Akemia Apothicary – INDIE Pervume Review

Alkemia offers 5 samples for $10 including shipping on their site, which is a really nice way to get to test some perfumes out.  This was actually my first indie perfume purchase, so I kind of picked at random.  I guess there is a pretty good amount of trial and error when leaning the notes and what perfumers do best, and even just what I like and don’t like, so this purchase wasn’t entirely successful.  But I’m learning.

They run from an Etsy shop, which is nice because Etsy lets me keep a running cart forever, that I can place my favorites into so I don’t forget what I like from a shop when I get all wrapped up in ordering from a seasonal release or a sale.  (#Indieworldproblems.)

IMG_3786The turn around time was great, I had these in my mailbox in about a week.

On to the scents:

Vixen: White Amber, Musk, Jasmine Tea, Sugar Pumpkin, Moss

Based on the ingredient list I didn’t expect this to work for me, but Alkemia apparently used an Amber that my skin chemistry really likes and doesn’t morph into pure incense.  This smells warm and cozy, and a tiny bit spicy (the musk and pumpkin maybe?)  it’s creamy and sexy and really nice.

Burning Roses: dark red roses and burning divinatory incenses – smouldering frankincense, champa, labdanum

I was initially worried about my Alkemia Perfume order because this scent was so overpowering and SO strongly hippie head shop incense, that it actually made all the labels on the other bottles of perfume in my sample order smell like it.

Hellcat: Black Oud, Black Musk, Labdanum, and spiced Pipe Tobacco blended with a seductive purr of Black Opium

I really don’t know why I thought I would like this one.  Musk and Labdanum.  This perfume is exactly what I feared indie perfumes would turn out to be before I gave them a try.  So many promises of sexy, and so much incense instead.

adorem xxi: Ardorem 21 is a complex elixir of 21 precious essences including: Coriander, Mandarin, Amber, Nutmeg, Saffron, Bourbon Geranium, Blue Lotus, Tobacco, Musk, Clove, Sandalwood, Vetiver, Kashmiri Tea, Cardamom, Black Pepper, and Japanese incense

This is nice.  The initial scent is pure watery floral.  It’s similar enough to mens cologne like Davidoff makes, aquatic and with pretty decent sillage.  This leans a bit masculine for my tastes, and smells a bit like the aftershave or cologne one of my male colleagues (my cube neighbour) wears.  I don’t really not like it, but it’s not my style.

Tryst of Grey: An utterly beguiling blend of Earl Grey Tea, lightly brewed Black Assam Tea, Scarlet Monarda (also known as Wild Bergamot), a fresh twist of Bergamot citrus peel, and golden skin musk teased with long, slow kisses of orange blossom honey.

On application it’s bergamot and tea.  It somehow doesn’t really smell like Earl Grey though, because it’s got something almost floral in it as well.  As it drys down it starts to get really citrusy and fresh smelling, but still with a lot of tea.  I think what I was expecting was more a London Fog early grey with something sweet type scent, and this isn’t like that at all.  It’s fresh and clean and I really like it.


I think I need Tryst of Grey in a full size, but the rest I’m going to pass.  That’s what sample sizes are for, so I’m happy with my purchase!

13 Gypsies Perfumery – INDIE Review

I don’t remember how I cam across 13 Gypsies, but I liked the descriptions when I found them, and the price was good so I decided to give them a try.


These were on sale for $3 each dram, plus $5.95 for the shipping – very good for sending things to Canada, most places charge about $7 regardless of what I order.  (Prices are in USD)


The turnaround wasn’t great, I ordered on Oct 4 and recieved it on Oct 27.  Things do often take a while to get to Canada, but this was a bit longer than usual.


On to the perfumes.

The packaging was really nice.  Unfortunately I completely derped my photos of the wrapping and they look like crap so I won’t post them.


But here are the bottles. They are really simple and clean looking.

Sweet Violet: violet and sugar

This smells very medicinally floral right out of the bottle, sweet and fake.  On drydown it’s all floral and makes me think of someone’s grandmother’s bathroom.  Not much sillage, I can only smell it on myself if I put my face right up against my wrist.  This eventually becomes a soft popouri floral scent, not cloying and awful but more a bathroom cleaner scent than something I’d like to put on my body.  I actually may use it for that, since I’m a little tired of the cheapo bathroom candle and fantastic cleaner scent my bathroom is currently featuring.

