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Monday, July 6, 2015

Review & Recommendation: Deconstructing Eden Part 1 (7 scents)

I discovered Deconstructing Eden after a rave review from /u/dahliasmiles. I mentioned in the comments that I wanted to buy it after reading the review, but someone told me that they use perfumer's alcohol and international shipping may not be feasible. I was totally planning on getting someone to mule me these perfumes, when Toni PM-ed me asking if I wanted to try 5 scents on her. I always feel bad receiving press samples from indies so I offered to send Toni some oud and candies from Indonesia.

Anyway, since I plan on trying this company out anyway, I asked Toni if I could buy a set of 7 samples from her as well, and combine the shipping with the 5 press samples. She said yes so I was expecting 12 perfumes. This is what came instead.

Yes. She sent me 9 extra samples. Holy crap.

So I'm splitting my review into 3 reviews, because these scents are so complex, I end up needing tons of pictures to describe them and the reviews get long.

Btw...I love the packaging! Even though they're samples, they're all individually wrapped and have a cap!

All of them were individually wrapped!


Perfume General Review

Ok, you all know that I'll still give my honest review even if I get press samples, and I'm genuinely impressed by the quality of these scents. If you love Sweet Anthem (I do. So much.), you'd love Deconstructing Eden (DE) too. From all the scents I tried, I think DE's strength is creating extremely luxurious sort of scents, that smell like high end mainstream scents I'd gladly pay over $100/bottle.

DE also has this signature, luxurious powdery sort of scent that's somehow more elegant and luxurious than old lady-ish or baby room-ish. If you like Black Violet's Paper Dolls or Ten Three Labs' Aussie Rice Treat, it's a similar sort of powderiness, only it's more luxurious version of it that makes you think of classy socialites that ooze luxury without being crass, instead of young women in baby doll dresses.

What surprise me is how cheap they are. I've long accepted that indie perfumes are more expensive than mainstream perfumes, but that's the price you pay for getting unique scents you can't find in mainstream perfumes. Indie perfumes are typically $12-20+ for 5ml, which means they cost $1.40-4+/ml. Meanwhile, mainstream perfumes are typically $30-100+ for 50ml, which means they cost about $0.60-2/ml. These are DE's prices:

  • 1 oz – $28 ($0.95/ml)
  • 15 ml – $18 ($1.20/ml)
  • 5 ml – $9.75 ($1.95/ml)
  • 2.5 ml – $2.75 ($1.10/ml)

It's about the price of a mid range mainstream perfume, but I personally think the quality is that of a high end mainstream perfume so I'm a fan.

When it comes to the sillage, you get a few top notes floating around to up to casual conversation distance like most alcohol based perfumes I've encountered. To get the full body of the scent, you'll need to get up to faux whispering distance. After about 30 min to an hour, the scent stops wafting around at casual conversation distance, but you can still smell the full scent at faux whispering distance for at least 1.5 hours.

These scents definitely linger on your skin for a long time. When I wear the scent to bed, I can still smell pretty strong traces of it on my skin when I wake up 8h later. This is why my review is going so slow! I can only review 1-2 scents/day. 

So now it's time for the reviews! As always, reviews are done blind until the TL;DRs are written. If any of the notes surprise me, I write an overview. I've also started adding a "Final Verdict" section to help me keep track of my perfumes and figure out what to destash, since my perfume collection is starting to get messy. Here are the categories I came up with for my "Final Verdict":
  • Love: Most awesome perfume ever. Need endless supplies of it and will swap my first born child for the last drops of it if it's limited edition. 
  • Like: Like it, may buy a full size of it, but it's not urgent. 
  • Interesting: I don't really like it or I don't think I  can wear it in public, but I appreciate the artistry of the scent. It's like a beautiful but unwearable runway piece you won't buy on your own, but don't mind owning.
  • Ok: It's okay. I like it enough, but may destash for a good price to keep my collection manageable. 
  • Destash: Kill it with fire.
  • Age it: Maybe it will smell good one day. One day. Just wait.



