alchimia apothecary new scent reviews

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A few weeks ago, Alchimia Apothecary’s Manic Monday (now happening on Fridays, I believe) deal was a free 5-pack of samples of their new scents with the purchase of three or more 5 ml bottles of perfume. And since I wanted the Ladies of Firely set anyway, well – how could I resist?

My order arrived a few days ago, the samples in their new, squat little rollerball bottles, along with a sweet note from Erin and an extra sample of their new Sniffer Sticker scent fixative (which I will be trying out with a few of my extremely fleeting Common Brimstone scents). I will say that I actually prefer the regular old slim sample vials – they are very easy to store and I’ve rarely had issue with them leaking during shipping or storage. I did have some leakage with a few of these – Shaman, most notably, but Gladius a bit as well. I imagine the rollerball design was chosen for ease of application, but I actually had trouble getting much oil out of these (how they leaked is beyond me), so that kind of defeats the purpose for me personally.

As always, these reviews were done without looking at the scent notes – descriptions were added after the fact.

… And Candy Bar Dream: This scent is pure decadence. Thick ribbons if chocolate and black ambrosia layer themselves onto sticky sweet and creamy chunks of coconut filling and crunchy bits of toasted almonds.

Sweet, rich, chocolate and coconut. A bit nutty as well. On skin it’s much more coconut than chocolate, with a very toasted nuttiness – it basically smells like an Almond Joy, but richer and more decadent. It smells really good. Yum.

First in Show: Straight out of the gates, this scent is a floral explosion with gardenias, tulips, honey suckles, a hint of roses and fruity violets rounding into plum, blackcurrants, wine and sweet tobacco. Hints of the most subtle bits of leather linger and combine into beautiful sophistication.

Aggressively floral. On skin it is still… aggressively floral. Loud white florals – not jasmine, but something similar, and honeysuckle, I think. After a few minutes I get little bits of sweetness and something deep and smooth at its base. Better than when  it started, but I am no fan of floral scents and there is no denying what category this falls into. It’s a bit headache-inducing.

Picnic: On a lighter summer note, this scent blends together wonderful watery cucumbers, green tea, violet leaves, clovers, dandelions, and sunflowers.

Sweet and green. It smells like a sunny day. On skin I’m immediately hit with some kind of mellow, understated floral – nothing like the ones in First in Show. This is small and soft and unassuming, something that grows in your yard without you having to plant it. Clovers and dandelions and Star of Bethlehem (which are all the hell over our yard lately). It’s got a cool watery-ness to it – nothing ozone-y, but a dewy, grassy kind of thing. Definitely a good scent for a summer day. I love these kinds of scents. After a few minutes it starts to tiptoe right up to the line of being a little too floral for me, though, and while it never quite crosses over, I’ll have to wear this one a few more times before I decide if it warrants a bottle purchase.

Shaman: Sage, lemongrass, lavender eucalyptus and other herbs combine with the delicate aroma of sweetgrass, blackened earth and a rich smokey campfire.

A blast of pungent herbs and smoke. On skin it immediately reads barbecue. I think it’s the combination of savory herbs and smoke. Sage for sure, and maybe something a little citrusy. I want to say “tangy,” because it really smells like something you’d rub on meat if you were the kind of person who rubbed things on meat. (I am not. I rub things on tempeh.) After a few minutes the citrusy note is quite a bit stronger, but it doesn’t really get rid of that “steak rub” smell. It isn’t a BAD smell, per se, but it’s definitely not something I want to smell like myself.

Gladius: This is a sophisticated blend of leather and black agar, sweetened by bergamot and lemon. It’s sharpened by the hints of star anise, and all mellowed down by rich ribbons of sweet vanilla.

Sweet leather. It reminds me a bit of Warrior Slink with all the leather. On skin I immediately get sweet citrus and maybe a little licorice or anise – I love lemon and anise together. It’s quite a bit sweeter than I expected from a cologne oil (i.e. meant to be more masculine), but I’m glad because I really like it. The leather gets stronger as it dries, but it’s not overpowering or sharp. A very nice blend. I might try layering this one with a vanilla oil to see if I can amp up the sweetness just a touch more. (Gladius isn’t available for purchase yet.)

To sum up: No huge hits for me in this bunch, but I’m glad I got to try them! They’re all well-blended, even if the scents themselves are not to my particular taste. … And Candy Bar Dreams is delicious, and may join my bottle list after further testing, along with Picnic. I quite like Gladius but I’m not sure it’s something I would wear very often, and First in Show and Shaman are just not for me. All of these managed to stick around to some degree after being washed off twice, which is pretty impressive, though in the case of Shaman also somewhat unpleasant. (Also I would like to reiterate that I am not a fan of the little rollerball bottles. I may buy some regular glass sample vials and decant them.)

All of these (minus Gladius for the moment) are currently available from Alchimia Apothecary.

alchimia apothecary ladies of firefly

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you can’t take the sky from me *wails* *rocks in corner, huffing perfume*

I have a soft spot for all things Whedon, and an even softer, gooier spot for Firefly. Buffy is my #1 favorite show forever and ever amen, but there is just something about Firefly. It was so, so good, and its potential was cut so, so short. (Dear Fox, pls die in a fire. Thx! ♥) I was one of the, like, four people who watched Firefly as it aired back in 2002/2003, out of order, on Friday nights. (More fire. All the fire.) I went as Kaylee for Halloween a few years ago, complete with army/navy surplus jumpsuit, bear patch, and little buns. (Engulfed in flames. So much burning.) I got my boyfriend into the show, too, and then knit him a Jayne hat for Christmas. (Forever burning. An eternally twisting spit roast.) So when I saw that Alchimia Apothecary had released a Ladies of Firefly set, well, suffice to say that my interest, she was piqued.

