Saturday, October 27, 2012

Sweet Anthem Falltiming 2012

Sweet Anthem's Falltiming 2012 release was a relief for me - it is much different from the usual "autumn" release, full of candied apples, freshly turned dirt and spicy pines, musty mosses and creaky cabinets. I understand the appeal of these spooky fall favorites, but many of those notes do not suit me, and as a result I usually skip them. Not so here. Sweet Anthem's collection this year evokes the wistful memory of a fading summer, rather than the preservation of a dying, sleeping world. To me, it seems to be inspired by the sensuality of flesh and other earthly desires, a different spin on the usual earth-bound harvest collection.

I purchased a sampler set of perfume oils during sweeps. As usual, I have included the perfume name, notes, and official description, all taken from Sweet Anthem's site.
Linden blossoms.
Lucille: amber, jasmine, linden blossom, rosewood, sea salt, tonka bean
"From an old Germanic ballad: The linden-maiden rests beneath an illuminated grove/night-bloomin jasmine fastened in her hair/ Surrounded by the memory of ash and smoke and trove, the linden-worm takes flight/ off they climb together, through the salty air."

I was apprehensive at first, because Lucille opens very sweetly, almost in a gourmand way - I get a sense of ethylene (think the honeyed, ripe quality of bananas) in the very beginning. Then she slips into something more floral, like a white dress, and while that innocent sweetness remains, she grows wiser and older and the final dry down is a subtle, salty (in the best, best way) softness that stays close to the skin. The salt is not astringent or aquatic - it's more like the contrast in a salted caramel. In a word: divine.
Marguerite: absinthe, lavender, leather, mimosa, mint, olive, tobacco
"The sparkling diamond: Tales of ill-fated love in bawdy dance halls are woven by French lavender, droves of acacia, and a dash of mint. Leather corsets mingle with absinthe-spiked martinis in this scintillating scene of glamour and grief."

Marguerite is not my favorite, but it is a storyteller's triumph. It is very much the tragic darling of a masked ball - all of a person's nuances, in one perfume. Imagine: You see a woman laughing, threads of hair escaping a beautiful updo, the absinthe in her hand spilling over the glass as she twirls madly around. The bold, dizzying sweetness of the drink is mixed with the briny scent of sweat and frenzied movement; as you get closer, you breathe in the powder clinging to her skin, catch the barest glimpse of leather corset strings, the tobacco stains from her lover's fingers. Marguerite is not shy, not tame, and not ordinary.
Miranda in the Storm, by John William Waterhouse (source). I don't know if this is the Miranda that Meredith was thinking of, but this is certainly who springs to my mind.
Miranda: black agar, cocoa absolute, immortelle, pink pepper, white agar, white pepper
"We fall, but our souls are flying. A baleful blend of banded peppers and woods, tragically impaled with bloodshot immortelle blossoms."

I'm not an agar girl. I simply am not. With that said, I tried really hard! Miranda starts off with an almost maple-sweet note (immortelle, perhaps?), emboldened with cocoa, and softens into something grassier, almost windswept, and old. It is spicy, and definitely, definitely oud. It is kind of like the agar itself, you know? Something natural taken over by a darker other, turning into an aged, wizened form of itself.
Alexander Roslin's The Lady with the Veil.
Nicolette: honey, mandarin, myrrh, orange blossom, pomelo, white amber
"A sticky-sweet blend of orange blossom, honey, and myrrh with a prickling of pomelo and mandarin. A seduction in the orange grove: let the flower kiss your cheek."

In the vial and immediately on my skin, I get a sharp sense of myrrh, which can smell synthetic on me - almost like latex. The pomelo sharpens that further, and makes Nicolette kind of brassy, and surprisingly soapy on my skin. Reminds me of those tales of bold, ambitious courtesans - seductive and secretive, but with that slight bite of citrus. There's a honeyed note that lingers, like that final kiss. That softer, sweeter note is quite romantic, but I'm not a fan of how myrrh opens and wears on my skin.

All of these scents are limited edition and still available on Sweet Anthem's website, though I'm not sure how much longer they'll be around. If you're curious - snap them up! While I enjoyed playing with them all, I've only really fallen in love with Lucille, and am contemplating a full size of that gem. What about you? Do any of these strike a chord?