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Monday, May 19, 2014

Review: Midsummer Dreams Apothecary Perfume Oils

Some time ago, I reviewed Midsummer Dreams Apothecary. You can check the store out here.

I only got the chance to review the solid perfumes then since I received the package right before I was heading off to Singapore, and the perfume oils were unfit for travel since they were already spilling all over the place when I opened the package. 

When I finally got the chance to review the perfume oils, I decided to postpone my review until I received my perfume oils from other brands so I can give a more fair review. This was my first perfume oil purchase ever, so I won't know what's good or bad. I was really excited to try out perfume oils since I've heard mixed reviews about them. While I read some posts saying the usual alcohol spritz on perfumes last longer and smell stronger, I've also read that perfume oils last longer and smells more complex. This brand was my first try, and I immediately wrote down my impressions when I smelled it. I then tried them all out again after reviewing perfume oils from 2 other brands (Haus of Gloi, Alkemia), and edited my review accordingly.

Perfume Oil Quick Review

I've seen some reviews saying these perfume oils lasts only about 1-2 hours, but for me, I can still smell it 3-5 hours later on my skin. Maybe it's because I live in a warm, tropical country, so smells just linger. The smell does stop wafting above my skin after 1-2h, depending on the scent. I realize that this is a bit on the short side after I've tried Haus of Gloi and Alkemia, but he owner, Cheryl, mentioned on reddit that she's open to reformulating the fragrances to make it stronger. So I'm positive this would improve soon. Here's a quick summary of the wear times:

  • Beauty
    • N/A. This was a miss for me and I scrubbed it off, but I wore it for 2h and the smell was still strong before I washed it off.
  • Mermaid
    • Wafts around: 2h
    • Just on the skin: 6h
  • Rapunzel
    • Wafts around: 2h
    • Just on the skin: 5h
  • Snow White
    • Wafts around: 1h
    • Just on the skin: < 3h
  • Sultan's Dauther
    • Wafts around: 30 min - 1h
    • Just on the skin: < 2h

Also the perfume oil samples were leaking when they arrived, but Cheryl also mentioned some time ago that she's fixing this issue and I noticed newer reviews had different sample bottles. I'm assuming this issue's already solved. 

Scents Review


Image courtesy of: Midsummer Dreams Apothecary
Notes: Amber, Sweet Grass, Honeysuckle, Rose, Jasmine

First Impression: There's a sharp, herb-ish smell that's almost medicinal. Not a fan.

5 min in: Oh my gods I'm in love!  It morphed into this fresh, clean smell that makes me think of fresh linens in a tower overlooking the sea. Reminds me of trips to spa in Baden Baden, Germany or walking around in Santa Maria Novella in Florence.

30 min in: Definitely smells like clean soap. I once read that Coco Chanel's inspiration for her iconic scent is that fresh, clean soap smell she used to smell while living in a convent. This smell definitely evokes that imagery. A gorgeous, stone convent surrounded by beautiful gardens, filled with fresh-faced nuns who'll be nothing like the scary nuns I remembered from my childhood. 

1h in: Can I swim in this? I just feel like I'm in a different place and era when I smell this. I'm definitely in a fucking castle. A modern one like those castles refurbished into 5 star hotels, of course. Actual castles in non-romanticized bygone eras stank since people didn't have proper plumbing. 

2h in: Still the same soap smell, only there's something a bit woodsy in the smell. I love it. It's like lying in a soft, clean bed after prancing around in a meadow like a unicorn on crack. This scent no longer wafts around by 3h, but I can smell it faintly on my skin for up to 5h.

Overall impression: This is a scent that really sparks your imagination. If I'm ever playing D&D, this is totally the perfume I'm using. Only I'd probably be the shittiest player since the only thing I'll be doing is staying in my fucking castle. I smell too good. 

Image courtesy of: Midsummer Dreams Apothecary


Notes: Vanilla, Amber, Rose, Rosewood, Oakmoss

First impression: There's a burnt, tobacco smell I don't really like.

5 min in: I smell a bit of leather in. It's starting to smell like an old library. Leather, tobacco and old books.  I kinda like the smell, but it's definitely too masculine for me.

30 min: It smells like old ladies now. Very heavy, heady smell that reminds me of a grandma's powder room -very heavy, musky, powdery smell. The vanilla & rose is definitely strong.

1h in: This definitely isn't a perfume for me. It smells too much like an old lady. There's a hint of something faintly medicinal.

2h in: Oh wow..the smell is still really strong. It still smells like an old lady. I ended up washing it off since the scent's not for me. 

Overall Impression: Maybe it's because of Indonesia's hot, tropical weather -warm, heavy smells just smell too heavy and heady here. I liked Valentino's Rock & Rose, which has strong notes of vanilla and rose, but this scent smells much heavier than that. 

