Arcana: Mabon

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Arcana Mabon

Caramel-drizzled cinnamon pastries, a chunk of glowing amber, a warm cup of chamomile tea, and a small sliver of wild orange.

My ultimate weakness is cinnamon buns. I can resist the temptation of certain desserts, but if there are cinnamon buns present, I’m eating one. As you can imagine, seeing “cinnamon pastries” as a note for this scent meant that I had to try it. This scent was made by Arcana for Nui Cobalt Designs. Nui Cobalt Designs is an indie company run by an incredibly sweet woman named Forest; the company specializes in talismans and magickal oils. Mabon was an exclusive for their Crone’s Crate subscription box. While I am not a Crone’s Crate subscriber, I managed to find someone selling the scent on its own. This scent is no longer available.

In the bottle: Baked goods and orange! The orange is interesting here, because I feel like it isn’t as sharply citrus as other orange notes. There’s something very cozy about this.

On the skin: The orange calms down a little bit, and I get this beautiful, smooth honey note, which I think is from the chamomile. The cinnamon pastries sadly retreat to the back, but I do still get some of the cinnamon itself. I find this scent to be very warm and relaxing and it’s definitely autumnal without being pumpkin spiced everything. This is not what I expected at all, but I like it!

TL;DR: Cinnamon, sweet orange and a touch of honeyed chamomile. Very fall! 4/5.

 

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Arcana: Anthropophagia

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Arcana Anthropophagia

Vanilla-infused pear sorbet with sugarcane, white amber, and a drop of French cognac absolute.

There are certain notes in perfume that don’t get enough love in my opinion. One of those is pear. I really enjoy pear scented things, but the note very rarely appears in any kind of mainstream or indie fragrance. That, combined with the great reviews for this scent, convinced me to take the plunge and try it. Now, some might also be curious about the name, since it doesn’t have anything to do with pear. This scent was part of the 7 Deadly Sins collection, and this was added as the “eighth sin”. That’s because “anthropophagia” means cannibalism. Not exactly the name you expect for a pear sorbet scent. This scent is currently in stock at Nui Cobalt Designs for $20 US.

In the bottle: Bright, somewhat tart pear and a touch of booze. For some reason, it reminds me of those green apple Jolly Ranchers, but this doesn’t smell artificial.

On the skin: This just blooms on the skin. It’s beautiful juicy pear with just the slightest touch of creamy sugar and some extra cognac. It’s the perfect balance of sweet and tart and it has surprisingly strong throw for such a delicate kind of scent. The amber is just barely detectable and it keeps it grounded and adds a perfume-y kind of quality that I actually really like. It seems perfect for hot weather because it smells very refreshing.

TL;DR: Juicy sugared pears with cognac. Sweet and tart. Stunning. 6/5.

 

Arcana: Pirouette

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Arcana Pirouette

Two Finger Ballet, Twirling the Pearl ,deep labdanum, satiny sandalwood, and sugary French lavender absolute.

Arcana is one of my favorite perfume houses, and they recently released their Halloween collection. This scent was not a part of that, but is instead a collaboration with a customer who suggested it and drew the label. It combines two of Arcana’s most beloved scents: Two Finger Ballet and Twirling the Pearl, both of which I have tried and liked. This scent is chock full of notes that I love, so I knew I had to try it. The name is also a bit sentimental, since I’ve danced since the age of 4. This scent will be restocked at Pretty Indulgent, Arcana’s ebay store, and Nui Cobalt Designs and it will cost $20 US for 5mL.

In the bottle: Oooooh this is lovely. It’s mostly Two Finger Ballet, but it’s got that gorgeous Arcana lavender underneath it, plus some honey and then galbanum. The galbanum adds a green scent that cuts the sweetness just enough so that it doesn’t really read as gourmand.

On the skin: The Two Finger Ballet retreats, and the labdanum, sandalwood, galbanum, and lavender come forward. Honey and caramel can be detected as the base. Once it fully dries, the Two Finger Ballet takes the spotlight again, but the labdanum, lavender, and honey are still prominent, with the galbanum in the back adding the tiniest touch of green. It’s sexy but in a very understated, delicate way, like the way a cream lace dress can be sexy. This scent is a serious morpher, but its so unique and stunning.

TL;DR: Two Finger Ballet with labdanum, lavender, and galbanum. Morphs a lot, but is absolutely beautiful. 6/5.

Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab: Blóðughadda

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BPAL Blóðughadda

Crushed Baltic amber, golden fig, oud wood, red patchouli, white clove, and saffron.

When the new set of Carnival Diabolique scents dropped in June of this year, this one immedietly caught my eye, but not for the notes. Rather, I wanted to try it for the label art for a rather selfish reason: the woman on the label resembles a much buffer version of myself! The notes did sound rather interesting as well. I hadn’t actually purchased the scent, but a good friend of mine in the indie community sent me a partial bottle of it as a gift. You can buy this scent on BPAL’s website for $24 US for a 5mL bottle.

