Arcana Pumpkins Crave Terror
Holy Terror (burning frankincense, sandalwood, deep myrrh, and dusty beeswax candles) with glowing pumpkin and a small dash of pie spices.
In the bottle: I already love this. It’s that same sweet pumpkin note that other Arcana pumpkin scents have, but it’s much darker and more resin-y thanks to the Holy Terror. I like the smokiness that I’m getting.
On the skin: This doesn’t change much on the skin. It’s exactly what the description says: Pumpkins and Holy Terror. It’s not overly sweet at all, if that’s a concern. It’s spicy and warm and awesome. It’s like the distilled essence of Halloween in a bottle.
TL;DR: Not overly sweet pumpkins and Holy Terror. So very Halloween. 4.5/5.
Arcana Pumpkins Crave Quietude
Soft vanilla, white amber, white musk, Mysore sandalwood, sweet pumpkin, and a tiny pinch of white pepper.
I’ve been super curious about this scent for a while, but it’s been very, very hard to find. When I heard that Julia was bringing it back, I got very excited. Would it live up to the hype?
In the bottle: Oh, this is pretty! I’m getting a sweet pumpkin and vanilla blend with a kick of pepper. It’s not too sweet or too foodie, which I am happy about.
On the skin: This is very nice. The pumpkin retreats into the back, and the blend is taken over by the vanilla, pepper, and sandalwood. It’s delicate and feminine, like the olfactory equivalent of white lace. The pumpkin is still present, just subtle; this isn’t a foodie, Halloween-y fragrance at all.
TL;DR: Vanilla, sandalwood, and pepper, with a hint of pumpkin. So delicate and lovely. 4/5.
Arcana Apples Crave Cider
Bright, spiced apple cider drizzled with honey and a small wisp of smoke.
If you follow this blog, then you know that I have this weird thing about apple scents. While I love the smell and taste of apples in real life, I can’t stand apple-scented things. I have no explanation for this. Because of that, take this review with a grain of salt.
In the bottle: Well, those are definitely apples! This is a very realistic apple note too, and very much a red apple note specifically. The cider is very distinct too. Not getting much smoke yet.
On the skin: The spices of the cider come out more on the skin, and I’m getting some nutmeg and cinnamon, with maybe a tiny hint of clove. At first, it threatens to go into Yankee Candle territory, but it never goes there. I’m getting more of the smokiness and less of the actual apples. As a result, I like this more than I thought I would! It’s still too apple-y for me, but it’s probably my favorite apple scent that I’ve tried. It’s really perfect for autumn. Throw is low.
TL;DR: Spiced apple cider and a touch of smoke. Not too bad actually. 3/5.
Arcana Vatican Archives
Honey from the Papal apiaries, Roman figs, Atlas cedarwood, smoky frankincense and myrrh, crimson musk, black musk, and smudgy parchment musk.
Based on notes alone, this is definitely my kind of scent. I love a good spooky blend! I also just watched the film Angels and Demons, so the Vatican Archives have been on my mind. The only worrying note is the cedarwood, since I tend to amp that.
In the bottle: This is dark. I’m getting a very strong musk blend that almost reminds me out oudh, with a hint of church incense and figs. It’s ancient and scholarly; I can really smell that kind of “old tome” smell from the parchment musk.
On the skin: Whoa. Brace yourselves, because this is a strong scent. Lots of throw here. I’m really surprised on how this smells on me, honestly. I was expecting something in a similar vein to sixteen92 Liber Officiorum Spirituum, but it’s not like that at all. It’s very heady, with a fruity incense kind of vibe. I feel like that’s due to the combo of the figs, honey, and church incense. I don’t get any cedarwood, which I don’t mind. Of the musks, the red musk is most prominent. I don’t get much in the way of parchment on me. I could swear that there is oudh in it, because I keep smelling it. This is a dirty, mysterious smelling scent. I was hoping for something more book-heavy, and this is a bit too incense-y for me, despite the fact that I like church incense. I feel like I might like this on someone else who amps the parchment instead of the incense combo. I’m quite surprised! I thought for sure that this was going to be the big winner for me from this collection.
TL;DR: Fruity, heady incense and musk. Not what I was expecting, and I don’t like it on me. 3/5.
Arcana Death Valley
Juniper berry, juniper branches, creosote bush, helichrysum absolute, and tiny wildflowers.
I have always been intrigued by desert scents, but I’ve never actually tried any. As a result, I went into this scent with no real expectations.
In the bottle: I’m fascinated by this. I’m getting a very strong sage-like note (I’m guessing it’s the creosote) with some soft florals. What’s so intriguing is how dry this smells; it really does evoke the image of a parched desert landscape.
On the skin: The dryness lessens a little bit, but it’s still very much a part of the backdrop of the blend. I’m getting something that is both herbal and almost citrus-like, and I have never smelled anything like it before! I’m gonna guess that that is the creosote. As it dries, I’m getting more florals from the helichrysum and the wildflowers. They’re not old lady florals at all though; they’re very bright and sunny and not floral in the traditional scent. This is a really cool atmospheric scent. I’m not sure how much I would personally wear it, but I’m happy to have it in my collection.
TL;DR: Citric, herbal plants with dry, sunny florals. Really cool. 4/5.
Arcana Mount Osore
Dark red rose petals, Japanese amber, sooty palo santo, and smoking nag champa incense.