I have a lot of Thoughts and Feelings about Firefly, so I was equal parts excited and apprehensive about this collection. What if they didn’t match the characters at all? What if I hated all the scents? But what if they were perfect and I loved them all? That would be awesome. Let’s do that.

(Note: If the reviews seem a bit vague, it’s because they were done blind, without looking at the scent notes. I feel like I give a more impartial review that way. Notes and descriptions were added after the fact.)

Ambassador: Fresh from the Companion Tea ceremony, this scent is the combination of thick oud and Arabian Sandalwood, incense and the thick bubbling black tea she serves with delicate bergamot, honey and sweet hot cream.

In the vial it’s spicy and creamy, with lots of tea. I think the spicy note is sandalwood. On skin it’s the same. It’s like a tea house with soft incense burning somewhere in the background. Tea can be a weak, fleeting note in perfume, but I’m getting black tea very distinctly – it’s reminding me of Earl Grey – and it’s strong enough to stand up to the other notes involved. There’s a creamy sweetness underneath it all that’s really nice – it’s not sweet sweet, but it smooths out the whole scent.

Thankfully, and a bit surprisingly, this doesn’t morph much at all on me. I wouldn’t have been surprised if the sandalwoody incense portion amped up and took over, but it never did. I really, really like this and I think it’s very appropriate for Inara.

Warrior Slink: Based on the warrior woman herself, this dark sexy scent is pure sophistication. Oozing with thick ribbons of benzoin and labdanum, sweet notes of chocolate wrapped in spicy worn leather bubble to the surface. Combined with black agar, there are hints of what can only be described as pure animal musk.

Leather. Spicy leather. But it’s also a little bit sweet? Just a tiny bit. But lots of leather. On skin it’s still quite spicy but I’m getting much more of that sweetness. Something dark and thick. Chocolate? The leather is a bit less prominent on skin, and I’m getting a woodiness, or maybe amber? Something warm and a little sharp. Verging on smoky once it’s dried down.

I didn’t like this one on cold sniff, and I’m not sure it’s something I’d wear often, but I’m surprised to find that I enjoy this. It’s a very sexy scent, dark and spicy and sweet, but also a little tough. Zoe would approve.

Apple Bits: Red ripe juicy apples mingle with the fruity crisp scent of green pomegranates, tropical wood, candied ginger and just a touch of ginseng. Rounding out this scent are spicy hints of fresh green herbs.

Fresh green apple, crisp and sweet. Maybe something a little gingery? On skin it’s a little less tart, a little smoother. Apple is still at the top but there’s something else in there, some other fruits, I think. I’m still getting a gingery bite, and there’s something a little deeper and woody in the background that keeps it from being a straight-up fruity scent.

This is awesome. It’s fruity and green, sweet and fresh and crisp and a tiny bit spicy. I love apple scents, and this is a great one. I’m sure River would happily throw it up on Simon’s bed.

Layer Cake: This is a combination of strawberries, lichee, dragon fruit, mangoes and other sweet fruit drizzled over a thick slice of birthday cake and topped with a fresh dollop of whipped cream.

SWEET. Very, very sweet. Vanilla, cake, and fruit. On skin it’s still really sweet, but a bit more fruity. It’s clearly strawberry. I mean, clearly. I think there are some other fruits in there, too, though – something bright and light, maybe tropical? Lychee maybe, since it’s making me recall Haus of Gloi’s Litchi Milk Tea a bit. But mostly strawberry. And cake, of course. This is pretty much what I expected Blooddrop’s Strawberry Buttercream to smell like.

Obviously I love this. It smells delicious and I want to drink it. It’s a sweet, creamy, fruity confection of a scent that’s perfect for Kaylee.

And what do you know – I like them all. I’m not completely in love with Warrior Slink, just because it’s not the kind of scent I gravitate toward, but Ambassador, Apple Bits, and Layer Cake are all definite bottle purchases for me. (And since buying the set of four is the same price as buying three separately, well, Warrior Slink will be coming home with me anyway.)

I know she’s not a main character, but I’d love to see a scent for Saffron (/Yolanda/Bridgette). I can only imagine what would go into that! It would be the perfect scent to wear while scheming sexily.

firefly_kayleesmileAnyway – this collection is great. A+ fangirl approved, will rub all over myself again. Head over to Alchimia Apothecary to get some Firefly smells for yourself!

first sniff impressions: alchimia apothecary

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My first order from Alchimia Apothecary came! First sniff impressions – no notes, no skin tests, just initial reactions straight out of the vial.

Ambassador: Spicy and creamy. I smell tea. I like this more than I expected.

Warrior Slink: Whoa, leather. Leather and wood and spice.

Apple Bits: Fresh green apple. Slightly sweet. Honey?

Layer Cake: Sweet sweet sweet. Vanilla, cake, and fruit – peach? Strawberry.

Native: Grass and cranberry. Smells very crisp, like early fall.

Dangeous Dream: Peach crisp. This is amazing.

Flowering Meadow: Just mowed grass. Really strong. Florals in the background, but mostly grass.

Mountain Mud: Dirt. Damp, dark, fresh dirt and leaves. This smells like the woods after it rains. I need a bottle immediately.

Jersey Devil: Pine trees. Very green and sappy.

Red Rover: Clover and honey. Mostly clover. Fresh and springy, lightly sweet. I love this, I’m glad I got a 5 ml unsniffed.