Friday, October 25, 2019

5 Sucreabeille Reviews: Crucible + Arcaneum + Lodestone + Aqua Vitae + Philosopher's Stone

Sucreabeille is having a sale right now and I could, were I more professional, pretend I set this review set to sync with that. The reality is I'm behind on my review deadlines and the days just happened to line up. But! If any of these reviews have you thinking about a purchase this weekend is the time to do so since Suc is getting s-s-s-p-p-ooky with their prices.
Before going into these reviews I've got to mention: The Alchemist set, as a whole, I suspect was not for me as it were. I'm sensitive to decay notes. I prefer my autumn scents light and fiery or twilighty/misty or cold and open like a board plain. This collection as a whole was heavy and evoked a sense of 'chemical', 'decay', or 'acrid' in almost every scent. It runs earthy and involves lots of dark browns and reds. So if you're a fan of that vibe it might be worth exploring more reviews than just mine because our tastes are pretty different.
The scents covered in today's review are:
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All perfumes in this review were allowed to rest for several days ( a couple of weeks for these scents) 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 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 (except for one - see notes in the scent review). 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 10ml bottles [ here ].
A reminder: Each nose is different and each skin’s chemistry is different. Your mileage may vary.
Note: With this set I didn't individually note the throw and longevity of the scents: They all wore quite heavily and with minimal morphing after they dried down (aside from Aqua Vitae). They also all had solid throws.
In the bottle: Complex, lemon-like scent at the top. Perhaps lemon verbena? Something herbal under that. It could be part of the verbena (if it is verbena) or it could be another herb (maybe anise?). After that I feel like I’m getting something kind of metallic (though that could just be me reading the scent’s name into the scent). At the base it’s a little musky, a little green. It kind of reminds me of the scent of lemon throat lozenges.
Wet on my skin: Lemony top note, below that is a scent I recognize as galbanum (resinous green - smells a little wintry). Edge of an herb. There’s a touch of sweetness in this - maybe a bit of honey (that might be also what pinged me as musky). Tiny bit of metallicness to it. Kind of reminds me of a lemon-honey throat lozenge, or lemon-honey herbal tea.
Drydown: An edge of the lemon at the top - the most prominent notes now are the sweet note and the herbal note (almost certain this is anise). So like, at the top I’m getting an edge of lemon/lemon verbena with anise. Below that a bit of galbanum, and a bunch of a musky-sweet smell. Almost no metallic note now. Smells a lot like sweet, herbal tea.
After 30 mins: Stable to the drydown - perhaps even more anise in it, but otherwise about the same.
Official Notes: smoky palo santo, mysterious absinthe with bright drops of bergamot and oranges, Atlas cedar, sweet fennel, bitter accord
So the lemony smell is the bergamot and oranges - probably blending some with the cedar. The anise smell is the absinthe - and at this point it’s the strongest part of the scent. The fennel and palo santo are blending some with the anise. I can get a tiny edge of the palo santo with the name in front of me. The fennel must be adding the sweetness too. The bitter accord is, I bet, where I’m getting that scent that made me think of galbanum.
Verdict: A little too medicinal and heavy for my personal tastes. Passing it on.
In the bottle: This has that same dark brown sweet-decay note that Alchemist, Bezoar, and Alembic all have. I’m guessing it’s a degree of indole mixed with an ingredient they have in common. My nose reads it as ‘leather’ but since all of those have gourmand components I’m guessing it’s how sweet-gourmands interact with indole.
This scent dominates in the bottle for me. I’m pretty much just getting decaying leather + sweet smell.
Wet on my skin: Citrus at the top - like an orange tart or something. Under that is what smells like smokey leather, and woods… all wreathed in that sweet-decay smell. There’s also something buttery, almost oily in here.
I pretty rapidly go anosmic to most of the scent up close. In the throw I mostly get the sweet-decay-with-a-bit-of orange along with that oily smell.
Drydown: Something that’s either a white floral or a citrus at the top. I legitimately can’t tell. It’s blending with that indole-and-gourmand scent. Beneath that I’m getting smoke and leather, an edge of a wood and that oily scent. In the past when I’ve gotten an oily I quickly go partially anosmic to it’s usually a musk or a pumpkin scent.
This smells a ton like Alchemist/Alembic - maybe a little more sweet/floral. But if you liked those two this one is another companion to them. It’s not dissimilar from the decay notes in Bezoar either.
After 30 mins: The smell is very faint up close, but stronger in the throw. I get that citrusy, floraly smell at the top - kind of reminds me of orange icing. Beneath that smoke, leather, and maybe some pumpkins. Tiny bit of that woody-resinous base… and then the whole thing wreathed in sweet-decay.
Official Notes: Oakmoss and labdanum grows on the ancient stone walls of a legendary library. The last peach blossoms blow through the air as autumn sets in, and the last meyer lemon hangs from the tree. Rows and piles of ancient tomes sit, waiting, while students read by the light of carefully protected wax candles.
This one is a shocker because all of those notes I should like. I can see the white floral, and I can see the lemon. The labdanum is probably the resinous smell at the base. I get none of the oakmoss or stone. The wax might be that kind of oily/musky note I’m getting and smoke could be part of the candle accord.
But this scent is another one heavy on sweet decay smells and they dominate the scent. Everything comes through a layer of ‘decaying leather books in a basement’. It makes the scent really heavy.
Verdict: If you’re a fan of Alchemist, Bezoar, and Alembic give this one a shot because it’s the slightly-more-floral-and-citrus sibling of those three scents. Decay rich. A pass from me.
