Thursday, September 19, 2019

4 Sucreabeille Berry Reviews: Blueberry + Elderberry + Pepperberry + Strawberry

A little bit ago I reviewed 4 Summer Berry line scents... and today I'm kinda hustling to get the other four reviewed because these scents are going into (temporary?) retirement when 'summer' officially switches to 'fall' on the 23rd. So this is the last weekend to buy them for a while!
In the interest of full disclosure, to anyone who missed it before: I helped inspire Andrea to do these scents. I mention this mostly as a I Believe In Transparency gesture and a tiny bit because I'm super stoked I had anything to do with the creation of any perfumes anywhere.
The perfumes covered in today's review are:

Elderberry and Pepperberry are rotated to show off the scent art!
All perfumes in this review were allowed to rest for several days ( see intro for amount of time) after arrival. The perfumes were kept in the dark in a plastic box if small enough. If too large for a box they generally sit on top of a bookcase or bedside table, or inside of a drawer. 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 Dove sensitive skin, honeysuckle Meyer's Clean Day or almond/citrus Doc Bronner’s.
Before doing test periods I often wear or play with other scents in my collection (that I wash off). I also am often wearing scented lotion on my feet and ankles (that I do not wash off). Sometimes I wear scented hair products simultaneously. Theoretically there could be cross-contamination.
For oils: Each sample was gently swirled before application. Then applied directly to skin - typically the top of my arm or the back of my hand.
Each review is written without looking at the notes in that moment. Frequently I will glance at a perfume’s notes beforehand. At the end of the review I will list what the official notes are and comment on how I think they interacted.
Bottle Review
You can see my review of Sucreabeille's drams [ here ]. I do want to note I liked the label texture on these drams in particular and I handled them with oily and wet hands right before I photographed them - nary a smudge to be seen!
A reminder: Each nose is different and each skin’s chemistry is different. Your mileage may vary.
In the bottle: Blueberries - smells more like a jam than fresh berries to me, a bread note (I think this was supposed to be like… blueberry muffins?) and a wet note - like there’s a great big glass of water there. It smells odd - verging on medicinal.
Wet on my skin: Blueberries, oddly musky medicinal bread (almost like flour that’s been burned), honey, and water. Almost from the moment it goes on the skin though the bread notes start to open up and smell more like a muffin. Though it’s not smelling strictly medicinal any more there is another note in here that’s weird - somewhere between fruity, ozonic, and herbal. Maybe it’s a tea note?
Drydown: Blueberry muffins, a bit of lemon, and wet-smelling green tea. Maybe some pale musk in there somewhere in one of the accords. The tea is what smelled weird/burnt/herbal/medicinal to me ‘cause you know… it’s tea. Tannins. For me the tea smell dominates the scent.
After 30 mins: The scent has softened somewhat - the blueberries are very sweet and mild, like jam, and the muffin notes are muffiny. But that tea is still there. A little less dominant, but still very bitter-herbal-medicinal smelling in that way green tea gets.
Official Notes: Blueberry spice cake made with cardamom and a touch of coumarin, drizzled with brown sugar glaze.
Oh. Well. Hm. I can see this being a spice cake instead of muffins - and the brown sugar being what reminded me of honey in the midnotes. I can even see the tartness coming from the blueberry. But I usually think of cardamom as being more of a red, soft scent and this is green, tannin-like, and kind of bitter-herbal. It reminds me a lot more strongly of green tea than cardamom I’ve smelled before - but perhaps I’ve not smelled cardamom in a strong enough concentration.
Verdict: Personally I’m really not feeling whatever that green-herbal-bitter note is (I strongly suspect the cardamom). I suspect there are folks out there with tastes radically different from my own that they’d be all over a cardamom reminiscent of the sharper aspects of green tea - and if so I suppose this might be your bag. But I honestly can’t tell because this one is in that category where I actively dislike a note enough that I can’t tell who would like the scent. I’ll be passing this one on.
I recall this one having an elderberry wine note - and some dusty dirt.
In the bottle: Purple berry wine! For sure. Tart, smooth, purple and mildly boozy with a slightly syrupy, herbal edge to it that verges on medicinal (but in a good way). I’m not really getting any dirt in the bottle aside from a slight earthiness - so if this has a dirt note it must be pretty mild.
Wet on my skin: Rich mulled elderberries with just a hint of booziness. I’m definitely getting more of the dirt note now - but it does smell like dusty, rich clay. The dusty-clay-dirt smell is at the forefront of the scent, with the base being the sweet, purple, mulled elderberries (with that tiny hint of medicinal-berry-herbal in there at the edges).
Drydown: The dirt smell is at the forefront. It’s a smooth, almost creamy dirt smell with a tiny edge of bitter earthiness. Wreathed around that is the soft purple/sweet/herbal-berry-medicinal/lightly spiced smell of the wine. There might also be a resin in here? Possibly? Like a smooth amber?
After 30 mins: Very much like the drydown - the elderberry wine is perhaps a touch stronger and the dirt a touch less forward. More balanced, I’d say. But no major shifts.
Gentle, mild throw and a strong scent cloud starting about 2.5 inches from the skin.
Official Notes: A bottle of old honeyed elderberry wine found in the cool corner of the cellar, with a whisper of the powdery soil from the earthen walls.
