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.)
As Dark Things are Meant to be Loved – Lapsang 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.
Forgive me for being slack in updating! I got busy, then got sick, then got busy again. Then I worry it has been so long does it matter anymore? And the answer is of course it matters!
So today, as I go through my stash, I pulled out Arcana’sLast Judgement (which is unfortunately not longer available) and will spout the wonderfulness of this blend that I’ve not worn since I bought it last year.
Last Judgement – Holy resins of frankincense and myrrh with smudgy, tobacco-laced vanilla, amber, and labdanum absolute.
In the bottle I get the most heady waft of frank and myrrh with a healthy dose of labdanum. Now you might be thinking this is similar to Holy Terror (an unsettling, austere blend of burning frankincense, sandalwood, deep myrrh, and dusty beeswax candles) and it is … but not really. It’s got the same resinous frankincense and myrrh, but that’s really where the similarities end.
With Last Judgement you get this narcotic feeling that makes me want to roll my eyes in the back of my head and just sniff this all day long. I honestly cannot express just how much I love this scent. You get that golden bit of amber, slightly powdery and slightly sweet. And then the touch of the tobacco with the vanilla which adds another layer of sweetness on it.
However, with all this seeming sweetness, it is still extremely resinous and quite flowing. The throw on this is decent – not too much, not too little – and I get the loveliest wafts of incense around me as I wear it.
This blend is one where a little goes a long way. I’m typically a slatherer, but not with this blend. This one I can dab on pulse points and be done for most of the day. The longevity is also wonderful and I typically get anywhere from 6 to 8 hours or more depending on other factors.
For a few months I’d been watching Spectral Spirits prepare to open shop and the moment Daisy announced it on the Indie Perfume Lovers Facebook Page, I had to place an order. The shipping was super fast and packaging was adorable. I love the cracked porcelain doll face and the stripes used in the logo. It all adds to the atmosphere of the company.
Today Soothsayer was pulled from the sample bucket to get a run. I will say, the one thing I dislike is the wax seal. These were easier to remove than Conjure Oils’ seal, but still a mess to clean up.
Soothsayer – Ritual Smoke, Aromatic Spices, Nag Champa, Dragon’s Blood, Frankincense, Labdanum, Black Patchouli, Black Amber, Musk
In the vial is this soft and almost fizzy frankincense scent with just a touch of labdanum. It smells soft and floating – yet it truly blossoms on the skin. Wet on my skin and I’m already in love with this scent.
This is dark, smoky (but not in your face about it), incense heavy, and almost a touch sweet. Totally, completely, and utterly up my alley. It’s like this was made for me (it wasn’t, but man it feels like ME so much). You get a touch of everything and it’s all so lovely together. At first it’s all about this incensy smoky scent with a touch of something peppery or spicy. Under that you get this incredibly smooth nag champa, the likes of which I’ve only smelled once before. Nag Champa can sometimes be too hippy for me -but this is quite lovley. The dragon’s blood is softly sweet with a touch of spice to it. It’s not the floral dragon’s blood that you sometimes get, this is resinous and almost has a carnation-like spice to it. And that frankincense and labdanum is to die for. They are almost narcotic in their scent and make me swoon just sniffing them. The patchouli, amber, and musk seem to be melded together in that you get like a rubbing of a sooty dark amber along your skin. It’s deep and slightly woody with a rounded softness to it.
If you can’t tell, I’m slightly in love with this scent. I’m a bit bummed the smoke and spices don’t last longer. They burn off it seems as the scent dries on my skin.
The throw on this is wonderful. I get soft sweet incense wafts as I move around. The longevity is okay at about 3 hours before I need to reapply.
Titania was a character in a play by Shakespeare – A Midsummer’s Night Dream. She was the queen of faeries in this particular play. This is one of those names that you’ll see repeated throughout various companies – but I kind of like that because it gives you an insight into the creator’s and how they envision things. One company’s Titania most likely will smell nothing like another’s, and that’s cool to me.
