Whew, so, it's been a major week for me. Our bathrooms are falling apart around us (we have to use a wrench to turn on the hot water in our one working bath) and we're finally getting them redone. Which is good, because the 60 year old drywall in them is in the process of disintegrating. But this has been a Very Full Week. We're deep cleaning large chunks of the house and pulling out garbage by the bag full (where does it all COME FROM??) and picking up a couple of pieces of furniture we've been needing.
In my most trying, grody hours (I deep cleaned my cockatiel's cage today y'all) the promise of perfumes and bath products has been a light at the end of the tunnel. After a long day of cleaning there is absolutely nothing better than a really, really nice smelling bath. Even if you have to use a wrench to turn on the hot water.
Also, new bathrooms mean I'll finally have a good place to review soaps in like, a month.
Today's review is covering Andromeda's Curse. I found AC a few weeks ago via Sucreabeille's Indie Marketplace. I went through AC's etsy catalog and oohed and ahhed over the scents. I contacted the owner and asked if she'd be interested in some press and... here we are! Doing journalism! This is journalizing.
The perfumes covered in today's review are:
- Strength [ store link]
- Call of the Void [ store link ]
- Usako [ store link ]
- Poetry Ribbon [ store link]
- Tea Ceremony [ store link ]
- Maneki Neko [ store link ]
In addition to being able to purchase Andromeda's Curse at the links above... several of their scents (including Call of the Void) are also available in Sucreabeille's Indie Marketplace at [ link ] ... so if you're making a Sucreabeille order and want to toss on some AC perfumes that's the place to do it at.
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 Bronner’s). 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 often glance at the notes beforehand). 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
So, for their 1ml samples Andromeda's Curse uses wand bottles. For the most part these are typical wand bottles with a couple of caveats. The first is that, at least with my samples, they were very full. This made them splash - particularly when I cracked them open to sniff them when they first arrived and then shut them without an application. On the one hand I appreciate AC's dedication to making sure samples contain as much as possible, on the other I'm finicky about splashing.
The other thing with these bottles is I found them a little difficult to close completely. I didn't have any leaks - but I did notice that sometimes the lid wouldn't go flush with the top of the glass... which might in the long run lead to a leak.
I like Andromeda's Curses 1ml labels. The font is easy to read and in high contract black and white. The bit of decoration on the bit of the label that wraps around the bottles helps keep them distinct from other houses - easy to tell what's an AC sample and what's not. They are full size, standard labels.
A reminder: Each nose is different and each skin’s chemistry is different. Your mileage may vary.
In the bottle: A giant fancy mocha with hazelnut creamer and caramel. The caramel is really, really realistic to my nose. This whole scent is really realistic to my nose for Fancy Hazelnut Mocha Frappe With Caramel (and maybe even whipped cream).
Wet on my skin: Caramel, chocolate, hazelnut and a little coffee. This chocolate note reminds me strongly of the ones used by BPAL and Deep Midnight. There might be a floral in there too mingling with the chocolate. This reminds me strongly of one of my favorite BPAL scents (13 - June 2008) with chocolate, appleblossom, and honeysuckle. So I’m going to guess appleblossom but I don’t know for sure. There’s also a strong creamy note.
Drydown: A strong buttery note has come forward, along with the caramel and nutty notes. The chocolate has gone kind of faint and I’m getting less of the chocolate and almost none of the coffee. There’s still a fair amount of what I’m reading as the floral (which is a little piquant), and whatever the creamy note is. Very strong (appropriate), very sweet, very gourmand, very warm.
After 30 mins: So, I was pulling up the page on the etsy search engine so right after the 30 min period I could click through and see the notes… and some notes were in the title and I saw one. WHOOPS. Anyway, I saw marshmallow - and yup, that’s what that creamy portion is. Might be the buttery portion too. Anyway, it dominates the scent in this stage for me. It’s like a breakfast-cereal-marshmallow. I get marshmallow, nutty-buttery, and what reads as a floral to me then edges of chocolate and maybe a hint of that coffee.
