Hyde + Alchemy – 020

I received my full size bottle of 013 (the purple one) the other day and I’m in love.  I can’t explain how it’s different than oil AND alcohol based perfumes, but it is.  I could smell it morphing throughout the day and my temperature rose and fell.  It was crazy.

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photo by smellallthethings

So, of course, I have to try more!  Nabbed 020 out of the pile I still have from the discovery set.

020 – orange blossom, peony, iris, tonka bean, patchouli, vanilla

Sounds simple, right?  We will see!

In the vial I get something that seems like a very traditional feminine perfume.  Soft, floral, floaty.  Nice, but like I said, traditional.  Something not unique.

On my skin this reminds me so, so much of something I tried on at Sephora one time when I was looking for a scent that was more main stream.  I want to say something from Tom Ford but don’t quote me on that.  It’s almost like Tom Ford’s Black Orchid mixed with Lancome’s La Vie est Belle.

That comparison doesn’t last long though.  Literally by the time I got back with my bottle of La Vie est Belle (to spell it right) the scent had morphed.  Now the fuzziness of the tonka bean is making its way through the scent.  That fuzzy part doesn’t last long either.

Not even going to lie, this is amazing so far.  It’s really like the best of two or three of my favorite mainstream perfumes kind of mashed into one.  Take Tom Ford’s Black Orchid, mix with a touch of Yves St. Laurent’s Black Opium, and toss a healthy splash of Lancome’s La Vie est Belle on top and you have #020 by Hyde + Alchemy.  It’s really an intoxicating scent.

I could sit here all day and describe the different phases this goes through on my skin, but I’ll save you from that.  Instead, let me just say that while this may have a traditional vibe to it, it’s still amazing and a good deal cheaper than buying all three of the aforementioned perfumes and layering them.

020 is so bright, so fun, so full of life but it has that deep mysterious edge that has me hooked.

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.

Sugar & Spite and everything smelly!

Bringing a new house to everyone, and one that has bowled me over with not only their scent catalog, but their customer service as well as their over the top and on point packaging!  Sugar & Spite everyone – get on and enjoy the ride! (Not paid advertising, I just really dig everything about this perfume house.)

Bonus they are having a sale from now until Saturday July 9th.  Check out their Facebook page for sale details.  Because of the sale, this is going to be a rather quick and dirty review of 11 different scents.

These scents have been in my possession for almost 3 weeks now and I could already tell taking them out of their packaging that they’d rested and even gotten a little aging while they sat in a cool dark box.

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photo by smellallthethings

Let’s kick this off with the rollerball.  10ml of delicious Apple Sugar goodness. (Delicious, juicy apples and a heaping spoonful of pure sugar. Wonderfully sweet, yet somehow all grown up.)  I have to admit I’ve worn this quite frequently since receiving it and it was also part of my moving scents that stayed with me in my purse for comfort and use while my world was briefly turned upside down.  It is a beautiful crisp, freshly peeled, apple scent with just this smooth sugar scent that comes very close, initially, to making you feel like you have just put a spoonful of table sugar in your mouth.  Somehow while wet this manages to be an extremely accurate representation of apples and sugar, separate but preparing to come together in a most wonderful way.  As this dries the two scents come together and the tartness of the apple tempers the sweetness of the sugar so that it doesn’t become overly sweet.  This is gourmand, but not?  So hard to describe the dry down.  It’s almost like walking through an apple orchard with a bag of sugar and freshly cut apples.  This works in the heat and I’m going to bet this will work in the fall as well.  I am already planning on some body spray, body wash, and lotion in this scent.  The longevity of this blend has varied wildly but I think that’s more to do with my activities and just the extreme stress I was putting my body under and not necessarily to do with the scent itself.

Three Shades of White (Every fine vanilla in my arsenal, smoky white musk, white amber, grounded with a tiny bit of patchouli, bourbon and oak leaves.) smells of patchouli in the vial and on my skin.  It’s not quite a smooth patchouli, but it’s not that gritty and dirty patchouli either.  It’s a happy medium, brownish in scent to me.  The oak marries with the patchouli and as it tries the vanillas begin to come out.  After this has sat on the skin it ends up being this beautiful smoky, vanilla, and patchouli blend.  Overall it’s soft, slightly sweet, and a touch woody.

