As always, reviews were done without looking at the scent notes. Descriptions were added after the fact. I’ve been testing these out in the evenings, and since my fiance (so weird) is usually nearby, I’ve been having him weigh in with his own completely unbiased and often wildly differing opinions.
Repartee: A flirtatious zing of mandarin, a bon mot of yuzu, and a unisexy double entendre of lemon and grapefruit blossoms are followed by a zesty riposte of bitter orange, verbena, ginger root tea, sasparilla, oak moss, and wormwood.
Sweet citrus and ginger. It’s very zesty, and a little bubbly. On skin it’s strongly orange, bitter peel and all, and then some grapefruit and other citrus notes. After a few minutes the ginger comes out again, the citrus has lost some of its sweetness, and I get a slightly floral tone in the background. Further into the dry down I get tea, something light and clear. This reminds me a little bit of what I wanted Firebird’s Grapefruit Ginger to smell like (that one goes very astringent and cleaner-esque on my skin). I really like it.
I asked The Dude to smell this, and he said “Leather?” And I laughed really hard. I showed him the scent notes and he said, “I get absolutely none of this, but I love it. It smells like sitting in someone’s study in 1890 with a snifter of brandy and a cigar.” What.
Calliope: A beguiling divertissement of piquant clementine, orange blossoms, white orchid, sugared currants, tonka, and vanilla musk whirled with flirtatious teases of billowy cotton candy floss and kisses of saltwater taffy.
Very sweet – cotton candy and citrus over a musky base. On skin it’s all cotton candy and musk, sticky and sweet with an airy, crystalline kind of feeling to it. After a few minutes it starts to smell more floral, though I couldn’t pinpoint what kind of floral – something white, but not The Dread Jasmine. It’s not overpowering, but still not something I’m super into. A while later, a nice fruitiness comes out – orange and berries, maybe. I like it a lot more at this point. It reminds me of Firebird’s Sugar, but with more flowers. I do like it after it dries down completely, but since I’m not much a floral fan I think I still prefer Sugar. I will say that this one is pretty potent, though. One of the most potent Alkemia scents I’ve tried so far. I’ll give it another shot before I make a final call.
The Dude said “I like it, but I don’t want to guess what’s in it.” But I made him anyway and he said “it definitely smells flowery, like jasmine? I’m probably not even close.”
Sandscape: Sun warmed beach sand, Atlantic ocean breezes, the saline-aquatic scent of drying sea water on skin, and the faintest hints of tanning oil and seaweed.
Oof. A very blue, ozone-y scent. Not what I expected. On skin it’s still very blue but it’s a tiny bit sweeter. It smells like a candle you’d find in a rental beach house. I’m not a fan.
The Dude said it smelled “sandalwood-y and herbaceous.” And then “kind of like shampoo, but in a good way.” Also he’s getting self-conscious about giving his opinion, the poor dear.
Carmen 7: An indecent proposal of succulently spiced pear, exotic lychees, decadent french pralines, bourbon vanilla, and crushed almond blossoms leads to a ménage à trois of gardenia, star jasmine, and magnolia illuminated by the afterglow of a sensuously musky amber.
Fruity-floral and musky. Pear? On skin it’s more fruity than floral. I’m definitely getting pear. There’s a little spice as well, on a sweet, musky base. However there’s something in there that I really am not fond of – it’s kind of woody in an unappealing powdery way that almost catches in my throat somehow. I’m guessing amber. In the past I’ve not been fond of amber-based scents because it sometimes goes very off on my skin. Whatever it is, combined with the floral elements, is just really not doing it for me.
The Dude says “all I can give you is the nebulous ‘dark fruits.’ Raisins and dates and things. That’s such a cop-out when people say it about beer.” (My man friend is a big craft beer nerd. He’s into beer like I’m into perfume. We joke a lot about our matching hobbies of collecting and trading small, dark bottles of expensive liquids that are best stored away from heat and light.)
Lux Aeternum: Red, ripe pomegranates and roses warmed on a bed of solar amber.
This smells like a less fruity version of Firebird’s Pomegranate Rose. There’s something at the base of it I don’t care for, though. On skin it’s strongly rose with a bit of fruitiness and a touch of that same woody, powdery thing I got from Carmen 7. It’s got to be amber. Apparently Alkemia’s amber does not agree with me, if that it’s case. It’s not nearly as strong as in Carmen 7, thankfully, but I’m still not sure about it. Which is a shame, because the rose is nice, and it plays well with the fruity pomegranate. I have such mixed feelings. I like it quite a bit until I catch a whiff of that one thing and think, “eh… maybe not.” I’ll have to give this one another shot before I make a decision.
The Dude says “it kind of smells like apricots. Apricot flowers? Almost like apple blossoms.”
Affaire de Coeur: A flirtatiously feminine enchantment of sugared white musk, creamy Madagascar vanilla, white sandalwood, tonka bean, white amber, and pale sugar cane.
This smells very white. It’s sweet and sugary, but in a delicate, milky, musky kind of way. On skin it’s much the same – sugary, milky vanilla musk. I’m getting a bit of something soft and incense-y – sandalwood, maybe – and a touch of that powdery thing that’s plagued the last few scents. It’s not so bad here, though, because the whole scent has a kind of powderiness to it. It fits. It’s a very soft scent. It smells perfectly pleasant, but I don’t love it.
The Dude says “that’s straight-up baby powder.” And you know, he’s right.
All of these scents are currently available from Alkemia on Etsy.