Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Alkemia: Tryst of Grey

Every now and then, a perfume comes along that literally makes me stop everything I'm doing. In those first moments of trying one of those fragrances, I'm usually stuck on "Wow!" and the world narrows down to nothing more than my nose, my skin, and the fragrance. It's a moment of pure joy.

Tryst of Grey by Alkemia is one of those fragrances for me.

Here's the description from Alkemia (Alkemia, unlike most of the other perfume companies I follow who have their own website, can be found on Etsy): An utterly beguiling blend of Earl Grey Tea, lightly brewed Black Assam Tea, Scarlet Monarda (also known as Wild Bergamot), a fresh twist of Bergamot citrus peel, and golden skin musk teased with long, slow kisses of orange blossom honey.

Added to the description was this quote:
"Part of the art of being a woman is knowing when not to be too much of a lady." ~ Anonymous

Anyone who knows me could probably say why the quote and the description made this a Must Buy purchase for me. (For those of you who may not know me so well, I think being too much of a lady is overrated, and I enjoy the genteel nature of tea. How's that for a lovely contradiction?) However, one thing that clinched the Must Buy is that this is a limited edition, and I didn't want it to go away before I had a chance to try it.

In the bottle: a mix of Earl Grey and black teas (no milk or cream to smooth this over), something faintly sweet lurking underneath, and the golden skin musk (it's softly evocative of sun-warmed skin).

On my skin (side note: Alkemia perfumes come with dripper caps--and this cap was very generous with pouring the perfume on my skin, so be careful when you apply): The skin musk is a little furry at this point and it lies along the bottom of this scent. The dominant player is the bergamot. Bergamot, bergamot, and more bergamot. But, it's not off-putting. Rather, it's like grabbing a box of Earl Grey tea, crushing the tea leaves so the bergamot oil separates, then rubbing those leaves on my skin. I get the faint lingering essence of black tea, but the dominant player is the bergamot. And it's smoothed out some. Not nearly as tannic or harsh as some Earl Grey teas can be.

As it begins to dry, the black tea begins to rise to the top a bit, giving this more body and depth. The honey isn't really coming out to play, but what is present gives this a soft sweetness and helps to smooth out any remaining tannins from the teas.

This is Earl Grey without any cream muddying up the notes, and it's gorgeous. I think the Assam tea is bringing in a slightly smoked-tea vibe, which adds a little bit more depth and complexity to this (without smelling like smoke).

As this dries further, the honey begins to come forward. This honey reminds me a little of Alkemia's Miel de Sauvage et Tabac, but this honey is a bit less "sticky" to my nose. This is a little smoother, a little softer, a bit more romantic. I know some people have issues with honey notes turning into pee notes, but Alkemia's honeys have never veered that way for me. Alkemia's honey notes are more like the way honey plays in tea--present, softly rounding out the whole, and adding a touch of sweetness that doesn't call a lot of attention to itself (especially here--although, Miel de Sauvage et Tabac is stronger on the honey, and I could see that turning to pee on some people).

Although I'm talking about tea and honey notes, there's something about the way all of these combine that make this really lovely. I feel my mind scrambling to convey the depth of the perfume on my skin, the way it merges with me and makes me feel beautiful, the way it's like tea and honey but tea and honey in a grand alchemy experiment that goes wonderfully right.

I like some perfumes because they smell exactly like something I can relate to. For example, I have a lavender/vanilla perfume that smells exactly like lavender and vanilla were smooshed together and are on my skin. However, every now and then, a perfume comes along that is "something" (in this instance, tea and honey) but that reaches far beyond the "exactly like" and becomes so much greater than the sum of its parts.

If someone walked past me wearing this perfume, I'd want to stop them and ask them about it. It feels familiar due to the tea, and I might even pick up the Earl Grey vibe from it. But, it's so much more than the tea and honey. The tea is tannic, but not bitter. The honey is soft and gently sweet (not overt in any way--more like the way grass is sweet in the summertime, or the way the air sweetens after the rain). The skin musk plays beautifully here, giving this a warm and slightly heated skin (almost animalic, but not quite) undertone that keeps this nicely balanced.

The whole comes across as exotic, enticing, rich, and warm.

For several years, I have been looking for an Earl Grey vibe type of perfume, but I was looking for something with a creaminess to soften the tannins of the tea. I've always been disappointed with the perfumes I've tried because they usually end up smelling a bit chemically, and sometimes too harsh, and sometimes too smoothed out by cream or milk or sugar. Who knew that what I needed was simply honey to make my Earl Grey perfume come true?

This is a "Wow!" for me--and it continues to wow me every time I put it on. It's so good, I keep wondering if I should buy a back-up bottle. I'm afraid I'm going to miss this one a lot when it goes away (I hope Alkemia gets enough feedback that they decide to make this one permanent--although, one reason I like Alkemia is that they don't have an overwhelming bunch of perfumes like some perfume oil companies do so I can understand if they don't keep it around). This is a perfume that should be worn often and everywhere. The world would be better for it!

Edited because people wanted to know how to find this perfume, so here's the link to it on Etsy at Alkemia:
Tryst of Grey at Alkemia