Nocturne Alchemy – Spring 2016 Samples & Seth’s Super Secret Scent

Man that’s a lot of S’s in that title.  Say it 10 times fast!

Anyway, what we have today are scents from Nocturne Alchemy/VApothecary. or NAVA for short.  They are a wonderful company with lovely owners who enjoy all things Egypt … and cookies.

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photo by smellallthethings

So I may have already sniffed and purchased full size bottles of Evening Star and Mysteries of Udolpho (which came with cute scarab beads and the sample of Seth’s Super Secret Scent) because I had a mini-freak out that the scents were coming down today.  They aren’t, but that didn’t stop me from ordering them!  Decants were purchased via Ajevie, again.  She’s awesome!

Evening Star is first up, since you know I already bought one, with notes of Crushed Jasmine and Crushed Violet, Egyptian Rose de Mai Absolute, Nutmeg, California Redwood, Raw Papaya Seed, Arabian Cedarwood, Bastet’s White Amber, Champagne Musk and Chrysanthemum star petals.  In the vial it’s all jasmine and violet with a touch of rose.  On my skin, however, the scents blossom.  The redwood and cedarwood give this blend a nice grounding place to layer on top of.  The nutmeg is almost undetectable but I believe it is what is giving a “warm” glow to this.  Bastet’s (one of the perfumers at NAVA) White Amber gives a feeling of the sky to me – it’s ethereal and floating.  The champagne musk is soft and almost fuzzy in feel.  Overall this is a soft, sweet, and flowing blend that makes me think of laying in the grass looking up at the night sky.

The Mysteries of Udolpho is next and this one blew me away with its notes of Venice Violet infused Bergamot Tea, Castle Oakmoss, White Amber, Vanilla Crystal Musk and a drop of Italian Galbanum Incense accord.  So, so, so good.  Warm and spicy with a hint of sweetness.  Normally I don’t compare or mention a scent smelling like one from a different perfumery because I don’t think its fair to the perfume house I’m currently reviewing.  However, what this smells like is a discontinued scent from another house that will not be brought back.  It’s not an exact match (I did test my samples side by side), but it’s similar enough in feel that those that missed out (like me) on the other scent might be able to find something similar and possibly a new perfumery at the same time!  Win-Win right?  Enough already, I’m talking about Black Phoenix’s Fruminous Bandersnatch – so if you missed it and are hording your little stash, like me, get this – it’s awesome.  Udolpho is, as the name indicates, mysterious.  I honestly can’t go through and pick out the notes because if I hadn’t seen the note list I would’ve sworn there was carnation, amber, and maybe galbanum.  Oakmoss?  Bergamot tea?  Violet?  I can’t find those it’s so well blended.  This is warm and cozy and just amazing.  After a few hours this is a soft amber and vanilla scent with just a whisper of spice.

Pharaoh Anniversary is not part of the Spring Collection, but is instead part of the Studio Limited Collection, which has a chance to stick around a bit longer and even, sometimes, be re-stocked.  It’s notes are comprised of Water Lily, Heliotrope, Mimosa, Bergamot, Alexandrian Sea Salt, Amber and Musk. Anniversary blend brings the smokiness of NAVA ICONIC Arabian Oudh, NAVA Amber Resin Absolute, Frankincense Pure and White Myrrh of Aswan grown especially for our perfume company. Oh wow, this is gorgeous!  The water lily, heliotrope, and mimosa give this such a fragrant opening, soft and flowing.  And ICONIC!!  (No longer available notes are: Our Rose and Jasmine Oudh, more notably Rose Oudh. NAVA Oudh blend with Egyptian and Arabian White, Pink and Blood Rose Petals, Spanish Jasmine Grandiflorum, Egyptian Jasmine Absolute and Indian Jasmine Sambac. The Jasmine is a stabilizer for the rose and both botanica are the heart of this Oudh.)  NAVA does Oudh like no one else does Oudh.  This blend is at once flowing and resinous and truly a work of art.  I can smell the Nile, the floral gardens in the palace, the sand under my feet and the sun on my face.  It smells like a celebration on my skin.  The salt is barely there as to be non-existent.  Well, I know what’s going in my next order!  Mmm the longer this sits the more the ICONIC Oudh comes out.

