Arcana: Fire of Water

Fire of Water

Precious sandalwood over a base of Madagascar vanilla, golden amber, salt water, clove, sweet musk, pumpkin, patchouli, and sugarcane.

Some scents can be easy to find. Some can be hard to find. And some can be damn near impossible to find and this was one of them. I was on the hunt for this scent for over a year, and I only ever saw it for sale once. Luckily, an extremely kind person offered to sell me their bottle. But would this scent be worth all of the searching?

In the bottle: This is really unique and unusual. I’m mostly getting sandalwood and salt water with a hint of sweetened pumpkin and amber. It’s alluring and intriguing.

 

On the skin: The clove comes out more when applied on the skin, but it’s not a super aggressive clove. It’s just enough to add a kick of spice. The sandalwood and pumpkin are most prominent along with the clove, and its much less sweet compared to how it smelled in the bottle. The salt and musk add this very seductive edge to the scent. There’s something almost incense-y about it too, which I actually really like (I usually despise any kind of incense except church incense). I feel like this is the witchier version of Darling Clandestine Inked. It’s totally not what I expected, but I can’t stop smelling my arm. Two thumbs up from me.

L;DR: Sandalwood and pumpkin with clove and salty skin musk. Alluring and witchy and really unusual. 5/5.

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Arcana: Namaka

Arcana Namaka

Coconut, vanilla bean, rice milk, golden amber, watermelon, banana leaf, aged patchouli, and lemongrass.

Despite living in a tropical climate, I’ve never really been into super tropical scents, with the exception of the occasional coconut blend. However, watermelon is a note I never see in perfume, and I was extremely curious about how that would play out in a scent.

In the bottle: A big splash of watermelon starts it out. Slowly, the coconut and rice milk creep in. The citrus scent of lemongrass finishes it off. I’ve never had a watermelon note in a scent perfume, but I like it! It’s like watermelon candy, but much less sweet. This is definitely a summer/warm weather scent. It’s quite refreshing.

 

On the skin: The watermelon becomes even more beautiful on the skin. It’s subtly sweet and watery, and it no longer has that candy-like smell. It’s accompanied by a very delicate banana note that is not cloying or overly sweet. I’m getting a tiny bit of vanilla and rice milk in the back to sweeten things up, since the fruit notes here are not as sweet as one would expect. I really like that though, because the fruits smell more realistic that way. This is a truly gorgeous scent overall; it’s sunny and tropical and warm. I’m gonna be wearing this a lot.

TL;DR: Realistic watermelon with an aquatic edge, alongside banana and sweet rice milk. Absolutely stunning. 5/5.

Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab: Ivory Vulva

BPAL Ivory Vulva

Marshmallow root, coconut, macadamia milk, cream accord, and a drop of golden amber. 

There are several BPAL Lupercalia scents that have become very popular despite only being around for one season. This scent is one of them. It’s part of the Shunga collection (no surprise there), with several other scents sharing the name of that particular part of the female anatomy. The notes sounded lovely, so a friend sent me a decant of it.

In the bottle: A very sweet, rich, buttery vanilla. Seriously, it really smells like buttercream frosting. I’m getting that’s from the marshmallow and cream. It’s yummy.

On the skin: It’s definitely less buttery on the skin. It’s a very creamy, sweet scent overall. I don’t get any coconut, which is disappointing since I love coconut. There’s a slight dryness in the background, probably from the amber. Overall, this scent sort of reminds me of Volcano in Springtime, but I think I prefer that scent since it’s more unique. I’ll keep my decant of this, but I don’t need a full bottle.

TL;DR: Creamy, sweet marshmallow. Pretty basic, but done well. 4/5.

Arcana: The Sullen Courts of Sleep

Arcana The Sullen Courts of Sleep

A tenebrous blend of amber resin, coconut milk, skin musk, and French cognac.

Booze notes in perfume can be tricky, because if done wrong, you smell like you’ve been day drinking. However, if done correctly, they can add a lot of complexity and depth to a scent. When it comes to alcohol scents in perfume, my personal favorite is cognac, meaning that I had to try this scent when I saw it pop up.

In the bottle: COGNAC. Hella congac. I don’t smell anything else. It’s not overly boozy though.

On the skin: I definitely get more skin musk here, but the cognac is still ruling the blend. I think I get the slightest hint of coconut, but I’m not sure. If you thought that this was gonna be a coconut heavy scent, you’d be wrong. Honestly, this smells super similar to Anthropophagia, just without the pear; I’m gonna destash this for that reason.

TL;DR: Sweet cognac and musk. Basically a pear-less Anthropophagia. 4/5.

Hexennacht: Witchboard

Witchboard

Dark patchouli, amber, cardamom, vanilla.

I’ll try basically any scent that has patchouli and vanilla in it, since it’s a favorite combination of mine. I love a good witchy scent too, and this one seemed to fit the bill.

In the bottle: A vanilla cardamom blend with this deep patch undercurrent. There’s a slight powderiness, I think from the amber. It’s very rich and almost foodie. I like it.

On the skin: It’s now much more patch forward, with just a hint of cardamom. It almost reminds me of cigarettes and that’s not a good thing. I wish I got more vanilla!

TL;DR: Patchouli and cigarettes. 1/5.

Hexennacht: Winchester Mystery House

Winchester Mystery House

Vanilla, fireplace embers, aged cedarwood, dark patchouli, sandalwood, amber, gingersnap cookies, clove.

Sarah Winchester, the widowed wife of the heir to the Winchester Rifle Company, built a house out in California after she lost her husband and child. This house had dozens of rooms, fake staircases, and doors that lead to no where. Sarah believed that if she kept building in a confusing fashion, then the ghosts of those killed by Winchester rifles would not haunt and kill her. Everything I just said is true: you can visit the now-famous Winchester Mystery House today. I’ve never been, but I really want to go. This scent has most of my favorite notes in it, so I had to try it.

In the bottle: Oooh this is good. It’s like smoky gingersnap cookies with a dusty woody background.

On the skin: I’m getting smoky patch and gingersnap cookies. Its very warm and there is definitely some spicy clove in there too. I like that. And then…it morphs. It becomes very cedarwood heavy and dusty. It now reminds me a lot of Solstice Scents Manor, which I didn’t like. Ugh, this was so good in the bottle!

TL;DR: Smoky gingerbread and patch that gets devoured by dusty cedarwood. 2/5.

Hexennacht: Espiritismo

Hexennacht Espiritismo

Lavender wands, cowrie shells, coconut husks, tonka beans, black amber, hyssop, spikenard, tea leaves.

Hexennacht is a new brand that has exploded onto the indie scene. It is the sister company to Sucreabeille, and it specializes in the brand’s original blends while Sucreabeille creates dupes of mainstream scents. Over the next few days, I’m going to be reviewing the five scents I got.I ordered a sample pack, which is very reasonable: five, 3mL drams for $20 in either oil or alcohol format. This scent sounded interesting, and I love lavender.

In the bottle: Very faint in the bottle; I’m just getting faint lavender and something else right now. Hopefully it gets better on the skin.

On the skin: This definitely gets stronger on the skin. It’s still a fairly light scent. It’s mostly lavender and some kind of tea, but with this almost sweet/herbal undertone. As it dries, it gets sweeter, and sort of fuzzy. I like this. It’s very unique.

TL;DR: Fuzzy sweet lavender and tonka with a touch of herbs. 4/5.