This particular interpretation of Titania is by Fabled Fragrances. So far I’ve been pretty impressed with their make up and the other scent, Nereid, I’d tried from them so I’m looking forward to finding more things!
Titania – carnation (synthetic), white grapefruit (natural), chypre (synthetic), green note (synthetic) labdanum (natural), rosewood (natural)
In the vial this is carnation, labdanum, and something green and slightly aquatic. It’s interesting and alluring. On my skin the grapefruit is there, almost bitter-sweet, but it’s not overwhelming. The chypre isn’t your typical version of it – it’s something different, but intriguing.
This entire blend has a beautiful, earthy, and warm feeling around it. You get a touch of spicy floral from the carnation, with that bright and juicy white grapefruit shining like the midday sun. Woven through that is this green tinged chypre and a touch of labdanum. And resting at the bottom is this gorgeous and soft rosewood.
As this dries I’m not finding it to have much of a throw, but I’m definitely drawn to the spot on my wrist. I find myself wanting to sniff it again and again trying to decide how much I like this. Because right now, in the drydown, this is alternating between being a very alluring and beautiful scent to this screeching floral that won’t settle down.
Alright, seems a few minutes to itself to fully dry down and it’s stopped being wishy-washy and decided to go with the first scent – that beautiful green floral chypre. This is deep and intriguing. It at once smells familiar, yet not at all. More like a mash up of some of my favorite scents. Man I wish this had a better throw on it because I am loving absolutely everything about this blend. I could sit and huff my wrist all day long.
Well, it seems this needed time on my skin – or maybe it was fighting with my skin – but it finally started having a good throw to it. Gentle, not too much, just enough to tease and remind me I am wearing this.
Hours later and it’s still there, not as strong on the skin but I’m still getting wafts now and again. I have to admit, I’m kind of addicted to this scent. There’s just something about it that just has me coming back to sniff some more.
I am stoked to bring you a new (to me) perfume house – Siberie Perfumes! This company has been on my radar for a while, but I hadn’t yet taken the plunge into purchasing from this company due to … who knows why really. Probably something shiny caught my attention. However, the lovely owner was kind enough to send me some stuff to sample! These were not purchased by me. I cheated and had a sneak sniff at some of the bottles (yes! bottles!) I’ll be reviewing later this week. Let me just say, I’m even more excited!
Odette – Enchanting notes of sweet wildflower honey & delicate honeysuckle flowers hugged in a sensual & soft base of tranquil fresh fallen rain & jasmine sambac.
You can see from the picture that these are not the “typical” 1ml sample vials you see most places. This is a larger 2ml vial with a smaller neck area but a long enough wand that you can reach all that precious liquid! It is a little harder to open than the 1ml’s or the larger necked 2ml’s.
In the vial this actually smells like it has vanilla in it – so much so I had to triple check the notes. I think it might be a combo of the rain and the wildflower honey. On my skin this is actually creamy in a way – more like raw honey. The jasmine is heady and fragrant as is that golden honeysuckle. The rain is adding a touch of a dewy-like freshness to the blend.
The throw on this is not overpowering, but I imagine were I to walk outside in this 100 degree + 90% humidity we have it would become too much. I think this would be the perfect pre-spring scent – when you can’t wait for spring to come and you just want that golden sunshine to reflect off of anything other than the snow-turned-grey. (You can take the girl out of Winter, but you can’t take the Winter out of the girl … or something like that.)
I can’t lie … I’m kind of in love with this scent. There’s something about it that just makes me think of new beginnings and fresh starts and sometimes you need to inhale the thought to solidify it in your mind. (Laugh now, but you’ll be thinking about it seriously later.)
After a while I still get a good sweet and golden throw from this, but the scent isn’t prominent on my skin. That’s kind of neat! Sometimes I don’t really want to go around constantly lifting my wrist to my nose. I’ve gotten more than my fair share of odd looks from doing that.
