Solstice Scents: Smokewood Apiary

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Solstice Scents Smokewood Apiary

Smoked Honey, Creamed Honey, Beeswax, Amber, Wooden Frames, Ginger & Vanilla

Solstice Scents is a brand that I have not delved into too much, so when I had the opportunity to get a sample bundle in a swap, I jumped at the chance. This particular scent is well-loved by fans of honey, which means it is right up my alley. You can find this scent on the Solstice Scents website for $16 for a full size (5mL) or as part of a sample pack.

In the bottle: A lot of smoke and a little honey. That sounds good in theory, but I’m getting barbecue sauce from this.

On the skin: The ginger comes roaring in, and it creates a very sharp mixture with the honey. That, combined with the smoke, creates a very interesting combination. There is also some kind of underlying bitterness to it, as well as a prominent wood note. I’m not really a fan of this and I have other honey scents that I like more.

TL;DR: Smokey honey with ginger and wood. Somewhat barbecue-y. 3/5.

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Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab: Giant Vulva

BPAL Giant Vulva

Skin musk, sugar cane, honey, beeswax, vanilla flower, and copal

I’ll be honest; I partially bought this for the name. It’s a great answer to the question “Your perfume is so pretty! What’s it called?” The notes also sounded good because I love honey and vanilla. This scent was part of BPAL’s 2009 Lupercalia collection. Lupercalia, for those who don’t know, is BPAL’s annual Valentine’s collection. It’s a massive release of dozens of scents, many of which have names that reference sex acts and genitalia. Since this was a scent from the 2009 collection, it is no longer available, but it could possibly return for another year.

In the bottle: Very warm, and there’s something very commercial about this too. Like, it smells similar to something I could buy at Sephora or a department store at the mall. That’s not a bad thing, but it was not what I was expecting.

On the skin: The skin musk is very prominent; it smells like someone who has just been working out for a while, but without the stink of sweat. There’s a very powdery element to this as well, with I think is from the beeswax and copal.  I can detect a subtle floral element in the back from the vanilla flower. In a weird way, this reminds me a little bit of Arcana Snug, but this one is more feminine, floral and less sweet. Frankly, I think that Snug is superior. I feel like this would work well on an older, more mature woman rather than a woman in her 20’s or early thirties; that’s probably due to the copal and vanilla flower, as they add a slight touch of “grandma’s perfume” to the blend. I like this, but I don’t feel like I’d wear it.

TL;DR: Skin musk, powdery beeswax, copal and subtle florals. Would work well on a more mature woman. 3/5

Arcana: Snug

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Arcana Snug

Dark honey amber, marshmallow, and the glow of beeswax candles.

Happy Mother’s Day everyone! Today I thought I would test out a scent that contains “the essence of moms”: comforting, warm and safe. The scent is Arcana’s Snug.

Honey amber, marshmallow and beeswax; that’s a combination that I don’t have in my collection and it sounded delightful. You can find this on Arcana’s ebay store for $19 US.

In the bottle: I already like it. I’m getting a lot of honey and beeswax with a hint of the amber. No marshmallow yet.

On the skin: The sweetness from the honey lessens and the amber comes forward more. It’s now mostly beeswax and amber with a hint of honey in the back. It’s powdery and not overly sweet. “Snug” is honestly the perfect name for it; it smells like sitting under a fluffy blanket with a cup of hot chocolate in front of a roaring fire. It’s really warm and cozy. Snug would be a great winter scent or sleep scent. My only complaint would be that I wish there was more marshmallow.

TL;DR Beeswax and amber with a touch of honey. Smells snuggly and comfy. 4/5.

Arcana: Bonfires at Dusk

Bonfires at Dusk

Woodsmoke, sweet beeswax, Oregon lavender, sandalwood, charred juniper, and the scent of swiftly appearing stars.

I was really excited to try this scent because I love smoky perfumes, but this one sounded very different from some other smoky scents I was looking at; the description seemed less dark and witchy and more soothing.  You can find this scent in Arcana’s ebay store, as well as in their Canadian retailer Pretty Indulgent and Australian retailer Femme Fatale. It retails for $19 US.

In the bottle: Sandalwood and juniper. It really reminds me of Holy Terror, thanks to the sandalwood, but it’s a little less intense.

On the skin: Comforting is a really good way of describing this. Once applied, I immediately got the sandalwood, lavender, and charred juniper. The beeswax and smoke kind of linger in the background, but they’re still perceptible. The note of “swiftly appearing stars” seems so abstract, but this somehow captures that image perfectly. It really reminds me of my summers spent in the mountains of North Carolina, where I’d be sitting outside with my family around a crackling fire, watching the sparks disappear into the night sky. I find it to be very calming but also alluring in the most subtle way. The scent lasted about 6 hours on me, with moderate throw.

TL;DR: Holy Terror’s greener sister. Sandalwood, lavender and juniper. 5/5.

Arcana: Holy Terror

Holy Terror

An unsettling, austere blend of burning frankincense, sandalwood, deep myrrh, and dusty beeswax candles.

I want to start by saying that I pretty much went into this scent blind. I’ve never smelled church incense (frankincense and myrrh) before, so I had no clue what to expect, but I was curious since this scent is so raved about here and I love things with gothic elements. You can find this scent in Arcana’s ebay store, as well as in their Canadian retailer Pretty Indulgent and Australian retailer Femme Fatale. It retails for $19 US.

In the bottle: Incense is the first thing I smelled with this, but it isn’t headshop, hippie incense; it’s darker, more somber, like the olfactory equivalent of hearing church bells at night. I’m not getting anything else except frankincense and myrrh.

On the skin: Once applied, the sandalwood really comes forward and mingles with the incense. I get a hint of beeswax at the end, but its subtle; they make the scent more complex by adding another layer beyond the incense. “Unsettling” is a good descriptor of this scent. It really evokes the image of an ancient vampire in an abandoned church, surrounded by melted, flickering candles, waiting for some clueless human to walk in. It’s a scent that really makes my Anne Rice-loving heart happy. The picture below gives a good idea

Make the church a bit more dilapidated and you’ve got the idea.

TL;DR: Church incense and sandalwood. Smells like a creepy, abandoned church. Very atmospheric. 5/5.