Aftelier Perfumes Alchemy Solid Perfume Review

Aftelier Perfumes Alchemy Solid Perfume Review

Aftelier Alchemy Solid Perfume is a floral amber, a natural fragrance in a luxurious solid base. This was one of, natural perfumery genius, Mandy Aftel’s “early” fragrances formulated from some of the most popular notes she used in custom perfumery. Basically, Alchemy is a “crowd pleaser” perfume. I’m usually a fan of crowd pleasers. Alchemy is an exception because Aftel’s clients aren’t your average consumers. From the decadent notes in Alchemy, I can tell that Aftel’s custom order clients are knowledgeable, perfume lovers.

At first, Alchemy is a spicy jasmine fragrance. I keep thinking I’m getting white frankincense mixed with the black pepper, maybe I am, but it isn’t listed. Alchemy reminds me of a solid version of Candide in the opening. There’s spice, a rustic orange note, and lots of heady jasmine. I love the jasmine in this. Unlike Candide, Alchemy is immediately grounded. Underneath the spicy jasmine, I get creamy amber and vanilla. But, this amber and vanilla isn’t very sweet, think creamy. With time, the spice begins to fade. I’m left with jasmine and rose, a perfect balance of the two usually “loud” floral notes. They are together, like a perfect power couple. The dry-down of Alchemy is ancient, warm, resinous, powdery: amber. This dry-down is beautiful. It works so well with my skin.

The texture of this solid superb. It’s smooth, no waxiness. The best feeling solid that I have ever used. It wears like an oil. It wears closely to the skin, but not as closely as most solid that I have tried. Like I said, this solid has “oil throw”. With time, of course, it becomes softer, wearing more like other solids on the market. And this formula is long-wearing. I can smell the sweet, warm amber dry-down on my skin 10+ hours after applying a small amount of this solid to my wrists. This isn’t your average solid scent.

Thomas Cole Distant View of Niagra
Thomas Cole, “Distant View of Niagara Falls” 1830

Alchemy is one of those florals that really works on cold, winter days when the sun playfully peeks from the clouds. This is a citrus jasmine with enough “umph” to keep it wearing strong, even on cool days. The spice warms one up. It’s optimistic with citrus and florals but grounded with ancient resins. And I love the simple dry-down. All of the notes are simple but they smell really high-quality. This is one of those “good ingredients” recipes. This scent is long-wearing and easily unisex.

Notes listed include black pepper, bitter orange, rose, jasmine, vanilla, and amber.

An 1/4 oz retails for $175 in the Mexican, artisanal sterling silver compact. Unique antique cosmetic compacts and pocket watches are available, cost varying. This solid perfume is available at Aftelier.

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*Disclaimer – A sample of this solid was provided by Aftelier. I am not financially compensated for this review or any others. My opinions are my own.
Product picture is © Aftelier. Thomas Cole painting from The Art Institute of Chicago

33 thoughts on “Aftelier Perfumes Alchemy Solid Perfume Review

  1. Nice post Victoria! Floral orientals are some of my favorite scents and the way you describe Alchemy with its “creamy amber and vanilla”, I want to try this one as soon as possible.

    Thank you 🙂

    1. This one is good. Simple but good. I feel all the notes are perfectly balanced. And the dry-down is beautiful.
      Not as “loud” as we may typically go for 😉 but good. I’m very surprised at how long lasting this solid is, so for a solid, it’s loud!

  2. So I recently finished both of Mandy Aftel’s books (via Kindle!) and they are both great.

    What you may not realize is that there’s a recipe for a fragrance called “Alchemy” in her book, “Essence and Alchemy: A Natural History of Perfume.” Is it the same thing? Good bet that it is. 😉

    Since reading these books (and reading her letters to/from Andy Tauer on Nathan Branch’s blog) I have really, really been wanting to try out some of her stuff. At $6/sample though the investment is a bit steep.

    1. I really want to read her books. And take one of her classes for the heck of it.
      I’m betting the recipe in the book is the same as this. This is one of her “old” recipes.
      Mandy is a talented woman. She’s really nice and helpful too. I feel she isn’t keeping things “secret”. She wants to spread the word and knowledge of natural perfumery. I can tell she’s very passionate.
      The samples are costly, slightly larger than other brands that I have sampled. I wish Aftelier would do sample packs, at least discounting them a little by offering “floral” pack or “citrus” pack or whatever. Cepes et Tuberose has been on my to-try list for too long. It’s difficult for me to pay $6 + shipping for 1 sample.