In the bottle: Minty-sweet and cold - kind of astringent. Clean in a dark, cold, herbal way. Kind of like peppermint candies laid out on glass and stone. Harsh, sweet, minty and ozonic.
Wet on my skin: Definitely mint at the top , below that is something slightly green and kind of resinous and something sweet bordering on gourmand. Under all of that are strong astringent notes - ozone and stone.
Think cookies with mint frosting laid out on a freezing morning on cold stone and glass.
Drydown: Mint and something harshly resinous at the top - almost chemical. Under that is a smell between hot coals and freshly baked cookies. Very sweet and hot. Under that is a cold smell that’s somewhere between ozonic, metallic, and a ‘stone’ or ‘glass’ note.
After 30 mins: Okay, so, it’s mostly stable to the drydown. Mint, green-resinous-herbalness, hot coals/fresh cookies, and then a cold atmospheric base. BUT this is also kind of reminding me of Afterglow, so I’m wondering if this has a chocolate note? Or an amber one?
Official Notes: Chocolate peppermint fudge and a fizz of late autumn figs
Oh hey it does have a chocolate note.
So the peppermint is the peppermint - the chocolate is the chocolate. The figs are probably that hot coals/fresh cookies smell. The fudge is adding sweetness. I think that’s adding that ozonic tang is that that fizz. I have no clue what’s adding those harsh, almost chemical astringent note and the stone/glass note. Is that the ‘late autumn’ part? The way the fizz and the mint interact? I know Suc’s ‘fizzy’ note can run metallic.
Verdict: I think I’d like this a lot more with 50% less peppermint, and with another, smoother note in place of the fizz. Right now this is kind of a weird clash between a gourmand and an atmospheric.
I kinda get what Sucreabeille was going for with the Alchemist collection… something darker and a little more challenging than their usual perfumes. But this one is too harsh to my nose - especially for a gourmand. A pass from me.
Aqua Vitae
Fair warning - I remember one of these scents was key lime pie and coconut cream and I deeply suspect it was this one.
Also, this one had some hardcore separation in the bottle and had to be shaken vigorously to reblend before application.
In the bottle: Limes! Maybe a touch of a baked good note. The limes are sweet, soft, and almost floral in quality.
Wet on my skin: Sweet, soft limes dominate the scent, flanked by creamy-nutty coconut and a hint of a baked good note. It’s a heavy-sweet lime scent, almost like a limeade.
Drydown: The lime has moved to a bit of tartness at the edges - more citric acid than anything. Which is a shame because the way the lime opens up in this is really stellar.
I’m getting more of the baked good note - it and the coconut cream dominate the scent… and then a bit of subtle, dark, chemicalness that the lime hid. I’m not sure what it is, but it reminds me of Lodestone so maybe I’m getting some cross contamination (though I did wash off between scents). Perhaps there’s a fizzy note or the ‘baked good’ note in this is reminding me of lodestone? Not sure. But while the opening of this scent was fantastic the drydown has left me kind of sad. I wish it were less acrid, less ozonic, and that more of the lime had been retained.
After 30 mins: Unfortunately about the same as the drydown minus the baked goods. I’m just getting a tiny bit of lime, that kind of ozonic-chemical smell, a very tiny hint of baked good, and coconut cream. While Suc’s coconut cream is good it’s not enough to offset that kind of acrid note which gives this a kind of dryer sheet quality.
Official Notes: Fizzing key limes topped with coconut cream, served on a black linen tablecloth
Ah-ha! There is a fizz note in common - that’s what’s coming across as kind of chemical in this. What smells ‘clean’/ozonic to me is probably the black linen textile note. The limes and the coconut are the well… limes and coconut. The nuances between the coconut and linen notes are probably what creates that baked good impression.
Verdict: This was so, so good wet. But as the limes and the nutty parts of the coconut died back all it left were the ozonic/detergent/textile notes. I think this would make a good soap or lotion but I can’t see wearing it as a perfume. For people who like ‘clean’ scents (and also limes and coconut) give this one a spin. A tragic pass from me.
Philosopher’s Stone
In the bottle: Golden floral at the top - kind of reminds me of orchids. A tiny bit indolic but not overly so. Very classical smelling. Beneath that I’m getting something kind of spicy (clove maybe?) and something herbal. The whole thing has a kind of floral-medicinal smell to it. Maybe a touch of white musk in there too.
Wet on my skin: Cinnamon, clove, that classical floral, something creamy, and something earthy at the base in that order. Very, very slightly indolic - the correct degree to get ‘living flower’ smell without crossing over too hard into ‘rot’. The earthy note at the base might be coffee? It kind of smells like flowers and spiced coffee.
Drydown: Coffee, fallen leaves, spices, and a touch of a slightly indolic floral - like an orchid. It smells relatively simple but it’s one of the most autumnal scents of the Alchemist collection.
After 45 mins: Stable to the drydown. At the top I get the coffee - kind of an espresso, dark bitter coffee, and below that the fallen leaves and spices. At the edges I get that floral. There might be another earthy component at the base but it’s hard to separate from the coffee.
Official Notes: Rain beats on old, weathered cobblestones. A cup of your favorite hot mocha steams next to a bowl of black cherries and black currants. A sprig of wormwood sits, waiting.
So, the rain on stone notes I think is what I’m reading as fallen leaves. It smells like fallen leaves do around here. The mocha is the coffee - I’d say it’s more espresso-y than chocolaty. I think the cherries might be what I was reading as an indolic floral, and the black currants might be what I was reading as a spice. I think the wormwood is the earthy note at the base I was getting.
Verdict: While I like this one the best of the batch that I tried today it’s not one I can see myself wearing. Going to pass it on, but it’s definitely the most autumnal scent of the night.

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