Search This Blog

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Review: 10 Scents from Siberie Perfumes

I recently got sent 10 Siberie (store here, Etsy here, I'm listing both since they have different selections) perfume samples by Kim, the owner of Siberie, who was looking for reviewers. I also got a full sized bottle of Kartini, a scent Kim sent to me as a thank you for the inspiration for the scent. I'll go more into details about the inspiration behind this scent. First, this is how everything arrived:

Yeah, these sample sizes are 2ml. Given the price (USD 9.95 for 5), I had to make sure these were the standard sample sizes and not some kind of reviewer special. Kim from Siberie confirmed they are.

They're really hard to open though, so watch out for that. I ended up with several accidents while opening the vials. The silver lining is that there's 0 leakage from these!

Anyway before I get on to my reviews, I need to give some background on how the Kartini scent came about.


Background on Kartini Perfume

So I was chatting with Kim and ended up saying this:

"Btw, I love how you name your perfume after powerful women. Can I make a suggestion for a perfume name? Kartini is an Indonesian national hero who championed the rights of women to be educated since the late 1800s. She was very forward for her time. She's declared a national hero because her letters to her Dutch friends were so moving, it helped fuel anti-colonialist sentiments among the Dutch themselves. So she was credited for helping the independence movement.

Her scent definitely needs to include some Indonesian sandalwood or oud, mixed with frangipanis. Maybe some ginger too."

I'm actually really proud of Kartini. We have a day dedicated to her (April 21), where school children will dress in traditional Indonesian clothes. We're the world's largest Muslim country, and the only criticism raised about declaring a national day for a woman who promoted women's education was that she should not be elevated above other female heroines who physically took up arms to fight the Dutch. Yup.

You know how in the US people are still proposing putting a woman on currency? We've had Kartini on our bill since 1985:

Yes, that's a woman getting a university degree on the other side. This is in the 80s. This bill was roughly about US$15. Sadly it's no longer in circulation.
Image courtesy of uangkunopekanbaru.blogspot

Indonesia is still far from perfect when it comes to women's rights, and there's been a disturbing trend of increasing backwards, extremist views, but I'm still proud of the steps some of our past leaders have taken to ensure women have a place in Indonesian history.

So yeah, I'm proud of Kartini and everything she represents, so I was ecstatic when Kim actually decided to turn it into a perfume! I'm definitely already primed to like this scent, but I'll try my best to be as objective as possible in this review.


General Perfume Review

These oils generally start at about intimate whispering distance and lasts this way for between 1-2h, before fading to traces you have to get close to your skin to catch a whiff of. I do notice that a lot of their scents have traces of something trying to go sour with me, and from my analysis of the notes, I think it's the vanilla notes. My skin chemistry hating their vanilla notes may end up messing up the scent reviews for scents that contain vanilla, whether as a listed note or as an unlisted, quiet note.

Ok, on to scent reviews! As always, reviews are done blind until the TL;DRs are written. If any of the notes surprise me, I write an overview.


Bon Temps 

"Gardenia, Magnolia, Carnation, Lily, Lemon Blossom, Jasmine Sambac, Musk"

When this scent starts, it has that perfumed version of rain on grass, with a cool, slightly bitter blue note that leans on masculine. There's citrus grounding this in the background. It smells like a mainstream men's cologne.

After about 10 min though, there's a cottony baby oil sort of scent entering the mix and the scent started getting really sweet on me. It's definitely too sweet to be a men's scent now, and makes me think of room sprays instead. As it dries down, this scent becomes a clean powdery, musky sort of scent. It kind of reminds me of baby rooms, which is a good thing for me.

TL;DR: Mainstream men's cologne morphing into room spray, then morphing to baby rooms.



"Neroli, Rosewood, Champaka, Ylang Ylang, French Vanilla, Frankincense, Leather"

I got leather and vanilla. There's hints of something tart during certain times of the month, which is a note going wrong because I don't really smell it anymore at a different period of the month. At different times of the month, I get white florals mingled with the leather and vanilla.

After about 10 min, the scent settled into this scent that makes me think of drinking a coconut-lime cocktail while sitting on a leather sofa.  During the time of the month when I get sour bits in the scent, the leather sofa is a very brand new leather sofa that still has that strong, brand new leather scent. The leather can be too much for some people, but it's great if you love leather. 

