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Some time in the past, I purchased several samples from Alkemia Apothecary & Perfumery, but no place was found suitable for posting the reviews. My thoughts fermented in the earth of disuse and now bear strange thorn-flowers!

Note: One of the flasks broke and I believe seeped into the others. However, the only way I could know for sure was ordering more product, and so my first experience with this house was also my last. Since this time, I have smelled the Scotchguard note in some of BPAL’s scents, and I believe it also could be a cheap fixative, which if true, would be doubly disappointing.

The Highwayman

An odd, ever-evolving fragrance, this. In the bottle it smelled like something animalic and I was a bit hesitant to put it on. What would happen if I smelled like an animal? Would some catastrophic lycanthropic transformation occur? I pressed the sample bottle to both wrists and held my breath. Then I relaxed — nothing but a strange scent arose.

Initially it smelled like Scotchguard — a fabric/gluey scent, but in ten minutes, that became one with other elements to produce an outdoorsy/leather/fir aroma. If this had remained, I would have been quite pleased, but scent continued to change, sometimes smelling like a deep forest fir, other times more like high-end cologne, and at other times, like Scotchguard. When in the outdoorsy/leather/fir zone, it increased confidence and assurance, as if I had acquired a title of lesser nobility. The Scotchguard smell does nothing for me, and while I like the deep fir scent, it has no emotional hooks in me, either. An interesting failure.


This is a winner, but I must not overapply. Restraint! I must NOT overapply. It begins with a deep, alcohol-like note, expansive like rum, but not sweet, mingled with a freshness. This is the smell of ancient laboratories. I am home. As time passes, resins come out to play and collide, amplifying the feeling of being lost in some grande place of knowledge, creating something expansive, ancient, and grande. The tobacco/vanilla accord also dwells here, which makes it smell close to BPAL’s The Antikythera Mechanism. The first time out I was sniffing my wrists every so often, and when I was driving, the scent wafted around me in a glorious olfactory haze. It radiates a few feet around and lasts about eight hours.


Skinfail. This cycles rapidly through several configurations after applying, from new toy plastic to deodorant, but eventually becomes a fresh, faintly metallic, sickenly-sweet scent. It has the same heart as Victorinox Snow Flower, so men and tomboys, steer clear. I don’t mind the metallic part, but something in it deforms. After about four hours, it deepens, becoming a metallic-aquatic smell, closer to the skin. The projection is comparable to that of other Alkemia offerings (medium), and the duration is 10 hours. Subsequent wearings reveal the disgusting nature of the sickly-sweetness: toilet deodorizer.

Ex Libris Anima

Skinfail #2. The opening notes are Scotchguard and alcohol. At close range, it remains that way, but inhaling the air around you bequeaths the smell of old books and dust. In the end, though, it proves too artificial — too Scotchguard-y. I can see the vision of this scent, but in the end, the gates of Shangri-La were denied me. Perhaps someone with a different skin chemistry could raise this flower to fruition.

Stars under Winter Solstice

(No longer available, or perhaps only available at certain times of year.)

Skinfail #3. A soft and elegant fragrance tries to find life but ends suffocated beneath a sodden blanket of toilet deodorizer and fecal water.