Arcana Vanilla Craves Snow Fairies
Frozen honey with dry white musk, winter vanilla, opulent amber, snow, vodka, and a sliver of orris root.
Winter is fast approaching, and many perfume houses are preparing their winter collections, many of which use a lot of pine and snow notes. Now, I have a weird thing about snow notes. Many of them make me wrinkle my nose; they’re usually powdery and ozone-y, and I don’t like them. However, a friend in the indie community convinced me to try this scent, since the snow note is apparently very different from the other ones I’ve tried. The other notes also sound really good, and I was intrigued by the inclusion of vodka in the fragrance. This scent is no longer available, as it was a gift with purchase from a previous winter collection
In the bottle: A very crisp vanilla with a tiny vodka bite. It’s sweeter than I expected and a little powdery, but in a good way.
On the skin: I get more of the snow, but I actually like this snow note! It’s not ozone-y or minty, its just cold and delicate. Mix that with the vanilla and vodka, and it really works. Once it dries, it’s a musky, cold vanilla with the tiniest hint of vodka for crispness. There’s also something surprisingly sexy about this scent, which is interesting. It’s very unique and I really love it. It reminds me of Snegurochka (Снегурочка) aka the Snow Maiden of Russian folklore who helps Grandfather Frost (Ded Moroz).
TL;DR: A delicately cold vanilla with musk and a bit of vodka. Perfect for winter. 7/5.
Alkemia Honeycakes for the Harvest Moon
Freshly baked honeycakes, autumn beeswax, gleanings from ripened grainfields, and newly harvested fruits lightly spiced with nutmeg, ginger, and golden cloves.
As you may know, I love honey scents, but they can be kind of finicky on the skin. Thankfully, a friend sent me a sample so I could test it out. This scent is currently unavailable.
In the bottle: It’s beautifully sweet honey cakes. It reminds me a lot of Sharing the Cake HG!
On the skin: This no longer smells like Sharing the Cake HG at all; it’s less sweet and more true to actual honey rather than honey cakes. I’m getting quite a bit of nutmeg too which I like! It adds a nice spice note to the blend. I also like how this scent isn’t a very heavy gourmand; there’s a kind of lightness to it that prevents it from being overly foodie. Overall, I like it. I don’t think I’ll buy a full size of it, but I’m happy to have my sample.
And now I’m hungry. Photo belongs to halfbakedharvest.com
TL;DR: Sweet, gently spiced honey cakes. Not overly gourmand. 3.5/5.
EDIT: I’m sorry to say that my opinion of this scent has completely changed. I’ve discovered that applying this to my skin results in a bizarre celery smell after a few hours and I really don’t like it. Into the destash pile it goes!
Alkemia Affaire de Coeur
Sugared white musk, creamy Madagascar vanilla, white sandalwood, tonka bean, white amber, and pale sugar cane.
I haven’t had much luck with Alkemia as a brand, but I desperately want their scents to work on me because I love the sound of many of them. A friend sent me some of her old samples so I could test them out without having to blind buy. This scent sounded right up my alley, since I like every single one of the notes. You can buy it from Alkemia’s Etsy store for $12 US for a 5mL full size. You can also buy it as part of an Alkemia sample set, where it will be 1mL.
In the bottle: Sandalwood and sweetness. Dusty, but incredibly feminine. Something in it reads as pear to me for some reason.
On the skin: This definitely a a sugared sandalwood blend. I’m having a hard time picking out the notes individually, though; there’s sandalwood for sure, and I think some sugared vanilla and musk. There’s a powdery kind of note in there too, and it’s very light and delicate. I feel like this will be a good scent for occasion where I can’t wear a scent that’s very strong or a little more unconventional.
Vanilla sugar! Photo belongs to cherryteacakes.com
TL;DR: Sugared sandalwood. Nice and unoffensive. 4/5.
Arcana Sea Witch
Delicate aquamarine scales and fins mingle with ribbons of seaweed, blueberries, brine, fresh rain, and gently sweet amber resin.
For the 2017 Halloween collection, Arcana did a set of perfumes about different kinds of witches. Within the collection, this one seemed to be a favorite. I’m not a huge fan of aquatics, so a friend sent me a decant to test out since I was curious. You can buy this scent on Arcana’s ebay page and on Nui Cobalt Design’s website for $20 US, or on Pretty Indulgent’s website for those in Canada.
