“ Brand: Rochas / Type: Fragrance / Concentration: Eau de Parfum / Gender: for women „
Launched: 1998 - discontinued
Group: Floral Oriental
~ INTRODUCTION ~
In a quest to refine my nose and learn about perfumery I have collected a number of miniatures from the most important perfume houses including fragrances released throughout the '90s. Perfume compositions can dramatically change in the course of a decade that can be due to the changing standards in natural or synthetic raw material production or simply changing fashions. I was interested to find a common denominator with other personal favourites from the era, more specifically Lalique and Salvador Dali offerings.
~ THE PERFUME HOUSE ~
Fashion house Rochas has been around since 1931 when Mr Marcel Rochas opened his clothing boutique in Paris that designed dresses for the likes of Marlène Dietrich and Mae West. The first commercialised per-fume made by the house was Femme, a epitomic fragrance still sold today though now reformulated along-side with a number of other classic Rochas editions.
~ THE PACKAGING ~
Bottle-wise, Alchimie is an odd little number. Its notoriously pumpkin-coloured and shaped glass and tall neck that is finished off with a needle-like stopper is something that reminds me of fairytales, genre Cinder-ella's pumpkin-coach. This cannot be a coincidence. The outer carton is a more serious golden box with red letters which goes more with the alchemist connotations coming from the title.
~ THE FRAGRANCE ~
Top notes: blackcurrant, plum, mandarin orange, cassia, lilac, peach, cucumber, hyacinth, pear, graprefruit, bergamot
Just by looking at the number of notes to begin with, I cannot imagine something smooth or uniform here. Indeed, on first application on the skin, I'm hit with an incredibly busy, sweet-sharp and a little bit bitter com-position that reminds me of the sticky-sweet, sharp and alcoholic smell of hairspray.
A few minutes later a synthetic peach note develops, making it smell like peach-hairspray. Wait some more and a bittersweet, greeny lilac joins in. Yes, you guessed it right: lilac-peach hairspray. And it didn't go away for half an hour. Whuh.
Heart notes: black locust, coconut, wisteria, jasmine, heliotrope, lily-of-the-valley, rose
Sadly, the underwhelming hairspray feel continues into the heart, though it is largely overpowered by sweet, floral notes of mainly lily-of-the-valley and jasmine. About an hour after application, the 'hair-spray' note doesn't pass into the sillage, it stays close to the skin so it isn't disturbing any more though it does give a slight plasticky feel to the florals.
Soon enough, a fairly strong and cottony vanilla note develops, similar to Tocade or for a better comparison, Kenzo Flower. This is the jasmine-rose paired with vanilla and musk that invariably create an odd, out-of-place feel for me. There's something very powdery and yet watery in feel, imagine wet flower-scented tal-cum powder and you'll get what I mean.
Base notes: sandalwood, tonka bean, amber, musk, vanilla, liquorice, caramel
After about 5 - 6 hours, the fragrance finally round itself out. Alchimie becomes uncharacteristically subdued and smooth in and it distinctly resemblance Dalissime which I like a lot. At this point, Alchimie is in fact an even better version of Dalissime's drydown, as it's smoother and creamier with added oriental sweetness, whereas Dalissime is a lean-based fruity floral of the clean musk type rather than a straight vanilla one.
There are a lot of nuances I'm unable to pick out from the mixture, though there's a distinct presence of peach and sandalwood to my nose. Too bad this lovely composition could only be detected close to the skin and had no surround trail whatsoever.
~ CONCLUSION ~
I've double tested Alchimie to make sure my sample was right and indeed, it was. The problem I sometimes get with overly busy scents is that they tend to end up on me as a jumbled, jarred mixture that's been thrown together using too many elements and is all over the place. Or it's my nose's sensitivity and the fact that I'm able to discern more nuances / notes in fragrances than the average wearer.
Alchimie is a typical floral oriental of the end of the nineties / early noughties. Just like them, it starts out fruity and slightly green, turns into an almost sickly-sweet floral then finishes on a bed of vanilla. So far, so good. What spoiled it for me was the sheer number of (unnecessary) notes that only added to the confusion and was utterly pointless.
The mere 6 hours of staying power for an Eau de Parfum is a letdown too. Alchemie intrigues then disappoints, just like the fairytale coach, that at the stroke of midnight, turns into a pumpkin, or the alchemist's potion that had turned into something not quite intended.
~ PRICE AND AVAILABILITY ~
Alchemie 5ml miniatures can be found on ebay ranging between £1 and £5 + postage. Full-size bottles have become extremely rare and expensive to consider unless you're a serious collector of discontinued full-size perfumes.
Thanks for reading.
©powered by lillybee also posted on dooyoo.co.uk