As it dries down, it becomes the Solstice Scents sort of vanilla, which to me always has a vaguely incense-y, vanilla latte with a lot of non-fat milk sort of quality to it.

TL;DR: Drinking a coconut-lime cocktail on a leather sofa. 



"Dark Vanilla, Marshmallow, Cardamom, Cloves, Cinnamon, Amber, Sandalwood"

Something in this is threatening to go sour on me, but fortunately, it never does and by 2-5 min into the scent, it totally disappeared. This smells like a Starbucks Chai Latte with soy milk instead of milk. I really, really love the soy milk bit, since it smells more like actual, freshly made soy milk instead of the gross "soy milk" in cartons they sell in the US. The chai part gets spicier as it goes on, to the point where it's almost that sharp wood some people describe as "spicy". On me, it doesn't get too spicy and makes the scent more perfumed. This is a winner for me.

TL;DR: Starbucks chai latte for the lactose-intolerant (and the soy milk's real).



"Green Tea, Fresh Mint, Orchid, Freesia, Pear, Apple"

I got this cool, clean, minty tea scent mixed with something sour. The sour part smells more like a vanilla note going sour on my skin. I think if that sour bit is vanilla, it would smell so gorgeous and similar to Darling Clandestine's Supernova Sway. I really love the cool, clean, minty bit and it's great for someone who's looking for a light, fresh yet calming scent. Unfortunately, that annoying sour smell just won't go away! I hate my skin chemistry!

TL;DR: Cool, clean, minty tea mixed with vanilla gone wrong.

Oh darn it. It wasn't a vanilla going wrong.



"Tuberose, Neroli Essence, Gardenia, Jasmine, Benzoin, White Lily, Vanilla, Green Amber"

Mmmm...cottony soft, white florals. I suck at identifying florals but there's definitely one of those flowers with thick, waxy petals. It's delicate, and very feminine. I imagine this scent on demure, calm women who manages to do everything gracefully....even eating seafood (sorry, can't resist making the dig at an old article in the Straits Times about a Miss Singapore winner in the 90s, which fixated on her ability to eat seafood elegantly. I read that when I was 9-10 and still find it funny today. I mean, surely the poor girl has other strengths?).

There's something in the background that keeps threatening to go sour on me, but it stays quiet in the background and doesn't ruin the scent that much. It's a scent I can easily see as a mainstream, high end perfume. If I'm picking an ad for this scent, I'd chose this picture:

This Korean style make up looks so good on this model.
Gorgeous photography by Emily Soto

By 1h into this scent, becomes this amazing white floral scent with a floral sort of bitterness that usually comes from orchids or lilies. I love it so much. It's very different from the initial scent yet it's still strong at intimate whispering distance, so I'm pretty surprised. Now this picture will be more appropriate for an ad for this scent:
I really wonder how many takes it took to get this shot.
Amazing photography by Ironika

Oh and the scent stayed at this strength for close to another hour on me (so total wear time: close to 2h before fading). I like it. It feels like I got 2 different perfumes for the price of one!

TL;DR: Cottony, soft florals turning into clean, avant-garde white florals.



"Dark Cocoa, Vanilla, Patchouli, Peony, Tuberose, Gardenia, Jasmine, Orange Blossom"

10 min it, this scent still hasn't settled on me and just smells kind of off. It's vaguely sour, there's something bitter and medicinal, it has something really off in the background that I can't put my finger on, and has a bit of piercing quality. Finally, after about 15 min, I can identify what smells like car perfume orange, something watery and the off smell is that cloying game-y milk powder sort of smell.

It eventually calms down to this gorgeous, creamy florals sort of scent with hints of creamsicle orange that I don't really like, but unfortunately, the game-y milk powder bit is still there. The game-y milk powder bit is really buried in the scent to the point where I can't place what's making me hate the scent, but once I identified it, I couldn't let it go. Not sure what's going on with this scent, but it hates me.

TL;DR: Gorgeous creamy florals & orange creamsicle, with whispers of game-y milk powder.

I'm guessing it's the patchouli mixing with the dark cocoa to create the game-y milk part? I'm not sure...