Next is A Room With A View from the Spring Collection and it boasts notes of Florentine Frangipani, Essence of Florentine Violet, Italian White Musk, Plumeria Cream, Santalum, Italian Bergamot Tea Light Essence and Italian Cyprus infused Balsam wood. In the vile it’s all violet and plumeria cream (in the best way!) and on my skin the fragipani and white musk come out. It takes a minute but the santalum begins to warm up with a hint of cyprus and a soft touch of balsam.  The bergamot tea is giving it just the barest of hints of spice.  It always blows me away with how delicate and gentle some of these scents are when NAVA also does super good heavy incense and resin blends.  This is gorgeous.  It’s like an open window to the most lush of floral gardens.

Last, but most certainly not least, is Seth’s Super Secret Scent – Very Vanilla Crystalline Angel Cake!  No notes listed for this as it’s Seth’s own secret blend.  Sometimes he makes enough for full size bottles, sometimes just little teaser samples go out.  Typically these secret scents are sent out with update orders that were placed within a few days of a new update going live on the site.  Sometimes they are sent out until gone.  Just remember, I’m not a gourmand lover, and Seth is known for his gourmands.  In the vile I get a super buttery blast of vanilla cake.  On my skin it almost disappears!  I can barely get a hint of something resembling cake.  There’s a slight buttery vanilla note, but it’s so soft.  Boo!  It might be that I’ve gone nose-blind to it after the two stronger scents.  I’ll try again later and edit if it changes!

 

Valhalla Soap Co. – Botanical Cream and Scent Samples Part 1

This is a two part review (because I can only test so much at one time before it overwhelms or I can no longer distinguish scents).  Today I am reviewing from a lovely little company out in the Pacific Northwest United States called Valhalla Soap Company.  If you’ve an itch to be a Viking, if only for a day, this is who you need to see.  Check out the Clan on their Facebook page as well!  The owners, Donna and Matt, are extremely active, friendly, and helpful.

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photo by smellallthethings

That little 2oz jar in the middle is their Botanical Face & Body Cream scented in Valkyrie (notes: peach brandy, pralines, brown sugar, amber, vanilla musk, violet, and black currant).  I have to admit – this is by far my favorite lotion!  Especially for my face!  As I’ve gotten older, my face has gone from oily to dry, but it doesn’t actually stay one or the other – it varies day to day.  This Botanical Face & Body Cream has done wonders to help keep my face smooth and soft to the touch.  The cream itself is rather stiff compared to all their other body butters and lotions, but I like that.  And a little goes a long, long way.  I’ve had this little jar since the end of February.

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photo by smellallthethings

I have missed days using it, but only because I only use it on the days my face is dried out.  As you can see, there’s still a lot left in this little jar.  And, with the Botanical Face & Body Cream, it’s only lightly scented – that then allows for some wonderful layering options.  This does have cocoa butter in it, so you get that slight scent from it, but it isn’t strong.

Valkyrie itself isn’t foodie as the notes would have you think.  This scent is beautifully soft and golden.  The vanilla and amber are prominent while the peach brandy gives it a golden slightly boozy feel.  The black currant adds a touch of bitter to balance out the sweet in here and all together it makes for a rather hauntingly beautiful scent.  I do hope that Donna and Matt will be able to find a way to keep this scent around as it is currently endangered.  As this dries and melds with your skin chemistry this scent warms up and the gold darkens with the brown sugar (I love the smell of brown sugar).  Still never even ventures into foodie territory, and I used the Botanical Face & Body Cream on my hands.  The cream is providing a nice base for the scent to sit on.

