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.
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.
Poesie Strange Sisterhood
Wild gathered berries, sweet violet blooms, a union of three vanillas, a creamy hint of white coconut flesh
I’m always a sucker for coconut scents, but most tend to lean tropical. This one doesn’t sound summery or tropical at all, which really piqued my curiosity.
In the bottle: This is really interesting. I’m detecting a sweet, powdery violet note with some blackberries and a touch of coconut. There’s a cold quality about it that makes it slightly creepy, but in a good way.
On the skin: Darn it! The berries are now quite artificial, and the vanilla is going plastic-y. I still get the powderiness from the violet. I can see why people like this scent, but my skin chemistry just doesn’t like it at all. It’s gonna be a “no” from me.
TL;DR: Plastic vanilla and artificial berries. I blame my skin chemistry. Destash. 2/5.
Toasted coconut and salt-tinged skin touched with the heat of summer
Poesie recently released a new set of layering single notes for the summertime, and this one has gotten the most attention. It’s pretty easy to see why: the description is the very essence of summer fun. While I’m not big on beach scents, I figured I ought to give this one a shot.
In the bottle: Y’ALL. I’m a Floridian, and this scent is so evocative of a Florida beach in the summer time. The main smell in here is that mix of coconut and salty musk. The coconut is not too sweet or foodie, and the salt tinged skin is very different from other similar notes that I’ve tried: it’s mostly salt, but in a way that instantly reminds me of the ocean, rather than a person. I feel like there is also a hint of orange in the background, even though that’s not listed as a note.
On the skin: I’m telling you, there is citrus in here, because that’s definitely amped on my skin. Specifically, it’s like a mixture of oranges and lemons, all backed up by that beautiful oceanic salt and skin note. This is a summer day at the beach in a bottle. I really like it, but I don’t see myself getting a bottle of it simply because beach-y scents are not really something I wear a lot. But I’m gonna use this sample a lot over the summer.
TL;DR: Sunny citrus and salty skin. Like a beautiful day at the beach here in Florida. Keeping my sample. 4/5.
Coconut, vanilla bean, rice milk, golden amber, watermelon, banana leaf, aged patchouli, and lemongrass.
Despite living in a tropical climate, I’ve never really been into super tropical scents, with the exception of the occasional coconut blend. However, watermelon is a note I never see in perfume, and I was extremely curious about how that would play out in a scent.
In the bottle: A big splash of watermelon starts it out. Slowly, the coconut and rice milk creep in. The citrus scent of lemongrass finishes it off. I’ve never had a watermelon note in a scent perfume, but I like it! It’s like watermelon candy, but much less sweet. This is definitely a summer/warm weather scent. It’s quite refreshing.
On the skin: The watermelon becomes even more beautiful on the skin. It’s subtly sweet and watery, and it no longer has that candy-like smell. It’s accompanied by a very delicate banana note that is not cloying or overly sweet. I’m getting a tiny bit of vanilla and rice milk in the back to sweeten things up, since the fruit notes here are not as sweet as one would expect. I really like that though, because the fruits smell more realistic that way. This is a truly gorgeous scent overall; it’s sunny and tropical and warm. I’m gonna be wearing this a lot.
TL;DR: Realistic watermelon with an aquatic edge, alongside banana and sweet rice milk. Absolutely stunning. 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.
CocoaPink Sanibel Island
Soft Tahitian vanilla, coconut milk, coconut pulp, clear aqua ocean water deepened with a cool ozone accord.
There are certain scents that carry strong sentimental value, either due to the name or how they smell. This scent is very sentimental to me for the name. Sanibel Island is a small, beautiful, sleepy island just off the coast of Florida. When I was a little kid, it was one of my family’s go-to vacation places when we didn’t want to leave the state. For that reason, I had to try this scent.
In the bottle: I’m getting an absolutely stunning coconut note. It’s not too sweet or sugary; it smells very much like coconut water. I love all things coconut, but I don’t want a coconut single note scent.
On the skin: The coconut is still the most prominent note, but now it is backed up by some seawater that cuts the sweetness slightly with the salt. It’s rounded out by the ozone note, which makes it very different from most other coconut perfumes that I’ve tried. I feel like the ozone also adds something surprisingly alluring to this scent. In all, this smells like drinking coconut water on the beach just before a big storm. It’s more atmospheric than it is gourmand. It honestly does remind me of my vacations to Sanibel Island. I’m a fan.
TL;DR: Gorgeous coconut with saltwater and ozone. Alluring and evocative. 4.5/5.
BPAL Ivory Vulva
Marshmallow root, coconut, macadamia milk, cream accord, and a drop of golden amber.
There are several BPAL Lupercalia scents that have become very popular despite only being around for one season. This scent is one of them. It’s part of the Shunga collection (no surprise there), with several other scents sharing the name of that particular part of the female anatomy. The notes sounded lovely, so a friend sent me a decant of it.
In the bottle: A very sweet, rich, buttery vanilla. Seriously, it really smells like buttercream frosting. I’m getting that’s from the marshmallow and cream. It’s yummy.
On the skin: It’s definitely less buttery on the skin. It’s a very creamy, sweet scent overall. I don’t get any coconut, which is disappointing since I love coconut. There’s a slight dryness in the background, probably from the amber. Overall, this scent sort of reminds me of Volcano in Springtime, but I think I prefer that scent since it’s more unique. I’ll keep my decant of this, but I don’t need a full bottle.
TL;DR: Creamy, sweet marshmallow. Pretty basic, but done well. 4/5.
Arcana The Sullen Courts of Sleep
A tenebrous blend of amber resin, coconut milk, skin musk, and French cognac.
Booze notes in perfume can be tricky, because if done wrong, you smell like you’ve been day drinking. However, if done correctly, they can add a lot of complexity and depth to a scent. When it comes to alcohol scents in perfume, my personal favorite is cognac, meaning that I had to try this scent when I saw it pop up.
In the bottle: COGNAC. Hella congac. I don’t smell anything else. It’s not overly boozy though.
On the skin: I definitely get more skin musk here, but the cognac is still ruling the blend. I think I get the slightest hint of coconut, but I’m not sure. If you thought that this was gonna be a coconut heavy scent, you’d be wrong. Honestly, this smells super similar to Anthropophagia, just without the pear; I’m gonna destash this for that reason.
TL;DR: Sweet cognac and musk. Basically a pear-less Anthropophagia. 4/5.
Steamed milk, sweetened condensed milk, coconut milk, and rice milk, infused with lavender simple syrup, coconut crème, and green cardamom poddiwods.
Milk and cream scents can be really tricky because they have a tendency to go spoiled or rotten on a lot of people. But I really wanted to try this anyway, because I feel like a good milk/cream scent could be stunning. Plus, A Clockwork Orange is one of my favorite books, so I partially bought it for that reason.
In the bottle: Oooooh this smells like the creamiest cup of coconut chai! It’s so warm and comforting.
On the skin: Thankfully, it stays the same on the skin as it does in the bottle; maybe a touch less sweet. But it definitely doesn’t go sour or curdled like other milk/cream notes. Not much throw however. I could see this being a great sleep scent.
TL;DR: Creamy coconut and vanilla with a hint of cozy spices. 5/5.