Serena – A bewitching blend of woodsy & earthy bohemian patchouli with notes of decadent chocolate & a sensuous warm amber base.
In the vial this is super patchouli and chocolate. Lots of chocolate. Melty, gooey, milk chocolate that never quite comes off your hands no matter how much you lick them. I mean wash them. I would never lick my hands free of chocolate. Yeah, never.
The patchouli is gritty and very earthy, as the notes mention. It takes a while, but the chocolate is starting to smooth out into a memory instead of covering you. After about 010 minutes I can finally smell the amber, warm and golden under the patchouli and bits of chocolate still clinging to my skin.
You wouldn’t know it, but this is not actually a blend I like. Not because it’s not good, but because it’s just not my jam. I don’t enjoy wearing chocolate I can’t eat.
However, if you enjoy patchouli, chocolate, and amber – definitely give this a try! It has a good throw, not overwhelming but I get more chocolate scent from the throw than from what’s on my skin.
So while the first half hour isn’t really my thing, it’s now kind of really intriguing. It’s more woody than it was at first and the chocolate is almost all gone. There’s something verging on the edge of being spicy. Another decent throw as well.
Emmeline – fresh notes of green tea, Moroccan mint, romantic petals of white orchid and freesia all balanced by fruity notes of juicy pear and apple.
I had to make an emergency run to the store (we needed more supplies to make carnitas, obviously) and I put this on just before leaving about an hour ago.
In the beginning this was all tea and somewhat sharp mint with the lovely orchid and freesia but none of that apple or pear. After about 5 of so minutes (long enough in the heat to convince my daughter she should climb into her seat and then further convince her its in her best interest to buckle up and stay buckled) the apple came out. I’m not sure if the pear was so entwined in the apple, or if I missed it.
For a while this was wafting up nicely, juicy and sweet, softly floral with just a hint of greenness from the tea and mint … and then it disappeared. I get a faint memory of pear when I sniff the spot, but other than that it’s just gone.
Now it could’ve had something to do with it being crazy hot and humid out, but that’s what it is here and I need my scents to last through those conditions sometimes. Maybe I’ll set it back and try it when it’s cooler – late fall or early spring.
Angelica – Night blooming violets,wild orchids, southern magnolias, hyacinth & oriental jasmine hugged with sweet vanilla & wildflower honey. It finishes off in a sexy base of rum, sandalwood, myrrh & labdanum resins.
In the vial this is vanilla and violets – soft and fluttering and sweet. On my skin the flowers bloom and there is a creaminess to the whole blend.
Admittedly, this was nearly overwhelming for about … 2 minutes. After that, it really morphed and became an almost sultry scent. It is very alluring. The labdanum is fog-like, lending a hazy blanket over everything. The myrrh and sandalwood with that touch of rum is very grounding.
Nearly 20 minutes later most of the florals are more in the distance, though they waft through every now and then, and I am left with a sweet, woody, and gossamer scent. It’s dark, not like a white fluffy scent, but more like incense smoke, dark and twisting.
There’s not too much throw on this, but I do get lovely wafts as I move my arm around
Sixteen92‘s subscription, The Circle, has got to be the best thing since … sample packs! I love this little bit of “sneak peek” I, and others, get!
I also got the Fall samples in this pack, but I’ve been itching for Halloween scents so I’m doing the Halloween reviews first.
The Bell Witch with sweet cider barrels, orchard wood, blond tobacco leaf, cave and forest moss, glowing pumpkin, dry leaves, and turned earth is up first and I don’t think I can properly convey just how excited I am to try these scents. I think this is the first time where every description pulls at me.
In the vial I get a definite spiced apple scent, likely from the cider barrels. On my skin this just blossoms and opens up and without even sniffing my skin I can smell the soft flesh of the pumpkin, dry leaves crunching under foot, a hint of tobacco, and the soft velveteen texture of the moss.