Official Notes: Coffee, Brown Sugar, Coumarin, Marshmallow, Chocolate, Vanilla Frosting
So, the coffee is the coffee. The brown sugar I think is what I’m reading as nutty/hazelnut and as caramel. The coumarin/tonka is what’s adding that kind of piquant-floral-creamy vibe. The marshmallow is the entire creamy, buttery thing I was smelling and for me it’s most of the scent at this point. I can also see vanilla frosting in there as an undercurrent of well...vanilla and extra sweetness.
Verdict: A little too sugary for me in terms of the balance. I wish the marshmallow were a bit more dialed back and that the chocolate and coffee stayed longer on me. What would really blow me away with this scent is if there was a floral or fruit in here to mingle with the courmarin - it smells almost apple-y here and I think an appleblossom or even a tart green apple note would just send this over the top. It might be a really good perfume for layering! I’ll be passing on it. However, for someone with a serious sweet tooth in regards to their scents, or someone who wants a sugary marshmallow-tonka-with-touches-of-coffee-and-chocolate (whew, that was long) for layering this scent will probably be what they’re looking for.
The Call of the Void
In the bottle: Black resin with sugary sweet undertones and an herbal component - might be tea, might be lavender. Maybe some heliotrope in there as well. Creamy. Reminds me a lot of Stereoplasm’s Lights Across The Sky.
Wet on my skin: This is like Light’s Across The Sky’s darker, brooding cousin. I feel like I’m getting some sort of bitter citrus - might be bergamot. Definitely getting lavender now. There is a layer of lavender in there too, I think. Something tangy in there I can’t quite place. How I’d describe this is top notes of lavender, and bitter citrus. Midnotes of creamy tea and heliotrope. Basenotes of dark resin and maybe a musk. Edges of a curious, tangy scent I can’t place. Much like LAtS it’s kind of eerie and unsettling as a scent. If LAtS is an angel who hangs out a lot in a garden this is a dark angel who stops by the garden every night while the other angel is asleep. It watches the nocturnal lavender with its five eyes and trails its slightly-too-long-fingers through the garden. Maybe one day it will work up the nerve to speak to the twilight garden angel.
Drydown: Creamy golden heliotrope, lavender, bitter citrus, layered over dark resin with maybe just a kiss of anise. Might be some tea in there too. Heck, I keep going back and forth on it but there might be a touch of a soft leather too. Like many AC scents on me it’s wearing strongly enough that I smell it more in the throw than close to my skin (Especially if I don’t sniff something to ‘reset’ my nose). I really like this one though.
After 30 mins: Resin is a bit stronger - as is the heliotrope but otherwise pretty much the same.
Official Notes: French Lavender, Nag Champa, Egyptian Amber, Sandalwood, Cedarwood & Vanilla
So, the lavender is a lavender (and it is A++). The amber is the dark resin. The sandalwood and vanilla must be what’s adding the creaminess. The cedarwood is probably what’s reminding me of bitter citrus. The kinda curious note in this is the nag champa - because the nag champa I’ve smelled before is more kinda feral, or very much like gunpowder. This smells almost exactly like heliotrope to me. It’s golden, powdery in that way that’s sort of like incense and a kind of rounded. I dunno if the lavender blending with the nag is what’s causing the mix up with my nose, or if heliotrope is an unlisted note and maybe the nag is what was kinda tangy that I couldn’t place.
Verdict: Upsize! Love this! If you’re a fan of Stereoplasm’s Lights Across the sky and wish it had a kinda darker, voidy cousin? This is it folks! Really glad there’s other perfumes out there exploring this kind of creamy-floral-resin scent profile.
