Arcana: Vanilla Craves Terror

Arcana Vanilla Craves Terror

Creamy vanilla with Arcana’s Holy Terror (An unsettling, austere blend of burning frankincense, sandalwood, deep myrrh, and dusty beeswax candles.)

When I told some of my friends in the indie community that I hadn’t tried this scent yet, they were shocked, because this scent is very much up my alley. I love church incense scents, and I love vanilla, so it seemed like a match made in heaven. That being said, while this scent is beloved by many, there is also a large contingent who think that this smells like a cheap vanilla candle. What would it be for me though?

In the bottle: Acrid and plastic-y. Sometimes vanillas can do that, and it doesn’t bode well.

On the skin: Well, it no longer smells like burning plastic. However, what I’m basically getting now is just regular old Holy Terror with the smallest hint of vanilla sweetness. Honestly, if you had me blind sniff this and regular Holy Terror, I might not be able to tell the difference. And that means that this is going into the destash bin.

TL;DR: Holy Terror with the tiniest bit of vanilla. Boring and disappointing. 2/5.


Arcana: White Bear

Arcana White Bear

Bourbon vanilla ice cream, coconut husks, coconut creme, and foraged wild blackberries.

Sometimes I come across a scent that I’m very torn about trying. White Bear was one of those scents. And not, it is not based on the Black Mirror episode of the same name.  Based on an old Norwegian fairy tale called “East of the Sun, West of the Moon” , the notes intrigued me right off the bat. However, my skin is known to turn ice cream scents into plastic. Because of that, I held off on trying this scent for a long time. But recently, a friend offered me a decant of it to try, and I figured “Why the hell not?” You can buy this scent from Arcana’s ebay store, Nui Cobalt Designs, Pretty Indulgent, and Femme Fatale for about $20 US (plus or minus a few dollars with the exchange rate for the latter two websites.)

In the bottle: Vanilla ice cream and fresh berries! Yum. It’s pretty simple, but I like it.

On the skin: HOLY BOURBON BATMAN. I think my skin amps that note because every perfume I try that has it is just aggressive bourbon. I’m now getting basically just bourbon with a touch of vanilla and fruit. I get zero coconut as well. I wish it stayed the way it was when it was in the bottle. It’s too boozy for me now.

TL;DR: Tons of bourbon with a tiny bit of vanilla and berries. Very boozy. 3/5.

Arcana: Peaches Crave Fire

Arcana Peaches Crave Fire

Ripe peaches with our Fire accord (scorched black tea leaves, curling wisps of woodsmoke, Arcana’s Holy Terror blend, and a splash of hot toddy)

I like smoky scents. I like Holy Terror. I’m a fan of peach notes, especially Arcana.  Therefore, it was a no brainer when it came to trying this scent.

In the bottle: Smoky peaches. There’s nothing sweet about it; its really like a bunch of fresh peaches sitting in a fireplace. It’s quite interesting.

On the skin: I…don’t know what’s going on here. The tea and smoke combo reminds me a lot of the tea and smoke combo from Marshmallows Smoke, but for some reason, this scent is turning sour on me.  It almost smells sweaty? There’s also the hot toddy that adds this warmth and depth, but I can’t get past that weird BO smell. I don’t know what’s causing it, but I’m not a fan.

TL;DR: Weird smoky, sweaty peaches and smoke. No bueno. 1/5.

Arcana: Erzulie’s Soft Kiss


Arcana Erzulie’s Soft Kiss

Ripe pink strawberries smeared with honey and bee pollen.

Happy February, everyone! And what better way to start the month than with a scent that reminds me of Valentine’s Day. Now, I am very picky about my strawberry scents. They often turn artificial or grossly sweet and syrupy on my skin. Because of that, I was hesitant to try this scent, but I heard good things about it, so I took the plunge. This scent was a part of the 2014 Valentine’s Collection, in the mini set called the “New Orleans Trio”. Like the other two scents in the trio, this scent is named after a voodoo loa. This particular fragrance is named for Erzulie Freda, who rules over love, beauty, pleasure, and all things feminine and luxurious.

In the bottle: This scent is PINK. It’s sweet strawberries and honey, but not sickeningly sweet or anything like that. There’s a very subtle sharpness to it that I think is from the bee pollen.

