Review: Alchimia Apothecary “Choose Your Own Adventure” Perfume Oils
One of my weaknesses is hubris.
I’ve mostly skipped the indie perfume scene. I care way more about having 500 purple eyeshadow shades than I do about having a smell that no one else is wearing. There is also something a bit heart-wrenching about shelling out $15 for a tiny, 5 ml jar of something that you may or may not like. Finally… I find the idea of perfume oils to be fundamentally less appealing than a traditional perfume. I would rather have my whole body smell lightly florally than to have my wrists smell incredibly intense.
However, when I saw that Alchimia Apothecary was having a “buy two get one free” sale, I made an impulse buy. There are a few indie perfume companies that will do custom perfumes, but most of them cost more money than the business’s usual wares. All of Alchimia Apothecary’s scents are $15, including custom orders. With the buy-two-get-one-free deal, that was $30 for 0.51 fl oz, or $58.82 per fluid ounce– a substantial discount.
Regrettably, I didn’t even spend very long planning my scents. It was a spontaneous, “I wonder how these smells would go together.”
Everything came incredibly quickly. Even though I ordered custom-made products, my order shipped out a mere three days after I submitted it. My perfumes came in cute little baggies with orange bubble wrap, which was thematic at the time (I got these babies in October).
Here’s how my scents turned out:
What I asked for: “Peach, Peppermint, Pear, Freesia (with Peach as the basenote/dominant scent).”
This is definitely my favorite of three by a huge margin. I find this scent to be both unexpected and really pleasant. I don’t smell pear or freesia. I’m sure that they do affect the scent, but they are so totally in the background that I can’t even pick them out when I consciously look for those aromas.
When I first apply the oil, I get a really heavy peppermint smell with a soft peach and, as it fades, I’m left with a stronger peach and lighter peppermint. Peach is a smell that really reminds me of summer and peppermint is a smell that really reminds me of winter. The combination is so surprising and lovely that when I apply this I find myself sitting around and smelling my wrists.
What I asked for: “Lime, Huckleberry, Hibiscus, Ginger.”
Unfortunately, the second two scents that I ordered were less successful. My lime blend smelled kinda like lime-flavored Gatorade. You can tell that there is both citrus-y and something sweeter in there, but the combination isn’t ideal. It smells like something your kids would want to drink, but you wouldn’t want to give to them. It’s the Capri Sun of perfume.
What I asked for: “Lilac, Milk and Honey, Sea Spray, Rose (with Lilac as the basenote).”
I find that the lilac, the sea spray, and the rose in this perfume are all really distinct. You can look for them and smell them. Sadly, when you put them all together, it smells overwhelmingly of laundry detergent. Admittedly, it smells like really classy laundry detergent. I would buy this laundry detergent and feel really self-satisfied because of how fucking fancy my chores were. But, sadly, that doesn’t change the fact that I don’t really want to smell like soap.
The problems with these perfumes are so obviously my fault it’s a little hilarious. In particular, the lilac fragrance smells exactly like what I asked for… it just turns out that that is super soapy. If I make future indie perfume orders, I’m definitely leaving the scent-mixing up to the professionals.
At $15 for 5 ml/0.17 fl oz, the Alchima Apothecary Perfume Oils run in at $88.23 per fluid ounce. That’s definitely more expensive, ounce per ounce than regular perfume. For comparison, Viktor and Rolfe Flowerbomb is $61.76 per fluid ounce. Since they are smellier than traditional perfumes, however, you may find yourself using less product.