Finally it's here! This was the winter collection I was most excited for. IDK, winter scents just aren't really my thing. But I've had such great luck with every collection Alchemic Muse has done this year, and these scents looked too damn good to pass up.
The ordering process is so easy. There's no crazy race to check out before items go out of stock like some other brands I order from. I ordered the day of the release and received a shipping notice two hours later. I received my items a few business days later and also got a free sample that is included with every order.
Applewood - orchard apples drizzled with buttery caramel faintly entwined with soft woods and a smoky vanilla. In the vial I only get caramel apples but once on the skin a subtle vanilla slowly begins to emerge. The apples and caramel are still dominant after over five hours of wear. This didn't morph much and remained a nice caramel apple scent during dry down.
Figgy Pudding - festive and delicious! Sugary dried figs simmered in brandy with shavings of nutmeg, ginger, allspice and cinnamon leaf spooned over creamy tapioca and drizzled with a honeyed vanilla glaze. In the jar I smell a lot of cinnamon and brandy in a creamy base. On my skin the cinnamon really amps and it begins to remind me of potpourri. It didn't morph much as it wore off. IDK, this was the one I was excited about but it's not what I had hoped it would be. It's still nice but I'm glad I didnt blind-buy a full bottle.
Krumcake - freshly baked gingerbread, brown sugar, creamy butter and dark molasses dusted with saffron, clove, nutmeg and cinnamon and filled with caramelized chestnuts in thick vanilla cream. Smells just like gingerbread but it's light on the spices. They're detectable but faint. And I smell a bakery note that reminds me of pie crust. I imagine the spices (particularly the cinnamon) would amp on the skin, but since I only bought this in a wash-off product I have no way to test that.
Panettone - tart cranberries, apples, ripe figs and crunchy walnuts in sumptuous batter of rich golden cake. In the vial it's all cranberry and walnuts on top of a buttery yellow cake. On the skin the walnuts and cake fade a bit so this is mostly cranberries. As it wears down the cranberries fade but I can still smell the faint aroma of buttery cake. I love cranberry scents but the cake note had me questioning whether I would like this. Since cranberries are all I can really smell on the skin, I think I'll go back for a few more products in this scent. Wear time was about three hours.
Spiked Nog - the decadent holiday drink...rich, creamy eggnog sprinkled with freshly grated nutmeg and spiked with a shot of spiced rum. In the vial there's a touch of spices, a lot of rum and it even has that creamy egg scent that real eggnog has. On the skin the rum fades and I'm left with that creamy egg aroma with subtle spices mixed in. If you're familiar with the cream note that Arcana uses it smells close to Spiked Nog at this point (minus the spices). As it dries down I'm left with that creamy aroma until it fades completely after three hours.
Sweet Potato - sweet potatoes simmering in butter, warm spices and brown sugar topped with melted marshmallows. Smooth sweet potatoes and brown sugar with a touch of cinnamon. On the skin the brown sugar quickly takes over and mixes nicely with the sweet potatoes. Fortunately the spices never made an appearance on the skin. As it dries down the marshmallow is all I can smell. At this point it stays pretty close to the skin. Total wear time was around four hours.
Wassail - juicy apples and orange zest simmering with warm spices of fresh ginger, cinnamon stick and nutmeg spiked with vintage ale and dark patchouli. Now this was a surprise. I expected this to smell something like potpourri, but instead I smell what must be the ginger. However it reminds me more of clove. It's a very effervescent fragrance which was completely unexpected. I only have this in a wash-off product but I'll definitely order this in other formats. I'm curious to see whether the apple and orange will make an appearance if left on the skin as a perfume oil.
Winter Berry - treat yourself to a mouth-watering fusion of tart cranberries sweetened with sparkling citrus and a light smattering of ripe, freshly-picked red figs. This is only available as a bar soap. It's a pretty straightforward scent...I smell beautiful, tart cranberries...no figs. I would love to see this offered in more products.
Winter Violet - soft white Victorian violets accented with sprigs of fresh peppermint. Bar soap only. Sweet violets with a subtle touch of peppermint. This isn't as sweet as some other violet scents I've tried, and it doesn't lean powdery at all.
I was curious to see how Sweet Potato and Spiked Nog compared to Haus of Gloi's Sweet Potato Treat and Eggnoggin' so here's some thoughts.
AM Sweet Potato vs. HoG Sweet Potato Treat -
HoG's Sweet Potato Treat is heavy on the cinnamon while AM's Sweet Potato is more creamy and smooth with a whisper of spice. On the skin the HoG version smells strongly of cinnamon and sweet potatoes for an hour while AM is mostly brown sugar and sweet potato. The AM version hugs close to the skin and the marshmallow eventually prevails, making this very sweet the longer it wears. The HoG version eventually loses the spice and becomes straight up sweet potato as it wears down...no marshmallow present; sillage is stronger than AM's version.
Verdict - AM's Sweet Potato wins this round. I prefer the subtle spices and sweeter dry down.
AM Spiked Nog vs. HoG Eggnoggin'- on cold sniff Spiked Nog is more realistic and has that egg-y quality, while Eggnoggin' has a sugary sweetness that reads more butter rum Life-Savers candy than actual eggnog. The rum in Eggnoggin' is much more pronounced. On the skin they both become very creamy as they dry down, but Eggnoggin' is much sweeter. I could see Spiked Nog heading into curdled milk territory on others but thankfully that wasn't the case on my skin.
Verdict - while I love the smell of eggnog, I've come to realize that I don't necessarily want to wear it. I doubt I would repurchase either of these, but if I had to choose I would pick Haus of Gloi's Eggnoggin'. I consider it to be more wearable since it lacks that egg aroma.
Final thoughts - Wassail was the surprise favorite here and the one I will definitely repurchase. Winter Berry is one that I would certainly repurchase if it was available in more products. This is a well-rounded winter collection that I highly recommend. Everything here is still available on the website and there will likely be a restock in the near future.