Vanilla Luxe is up next.  I purchased a wax tart of this as well, but haven’t had a chance to melt it yet.  I love that I can find so many things in one place.  The notes for this blend are as follows: Smokey notes of vanilla-tobacco, aged oak barrels filled with bourbon, bulging trade sacks of rare frankincense, spicy pepper and tangy bergamot. Grass baskets spilling over with Bulgarian roses and ylang ylang. This is all buttery vanilla in the vial!  Then, as I put it on my skin it … disappears?  What?!  No!!  Do I have a scent blind spot when it comes to this combo?  Did my skin eat it?  So weird.  Normally I do well with all those notes.  I’m putting more on, maybe a dab won’t do ya.  Ahhhh … there it is.  It’s still very soft but I’m getting a bit of the vanilla and some rose.  It’s still way lighter than I would expect with all those notes in it.  Found the bourbon, but still no frankincense (one of my favorite notes), bergamot, or ylang ylang.  I’m going to blame my chemistry on this one.

I’ve been dying to try Floki’s Fetish!  I am a bad Viking and have not seen the show, however.  Shame on me!  Floki’s Fetish comprises of deep forests and pungent oakmoss covered earth call the boat builder. While exotic spices, vanilla, incense, sandalwood and amber whisper to his spirit and his yearning to discover and conquer new lands.  In the vial I get a nice green oakmoss and crumbling dirt.  On my skin this is masculine, woodsy, and empowering.  I can totally see this as a commanding scent.  The spices and incense are a bit much more than I like to wear, but it is still an evocative scent for sure.

So many wonderful things have been said about Hedonistic!  It boasts notes of hints of warm amber, moody incense, and light notes of smooth, and sweet patchouli.  I’d actually bought a wax melt in this too and got to melt it before putting my house on the market and having to stop using wax melts (SAD!).  It was one of those scents that you think will be one thing, then it turns out its something else, something better, and you’re chasing the scent all over the house trying to figure it out.  Took me hours to realize it was the Hedonistic in my wax tart melter that was making that luscious and beautiful scent.  While I haven’t turned on the melter in over a month, I can still get whiffs of the wax when I pass by.

The oil, now that’s a glorious thing too.  In the vial I’d swear that it had a big juicy orange in it.  Perhaps it is the sweet patchouli giving off that citrus vibe.  This is a warm, beautiful scent and the oil matches perfectly the scent from the wax melt and I couldn’t be happier!  It’s a magical little blend that just brings a smile to my face.  Not only is the oil golden in color, but it also gives off that glowing golden vibe when you wear it.  The incense is soft and unobtrusive and the amber is just hanging out.  That patchouli is the star of this blend (a patch I can wear that is also in the forefront of a blend?! Awesome!).  This isn’t your hippie’s patchouli – so if you have that “bad” association with it, you should try this and maybe it’ll turn you around on the patchouli hate wagon.  I totally need this in the Botanical Face & Body Cream!

Rune Caster will round out this batch of reviews for Valhalla Soap Co.  It’s notes include sweet notes of cotton candy and caramel drizzled over heady florals of rose, jasmine, sweet heliotrope and geranium with resinous juniper and amber on a heavy base of vanilla, sandalwood and patchouli.  Seems like a lot going on in here … but so many loved notes I have to try it!  In the vial this is a perplexing blend of sandalwood and cotton candy – but it smells divine!  On my skin that cotton candy note wafts out and it is just so realistic, like I’m at a fair smelling the cotton candy as it’s being made.  Eventually that drifts off and the florals begin their dance to the forefront, like you’re walking away from the cotton candy booth to a beautiful planted garden.  The rose, jasmine, heliotrope, and geranium all waft around you in a sweet breeze of vanilla and cotton candy.  For me the amber is there just adding a golden glow over everything, like the sun.  Patchouli is not really noticeable, but the sandalwood drifts in and out of the blend.  With juniper, I always get a sort of well loved antique scent association with it, and I get it here.  Like the booths at the fair are well loved and maintained so they have lasted for many generations.  I am blown away by this scent, I can’t believe it.  I need Rune Caster in every format!

Blooddrop – The Musk Collection

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photo by smellallthethings

Today’s reviews are brought to you by Blooddrop‘s Musk Collection!  They are currently still available on the websiteAjevie was kind enough to run a decant circle for these scents.

