Saturday, November 1, 2014

Sweet Anthem Winter 2014

[All purchased by me, as part of Sweet Anthem's The SA List.]

This is the last set of Sweet Anthem's SA list this year, and it does not disappoint. There have been packaging changes throughout the year, as Meredith listens to customer feedback and adapts accordingly.

The winter release features three fragrances: Agatha, Lenore, and Ulalume.
Image from Sweet Anthem
Agatha: petit grain mandarin, orris, peony, caramel.

Petit Grain Mandarin is extracted from leaves and twigs of mandarin plants; orris is iris root. Agatha is clean and feminine on me - the bright break of peeling into a mandarin, the soapy, petal-soft peony, like crepe, blended into skin with the thinnest layer of light caramel. If you're worried about caramel, don' be - Agatha is not a gourmand, and the caramel here isn't the heavier, vanilla-centric syrup of Prada Candy or the like; it's drizzling the tiniest bit of caramel into a crisp iced tea. Agatha is a little too clean for me, but if you shy away from heavy, indulgent scents in the winter, this is a nice, lightweight option.

Lenore: pineapple, orange blossom, fern, white musk.

Yes, this collection appears to be Poe-themed. The pineapple intrigued, and you can smell it instantly from the vial. On skin, it contributes that sweet roundness that candied or dried pineapple can have, without the tooth-achingly sweet sugary crust. The fern and white musk make a lovely green wreath, kept fresh with the orange blossom, so that it will be eternally green and alive, never fading. (The ties to the poem are obvious here - beauty preserved, never aging - but I didn't want to make this sound dead; the poem is more about the preservation of a beautiful woman's image and celebration of her spirit's ascension, so let's go with that, shall we?). I rather like this one, and it reminds me of Edith, another one of Meredith's creations that I'm quite fond of, but of course the beeswax has been traded in for fern and musk. It's like another color of a favorite sweater - I'll have to think about a bottle.

Ulalume: Black pepper, Ylang Ylang, Gardenia, Dried Leaves.

Ulalume is the darkest of these three sisters, and the one I'm the most divided on. Agatha is not for me, Lenore is, and Ulalume - I'm not quite sure. I'll have to try it some more. It has the cozy spicy blend you might expect of a winter launch scent, coupled with the musty, peppery sweetness of dried leaves. As you might expect, ylang ylang and gardenia are diva notes, but even though you can definitely smell them, they blend in harmoniously, their velvety undersides and spicy qualities amplified by their dalliance with the pepper and spices of the other notes here. I think I like it, I'm not sure I could wear it. It runs a bit sweet as time wears on. However, even if you're not usually a fan of white florals, that shouldn't stop you from trying Ulalume.

Overall, I enjoyed the experience of this set and feel it speaks to the cold nights and darker myths of winter, bypassing the snow and more celebrated aspects. You can find them all at Sweet Anthem.