6 Alkemia Reviews - Aeria, Haunted and Bewitched, Mist Becoming Rain, Miel de Sauvage et Tabac, Sadzi, Ghost Fire
So, right now Alkemia reviews are the hotness because well uh... I'm sure everyone reading this knows, but in case someone doesn't: Their prices are going up in August. By 50%. Which given how low they were for such an established house and all the nonsense with tariffs this is one hundred percent understandable. But since the house has been kind enough to give us such a dramatic lead time we've all got plenty of time to do rounds of sample orders, upsize stuff, and do reviews and gather recommendation data. So we're all on the Alkemia train right now.
Speaking of gathering data: A bunch of people were kind enough to share their top five with Alkemia at this thread [link], and I compiled it into a spread sheet [here]. I ordered this sampler before making that thread (indeed, before I knew about the upcoming price changes) so what's here is divorced from those recommendations - but I've personally found them super useful for planning the order I placed after this one.
But, anyway, Alkemia's summer collection launches tomorrow and I figure a few of us will be doing orders... so now's a good time to add to the pile of Alkemia reviews!
All perfumes in this review were allowed to rest for several 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 a half-hour skin test with each perfume. They are always applied to skin that has either been washed or hasn’t had perfume on it that day. Sometimes I will run one scent on one wrist/hand/arm and the other on the other wrist/hand/arm. When I wash my hands for review purposes I wash with a scented soap (it’s all I have available - shea butter Dove soap or almond Doc Bronners). Before doing test periods I often wear or play with other scents in my collection (that I wash off), 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.
In regards to Alkemia's 1mls my previous review [here] is still pretty much how I feel. The only thing I'd comment it is some of the more spindly fonts (like Haunted and Bewitched - see photo) are kinda hard to read.
A reminder: Each nose is different and each skin’s chemistry is different. Your mileage may vary.
In the bottle: Bright, sweet, floral toponote, separate powdery topnote (doesn’t smell like baby powder - soft powder, like dust from a bird’s wing), musky midnote, fruity midnote, woodsy-resinous base.
Wet on my skin: Similar to in the bottle. The bright, sweet floral topnote might be multiple florals? I’m getting something floral-pink in there. Not quite rose, but reminds me of it. The fruity note is like a pear or berry of some sort. There might be a hint of citrus in there but it’s hard to tell. Still got that powdery/dusty note. Feminine.
Drydown: Still got the florals, still got the fruit - but the musk and the woods have come forward more while the powder has remained stable. Right now this is a powdery-musky-wood(or resin) scent with fruity floral nuances.
After 30 mins: Fainter than the drydown - but still mostly musky/powdery/woodsy with fruity floral nuances.
Official Notes: Grapefruit blossom, Blueberries, Lily of the Valley, Jasmine tea, Floral aldehydes, Japanese musk
Hm, all right. So the fruit is the blueberries- while it was a very tart berry it didn’t scream ‘blueberry!’ to my nose. I am guessing what I was reading as kinda woodsy or resinous was either part of the jasmine tea accord or part of the Japanese musk accord. The musk is er… the musk I was smelling lol. The florals here were grapefruit blossom (no idea what that is supposed to smell like but could be accounting for the super bright floral topnotes), lily of the valley and floral aldehydes. I can definitely see where there might be aldehydes in this - how bright the florals are initially is almost alcoholic but it burns off in the first few minutes. I have no idea what’s powdery in here - it could be the lily or part of the jasmine tea accord I think.
Verdict: Swap. It’s too feminine for me. I do like the musk and the ultra bright floral topnotes were very interesting. I’m not sure how I feel about the powder. On the one hand I’m rarely a big fan of powder but this was really evocative of the image paired with the perfume where the naked lady is riding the giant bat. I’m all about going tits out for giant bat rides. I think I prefer the concept of the perfume to the execution though.
Haunted and Bewitched
In the bottle: I recall this one having a pink pepper note because I uh, only noticed it as I was entering it into my spreadsheet and then had to send Alkemia a panicked email asking if it was an accord (it is) because of allergy concerns lol. Other than that I don’t remember so let’s go with the blind sniff. Pink fruity candy and musk. A little powdery (just a tad - like a dusting of corn starch on the outside of a fancy candy). Getting a rich floral midnote that I can’t quite place. The whole perfume is a swirl of pinks and grays.
