Friday, August 19, 2011

Sweet Anthem: Perfume Samples

Sweet Anthem is a vegan indie perfumery, with a storefront on Etsy.  They are going to have a physical store in Seattle in October, which I'm really excited about! 

I ordered a sample set and chose Peter, Louise and Emily, all as perfume oils (the other option being solid perfume samples).  I paid $14.00 for 3 samples (2 mL each) plus $2.00 shipping.  I had another $1.08 thrown on because of WA state tax (ugh), but that's the way it goes.  You can find the sample set listing here.  My order was placed on July 22; I received a shipping notice (with a USPS tracking number) on July 27, and my package arrived on July 29th.  It was packed in a paper pouch, inside of a bubble mailer.  I received my three samples, plus a freebie sample; there was no invoice, but there was a beautiful business card (I personally don't mind it when a paper invoice isn't included; it's just one more thing I'd have to shred, and I keep pdfs and emails of all of my purchases.  I think I've been living in Seattle too long - it's a very green city.  There's no need to waste another piece of paper!).
Here are the official scent notes for the perfumes I chose (taken from Sweet Anthem's Etsy store site):
014. Peter - Black Currant, Leather, Champagne, Lemon, Matcha Tea, Patchouli
011. Louise - Amber, Benzoin, Lavender, Maple Sugar, Opium, Pumpkin
008. Emily - Almond, Coconut, Honey, Milk, Oatmeal, Sandalwood, Vanilla, Yuzu

The sample was:
015. Rebecca - Agarwood, Amber, Black Pepper, Bluebonnets, Ginger, Honey, Pear, Tobacco
They are all neatly labeled with their respective names.  Oops, sunlight, bad, I know!  It was just for the photo!
They come in cute, clear vials, and it's clear that they are naturally different colors - very pretty!  The caps have a small rounded tip in the center that fits snugly into the vial opening, which means they screw on tightly and won't leak.  I also use the extended tip to dab the oil onto me.  Is that wrong?

As usual, I tried to give all of these a few days each.  I know that the smell you get out of the vial is different from the scent that may linger on your skin, so it's imperative to test these out on skin.  I also thought I'd give you S.'s thoughts, as well, since it's good to get another person's opinion, and I wouldn't wear something that he found really unpleasant (maybe :P).  Generally we like the same sort of smells (that is, I like the colognes he wears and he likes the perfumes I wear) - so his opinion is helpful.  I'm also listing Sweet Anthem's description of each, taken from their Etsy store site.

014. Peter 
From Sweet Anthem: A black currant-champagne cocktail for the Emperor after a long day out on the hunt, sipped as he daydreams about a certain wooden tallship. (Woods)

• Top Notes: Champagne, Lemon, Matcha Tea
• Heart Notes: Black Currant
• Base Notes: Leather, Patchouli

My thoughts:
Strong.  In the vial it smells like lemon, leather, and some sort of earthy pine (the patchouli, maybe?).  One me, the other notes fade away too quickly, and I just get the earthy pine, as well as a strong, clean smell.  It lasted all day, and then some - I scrubbed it off after two hours because the intensity was giving me a headache, but I still got whiffs of it throughout the rest of the day.  If you want your woodsy perfume to last, this would be one to try.

S.'s thoughts: Very clean and fresh; not bad, but not particularly standout.

015. Rebecca 
From Sweet Anthem: A perfectly ghostly way to go... the deepest black oud and smoke, mulled with a harvest blend of honey and amber, and livened with ginger and cranberry. Candied pears, Texas flowers, and late summer blooms are strewn throughout.

• Top Notes: Cranberry, Fig Ginger, Pear
• Heart Notes: Bluebonnets, Honey
• Base Notes: Agarwood, Amber, Tobacco

My thoughts: Spicy and dark in the vial.  Smells kind of like Peter, but not as citrusy or clean.  On my skin, it still pulls too woodsy and spicy for me.

