Arcana: Pumpkins Crave Terror

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: 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: 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.

Alkemia: Le Petit Mort

Alkemia Le Petit Mort

Triple iron distilled Indonesian red patchouli and dark forest blossom beeswax honeycomb.

Despite it’s haters, I’m a big fan of patchouli. It’s dirty and earthy and very sexy to me. I’m always ready to try a new patchouli scent. You can buy it from Alkemia’s Etsy store for $12 US for a 5mL full size. You can also buy it as part of an Alkemia sample set, where it will be 1mL.

In the bottle: Patchouli and honey. Very simple, but very sensual. Not much more to say there.

On the skin: It now reminds me a lot of BPAL impressions of the Floating World. It’s that same kind of powdery, perfume-y patch and honey blend. It’s just okay, honestly. It’s not bad, but it’s not fantastic either. I will say that it smells quite mainstream and expensive though.

TL;DR: Powdery patchouli and honey. Kind of basic to me. 2/5.

Alkemia: Honeycakes for the Harvest Moon

Alkemia Honeycakes for the Harvest Moon

Freshly baked honeycakes, autumn beeswax, gleanings from ripened grainfields, and newly harvested fruits lightly spiced with nutmeg, ginger, and golden cloves.

As you may know, I love honey scents, but they can be kind of finicky on the skin. Thankfully, a friend sent me a sample so I could test it out. This scent is currently unavailable.

In the bottle: It’s beautifully sweet honey cakes. It reminds me a lot of Sharing the Cake HG!

On the skin: This no longer smells like Sharing the Cake HG at all; it’s less sweet and more true to actual honey rather than honey cakes. I’m getting quite a bit of nutmeg too which I like! It adds a nice spice note to the blend. I also like how this scent isn’t a very heavy gourmand; there’s a kind of lightness to it that prevents it from being overly foodie. Overall, I like it. I don’t think I’ll buy a full size of it, but I’m happy to have my sample.

TL;DR: Sweet, gently spiced honey cakes. Not overly gourmand. 3.5/5.

EDIT: I’m sorry to say that my opinion of this scent has completely changed. I’ve discovered that applying this to my skin results in a bizarre celery smell after a few hours and I really don’t like it. Into the destash pile it goes!


Solstice Scents: Smokewood Apiary


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.

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.

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