know there are some out there that don’t, and don’t worry, the rest of us don’t really hold it against you … much.)  L’Encens à la Vanille has notes of madagascar vanilla, golden amber, and resinous incense swirled together with a selection of beautifully aged incense woods and a dusting of aphrodisiac Silk Road spices.  It is also suggested to layer this with Smoke & Mirrors (which I have!) so I’ll do that as well wen I get to Smoke & Mirrors.  In the vial it’s this beautiful incensy-vanilla scent.  On my skin it just amplifies that while adding a touch of spices.  This is gorgeous!  Sweet, slinky, sexy … just beautiful … wow. This reminds me of sand and sun and a spice market.  Exotic is a good descriptor.

Smoke & Mirrors is of course next.  It has notes of a smokey blend of burning wood, Madagascar Vanilla, and Tonka.  Simple, but I’m sure glorious.  In the vial it’s a softly burning wood scent, but not that acrid burning scent.  On my skin it’s smokey, slightly sweet, and just a touch fuzzy.  Don’t let the idea of smoke and burning wood turn you away – this is not an active and wild fire … instead this is just a smoldering scent.  It’s like those charcoal burners used to just smolder pieces of fragrant wood and release their scent into the air.  Under that is a touch of sweet and smooth vanilla with a hint of that fuzzy tonka.

I get it now why they suggest layering L’Encens à la Vanille with Smoke & Mirrors.  Together is it the perfect outdoor spice market next to a textile and goods market at the height of the day.  Soft, sweet, and sexy these are, and together it just amplifies it.  Oh yeah, I need these two.

Amour Conjure with notes that include an erotic, exotic blend of amber aged with Bourbon vanilla pods, Ceylon cinnamon infused flirtatious aldehydes, Bulgarian roses, rose geranium and vetivert roots, copper distilled patchouli, and a scattering of incense resins.  The Bulgarian rose is front and foremost in this blend on initial application.  The cinnamon is very, very slight, yet the bourbon vanilla is boozy.  There’s a touch of incense with a bit of vetiver.  There’s a lot going on, and it swirls and twists around itself.  Unfortunately my chemistry isn’t enjoying this and it’s really trying to give me a headache.

Lettre d’Amour because who doesn’t enjoy a good love letter?  It’s notes include a billet–doux of night blooming Star Jasmine, Neroli blossoms, white roses, aged parchment paper, white amber, and perfumed ink.  Jasmine and white amber are most apparent in the vial and on my skin it is much of the same.  It takes a minute but the neroli comes out with a hint of an almost powdery rose.  The paper is soft and spritzed with perfume and the ink is deep and fragrant.  This is soft and gentle, innocent yet not at the same time.  Beautiful and luxurious.

Finally we have Miel de Sauvage et Tabac who has a note list of sweet, spicy pipe tobacco flecked with wild honey, freshly crushed honeycomb, the pollen of forest blossoms, and smoked black amber.  In the vial this is all honeyed tobacco!  On my skin the tobacco is still prominent.  There’s a good dollop of honey with just a touch of honeycomb.  The amber is dark and dusky.  The tobacco smells like it’s still drying and is chewy and malleable to the touch.  Tobacco and honey lovers (and this is a honey I can wear that doesn’t go all weird on me!) would enjoy this one!  This perfume is thick and gloriously golden.

Alkemia Samples

I’ve got more samples from Alkemia to review!  So far I’ve been super impressed with all their scents, even the ones that don’t work on me.

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photo by smellallthethings

Gaea symbolizes Earth and Mother – so perfect for Mother’s Day (May 8th if you’ve forgotten!) and it has notes of sun-warmed loam, decaying leaves, moss, lichen, & wet stones.  First sniff in the vial is all earth and dampness.  On my skin however I get the sun-speckled loam, the decaying leaves of the forest floor, damp scent that is exclusive to forests, and I also get stone!  Who knew stones had a scent?  The moss and lichen add to the overall greenness and dampness of the blend.  This is a beautiful earthy scent – different from Hexennacht and entirely it’s own, but if you enjoy the earthiness of that blend, you’ll probably dig this one too!

