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October 25, 2014

Indie Weekends: Alchemic Muse Autumn Scents Review

I have been on the quest for some whipped or cream soaps, and I finally decided to try some cream soaps from Alchemic Muse, and a few other products and scents! Alchemic Muse carries soap, cream soaps, foaming body scrubs, body whip, body gloss, bath melts, and perfume oils. I picked out a bunch of mini jars to try, including most of their current Autumn collection offerings.

Alchemic Muse ships out of Florida, and these were shipped 2 days after I ordered, via USPS Priority 2-day and arrived 2 days later to California. The only thing is that their Etsy store tries to charge you a lot for shipping, but usually for most orders shipping only costs her $6 to ship. So if you pay anything more than that, she will refund the excess shipping charges. It was actually a lot, I was charged $17 shipping on these 8 mini jars, so I hope they get that fixed, if someone didn't know they refund the extra, people may be steered away from ordering.

Here's everything that I ordered, and you can see that Alchemic Muse does color their products. The cream soaps and body scrub were colored, the body whips were not. I did notice that some of the colors were a little brighter than they showed in the shop's photos. They were nicely labelled, but I noticed some of the scrubs pulled away from the sides of the jar. It almost looks like they shrunk, as there was a gap between the product and the jar. I have no idea what would cause that, but it was just something I noticed. 

These were meticulously packed, each jar was wrapped in tissue paper, shrink wrapped, and had a safety seal under the lid. Of course, nothing leaked. These came in a rectangular Priority Mail box, and I couldn't believe it when I went to our mail box, my mail person stuck the box into our mail slot. It very obviously was too big for it, but she stuffed it in there anyways, and the only way I could get it out on our side was to slice it open and crunch the corners of the box. This isn't the first time this has happened, I left a note letting her know that our side is smaller than her side, but she was obviously just too lazy to bring it to the door as all the big package slots were being used. Luckily, I was able to free it without damaging any of the products or letting them sit for a whole day in the sun.

I also noticed the labels on the jars are not a very high resolution, when I cropped the photos, they looked like they were all blurry, but it was just the label causing that illusion. But, they do seem to be water resistant, so they are ok to take in the shower without worrying about the label bleeding or peeling off. Also some of the items I ordered in minis are no longer available in that size, only full size.

Bad Wolf Mini Body Whip - "A basket of freshly-picked berries and sweet cream fused with a shady forest brew of mahogany, apple wood, and blood cedar to round out the darker, more sensuous base of patchouli, tonka bean, oakmoss, and vanilla bourbon."

This scent remind me of Haus of Gloi's The Brier Path, which I reviewed here, but more sweet and more berries. It's not strong on the skin, but the other notes start to come through. It's still very sweet, but more of a woodsy sweet scent. It's ok, not my favorite, but I would say if you already have The Brier Path in anything you could probably skip this one. Unless you really love that scent, then go for Bad Wolf. 

Bonfire Mini Foaming Body Scrub - "An inviting and familiar blend of crisp fall air, mulled cider, burning maple leaves, and a crackling bonfire."

To me, this just smells really strongly of cloves right out of the jar. There's a tiny bit of the cider note, but it's hard to describe. Just basically a strong burning note right off the bat. I see what others have said about Alchemic Muse's scents turning one note. To me, this one and most of the others have no nuances. Just bam, scent.

Countrycide Mini Foaming Body Scrub - "A crisp veneer of sweet, earthy autumn leaves with top notes green fig, bergamot, golden hay, and dried flowers masks a darkened heart of musky clover, caramelized benzoin, beeswax, and black vanilla absolute. At the center is a corrupted foundation of bitter almond, tonka bean, gaiacwood and sandalwood, waiting to be revealed for a sensual and unforgettable experience."

I wasn't sure how I first felt about this when I first opened it, but it's growing on me. I think after smelling the perfume that is the same scent, it is a more enjoyable fragrance. Definitely a little bit sweet, another woodsy sweet scent. But again, it's hard to pick out the individual notes like I can with some of the other indie companies' products. It reminds me a little of Fortune Cookie Soap's The Shiz scent, with a sweet clove note.

Lovecraft Mini Cream Soap - "Provincial lavender blossoms grounded in fresh pumpkin, sweet cream, and blackstrap molasses with a thick dusting of harvest spice."

I can smell more of the notes in this one, and it's one of my favorites probably because I like lavender scents. First thing you get is definitely the lavender, but then there's a tiny bit of the pumpkin, more of the cream and in the background a little of the spices. Is sort of a non-traditional fall scent, and would be very relaxing with the lavender. I would highly recommend this scent if you like lavender even a little bit, because with the other notes it's mellowed down into something deliciously sweet and spicy.

Nightshade Mini Body Whip - "Sweet Bulgarian lavender over an intoxicating base of Madagascar vanilla with a most decadent touch of dark chocolate."

