Sunday, March 9, 2014

The SA List: Sweet Anthem Perfumes Seasonal Sampler

A few weeks back I read a blog post by Liber Vix about Sweet Anthem Perfumes' new sampler box, and of course I was all over it immediately like a cheap suit. I love that a perfume company has thought to get in on this sort of thing - finally a subscription box with things I'm actually interested in, instead of - well - useless crap.

My first box came in the mail a couple of weeks ago and I've finally gotten around to testing out the perfumes (I hate to say it, but I've been kind of perfumed out lately, going back over and over again to the same couple of scents rather than testing out the newer samples I have EVERYWHERE). But first up, can we just take a moment to admire the gorgeous packaging?

I don't know a whole lot about Sweet Anthem, but they seem to have a smallish range - many of which are seasonal, and they are available as perfume oils, solids, and eau de parfum. The samples in this box are EDPs. Their website is beautiful but can be a little frustrating because they seem to have all their perfumes listed all the time, even though some of them are only apparently available at certain times of the year.

I have only tried one or two Sweet Anthem scents in the past, and I only have one at the moment called Anastasia that I think was sent to me by Su, from memory. It's not currently available, which is a pity because I'd definitely be up for a full bottle of that one. I did a review of it here.

The idea of The SA List is that you get to try two seasonal releases before they are available, which gives you loads of time to test them out and decide if you want full sizes when they are released officially. The sampler is sent four times a year and you can subscribe for two, three or four seasons. Postage is paid once and covers however many others you ordered (and is very reasonable - I paid $9US postage). You also receive a $10 voucher and at least one extra sample of a past release.

The two Spring samples are Poppy and Lolita. I also received a sample of Marianne, and a full solid scent of Miho. Pretty good deal for $7US!

The caliginous haze of resurrection. Spicy clove dripping with cocoa, smoky opium and Turkish musk with a motley crew of red flowers - a saffron-stained carnation among them. 
In the vial this smells like dark, bitter chocolate but not sweet - more like a really expensive cocoa powder than a chocolate bar. I had such high hopes for this - I love everything in it, especially the carnation and saffron. Sadly, what I got on the skin was clove, clove, clove. It was like when that kid came late to class in the 1980s because he'd been to the dentist. After a while the clove did tone down a little but it still dominated all the other notes, and I'm slightly heartbroken because everything else in this blend is everything I love. If I'm flush one day I might get a custom perfume made with everything but the clove.

Honey-limbed, sparkling river nymph. Resinous tonka bean, sweet cherry blossom, a bushel of aldehydes, musky sea spray.

Perfumes called Lolita are usually some sickly sweet concoction of candy and bubblegum, so I was pleasantly surprised by this one to start with. It's sweet but not candy-like, and certainly not childish. In the vial I get cherry blossom (which I love) and an aquatic note, which I don't normally care much for but works well here. On the skin the honey gives a lush sweetness while it's wet, and in the dry down there's a note of something that almost smells citrus to me, but I don't know what it is. This is a really interesting, complex blend and sort of reminds me of a lot of Darling Clandestine scents in that I can never figure out entirely whether I like them or not, though I keep using them and sniffing them constantly. I need to test this one out a few more times to make up my mind about it.

Romantic spices, sugared peony blossoms, and tuberose flowers from a lover; they read together in whispers from a dust-laden tome of Shakespearean sonnets.
This was the extra EDP sample. In the vial and when first applied to my wrist the pepper is prominent, but the floral takes the edge off it. It's spicy without making me screw my nose up. It dries down to a feminine floral with the leather and mahogany not really noticable to me as notes, but adding a warmth to it that stops it from being super girly. It's quite light and fresh, I would probably wear this in summer.

Is this a mirage? Just a tiny drop will cure any summertime visions with this sweet and fruity floral perfume.
Miho is not currently listed on the website so I'm not sure if it's a seasonal or a discontinued scent. This was another freebie - a full size solid scent. The notes are sweet orange, lotus, violet, coconut, musk, sea moss. I could definitely smell the coconut, which gave it a tropical feel. Interestingly I usually hate tropical scents because there is something in a lot of them that just smells really fake. However, I'm really enjoying Miho. Again I think I'd probably wear it a lot more in hot weather than cold (and I've been wearing it a  bit lately since it's still pretty hot here even though it's technically Autumn). It's not an especially unique or complex scent to my nose - just a really pretty, wearable tropical floral. 

Even though I'm not sure I'd get any of these in full sizes, I'm still happy enough with them to use up the generous samples (though I may pass on Poppy - it just does not like me), and I absolutely love the idea of a perfume company doing a sampler box. I get that it might not be practical for those who have larger catalogues or don't do seasonal releases, but I really hope more out there get on the bandwagon.


  1. I wish there were more indie perfume boxes like this. I've tried a few SA perfume oils, and like you, I either don't like or am not sure if I do. I appreciate their complexities, but although, there may be notes I like, there'll be something that I'm not sure about. The one I really did like gave me a headache, boo!

    1. Oh, bummer. I definitely like them enough to try more, but not sure if any are full bottles this time around.

  2. Hey there! Thanks so much for posting a review of my sampler box - that was really sweet of you! - Meredith

    1. Hi Meredith, you're welcome! I love the sampler idea and I can't wait for the next one. :-D