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.

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Arcana: Vatican Archives

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.

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.

sixteen92: Liber Officiorum Spirituum

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sixteen92 Liber Officiorum Spirituum

Ancient parchment, leather bindings, smoldering resins, frankincense tears, ritual candles, black fire, soot, steel, dust and smoke.

Since it is October, it’s time to break out all of the spooky scents! This one was highly recommended by several of my friends in the indie community as a holy grail creepy scent, evoking the image of some kind of dark magic ritual. While I haven’t had a lot of luck with sixteen92 as a brand, the description and reviews convinced me to try this. This scent is currently unavailable, but it might return for a sixteen92 resurrection event.

In the bottle: RESINS. Lots of resins. But these resins aren’t really earthy, they’re on the sweeter side.

On the skin: The sweet resins are still the most prominent note, but I am getting some kind of dusty, almost woody scent. I think that’s the parchment and/or the candles. There’s just a touch of smokiness, and I’m getting some incense sweetness from the frankincense. I wouldn’t say that I can really pick up the leather bound books from this though. It also doesn’t smell creepy to; this smells more like a ritual to drive out a demon rather than summon one. That being said, I still really like it. It’s like the nicer, less evil cousin of Holy Terror.

TL;DR: Sweet, dusty resins. Not spooky per say, but definitely mystical and Halloween-y. 5/5.

Solstice Scents: Conjure Dark

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Solstice Scents Conjure Dark

Amber, Frankincense, Sweet Incense Smoke, Dried Rose Petals, Sandalwood, Vetiver, Woods, Oud, Vanilla

Okay, this one was a gamble for me. I enjoy the smell of church incense, but I hate anything that smells “headshopy”. This one has that “sweet incense note”, but the kind of incense isn’t exactly specified. But I figured “what the hell, I’m gonna try it.” You can purchase this on Solstice Scents’ website; its currently sold out for the 5mL perfume oil version, but you can still get it in the 60mL EDP version for $90 US. The perfume oil version is still available on the Rhinestone Housewife and Pretty Indulgent.

In the bottle: Oh no. Okay, so I like the smell of frankincense, but HOLY CRAP. It’s a very strong bite of frankincense and something sour in the background. I think that’s the vetiver?

On the skin: I think my fears about incense have been confirmed. It’s very strong incense and with more incense. It’s like a headshop with a church next door. The scent is very strong and it’s kind of burning my nostrils. I don’t like this, but if you love incense, then I think this could be a holy grail.

TL;DR: Incense, incense and more incense. Too strong for me. GET IT OFF OF ME/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.