For this year's spring Solstice Scents
release, I went all conservative and just bought samples of the three new scents: Whispers in the Night, Chrysalis, and Cameo. I also got my free sample in Courtyard, which I've tried before and really like, but only enough to keep a sample on hand for the times I'm in the mood for it.



My envelope came with a new edition of the  Foxcroft Bulletin. I really, really love these! I love that there's a cohesive mythology to their scents that they've carried through multiple collections, and I appreciate the detailed storytelling involved. I see in this newsletter a mention of the Smokewood Apiary's exotic honey tasting event. I'm hoping this is a hint at a potential future scent- some kind of rich, smoky honey scent sounds really nice!


And my thoughts on the new scents:

Whispers in the Night
Jasmine, Tuberose, Vanilla Orchid, Coconut, White Amber, Sandalwood, Amber & Ylang Ylang on a base of Edge of the Night

I'm discovering that I enjoy heady white florals like jasmine, in small doses. This one on cold sniff and first applying is all jasmine with a touch of creamy tuberose, but the jasmine is really strong and indolic to me. I don't care for it on cold sniff. It does calm down after a few minutes and smells almost tropical...the woods and coconut? The coconut and tuberose remind me of Tropical Moon, which is one I actually like a lot. I can almost detect the Edge of the Night base but it feels softened, muted...dialed down. Not the bombastic floriental of the original. This one manages to be soft and a touch sweet and yet still feels heavy and pervasive on me, bordering on mothball-y. This scent just reminds me that I still need to get a full size of the original Edge of the Night- the newer incarnations have been interesting but the original one is brilliant and hands down my favorite.

Cameo
Almond, Rose, Yellow Cake, Tonka Bean, Coconut, Ginger and Green Orange

Whoa. For such a delicate sounding scent this baby has tenacity. Serious staying power and some impressive sillage. I wore this at work and even though I enjoyed the scent, I started feeling self-conscious, like, this is way too much. I washed it off and I still felt it wafting around me. This smells like sharp almond at first, and then I can quickly pick up cakey things, pale pink roses, and billowing tufts of tonka and the tiniest nip of ginger. This scents smells like sweet, pink, puffy clouds filled with mounds of cake and shredded coconut. It also smells quite a bit like Haus of Gloi's Valentine scent, Come Hither, but more gourmand. I like this, but I feel like the tonka amps on my skin and becomes almost cloyingly sweet and much too strong for me to comfortably wear. G once told me that his mother (rest her soul) used to have a saying..."too sweet to be wholesome." That's this one. I will use my sample up but will pass on any other products. I'm going to try layering Rose Mallow Cream, Lemon Ginger Creams, and Haus of Gloi's Twice is Nice and see if I can evoke this scent without the toothache.

Chrysalis
Orange Blossom, Grass, Bitter Green Orange, Vetiver, Patchouli, Amber, Yellow Mandarin, Rose de Mai Absolute, Sandalwood and Indian Attars - 5ml

This one here is a morpher! I get sharp, almost peppery green grassy notes paired with a bright, warm orange blossom note on cold sniff. A tiny bit bitter but pleasant and very fascinating. As it dries down it becomes more earthy and woodsy, actually very exotic smelling. The scent stays warm-toned throughout. I imagine this scent in colors as a bright verdant green and fiery orange with a touch of golden brown. The morphing here is pretty dramatic to me. I wish that initial green phase lasted a little longer, but the dry down is heavenly. I know Angela used mitti attar, which mimics the scent of sun-baked earth before rain, so as much as I like this- it's not quite a "spring in a bottle" scent to me. I imagine one of those to be very cool-toned, dewy, with light grassy notes, delicate florals, soft breezes, that sort of thing. But maybe that's my geographical bias talking. Expect this one to feel more warm and exotic, perhaps a spring-into-summer scent? As the name suggests, almost cathartic. I feel like the dry down smells a little like Cascade of Gold, so if you enjoy that one, you might like Chrysalis. I definitely want a full size of this.

If you would like some more rambling thoughts on scents from previous spring releases, look HERE.
(Sorry, not all the scents in this review are available anymore, but I do comment on Courtyard, Chantilly Cream, Chiffon, Cascade of Gold, among others that are still around!)


