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.
Poesie Secret Boyfriend
A mountain of light fluffy marshmallows, your secret boyfriend’s leather jacket, pine and cedar, a wisp of smoke
I love smoky scents; I just find them so comforting. Marshmallows and smoke is a no-brainer, but I was really intrigued by the leather in the blend, since leather and marshmallows are not a combination I see very often. I’m also a huge fan of Twin Peaks, so the fact that this scent is from Poesie’s Twin Peaks collection definitely made me want to try it even more.
In the bottle: I’m getting mostly cedar, pine, and smoke with a touch of leather. I was afraid that the cedar would be aggressive like it is in Great Northern, but its not. It’s lovely.
On the skin: Nooooo. I think my skin really amps cedar because that’s what this has turned into. The cedar is still softer than Great Northern and I detect a smoky note underneath the wood, but I wish I was getting more vanilla and leather and marshmallow. I won’t toss my sample, but I don’t need a FS.
TL;DR: Tons of cedar with a hint of pine and smoke. Still too much cedar for me. 3.5/5.
Poesie Great Northern
Fresh cedarwood, ripe plum, black and pink peppercorns, warm clove
This was the other scent I purchased in my Poesie order. Great Northern comes from the Twin Peaks inspired collection, and the scent is meant to evoke the smell of Twin Peaks’ cleanest and most reasonably priced (for FBI agents) hotel. I love pepper notes and plum notes, so this one was a no-brainer for me.
In the bottle: Clove. Literally just clove. I think I can detect a hint of cedarwood in the back, but I’m not sure. I really want more plum from this.
On the skin: HELLO CEDARWOOD. That’s 99% of what this scent is. I get a touch of spicy pepper and clove in the back, but this is almost pure cedarwood. It reminds me of my aunt’s house in North Carolina. That being said, the cedarwood here is just too much for me and it’s giving me a headache.
TL;DR: Aggressive cedarwood with a side of cedarwood. Too much for me. 2/5.
Haus of Gloi U-Pick
Apricot, Tahitian vanilla, sandalwood, and cedar.
Haus of Gloi recently opened up their perfume vault, where discontinued scents become available again. One of those scents was U-Pick. As a self-proclaimed peach fiend, I really liked the sound of an apricot scent, since those fruits are similar. While I did not get a bottle from the vault release, a friend sold me hers.
In the bottle: It’s perfectly ripe, juicy apricots in a wooden or straw basket. I can literally smell the dryness woodiness from the basket, its crazy. I’m a bit worried about the cedar though, since that note can go wonky on my skin.
On the skin: It’s now just super realistic, fresh apricots. I swear, I can almost smell the fuzzy skin of the apricot. The cedar is in the background adding a touch of dry woodsiness. I can’t smell any vanilla or sandalwood, but I’m not mad about it. It’s so freaking summery and honestly really unique, thanks to the cedar note.
TL;DR: Fresh apricots with a touch of dry wood. Perfect for the summertime. 5/5
Winchester Mystery House
Vanilla, fireplace embers, aged cedarwood, dark patchouli, sandalwood, amber, gingersnap cookies, clove.
Sarah Winchester, the widowed wife of the heir to the Winchester Rifle Company, built a house out in California after she lost her husband and child. This house had dozens of rooms, fake staircases, and doors that lead to no where. Sarah believed that if she kept building in a confusing fashion, then the ghosts of those killed by Winchester rifles would not haunt and kill her. Everything I just said is true: you can visit the now-famous Winchester Mystery House today. I’ve never been, but I really want to go. This scent has most of my favorite notes in it, so I had to try it.
In the bottle: Oooh this is good. It’s like smoky gingersnap cookies with a dusty woody background.
On the skin: I’m getting smoky patch and gingersnap cookies. Its very warm and there is definitely some spicy clove in there too. I like that. And then…it morphs. It becomes very cedarwood heavy and dusty. It now reminds me a lot of Solstice Scents Manor, which I didn’t like. Ugh, this was so good in the bottle!
TL;DR: Smoky gingerbread and patch that gets devoured by dusty cedarwood. 2/5.
BPAL The Bow and Crown of Conquest
Sage, carnation, and cedar with lavender, vanilla, white musk, and leather
This perfume was pretty much marketed as “smell like the Antichrist”. With a description like that, I knew I had to smell it for myself. When it’s in stock, you can buy it on the BPAL website for $17.50 US for a full size or $4 US for an imp.
In the bottle: There are a lot of things happening and I’m having a hard time picking out notes. It’s quite spicy, but also floral as well. I think I can detect the sage.
On the skin: It doesn’t really change much from what’s in the bottle. Its very much a spicy floral along the lines of Alice, Reaper of Cruelty. Sage is by far the most prominent note, followed by the carnation and lavender. The leather lurks in the back grounding everything. It’s quite nice, but its not something I would wear. If you like spicy florals though, you’re gonna really like this.
TL;DR: A spicy blend of sage and carnation with a touch of lavender and leather. 3.5/5.