Sweet Anthem Juliet ~ fragrance review

Guerrier Sandwichien

On sultry summer days this year (there'll probably be around, oh, fifteen of them in Seattle if we're lucky), when someone asks me what sultry perfume I'm wearing, I'll have a hard time saying (whispering?) "Juliet." First, I don't like Shakespeare's annoying teen, the inspiration for this perfume, and secondly, Sweet Anthem Juliet,1 the fragrance, does not remind me of virginal 16th century Verona girls. As I wear Juliet, I'll be thinking of the South Pacific and Gauguin's colorful images of half-naked men and women, flowers around their necks or in their hair, lounging near the sea. I wanted to use Gauguin's painting, Jeune Homme à la Fleur to illustrate this post, but it's not in the public domain, so the tattooed guy above will have to suffice (and I don't think anyone would dare give him grief for wearing a perfume called "Juliet").

Sweet Anthem, founded by perfumer Meredith Smith,2 is an indie/artisan perfumery based in Seattle. Juliet combines many of my favorite things: jasmine (the fruity-smelling jasminum polyanthum is in full bloom at my house as I write), mango (Alfonso mangoes are in season; I must thank friends from India who introduced me to this marvel of mango-dom), and tobacco (never smoked it, but love to sniff it). Oh, and summer; Juliet smells like my favorite season.

Juliet is a powerful, creamy, "tropical" fruity-floral fragrance; a single spritz on my arm or chest produces just the right amount of sillage for me (and the scent lasts all day). When first applied, I smell a mingling of mango and jasmine/white flower notes — sometimes the mango dominates, other times jasmine comes to the fore. Juliet is sweet, but with nice "edges": a hint of greenery, a gloss of sheer tobacco, the lightest of musks. As I wear this perfume, I not only visualize Gauguin's famous subjects, but imagine myself sitting on a beach at sundown on a  warm summer day, biting into a mango, crunchy seashells mixed with the salty sand beneath my feet. The moment I sniffed Juliet, I wanted to take a vacation...a quiet beach in Thailand or Mexico will do.  (Juliet has the aura of an exotic fruit-and-flowers-scented suntan oil.)

 Is Juliet unisex? Would most men dare to wear it?

Mango and Sweet Anthem Juliet

My experience in perfumery leads me to believe women would have no trouble wearing a cologne called Anton or Peter (other Sweet Anthem perfumes); in fact, lots of women would proudly wear such scents, as they do their male partner's T-shirts and sweaters. But men don't usually borrow their girlfriend's or wife's blouses or skirts (unless they're Eddie Izzard)...so I'm betting having a perfume named after a woman cuts down on "unisex traffic" for Juliet (which is too bad).

As I waft Juliet this summer, if people ask me what I'm wearing, I'll be tempted to say Homme à la fleur...but, in order to steer business to its rightful place, Sweet Anthem, I'll gulp and say "Juliet" (and suffer the smirks, guffaws and looks of surprise). I've found I can make Juliet more butch by mixing it with strong vetiver, tobacco or sandalwood. Juliet also layers beautifully with coconut "soliflores" (though coconut does nothing to make Juliet more masculine). 

Juliet is available at Sweet Anthem's website in a variety of sizes and formats: Eau de Parfum (30 ml/$48; 10 ml/$18), solid (10 ml/$12), perfume oil (10 ml/$32). For this review, I wore the Eau de Parfum.

1. Listed notes are mango, clove, pink pepper, jasmine, muskwood, tobacco.

2. I'll post a feature on the Sweet Anthem perfume shop soon.

Note: top image is Guerrier Sandwichien [altered] by Jacques Arago via Wikimedia Commons. Bottom left mango image [altered] by William Hood Fitch, also via Wikimedia Commons.

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  1. Kelly Red says:

    Oh Kevin, this sounds delightful. Mangos and tobacco with jasmine. Yummmm. And I so agree with the Alfonso mangos, really what a mango is supposed to be! Aka Aldolfo and Champagne mango. Sweet, juicy, NO fiber, everything those nasty Kent mangos aren’t. I want to bathe in them when they are in season.

    • Kevin says:

      Kelly…I’ve been known to eat four Alfonsos at a time! Ha! They are so wonderful!

      • Kelly Red says:

        ME TOO! LOL I will torment you by saying I’ve discovered the local mexican mercado which sells them at 10/$10 and I buy bags of them. Then I’m like a greedy greedy girl and just inhale them. I’ve also bought tons extra, sliced and froze them for later. Good in smoothies.

        • Kevin says:

          Kelly: oh, I understand…people do NOT share their Alfonso “dealers” readily! I have to order mine thru the mail…never found a source in Seattle!!!!!

  2. Nightingale says:

    Fabulous review and I am excited to try this and Alfonso mangos! I’m also thrilled because for our wedding anniversary my husband gifted me with a perfume making class with Meredith at Sweet Anthem! Can hardly wait!

    • Kevin says:

      Nightingale: should be fun!