Wet on my skin: This is like smelling a super fancy candy on a windy day. I think there might be aldehydes in here - there’s certainly something that’s tickling my nose in a peculiar way. The powdery smell is more of a dust now - like dry dust in the wind. It’s very musky and sugary-fruity with floral nuances. There’s a tiny touch of earthiness in there. Still all muted pinks and golds and grey. It smells like what a sunset on a cloudy day in the mountains looks like.
Drydown: This one is pretty stable. What’s got me the most excited about it is the ‘cold’/dusty feeling note I get from this. It tingles my nose and reminds me of sniffing snow or a cold fizzy water, or a cold foggy day. It’s still pink and gray, still centered around a musky-fruity-floral combo etc. I really like this one.
After 30 mins: About the same as the drydown - maybe a touch fainter.
Official Notes: Egyptian white amber, star jasmine, ambrette seed, rosewater Turkish delight, pink pepper, Madagascar vanilla, bourbon caramels, aged patchouli infused with sexy botanical pheromones
Okay so I think the amber is actually the cold note. The floral is the star jasmine. The candy smell? That turkish delight! My best guess as to the muskiness is the Madagascar vanilla and/or the ambrette seed (if the muskiness doesn’t come from the vanilla I can see there being a little vanilla adding to the kind of candy scent). I think I can get there being a touch caramel in here, and I think that the patchouli is what is giving this that tiny, itty bitty touch of earthiness (this is uh, not a patchouli forward scent). What’s tingling my nose or adding a touch of strangeness to think must be those botanical pheromones and perhaps the pink pepper accord.
Pretty good lasting power (though I do go kind of anosmic to it if I keep sniffing it). Seems to have a throw I can detect at arm’s length. Slightly feminine of center but not overly so. It pings me more as ‘feral ghostly thing that comes out at sunset on overcast and foggy days’ than ‘feminine’ lol.
Verdict: Upsize! Definitely! One of the best things (if not the best thing) I’ve smelled from Alkemia so far.
Mist Becoming Rain
In the bottle: I know this one is a straight atmospheric of well… mist becoming rain lol. I get dampness, petrichor, dirt, and something very green. It smells like I’m crushing up clover leaves in my hand. Something kind of cold and minty in there too.
Wet on my skin: Wow that crushed clover petals smells is taking over. Once again, I amp greens to my chagrin. Something a little like tobacco smoke in there. But otherwise the same as it was in the bottle - dampness, petrichor, dirt, cold and realistic mint.
Drydown: Its like being in mist-becoming-rain if you were kneeling in a patch of clover with a bed of mint nearby. It’s certainly wet, and cold, and kinda foggy smelling but the greens and the mint keep it from being a strict rain atmospheric.
After 30 mins: A little less green (going from ‘extremely green’ to ‘very green’), but I’m still distinctly getting that mint about the same. Still getting dirt, petrichor, and fog and damp.
I get the rainwater - the mist drenched part or the hazel wood. Definitely the meadow grasses. I wonder if the sage is what I was reading as a mint. I can see something ozonic about it now that it’s put in front of me. The orris root might be what I’m reading as earthy enough to smell like petrichor or dirt. Noclue what grey amber smells like- perhaps that’s what smelled kind of like tobacco smoke to me?
Verdict: Swap. If you’re familiar with my reviews you’re familiar with my relationship with ‘green’ grassy scents (we don’t get along). Plus where I put it on my arms is kinda itchy - I wonder if something in here is low-key triggering an allergy.
Miel De Sauvage Et Tabac
In the bottle: I remember this having uh, honey tobacco and pollen lol. I think there are more notes than that but it’s kinda in the name (at least with the tobacco). I smell super realistic, slightly dusty honey (I take it the dust is the pollen note), spices, and tobacco.
Wet on my skin: Cinnamon, honey, a yellow dusty smell (probably that pollen note - it is definitely dusty, not polleny). Bit of sweetness to think that might be floral? It reminds me of oatmeal cookie dough (the tobacco kinda reminds me of musky oatmeal with a bit of that tobacco herbal quality). Something in there that reminds me of a shot of something alcoholic - like bourbon or something.