"Sunflowers, bergamot, orris, melons, peaches, pink grapefruit, jasmine, honey, lilies, sweet lemon, sandalwood and palo santo wood." 

This scent took a while to settle on me since my skin loves amping up sweetness so it went way too sweet for a while. The sweetness calms down after about 10 min, but it's still pretty sweet on me. 

It's a juicy, fruity scent that makes me think of bursts of mangoes, but it's more of a creamy, mango chewy candy sort of mangoes. There's also this luxurious soapy scent to it, mixed with a floral bitterness that calms the scent down and makes it more elegant and grown up. 

Somehow, this scent reminds me of one of my mom's friends –this astoundingly beautiful, graceful woman who used to intimidate me when I was a kid. She was always so perfectly poised and coiffed, she seemed surreal. There's actually no reason to be scared of her since she's actually really friendly, charming and always the best hostess ever, but there's just something about her that makes you think that she's untouchable and more to be admired from afar. I can see her wearing this scent when she's in a tropical mood, if it's less sweet (and it probably is less sweet on a different skin chemistry).

It's so hard to find pictures of Asian models sometimes...but this model reminds me the most of her.
Amazing photo by Polina Rabtseva

TL;DR: Chewy mango candies turned into an elegant, luxurious scent that's perfect for the Stepford housewife. 

Overview: I guess the mangoes come from all those fruits combined because I couldn't pick out any of those fruits individually, even when I tried it again. I think the melons is what gives the scent the sort of rounded touch to it, and the floral bitterness probably comes from the jasmines.

Final Verdict: Ok.


Alyssum House

"Alyssum, violets, a drop of Jasmine, pale peach roses, and a clean, warm skin musk."

This is a powdery and very feminine scent and makes you think of warm, peachy pinks, frills and lace.  There's a slight floral bitterness in this and it keeps the scent from going too girly and gives it a very classy elegant feel as opposed to garish and Dolores Umbridge-esque. I guess the interior decorating equivalent will be an upscale shabby chic style that has elements of frilliness but look classy as hell and costs a bomb. Something like this:
Image courtesy of

It's personally too powdery for me, but I can see it being perfect for one of my friends –an extremely calm, elegant woman who still love girly flowers and frills, but somehow makes them so grown up and elegant.

TL;DR: Warm, peachy pink, powdery feminine scent that's still elegant and classy.

Final Verdict: Like



Cucumber, apple blossoms, white Alban rose, muguet, freesia, orchids, osmanthus, magnolia, camellia and orange blossoms on the barest background of oak. 346

The first notes that float up and hit me were roses. Slightly heavy roses. But they blended into the rest of the scent fast on me. I'm not sure if that's the note that would hit people first when I walk around though.

This is definitely a very sweet floral scent, but it has a green freshness with a fruity tartness to it. The slightly tartness and overwhelming sweetness makes me think of Escada scents from my teenage years, though there's this cool, woody bitterness that makes the scent a bit more mature. It's still a really sweet scent on me though, but my skin chemistry tends to amp up sweetness.

It's actually a really nice scent, but it just smells too much like a mainstream perfume dupe that I get a bit bored. If you like Escada type of scents and want a cheaper dupe, you'd love this.

TL;DR: Escada type of sweet scent, with a bit of a cool, woody bitterness.

Final Verdict: Ok


Black No. 1 

"Milk white skin, a haze of clove cigarette smoke, burning leaves and the blackest patchouli in my collection."

There's a medicinal and smoky bitterness that usually would make me gag, but somehow I don't hate this scent. In fact, I'm in love with it. There's this cool and silky touch to the bitterness that makes me think more of seductive venom rather than medicine. It's a luxurious, dark and silken scent, and it's how I imagine high end opium dens would have smelled like. Black No. 1 is definitely a great name for it because it just makes you think of black leather, black silk and slipping into darkness. This scent just captures willingly drowning yourself in sinful pleasures. It makes me feel drugged in sin and I love it. I think this would make a great unisex scent too, and I would really love to sniff this on a guy.

