A sparkling pan-Asian blend of Indonesian ginger, Japanese yuzu fruit and Thai lemongrass, spiked with a hint of Indian black pepper.
Despite being a Floridian, I don’t really like citrus based fragrances. I’m not sure why; I love citrus fruit, but there’s something about citrus perfumes that I dislike. But Arcana is a brand that can make me like almost every note, so if I was gonna like any citrus scent, it was gonna be an Arcana one. Besides, this scent rarely pops up for sale, so I wanted to grab it while I could.
In the bottle: KAPOW! I’m immediately hit with this kick of sweet, fragrant ginger. It’s stunning. There’s also this lovely pepper note that pairs so perfectly with the ginger.
On the skin: The pepper becomes more subtle and the yuzu and lemon join the ginger. The result is spicy but sweet, clean and refreshing yet not soapy. This is like the olfactory equivalent of sunshine, distilled into a bottle. It’s got a lot of throw too; I can smell it when my arm is at my side. This is so perfect for summer and I’m so glad I took the risk on this scent!
TL;DR: Sparkling sweet ginger and citrus. So refreshing and lovely. 5/5.
Arcana Small Cottage in a Clearing
Milky coffee with white sugar, cinnamon, ginger, allspice, and a faint undercurrent of dangerous black musk.
There are few smells better than the smell of a good cup of fragrant coffee. I’ve been looking for the perfect coffee scent for a while now, and I got this scent in a swap. Will it be the coffee scent that I’ve been looking for?
In the bottle: Mmmmm. I’m getting a warm cup of beautifully brewed coffee with a lot of spices. It’s sweet and cinnamon-y and just delicious smelling. I think I can detect that tiny hint of black musk in the back that prevents it from going too gourmand.
On the skin: The musk comes out big time on the skin, making the coffee scent almost smoky. There is a dry quality to the scent as well, like coffee beans before they’ve been ground. The spices are more subtle on the skin too. I much prefer the scent as it is in the bottle, so this one is gonna go into the destash pile for me.
TL;DR: Smoky, dry, musky coffee. Not bad, but not fantastic. 3.5/5.
Fresh gingerroot with ginger grass, strawberry, satsuma, raspberry, ruby grapefruit, apricot, chai, and green musk.
Summer is fast approaching, and as a result, I’m on the hunt for bright, fruity perfumes that I can wear in the blistering Florida heat. This scent is one I never see for sale, and I haven’t heard anything about it. But it’s got a variety of tart fruits and a splash of ginger, so it sounded perfect for the hot weather. If you’re wondering about the name, it has nothing to do with Alice in Wonderland. It’s actually a euphemism for female masturbation, as is the rest of the Meow collection.
In the bottle: I’m immediately hit with a splash of sweet chai and ginger, with a subtle lemon undertone. It smells like walking into a fancy tea store. I’m into it.
On the skin: The ginger and chai are definitely the stars of this blend. Once applied, it morphs a little bit, becoming very warm and spicy, like a fancy cup of chai. Despite the fruits dominating the note list, I don’t really smell any. I like the blend a lot, but it is totally different from what I was expecting based on the note list.
TL;DR: A warm cup of spicy ginger chai. Delicious. 4/5.
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.
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!
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.
Solstice Scents Smokewood Apiary
Smoked Honey, Creamed Honey, Beeswax, Amber, Wooden Frames, Ginger & Vanilla
Solstice Scents is a brand that I have not delved into too much, so when I had the opportunity to get a sample bundle in a swap, I jumped at the chance. This particular scent is well-loved by fans of honey, which means it is right up my alley. You can find this scent on the Solstice Scents website for $16 for a full size (5mL) or as part of a sample pack.
In the bottle: A lot of smoke and a little honey. That sounds good in theory, but I’m getting barbecue sauce from this.
On the skin: The ginger comes roaring in, and it creates a very sharp mixture with the honey. That, combined with the smoke, creates a very interesting combination. There is also some kind of underlying bitterness to it, as well as a prominent wood note. I’m not really a fan of this and I have other honey scents that I like more.
TL;DR: Smokey honey with ginger and wood. Somewhat barbecue-y. 3/5.