Today I bring you some thoughts on a recent haul from Alkemia! It's been a while since I've ordered from them. They can be a little hit-or-miss for me, but when they're hits...they hit hard. This haul was full of winners! I've been hungry for spring after a nasty, bitter winter, and this selection of scents seriously satisfied me. Or maybe not, because now I've got more full sizes on my wish list!

Here's what I got:



Full size of Antares
Sample pack of Desiderata, Sanguinea, The Mist Becoming Rain, Gaea, Sea Goddess, and free samples of Sandscape and Midnight Garden. Please remember if you place an order with one or more full size bottles, you can choose TWO free samples, and put those choices in the comment box at checkout. If you forget, don't worry, I've noticed Sharra puts lots of thought into picking your samples based on the style of what you ordered, and is often spot-on.


Look! Bell Pepper sprouts! I haven't killed it yet :)

Everything arrived safely and securely. I did have a little leakage with my sample of Midnight Garden, but nothing too problematic. Alkemia's sample vials have been probably the leakiest and hardest to open of any samples I've tried. She might have changed suppliers though because this batch was much easier to open. The oils are sometimes very thin though so they are still prone to some leakage. I recommend wrapping each vial in sturdy tape immediately, before even opening them, as that will help keep them neat longer. 

I bought a full size of Antares after having sampled it last year. I loved it then but got distracted and never bought a full size, but I never quite forgot it. I review this one in more depth HERE and I think it's safe to say I'm even more in love with it than I was then. It just smells very sophisticated and unique, and far more expensive than it is. I still say it smells somewhat like a sample of Miss Dior Cherie I tried years ago, though I don't know what version it was I tried (it's been reformulated multiple times). Not helpful, I know. But in short it just smells like it could pass for a fancy department store scent, and in this case that is not a bad thing at all!

Sanguinea
Sweat-spiced skin arches hungrily toward the slow, sensual penetration of a fang. Dragon’s blood incense, virile dark red musk, and hauntingly blood-kissed Asian florals. 

This one is a solid red musk backed with some florals and incense. I am a fan of red musk so I enjoy this one, but I think I am covered with Solstice Scents' Gehenna in that department. I will use up my sample but it isn't really unique enough to me to warrant a full size.

Midnight Garden
A lunar intoxication of night-flowering white flowers – tuberose (flower of dangerous pleasures), lily (flower of majestic beauty), honeysuckle (flower of binding love), gardenia (flower of secret passions) and moonflower (flower that inspires dreams of love). Hauntingly beautiful. 

Fun fact about me: growing up there was a spell when my mom worked really diligently in the garden, and once grew moonflowers. These are gorgeous flowers with huge white blooms that unfold only at night, and almost seem to glow in the dark because they're so white. I got it into my head one evening that I wanted to watch them bloom, and so I sat for who knows how long, and silently watched them on their vines, tightly furled, until slowly, very slowly, they moved of their own accord, which was at once fascinating and disconcerting, until the petals fully opened and released the most intoxicating scent. It was seriously one of the most enchanting moments of my young life, and though I'm not religious by any stretch of the imagination, that moment was probably one that I could truly consider divine and utterly magical. I haven't smelled them in a very long time though, so this scent sounded very interesting to me. And it is a really lovely, heady white floral; it's hard for me to pick the notes out individually or isolate my memory of the moonflower, but it definitely has the same general feel. The white floral aspect reminds me a lot of Antares though, so as much as I do like this one, I think Antares will satiate me. *note* I'm sampling as I write here and have Sanguinea and Midnight Garden on each wrist, and man, they actually smell really nice together. Midnight Garden amps the florals in Sanguinea, and Sanguinea lends a muskier, darker, sexier tone.


Gaea
Forest loam under warm spring sunshine, new ferns poking up through decaying leaves, maple sap flowing over lichens, mosses and wet stones at the edge of a vernal pool.

This one, like the name suggests- is very, very earthy. The epitome of Earth. There is a slightly dank wetness to it that isn't a typical fresh aquatic. This is more a cool, stagnant pond, with lots of moss and greenery around it, with mysterious shadowy spots. I wouldn't say this is an especially pretty spring perfume, it's dirtier, edgier, a reminder that new life is only possible through the decay of the old. This has plenty of decay interspersed with the new life. The shadow...and the light. If you like scents like Haus of Gloi's Ploughman, you may like this one, though Gaea is darker and grittier.