Drydown: Stable - I think what’s reminding me of oatmeal cookies is there is a kind of buttery/salty quality. It’s very strong. It reminds me in some ways of a more boozy, tobacco laced companion to Sucreabeille’s The Mountain. I like the scent but the strength of it is kind of offputting to me. Like, as a room scent or scenting sheets scent this would be great but as a personal scent I’m finding it a bit much. It’s a little smokier at this stage - but not strongly smokey.
After 30 mins: Very similar to the drydown. I find myself wishing there was less of that buttery/salty/toffee kind of smell. I realize honey is gonna = gourmand but I wish this smelled, I guess, a little less like a baked good.
Official Notes: Tobacco flecked with wild honey, freshly crushed honeycomb, the pollen of forest blossoms, and smoked black amber
Welp, got all of that - I think the buttery-salty smell might be the black amber accord in this. I like this honeycomb note, I like the pollen note, the honeyed tobacco might be a touch to sweet for me. But if that amber is what I think it is I think it is what is kinda ‘too much’ for me in this perfume.
Verdict: Undecided if this is a swap or a keep. If I keep the sample I’ll be using it to scent a sachet or something. I don’t think I’ll be wearing it.
In the bottle: Bright citrus rind (smells like a tart orange to me), touch of lemongrass (I recall this having a lemongrass note), something a little spiced. There might be a kind of ‘luminous’ amber note in there. I feel like there’s something earthy at the base. Oddly something about it smells ‘cool’ in a way that reminds me of Haunted & Bewitched and Aeria - could be aldehydes or botanical pheromones? It reminds me a lot of Stereoplasm’s Orange is Technicolor - a little less ‘fresh’ smelling and a little more nuanced/blended.
Wet on my skin: Good throw on this! Tart orange peel with a tiny touch of dark greenery, lemongrass, something floral (could be neroli or orange blossom). It does smell a lot like you’ve been hanging out in an orange tree. Touch of spice.
Drydown: Neroli type floral has come forward strongly. Still getting a mixture of lemongrass and citrus rind. It’s hard to tell what tartness is coming from the lemongrass and what’s coming from the citrus note. I will say this seems like a clever way to keep citrus notes tart and long lasting instead of having them go ‘flat’ like lots of citrus perfumes go.
After 30 mins: Neroli, a bit of kind of powdery, candied orange, traces of the lemongrass. While this was super flashy and bright even into the drydown after half an hour I feel like it’s lost a lot of that. While I’m still picking up smells (including a bit of what I thought was amber? maybe?) I had gotten before I’m not getting them to the same degree.
Okay, wow, this has every citrus fruit under the sun doesn’t it? Lol. I have no idea how you’d separate out the Mandarin orange, Tangelo, Key Lime, Calamondin and Pommello. To my nose it read just as ‘tart orange rind’. The lemongrass is the lemongrass - I suppose it is a bit musky. I think I was reading the fig tea as that earthy note I mentioned earlier. I think was I was reading as kinda aldehydic was the ‘sparkling’ note - though that one vanished fast. The bergamot is probably what smelled like neroli to me - but I could have sworn there was something straight floral in there.
Verdict: I’ll probably keep this sample to mix into lotion. I think it would be good for that. But I won’t be upsizing since I already have Orange is Technicolor and it had more lasting power on me.
In the bottle: Silky, sweet, sugared, and milky silver amber notes and uh… fishtank swamp smell. I know everyone loves this one, but, gosh does this smell like swamp to me.
Wet on my skin: Very amber still - strong kind of milky and sugary notes while being silvery. A little less fishtank at this stage. Something a little metallic.
Drydown: I think what’s smelling like a fishtank to me is supposed to be a smoke amber or something because like… it’s almost smoke like and I can’t imagine anyone intentionally going for an algae smelling amber. Anyway, it’s about the same but it’s reverted back to swamp land.
After 30 mins: About the same as the drydown. Super sugary, kinda milky, silver ambers… and that weird ambe somewhere between smokey and fishtank algae.
Official Notes: A luminous attraction of ethereal white ambers.
Yeah, there’s definitely amber in here. It reminds me a little of Hexennacht’s Morning Star but more silver than gold, more amber notes, and that fishtanky or smoked thing in there is not in Morning Star. But it’s similarly sweet and kind of milky smelling.
It got a touch less swampy with time. I'm not sure if additional aging would benefit this but that swampy-algae smell is offputting enough that I'm not particularly keen to experiment with it.