Tuesday, October 11, 2011

It's not you, it's me.

I had a heartsy voucher for Sweet Anthem, a company I've been meaning to try, and grabbed the pre-order for the Fall sample set. It started shipping at the beginning of October, and mine arrived today.  They arrived packed in a bubble mailer and with a glassine envelope holding little ziplocks of two scents each.

The first thing I noticed was - these are STRONG scents - I could smell them before I opened the envelope and none of them were leaking. And they last, even after thoroughly scrubbing my wrists between scents, I could still get a faint whiff of what I'd used last. The sample sizes are quite generous, 2ml bottles of liquid perfume. Scents and samples are also available in solid scents.

photo courtesy Sweet Anthem Perfumes.


The first one I tried was Nell: A tea fit for any such party: gilded roses, a bouquet of carnations, and a black tea sweetened with milk, spiked with a smattering of cardamom, and a peach slice swimming where a lemon should be. Top Notes: Cardamom, Creamy Milk, Peach • Heart Notes: Damascus Rose • Base Notes: Black Tea(Spice)  Nell started out sophisticated and intriguing. Roses with a hint of spicy bitter citrus. The notes only list peaches but there's a definite air of bitter orange or lime. Sadly, Nell was one of those dates that starts out promising, but ends up disappointing. After about a half hour, the sophisticated, worldy scent dissapated, leaving just a bitter citrus note behind. I didn't get any carnation scent at all, which is a shame, as I love carnation. If she'd kept her initial bloom, I'd have liked Nell, but in the end it smelled less like a fragrance and more like a garnish.

Colin:Thick air of cardamom, incense, and myrrh set the stage for many a-ghostly and storied song, and provides asylum for spice-laden spectors who steal sweet maidens into the dead of night. Top Notes: Benzoin, Cardamom• Heart Notes: Honey • Base Notes: Amber, Frankincense, Myrrh (Incense). Smoky and buttery with a spicy sharp bite to it. The cardamom is quite sharp, as is the myrrh. I liked this one a bit better, I just wish the amber and honey notes had mellowed the bite a bit. Again, after a bit of wearing, this one turns painfully bitter on me. Both Colin and Nell could work as unisex fragrances.

Beatrice One of the main players in the late-shift masquerade, Beatrice is a hearty soul full of all sorts of fragrant warmth. What type of pie, indeed. Top Notes: Rhubarb • Heart Notes: Mahogany • Base Notes: Frankincense, Tonka Bean (Incense) This one is sweet and tangy and a little bit resinous. The pairing of rhubarb with spicy, woody undertones is brilliant - the whole thing smells warm, rich and delicious without smelling foody. The rhubarb notes are strong initially, but over time the whole thing mellows into a warm, wonderful outdoorsy smell, a combination of burning leaves and tangy fruityness.The underlying bitterness these scents all seem to have on me is very subtle here. Beatrice would also make a lovely room spray.

Annabelle: Sweltering jasmine flowers cling to a cloud of osmanthus, and the spray of sea air and salty musk will surely keep you oceanside even though the summer respite has left us. Top Notes: Sea Salt • Heart Notes: Jasmine, Osmanthus • Base Notes: White Amber (Marine) Marine notes and amber! Oh I'm in heaven. It's like the waft of a bouquet of flowers while strolling down the beach in the early morning fog. This is a fresh, wet, slightly sweet, salty fragrance, the pervasive bitterness tempered by the saltiness and the richness of the amber. I think this is what a mermaid would smell like.


Leslie: Old teenage hopes are alive at your door. Citrus notes entwined with smoldering florals concede to a lovely, idyllic foundation of moss, woods, and leather.  Top Notes: Grapefruit, Yuzu • Heart Notes: Lily, Incense • Base Notes: Leather, Sandalwood, Sea Moss. (Musk) Fruity and sharp. This one is also very fresh and bright smelling. This would be a wonderful smell for a teenager who wanted something distinctive and crisp. The yuzu is strong, very strong, on initial application, while the sandalwood and leather notes creep up underneath slowly. This is a wonderful feminine scent without being girly, a tomboy scent, really, very energetic and confident. Grown-ups can wear it too, it just makes me think of a girl with freckles and a baseball cap running out to play after school. The bitter undertone is almost non-existant in this one.

Miranda - We fall, but our souls are flying. A baleful blend of banded peppers and woods, tragically impaled with bloodshot immortelle blossoms. Top Notes: Pink Pepper, White Pepper • Heart Notes: Immortelle • Base Notes: Black Agar, Cocoa, White Agar (Spice) This one is lovely, sweet and haunting. It starts with an odd, mentholy whiff, then graduates to a dark floral, but not too heavy.  The pepper notes make it sharp, while the cocoa gives it a rich, warm bottom note. This is probably the most autumny scent in the bunch, with a hint of spookiness in the undertones. The bitterness here works to the advantage of the blend, giving it a poignancy, like preserved blossoms found between the pages of an old book.

