Gucci The Alchemist’s Garden 3 fragrances

I mentioned I was awaiting some samples from this Gucci line and they arrived. I had thought I’d wait with them till after the first dental appointment, but no. Too impatient, and usually I’m good at being patient.

These are eaux de parfum within Gucci’s haute perfumery segment. The line has a fair number of fragrances, they come in (mostly) beautiful horticultural-ish/ apothecary bottles (I am less partial to the red and white and other colours vs the black and green ones). Currently, it looks like there are 15 edp in the line plus a few perfumed oils and some acqua profumata which appear to be eau de toilette.

Alberto Morillas is the nose – apparently on everything. The man gets serious kudos for high quality consistency. And being ‘haute’ these are not cheap. Because I ended up on the US website first I’ll quote in dollars (and you get the idea).

I got three samples from Surrender to Chance and they popped through my mail slot mid last week. I love watching the shipping progression provided, especially how many different places in the US Midwest the parcel stopped at.

Anyway, perfume. The website provides short ‘idea’ list of notes and Fragrantica just offers those as well. So, much of this is conjecture. Oh, and I love the names. Like someone in marketing has a bit of imagination for once.

The first out of the little box was Tears of Iris (2019, white bottle, $380 for 100ml). Iris, sandalwood, angelica seeds and musks. Sadly, white bottle with gold. As above, not my fave look from the line. Iris doesn’t tend to work well on me (low body temp seems to make the rooty aspect even colder and more carroty) – the only iris I own is a quarter of an inch left in my LE Tauer Orris. So, where to start? This is gorgeous. An iris I can wear. It starts out like candied something. Maybe that sounds weird – and lord knows what other notes are in this vs the scanty list – but seriously candied something. Caramelly without being at all sickly. That doesn’t last that long in the foreground, giving on to a rooty aspect modified by some of the nicest high end soap I’ve ever smelled.  The drydown is gently musky and powdery with a slightly rooty undercurrent, and under all that is a tiny bit of that caramel. Sadly, this is not long-lived on me. A couple of hours max for the main show. But, I can still smell a whisper of it after five hours.

Next up was A Gloaming Night (2021, red bottle, also $380). Cinnamon, vetiver, patchouli. The top of this is, as far as I’m concerned, the best part. Thought was clearly put into its composition … but this is really not my kettle of fish. The opening is loamy and bitter – interesting and a bit unsettling. Dirt, spice, something weirdly unexpected – grassy, green, minty, menthol-ish – which comes and goes but never comes to the fore. As it moves along, we’re into the vetiver but this with that undercurrent of mint-ness. Then, the mint recedes and we’re talking a sort of pine-y aspect which is not really pleasant. I’ve never thought that much about vetiver in perfumery but I’m now thinking it really isn’t my note. As noted in the iris entry above, I have a low-ish body temp and I think that nixes some notes ever really working well. I guess vetiver is one of them. And mint in perfume … seems to require careful handling. Has better lasting power than Tears of Iris but I guess given the type of fragrance that’s unsurprising. In any case, this isn’t for me. There doesn’t feel like there’s an anchor to the fragrance, with the vetiver-mint thing too cold to offer a proper drydown and on me no real hint of the patchouli, which might otherwise give the perfume a proper finish.

Finally, The Voice of the Snake (2019, black bottle, ditto on price). Oud, patchouli, saffron. This was the one to hook me on a blotter. Just freakin’ gorgeous. Rough, dark, weird. I had such high hopes. Like, maybe I’d found something that grabbed me in the same way Dark Lord does. Alas, no. Maybe because my skin doesn’t love patchouli like it did years ago? In any case, when I first spray it on I get a waft of band-aid (plasters) which is utterly gorgeous. But … it doesn’t smell like that on me. Instead – and I’m deeply grumpy about this – the opening is sour wood, with that slightly weird green/mint undercurrent I got with the Gloaming above. Both the sour and the green/mint mostly lift as this warms up – and I do get a little bit of band-aid, but it’s not like that first airy waft. And then, it just gets soft – soft wood, soft spice, soft, soft, soft. It’s really nice. It’s not what I expected and not what the paper promised. Oh, well.

So, where does that leave things? The bottle design is very nice. Some of the colours are good. I wasn’t expecting the iris to be the winner of the samples but it is. However, it’s not enough of a winner to explore further. I’ll happily use my sample rather than look for a decant.

I find the whole idea of these haute lines interesting. The noses get to explore more and perfume lovers get some truly beautiful/interesting/unusual fragrances. But these are all so pricey.

So, where did this lead? It reminded me I really do need to smell some more of the Cartier Heures, given I’ve only done a few, and given I like Love Don’t Be Shy and love Dark Lord, I need to explore the Kilians more.

And, finally, as ever, I really really wish more houses offered travel sizes, which might make even ‘haute’ lines a bit more accessible.

Pic is Pexels

  • Tom says:

    Well, I am with you on the Orris and Vetiver thing. They can be Dwefful Diffy as Georgie and Lucia would say.

    But at these prices I’m kind of glad to read I can skip them.