  3. melissa says:

    I love Sweet Anthem — I’m on their SA List (a subscription service that’s a GREAT deal if you like her scents). I think I’ll be using this quarter’s code to buy my partner a bottle of Cooper, this season’s coffee and fir fragrance. It goes on both dark and bracing and dries sweet — I find it divine on someone else.

    • Kevin says:

      melissa: yes, I like that one too…have to check my samples, but I believe Walden is great, too.

  4. Erin says:

    Several things spring to mind at once: 1) I love Eddie Izzard; 2) I love Gauguin’s painting and prefer your name for the scent; and 3) have you tried Huitieme Art Manguier Métisse? (Very Gauguin-leaning name, there.) Lovely scent, the only one from that line that I like, photorealistic mango-frangipani with a dark wood and powder drydown.

    • Kevin says:

      Erin: aaaaaaah…that one sounds good. I’ll put it on “the list”

  5. songeuse says:

    LOL at the Eddie Izzard reference! One of my French professors was a big fan of him.

    I’d love to try this one since mango is one of my favorite fruits.

    • Kevin says:

      songeuse: I really like mango too…has a floral component, it can be rich and sweet, or unripe (still lovely).

  6. Absolute Scentualist says:

    This is full of my favorite notes. Definitely going on my sample list. Thanks, Kevin. I’m not very familiar with this line and may have completely missed it.

    • Kevin says:

      AbScent…as Robin was saying yesterday in her review…it is almost IMPOSSIBLE to keep up…I don’t even try, so it’s nice to come across something nice…especially close to home. I need to explore more perfumeries in Portland, too.

  7. elise says:

    I’m a huge Sweet Anthem fan, also on their SA list….and Juliet is one of my favs! What a delight to see a review on this! My other fav is Catherine…..If you like tea notes, you will love Sweet Anthem….Very lovely stuff!

    • Kevin says:

      Elise…love tea notes…will check it out.

  8. Holly says:

    Great review. I get my mangos at the local Indian grocery – I have no idea what type they are but they’re wonderful and exactly like the mangos I used to eat in India. Now I need to check out the Alfonsos.

    I have yet to try anything from Sweet Anthem, but Juliet sounds right up my alley. Thanks for bringing this brand to my attention. On the list …

  9. Kevin says:

    Holly, you’re welcome!

  10. nozknoz says:

    Great image, and some of the others in that link are fascinating, too. I love the “dancing” woman.

    I’m glad you all are writing about niche perfumes that you like this week. I realize the onslaught of new releases and even new lines is daunting, and that most of it isn’t worth smelling, but I every time a boring or unpleasant mainstream (or niche) perfume is reviewed, I wonder if we aren’t missing something worth trying and supporting. Plus, I want your noses to be happy!

    I have a feeling the energy of June sunlight has everyone revved up and feeling more like exploring again.

    • Kevin says:

      Noz: yes, my nose has been ‘happy’ the last couple of weeks!

  11. Isabella says:

    The only time I ever smuggled, the contraband in question was a dozen of said mangos, snugged into the various crevices in my carryon bag on a flight back to California from Mexico. The customs official in LA peeped into my bag, clearly saw the mangos, smiled ever so slightly, and then waved me through. A fellow Alfonso lover if ever I met one.

    Thanks for this great review, Kevin, and thank you for articulating the concept of “edges” in a perfume. That sentence suddenly clarified for me why certain sweet florals are unappealing to me — they’re too flabby, not constrained and focused by the right accompanying notes — and why I love certain scents like Frederic Malle’s Lys Mediterranee, where the lily is held in check by salt and greenery.

    • Kevin says:

      Isabella…thank goodness you were not entering the US via NYC!!! I’ve seen grown-ups on the verge of tears in those customs lines. Ha!

  12. AnnE says:

    Great article, Kevin! And two more things to check out – mangoes and a new perfume line.
    The image you used at the top made me think of a young Queequeg. :-)

    • Kevin says:

      AnnE: true! “Moby Dick” is one of my favorite novels….

  13. hajusuuri says:

    Why did you have to make this sound so appealing? Why? Now I have to explore this line and bump off a hundred (or maybe two humdred or more) samples to get to this immediately!

    About the mangoes, unfortumately, I am allergic to them unless it’s cooked and even then, I can only eat a little bit. I will just have to wait by the sidelines and salivate.

    • Kevin says:

      Hajusuuri: but at least this line won’t break the bank, right? Also, have you tried mango jam? Maybe that would not be so “caustic” for you.

  14. Aparatchick says:

    I had to go take a look at their website after reading this, and since my jasmine and mango dance cards are full, what could I do but get Sweet Anthem Colin? Benzoin, Cardamom, Honey, Frankincense, & Myrrh – Perfect for me!

    • Kevin says:

      Aparatchick: Enjoy! Also, what are some of YOUR fav jasmine and mango scents?

    • mals86 says:

      I love that name, Colin, for something with that notes list.

      Dang it, I was NOT going to go investigate more indies. My wallet is having a stomping toddler tantrum right now.

      • Kevin says:

        Mals, sorrrrrrrrrrry!

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