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.
Ripe figs with vanilla beans and hypnotic honey amber.
Happy (slightly belated) Thanksgiving! Every so often, you discover a scent that you want to try and you spend months on end trying to get your hands on it. Drool was one of those scents for me. This scent was a part of the limited edition Cocos Nucifera collection, and it has been discontinued since 2015. However, Julia (the owner and perfumer of Arcana) decided to make a limited run of about six or seven bottles of this rare scent, and I was lucky enough to be able to buy one. Will it live up to the hype?
In the bottle: I’m getting a very rich, almost caramelized, sweet smell, almost like Arcana Two Finger Ballet. There’s a subtle juicy fruitiness in the back that stops it from getting too sweet; it’s like ripe figs that have been caramelized and soaked in a vanilla honey sauce. It’s gourmand without being foodie, if that makes sense.
On the skin: The juicy figs come roaring to the front and it pushes the sweet vanilla to the back. The honey also becomes more prominent. There’s a very slight powderiness from the amber as well, but overall it’s a bright fragrance. As it settles, it becomes the most perfect fig/honey blend and I’m really into it. “Hypnotic” is a good way to describe this scent.
TL;DR: Juicy, ripe figs covered in a slightly sweetened honey. Delicious. 6/5.
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.
Black fig, black & red tea leaves, ginger root, coconut milk and papyrus.
Moirai is another member of the Sixteen92 Summer 2017 collection, and the name refers to the Fates of Greek myth, who weave, measure, and cut the thread of every human’s life. The notes sounded quite unusual, so I had to check it out. You can find this scent on Sixteen92’s website for $4.65 for 2mL, $14 for 6mL, and $20 for 10mL.
In the bottle: Mostly papyrus with a hint of tea. Very crisp. I think I like it? It’s just so different from anything else I’ve tried.
On the skin: The papyrus and tea soften and the fig, ginger, and coconut take center stage. The fig and coconut are creamy, while the ginger adds a spicy little kick. It’s sweet, but not gourmand thanks to the grounding papyrus. It’s a very mysterious scent and alluring scent. However, it does wear very close to the skin, so its rather light. All in all, I’m a big fan of it.
TL;DR: Fig, coconut milk, and a kick of ginger grounded by papyrus. Mysterious and a little sexy. 5/5.