I found Barefoot Apothecary’s Etsy shop when I was trawling for any cardamom-related beauty products. Blame Epically Epic Soaps and their Vanilla Cardamom lip balm for setting me off on this kick, but at least it appears I’m not the only one feeling cardamom lately!
Barefoot Apothecary features an interesting selection – teas, honeys, bath and beauty products, jewelry, and fragrances can all be found in their inventory. I’ve been on a major tea kick lately, so the fact that this shop had cardamom honey, some exquisite-sounding teas, and cardamom perfume oils (as well as lily and sakura fragrances, which are a couple of my other favorite notes), I knew I wasn’t getting out of this encounter without losing some cash!
I ended up ordering a perfume oil sample set, the infused honey elixir sample set, and the smaller size of one of the “perfumed” tea blends.
If you’re reading this on the main page, please click the read more to see my full Barefoot Apothecary review!
The seller only took a couple days to ship, and my package arrived only two days after I received my shipping notice. Everything was also well-packed, which is so important when dealing with something like honey in glass vials, right?? 😱
Aside from the bubble wrap, it was also packed within a well-fitting box and then put in another bubble mailer. Nice and secure. Given that I recently received a glass bottle of coffee syrup that had been totally shattered during shipment because the initial packager had put it in far too large a box with far too little bubble wrap, seeing this much care put into secure shipping was a relief. GG @ Barefoot Apothecary!
BAREFOOT APOTHECARY INFUSED HONEY ELIXIR SAMPLER SET
The honey set came in its own cute little paper packaging box, which is sturdy enough that I’ve kept the vials inside it – they fit side-by-side perfectly, so it’s easy and secure.
I picked the “flavor infusions” sampler set, as opposed to the “herbal infusions” variety pack that Barefoot Apothecary also offers. I tried to increase the contrast, but couldn’t quite get the text to be perfectly legible, so here are the included flavors and their descriptions:
Peach Rose – Sweet organic white & yellow peach slices infuse Pure Wildflower Honey with golden summer brilliance, a scattering of red rose petals add depth and a fragrant blush to this unforgettable fruity sweetness. Added to the mix is a blend of Chamomile flowers, Hawthorn and a touch of tartness with a dash of Hibiscus, Rosehips and Orange peel. A taste of golden summer days.
Cinnamon & Spice – Warm and cozy cinnamon sugary goodness. Pure Wildflower Honey, infused with a good old-fashioned blend of cinnamon chips, dried orange peel, whole allspice, clove & nutmeg. A classic mulled honey blend.
Liquid Ruby Saffron Hazelnut – Pure amber Wildflower Honey, infused with a divine scattering of saffron threads, drizzled over toasted and crushed hazelnuts and rounded out into a deep full-bodied richness with the specks of vanilla seeds suspended in this lovely honey goodness.
Rosemary Frost – A classic garden honey blend, herbaceous & minty fresh. Crushed organic Rosemary sprigs meet with Mint leaves and a scattering of Sage, all infused in Pure Wildflower Honey. Sweet, green and fresh.
Vanilla Cardamom Coconut – A smooth and dark honey infusion, delightfully rich and fragrant with deep & exotic spices. Pure Wildflower Honey is infused with freshly crushed Cardamom pods, paired with Organic dried Coconut shreds. And the final touch- a sprinkling of Vanilla bean seeds suspended in this unforgettable treat.
As you may have guessed, the Vanilla Cardamom Coconut was the flavor that initially caught my eye. I ended up picking the sampler pack over just a bottle of the VCC because the Peach Rose and Liquid Ruby Saffron Hazelnut also sounded really fantastic. Plus, how can you go wrong with cinnamon-spiced honey or rosemary and peppermint?
I’ve only actually tried the Vanilla Cardamom Coconut thus far – I tasted a little bit on its own and then had some mixed into English Breakfast tea. The cardamom is definitely the dominant flavor (yes!) with the vanilla bringing up the rear. I didn’t really get much coconut, to be honest.
The Rosemary Frost honey smells soooooo good – I would easily love a candle with the same scent profile. The peppermint isn’t too overpowering, and I definitely pick up on the sage and rosemary. Sage and rosemary happen to be possibly my two favorite herbs, so, y’know, win.
Cinnamon & Spice smells exactly as you’d expect. Very Christmas-y, and something that I think will be really delicious in tea or on a biscuit.
The Liquid Ruby Elixir actually has the truest honey scent of them all, but you can definitely pick up on the extra flavors. The saffron is not heavy, and I definitely pick up on the vanilla. Not getting a lot of hazelnut, but it might be more obvious when you actually taste it!
Lastly, Peach Rose. Weirdly, I couldn’t really smell this one, so I just ate a tiny bit. I definitely get the fruitiness and the rose, but the honey is definitely strongest here. I’ll have to try this one in a larger quantity, I think.
BAREFOOT APOTHECARY BLACK VELVET FIG PERFUMED TEA BLEND
The tea flavor that I selected was Black Velvet Fig, described as “a unique culinary delight, blending deep jet black Oolong teas with Lavender, dried Figs, Vanilla specks and balsamic and citrus undertones of fine crushed Frankincense tears.”