Strangefellow isn’t all that strange (tonka, amber, musk and pepper, with a sugar cookie base) … well, actually, it smells like vanilla popcorn in the vial, but it quickly smooths out into this beautiful amber, tonka, musk blend with a hint of sugar cookie.  The pepper gives just a hint of spice, but nothing overwhelming.  The tonka is soft and brown, the cookie leans a bit gourmand, but the amber and musk keep it from falling over that edge.  This is a sweet blend, unisex, and very beautiful.

Dionysus, the god of wine (Mahogany, amber, sandalwood, and barely perceptible red wine.) deserves attention sometimes.  Oh wow, in the vial the mahogany is deep, rich, and red.  On my skin it is dark and decadent, smooth and red and just luxurious!  Totally brings to mind much lounging with a glass of wine in hand.  It’s blended very well and the sandalwood is more of a fresh-off-the-tree scent rather than that of the smoother more aged sandalwood.  The amber just enhances the overall smoothness of the blend.

Tell it to the Moon sounds like a nice chill song to relax with and look up at the moon. (Precious woods, cashmere vanilla, resin, spice, and a swirl of bright mandarin.)  In the vial I get mandarin and I’ll be damned if cashmere wasn’t the most apt description for that vanilla.  On my skin the woods come out more with a touch of spice (generic melody of spices, but nothing I can pick out with absolute certainty).  But man, that cashmere vanilla is where it’s at, let me tell you.  If tonka is fuzzy brown, this is a fuzzy cream or taupe.  And on top of it all is that beautiful mandarin.  The woods sit to the back with the resins and it really is all about that vanilla and mandarin!

The Whispering Woods don’t talk behind your back (Crunchy leaves, damp soil, Incense smoke, a bitter snap of clove, and caramelized brown sugar), they speak sweet nothings into your ear.  In the vial I get that smoky incense which is just about all I can smell, even on my skin.  It’s a beautiful smoky scent.  Ah, it takes a moment but the leaves come out with a touch of soil.  After a bit the clove comes out but it’s just barely a hint.  Enough to get a whiff and know what it is, but not enough to overwhelm the blend.

Mothman (Black and green teas, clove, black orchid) is not your average superhero!  But that’s to be expected because it’s a perfume and not a person at all.  So there’s that.  Tea and clove come out in the vial as well as on my skin.  It’s reminding me a lot of walking into Teavana.  I’m not a tea person, like at all, which is kind of funny considering I moved to the south.  But this is making me wrinkle my nose as the orchid, clove, and teas aren’t meshing very well on my skin.  YMMV – so try it if you’re curious!

Barnum and Bailey?  No, just Barnum (Curiously sweet and dark. Tobacco leaf, a trio of rich musks, new mown hay, and a drizzle of creamy vanilla bourbon.) but half a circus can still be a good time … right?  Hay, musk, a touch of tobacco, and just a drop of bourbon.  So rich and decadent.  Masculine, don’t get me wrong, but I love that.  Oh wow, I could melt into this.  This is fairly straightforward on me which is just fine.  The vanilla comes out, but it’s that soft barely there vanilla that adds more creaminess to a blend than actual sweetness.

Meadow(s) are for enjoying (Fields of green, green grass, and a hint of sweet soil.).  And so is perfume.  Win-win!  In the vial this is just grass.  Super green, crunched underfoot so it releases it’s scent, with just a hint of soil underneath.  This is like taking a handful of dew covered grass and rubbing your face in it.  Not to say the perfume is overwhelming, it’s just … GRASS when you sniff it.  And hey, some people like that.  So here ya go … this grass’ for you!

Grim Bastard is not one to be trifled with (vanilla, sandalwood, black patchouli and leather).  But I don’t listen so well.  Shh.  In the vial I get leather.  It’s that mix between shiny black and well worn brown.  On my skin however, it morphs to that beautiful worn brown leather that I love so much.  The patchouli isn’t super prominent but blends with the sandalwood to give an overall woody feel to the blend.  The vanilla is there but hidden, just barely lending itself to the blend.  Very masculine, very leathery.

