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.