"Frangipani, Indonesian Sandalwood, Ginger, Clove, Musk"

Oh my gods this is such an Indonesian scent! Specifically Javanese, actually. It's not the kind of Indonesian scents tourists will be familiar with, it's a traditional old Javanese scent. Initially, I got a very nutty scent, but soon, a very Indonesian floral medley appears. The nutty scent keeps getting more and more woody until it smells like older wood, with a jamu (Indonesian traditional herbs) touch. There's also a slightly soapy scent to this too.

The florals are something that non-Indonesians will probably describe as "exotic florals" or "dark florals". They're more complex, darker and some people even say they smell like death. I personally think them as very Indonesian and they make me feel nostalgic.

This is definitely a very acquired scent. Non-Indonesians may either find this alluring and mysterious or way too weird, Indonesians will either find this comforting and nostalgic or way too old-fashioned. It does make you think of traditional Indonesian homes that's full of old carved wood and dimly lit.

This kind of home. You just know there'll be one of those plastic stools somewhere.
Image courtesy of

It's a scent you can see one of those traditional old mbo-mbo who are ready to serve you all sorts of jamu. It's a scent that's popular in a different time, so it's a scent I can see Kartini wearing. You either love it or hate it, and I personally love it.

TL;DR: An old-fashioned, traditional, floral Indonesian traditional scent with old wood and jamu.


La Mode

"Lychee, Apricot, Vanilla, Caramel, Myrrh, Ginger, Clove, Musk"

Oh dear. This starts of as very strong, artificial raspberries from plastic toys. After about 2-3 min, I get this nutty scent and the sweetness of the artificial raspberries calmed down, but the scent still has a scented plastic toys feel to it.

About 15 min in, the scent starts smelling like a fruity milk tea, served in a little girl's plastic tea party set that comes raspberry scented. I love the milk tea part, but not the rest. Fortunately, this was mostly gone from my skin by 45 min.

TL;DR: Fruity milk tea served in a little girl's raspberry-scented plastic tea party set.

I guess lychee mixed with apricots and what may be vanilla gone wrong ends up smelling like artificial raspberries. Oh, and myrrh sometimes smells like whiteboard markers on me, so that may be the one behind the plastic bit.


Maid of Orleans 

"Pink Roses, Ylang Ylang, Bergamot, Milk, Honey, Cream"

Something in this reminds me of my childhood, and I can't figure out why. There's definitely roses here, the thicker, heavier rose, but it somehow stays light enough that it doesn't smell old lady-ish. Initially, there was this old, dusty sort of smell that reminds me of old attics with lots of wood, but it gradually disappeared and by 10 min into the scent, I'm getting roses is mixed with a lemon-honey cream. I love this scent, it's a serene comforting scent!

Unfortunately, after about 20 min, the old, woody smell returned. It's not as bad as before, but it does make you think of old, floral perfumed paper that certain old ladies seem to like. The scent is nice enough, and I think those who love Solstice Scents' Manor would like this too since it has the same sort of perfumed paper feel to it.

TL;DR: Rose honey-lemon cream turning into old rose perfumed paper.

The bergamot may be causing the old, woody/papery smell.


Marquise de Pompadour

"Raspberry, Strawberry, Blackberry, Neroli, Cocoa, Patchouli, Bergamot, Banana, Vanilla, Spice"

At first, I got artificial raspberries and that watery with a hint of bitterness sort of scent that some artificial leather notes turn into. The raspberries is the Lipsmackers, candy sort of raspberry. About 15-20min into the scent though I get this powdery, soft sort of raspberry that I can easily see in the boudoir of a girl who's into a lot of pink and frills, and will probably love Marquise de Pompadour's style.

If I have a daughter, I really want to dress her up this way and make her look like a walking wedding cake.
Gorgeous photography by Annie Mitova, who NEEDS to take photos of my future kids.

TL;DR: Powdery, soft raspberries.

I guess the raspberries came from that huge mix of different fruits?



"Fig, Mango, Coconut Cream, Papaya, Guava, Ocean Air."

Mmm...mangoes. Extremely fragrant chewy mango candies turned into a wearable perfume scent thanks to this clean, floral lotion scent mingled with it. This is so delicious and gorgeous!

Unfortunately, during a different time of the month, my skin amps up the sugariness and all I get is super sweet, room spray mangoes with creamy coconuts in the background.

TL;DR: Fragrant chewy mango candy turned into a perfumed lotion, or room spray mangoes with creamy coconuts.

No comments:

Post a Comment