Leopold not to be undone (A sweet blend of vanilla bean, amber, musk, and white pepper.) is here to sweep others off their feet.  In the vial I get all the lovely notes and they translate almost seamlessly to my skin.  The vanilla lays overtop, lending it’s sweetness to the entirety of the blend while the musk and amber provide a golden base and the pepper adds just a touch of spiciness to the blend.  Very beautiful and another I would consider getting in body spray, wash, and lotion!

I think overall there were only two blends I would not consider purchasing full bottles of, and only because they’re not really my thing.  Hopefully this helps those on the fence about some blends.  Now, off to get some new smellies with their wonderful sale!

 

 

Villianess – Scent Samples

After years of looking, reading, and stalking the Villainess site, I have finally purchased a set of samples from them.  I love their site, their theme, all of it – so I’m excited to delve into these samples.  They’ve had plenty of time to relax from their travels and they got some rest if they needed a bit of aging.

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photo by smellallthethings

Might as well start this off with a scent from their namesake, Villainess.  Its notes are listed as: Our signature scent – all ball gowns and combat boots. Raw, smokey leather and sweet vanilla musk engulfed in a sheer haze of exotic florals – ylang, neroli, jasmine, lilac and tuberose.  Sleek black leather jumps out from the vial as I take a sniff.  Thankfully that backs off almost the moment it touches my skin.  I get the smoky part of the leather along with a light touch of vanilla musk.  The florals are soft and ylang, jasmine, and lilac seem to be the most prominent.  This is strong, assertive, unisex almost verging on masculine.  This kind of morphs between strong leather and soft florals.  Finally it begins to settle down into this rough, raw leather scent with just a hint of those white florals.  It’s strong and the throw is mighty.

Vale has notes of Musky warmed saddle leather, rich notes of espresso and clove, and a coconut-sweetened masala.  Seems Villainess likes the leather.  Who can blame them?  This is espresso with a shot of chocolate – I think it’s a cocoa note I’m smelling.  The coconut is more like a milk.  Horchata I believe is the drink this is reminding me of, but with a hint of leather.  This is certainly a blend all its own!

Decadence comes with notes of: an indulgent vanilla – alcoholic, buttery and bittersweet with delightful undertones of tonka and coconut. Our favourite vice.  I’ve been dying for more vanilla scents so I’m super excited about this!  In the vial I get the boozy vanilla with a hint of coconut.  The coconut comes out more on my skin and it’s that juicy, watery coconut milk and not the flesh.  The tonka also gives this a beautiful brown fuzzy feel and keeps the vanilla from going too boozy.  This certainly is decadent and oh my goodness I want to bathe in this … and I can!!!

Jai Mahal is another vanilla blend (woot!) with notes of: 4 rich vanillas and tonka, Mysore sandalwood, bourbon and coconut. Expensive woods, incense and imported spices – cedar, amber, myrrh, cardamom and nutmeg.  Woods, incense, nutmeg, and vanilla is wafting so deliciously around me.  There isn’t as much vanilla in this one as there was in Decadence, and it’s different despite it sharing notes.  This warms on the skin and gives a sun soaking, spicy feeling.  It’s soft and beautiful and alluring.

Morpho contains notes of: Sheer blue musk and a breath of old books, delicate touches of blackberry and juniper, and a whisper of plumeria. In the vial I get the softest bluest musk that smells powdery.  On my skin I get the blackberry and the plumeria is more than just a whisper.  After a minute the juniper comes out with that worn and antique feeling it gives me.  In the beginning this can be slightly overwhelming, after about 10 minutes this has a huge throw and is almost candy-like.  Something along the lines of SweetTarts or that powdered candy.  It’s making my jaw hurt (you know that sensation when you taste something sour) and my mouth water!  It takes about 30 minutes or so before that sour sweettart like scent morphs into this blue, soft, and powdery scent.  Very feminine and soft.

Byzantium will round this review series out with notes of: Precious woods and resins – cedar, pine and sandalwood, frankincense, amber and myrrh – at play against a sheer base of Egyptian musk, barely spiked with imported spices, and lightly veiled in smoke.  This is very soft when it first goes on with soft, golden Egyptian musk and a soft smattering of spices. As this dries and warms on my skin the woods and resins come out and this is just so beautiful.  Golden and warm, this is standing out in the sun, sand beneath your feet, and a lean-to for when you’re in need of some shade.

 

 

 

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.

