First Impressions: Sweet Anthem

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Recently I made my first purchase from Sweet Anthem, a microperfumery with a storefront in Seattle and an online presence. I'd seen them around on the interwebs for quite a while in reviews and such, and was really intrigued.

I made my order quite serendipitously during a BOGO sale, so I bought one of the "pick 3" sample bottle sets in which you can choose your own fragrances, and also got a four piece sample set from the Woods category for half off. Sweet Anthem seems to be a good brand for perfume addicts and newbies alike. The scents are all separated by what genre the fall under (citrus, musks, etc.), as well as a brief, factual list of notes, which don't often seem too extensive or fussy. The owner, Meredith Smith, also breaks down each scent into its head, heart, and base notes, which is helpful when one is trying to acclimate themselves as to what unfamiliar notes they are smelling actually are as a scent progresses from cold sniff through drydown. If you are ever in the Seattle area, they do one-on-one custom perfume sessions, and you can also buy single notes or accords now online as well. They even have custom perfume party kits, where your party/shower guests can create their own perfume favors to take home. I love, love, love this idea!


The brand aesthetic strikes me as very classic and clean, well-crafted but not busy or too exotic. Some of the brands I've tried are more experimental, more counter-culture and edgy, I suppose. The aesthetic of this brand makes me think of perfume gifts you would give to a woman you really want to impress with your refined good taste and thoughtfulness, like your future mother-in-law or something, if that makes sense! Meaning, the scents from this brand are more traditionally perfume-y than others I've tried, with little twists and unexpected combinations to keep things interesting and unique. A little off the beaten path, but not too far off, and easily accessible for the average consumer. These would be a safe bet for someone you know likes perfumes but you don't want to get them something cliche or predictable from the department store.

I ordered on January 16th and my order was shipped on the 26th, which I think was a decent TAT considering a big sale had been going on. I received my order in a neat waxed paper bag, and it came with a cute business card.


I love these little bottles! They are so absurdly cute! The larger size really lets you get a proper feel for the scents and I think the price is quite reasonable for these. The full sizes are a little expensive for me ( $28.00 for a 5 ML perfume bottle or 10 ML eau de parfum) but they also sell solid scents in 5 ML twist tubes for $8.50. I am not usually a solid scent person, but they also included a free small clamshell sample of Catherine, and I really liked the formula.  More on that later...

Here's my order:


I got:

Elliot
Miho
Rebecca
Peter
Phoebe
Anton
Annabelle
free sample of Catherine

Sweet Anthem, I believe, changes their general catalog scent line-up each year, and several of these aren't available anymore since the change just happened in the past few weeks. There are some lovely sounding ones in their place, however! For the sake of brevity, I'm going to just give a brief commentary on these. Overall these scents lean more towards the floral side of things, none of them are extremely dark or resinous. They generally feel more light, airy, and springy/summery, even though when it comes to sillage and longevity, they can be quite potent. They require more of a commitment, coming from someone who likes to change her scents throughout the day. Most scents last a few hours on me and then I can move on to something else. For me these have more lingering tenacity. In fact, sometimes at work I'll pull out a vial of whatever to sniff during the day when I'm testing things, and I don't feel like it sticks around. But simply opening these little bottles, not even applying, made me a little self-conscious, because I felt like the scent permeated everything around me! Just an observation, these have kick!

Elliot
 Labdanum, Oakmoss, Pinyon Pine, Rain

The most softly earthy, green, slightly watery scent of the bunch. Easily unisex. I really like the drydown; it was the one that reminded more of other indie scents I've tried, the resinous/incense and oakmoss combo is really lovely, and not heavy at all.

Miho
Coconut, Egyptian Musk, Lotus, Sweet Orange, Violet

This sounded like I would love it, but it just too strong and suffocating. It's got too much old-fashioned powderiness going on. The drydown is better, but as a whole this one didn't work for me.

Rebecca
Agarwood, Amber, Bluebonnets, Ginger, Honey, Moroccan Fig, Pear

A very classic, traditional floral. This one is nice, but still, a little strong for my taste, at least at first. I like the honey in it though which is readily apparent. The description sounds like it should be darker/woodier with the oud and ambers, but it's not. Somewhat humid and quite summery.