    • cinnamon says:

      Georgie and Lucia?

      Yeah, prices. I frequently remind myself that a Serge Lutens Bell Jar used to cost £110 and I thought that was pricey at the time but not out of reach. This stuff feels out of reach to me.

  • Dina C. says:

    Nice reviews, Cinnamon. I have a sample of Tears of Iris which I love. Haven’t tried any of the other Gucci alchemist line.

  • Eldarwen22 says:

    Gucci is not my vibe but there is something about having a large bottle of perfume in a collection. Just procured a large bottle of Prada Infusion d’Iris.

    • cinnamon says:

      Just out of curiosity, was the price point the same as for these? I’m afraid I really am in the camp now of sell me less. Beyond not wanting to spend that kind of dosh, I don’t know where I’d store large bottles.

      • Eldarwen22 says:

        I got my large bottle from Fragrancenet. They do have some large bottle but for less cash.

  • March says:

    These sound so interesting! Love Morillas, I need to google those bottles … but I suspect my reactions would have been (roughly) yours. None of these is screaming BUY ME at me, which is just fine, and thanks for trying them out.

    • cinnamon says:

      Certainly, I enjoyed smelling more of them at Selfridges and then choosing samples. And there are others in the line I didn’t smell but plan to in the future … But, I won’t shell out for any more samples and I can’t really see myself spending that kind of money on a bottle of perfume … ever. Which I guess is why I keep banging on about smaller sizes. Sigh.

  • alityke says:

    Absolutely on smaller sizes! A big cheer to those that do 10ml, 15ml & 20ml sizes.
    I do wonder if only doing larger, uber expensive bottles is intentional to keep away the masses?
    The creation of these, admittedly gorgeous bottles, must be a huge outlay. I admit to being cynical & thinking it’s all style over substance. Just what percentage of the budget goes on the actual juices? Not refillable either.

    I just peeped on the Gucci website, their blurb suggests layering!!!! Really? At that cost shouldn’t they be stand alone creations?

    Moonlight Seranade EDT must have been discoed, it’s available all over the grey market.

    • cinnamon says:

      Yes, maybe a desire for exclusivity keeps houses from making smaller sizes. But having said that you’ve got Malle, as I noted in another comment, offering 10ml in fairly straight-forward bottles and probably cleaning up on those. Layering… Sigh. I wonder if doing that would give them more longevity.

      • alityke says:

        Malle are such a great example. Jo Malone London still do some 9ml sizes & almost all come in 30ml sizes. All are Lauder group so big up to them as well for knowing the market for these brands. Even Lauders own top end range are affordable, even in full size.
        Anyone interested in display worthy bottles do have a look at Reminiscene Notes de Gourmandes. So pretty!

  • Portia says:

    Oh Cinnamon,
    I love the Cartier Hueres. There are some beautiful, weird, interesting things in the line. Getting harder to find too, I think our Cartier in Sydney is running the set down to make way for the newer stuff.
    DIOR has done 40ml bottles of their prive collection, sitting at around AU$200. So more expensive per ml but who of us will use 125ml of almost anything?
    Portia x

    • cinnamon says:

      I visited one of the NYC Cartier stores over 10 years ago. It was such a good experience. Huge thunderstorm and I was a bit damp but the customer service was still awesome and samples were available. No twitch when I didn’t buy anything. That’s a bit over £100 for 40 ml. So, still quite pricey… But agree it would take me a long time to use up 125ml.

  • Musette says:

    I have tried the Iris and Snake scents and had pretty much the same experience. Which is heartening, as I’d rather not have to buy either of them!

    • cinnamon says:

      I was really quite surprised at how wan the Snake was. Also, none of the ones I tried were terribly long-lived. I know my skin does that to some things but it’s another strike against.

  • Maya says:

    For me it’s A Chant for the Nymph. It’s the only plumeria (frangipani) perfume that I seriously like. I love the smell of plumerias! Tears of Iris seems to get a lot of love, but it’s not for me. I hadn’t realized that there were so many newer Alchemist’s Garden perfumes. Now I want to try Tears from the Moon and possibly a few others.

    • cinnamon says:

      I love frangipani — at least on the tree 🙂 I’ve yet to find something in perfume that worked on me. The names really are spectacular.

  • Tara C says:

    I love the bottles of this line and own a few, including Tears of Iris. Unfortunately the pretty green bottles only seem to contain the oils, and the tall white ones with roses on them are just weak splashes. So I only have white, black and pink.

    • cinnamon says:

      What is Tears of Iris like on you? The bottles really are quite nice. I expect if I find myself somewhere they are stocked I’ll try some more but I can’t see buying full bottles.

  • Filomena says:

    I completely agree with you regarding the smaller sizes.
    Thanks for this review.

    • cinnamon says:

      I wonder about cost/benefit analyses and what marketing people say, as I would imagine more stuff would fly off shelves if it were possible to buy 20 or 30 ml sizes. I love the Malle travel sizes — means buying something is not prohibitive. 10ml at a bit over £40 is still pricey but I know I’ll use it up.