In the bottle: Melon soda! Young, fun, and fresh. Very cute - as the name would suggest. I believe usako translates, roughly, to “little bunny”. (Also I think this is Mamoru’s pet name for Usagi in Sailor Moon if you, like me, know more about anime than you’re willing to admit in polite company). Something else there that’s bright and piquant - maybe a peony or something? Very sweet and bright.
Wet on my skin: Hard for me to smell up close - but I do get whiffs of it in a throw. Usually when something like this is hard to smell up close (because in the bottle it was -not- a faint scent) it’s because I’m going anosmic. It might also be skin chemistry because I wiped the traces of oil off of my fingers and can smell much more Bright Melon Fun on the tissue. Because in the throw I’m getting whiffs of soda-pop-sweet melons and brightness. Up close I get kind of a muskier melon and a deeper ingredient, maybe a resin? Or a silky floral?
Drydown: The longer I wear this the more I’m able to smell it. That melon soda is still there. I feel like on top of that I’m getting lip gloss, something super bright (maybe a citrus?), and amber. Maybe something a tiny bit gourmand in there too. Very fun and youthful - I could believe this is an anime character’s body spray.
After 30 mins: Melon soda, that bright smell (could be a citrus, floral, or both), something that reminds me strongly of amber, a touch of something kinda gourmand… and I think just a kiss of vanilla. The longer I wear the more I can make out the scent.
Official Notes: Creamy Melon Soda with Strawberry and Lychee
The melon soda notes are instantly like, THERE. The strawberry is what I think reminds me of lipgloss and the lychee is what’s reminding me of a floral/citrus. I have no idea where I’m getting amber from unless it’s as part of the melon soda accord.
Verdict: I like this a lot! It’s fun (I feel like I’ve said this 800 times about the scent) and cute. It’s feminine in the way I like - feminine with its middle finger in the air and its tongue sticking out. It’s aggressively, unapologetically, fruity and cute. I dunno if I’ll be upsizing largely because I have a hard time smelling it on my skin. I might do some scent locket experimentation with it! (Also, if AC ever releases this as a body spray or lotion that would get a giant thumbs up approval for me).
In the bottle: Fruity green scent that borders on grassy - might be yuzu? The yuzu I’ve smelled before has reminded me of melon but this is definitely a bitter-sweet-tart-green fruit. Edges of a bright scent that reminds me of tea, and something minty.
Wet on my skin: Up close I can taste the scent almost more than smell it. Something in here that’s an aquatic. So top notes of that bitter-green-tart citrusy scent - could be getting a bit of a floral in there too. Midnotes of that aquatic - might be kelp? Not getting as much of the minty smell here. Kind of a musky note in there. Very green-aquatic. While kind of grassy doesn’t contain that aromachemical that gives me a headache. There might be a water note in this along with the aquatic note.
Drydown: Another AC scent I have trouble smelling up close but can smell better at a distance! Something in the scent that reminds me of ink or water (I could even see it being paper as a long shot). At the top is a very bright note. While I was initially thinking yuzu I could also see lemongrass. Below that is a floral - I’m gonna guess peony but I could be wrong. Under that I feel like I’m getting something with a musky quality.
After 30 mins: It’s very hard for me to smell at this point. Mostly getting that musky note with edges of that citrusy scent, the floral, and the aquatic. They’re
Official Notes: Saffron, Plum Blossom, White Tea, Amberwood, Vegan Ambergris
Interesting! Well, the sweet floral is the plum blossom - and it’s a really nice floral. It might also be getting me the tartness that reminds me of citrus. I wish I got more of it. The white tea I got in the bottle, but not so much on the skin. The ambergris is the aquatic. I figure the amberwood must be what smells kinda musky to me - because it’s not the saffron. If I’m getting any of the saffron it blends with the floral.
Verdict: Though AC’s scents have been wearing with a throw that smells stronger than it does on the skin this one in particular got d e v o u r e d by my skin. Overall it’s a really interesting floral-aquatic with an interesting twist… but since it wears so faintly on me it’s gonna be a pass.