It was very difficult to choose just a few from the Musk Collection because they all looked so wonderful!  I’m still interested in the Book Store Musk, but that will have to wait, unfortunately.

First I chose Poetic Musk with notes of vanilla, lotus, amber, cream, soft mandarin, and a touch of cocoa absolute.  In the vial it is a sweet amber-y floral.  The cocoa absolute is visible in the perfume and the bottle would likely need to be rolled and combined before worn.  However, on my skin I cannot smell any of the cocoa (which is good because I’m not typically a chocolate fan though I have a few exceptions).  Ooh, the mandarin gives a bright feel to this scent.  It’s very vanilla and cream with mandarin to brighten and lotus and amber to soften.  Very pretty, almost languid.  Unfortunately, it’s fading fast from my skin. How sad because it’s really pretty!

Baroque is one I was excited about!  Its notes consist of a showy white musk with heliotrope, vanilla, citrus, amber and wood. The oil is beautiful with a pink hue.  In the vial I get the citrus and heliotrope.  On my skin the vanilla comes in to sweeten the edges of the citrus.  The white musk and amber make this blend glow while the wood gives it a good base to settle on.  There is something of a classical feel to this, but updated.  It’s bright, clean, and very nice.  Where Poetic Musk disappeared, Baroque is lingering softly and warmly.

Orchid is one of my favorite flowers so it’s no surprise I picked up Vanilla Orchid Musk whose notes are exotic vanilla musk with notes of orchid and stephanotis.  In the vial this is soft and powdery, on my skin the vanilla isn’t overly sweet, but more of a woody vanilla.  The orchid is sweet and soft.  The longer the orchid is on my skin, the more of that hot house scent comes to the fore.  There’s something bright and almost citrusy without that slightly acidic note that citrus can get – I think this is the stephanotis.  This is a beautiful scent.  Definitely unique and summery.

Next up is Sugared Musk whose notes are warm musk with sugar and a touch of vanilla.  If you’ve ever walked into a candy store, then you know that scent of pure sugar on the air – that’s what this smells like in the vial.  On my skin the musk comes out and somehow gives a white chocolate feeling.  Smooth, creamy sugar is all this is.  I’m getting a toothache just from sniffing it!  It’s so different from my usual fare that I kinda like it just for being different.  However, the longer this sat the more the warm musk came out and made this just a sweet and cozy little scent.

Librarian Musk!  The book lover in me may have let out a little squeal of excitement as, I’m sure, actual librarians did when they saw this scent.  The notes are as follows: bookish, sexy warm musk with black tea, cedar, and sandalwood.  I’m not a tea fan, like at for drinking of smelling, but maybe it’s really well blended!  In the vial it’s a blast of cedar, however, on my skin it warms up and I get a definite bookish feel about it and a touch of leather, without any actual leather in the blend.  It’s got a touch of that almost bitter smell so many books in one place can get, but it’s in the background and only adds to the reality of the scent.  So evocative!

Sixteen92 General Catalog Samples

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photo by smellallthethings

I just had to go and get some more samples from Sixteen92‘s general catalog after having such a good experience with their Spring Collection.  There has been discussion on their Facebook Page about discontinuing a few scents and making room for others, possibly A Thousand Times More Fair from their Spring Collection as well as three others.  Two of the scents I’m reviewing (The Awakening and La Llorona) are on the chopping block!  Eek!  Discontinuations are expected and understandable, but they are still sad.  I always get this knee jerk reaction of OMG I NEED IT (even if I’ve never liked the scent before) because what if it gets better with age and then it’s all gone and you can’t find it anywhere because everyone else knew it was awesome and then you missed it and can never have the awesome again and …. *deep breath*  Yeah, so, I got those two specifically to see if I truly want them or if I’m just having discontinuation anxiety.