In the bottle: SEAWEED. Oh boy, that is really strong and accurate smelling. It smells exactly like the kelp that wraps around your legs at the beach. Honestly, I can’t smell anything else right now.
On the skin: The seaweed calms down somewhat, which I appreciate, but it’s still really freaking powerful. I’m getting more of the background notes, which remind me a lot of the Arcana scents Lammas and Ostara, with the fresh water and blueberry. That part is very pleasant, but they just get drowned out by the seaweed. I can see why people really like this scent, but the salty kelpy smell is too much for my tastes.
My first thought when I saw the name of the perfume.
TL;DR: Extremely strong seaweed on a bed of fresh blueberry aquatics. Like glamorous Cthulhu. Not my thing. 2/5.
BPAL Spinning on Graves
Dorian and lavender mist, crushed grass, cypress leaf, and a drop of clove.
Every year, the owners of BPAL and BPTP release a set of perfumes for their daughter Lilith’s birthday. This scent was a part of the BPTP side of that collection. I knew I had a to try it once I saw the notes, since I love the scent Dorian as well as lavender and clove and cypress. This scent can be purchased on the BPTP website for $24 US.
In the bottle: Sugary herbal lavender with green elements! I’m also getting a hint of clove for the spice. It’s really fresh and beautiful.
On the skin: That sweet, herbal lavender is still the most prominent alongside the green notes that lend an almost wet feel to it, like morning dew on a leaf. The Dorian comes out more on the skin, and the black tea and lemon from that are just perfect alongside the green and lavender. It conjures up the image of a misty morning at an old Victorian mansion. I’m so glad I bought a bottle of this!
“Lavender Sunrise”, UK and France, by Anthony Spencer. Image does not belong to me.
TL;DR: Sweetened herbal lavender with softly wet greenery and Dorian. Misty and calming. 5/5.
sixteen92 I Believe in Mary Worth
Tarnished silver, flickering candlelight, faded violet petals, cold glass, shadowed musk, melted wax
Every year, sixteen92 releases a new scent based on urban legends for Friday the 13th. While this year’s scent was based upon the legend of Sleepy Hollow’s Headless Horseman, last year’s scent was this one, with it’s roots in the legend of Mary Worth, also known as Bloody Mary. Luckily, the previous Friday the 13th scents come back alongside the new release, and I was finally able to purchase a bottle of this. I’ve been so curious about it because the notes are extremely unique and creepy sounding. This scent is no longer available, but it will return on the next Friday the 13th.
In the bottle: The violets are very strong, but these are cold violets with a biting metallic edge from the silver. There’s a certain dustiness to it as well. It’s really interesting and weird.
On the skin: It starts out very similar to what’s in the bottle, but as it dries, it morphs into something resembling artificially grape flavored candy. I want to say that it’s from the violets, but I’m really not sure. I’m still getting the coldness, but I can’t get past the weird grape scent. It’s super disappointing that it turns into that on my skin.
TL;DR: Cold grape candy. Not a fan. 2/5.
NAVA Pyramid Vanille 2
French Vanilla, Tahitian Vanilla, Ember Vanilla and Bastet’s Ice Cream Vanilla Absolute
Today I’m looking at another famous NAVA vanilla: Pyramid Vanille 2, which is apparently the sister scent to Pyramid Vanille 1. According to other reviews, PV2 is a richer, more gourmand version of PV2. I’m very curious to see how similar they are. You can buy this on NAVA’s website for $27 US for 5mL.
In the bottle: This smells really similar to Arcana Two Finger Ballet! So much so that I don’t think you need both of the scents. It’s a rich, gourmand vanilla with a caramelized edge.
On the skin: One thing I’ve noticed about NAVA scents is that they don’t really differ from the bottle to the skin. This is no exception. It’s the same rich, gourmand vanilla that I was smelling in the sample vial, and I really like it! That being said, if you have Two Finger Ballet, you won’t need this too.
Basically how this smells. Photo from Vesna’s Recipes.
TL;DR: Rich, gourmand vanilla. Similar to Arcana Two Finger Ballet. Very yummy. 4/5.