Monday, 27 February 2017

Alkemia Midnight Garden: Review

Gilding the Lily, rukuku
Amber light glints off the gilt mirror and wallpaper, the beads and crystals on your dress, each small movement throwing off light. It gives the lobby an oddly late afternoon feel despite it being nearer midnight. You sit in a red velvet armchair near the front desk, watching the staircase, a grand art nouveau confection of wrought iron and carved wood.  A six foot bouquet of white flowers stands next to your seat. Bored, you try to name each bloom but you do not recognise anything the tuberose and lilies. The scent of the flowers is huge and almost covers the smell of good tobacco that has impregnated the wallpaper. Every so often, the concierge gives you a nasty look. After a while you meet his gaze and raise an eyebrow; he scowls back. You smile to yourself, I wonder what he thinks I charge? Finally, you see your date at the top of the stairs, resplendent in top and tails, white silk scarf draped around their neck...

As a rule, the Moth Woman endeavours to avoid reviewing perfumes she is certain she will loathe. This is in order to be fair and to reduce the negative influence of subjectivity. In this vein, Moth Woman would also like to confess to not being a big fan of white flower scents. They tend to be headache-inducing for her. They also tend to be far too feminine; feminine styles seldom work on the Moth Woman unfortunately. She made an exception to these rules for Alkemia’s Midnight Garden (AMG) due to the seductive influence of good naming—a perfect fit as it turned out—and the Japanese artwork Alkemia use to advertise/describe the scent.

AMG is an opulent white flower fragrance, plush, elegant and utterly feminine but not little girl way; this is a busty, beautiful, self-confident womanly scent. It opens with fruity tuberose, touches of indolic but mysterious white flowers, very reminiscent of Fracas, apricots, all brightened with that mentholated effect that often makes an appearance in tuberose scents. There is no screechiness in AMG, instead you find sweet notes like nectar and hints of honeysuckle. There is an almost palpable creaminess to the florals in this brew, making it feel exceedingly indulgent and luxurious. Two hours, and it becomes a quieter thing, all tuberose, white flowers and tropical fruit, haunted by an over ripe floral note. Like greenery in a bouquet, a suggestion stems fill out the fragrance more. At four hours, it is still perceptible 6 inches from the skin and, at this point, is strongly reminiscent for a short time, of the old Bushlands dishwashing liquid.

From the Moth Woman's perspective, this is not an insult. In the 1970s and 1980s, Bushlands produced a pink dishwashing liquid. The Moth Lady loved as a larva because it contained some element that rendered the fragrance of the Spiky Mat Rush (Lomandra Longifolia) particularly well. Lomandra is one of the Moth Lady's favourite smells, totally evocative of summer days for her and a lot of other Australians. The Moth lady recently discovered this smells like certain aspects of tuberose, so she guesses this is what the perfumer was aiming to replicate.

At five hours, a surprising light—an unlisted—tobacco note and weaves itself into the flowers. By six hours is very close to the skin, perceptible only an inch away and largely just tuberose with a touch of moon flowers. Seven hours in and it becomes a skin scent, returning faintly to tobacco notes then morphing back again to flowers later. It lingers, in total, around twelve hours.

As much as the Moth Woman loves AMG, she doubts she would wear it. It is not in the least bit headache inducing, just not the Moth Woman’s style. That being said however, she wholeheartedly recommends this to lovers of white flowers. This stuff is lush to the point of feeling sinful and if you are a fan of white flowers, you will definitely want to try this, more so if you love Fracas.

Available directly from Alkemia.

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