Sucreabeille Samples

Sucreabeille is a new, to me, company that I’ve heard some wonderful things about so of course I just had to give them a try!  Not only to they boast a rather prolific scent list themselves, they are also known for some really well done designer duplicates, so I’ve heard.

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photo by smellallthethings

First up is Oud Wood – which oddly I can’t find in their Scent List – though a quick googling shows it’s a Tom Ford scent so this might be a dupe that was either discontinued or my searching skills are just horrible today (just as an aside – I’ve never smelled any Tom Ford scents).  In the vial this is a soft, slightly sweet wood scent.  On my skin I get something almost citrus-y, like a mix between a lemon or a not-quite-ripe orange.  As it dries more of the smooth oudh scent comes out.  It’s a light brown scent, not strong, not overwhelming, more serene and calming.  It just is.  This stays fairly light, even after a few hours wear and doesn’t have much throw to it.  It’s a close skin scent but beautiful nonetheless.

Frankincense & Myrrh is a common theme in my preferred scents, if you haven’t noticed.  Sucreabeille lists notes of frankincense & myrrh,deep, smoky, & rich, warmed with amber & vanilla.  Hmm, another hint of citrus.  I wonder if it’s something in their carrier oil.  On my skin I get a strong sense of lemon peel.  It takes a while but the lemon peel begins to fade away and I am left with a smoky frank and myrrh combo with just a hint of vanilla.  This has a heavy feel to it but I can’t seem to shake the lemon peel.  A quick google is telling me that frankincense can smell like lemon – huh I’ve never really gotten that association before.  Could be because there isn’t a lot to the blend and so the frankincense is able to do it’s thing and not be hindered by anything else.  It takes a few hours, but the lemon association goes away and I’m left with the hint of burning frank and myrrh with a touch of golden amber and just a bit of vanilla.

Champanilla sounds like a party animal eh?  It’s notes are nag champa, softened with vanilla bean pods & musk.  Nag Champa is like a roller coaster scent for me – it has it’s highs and lows depending on how prominent it is in the blend.  I prefer my nag champa to be less of a key player and more of a supporting actor (because nag champa is totally a dude ya know).  In the vial it’s all vanilla and musk, beautiful and almost foody with a touch of a crystalline aspect to it.  On my skin the nag champa is soft, like a pillow that is supporting the vanilla and musk.  Every now and then it gets something close to an animalic quality to it, but then it backs down and starts heading towards gourmand.  See?  Roller Coaster of emotions over here!  I don’t know whether to drown myself in it or wash it off.  Now I’m getting something akin to a freshly cleaned dog warming in the sun – that soft, warm, and almost golden feeling that you only get from a dog’s natural clean scent.  It reminds me of the dog my Dad had when I was younger – a beautiful black chow, lab, and German shepherd mix.  Abby was the best dog ever and so loyal and sweet.  It reminds me of her.  Eventually this looses that animal quality and settles into a very prominent vanilla with a hint of musk and nag champa.  The throw on this is decent for how soft it is.  It’s still wafting around me a few hours later.

Mourning Wood (again, I’m really a 12 year old boy *snicker*) with notes of Amber, Madagascar vanilla, rich musk, sandalwood, & oud wood.  In the vial I get a nice golden amber with a touch of musk and some sandalwood.  On my skin it almost disappears for a moment but as my skin warms it I can smell it more with each sniff.  The vanilla is almost floral in nature and the musk seems golden and almost skin-like in nature.  The oudh and sandalwood are a nice golden wood base to the scent.  Overall this is a close skin scent that is golden and slightly sweet.  It’s a delicious (not in a food way) blend that just brings to mind relaxing on a hammock with the sun shining and the birds chirping while the sun filters through the trees.

Last we have Corpse Bride with notes of black roses, white amber, damp earth, vanilla, tonka bean, & musk.  Oh this one is beautiful.  I love black roses!  The amber and roses come together for a truly beautiful scent – it’s heady, slightly sweet, and just a touch powdery.  I’m not getting much damp earth, which is a bummer, though I do get some vanilla and the fuzzy tonka.  This is beautiful and almost haunting.