Maureen -  These thousand dreams could wake you; a complicated, seductive "floriental" for any girl child in the dark. • Top Notes: Almond, Fig, Mint • Heart Notes: Moroccan Rose • Base Notes: Chai Tea, Myrrh. (Oriental) Oh, you sexy thing, you! Definitely the most grown up of the bunch, Maureen is luscious, a food blend without being foody - the smell of an exotic Oriental bazaar, spices and incense mixing with bakery scents and a touch of floral as the rose scent, a good deep, old rose scent, wafts up through the blend. The mint brings a final, bright touch. It's sexy, exotic and a little bit risque. I love this one and the bitter undertone is very subtle.

Also included was a sample of Anita: And it's a very special thing -- she makes the people clap and sing. Be happy all the time in this nearly drinkable peppermint mocha perfume. Top Notes: Moroccan Mint, Peppermint • Heart Notes: Coffee • Base Notes: Vanilla.(Gourmand) I love the scent of coffee. Hate the taste, but love the scent. This is less of a minty coffee scent than a coffeish mint. Mint definitely dominates and the coffee and vanilla give it weight and warmth. This would also be a good unisex perfume. It does have that bitterness, which is an odd juxtaposition with the mint but in this case it adds a manly edge to the fragrance.

You'll notice I keep mentioning a bitter undertone. I don't think it's strictly the perfumes. Every scent reacts differently to everybody and every body's chemistry. I think the bitterness is just the way her blends, probably some of the base ingredients, react to my skin. It's not necessarily bad, but with some of the fragrances it was jarring. I doubt it would be as strong on someone else. I have the same problem with Estee Lauder perfumes.  It doesn't matter what the scent is, or how lovely it smells in the bottle or on other people, when it hits my skin it goes from scent to stench. Always and without fail, within half an hour, I can't scrub that stuff off fast enough, it just morphs into something revolting on me. Which is very sad, because some EL scents are wonderful. Just not on me.

Overall I was quite pleased with my Sweet Anthem experience and would recommend them. A nice variety of scents, all well made and well-thought out combinations. I think I might prefer these in a solid scent for daywear, as they are quite potent. Only two of the scents really reached out and grabbed me as something I would want, but that's a matter of preference, not quality. These are excellent perfumes that, in the case of this sampler set, were just mostly not to my taste. Sweet Anthem offers a nice line of perfumes, several of which are still on my 'want to try list', notably Tara and Anastasia. The scents are available in a variety of liquid sizes and formats and in solid.


All products were purchased by me for my own use. My opinions are my own and always will be. Your mileage may vary. Photo from Sweet Anthem's Etsy site.



26 comments:

  1. I love the three SA perfumes I've tried (Marianne, Juliet, Mary), and have more on the way. My chemistry tends to turn everything sweet, so there are a lot of scents that I admire and adore on other people, but just can't wear without them turning awful. (Dior Diorissimo smells like bug spray on me.) Body chemistry is such an interesting thing!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Isn't it though! Have a room full of people all wear the same scent and it would be different on every one. I love that about perfume - even mass produced scents become totally personal once they're on.

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  3. I initially tried Caroline, Louise, Tara, and Anastasia. I love Caroline - in the bottle and on me it's lovely and fresh and complex. Louise is very strong on me, but also very autumnal, which I love. Tara smells great in the bottle, but it turns cloyingly sweet on me, alas. Anastasia was the real surprise. From the description, I was intrigued. I got the solid twist, and I wasn't impressed by it in the container. It sat on my vanity for a number of weeks before I finally gave it a try, and surprise! Smells great on me. Go figure!

    I got the fall sampler, too, just yesterday. I haven't tried them all yet, but so far I absolutely adore Miranda. I got them all in solid twists - so convenient, and I really like Meredith's formulation.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I may have to try Louise at some point - I love all the notes in it except maple - I loathe the smell of maple - if it's too strong, it'll ruin the blend for me. I think next time I'll go for the solids.

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  5. I love love Juliet! It is amazing! Sweet Anthem is a fav...the special releases like Alice and Red Queen were nice as well...I'm a huge fan of SA!

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  6. Thanks for this review! I have wanted to try Sweet Anthem. I may have to go swing over there and place an order :) Even though I am so in love with Solstice Scents right now... :)

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  9. I'm back with an update! I was curious about the "bitter undertone" you mentioned, so I got a couple of Sweet Anthem's fragrances in liquid form (1 EDP and 1 perfume oil) that I already had in solid form. Sure enough, the liquid perfumes both had a very strong bitter smell to them. I don't know if it's part of her formulation or if you and I both have the same skin chemistry that doesn't mesh well with some of her base notes, but it's definitely there.

    Happily, Meredith's solid perfumes do not produce that bitter undercurrent when I wear them, so you might have good luck with them also. For my part, I'll stick to her solids from here on out.

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  10. That's great to know - I'll definitely try her solids next time, especially for Maureen. Thanks!

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