All perfumes in this review were allowed to rest for three days after arrival. The perfumes were kept in the dark in a plastic box. I did crack them open to sniff them directly after arrival, and with a couple to do an initial test. The reviews are not based off of these initial impressions - though if a rest did change the smell I’ll note that.
I’m doing them in two parts so some will have an even longer rest.
I’m doing a half-hour skin test with each perfume then washing them off before testing the next one. Before beginning the first test I did a wash with a scented soap (it’s all I have available - shea butter Dove soap or almond Doc Bronners). Earlier in the day I was experimenting with some other perfume in my collection, so theoretically there could be cross-contamination.
Each sample was gently swirled before application.Each review is written without looking at the notes (in that moment… I obviously looked at them when I bought). At the end of the review I will list what the notes listed in the shop are and comment on how I think they interacted.
As a reminder: Each nose is different and each skin’s chemistry is different. Your mileage may vary.
A note on the sample bottles: Alkemia’s sample bottles are clear with a black-and-white printed label that sticks out in a ‘tag’. The samples labels are clearly and legibly labeled. They’re printed using an ink that runs with water - so be careful handling with damp hands or with oil splashing out. The vials need to be opened carefully or are prone to splashing. When firmly sealed the bottles do not leak.
In the bottle: Notes are hard to pick out - narcotic spiced vanilla. A hint of white florals weaving through the vanilla.
On my skin wet: Scent seems almost gone. Peculiar. I may have over-applied it and gone scent-blind. (Husband could smell it - so I’ve gone scent blind). What is there smells very light.
Drydown: Amber is coming through, starting to verge on powdery. Almost a woody, resin-y note. Vanilla is starting to reappear. Slightly… I don’t know, vetiver-esque? It’s shockingly light. At this point I’m not scent-blind because I can sniff it now.
30 minutes: The Amber has retreated from powderyness… but something has taken over. I don’t know if it’s a white floral from the laundry-smelling side of the spectrum or something woody almost like birch, but it has taken over. There’s a base of vanilla, amber, and spices but it mostly just frames this powerful ‘clean’ smell like you’d smell in a fabric softener or laundry detergent. It’s like a very pale green smell - and it verges on headache territory for me. There is still a sweet narcotic edge but it’s not the bulk of the scent. If those types of scents are your bag try this one.
Gentle throw - I have to get close to my wrist to sniff it.
Listed notes on site: 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.
After glancing at the notes for the final part of this review I think it might be the star jasmine taking over.
Note: This scent changed -dramatically- with a rest. It was a dark golden rich, heady scent when I got it - and it dried down to spiced pears and lychee. Reminded me a lot of the mainstream perfume ‘Opium’ by Yves St Laurent. It’s lost a lot of that headiness. A shame for me - I liked the golden, Opium-like initial version and wanted a bottle of it. This scent still has a hint of that there but the pale-green note has taken OVER.
Verdict: Will be swapping unless it changes back.
In the bottle: White florals and strawberry greens
On my skin wet: SOAPY white florals, faint strawberry greens - slight hint of ginger.
Drydown: Strong aquatic strawberry, less floral. Still a little soapy. Hint of ginger. Hint of musk. BRIGHT green scent. The color of spring’s first buds. Herbal.
30 mins: Tart, bright realistic strawberry with an herbal swirl. Something floral - not necessarily white - at this point adding an aquatic twang. A little whiff of ginger for some spice. If you ever wanted to smell like you’re eating tart strawberries in an herb garden next to a fountain with some water-blooming flowers then this is the scent for you! It’s still verrry green but far less soapy. It smells a lot like it does when you wander through an herb garden crushing up leaves on your fingers to smell them. But also the longer it is on the more the tart strawberry comes through. A smidge feminine, but could be worn androgynously - we all like roaming through herb gardens, right?
The throw is solid - I’ve been using the computer while wearing it on my wrist and am catching occasional whiffs of it.
Listed notes on site: A flirtatious piquance of wild strawberries, artemisia, night flowering datura, cardamon pods, raw ginger root, ginger flower, ripe melon, and white poppy.
I’m gonna guess that the aquatic white floral is that datura. I didn’t get much of the melon (some of the sweetness I was attributing to the strawberries maybe?) or the white poppy... the ginger, artemisia and cardamon might be where I’m getting the spicy-herbal smells.
Verdict: I want to emphasize that for many people this will be an excellent spring perfume. It’s so lively and green and a little tart and very, very evocative of a garden. However, for me, ‘green’ perfumes live right on the verge of being a headache trigger. I’m prone to migraines - so this’ll probably be a swap.
Blue Ridge Skyline
Before launching into this review I want to note, this one was a risk for me. Green scents and I as noted don’t get along and I remember this having one of my most dreaded notes of all time - grass. However… well.. I’m from the Blue Ridge (the bit where it’s called The Blue Ridge Parkway and not The Skyline Drive). Hyacinth is such a nostalgic scent for me - and I remember this having that note as well. I decided to take a shot at this one even though I know there's a real risk it wouldn't work because how could I not try a Blue Ridge themed perfume? The chance that it would smell like Home is too high.
In the bottle: Hyacinth, hyacinth, hyacinth (and tulip)
On my skin wet: Hyacinth! With some other florals behind it. But it dominates the scent.
Drydown: Green background scents are coming out. Are more sweet than most greens. The florals remain dominant with sweet hyacinth sharing center stage with tulip. Something below which isn’t aquatic but borders on it. Gives it a vibe of humidity (which is definitely endemic to the region).
30 mins: Still very hyacinth forward, but the other florals have more room to participate. A soft yellow-green note that I think is the grass. There’s a ghost of something that might be rose. Honestly this scent feels like wearing a hug. There’s something childlike for me in the hyacinth - but that might be from playing in the yard in Appalachian springs. This is (again) like wearing a hug for me, comforting, nostalgic, and it smells like Home.
Excellent throw. Caught whiffs of it throughout the 30 minute test period.
Listed notes on the site: Green tea infused with springtime: paperwhite narcissus, purple hyacinth, bluebells, spring daffodils, tulips, delicate tea roses, lemon blossom, sweet pepperbush, fresh greens, hay, earth, and white patchouli
I get a little of the green tea - it combined with the greens, hay, and earth for the base notes. But hyacinth and tulips dominate the scent - and the tea roses must have been the rose I was getting. The bluebells fit in there - I’m not 100% sure what narcissus smells like. There might be a hint of daffodil in the thick floral. I didn’t get the white patchouli, the lemon blossom, or the pepperbush.
Verdict: A beautiful spring floral, evocative of the Blue Ridge. This one is a keeper - maybe even a bottle scent. It’d be lovely for scenting clothes.