It's definitely not a scent I'd recommend to everyone because it may be too out there, but for my jaded nose, it's so refreshing.

This is probably the picture I'd pick to describe this scent:
Searching for opium just gets you tons of pictures of fields of poppies.
Gorgeous photography by carlosandesther

As the scent starts to dry down, the bitterness lost its edge and the scent starts taking on that luxurious powdery scent that I've now associated with DE's signature scent. The scent it leaves lingering on your skin is a clean soap, but it's the soap you get in 5-star hotels.

TL;DR: Wilfully drowning in sinful pleasures.

Overview: Omg, I'm so glad Toni picked this out for me, because I normally would never have picked it from the notes. I can't express how impressed I am with this scent. Patchouli usually makes me think of something old, but this just smells sinful and luxurious. Nothing old in this scent at all.

Final Verdict: Love.


Camellia House

"Camellia, peony, honeysuckle, carnations and the palest of pink roses."

I got the smell of crushed buds of small flowers with that realistic zesty smell you get when you crush fresh plants. There's florals in this scent, but it's a more muted, classic sort of florals that makes me think of quaint, English cottages surrounded by flowers. This smells like drinking tea inside a quaint, English cottage with a prim and proper English dame. The florals are not strong, just wafting in the background with the tea-like freshness taking the foreground. It's not an old smell though, it's a scent I can see on someone in her mid to late twenties. I really, really like this scent, but I'm still waffling on whether or not I like it enough to grab a full size.

TL;DR: Drinking tea inside a quaint, English cottage with a prim and proper English dame.

Overview: Ah, I know where the tea's coming from. Carnations always smell tea-like to me.

Final Verdict: Like


Catherine de' Medici

"Oakmoss, precious woods, spices and cinnamon in the base. Ripe peaches, jasmine sambac and roses in the heart and top notes of very understated citrus and bergamot."

Ok, so on first impression, I was reminded of one of those red autumn Yankee Candles sort of candles –the kind that has cinnamon, apples and other fall spices. That was the top note that's floating around and hits you first.

Somehow, this scent was more complex though, and it took me a while to figure out what it was. There was something that has a nutty sort of richness at the base, and the heart of it, there's this velvety sort of rose scent. The rose scent isn't exactly rose, it smells like Santa Maria Novella's rose soap, which only has a mild rose scent and the dominant scent is this cool, clean soap.

The rose is mild and the main part is the cool, clean soap sort of scent.

After about 30 minutes in, it smells so much like these rice soaps that I once got in Thailand. I bought  them in cinnamon and jasmine scents, and this is the scent of those two rice soaps mingled together.

TL;DR: A more complex, red Autumn yankee candle, turning into rose soap, turning into cinnamon and jasmine Thai rice soap.

Final Verdict: Like



"Ambergris, red leaves, black agar wood, a touch of leather, amber key accord, rosewood, cassis, a touch of lime and the barest drop of fresh apple. The fruits are not at all sweet and this blend is absolutely masculine."

Oh. My. Gods. This is such a hot, masculine scent. It's spicy in a cool, deep way with hints of tartness. There's a powdery quality to this scent, only it's too rough and masculine to be called powdery. Maybe sandy? There's a woody sort of bitterness to it too. I don't know why, but to me, this is the smell of burying your face in the chest of a hot guy wearing a thick, fitted coat. Something about this seems more winter than summer.

It's a more mature (in a good way) scent and I can see this scent perfect for a guy in his late 20s all the way up to his late 30s. Definitely the type of guy who's more serious and would be wearing suits frequently. The kind of guy you want to put a ring on fast.

I wish the model's wearing those glasses...
Image courtesy of
TL;DR: The kind of guy you want to marry.

Overview: Of course it had to have leather. I love leather. And Toni didn't lie, it doesn't smell sweet at all! It's a purely masculine scent and I'm in love with it.

Final Verdict: Love

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