What I’m saying is this baby has some throw on it and I’m in love. You get it all in here, every nuanced aspect of this blend is perfectly represented and comes together to form the most accurate representation of a crisp fall day that I’ve ever had the pleasure of smelling.
This blend seems to lean a little masculine as it dries, giving it a cologne type feel to it, likely from the earth and moss, but it’s not something that will deter me from wearing it. I want to bathe in this scent.
With the amount of throw on this blend, I do find it somewhat overwhelming to sniff directly on my skin and I much prefer the scent I get as it wafts as opposed to the spicier version on my skin. After about an hour the scent against the skin isn’t so overwhelming and is just as gorgeous as the scent that wafts up to me still.
You would think after a few hours I’d have nothing to add to this, but alas, that is not true. Not only is this scent still giving a decent throw, and still beautiful, it seems that now I’m getting more apple, as though a glass of cider was poured and they cut up a fresh apple to mix into it. Magic. Pure and simple.
Borley Rectory has notes of Italian Bergamot, cocao pod, smoked black tea, decayed woods, faded parchment, shadowy musk.
In the vial I get musk and bergamot with a strong helping of black tea. This is another blend that, quite literally, blossoms on the skin immediately. The bergamot is beautiful, and it’s a note that is becoming a fast favorite of mine and I’ve been seeking it out lately. The tea has somewhat backed down to a half drunk cup instead of a full blown pot. The parchment is well worn, touched and used, and has oil from skin along the edges.
That shadowy musk though, that is what makes this blend. I don’t get much cocao pod, or if I do it’s blended and so light that I can’t pick it out. However, that musk is almost sinister and it combines with the smokiness of the black tea and the heat of woods that this is just a dark and almost foreboding scent.
I did notice there are flecks of cocao in the vial, so I’m sure that’s in there, but I can’t pick it out, which is fine. Also this is leaning masculine as well, but I still love it.
There is a throw to this, though not as prominent as The Bell Witch was, but it still wafts up gently. It’s longevity is really awesome as well.
The Island of the Dolls contains notes of Mexican vanilla, dry bergamot, somber rose, dark chocolate, black plum, dense woods, and porcelain musk. If you’ve ever seen a documentary on this place, it’s super creepy.
There is a deep chocolate scent in the vial as well as on my skin. At first that’s about all I can smell (which is why I don’t wear chocolate – it overwhelms everything else on me). After a few minutes I get some of that slightly spicy dry bergamot. I’ve concluded dry is not how I like my bergamot. The rose is also coming across as being a dried rose instead of fresh.
I’m having a hard time smelling around the chocolate. Thankfully after letting it sit for about 20 minutes or so, most of the chocolate scent is gone. Now I am getting a sense of that dark plum and some deep dark woods. The porcelain musk is soft and powdery.
Unfortunately, this one does not have a good throw on me and I have to really sniff the spot to get a good sense of the blend. It is nice once dried, again leaning masculine, but I don’t think its for me, especially because of the chocolate. That’s just not my thing.
Man, after about an hour I adore the scent I’m getting from this. I just wish I didn’t have that issue with the chocolate! Because what’s left is woodsy and slightly sweet, soft and almost alluring.
Myrtles Plantation‘s notes consist of oleander leaf and bloom, labdanum, white sage, fig leaf, blood orange, and suede musk.
This seems to be the brightest of the bunch with blood orange taking the lead in the vial with a touch of oleander. On my skin the suede musk immediately asserts itself and lays out as a soft smooth base, brown and almost fuzzy. You really get a hint of greenness from the fig leaf, and the sage is very apparent. The blood orange is now, almost completely gone or pushed out of the way by the other scents.
There is something almost bitter in this blend. I’m afraid sage has taken another blend from under me. My skin reacts poorly to sage. Which makes me sad because I love labdanum and wanted so much to like this blend!
