Fire of Water
Precious sandalwood over a base of Madagascar vanilla, golden amber, salt water, clove, sweet musk, pumpkin, patchouli, and sugarcane.
Some scents can be easy to find. Some can be hard to find. And some can be damn near impossible to find and this was one of them. I was on the hunt for this scent for over a year, and I only ever saw it for sale once. Luckily, an extremely kind person offered to sell me their bottle. But would this scent be worth all of the searching?
In the bottle: This is really unique and unusual. I’m mostly getting sandalwood and salt water with a hint of sweetened pumpkin and amber. It’s alluring and intriguing.
On the skin: The clove comes out more when applied on the skin, but it’s not a super aggressive clove. It’s just enough to add a kick of spice. The sandalwood and pumpkin are most prominent along with the clove, and its much less sweet compared to how it smelled in the bottle. The salt and musk add this very seductive edge to the scent. There’s something almost incense-y about it too, which I actually really like (I usually despise any kind of incense except church incense). I feel like this is the witchier version of Darling Clandestine Inked. It’s totally not what I expected, but I can’t stop smelling my arm. Two thumbs up from me.
L;DR: Sandalwood and pumpkin with clove and salty skin musk. Alluring and witchy and really unusual. 5/5.
Arcana Pumpkins Crave Ganesha
Pumpkin spice and sweet pumpkin with Arcana’s Ganesh.
One of Arcana’s most famous and beloved scents is Ganesh. However, despite being general catalog, it has been out of stock for a long time and people are desperate for more of this lovely scent. So when someone offered me a swap for a bottle of this scent, I jumped at the chance. This particular scent was made as an exclusive for a reddit event, and I’ve never seen a bottle on sale. I already knew that I liked Ganesh, so i figured that I’d like it when mixed with pumpkins too.
In the bottle: Definitely pumpkin spice, but it doesn’t smell like a Starbucks pumpkin spice latte or anything like that. It’s like a spicy pumpkin chai blend and I’m into it.
On the skin: It’s really true to the description: it’s Ganesh but with sweetened, sugared pumpkin. Compared to regular Ganesh, it definitely sweeter and more gourmand, whereas Ganesh is spicier and more fragrant. That being said, I think they’re different enough to justify having a bottle of both.
TL;DR: Pumpkin spiced Ganesh. Gourmand and autumnal. 4.5/5.
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.
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.
A large, joyous snoutful of coconut cake is snugly wrapped in honey, vanilla, Indonesian clove, green coconut, and a warm blend of spices.
I’ve been wanting to try this particular scent since I got into indie perfume; it sounds like the perfect gourmand for me as the notes suggest that its not overly sweet. Unfortunatly, this perfume has been out of stock for months and no on knows when it will return, if ever. I was very lucky to be able to find a decant of it in a destash list. As for the name, this fragrance is named after Ganesh, a very important and popular Hindu deity. This scent is currently out of stock.
In the bottle: So fragrant! It’s all honey, cloves and spices with a touch of coconut.
On the skin: It’s basically the same as it is in the vial, just with stronger clove, but the clove is like chai clove so I love it. There’s a strong warmth to this as well. You would think it would be gourmand based on the notes, but its not; it smells like potpourri, but in the best way possible, if that makes sense. Just spicy and warm and sweet and golden. It’s not as coconut-y as I expected, but I really like it.
TL;DR: Strong chai clove with honey, spices, and a touch of coconut. Warm and delicious. 5/5.
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!
BPAL Spinning on Graves
Dorian and lavender mist, crushed grass, cypress leaf, and a drop of clove.
Every year, the owners of BPAL and BPTP release a set of perfumes for their daughter Lilith’s birthday. This scent was a part of the BPTP side of that collection. I knew I had a to try it once I saw the notes, since I love the scent Dorian as well as lavender and clove and cypress. This scent can be purchased on the BPTP website for $24 US.
In the bottle: Sugary herbal lavender with green elements! I’m also getting a hint of clove for the spice. It’s really fresh and beautiful.
On the skin: That sweet, herbal lavender is still the most prominent alongside the green notes that lend an almost wet feel to it, like morning dew on a leaf. The Dorian comes out more on the skin, and the black tea and lemon from that are just perfect alongside the green and lavender. It conjures up the image of a misty morning at an old Victorian mansion. I’m so glad I bought a bottle of this!
TL;DR: Sweetened herbal lavender with softly wet greenery and Dorian. Misty and calming. 5/5.
Damp leaves, church incense, Italian leather, dry birch woods, clove bud absolute, bonfire smoke
What better scent to test out in October than one called Salem? This is one of sixteen92’s best selling scents, and I’ve heard tons of hype about it. A friend sent me a sample, and I’ve been anxious to finally try out this well-regarded fragrance. You can buy this on sixteen92’s website for $4.65 US for a 2mL sample, $14 US for a 6mL bottle, and $20 US for a 10mL roll-on bottle.
In the bottle: LEATHER. Very strong leather and some nondescript spices.
On the skin: The clove comes roaring in, and the leather softens a bit. Now it’s primarily clove with smoky church incense with leather to round it all out. There’s a certain dryness to this fragrance, probably from the dry leaves. This definitely leans masculine to me, like a hot man who smells like clove lurking in a church while wearing leather pants.
TL;DR: Clove with church smoke and leather. Very atmospheric and masculine. 3.5/5.
Crushed Baltic amber, golden fig, oud wood, red patchouli, white clove, and saffron.
When the new set of Carnival Diabolique scents dropped in June of this year, this one immedietly caught my eye, but not for the notes. Rather, I wanted to try it for the label art for a rather selfish reason: the woman on the label resembles a much buffer version of myself! The notes did sound rather interesting as well. I hadn’t actually purchased the scent, but a good friend of mine in the indie community sent me a partial bottle of it as a gift. You can buy this scent on BPAL’s website for $24 US for a 5mL bottle.
In the bottle: It’s weird. I’m getting prominent oud and powdery amber with a sweet undertone from the fig. Oud can be a tricky note, but it’s behaving so far.
On the skin: The oud takes center stage, but luckily it doesn’t turn into that almost fecal smell that oud can have. Rather, it’s a dusty, woodsy scent. The saffron then comes out to play, while the amber retreats. The fig also gets stronger, but its not really a sweet fig scent. This does not smell at all how I expected, but I quite like it so far!
TL;DR: Woodsy oud with saffron and fig. Weird, but I’m into it. 4/5.
The scent of warm, glowing jack o’lanterns on a warm autumn night: true Halloween pumpkin, spiced with nutmeg, glowing peach and murky clove.
I love Halloween; I’m one of those people who plans their Halloween costume six months in advance. However, I live in the southern US, so autumn is not a concept here. I bought this scent because I wanted something that would bring about the image of Halloween in the movies, with multicolored trees, falling leaves and a crisp chill in the air. You can buy it on BPAL’s website. It’s $17.50 US for a 5mL full size or $4 US for a sample Imp.
In the bottle: Pumpkin and something else? I feel like that’s the clove but it’s not as spicy as I was expecting.
On the skin: Pumpkin and nutmeg are the first notes to appear and I swear I can smell brown sugar or something else candy-like. It’s not overly sweet though thanks to the clove which blossoms into a nice layer of spice. I’m not getting much of the peach note. I feel like this smells like autumn in a bottle.
TL;DR: Lightly sugared pumpkin and nutmeg. Very autumnal. 4/5.