If you follow this blog, you know that one of my most hated notes is headshop incense, specifically nag champa. Knowing that, you can imagine that I was a little nervous about trying this one. But I figured that if anyone could make me like nag champa, it would be Arcana.
In the bottle: I’m definitely getting the Nag Champa incense, but it’s not as headshopp-y as I was expecting it to be. It actually reminds me a lot of the smell of burnt sage, which might be from the palo santo.
On the skin: The sage-like scent diminishes a lot, but it’s still detectable. The rose comes out more, and it’s definitely a red rose; it’s got a dark and sultry vibe to it. There is a very distinct smokiness to the overall blend as well. While I like the nag champa in here more than in other scents, it’s still not my thing. But if you’re a fan of sexy incense blends, you might really like this.
TL;DR: Sensual rose and smoky nag champa incense. Not for me. 2/5.
Arcana Raven Rock
Cherry blossoms, white tea, and hints of basil, cilantro, and dill weed.
I’m a huge fan of cherry blossom scents. It’s one of the few floral notes that I really like. I also really like the smell of basil and white tea. But I’ve never had a scent with cilantro and dill before, so I was very curious about this particular blend.
In the bottle: Ooooo, I’m getting something that is almost berry-like, and lots of herbs. The herbs don’t make it smell like food though; it just smells very green.
On the skin: The berry quality quickly vanishes, and it’s replaced by a stunning cherry blossom note. The cherry blossom is very feminine, with a touch of powdery perfume-like quality that I really enjoy. The herbs blend in with the tea to create a very green, clean smell. It sort of reminds me of a fancy spa, but in the best way possible. There is almost a hint of a water note in there, like the one in Strawberries Crave Waterfalls. I find this scent to be very relaxing and refreshing, and I really like it a lot. Nothing else in my collection smells similar.
TL;DR: Feminine cherry blossom with herbs and tea. Super refreshing and calming. 4.5/5.
Arcana Bermuda Triangle
White coconut, ginger cakes, fresh ginger, red bananas, golden vetiver, creamy almond, and cask-aged rum.
Kicking off my Arcana Halloween Part 1 review series is a scent that hits close to home, literally. One of the points of the Bermuda Triangle is Miami, Florida, which is within an hour from me. I was a little nervous to try this scent however, since almond is a a death note for me.
In the bottle: I’m immediately hit with the smell of very, very sweet bananas. It then rounds out with a nice dose of rum and some sweet almond. At first I thought that this was way too sweet, but the more I smell it, the more I like it.
On the skin: This one is a serious morpher. The sweetness really calms down a lot, leaving the scent of ripe, but not necessarily sweet, bananas. It’s backed up by a lovely rum note that isn’t too boozy, and a beautiful mix of coconut and vetiver that really reminds me of this particular restaurant in the Little Havana area of Miami. This scent is super summery and tropical without being a standard tropical scent. There is a point where it threatens to go into sunscreen territory but it never truly goes there. It’s unique and fun, and I’m glad to have it. Weird bonus fact: My dog is obsessed with this perfume. He wouldn’t stop smelling my arm and he kept trying to lick it.
TL;DR: Ripe bananas with coconut, vetiver, and sweet rum. Tropical and summery without being typical. 4/5.
Arcana Peaches Crave True Love
Resinous black amber, caramelized sugar, vanilla bean, peach nectar, and a tiny hint of pear.
EUREKA! I HAVE FOUND IT! For those of you who don’t know, this scent is extremely hard to find and I have been searching for it for over a year. My search is over. I have heard nothing but good things about this scent, but will it live up to the hype?
In the bottle: Mmmm, there’s that glorious Arcana peach note that I adore. That’s the main note here. I’m getting a little bit of powdery amber and some sweetness from the sugar.
On the skin: The peach is still at the forefront, with the amber, sugar, and vanilla bean mixture forming the base for the scent. The sugar is definitely a caramelized one, since it has that sweet, almost burnt quality to it. I really like the amber mixed with the sweet notes: it’s deep and resiny, but also sweet. It’s gourmand, but not foodie, if that makes sense. I’m not getting any pear, which is a shame since I think it would be wonderful here. Overall, I like it a lot, but I don’t love it.
TL;DR: Juicy peach with sweet vanilla amber. Really nice overall. 4/5.
Fresh water, white coconut, smooth amber, seaweed absolute, rain-drenched juniper tips, and a drop of ruby red grapefruit
As I’ve mentioned previously, Arcana has been doing special scents for Nui Cobalt Design’s Crone’s Crates for over a year now. While this year’s theme is Major Arcana tarot cards, last years was different pagan festivals/holidays. Of all of those scents, this was the one that was raved about the most. I got a soap sample of it and liked it, so when I got a chance to try the perfume, I jumped on it.
In the bottle: The grapefruit is very strong and tart, and I’m definitely getting some saltiness from the seaweed in there. It’s not too strong though, which I appreciate. I don’t get much juniper or amber though. I can detect some water in the back too, and it’s very distinctly fresh water.
On the skin: The water smells cool and refreshing, and the grapefruit and juniper (which I can finally smell) back that up by adding a green element and a tart element. I was worried that the seaweed would be like the aggressive seaweed from Sea Witch, but its gentle and it adds a lovely bit of saltiness to the blend. It’s so beautiful!
TL;DR: Tart grapefruit with fresh water and seaweed, with a hint of juniper. Lovely. 4/5.