S.'s thoughts: Spicy.  Not a favorite.

008. Emily 
From Sweet Anthem: Still she wears her red dress, and paints her toes and twirls. Emily takes it back to old times of honey, oatmeal, yuzu, almond, Turkish mocha, vanilla, coconut, and sandalwood.

• Top Notes: Almond, Milk, Yuzu
• Heart Notes: Honey, Oatmeal, Turkish Mocha
• Base Notes: Coconut, Sandalwood

My thoughts
: This one smelled incredibly different in the vial, and on me.  In the vial, I got a lot of almond and honey, and just the faintest hint of yuzu, and it was almost too sweet.  On me, it was initially that same smell, but then it dried down into something softly floral and almost powdery - but not too powdery.  The more I wore it, the more it grew on me.  I find that I need only a teeny, tiny bit of this one - a dab on one wrist.

S.'s thoughts:
(This is the dialogue that went on between us).
me (hold up my wrist for him to sniff - he's used to it, haha): What do you think?
S. (sniffs): Um. What are your thoughts?
me: No, I asked you.  I don't want to tell you and contaminate the experiment!
S. (laughs): Oh.  Okay.  Well.  Um.  Play-doh?
me (burst out laughing): Who makes Play-doh perfume?  Though I guess I can kind of see that.  It has that initially sweet smell, but it doesn't have the awful, awful end note that Play-doh has.  I like this one!  No?
S.: Um, not my favorite.
me: *mumble mumble* I'm going to keep it anyway, for when you piss me off.
S.: What?
me: :D Nothing, babe.  Thanks for your input! :D <3 :D (Seriously?  Play-doh?  *shakes head*)

011. Louise 
From Sweet Anthem: Celebrate fall anytime - maple sugar, spiced pumpkin, a hedge maze, and a late fall bonfire before winter snow sets in.

• Top Notes: Pumpkin, Maple Sugar
• Heart Notes: Lavender, Hay
• Base Notes: Amber, Benzoin, Opium

My thoughts
: Very foodie/gourmand from the vial.  I thought it'd be a good idea when I ordered it, but when I smelled it, I had to wonder - did I really want to smell like pumpkin pie?  Actually, the spicy pumpkin scent is okay; did I really want to smell like maple syrup?  So I dabbed just a teeny, tiny bit on my wrist, and apprehensively held it to my nose.  The foodie sweetness was gone, replaced by heavy, heady incense.  It's rather a complex incense smell - when I sniff my wrist, it's sweeter and spicy, but the general dry down is heady.  Not my kind of scent, honestly.  Another one for the swap pile!

S.'s thoughts: Smells like incense.  (He's awfully brief sometimes.)

I have to confess: I'm horrible at picking out perfumes.  I have no idea, simply based on scent descriptions, what I like.  Yet I still try!  With mixed results.  And I can't always detect which note it is in a perfume that I don't like, just based on sniffing and comparing my personal assessment with the scent description - probably because I don't know what some of those notes are (agarwood, anyone?).  But this is the only way to learn, right?  And my personal failures at perfume selection shouldn't deter you from trying Sweet Anthem.  There is a wide selection, and I already have my eye on a few other ones. This is at least helping me to compile a list of notes that I do and don't like, and I appreciate the detailed listing of fragrance notes on each perfume.  I wish someone offered a consulting service! :D  So far I have learned, though, that I do not like woodsy scents.  Oops.

Read more about Sweet Anthem here, in a featured seller interview with Etsy.  I've also found Meredith to be very responsive on Twitter (@sweetanthem) and Facebook, if you need to get in touch with her about anything.  She was extremely helpful with questions I had when I was trying to make an order, and I really appreciated it.  Perfumes are extremely subjective, and however it smells to me or on me is possibly completely different than the experience you would have with it, so really, I can only review the company itself, based on my interactions with the owner.  Everything about my shopping experience was great, so I would recommend Sweet Anthem, especially if you're looking for a vegan perfumery.