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.
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.
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.
Arcana Peaches Crave Trance
Peach creme and honeyed red musk
In the last few years, Arcana has become extremely popular, partially due to their Craves collections, which consist of fruits (strawberry, peach, apple, pumpkin) mixed with other components. While many of the scents in these lines didn’t really appeal to me, this one did, since it has peach, honey, and musk. This scent was not a favorite of the Peaches Crave line making it hard to find, but I managed to snag a bottle.
In the bottle: Syrupy peach and something dark and sexy; that’ll be the red musk. Very promising start.
On the skin: Hell yeah. The peach becomes more of a honeyed peach, and the red musk becomes slightly more prominent that that peach note. What I love about this is it’s simplicity; this has three notes, but it’s executed in exactly the right way. This is just dripping with sensuality and sex appeal; it’s a real grown-up fruit scent.
TL;DR: Honeyed peaches and rich red musk. Sexy as hell. 6/7.
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.
Arcana Queen Crossbones
Creamy Egyptian musk, wild honey, sweet coconut and exotic resins
I’m back! Today I have a review for the recently resurrected Arcana scent Queen Crossbones. While this didn’t initially catch my eye, the rave reviews convinced me to find a decant of it. I love a good honey scent, and musk, resins, and coconut are all notes I enjoy as well. When Arcana re-opens, this scent will be available for $19 US for a 5mL bottle.
In the bottle: Not the Bees, is that you? This smells super similar! I’m hoping it’s different on the skin though.
On the skin: Okay, now we’re talking! The honey is still the most prominent note by far, but its less sweet than the honey in Not the Bees. I think that’s due to the musk and resins; they’re definitely making it darker, richer, and sexier. The resins also add a subtle smoky quality to it that i’m really digging. This is very much Not the Bees’ older, more mature sister who wears lots of leather and lace to the grocery store. It’s really stunning.
TL;DR: Musky, resinous honey. A much sexier version of Smelly Yeti Not the Bees. 4/5.
Arcana Strawberries Crave Black Sand
Amber resin with black coconut, coconut husks, smoky vetiver, and a sliver of almost-overripe strawberry.
Arcana recenlty re-opened with a resurrection event where several fragrances that have been out of stock for a while came back. For customers with purchased 3 or more bottles, this was a gift with purchase, available only that way and only as a 3.7mL dram. While I did not make any purchase during Arcana’s re-opening, I managed to find someone who was selling their bottle of it. I was worried about the vetiver in it, everything else sounded so gorgeous that I really wanted to try it. This scent is currently unavailable.
In the bottle: Coconut is the main note here, and its delightfully milky. I get a hint of the famous Arcana strawberry note, and then something very dark in the back, which is that smoky vetiver. So far, the vetiver is working for me; it’s not too bitter or too sour. It’s just dark and smoky and resin-y.
On the skin: This one is a morpher. Once applied to the skin, the coconut retreats into the back and the strawberry gets stronger and sweeter. The vetiver also takes on an almost chocolate-y quality, but it still has that smoke. The amber also gets much more prominent. At this stage, I don’t really like it. Then after about an hour, it morphs again, and it becomes a fruity blend of strawberries and coconut with a touch of smoke in the back. Now I like it again.
TL;DR: Coconut, overripe strawberry, and smoke with a touch of vetiver. Morphs a lot. very unique. 4/5.