Seance Perfumes, a review of two.

So, sometimes I succumb to the the online fervor of Instagram posts and blog reviews (wait, who am I kidding, that’s been my life for the past 5 years) of perfumes, especially newer perfumes. Last week I indulged myself one last time (which is a story for another post), and today I received my antique/Victorian/Goth themed perfumes from Seance Perfumes.

Seance Perfumes are prettily packaged and they were so kind as to include a tiny sample of Seven Gables for me, as requested, gratis. It is a smaller amount than the big ole 1.5ml tube that they usually sell, which is fine, and what I specified in my ask. The pricing on the Seance Perfumes samples is not consistent with their full size bottles. For a 10ml bottle to be $22, you’d expect a 1.5ml sample to be $3.30, tops. And yet, a 3 pack of 1.5ml samples is $20. Ummm, what? You want me to pay the price of a full bottle for less than half of a full bottle?! I don’t think so. Hence, my ask for the sniffie. Also, you guys: you have to charge sales tax, whut?! Come on, now.

When I opened up Seven Gables, all I could think was “ALL CINNAMON EVERYTHING!!!” and that was about it. That thought repeated a full seven hours later when I popped open  the vial and applied again. Unfortunately, all cinnamon everything doesn’t last worth a damn. Fortunately, it gave me no reaction, which is great, and means it probably doesn’t use cinnamon oil or cassia bark either. Yay.

I was super intrigued with the idea of Dearly Departed, a rose and grass/dirt perfume, as I’ve been haunting Fragrantica and the web in general, looking for the perfect rose perfume. Spoiler alert: still haven’t found it.

The notes listed for Dearly Departed are “fresh floral bouquet, grass, dirt, rose” and while it starts out with a soft rose-forward feel, there isn’t much going on here at all. I’ve got a pretty decent perfume collection (what you can see on Basenotes isn’t the sum, just what they’ve got available to log) and after spraying, sniffing, reading, and talking about perfume hardcore for the last 8 years, I think I can talk about perfumes with some degree of confidence, as a consumer.

This perfume is simple, somewhat pretty, and I don’t hate it. That’s about all, though. The rose is pretty generic and not multi-faceted, which is a bummer for me. I was totally hoping for grass and dirt, and while I got a touch of each on the first application, they’ve disappeared upon repeat application, and all I smell is this cheap rose, which can be had for a song. Oh well. If anyone wants mine, hit me up. $22 and I’ll ship it for free. You’re basically looking at a rose soliflore without either projection or longevity.

I’ve got one more for ya! Laveau’s listed notes are simply sandalwood and bourbon. This excited me, as I am a big fat sucker for sandalwood, and bourbon, yes, sign me up any time. I love all the brown liquors, yay! I was feeling optimistic, hoping to woo and seduce by dint of my magical perfume aura.

Laveau is super soft. Again, simple, and not much going on. This actually reminds me of a For Strange Women perfume which used to be an oil – Violin In The Attic. Both are soft, remind me of dusty velvety drapes stored in a warm attic. Maybe the attic is dark, maybe it’s bright, but a deep solar warmth pervades a quiet, still space. Whereas I am clearly unimpressed and rather disappointed with Dearly Departed, I can’t get enough of the soft simplicity of Laveau. I think I could rub this on by the bucketful and feel quite happy about it.

The perfumes, such as they are, come in 10ml rollerballs, which are a little annoying. My rollerball of Laveau doesn’t want to roll. When I can eke it out of the vessel, there is a sweet, soft orange creamsicle with an edge of neroli bitterness which quickly settles down into the soft smell of wood. Wood that’s been walked on and lived in and around for decades. Your favorite, most quiet room in the house. The attic, the library, your living room sighing and settling at night. Maybe my rollerball will behave one day*.

*(Oh shit, no it di’int! I popped the ball out, smothered myself in oil and still got pretty much zilch when it comes to longevity/projection. Sigh.)

I purchased these with my own dollars, and as such, feel completely comfortable giving my honest opinion, which may read as slightly bitchy, see more below. I think it’s important to have unbiased and independent perfume reviews out there, because the only reviews that I could find of this brand also had coupon codes attached, and presumably, Seance Perfumes had sent freebies to the writers for review, who knows.

I have to say that I’m a bit tired of seeing the same thing on every new indie “perfumer’s” websites and interviews, which amounts to “oh, I’m so fascinated with scent and memory and gahh, chemicals are bad!” Yeah, we get it, scent is fascinating, and you don’t like perfume counters. OooooKay! Can you please come up with something better, or say nothing at all? The brand feels super young. It’s InstaPerfume, for the InstaWitch, InstaGoth crowd. Less crystals as your TOA, better composition, please.

To be honest, it is so very simple that I don’t want to call it perfume*, but will for the sake of simplicity in writing about it. It’s not complex, not terribly interesting, and there’s not much to say about it beyond what I’ve written. I think the ideas are neat, and the graphic design is appealing, so it would be interesting to me to see if this perfumer grows, learns, and evolves, or if she stays at level 1 perfumery, aka “mixing for my friends and now I’m gonna sell it.”

Oooh, burn! I know, I’m opinionated. C’est la vie.

*What is a perfume? I’ll explore MY definition of what a perfume is in a future post. Till next time, sniffers!


4 thoughts on “Seance Perfumes, a review of two.

  1. Thanks Undina! I was fairly disappointed with this batch of perfumes. There were so many glowing reviews about it that I decided people should hear a different point of view. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Damn, what a bummer!! Well, I’m glad I wrote the review. The perfumer actually found my review and wrote to my, I was going to update the article to reflect that. What do you dream of in a witchy scent? I might have some suggestions for you. 🙂


  3. This review means so much to me. Sadly I am just coming to read it months after buying the entire seance sample pack ($80!! Plus shipping handling and tax) I figured with all of the variety and the price tag I would find my dream perfume or at least something close. Upon recieving the beautifully packaged “perfume” I was eager to be transported into witchy aesthetic heaven. I was extremely let down by every single scent (13 to be exact). I thought perhaps the seemingly simple scents would project and the underlying notes would enhance once rubed on a warm living body. I was wrong. The scents fell very flat and smelled somewhat sickly. They faded within the hour. I tried out the lot over a few weeks, sometimes retrying scents in hopes of getting my money’s worth. Honestly they all smelled extremely similar with the exception of Crowley (pure cheap incense) and Boudoir (orange creamsicle). The ideas behind the perfumes are lovely and the stories told on instagram are beautiful. Sigh. Maybe next time.


  4. I’ve never even heard about this brand and it doesn’t sound like I’m missing on much.
    Whenever I decide to pay for a sample (vs. get it from a store, free with another purchase or in a friendly swap), I’m being especially annoyed by subpar, in my opinion, perfumes. That’s why I almost stopped buying blind even samples 🙂

    I like your picture comparison: it looks very stylish.


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