How amazing does that sound? I love figs, I love lavender – especially in sweet foods with vanilla and/or citrus – and balsamic and Frankincense sounded like interesting choices for sure.
First off, just the scent coming off this vial when it’s opened is absolutely amazing. If only my house could always smell like it did when I was brewing this tea! The lavender, oolong, citrus and I believe the Frankincense are the primary notes you get in a pre-brewing whiff, and it smells soooooo good.
Here are both the ingredients list and the directions. Admittedly, I’m kind of beginner to gourmet teas (spent most of my life drinking Celestial Seasonings and Constant Comment 😓) so I’d never done the whole pre-moistening tea to “awaken” it before. But luckily I have this cute lotus blossom tea infuser that made this step extremely easy (it has a walled silicone base you can set the metal bottom part on precisely to catch excess water/tea), so I followed the steps precisely.
There’s a shot of the tea in the infuser pre-water. Pretty big leaves, so I didn’t have to worry about it escaping the infuser like with more finely-ground teas.
Let’s have another show-offy shot of my cute infuser because why not?
My first cup, I let it brew for 4 minutes. I think that was a bit too long for the quantity of tea/amount of water ratio, as it came off a touch bitter. I made a second cup and brewed it for 2 minutes, and it was much, much tastier.
To my tongue, it was mostly this order of flavor: oolong, lavender, what i think was the frankincense (I’ve never ingested it before, so…), citrus, vanilla, fig, balsamic. Honestly, I really didn’t pick up much fig or balsamic at all! So while this was an altogether pleasant tea when brewed with a light hand, I do wish it had significantly more of the fig that it’s named for, you know?
BAREFOOT APOTHECARY NATURAL PERFUME OIL SAMPLER SET
Next up, the botanical perfume sampler set! I selected the three following scents:
LILIA AETERNA (Floral Oriental)
- Persona: Ethereal Amber & Lily essence. Sweet, pale & soft. Exquisite florals with creamy woods.
- Primary Notes: Stargazer Lily, Copal, Amber & Sandalwood.
- Ethereal Amber & Lily essence. Sweet, pale & soft. Exquisite florals with creamy woods.
- A tribute to the impossible brilliance of the Stargazer Lily with highlights of Jasmine Green Tea and a kiss of pink pepper, all enveloped in soft moss.
MARU OBI (Floral Oriental)
- Persona: Floral Oriental. Sweetly graceful and poised with exotic florals and spice.
- Primary Notes:Ginger, Mandarin, Ginger Lily, Cherry Blossom, Jasmine Green Tea & Pink Pepper. –
- Tightly poised spicy floral bouquet, delicate and elegant. Gracefully severe balance of ginger spice, citrus, green floral notes, Japanese cypress, cedar and costus root. yuzu, mandarin and pink pepper bring a sweet tautness to the light and fluttering cherry blossom accord, swaying into warm tea notes, sweet musky woods and myrrh.
VIOLIN STRING (Aromatic Oriental Floral)
- Persona: Dark & elegant, spiced, complex & enigmatic with a touch of sweetness.
- Primary Notes: Cardamom, Violet, Rosewood & Teak.
- An intense dark & elegant floral bouquet, complex & enigmatic with a touch of sweetness, Cardamom & spices. Warm, woody drydown, ringing with dark Ebony woods & Teak.
You get three guesses as to which scent was the one that initially brought me to Barefoot Apothecary, and the first two don’t count because it’s obvious af 😉.
The samples came packed with cute little info cards for each scent. Honestly, I’m really impressed with the care that went into packing my order – everything is very cute and I appreciate having the info cards to just shove in my friends’ faces when I’m making them smell a new fragrance rather than having to pause and look it up on my phone!
Anyhow, back to the perfume oils. Truly, all three of these are fabulous. The owner of Barefoot Apothecary is clearly a talented perfumer – all the notes blend together so well, no one ingredient is overpowering or too heavy-handed, and the end result is gorgeous. Additionally, all three of them have significant longevity even when applied with discretion – for example, I tested just a dab Violin String on my wrist, and 5 hours later it was still noticeable when I brought my wrist near my face. Maru Obi and Lilia Aeterna had slightly lower lifetimes – probably just by virtue of their notes being altogether lighter – but still lasted at least 3-4 hours with just small doses applied to the wrist.
Individually, here are my thoughts:
Violin String – Here’s what I wrote when describing it in the Cardamom fragrance thread that I linked earlier:
“It’s definitely woody – the rosewood is what my skin amped up at first. I can pick out the cardamom and violet more and more as time goes on, though, and it works really well together.
The thing to note is that it’s not a really heady/thick wood note… if you know what I mean by that? A lot of woody scents are kind of headache-inducing for me because I feel like I’m being clocked on the head with firewood or something, they’re so overpowering D; I think the perfumer here didn’t go quite so heavy and made it a more even balance, so you can actually smell the floral and spice notes without feeling like you’re camping out in a fireplace.
I think it’s really gorgeous, probably one of the better woody-florals that I’ve ever tried. I’d say it’s worth a shot!”