I purchased their dry-oil sample set – unfortunately, either due to my own lack of hydration or other skin chemistry related issues, or their formulations, none of the scents lasted longer than 2 hours – except for Champanilla which is still faintly discernible after about 4 hours.  I cannot say how the longevity of their other products will compare.

 

Valhalla Soap Co. – Samples Part 2

This is a continuation of Part 1 of the Valhalla Soap Co. reviews.  If you missed it, check it out here!

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photo by smellallthethings

You’ll see these aren’t all samples.  I did splurge on a 5ml of Victoria & Albert because it was part of their Limited Edition Creepy Couples Collection and I was worried it would sell out before I could try it.  It hasn’t, but it’s gotten some rave reviews on the FB page.  Valhalla Soap Co. has this to say about the scent:

It was love at first sight for these cousins. Queen Victoria and Prince Albert were nearly inseparable during their 17 years together. After Albert’s untimely death at only age 42, Queen Victoria went into mourning, wearing black from head to toe for the remainder of her life. During those remaining 4 decades she employed a personal medium to hold regular seances so that she could speak to and remain close to the departed Albert, the one and only love of her life.

Delicate and green. Pure, unadulterated English violet. Creamy coconut milk spiked with fresh coriander and infused with warm tonka bean, musk and sandalwood. No suntan lotion, no buttery bakery notes to muck things up. This is one of the most beautiful blends we’ve ever done. We are totally smitten with it and think you will be too.

So, it has violet, tonka, musk, and sandalwood … some of my favorite notes!  Only thing making me hesitate is the coconut milk.  Not a big coconut fan, and I don’t cook much with coriander because I don’t like the smell.  However, I trust perfumers to know what they’re doing in the mixing department!  In the bottle it’s straight up coconut.  But I’m not giving up!  I put it on and most of the coconut smell dissipates almost immediately and I’m left with just the suggestion of it.  Delicate and green is a very apt description for this scent.  The violets are not overpowering, but sit atop the musk and sandalwood while the tonka bean gives that brown fuzzy feeling I enjoy out of that note.  The longer this sits the more it smooths out into this creamy, dreamy, and fuzzy scent.  Very pretty!

Alter Smoke boasts notes of ancient amber and precious myrrh entangled with hints of relaxing spikenard and spicy clove leaf, rise from a base of sweet vanilla, earthy patchouli, exotic sandalwood and sultry musk. In the vial it is soft, sweet, with a slight wood smell.  On my skin this bursts with beautiful myrrh and vanilla tinted amber.  There is no burning smell, there is no spice, there is no off-putting incense blasting away … it is just peaceful, content, glorious, and personal.  Meditative is a good description for this scent.  I could close my eyes, inhale, and be at peace with everything.

Next I have a sample of 540 Doors whose notes are green florals and mosses, woodsy fir and balsam, spruce, teakwood and fresh cut cedar mingle with a rich, earthy base of amber, musk, patchouli and mysore sandalwood.  I feel like I’m a broken record with the notes on the scents I choose, but I swear, they may look similar but they are not at all.  540 Doors is green and fresh in the vial.  On my skin the moss, balsam, and spruce come to the fore with hints of cedar and sandalwood.  There seems to be a touch of fresh turned and moist earth.  The amber shines through here and there while the musk and patchouli lend a nice base to this.  Another wonderful blend!  I love how fresh and green this smells.

To round out this batch of scents is Crone Magick whose notes consist of a deep, dark yet gorgeous blend of frankincense, myrrh, amber and sandalwood.  Seems almost simple compared to the last two blends but I’m willing to bet it’s anything but simple.  In the vial it is sharp and almost acrid.  There is something coming across as vaguely burnt citrus, as though a orange was tossed on a dying embers of a forgotten fire.  This blend feels languid, acerbic, and unchanging.  It is dark, indeed, yet it mellows slowly as it dries.  The sharp barbs of scent slowly smooth out to something more pleasant to the palate.  I get the feeling of needing to just … leave it alone, yet I can’t stop sniffing.  Something is pulling me back in even when I want to walk away.  How odd.  After a few hours I’ve noticed this is one of those scents that is better when appreciated from afar – meaning I don’t like the scent up close and personal when I put my nose close to the spot on my skin, but as I move my arm around and the scent comes to me, I find myself enjoying it immensely.  Some scents are like that, and Crone Magick happens to be one of them.

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!