Well into the dry down the sage is no longer bitter, thankfully, and the labdanum gets to come out and do it’s narcotic dance. This is soft and more brown than green, and very close to the skin.
Lastly we have Waverly Hills whose notes are listed as dense fern, frost, wild moss, raw honey & propolis vegan, black labdanum, overgrown vines, late blooming Southern florals, and spectral musk.
In the vial the ferns feel crushed and give off that unique green scent and its almost overpowering. On my skin that sharp greenness is still there, but the other notes are attempting to temper it.
After about 10 minutes the sharpness of the fern has subsided and I’m left with this unmistakable garden – soft florals and sweet greens with a hint of that labdanum and a touch of honey. That spectral musk acts like fog, and the frost helps to enhance that feeling. This is early pre-dawn in a slightly overgrown garden when the fog has rolled in and created this gorgeous, slightly spooky, scene.
The throw on this isn’t huge, but I do get it wafting up to me on occasion. Being even more Southern than Kentucky, I really appreciate and understand the late blooming florals. They are showcased here beautifully. (I still have a magnolia tree in my backyard that throws out a new bloom about once a week.)
I get a very ethreal feel about this blend, and I think this, minus the sharp fern scent, would be best as an EDP.
For me, personally, The Bell Witch and Borley Rectory have stolen my Halloween loving heart! Both of these I could slather in every format offered and still want more.
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.
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!
Dangerous Oil will open this group of scents with notes of 6 musks from blackest black up through a rare and gorgeous in itself purple/blue musk hybrid. A good jolt of labdenum and an edge of cognac. The heart note is an entire chypre made only for this project and used for no other. In the vial I get that purple/blue musk and it’s so different and wonderful – you can actually smell the colors. On my skin the chypre comes out and a touch of the cognac with that lovely floaty labdanum. I’ve just recently (within the last year) fallen in love with chypre’s. This blend is not dark, but definitely not light – it’s shadowy. This floats around and the musks blend so well and the chypre is gorgeous. I’d expected this to be almost in-your-face strong, but it’s not, it’s almost a skin scent that occasionally wafts up to you.
Next up we have lil-ole’ Betsy with notes of very deep bass notes of patchouli, labdenum, vetiver, and oud All the spices of Arabia, Africa, and the Orient blended together with a huge shot of the sweetest and most high keyed musk. Lots of labdanum! Not that I mind. In the vial it is all patchouli and vetiver – so much so as to be overwhelming when sniffing. On my skin those calm down a touch and the spices come out. This blend when wet morphs as it settles and I get hints and blasts of each note. The musk is giving a slight bit of sweetness which is tempering the vetiver and patchouli from screaming. This blend is dark and sultry – very seductive and not shy at all.
Queen of the Night is described by Fabienne as a deeply perfumy blend with a deeply foody core. It is dry and then again there is a dry sweetness to it. In the vial I get a bit of citrus and a flower that goes soapy – though there’s about three that do that to me, I don’t think it’s dragon’s blood but one of the others. On my skin that soapy scent stays. I don’t get food at all – not even a little bit. This is all floral sweetness, soft and gentle. As it dries the soapy scent floats away and I’m left with clean and gentle floral perfume with just a hint of sweetness. The citrus was only in the vial apparently. This is just a beautiful clean scent.
Finally a scent close to my own home in Ohio – Over-the-Rhine! It is described as spicy, warm, unisex, resinous, oriental. I’ve been meaning to get this blend since I saw it over a year ago on their website. However, I have this thing where I get distracted by shiny things. It happens, okay? Anyway, in the vial I get a beautiful spicy resinous scent – like spices and frankincense tears. On my skin there is a touch of wood, maybe oudh, it’s warm and comforting – there is something almost smoky in the quality of it, but not a burning smell. This feels very classic and high class – as though it would be worn by anyone. It almost smells … familiar. Not like it smells like something I know, just that the scent combination has that familiarity to it – just like “oh yeah, I totally know you” even if you don’t. I am not describing it very well. So wonderful! I, of course, must get this – because Ohio won’t be my home much longer.