THEM: cassis, cherry, fig, sugar, and musk

There is something in this and sweet violet that smells similar, and cheapens the scent.  I guess maybe it’s the sugar.  I’m getting a bit of musk, but mostly just sour fig and sugar.  It’s funny, I bought a whole bunch of sugary fig perfumes thinking I liked that scent, but I think…. I don’t.  It may be time to give up on that.

Eat Me: inspired by the smell of cupcakes with creamy vanilla frosting

Cheap vanilla sugarbomb.  This is the very definition of cloying sugary yuck, right out of the bottle.  It drys down to a less intense version of this.  I went through a “buy every vanilla lip gloss” phase, and this is the same scent they all have.  It’s not a bad smell… it’s just way too foodie vanilla for me.  (What did I expect?)

Apricot Fluff: apricot and marshmallow fluff

Fruity and sweet, kind of boring.  This scent started to fade immediately when I put it on, and it turned a little stale smelling.  It reminds me of the years old halloween taffy things that my grandparents had in one of the cabinets in the living room when I was a kid.  Sweet, old, musty.

Bad Witch: (free sample!) nag champa, frankincense, sandalwood, & dragon’s blood, with a touch of patchouli

This is everything I feared about indie scents before I started getting into them.  I’m not even going to review this since it’s sooooo far from something I would pick myself and I think it wouldn’t be fair.  It’s really nice to get a free sample with purchases, and I actually really appreciate when shops throw in something really different from what I ordered.  That’s how you find new things, right?  But some things will never be my kind of thing, and this scent family is one of those.


Reviewing what’s currently in the store, I don’t think what I ordered is indicative of the store’s best work.  Many of the scents are head shop/hippish incense smells, and I avoid those, so I have to think that probably the ones I was drawn to are not their speciality.

There is a sale on right now, where Halloween is 44% off, which is a great deal since the perfumes are really not expensive to start with.

But, that being said, I won’t order from them again, since nothing worked for me.

INDIE: Solstice Scents

This is my first dive into indie perfumes, and if I’m totally honest, I mostly chose them at random.  Luckily the descriptions were really clear (check out the Solstice Scents page for more information.)

I know I like sugary sweet scents, and I knew I didn’t want to smell like a head shop or farmer’s market, and I was able to partially achieve that, and really find out what I want to look for in my next round of samples.  And there will be one.

I got my husband’s feedback on some of these, since he’s the one who will be smelling me most of the time.

photo (1)

I should have photographed these before I used them, the ink rubbed off on a lot of the samples

This is how I did

SPELLBOUND WOODS (Sample Size)  Vanilla, Sandalwood, Cedar & Amber

At first sniff: (Danielle)  Sweet chocolatey and a little powdery in the bottle, I was really excited…. but then I put it on.  On me this turned sickly sweet, kind of cheap “vanilla fields” (yes, I was a teenager in the 90s) smelling, and the chocolate notes went away.  I almost scrubbed it off, but i was running really late.  Based on the site’s description I wondered if this bottle was mislabelled. (Husband)  “You smell like cake and hippies.  But good.”  I guessing the hippies part is because of the sandalwood.  I find it surprising, since I can’t smell sandalwood at all.

An hour weartime:  The chocolate scent came back!   It dried down to a sweet, slightly powdery, very very foodie scent.  If it were a candy I would have a bite.  I really like the way this settled on me, especially since all the way to work all I could smell was sickly sweet cheap vanilla fields smell and I was getting annoyed.

7 Hours weartime:  I can still smell the chocolatey vanilla powdery smell, I’m a baked good. I like this, but it’s very sweet and cake like.  I’m not sure how much wear I could get out of this.

In an oil burner:  This is a fantastic home scent.  The cake, chocolate, vanilla scent sits on top of very slight sandalwood and amber and makes my living room smell homey and cozy.  It’s still slightly powdery, very vanilla, and lovely.  I may buy this in full size so that I can use it as a home scent, I think I like it better this way.


BLACK LEATHER, RED LACE (Sample Size) Amber, Vanilla & Leather

At first sniff:  In the bottle this smells like new car.  When it’s first on my skin the leather smell is very very prominent, with a tiny bit of Vanilla air freshener in the background.  It fades out fast though, within a few mins the vanilla really comes through.

After an hour:  The leather smell mellowed out a lot, I can barely smell it at all any more, and it’s because quite nice.  The vanilla also doesn’t smell like air freshener now, so I can pretty safely conclude that my mind went right to air freshener because I used to have a vanilla plug in in my car.  The amber is really coming out, and I think now I can identify Amber as the hippiesh smell that I seem to be disliking in a lot of what I ordered.  I think I can conclude that I am not suited to anything with amber in it.  Trial and error I guess, at least I know now!