In the bottle: It’s weird. I’m getting prominent oud and powdery amber with a sweet undertone from the fig. Oud can be a tricky note, but it’s behaving so far.

On the skin: The oud takes center stage, but luckily it doesn’t turn into that almost fecal smell that oud can have. Rather, it’s a dusty, woodsy scent. The saffron then comes out to play, while the amber retreats. The fig also gets stronger, but its not really a sweet fig scent. This does not smell at all how I expected, but I quite like it so far!

TL;DR: Woodsy oud with saffron and fig. Weird, but I’m into it. 4/5.

Arcana: Sturm und Drang

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Arcana Sturm und Drang

Big bold candy grapes face off with an ecstatic blend of apricot, caramel, sugary coffee, three rich ambers, and a pinch of dark patchouli.

I, like many others, have a weird dislike of all things grape scented. For me, it reminds me too much of cough syrup. Because of that, I was hesitant to try this scent, but the notes sounded so weird that I had to get a sample. Grapes + caramel + coffee? Will it work? You can buy this scent from Arcana’s store when it is open for $19 US, or on Pretty Indulgent’s website for $25 CAD.

In the bottle: Really yummy sweet coffee with a hint of caramel. Not grapes so far, but I’m not mad about that.

On the skin: The coffee and caramel remain the strongest, but I think I can detect some amber and a touch of something fruity. Not sure if that’s the apricot or the grapes. I honestly don’t get any grapes, and that’s okay. I really like this, but it seems to fade very quickly on my skin, which is disappointing.

TL;DR: Sweet coffee and caramel with a little amber and the tiniest hint of someting fruity. Yummy, but does not last long. 3.5/5.

Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab: Destructive Vagina of the Fox Spirit

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BPAL Destructive Vagina of the Fox Spirit

Vanilla orchid, black amber, coffee bean, labdanum, champaca, and oudh. 

I’m pretty sure that this scent has the greatest name of any perfume ever, and frankly, that’s why I wanted to try it. The notes honestly didn’t draw me in, since incense and I are usually not friends. This scent was from the Lupercalia collection in 2015 I believe, so it is no longer available.

In the bottle: Indistinct warm spices. This is definitely an incense scent.

On the skin: Yeah, incense is definitely the most powerful note in this, but I actually kind of like it! The incense is very specifically nag champa, which is what you smell when you go into the incense aisle of Whole Foods. It’s sweet and spicy and very “red” smelling, and it reminds me of my old martial arts studio. Equally strong in this is creamy vanilla touched coffee that pairs very well with the nag champa. I feel like this will be a good fall fragrance. There is a touch of oudh at the very end that is a bit unpleasant, but not enough to spoil the scent. As a whole, this fragrance smells like a really cozy, secret coffee house where they’re burning sticks of high quality incense. I like this way more than I thought I would and I have nothing else like it in my collection.

TL;DR: Sweetened coffee and nag champa incense. Very unique. 4/5.

Black Phoenix Trading Post: Hair Gloss Reviews Pt.2

BPTP Hair Glosses Pt.2

When it comes to BPTP hair glosses, there is a very wide variety of scents. Because of that, I like getting little 5mL decants of a bunch of them so I can test them out. All of these hair gloss decants (except So Below) are from the lovely ladies at Crown and Tulip decants!  I highly recommend them for all your decant needs. They’re really great people, and they’re super professional as well.

Now, on to the hair glosses!

So Below (Haute Macabre collection)

Amber and black copal with black coconut, Sumatran red patchouli, green cardamom pod, and golden musk.

I love this one. It’s a really different take on patchouli; it’s not the dark kind you would expect, it’s much lighter. I get mostly that patch note alongside the coconut, cardamom, and amber. It’s dirty and sexy, but also very tropical.

Sugar Plum Fairy 

Sugar plums, vanilla-infused sugar, tiare, amber musk, apricot peel, and a light dusting of cacao. 

Oh boy, this is sweet. Like really sweet. I primarily smell sugared plums and apricots with a touch of chocolate. I love gourmands, but this is too sweet for me. It’s very candy-like and a bit cloying. If you gravitate towards super sweet/candy scents, you’ll love this.

Mischief (Carnival Diabolique collection)

Blood-spattered cotton candy.

Spun sugar and cinnamon! I’m not getting any actual cotton candy, but I don’t mind that. I find this to be surprisingly autumnal. I would love this, but it unfortunately vanishes from my hair within minutes of application.

Who’s Nibbling at My House? (Carnival Diabolique collection)

Caramel apples, cardamom cakes, hazelnut cream, and butterscotch.

Gourmand heaven. It’s all caramel and butterscotch with a little spice from the cardamom. It’s so warm and gooey and perfect for fall. It actually smells like a richer version of Owl Creek Aleworks.