Even after multiple wearings, this is still mostly rosewood-cardamom-violet on me – I suppose those are just the notes that my skin is liking the most. I’ve noticed that the rose and narcissus get louder as time goes on, balancing out the darker wood base. The spice is present, but never too strong – despite having three spice notes within cardamom, pimento and the vague “crushed spices”, it’s always a sort of companion note, enhancing the flowers and woods, rather than speaking over them.
This is the “darkest” of the three scents that I ordered, but it’s by no means heavy. I think it’s perfect for that transition from summer to fall – it’s not as traditionally deep as I would associate with a winter scent, but it’s also not reading as purely summery to me. Rather, it reminds me of that brief time of year where the weather can go from 80 degrees during the daytime to 40-50 degrees at night – where you can still have sun-baked days but take an evening walk with just the beginning of fall’s chill asserting itself.
Walking around in shorts and a cardigan, you know? This is very late August into Early October for me, and I look forward to wearing it then!
Lilia Aeterna – Upon first application, there’s a light woody note – I believe the cabrueva – that is strongest, alongside the bergamot with just a touch of flowers (probably both from the actual floral notes as well as the cabrueva – it’s noted for being a “flowery” wood). Within just a few minutes, though, the lily and jasmine assert themselves and the whole thing becomes more balanced.
As time goes on, my skin amps up the copal – my skin has always liked copal and tends to make it the star of any scent that includes it, so this may be a YMMV kind of thing – but not in a muggy, nauseating, head shop type of way. The honey, lighter woods, flowers and pepper all work together to keep this a very light-hearted scent, despite having several notes that can easily go too thick.
Overall, I would call this a feminine, light woody-floral with just a hint of gourmand from the honey. Seriously – there’s something edible about this despite only having one foodie note. It smells delicious.
Maru Obi – At first, this scent is all bright ginger, mandarin, and yuzu with just the faintest blush of woodiness and cherry blossom. It’s fresh and almost green, yet decidedly complex and floral.
After awhile, an almost marshmallow-y woodiness appears. It’s not too strong – it doesn’t overpower the lighter floral aspect of the perfume – but when you lean in and breathe deeply, you definitely get something borderline sugary. It’s not foodie, not really – I expect it’s the honey at play with the various woods in the base and heart.
The wood notes definitely remind me of that sort of “warm wood” smell from a spa sauna – well, that’s almost certainly the hinoki bringing up such an association, but it’s always exactly what I hope for from hinoki notes, so it makes me happy.
The woods never assert themselves to the point that they overpower the rest of the fragrance, so this remains a lightly spiced (ginger, pepper) floral with a creamy, yummy wood base.
This scent remains significantly lighter than the other two for its entire lifespan – and it’s also a touch shorter on the longevity, probably for that reason. Whereas Violin String and Lilia Aeterna lasted for about 5-6 hours before seeming diminished, Maru Obi clocks 3-4 hours before it begins to noticeably fade.
I really, really like this one, if you can’t tell!
Lastly, Barefoot Apothecary also sent me a fragrance sample:
This is one of their “Precious Single Note” perfumes. It’s called Evergreen, and boy is it a true fir needle experience! Here’s the description:
[Heart Note] Bright and fresh evergreen accord. Coniferous. The deep, warm & woody herbaceous green of freshly crushed needles, with dry-earthy undertones of sweet balsam, moss and mellow woods.
Takes me back to my days as a kid when my dad lived in Oregon and parts of his back yard would be absolutely carpeted in pine needles. It’s decidedly pleasant, though I don’t think it’s quite “me” to wear it as a personal scent – but in a candle or home fragrance oil, sure!
Barefoot Apothecary Final Impression
All in all, I’m quite happy with my purchase. The tea was probably my only disappointment, and that’s minor – it’s still tasty, just not quite what I was imagining when I read the flavor profile.
The perfume oils are the real standout and ensure that I’ll be ordering again, both probably to get a larger supply of Maru Obi (and maybe Violin String, depending on how I’m feeling come end of summer) as well as try some of the other Barefoot Apothecary scents. I believe that the owner is clearly a very talented perfumer, especially with how she handles notes that are so often the kiss of death for me in the hands of other indies – I love, love copal and wood notes, for example, but so many indie perfumers go WAY overboard when using them and turn them into headache-inducing, syrupy-thick scents that I just cannot wear. Finding a fragrance source that uses a lighter, more balanced hand with such notes is really heaven-sent for me!
This means that I’m excited to try some other fragrances that contain notes that I usually have to avoid – for example, I quite like Ylang-Ylang, but it’s another note that many perfumers tend to use to a point of overkill and as such, I’ve learned to steer clear. After my initial experience with Barefoot Apothecary, I have enough faith that I’ll be willing to try scents that I otherwise might have passed on simply due to being burned by heaviness or single-note-dominance in the past.
If Barefoot Apothecary sounds like a shop you’d be interested in trying, you can visit their Etsy shop here!
This review was done completely of my own accord, with no influence from anybody else. I purchased these items 100% with my own money and received no compensation for this review. However, there are some affiliate links present in this post (the lotus infuser) – please read the site disclaimer for more information. If you use said affiliate link to purchase anything, you have my infinite gratitude!