In the bottle: Fresh green tea, honey, bright citrus. Base of what I think might be polished wood? Regardless, this smells like a freshly made cup of green tea with a bit of honey and lemon squeezed in.
Wet on my skin: Tea, honey, bit of lemon and then that warm, rounded base note. I did see the notes for this at some point and I think it might have had ambergris… though that might be me confusing it with Poetry Ribbon. Regardless - the warm note doesn’t feel particularly aquatic. I think it might be a wood. Something a little nose-tingly in this too. The tea in this is the strongest part - and it smells almost steamy.
Drydown: This one wears quite strongly on me - easily detectable close to the skin. Still smells like a hot, steaming cup of green tea with a touch of honey and lemon. I can see the base scent of this being ambergris, but like, really emphasizing the frothy aspect of ambergris. I also feel like I might be getting a hint of salt.
After 30 mins: Still about the same as the drydown. Hot cup of green tea.
Official Notes: Matcha Green Tea, Wisteria, Tonka Bean, Amber
So, that matcha green tea is very realistic. The tonka is probably what I was reading as honey (sweet golden scent plus + tea = honey in my brain apparently). The amber is that resinous base that initially struck me as woody and I later was all like ‘hmm...is this ambergris?’. The amber also has a kind of edge to it that reminds me of salt. The bit that smells kind of light (bright like citrus) and frothy is the wisteria, I think.
A really beautiful scent designed to wow green tea lovers. If you’re in to matcha green tea definitely check this out.
Verdict: Personally, and this is just because of my tastes regarding the smell of real, actual green tea this is a pass. It’s a perfectly lovely balanced scent with great longevity and stability. It smells like a hole-in-the-wall tea shop where you order teas with evocative names by the pot. The noise level there is the soft white noise of other people quietly talking or reading combined with the soft, mellow indie pop they’re playing. It’s a great scent for someone who loves super realistic green-tea centric scents, which, in all honesty, is not me.
In the bottle: Alcoholic florals! I dunno if this is a true alcohol scent, or just something that strikes me as alcoholic… but if it is a booze note I suspect a rice wine (both from how it smells, and the theme). I recall this having honeysuckle as a note - and I think that’s part of the floral bouquet. There might also be some rose in here. Maybe a gourmand as a base? Pink, white, and gold.
Wet on my skin: Pretty sure this is sake/rice wine. Edges of silky, sweet florals. The kind of alcoholic scent dominates - so it’s hard to tell how realistic the honeysuckle is, but it’s super nice. Base reminds me of cookies and wood. A tiny bit fem of center but also kind of aggressive and playful.
Drydown: Beautiful, glassy white florals. That note that reminds me of alcohol - kind of acrid in that way reminiscent of booze. I do think it’s a booze, but it could be a really, really bright woodsy smell. Midnotes of a smell that kinda reminds me of plum, kinda reminds me of amber.
After 30 mins: Very stable - and probably the strongest of the scents I’ve tried so far from AC. If I huff it too deeply my nose shuts down to it, but the moment it resets - wham - it’s back in full form!
Official Notes: Honeysuckle, Cherry Blossom, Chilled Honey, Rice Milk, Tuberose
Well, I get the honeysuckle in terms of sweetness. The cherry blossom is probably the kind of fruity smelling floral. I think the cherry blossom is also adding kind of that almost alcoholic tang. What reminds me of a gourmand is the honey. The rice milk is what gives this kind of a sake vibe. The tuberose might also be adding that king of glassy kind of woodsy-alcoholic tang.
Verdict: A lovely white floral. I feel really conflicted on it. If AC offered a dram or a 3ml size I’d be on this in an instant. I like it - but I’m not sure if I 5ml or 10ml like it, y’know? It it were perhaps a touch sweeter and reminded me a touch less of alcohol I think this would be grounds for a larger upsize. As it is, I’ll be keeping my sample to experiment with more and figure out how I feel about it.
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