CHERRY VANILLA AMBEROSIA (Sample Size) Amber, Cherry, Vanilla, Whipped Cream, Orange

At First Sniff:  In the bottle it’s alcohol, and very cherry vanilla.  As soon as I put it on, all I could smell was almond, in an alcoholic way.  I really want a glass of Disaronno right now.  This is strange because it doesn’t actually have any almond in it. I really like this, but I think I might prefer it as a candle or diffuser oil in house.

After an hour:  And now the amber rears its incense scented head.  I wanted this to keep on smelling the way it did when I first put it on, back when the amber was hidden in delicious creamy cherry.


NIGHTGOWN PERFUME (Full Size) Vanilla, White Chocolate, Tuberose & Tiare Flowers

At First Sniff:  In the bottle it smells very drugstore cheap vanilla to me.  I am not getting chocolate or floral scents. When I put it on, the creamy florals came out, and became an almost but not quite  sweet rose scent. I’m getting a poupori vibe, covered with a little sugar.  The vanilla is no longer so clearly vanilla, and the chocolate is coming through more.

Three hours weartime:  This perfume has staying power!  The same rose rose rose floral, very sweet vanilla almost a baked good scent it going strong.  I think this smells nice, but I was really hoping that this would be a sexy scent and I get more “Grandma’s Nightgown” than “Agent Provocateur.”  Still, it’s pleasant, and I will wear it when I feel like smelling like poupori.


VIOLET TRUFFLE (Sample Size) Dark Chocolate, Violet, Violet Leaf & Vanilla Absolute

At first sniff:  In the bottle this smells like a dessert.  Chocolate, vanilla, and that’s it.  On my skin though, it calms down to a far more subtle, sweet vanilla.  This is a far nicer vanilla than the classic Vanilla Fields of the 90s, but still a bit boring.  The chocolate is still present but takes a bit of a backseat to the other sweetness.  I was hoping for more violet, but it seems like my skin chemistry really magnifies candy scents and incense.

After an hour:  (Husband)  More cake?  Why don’t you just wear regular perfume? (Danielle) I like smelling like cake…. but ya, this is very very edible smelling.  It’s pure cake complete with flour, chocolate chips, and butter on me.

Three hour’s weartime:  Milky, chocolatey, sugary, vanilla.  I like this, it’s a incense free version of some other’s I ordered but with the cake and chocolate amped up as much as possible.  I was hoping the violet would come out more but it seems that my body chemistry really likes to magnify sugar and chocolate.


PINK SUGAR (Sample Size)

At first sniff:  This does smell very similar to the Aqualina Pink Sugar, a perfume that gives me flashbacks to the nightclubs of my university time.

This perfume is actually discontinued, so I’m not going to do a thorough review, though I will say I’m a bit disappointed since I would probably order this out of nostalgia and love of sweet but not pure candy smells.


BLACK FOREST (Sample Size) Agarwood, Nagarmotha, Tobacco, Chocolate, Red and Black Cherries, Hay, Sandalwood, Whipped Cream & Pink Pepper

At first sniff:  Vanilla (probably the whipped cream) and tobacco.  In the bottle I wasn’t sure I would like this, but I put it on anyway and found that it very quickly started to smell like an almost floral vanilla with definite tobacco (cigar not cigarette) and pepper notes right up front.  The vanilla is soft and smooth and smells more like perfume than a baked good or an air freshener (this is good.)  The the tobacco notes, sandalwood and pepper make me think forest and gives the scent a sexier vibe – less sugar pop kid going to a club, more sexy 30 year old woman going to a wine bar (I am the latter, probably minus the sexy, which I hope to make up for in perfume.)  I’m really enjoying how peppery sweet this is.

After an hour:  The sugary sweetness is faded quite quickly, and I’m getting more and more tobacco with a little sweetness and pepper.  When I put my wrist right up to my nose I can still smell Sandalwood, something sweet, and a tiny bit of cherry alcohol scent, but it’s not overpowering at all.  I wish the cherry stood out more, but otherwise I really like this.  When I get home I’m going to get my husband to smell me to make sure I don’t smell like a cigar, and then (assuming I smell as lovely as I think  do)  I’m going to order a full size bottle.


Now that I know what I do and don’t want to smell like (it looks like Amber isn’t a good one for me, and I’m going to have to determine what other scents the sugary sweet stuff can be cut with so it smells more perfume than baked good) I think I will have more success on indie perfume purchase round two.

You can get Solstice Scents products here:  http://www.solsticescents.com