I have a huge pile of Possets samples that I’ve purchased straight from Possets, or from Ajevie, and some I acquired via freebies from purchases or swaps from other members of the Indie Perfume community. It is their time to shine!
Zombie is one of the blends I hear so much about! It’s always described as marshmallow oudh – what’s not to love about that?! The “official” notes are listed as: toasted marshmallow and oude, a bit of burnt stick, and the unmistakable fragrance of the crisp autumn air. (There are many different spellings for oudh, oud, oude, and I’m sure there’s more.) In the vial I get a bit of oudh and a touch of that crisp autumn air. On my skin it just … wow, it’s so unique! It’s marshmallow all right, that ooey gooey melted marshmallow that you only get from a stick and a fire. There’s no burning smell, just this lush woody scent topped with marshmallow. I get the hype! It’s very soft overall, however, the longer this sits the more the marshmallow fades to just a hint of sweetness and you’re left with this smooth and fragrant oudh.
I have to admit this next one I’ve tested already as I’ve been eyeing it fiercely for months and I’m happy it made the permanent collection! That scent is Min-Min (Ghost Lights) and it boasts notes of Sandalwoods, three of them, combined with the rich enticing scent of leather, a strong and classic patchouli. In the vial it’s almost all leather (it’s a cross between new shiny leather and that soft, well-worn leather I prefer). As it dries the sandalwood comes as does the patchouli. It’s a warm patchouli, almost golden in its scent. Despite the notes in this not typically being seen as ethereal, somehow it is just that – floating and ethereal, yet grounded. As this sits on my skin longer the leather goes from the forefront to somewhere in the back where it just gives hints as to its existence in the blend. Very beautiful and almost haunting blend.
Jeanne duVal is part of the Femme Fatales 2016 collection with notes of 5 ambers (two golden, one dry, one sweet, and one which is what I call Black Amber), add to that African Musk, a drop of aged sweet patchouli, a nice swath of labdanum, a large part of a very very dry and somewhat woody Bourbon vanilla, a bit of sandalwood, and just the right amount of Haitian vetiver. I get a nice sweet blast of bourbon vanilla in the vial and … chocolate? On my skin the vetiver takes over and for some reason there is something reminding me of chocolate. Or rather, more of a cocoa than a sweet milk chocolate. The ambers begin to make their appearance which pushes that weird cocoa note further away. I wonder if one of the ambers is a grey amber because I get just a hint of saltiness. The bourbon vanilla begins it’s ascent to the top with some of the sandalwood. I’m not getting a hint of labdanum which usually gives me a floaty feeling in a blend. This is a very grounded scent … but something is still giving me wafts of cocoa! So weird! If it weren’t for the cocoa I think I would really like it! Huh, it took a while, but the cocoa scent finally went away and now the labdanum has come out with it’s floaty essence.
The Mistress of Power will round out Part 1 of this review with notes of an incense and musk scent, a great oriental. Black, grey, and golden musks at the base, a good part of aged patchouli (which has gone from a thin light yellow to a thick dark brown over the years in the curing cabinet) there is absolutely nothing coy about this blend. Backdrop of a non foody and more brandy-like chocolate liquor, a small amount of clove, all finished off with an ambergris-like musk for a shadow-like staying power. The scent in the vial is boozy, but that goes away almost as soon as it touches my skin. Wow the patchouli is strong in this one with a good bit of a golden scent to it. The incense is strong, but not overwhelming. This is a resinous and incense blend, not for the faint of heart. It is commanding and powerful making itself known. There is a bit of subtle shifting between the notes as they vie for power and dominance. It takes a while, but eventually they settle into a golden resin and incense blend with just a hint of sweetness. This actually reminds me of the Lotus Spa I went to on the Outer Banks! Such a lovely and relaxing place. But that’s quite the dichotomy isn’t it?
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!