Update 08/08/14: Beauty has aged beautifully after about 4 months! It now starts off as a very light and fresh rose, instead of the burnt tobacco & leather smell. As it wears on, it gets heavier and becomes this very creamy, warm florals that's a tad old lady-ish, but not as bad as it was the first time I tried it. It's a perfume I can see on a middle-aged Madame de Pompadour -a sophisticated, lush woman brimming with secrets and charm. I picked Madame de Pompadour out of all famous mistresses since there's something Rococo about this perfume - it's heavy, grand and florid.


Image courtesy of: Midsummer Dreams Apothecary
Notes: Sea salt, lotus, vanilla, Puakenikeni flower, gardenia, bergamot

First impression: There's a very sweet liquorice smell.

5 min in: The more flowery, sweet smells are definitely coming out. It smells like a minty bouquet of flowers, with traces of vanilla. I kinda like it.

30 min in: On first whiff, there's a very fresh scent (almost reminds me of ice) with a hint of something wild I can't place (it may be the sea salt). Then, slowly, a more muted, creamy flowery smell comes out.  Out of all the perfumes, this seems to be the strongest scent in humid, tropical weather -I can smell it wafting around me even as I walk. Definitely a good thing.

1h in: The sweet, liquorice smell is back. I'm personally not a fan, but I know my mom would love it since she's a fan of liquorice. The smell is now wavering in between sweet liquorice or a minty bubblegum, with a hint of something floral. Reminds me of entering a high end candy store where they have interesting flavours like lavender chocolate and chrysanthemum candy. 

2h in: The smell has settled and it smells like candied flowers with a hint of a coppery smell underneath the fresh, cool smell. The smell is a bit faint after 3h, but I can still smell it on my skin 6h later. 

Overall impression: Metallic, candied flowers. I actually like the smell once it settled, and I can see myself using this pretty often. This is one of the strongest scents out of the 5 scents for me. 

Update 08/08/14: I sniffed this again after about 4 months and this unfortunately didn't age well. It got much heavier and the candied smell becomes a bit artificial. It ends up smelling like a cloying car perfume :(

Sultan's Daughter

Image courtesy of: Midsummer Dreams Apothecary

Notes: Vanilla, Jasmine, Amber, Fig, Ylang Ylang

First impression: Unlike the solid perfume version, the perfume oil version has a faintly medicinal smell when it's first applied.

5 min in: The perfume oil definitely smells creamier than the solid perfume. Not sure why. It still smells like a Javanese massage with a hint of a heady incense. A very creamy, flowery smell. 

15 min in: The heady incense smell disappears faster and morphs into the clean, almost soapy, jasmine smell a bit earlier. Comes in around 10-15 minutes. 

30 min in: The smell is stays as clean, soapy jasmine, though there's a hint of something creamy that wasn't present in the solid perfumes. Probably the vanilla and amber. 

1h in: The smell is relatively faint now, but I can still smell it on my skin. 

Overall impression: This scent is the one that lasts the shortest. It's actually a really great smell, but all my Indonesian friends weren't fans. They find it too ordinary and it just smells as if they just got out of a massage (to be fair, the essential oils most spas use here are awesome). But I can see non-Indonesians going crazy over this smell since it would probably smell exotic and sensual. If you've had great memories of trips to Bali and Javanese massages, you'll probably love this smell. 

Snow White

Image courtesy of: Midsummer Dreams Apothecary
Notes: Vanilla, Apple, Ylang Ylang, Balsam, Cedar, Rosewood, Pear, Bergamot, Fig

First Impression: Still smells like minty rain with a hint of apples. Though in the perfume oil version, there's a hint of something bitter. This is definitely Snow White's  poisoned apple -juicy, tempting, and seductive, with a hint of bitter poison. When I tried to describe this scent, the first thing I thought of was "forbidden fruit"....though technically, the biblical forbidden fruit is probably not an apple. 

5 min in: I still smell the apples, but unlike the solid perfume version, I smell less apple and more of a warm, woody smell that was lost in the solid perfume. My coworker thinks it smells like apple potpourri, I personally think it smells like spiced, apple flavoured chai. My coworker countered that she finds chai to be edible potpourri. 

30 min in: The woody smell is definitely more pronounced in the perfume oils. In the solid perfume version, the apple scent is closer to the surface. In the perfume oil version, the apple scent is more muted, buried under the sweet wood scent. 

1h in: There's a more floral smell entering into the spiced wood smell. With the solid perfumes, it starts smelling like apple pie around this time, but with the perfume oil, it smells more like chai. The smell reminds me of drinking a hot cup of chai after getting drenched in the rain. 

2h in: The smell's very faint now and it's a bit more floral. 

Overall impression: For the ancient Greek, the apple was the fruit of seduction. Just because it was so damn expensive. Giving a girl an apple was the modern equivalent of giving her champagne, caviar and truffles. Apples represented seduction. This scent just captures this concept.  I love, love, love this scent. It's an apple smell that's delicious but light at the same time. It makes me hungry and yet doesn't make me smell like ants are about to swarm me.

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