Monday, April 1, 2013

Perfume Mini Reviews - Midnight Gypsy Alchemy part 1

Some time ago I received this pretty little package of samples from Midnight Gypsy Alchemy. Midnight Gypsy Alchemy (not to be confused with Midnight Gypsy, another completely unrelated indie perfumery) sells all natural perfumes with a mysterious gypsy twist. I ordered my samples from the Etsy shop. The perfumer, Nina, is on vacation right now but will get back to business April 6th. I ordered two sets of samples, one set was the winter line of scents and the other a selection of general catalog scents. In this part I will review the winter scents.

Into the Woods
"A scent to capture the mystical aroma of the woods with a sweet smell of earth, and trees filled with the magic of night air. This perfume blend was carefully created with labdanum and benzoin resin,vanilla absolute,essential oils in creosete, frankincense, patchouli, cypress, and cedarwood,gently infused in patchouli leaves, frankincense resin, creosete leaves and vanilla beans."

This one is hard for me to describe. The prominent notes here are quite unfamiliar for me. At first I smell what I guess is the labdanum. It smells quite like amber but a bit leathery and slightly medicinal. The benzoin is also prominent right from the start and gets more dominant as this dries. I imagine that I can smell woods in the background. The wood I can smell tho most is not cedar, so I'm guessing that it is the cypress. It smells evergreen but not very fresh. The final drydown is a faint ambery vanilla. For me this scent is quite lovely, but it isn't quite as darkly mysterious as I had hoped. Nor does it evoke any forest I have ever been in. There is that hint of cypress but the rest is neither woody, earthy, mossy or green. As with most natural perfumes this is a bit lacking in sillage and longevity. The scent sits close to the skin and disappeares within an hour or two.

The Owl Moon
"A fragrance to invoke a bit of owl and moon magick in a wooded earth scent with hints of smoky vanilla undertones. Created with cedarwood, clary sage, hint of lavender, ylang ylang, essential oils delicately infused with vanilla absolute ,amber and benzoin resin , vanilla beans,cedarwood flakes and lavender buds."

This one is perhaps my favorite out of these four scents. But it is rather simplistic. It starts with a seamless blend of clary sage and lavender. At this stage this is sharp, herbal and medicinal. Lovely if that is your thing, but a bit headache inducing in the long run. Thankfully it mellows! As it dries I detect hints of cedar and a nice soft vanilla base emerges. The lavender slowly vacates but the clary sage stays a while. I can smell no ylang at all, which is good for me because I have started to hate that note. The final drydown is made up of little lingering hints of clary sage together with vanilla and benzoin with a little bit of cedarwood. I really like this one. It does kind of bring to mind a cold moonlit night full of frost covered herbs and, strange as it sounds, I imagine hearing the whisper of an owls soft wings. Of all these scents this one also happens to have both the best sillage and the best longevity, about three hours.

Black Velvet
"Dark and sweet seductive scent of mystic resins and florals uniquely blended with black tea, dark cocoa and subtle notes of woodland magick. A blend created with cocoa, labdanum, jasmine and champa flower absolutes, essential oils in vetiver, amyris, black pepper, clove, ambrette seed, black tea extract infused in black tea leaves, ground pepper corns and dark cocoa powder."

I can't really tell you much about this scent. My skin sems to have a tendency to amp champa, a note that I hate with a passion... So I scrubbed this one. :( This sounded so good, apart from the champa... I just hoped that the champa would be hidden. It wasn't.

Winter Gypsy
"The essence of winter snow and scents of the season in a forest inspired scent with warm spiced notes blended with memories of winters past. A fragrance of essential oils in juniper, bergamot, clove,cinnamon and cocoa absolute, infused with pear fruit extract,juniper berries,clove buds and real pear fruit."

I like this one too! It starts out with a sharp clove, some juniper and a soft bergamot. After this first stage mellows it smells quite like Incendere for a little while. And if you have read my review of Incendere you know that I associate that with chai tea. This is like the chai tea of Incendere without the carnation and with a lot more clove. This stage is creamy, foody and very comforting! On drydown this passes. The creaminess disappeares and what is left is a mellowed clove with a vaguely woody, sweet and maybe slightly fruity background. What I like about this scent is that short stage of chai. The rest of the time the clove dominates a bit too much... I like clove, but alone it doesn't charm me, it needs company! The chai stage transports me to the same happy memories that I describe in the Incendere review, but the rest of the time Winter Gypsy fails to evoke any images or associations. This one has a medium sillage and a longevity of about three hours.

In the next part, the general catalog scents and some final impressions of this quite unknown perfumery!

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  1. Owl Moon sounds so good... I haven't tried Midnight Gypsy Alchemy before but if I ever order I am definitely getting that one!

    1. I can send it to you in return for the Mango Sticky Rice! While it is lovely and quite evokative it still isn't really my thing... :)

  2. What a wonderfully lovely review! I've had my eye on some of Midnight Gypsy's offerings for a while now. They're scents seem have always struck me as having a certain poetic beauty to them, and of course, I'm rather fond of their ethereally lovely packaging, too. This is the first review of any of their offerings that I'd had a chance to read, and I must say, it's only made me want to try some of their scents even more now. (Perhaps when all the expenses of our new pup are behind us later in the year, I'll do just that.)

    ♥ Jessica

    1. Thanks for commenting Jessica! Midnight Gypsy Alchemy scents definitely deserve sampling! I love the descriptions, concepts and the beautiful branding! The scents are a bit too discrete and lacking in longevity for me... But if you prefer soft and intimate scents and don't mind reapplying after a few hours then they are amazing!

  3. I've been wanting to try Midnight Gypsy for so long! The Owl Moon does sound really lovely. And I love the sound of Into The Woods - I can never resist a scent that promises to smell like the woods - but it sounds like it doesn't quite live up to its name.

    1. These scents are really lovely but no, Into the Woods does not smell like any wood I have ever been in... And ultimately I want to be transported by perfumes. If you want to experience a scent that really transports you to a forest you should try Norne by Slumberhouse! That one is the most stunning forest scent ever!