Peter
Black Currant, Champagne, Leather, Lemon, Matcha Tea, Patchouli

This one is also not for me. The lemon, while not literally Pledge, lends a cleaning product element to this scent. Just too fresh and clean for me. I like patchouli and leather, but I'm guessing the black currant is keeping me from appreciating them here.



Phoebe
 Dirt, Lavender, Maple Sugar, Snow, Tobacco, White Amber

This one is quite interesting! It's got a sweet bite to it that is also not literally maple sugar, but is the most foodie one of the bunch without being foodie at all, really. Just a tangy sort of richness. I don't know exactly what snow as a note smells like, but it keeps the maple sugar from smelling really like maple sugar. Can't explain this at all, but I like it. It sounds like it should be a more autumnal or wintery scent, but it still isn't really all that dark. Most of these could be year round scents, just like I don't tend to classify mainstream perfumes by season. Probably the most unusual scent I tried thematically speaking.

Anton
 Apple, Black Pepper, Horeseradish, Opium, Orchid, Saffron, Teak

This one is also unisex, and leans maybe a touch towards being suited for cooler climes, but still, while not too dark, it's strong. Quite strong, refined, a little spicy yet debonair. Sounds like it should be foodie, but the apple is not a literal apple at all. I like it in the vial, but it also has an astringent quality I'm not sure meshes well with my skin.

Annabelle
Jasmine, Osmanthus, Sea Salt, White Amber

This one, I love! It is a summery, beachy smell, without actually smelling merely like the ocean or coconut or something obvious like that. It's got a beautiful floral saltiness to it, like you're near the water and can just barely catch whispers of it on the breeze. I've already ordered a solid perfume twist of this.

Catherine
Amber, Bergamot, Neroli, Red Tea, Wisteria

This was my solid perfume sample, and I love the formula for these. The scent smelled a little smoother (some of the oils start out a little sharp) and the formula glides on quite easily and melts effortlessly. I think these might be more palatable for those who think the oils are too strong or pervasive. These cling closer to the skin but are still definitely there. This scent is really gorgeous, a rich floral/tea, with golden amber and a touch of fruitiness. It also has a clear honey/beeswax note to it, and I'm not sure if its the base or the perfume, since the solid scents are made of soy wax and shea butter, with no mention of beeswax. Either way, it makes this one a contender for a full size.

All in all, Sweet Anthem was a refreshing departure from my usual perfume tastes, and a very satisfactory shopping experience. I would recommend giving them a try!


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7 comments :

  1. Lovely review, as usual! I could never, ever tire of your reviews. You could write about... I don't know... Dung beetles and I'd hang on every word! Sweet Anthem sounds like a neat company that I'd like to try someday. Phoebe sounds the most intriguing to me, while Anabelle seems like the perfect summer scent! :D Thanks for this wonderful review!

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    1. Awe, thank you dear! I'm glad you enjoy my rambling :) Dung beetles, heh heh.

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  2. Out of these I have Anton, Elliot and Rebecca on my wish list. After reading this I still want to sample Elliot and Anton but I´m having second thoughts about Rebecca... You also make Phoebe sound very interesting, so I´ll have to sample that one too when I get around to it!

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    1. Yes, Sweet Anthem leans floral to me, or at least traditionally perfumey. But I think Elliot and Anton would be safe bets (though Elliot is not available now :(
      Rebecca is nice, but quite floral along with honey and some fruitiness, so I'm not sure if you would like it.

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  3. Sweet Anthem is awesome. I've purchased from them three times in total: once for myself and twice as gifts for friends. Excellent customer service as the owner calmed me down when I was embarrassingly a bit panicky about one of the presents and excellent goods.

    My two friends loved their gifts. I haven't tried all of mine yet (too much perfume!) but they smell lovely.

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  4. I've only tried the one Sweet Anthem perfume I reviewed on my blog (Anastasia?) but it was so gorgeous I am itching to try more! I think I'm going to treat myself to the sample set eventually.

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  5. I love Sweet Anthem! I have so many samples but don't have a full size yet. The samples are so generous and will last so many wearings!

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Please leave me comments if anything strikes your fancy or if you have any helpful suggestions. Remember, I'm no expert and am just sharing my truth. Hopefully you will find something useful to take with you!

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