The Mist Becoming Rain 
 Rainwater, mist drenched hazel wood, meadow grasses, sage blooms, orris root, ozone, grey amber. Deep, dark, cool and mysterious.

This scent surprised me at first. I get a big slap in the face with a sharp blade of wet grass. Seriously, all I could get on cold sniff was tangy, green grass. On my skin that top note fades and I get more wet woods and some herbal notes. This is definitely a "green" wilderness rain scent, rather than a "blue" rain scent, which I associate with 
moody, more urban city-rain scents like Darling Clandestine's Monstre Delicat. I've found it's quite conducive to layering. I've been liking it a lot with Gaea and Sea Goddess.

Sea Goddess 

An oceanic hymn. Warm skin caressed by iodine and seawater swirled with seaweed and a whisper of seaspray roses and beach plums on a summery breeze of honeysuckle, nardo, and champaca blossom.

Sea Goddess is much more floral than I expected, not overtly aquatic at all. It's more of an impression of the sea than the literal thing. It's also very soft and subtle with some nice skin-salty elements as well. I wish it had more sillage on me, but I've been layering it with Mist Becoming Rain and adding it to Sandscape to complement the beach vibe. I like this a lot, but I don't know if I can justify getting a full size just for layering. 

Sandscape 
Sun warmed beach sand, Atlantic ocean breezes, the saline-aquatic scent of drying sea water on skin, and the faintest hints of tanning oil and seaweed.

Another fun fact: I took ballet lessons for 15 years (starting at the tender age of 3) and hula/ Tahitian dance for 10 years. 
Yeah, grass skirts and sequined bras. That was me. 
 
Circa 1988- NOT this tan in real life. My mom always took pictures of my cousin and I looking in the dressing room mirrors-maybe she thought they were more "arty" that way?

I am very fair skinned, and before our annual dance recital my mom would have me use fake tanner to give me a little color. I remember having to slather it on, and then standing in front of a fan in my undies until it dried. I'm laughing at the memory of it right now. That smell, back when fake tanner was a lot funkier, probably doesn't sound too appealing, but for me, it's wonderfully nostalgic. Sandscape is beachy, but not aquatic. It has more of a warm sunscreen vibe (not straight from the bottle sanitized), but more like you've been sitting in the sun for a while and it's mixed with salty air, water, and sweat. I love this one, and I think I may have to get a full size. I actually knew what this smelled like pre-sampling, I have a co-worker who I've gotten hooked on indie scents and he had gotten Sandscape and let me try it, and I decided it was worth getting a vial of my own. I found that my own sample vial seemed a little more fresh, less sunscreen-y and almost a touch citrusy, and his was heavier on the tanning oil smell. He was kind enough to let me have his vial since he never really wore it, so I have two to tide me over for now.

Desiderata
The exquisitely simple beauty of an evening stroll on a warm June evening. Fresh honeysuckle blooming under a rising full moon, ivy vines, dew dampened grass, riverbed clay, old barnwood, and earthy vetivert root. 

I love honeysuckle, actually have wild bushes of it growing in the wooded area by our apartment, but I haven't really tried any scents featuring it that aren't too cloying, heavy, humid, or indolic on me. I wanted to love Honeysuckle Green Tea from Solstice Scents, but it just became overwhelming on me. Desiderata just may be what I've been looking for. It's softer, with a gentle, sparkling green earthy tone to it. Dry down is a little soapy, but the most luxurious, lovely, expensive soap you can imagine. It makes me think of warm summer evenings as a child, when I could play outside late until the fireflies started to come out. It's got a magical feel to it, and reminds me of the tiny wooden fairy houses that my mom put in the garden, hidden among the flowers, and my overactive imagination ran wild with the possibility that little fairies might actually come to live inside them! This one is really calming and relaxing to me, and I love the inspirational poem it's named after. Full size for absolute certain.

I was really pleased that I enjoyed all of these scents, usually there's at least one I either am ambivalent about or actively dislike, but these were all wonderful! Well, I'm back to work tomorrow after a very therapeutic week off, so I'm going to wind my evening down and shall bid you all goodnight. Until next time!

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