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.
Neroli petals dripping with honey, bee nectar, warm musk, and pearl musk.
When honey is used correctly in perfume, there is really nothing sexier. My favorite honey scent is Arcana Little Man in the Boat, which was unfortunately discontinued. When I came a cross a sample of Qedesha, I thought that the notes might be similar to LMITB, so I snapped it up.
In the bottle: Oof. That neroli is strong. It’s a kind of orange blossom, so I’m getting that kind of a smell. There’s definitely some honey in the back, but its overwhelmed by the neroli.
On the skin: Thankfully, the neroli softens on the skin and the honey comes out more. The honey note is the same one that is in LMITB. As a result, the combination of the honey and neroli produces a scent that is quite similar to LMITB, but heavier and more floral. I like it; I still prefer LMITB, but this is a nice alternative.
TL;DR: A headier, more floral version of Little Man in the Boat. I like it. 4/5.
Nui Cobalt Designs The Bee’s High Tea
Delicate vanilla tea cakes with rose petal preserves, elderflower wine, and Earl Grey tea with a dainty drop of spring harvest honey.
Nui Cobalt Designs is an indie shop that specializes in all things magickal, such talismans and special ritual fragrance oils. Arcana has collaborated them several times for their Crone’s Crate box, and they stock many Arcana scents. Recently, however, the company has come out with their own line of perfumes. I was very excited to try them, since magickal items are not my cup of tea. My friends raved about this scent, and based on the notes, I can see why: it sounds like the most perfect perfume for spring.
In the bottle: …Sweet Tarts?? Seriously, this smells how Sweet Tart candy tastes. It’s got that sweet/sour thing going on. I’m looking at the note list and I’m very confused because I have no clue what is causing the Sweet Tart smell. Maybe the elderflower?
On the skin: It smells less like Sweet Tarts on the skin, but the only thing I’m getting now is a faint floral scent. I think its the rose and elderflower. It’s so light though; I can only smell it if I smash my nose into my arm. I’m sad because the note list for this was so promising!
TL;DR: Faint, floral Sweet Tarts. I’m very confused. 2/5.
Arcana Spirit and Shadow
Worn leather with three vanillas, propolis, marshmallow crème, rata honey, and a faint whiff of warm linen.
Leather is a tricky note. When done well, it lends a very sexy, unisex edge of a fragrance. But when it’s bad, it smells like a brand new sofa, and not in a good way. Because of that, I was a bit hesitant to try this scent, but since I don’t see it for sale very often, I decided to take the risk. A lot of my friends like it, which also helped convince me.
In the bottle: I’m getting a strong, almost cherry like leather. Definitely not as “sofa” as some other leather scents that I’ve tried. I’m also getting a dark honey note in the back. I don’t like the cherry quality though.
On the skin: It doesn’t change much from the bottle. I’m still getting that cherry smell with some honey and maybe a hint of linen. I don’t know why the leather is doing that on my skin, but it really does not work with my chemistry. I also don’t like cherry scents since they remind me of cough medicine, so this one is going in the destash bin.
TL;DR: Cherry-like leather and not much else. Hard pass. 2/5.
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.
Arcana Erzulie’s Soft Kiss
Ripe pink strawberries smeared with honey and bee pollen.
Happy February, everyone! And what better way to start the month than with a scent that reminds me of Valentine’s Day. Now, I am very picky about my strawberry scents. They often turn artificial or grossly sweet and syrupy on my skin. Because of that, I was hesitant to try this scent, but I heard good things about it, so I took the plunge. This scent was a part of the 2014 Valentine’s Collection, in the mini set called the “New Orleans Trio”. Like the other two scents in the trio, this scent is named after a voodoo loa. This particular fragrance is named for Erzulie Freda, who rules over love, beauty, pleasure, and all things feminine and luxurious.
In the bottle: This scent is PINK. It’s sweet strawberries and honey, but not sickeningly sweet or anything like that. There’s a very subtle sharpness to it that I think is from the bee pollen.
On the skin: To my nose, the scent on the skin smells very similar to the scent in the bottle, with maybe a touch more honey and a hint of powderiness from the pollen. As weird as it sounds, you can also tell that the strawberries in this are pink rather than red. This fragrance is very girly and bright and feminine; it’ll be absolutely perfect for spring!
TL;DR: Honey-dipped pink strawberries with a hint of powdery pollen. A very “pink” scent. 4.5/5
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.