This is another favorite of the batch I got, much less lavender in this than Lovecraft, but definitely a lot of vanilla and a hint of the chocolate. The chocolate can barely be detected, unlike the Turkish Mocha scent. You can also tell it's a different kind of lavender from the Lovecraft scent, not that I have any idea what Bulgarian lavender smells like compared to other kinds of lavender, but it's sweeter, and more mellow. This one is perfect for anyone who generally enjoys vanilla lavender scents, as it's a slight twist on the classic.

Pumpkin Chai Mini Body Whip - "A perfect fusion of fresh pumpkin with sweetened, milky chai. Wild pumpkin flowers and frothy milk float over a heart of sugared pumpkin flesh and masala spice leading to a base of black tea, jaggery, and agarwood."

This was another stand out favorite, the chai spices lend a good spiciness to the pumpkin. But it's not too strong either, which I have problems with strong spice scents. It's just a very perfect pumpkin spice sort of scent, and blooms beautifully on the skin.

Samhain Mini Cream Soap - "Light notes of blood orange rests atop a heart of roasted walnuts, brown sugar, and hazelnut java fused with black anise seed, earthy patchouli, and black vanilla winding down to a rich musk base."

This is by far, my least favorite of the scents I purchased. It's really hard to know what to do with this scent. I read the notes, and think that sounds so good, but when you smell this it smells artificial, and I think just like the black anise note. That's all I really smell. It doesn't smell like it was tested or worked on at all, just like "oh these will smell good together" and dump the fragrances all together, mix with the soap, and you get this. It just doesn't smell good, is really the only way I can put it.

Turkish Mocha Mini Cream Soap - "Dark chocolate ganache topped with a dollop of whipped marshmallow meringue and a smattering of roasted hazelnuts immersed in steamy Turkish Coffee spiked with cocoa absolute."

This was the first of the cream soaps I tried, and I used it with a bath poof, it lathers beautifully, you just need a little scoop of soap to cover the poof in suds. But I don't get any of the other notes in this scent, it smells like generic chocolate fragrance. There's not even a hint of the other notes, just chocolate. It's ok, just not quite what I was looking or hoping for.

Free sample: Countrycide Perfume Sample - ""A crisp veneer of sweet, earthy autumn leaves with top notes green fig, bergamot, golden hay, and dried flowers masks a darkened heart of musky clover, caramelized benzoin, beeswax, and black vanilla absolute. At the center is a corrupted foundation of bitter almond, tonka bean, gaiacwood and sandalwood, waiting to be revealed for a sensual and unforgettable experience."

It's always a little worrying when a fragrance has a description that long, I always expect that it will just smell like an amalgamation of all the notes, and you won't be able to pick out any of them on their own. Sure enough, out of the bottle, the only ones I can pick out are the leaves and earthy notes. But, it's good. Like, really good. Not too strong, but a sweet outdoorsy scent, and I think it works really well as a perfume. I can pick out a little hint of the bergamot, but otherwise it just smells really well blended. I do wish I had been given a sample of a scent I didn't order, but I do like this one. It's a fairly good representation of the kinds of scents I ordered.

The textures of the three different products, foaming body scrub, cream soap, and body whip.

Close up of the Alchemic Muse foaming body scrub texture. It's a very thick scrub, a lot of sugar in it. It foams nicely, and overall I like these.

Close up of the Alchemic Muse cream soap texture. It reminds me of buttercream frosting after it has been sitting in the fridge for a few hours. It lathers really well with a bath poof, and you only need one tiny scoop to get a good amount of suds. If you're looking for alternatives to indie soap bars, I would recommend the cream soap from Alchemic Muse. Definitely not a texture every indie company offers, but it's creamy, moisturizing, and the scents aren't too complicated.

Close up of the Alchemic Muse body whip texture. Very light, and definitely like a lightly whipped consistency. Light, moisturizing, but kind of oily like the Haus of Gloi pumpkin butters are. It's definitely not as thick, but has enough fragrance oil to translate that to your skin.

Overall, I thought the Alchemic Muse products I tried were OK. Some were good, some were not good, but overall, they were not something I'd be banging down doors to buy, but a good alternative when you're looking to try something different. Or when Haus of Gloi is out of everything you wanted. It's hard not to compare to them, as Haus of Gloi has become an indie bath and body company powerhouse, and their scents are very good, and so are the products they use them in. I would not say Alchemic Muse's scents are as complex as HoG, but they are simpler. A good starting point for those looking to dip their toes in to indie bath and body products. But as I mentioned before, that shipping cost problem on their Etsy site is a hindrance to anyone. I almost didn't order solely because I didn't like the idea of having to pay $17 in shipping, and then wait for a refund to go through.

In the brief interaction I had with Alchemic Muse's customer service, she was very nice, and answered all my questions. So, I would say if you are looking for some more classic bath and body scents, or an alternative to whipped soap, you should try Alchemic Muse

Disclosure: This post contains referral links!

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