Bohème is described on the site as an intoxicatingly free-spirited unisex blend of earthy patchouli and blood-red roses. Erotically radiant.  In the vial I get earthy red roses – just big ‘ole bunches of them.  On my skin is much of the same.  I’ve had a rather rocky history with roses – it’s taken nearly 8 years of my perfume wearing to actually wear them.  Initially on my skin the roses almost scream but that settles rather quickly.  It is a very earthy patchouli – almost dirt-like  (apparently I had a theme) with roses, deep and sultry, bringing up the top.  This has a rather large throw on me and I can smell this without really putting my nose to the skin at all.

So maybe there were two theme’s running through my scent choices that I was completely unaware of.  Next is Vanille Patchouli with a scent described as purest vanilla seduced and despoiled by wild, dirty patchouli.  Another simplistic yet well done blend.  This isn’t like any patchouli I’ve tried from Alkemia yet (amazing how that happens).  No, this is that dirty nitty-gritty patchouli that gets described as “hippy shop” or “head shop”.  But with it is this absolutely sweet, almost floral, and beautiful vanilla.  It cuts through the grit and smooths it out.  Again, another blend done best when done simply.

New Orleans Love Spell sounds like it’s in for a good time!  It’s notes include a lascivious blend of night-flowering New Orleans jasmine and fiery spices igniting a base of red sandalwood and skin musk.  Ooh, the vial has this nice soft spice scent about it.  On my skin I get the jasmine and sandalwood under that beautiful spicy scent!  I get something like cassia or cinnamon, but it’s more than just that – there’s other scents (most likely florals and a pepper) that round out that spicy note and make it complex.  This is a warm and sexy blend, one that would need to be used sparingly as it has a beautiful throw and a little goes a long way.  As time went on this definitely put a spell on me.  I couldn’t stop sniffing that spot and kept catching beautiful whiffs of it floating around me.

Desiderata looks like a wonderful spring to summer transition scent with notes of fresh honeysuckle blooming under a rising full moon, ivy vines, dew dampened grass, riverbed clay, old barnwood, and earthy vetivert root.  In the vial is a beautiful green scent – like crushes leaves or grass.  On my skin I actually get a moon-like scent – white and crystalline.  Oh wow, this is like sitting next to a babbling creek bed looking up at the full moon and checking out the Milky Way.  Somehow this is calming, soothing, and almost meditative.

Alkemia – Hexennacht Limited Edition

Recently Alkemia released Hexennacht – a limited edition release that will only be available until April 30th.  I, of course, got my hot little hands on a bottle.

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photo by smellallthethings

Alkemia lists the notes for Hexennacht as:

Freshly turned spring earth, new grasses, and an incantation of thirty-seven incense elements that have been aged for thirteen lunar cycles.

So intriguing!  In the bottle this is a really familiar smelling men’s cologne.  Polo?  That association goes away pretty quickly as the fresh turned earth makes itself known.  Just sniffing the bottle still – not a drop on my skin, I get some familiar incenses as well – nag champa for sure, patchouli, something with a blue tint, and there’s almost a “rain” quality.

Okay, now for the skin test!  Oh wow.  This is morphing so quickly it’s hard to capture everything.  There is definitely a earthy dirt smell at the base with a bit of dew covered grasses.  Over that however, is where the dance begins.  The incense is wafting about as though it is pushed along by a breeze.  It shifts and twists and turns so you get a different incense at the forefront at each sniff.  I got a hint of something minty there for a moment.  The nag champa and patchouli aren’t as prominent but get their turn in the dance.

This is a wonderful late Spring early Summer evening scent.  It smells like the Earth.  It smells like the joy you have as a teenager being able to stay up late on a summer night and enjoy the grass, the earth, the stars, the bonfires, and the scents of everything around you.

Edited to add: My husband came down stairs and stood next to me and asked if that was the “new stuff”.  He says it smells like forests and pine.

