Nabeel Al Amakin: Review. 

The bare skin on your legs is blue and goose pimpled. Cold air cuts right through your school jacket. You sit on the rail embankment with her, completely hidden amongst by the tall grass. A vivid pink winter sunset reflects off the river, the broken warehouse windows. You view it through a haze of cigarette smoke. Neither of you says anything. A intersuburban train passes behind you. She stubs out her smoke. When the noise dies down, she hands you a violet pastille: “Here, suck on this. Your mum won’t be able to tell you’ve been smoking…”

If you ever entered a women’s dressing room in the 1980s, where the actresses have been smoking and spraying perfume, you will immediately recognise this scent: cigarettes, perfume and powder but in the most marvellous idealised way. 
Nabeel Al Amakin (NAA) opens with warm lemon, sweet violets and a maple syrup-caramel drenched tobacco. It starts quietly and builds aggressively to a scream. After a short  while, caramel and tobacco dominate. Little wafts  of sweet violets come and go. The violets here are confectioner’s violets, not anything naturalistic. There’s a smoky, sunset, urban feel to this fragrance. It strongly reminds the Moth Woman of when she was a larva and spent time with an aunt in the city in the 1970s. 
An hour in and the sillage has regressed to a more comfortable level. It becomes a glorious warm pipe tobacco fragrance overlayed with floral elements. The violet notes remain, unchanged but the caramel note is less strong. A luxury leather feel emerges. 
Two hours, the tobacco is still the prominent note but the cool, dark elements of violets appear, creating a awesome warm/cool dichotomy.  The violet note is not noticeable if you smell your skin but move around and drifts of candied violet petals follow you, eclipsing the tobacco. It is an interesting and unique quality that the Moth Woman has not encountered anywhere else. 
Three hours, little has changed but a slight increase in its floral aspects. 
After this, violets and tobacco take turns. The volume remains quite steady. 
The Moth Woman has been wearing NAA  for 12 hours now and it is still quite present and alternating between violets and tobacco. Significant sillage remains. It is noticeable three feet from the Moth Woman, which is rather remarkable. 
Previous wearings have shown that longevity can exceed twenty hours. 
NAA  is lovely and has very unique qualities.  This is a perfume of opposites, cool/warm; the interplay is fascinating. 
Things worth noting on about NAA: 
Do not overdose. This is an error the Moth Woman made on first use and resulted in a very bad headache. It smells like nothing going on but within minutes has radically huge projection and overdosing results in the sharpish, sour notes from tobacco reaching airborne toxin levels. 
If overdosed, you also lose the sweet violet element too, which is what makes this scent unique and appealing. 
Subtly applied, this fragrance is a stunning dance between the violets and tobacco. 
Available on Ebay. 

Alkemia Deadly Nightshade: Review.

 

richardburlet19

Untitled, Richard Burlet

Normally, the roof only lets in stars but not tonight; it is raining inside the warehouse. Ravers weave between patches of falling water.

A trembling girl shrinks into the corner.  Her two friends curse, posture, threaten each other. The terrified girl’s lace and ribbons are at odds with both her friend’s hoodies and sneakers, the other raver’s tutus and rainbow dreads. You watch the fight momentarily then go back to dancing. AHHH!! Your attention snaps back to the fight. Girl One has put Girl Two into a headlock. The terrified girl abruptly rises to her feet. She charges, takes down the aggressor with a jujitsu move. Her battle cry echoes off the walls…

Alkemia Deadly Nightshade (ADN) is that terrified girl. It is the most delightful combination of leather and lace (violets in this case). There is a constantly evolving quality which is appealing, so engaging. The leather saves this ADN from being relentlessly girly and adds an attractive depth, like presenting amethysts in a scarlet velvet box.

