alkemia review-a-thon, part 3

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Round 3 of 3! The end is nigh! Once more into the breach, we few, we happy few, etc, etc.

Gaea: Forest loam under warm spring sunshine, new ferns poking up through decaying leaves, maple sap flowing over lichens, mosses and wet stones at the edge of a vernal pool.

Damp soil and wet leaves. There’s a sense of decay to it, but not in a bad way. It smells like a dense forest floor after a hard rain. On skin it’s mostly the same, maybe a tiny bit fresher. It’s all dark, loamy soil and wet moss and foliage. It’s extremely true to life. I like earthy dirt scents, so I really like this.

The Dude says “I don’t know what that’s supposed to smell like, but I don’t like it much. It smells like the gross, moldy basements that I go into for work. Like a damp basement full of cave crickets.” So that’s a no from him, then.

The Mist Becoming Rain: Rainwater, mist drenched hazel wood, meadow grasses, sage blooms, orris root, ozone, grey amber.

This one is weird. It’s wet and a little spicy and herbal. It reminds me of really strong cologne. On skin it’s mostly the same – herbal and spicy, very strong. I get much less of the cool wetness that I got in the vial. It almost smells dry to me, actually. Desert-like. Not what I expected from the name, exactly. I’m also getting a bit of that woody, powdery, catch in my throat thing again – hello, Alkemia amber. I’m not really a fan of this. It’s a bit headache-inducing.

The Dude says “mm – something minty? It smells like a jungle. It’s like, herbs and wet jungle-y-ness.”

Mesnée d’Hellequin: An uncivilized tangle of balsam pine, cypress needles, cedar bark, teakwood, vetiver root, galbanum, lichen, moss, dried leaves, damp earth, and forest fungi.

In the vial it smells like basil, but not necessarily in a nice, fresh way. It’s spicy. Like a large quantity of dried basil. Spicy and a little dusty. It’s strong. On skin it’s better – it smells like pine trees. That’s where the spicy, woody thing was coming from, I guess. It’s strong pine needles and spicy woods. After a few minutes I get something almost cold from it – like a dense pine forest on a winter night. I like it, though I don’t think I’d wear it enough to need more than a sample of it.

The Dude says “it smell like a strawberry shortcake.” Here again I laughed very loudly, because what? I showed him the notes and he said “yeah, I don’t get ANY of that. I wish I got that. This is some straight up sweet berry shit.” You guys, his nose is a mystery.

Antares: Queen of the Night, Dried Wild Roses, Mandarin, Nicotania, Oakmosses, Cactus, Juniper, Acacia buds, Fir Resin, Clary Sage, Cedar Needles, Labdanum, Guaiac Wood, Germander, and White Patchouli lightly bathed in dewy Water Musk.

Cologne. Nice cologne – a little bit sweet. On skin it’s a bit sweet, a bit spicy, a bit herbal – it’s nice. I’m still getting a strong “fancy men’s cologne” vibe, not that that’s necessarily a bad thing. As it dries it gets a little sweeter, and I start to be able to pick out some florals and a bit of fruit. The base of this one is very musky and a bit powdery, like a white powderiness – it’s not the amber note I’ve been encountering with a lot of Alkemias, but I still don’t love it. In general I would say that this one smells good, especially after dry down, but it’s not quite for me. I will probably hang onto my sample, but I don’t need more. (This is also another one that’s a bit headachey.)

The Dude, who is at this point very self-conscious again, says “I don’t want to get this one wrong! I can’t tell you more than just citrusy. Generally fruity. Maybe some berries.”

Moss Maiden: A delicately feral blend of luxuriant mosses, crushed wet ferns, earthy calamus root, piquant cedar tips, galbanum, balsam pine, lichen, disturbed autumnal leaves, and aromatic incense woods.

Another very green scent. It smells like the woods, heavy on the woods. Most scents that smell like the woods smell like dirt and leaves but this one is very woody and a little spicy. It’s also one of the most perfumey-smelling woodsy scents I’ve tried. On skin it’s very spicy and powdery – like cheap incense. Bleh. I wish Alkemias would stop going to chalky powder on my skin. I get some hints of green also, deciduous and sweet, and they intensify a bit as it dries, but they’re still mostly drowned out by the incense-y notes. I’m not a fan.

The Dude says “the best word I can use to describe that is ‘old,’ but not in a bad way. It smells like a good scotch. Old, peaty, woody.”

Blackberry Noir: A delicious, dark trinity – black berries, black tea, black musk.

An initial blast of dark, juicy berries and then a a deep, dark musky base. Sweet and resiny. On skin it’s sweet, dark berries, and then a deep, resinous quality comes out. This one is interesting. It’s sweet, but not candy sweet, and it’s dark, but not overly so. It reminds me a bit of Solstice Scents’ Thornwood Thicket, but a little less woody. I am getting a bit of that same powderiness at the base of it – (What is that? I though it was amber, but it appears there’s no amber in this. The musk?) – but it’s not terrible here. I kind of like this one. I’ll have to give it a few more tries and see where I stand.

The Dude say “it almost smells like grape juice. Am I crazy?” You are not, sir.

All of these are currently available from Alkemia on Etsy.

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