Personally, this is one of the best “dirt” scents I’ve had the pleasure of sniffing.  I like that there’s no florals – just this beautiful wet dirt scent with the incense wafting around it.  I’m in a cloud of dirt and incense heaven!

Alkemia Perfume Sample Set

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photo by smellallthethings

I purchased a set of 6 samples from Alkemia Perfume about a week ago.  They shipped quickly and I’ve let them sit for a day to rest after their journey.  This is my first time purchasing from this perfumery and I’m excited to try something completely new to me!

First up is Midnight Garden whose notes consist of: A lunar intoxication of night-flowering white flowers – tuberose (flower of dangerous pleasures), lily (flower of majestic beauty), honeysuckle (flower of binding love), gardenia (flower of secret passions) and moonflower (flower that inspires dreams of love).  This opens with a lovely lush blast of soft and sweet flowers.  However, this isn’t an “in your face” blast, this is a gentle breeze bringing you the scent with a hint of fresh and clean dew.  You can smell each flower individually if you go “hunting” for them, yet they meld seamlessly together at times as well.  I can totally see myself sitting on a concrete bench in a beautiful garden at night and letting the warm summer breeze flit around me while inhaling the intoxicating scent around me.  I’m not normally a floral person, but this has most of my favorite floral notes all in one … and it works!  The longer it sits, the more you can smell the greenery around the flowers to.  It’s a very true-to-life scent in my opinion.

Now, for something completely different … Autumn.  (Notes include: Sun warmed fallen leaves, golden amber, light wool warmed with skin musk.) You can smell the sun as it beats down on the Earth in this blend!  How neat!  The wool has a freshly cleaned scent as though you are hanging your laundry out to dry on one of the last warm nights of the year.  The leaves are golden, dew covered and newly fallen.  This is a skin scent as it stays close.  It is clean smelling, warm, and reminds me very much of that first warm but breezy day when you decide it might just be time to bring out your winter clothes and get them ready.

I ordered Deadly Nightshade because it has most of my favorite notes in it, such as: deep purple violets, dark leather, patchouli, black amber, and a narcotic swirl of opium.  In the vial it’s all leather and violets which makes for a rather unique scent.  The leather is black and sleek.  Once on my skin, it does this weird meld that isn’t gelling totally.  It’s like walking into the leather store at the mall – slapped in the face with leather, and not in the good way.  This may need a bit more time to itself to figure out what it wants to do.  I will set this aside for a week and check on it again later then update this if anything has changed.

Madam X is up next and she touts a note list of: An homage to unsettling, eccentric, irresistable beauty – bergamot, mandarin, dark violet, Italian iris, black orchid, Japanese incense, orris root, sueded musk, white sandalwood, Tahitian vanilla, and pale patchouli. In the vial I get a pleasant Oriental vibe from the oil.  On my skin it goes on close and I’m finding it hard to pick up anything, but what I do get is soft, purple in color, and sweet.  This is a scent that stays close to the skin.  The bergamot and mandarin seem to burn off quite quickly and the patchouli is so, so soft.  Mostly I get violet, orchid and a touch of vanilla.  Almost everything else gets lost.  This might be another blend that needs a bit of time and age to come into its own.

Sol Invictus is a specially aged blend of fine frankincenses drenched with a slightly woody, luminously golden trio of ambers. I adore resins and sometimes they are done best when done simply.  And this is one of those times.  This starts off with a glorious whiff of golden amber. The frankincense comes up and gives it a beautiful resinous boost.  This is simple, beautiful, golden, and perfect.

Finally I have a vial of Vamp whose notes include: a darkly erotic blend of opium, labdanum, Tonka, balsam, sueded leather, and black musk.  This is a dusky scent, shadowed yet soft.  The opium and labdanum give it a gossamer feel while the tonka, leather and musk keep it grounded.  It’s that scent that hides in the shadows and comes out when you least expect it.  I find I’m drawn to sniffing the spot I put it more than I thought I would be.  The scent has snuck up and laid it’s spell on me in the best possible way!