It opens with quite a naturalistic violet. Hints of spice follow and a strong dark leather aspect, cool and dirty, phenolic and lush, like a premium leather goods. There is a mentholated quality and relatively strong projection in the beginning. A tender powderiness emerges during the dry down, and, overtime, the violets sweeten, losing their sharpness. ADN takes a darker turn around the end of the first hour. The leather comes to the fore, like a cloud going across the sun. Projection has reduced to five inches but at that distance, the fragrance is still quite intense. At two hours, it is three inches from the skin but has flipped to dark violet. The volume diminishes a little. A skanky note from the leather that rises. Three hours and it is quality violet soap, if that soap was formulated by the Wicked Witch of the West. The aforementioned skanky note becomes more effusive. Around four hours, the violet soap morphs into white flower soap with only a suggestion of violets. The personality, flips again, from darkness to a bright, white-tiled bathroom feel. Six hours and it is reduced to a skin scent, now musky with a hint of violets. The promised patchouli note finally appears, temporarily reviving the intensity of the scent.  At its end, ADN is a complex violet soliflore. The longevity exceeds fourteen hours.

Strangely, the full magnificence of this scent was not evident in the sample. It was very good from the sample but utterly amazing from the bottle, much more complex. This is the third such example of this phenomenon that the Moth Woman has encountered from this brand. She doubts this is a manufacturing issue but due the fact that samples are more prone to degradation than full bottles. This is also not a suggestion you should not buy samples from this company. The original sample was still better than 2/3 of what is available on the market.

The Moth Woman is of the opinion, Alkemia’s best works are the violet scents; the other thing Alkemia does well is leather. ADN combines both these elements and becomes a masterpiece. Violet notes are fleeting in nature and the Moth Woman has never before managed to get one to last to the two-hour point before. Like other Alkemia violet based scents, ADN has impressive longevity. ADN is a must have for fans of violet scents.

 

Al Rehab Shaikhah: Review

teazel

Teazel by Rukuku

As you leave work, there is music coming from the ballet studio on your floor. It tinkles, a music box tune but you cannot recall the name. As you pass, through a half-open door, you see a dancer. Foot on the barre, she stretches along her leg. A curtain billows. There is a storm coming. You hurry on your way; you want to beat the rain…

 

When the Moth Woman first tried Al Rehab Shaikhah (ARS), she was transported to her grandmoth’s home, back when she was a larva. Grandmoth used the most fantastic sandalwood soap. ARS is a perfect match for that soap.  ARS is also one of those fragrances that shows powdery notes are not something to be avoided. Powder adds a quietly feminine softness and cashmere-like aspect, enhancing the core themes of the scent and without lurching into the dreaded ‘old lady’ arena.

 

First impressions of ARS are of a classy, very woody  and expensive smelling scent with its origins in the 1970s, It begins with bitter, medicinal oudh, in a very small dose. This is coupled with the aforementioned old-school sandalwood soap scent and something sweet and floral. It has quite some volume and four foot sillage but it manages to be neither intrusive or annoying, just very calming. The oudh blooms early in ARS but not unpleasantly so. The oudh in this juice has been described by other reviewers as confronting to Western noses. The Moth Woman does not believe this is the case, as it is a much lighter version than typically seen in Arabian oil and more in line with Western perfumes than most of its ilk.  An hour on and the sillage has significantly reduced. The entire composition becomes serene, reminiscent of that calm that comes at the end of day, when the sun is gone and there are crickets serenading the darkness.  The oudh is gone. There remains sandalwood, rose, something sweet but not readily identifiable and some spice but nothing huge or in your face as spice notes can become. About half an hour later, a lovely creamy note appears. Two hours more and it is not much changed. Three hours, it is light and airy. A honey/pollen/wildflower note typical of many Arabian perfume arrives at the four-hour mark. By seven hours, it is still as strong as it was at three hour mark. It is going strong at twelve hours, still sandalwood but with a hint of musk and at skin scent level. The Moth Woman, on other occasions, has been able to smell this on her skin nearly two days after application.

ARS is not going to be for everyone but there are those of us, who seriously miss old school sandalwood, and for us, it fills a hole that has existing in our hearts for a while.

Available for purchase here.