The Awakening has notes of: Ocean air, dark water, damp mosses, gulf mud, saltwater taffy.  Now normally I’m not one for ocean types as it usually means ambergris and I’m not a fan of ambergris.  However, I really enjoyed Storm of Fortunes which has ambergirs so I decided to give this a try.  Plus it’s on the chopping block (eek!) and I’m going to the beach on vacation soon and I like “water” scents to wear when I’m at the actual water.

In the vial it is mostly the dark water, a bit of mud, and moss.  As soon as it hits my skin the water deepens even more and the ocean air starts blowing.  There’s a small hint of sweet saltwater taffy.  The mosses are wet from a recent storm and the mud has been churned by the waves.  This morphs and moves through phases as it dries, letting each note come to the fore like the coming and going of the ocean waves.  There’s also something cold in here.  Not physically cold, but it smells cold.  This is a very interesting blend, but a bit more salty than I care for.

Paper Moon is a Premium perfume and contains: Soft vanilla musk, benzoin, oakmoss, trailing ivy, peach blossom, rose.  Paper Moon isn’t awe inspiring in the vial and is mostly benzoin.  On my skin it blooms though.  The rose and benzoin are initially the strongest notes.  The vanilla musk is at the base, soft and light and barely there while the ivy and peach blossoms weave through the rose and benzoin.  This is a soft skin scent with very light silage (throw).  Pretty, but I like things with a little more oomph to them.  It does end up having a paper-like quality to the scent which is neat.  Eventually the benzoin calms down, the oakmoss comes out and all the other notes blend and play nicely together.

This is growing on me the more I wear it.  Soft, slightly sweet, with a nice green base and a hint of flowers.

La Llarona (the other one on the chopping block) consists of: Bulgarian and Egyptian rose absolute, pink and white pepper, pink grapefruit, wisteria, cashmere wood, pale amber. At first this is all wood, soft and brown with a hint of pink grapefruit and a whisper of wisteria.  This was one I put on right when I got it a few days ago and fell in love.  Which is sad because it’s going away so I’ll have to jump on a bottle of it! This is not only a golden blend in the vial, but also on my skin.  The rose is soft and velvety, the pepper adds just the barest touch of spice while the grapefruit burns off as it dries.  Now the wisteria is coming out stronger with that beautiful base of wood and amber.  Truly a warm blend that just makes me think of snuggling up and being cozy.

Southern Gothic has notes of: Mandarin Orange, Apple, Coconut Pulp, Southern Magnolia, Jasmine Sambac, Balsam, White Sandalwood. In the vial I get all the high notes: orange, apple, magnolia, and jasmine.  I’m a sucker for jasmine sambac.  On my skin the mandarin orange comes and goes fairly quickly leaving behind just a golden bright sweetness in its wake.  The coconut pulp comes out and gives a creamy almost tropical feel without going completely tropical.  It’s a nice balance.  The sandalwood and balsam are the base on which everything settles on.  This blend reminds me of Georgia, sitting out on my Mom’s porch when she lived down there.  It’s a languid, sweet, and comforting blend meant for porch sitting and tea drinking.

And last, but not least, Wicked with its notes of: Three vanillas, dark aged patchouli, almond buttercream. In the vial this just SCREAMS almond buttercream.  Unfortunately that intensifies on my skin.  Normally my skin chemistry turns almond into this sour mash smell and unfortunately it’s doing the same thing, only now it’s surrounded by moldy buttercream and off smelling vanilla.  I’m not even getting any patchouli as my own chemistry is amping that almond.  (Because I wanted to point out chemistry, I did not wash this off as fast as I’d intended and now …) Now, after a while the patchouli has come out and the almond, while still this weird mash thing, isn’t screaming at me.  It’s a bit on the foodie side and not my cup of tea, but others may enjoy it.

Not sure if this needs said or not, but my experiences may or may not be what you would experience in a blend.  If you notice with Wicked I mention my own skin chemistry.  Everyone is different.  Hormones, hydration, medications, diet, and even the water in your house and the lotion you use can effect how a scent smells on your skin.  Please bear that in mind and take all reviews with a grain of salt (or a sniff of perfume …).