On the skin: To my nose, the scent on the skin smells very similar to the scent in the bottle, with maybe a touch more honey and a hint of powderiness from the pollen. As weird as it sounds, you can also tell that the strawberries in this are pink rather than red. This fragrance is very girly and bright and feminine; it’ll be absolutely perfect for spring!

TL;DR: Honey-dipped pink strawberries with a hint of powdery pollen. A very “pink” scent. 4.5/5

Arcana: Frilly Underpinnings


Arcana Frilly Underpinnings

Pink, white, and black pepper, sweet cream, bourbon vanilla, caramel amber, white musk, two sugars, spice, and everything nice.

Black pepper is a rather uncommon note that I have a small obsession with. Nothing else adds that same kind of sassy spice to scent. However, as we saw with Krampus Cones, black pepper scents can be tricky. I’m always game to try a new pepper scent though, and this hard to find Arcana has always been on my list.

In the bottle: Creamy bourbon vanilla with a smack of pepper! The booze is strong with this one, but I feel like the pepper cuts it to a certain degree.

On the skin: The bourbon vanilla calms down quite a bit, as does the pepper, but both are still detectable. The cream doesn’t go sour, which I’m very thankful for. I’m mainly getting a creamy vanilla with musky not foodie caramel and a kiss of pepper to keep it from being too sweet. It’s an extremely feminine scent, but that beautiful pepper adds this interesting, dark kick to it. I feel like this perfume would be worn by a lace-draped Victorian lady who is demure by day, but a stealthy jewel thief by night. Think Irene Adler from the Robert Downey Jr. Sherlock Holmes movie!

TL;DR: Creamy vanilla, musky caramel, and a touch of pepper. Feminine but punchy. 5/5.

Arcana: Aestas


Arcana Aestas

Madagascar vanilla, yellow cake, soft peach nectar, golden musk, black musk, and a hint of patchouli.

Today is a review of a scent that I have been wanting for a while now. Named after the ancient Roman goddess of summer, Aestas has a bunch of notes that I adore: peach, patchouli, vanilla, and musk. My only hesitation came in the form of the cake, since I don’t like overly foodie blends. Despite that, I was super happy to find a full bottle because I had a feeling that this was going to be a scent that I would love.

In the bottle: Oooooo. I’m getting the most glorious peach note with some subtle vanilla cake. The peach note is identical to the one in NAVA Adele, to my nose. Actually, this is like a muskier version of Adele!

On the skin: I’m getting more of that buttery cake, and the peach note is no longer similar to Adele; Adele’s peach note is lighter and more delicate, whereas the Arcana peach note is much richer.  It’s heavier and almost more sensual. The musks are still very present, and I like that because it prevents the scent from being too sweet and foodie. I’m starting to get some of that patch, but it’s not in your face at all. Someone who hates patchouli would still like this scent, I think. Frankly, I wish there was a bit more patch, but that’s really the only complaint I have with this scent. It’s rich and golden and absolutely stunning.

TL;DR: Rich, golden peaches with buttery vanilla cake rounded out with musk and the smallest touch of patch. Glorious. 7/5.

Arcana: Krampus Cones

Arcana Krampus Cones

Cold black pepper ice cream with vanilla bean specks, a swirl of dark caramel, and a bit of accursed waffle cone.

Kicking off 2018 here at the Scenturion is one of Arcana’s special Yule GWPs (gift with purchase). While I did not purchase any Arcana Yules, I was offered a decant from a kind redditor. Black pepper scents always intrigue me, but they can be very hit or miss.

In the bottle: I’m getting a very sweet, almost smoky vanilla. This is promising.

On the skin: Uh oh. First off, once applied, I can barely smell it! My skin just completely ate the scent right up. Secondly, the beautiful smoky vanilla from the vial is gone, and has been replaced with (from what I can faintly smell) a plastic-y vanilla. Ice cream scents have a tendency to do that on me, but I was hoping that this one wouldn’t. There’s also something very boozy about it suddenly, kind of reminiscent of Mother of All Souls. Gah, I had such high hopes for this scent!

TL;DR: Boozy, plastic-y vanilla that vanishes on the skin. Disappointing. 2/5.