Oh, I can see that honey in there adding to the ‘mulled’ and ‘sweet’ qualities of the wine. But otherwise, yup - soil and elderberry wine. I’d say the soil is more prominent than just a whisper. It’s like you’re standing in a dirt cellar holding a cup of elderberry wine.
Sucreabeille mentions that elderberries don’t smell like medicine - and I mean, they do a little. But in the traditional-medicine-brewed-by-a-lady-out-in-the-forest way instead of the ‘harsh chemicals’ way. On the potion-to-cough-syrup medicinal spectrum it’s more on the ‘potion’ end.
Verdict: I found the perfume to be simple, wearable, and pleasant in a mild, unobtrusive way. It isn’t what I’d reach for as a personal scent - but it would make a nice lotion or maybe even a soap to use as kind of a scent ‘base’ that other stuff goes on top of throughout the day. You could probably use this as a layering note too if you wanted to add berry sweetness and dirt to any particular scent.
On me the dirt and elderberry wine competed for dominance in the scent and I liked it best when the elderberry wine was at the forefront. The ‘creamy-smooth’ qualities to Suc’s dirt note are nice when it’s at the back of the scent but when it’s at the forefront it mostly reminds me of wet clay… which isn’t something I want to be wearing in a personal scent. I dunno if I’ll keep my dram or not.
In the bottle: I’ve never smelled a pepperberry before, but if this indeed reflects the scent of it then the name is apt. It smells like if black pepper was a dark berry. It kind of reminds me of the smell of holly berries but, well, more peppery. If there’s other notes in this scent I have no clue what they might be. It’s pretty dark, earthy, and spicy with a subtle green sweetness. Maybe there’s a tea note.
Wet on my skin: Warm, leafy, kind of green, earth and subtly sweet is the overall impression here. It smells like pepper, earthy and mildly sweet berries, tea, and… cinnamon maybe? It’s kind of a fall-spice-berry melange.
Drydown: At the forefront are the spices - cinnamon, and maybe nutmeg. Under that is smell that my brain screams ‘super black tea’ in regards to. But like… leafy black tea. The rest of the scent - kind of savory, a little sweet, very earthy, kind of incense-like I have to assume is the pepperberry.
I’m going to be honest: I am struggling with this scent. It doesn’t smell bad, per se, but the smell of it is making me nauseous. On a whiff it smells like kinda-bitter tea-and-savory-berry-spiced-incense, but, after I take a deep breath of it my stomach turns. I must have a personal aversion to some note in this scent.
After 30 mins: Half an hour - smells about the same, maybe a bit more sweet and mild. Something almost citrusy in here. But still earthy bitter-tea-and-savory-berry-spiced-incense.
Official Notes: Pepperberry, three kinds of sage, cactus flower and pettigrain.
So, the melange of spices is primarily sage. The pettigrain is what was reminding me of citrus in there - and is a possible candidate for the nausea-causer . The cactus flower is probably what’s green sweetness in here and is the other candidate for the aversion-causer. The pepperberry is probably the savory berry smell and what’s reminding me of cinnamon.
Verdict: Pass. I have no idea how to recommend this or who it might be for because of that note causing an aversion with me. I can see the cinnamon-like character of the pepperberry working in other scents though.
In the bottle: Suc’s distinctive champagne note and chocolate covered strawberries. It causes instant fancy-dinner-with-laughter flashbacks for me.
Wet on my skin: Slightly-syrupy red strawberries coated with milk chocolate verging on dark and wreathed in champagne. I’m getting wafts of this at arm’s length after applying it and it’s really, really nice. There’s kind of a creamy quality to it at a distance but up close you can smell the sharper, glassier notes from the champagne.
Drydown: Tarty, slightly syrupy strawberries, creamy, slightly dusty chocolate (similar to the chocolate note in Sucreabeille’s afterglow) and edges of that glassy champagne. For those who haven’t tried it Sucreabeille’s champagne note is ultra tart, fizzy, a little metallic and on the ‘dry’ side of wine scents. Here it’s cutting the sweetness of the chocolate and strawberry. The scent is perhaps not as gleeful as it was wet, but it is still quite pleasant and has a solid throw - I get little whiffs at arm’s length and up close the strong scent cloud starts about 5-6 inches from the skin.
After 30 mins: About like the drydown - a bit more blended. Still has a very solid throw.
Official Notes: A dozen freshly-dipped dark chocolate coated strawberries on a golden platter, a crystal champagne flute filled with Dom Perignon resting beside them.
It is what it says on the tin - though to my nose the chocolate is more creamy than I expect from dark chocolate. That’s mostly just nitpicking though. I think the ‘golden plate’ here is mostly just artistic description - though I suppose there could be an amber or something blending intensely with the champagne.
Verdict: If you like classic Suc scents like Afterglow give this one a spin. To my nose it seemed like the berry scent that would have the broadest appeal. It’s simple, bright, classical and fun. I’d like to try this one as a soap especially. I think bright strawberry-chocolate-champagne bubbles would be pretty amazing. This is also a scent I could see returning in the not-to-distant future for, say, Valentine’s Day. It screams Valentine’s Day.
I’m keeping my dram for now - but if I “upsize” to a jar of whipped soap I’ll probably pass on the dram because while I like this scent it’s more of a “bath time” scent for me than a “going out” scent.

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