      1. I’d like to see sample packs on her website as well – it’s not clear what one should start with if you want to get a good idea of what she has on offer.

        I am determined to collect the ingredients required to make Alchemy and make it, even if it costs more than what it would cost to just buy it. I want the experience. 🙂

        1. When I order samples on-line, I always order the wrong ones for me. This means that I have an expectation and usually the purchased sample doesn’t live up to my expectation (what could with all my hype?) When I buy sample packs, I find that the one I would of never ordered on my own is my favorite!

          I know what you mean about the experience! This is why I enjoy cooking at home. I also made an incense about 2 weeks ago for the heck of it. I went to Tezing & Momo in Pike Place and bought all these resins and woods. It was so much fun!

          1. The samples are a great value! Indulge and order 5 or 6. (I recently bought 6) and they will entertain and bring me joy for weeks. The solid samples are quite generous, since you need so little to apply. All wonderful, great soul food.

          2. OK, you’ve talked me into it! I think the samples are very generous too. And like you said, a little does go a long way.
            Do you have any recommendations from the ones that you’ve tried?

          3. My suggestions:
            Solids: Jasmine and Alchemy
            Liquid: Morac and Tango
            Are my favorites..
            (I want to try they all..)
            Have fun! 😀

          4. In hard times and for dreary winter days.. I highly recommend having “Jasmine” solid on your person or close by. Here is where science and arts meet (I feel) in aromatherapy… lifting the lid on Mandy Aftel’s “Jasmine” always makes me automatically smile. 😆 😆

      1. FYI – the base recipe (if anyone is interested) for the solid perfumes (in her book on solid perfume) is simply a mixture of jojoba oil and beeswax (both of which are amazing on their own. 🙂

  3. You know, I’ve never really done the solid perfume thing but after reading this review, this is clearly something I need to experience. Mandy has a great collection and this really moving me to give it a shot.
    Barney A. Bishop recently posted..Good read…

    1. I would say that this scent wears more like a perfume oil. It also “throws” more like an oil than a solid. Like, Brian mentioned, it’s a base of jojoba and beeswax but it isn’t “waxy”.

  4. dear victoria,
    thank you for this lovely review of my oldest perfume Alchemy. i was so pleased to read your comment about the “hand feel” of the perfume’s texture. that is very important to me when i am creating each perfume an if that isn’t right, i will throw the batch out.

    1. It’s a superb product! Thank you for sharing, Mandy.
      I bet the people that pick up your garbage find themselves pleasantly surprised by what you’ve thrown out, bins smelling of jasmine!

  5. Great review! I’m really looking forward to trying the Wildflowers solid, I hope I get to soon. I’m so thrilled with Aftelier blends, I can’t even fully express it in words. That’s why my review of Tango had to launch into a crazy made-up story. 🙂

  6. Let me ask you something Victoria- do you find that the solid perfume is particularly strong in comparison to other solids you’ve tried, or just in general? What I’ve been struck by with Aftelier liquid perfumes is how potent they are (which doesn’t stop me from overusing them, THAT, I cannot resist doing). I don’t know why the blends come off as stronger to me than every other natural perfume I’ve ever tried, but they do. And I love it.

    1. This has been the strongest and longest wearing solid perfume that I have ever used. I’m not a solid perfume rookie. They used to be my weapon of choice. (Other brands/solid perfumes that I own: Diptyque, Melissa Flagg, Crazysticks, Pacifica, LE Estee Lauder, Bond NY, L’Occitane, Patch NYC, just to name a few)
      This is the kind of solid perfume that others will smell on you and you will only need to apply once. I know the price puts people off, especially for a solid, but it is just as good as any “parfum” or oil concentrated blend.

      1. Cool! I have a couple of DL&Co perfume solids, which I love for the scents (tuberose and jasmine sambac) because of their simplicity and faithfulness to the flowers, but I do have to reapply them several times a day. I sort of gave up on perfume solids because I became a little addicted to spritzing, so I can get my clothes and hair. I like the sensual appeal of solids though, especially one in a pretty silver vessel of some kind. Mandy told me recently that Douglas Little (of DL&Co) was a student of hers! That floored me. You can see now how some of his ideas connect back to her work.

    1. Do you wear oil perfumes? I would compare Aftelier’s more to an oil. It isn’t completely mess-free but it isn’t waxy. A little dab on a pulse point is good for the entire day.

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