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.
A large, joyous snoutful of coconut cake is snugly wrapped in honey, vanilla, Indonesian clove, green coconut, and a warm blend of spices.
I’ve been wanting to try this particular scent since I got into indie perfume; it sounds like the perfect gourmand for me as the notes suggest that its not overly sweet. Unfortunatly, this perfume has been out of stock for months and no on knows when it will return, if ever. I was very lucky to be able to find a decant of it in a destash list. As for the name, this fragrance is named after Ganesh, a very important and popular Hindu deity. This scent is currently out of stock.
In the bottle: So fragrant! It’s all honey, cloves and spices with a touch of coconut.
On the skin: It’s basically the same as it is in the vial, just with stronger clove, but the clove is like chai clove so I love it. There’s a strong warmth to this as well. You would think it would be gourmand based on the notes, but its not; it smells like potpourri, but in the best way possible, if that makes sense. Just spicy and warm and sweet and golden. It’s not as coconut-y as I expected, but I really like it.
The scent’s divine namesake, the Hindu god Ganesh.
Tl;DR: Strong chai clove with honey, spices, and a touch of coconut. Warm and delicious. 5/5.
Arcana Vanilla Craves Snow Fairies
Frozen honey with dry white musk, winter vanilla, opulent amber, snow, vodka, and a sliver of orris root.
Winter is fast approaching, and many perfume houses are preparing their winter collections, many of which use a lot of pine and snow notes. Now, I have a weird thing about snow notes. Many of them make me wrinkle my nose; they’re usually powdery and ozone-y, and I don’t like them. However, a friend in the indie community convinced me to try this scent, since the snow note is apparently very different from the other ones I’ve tried. The other notes also sound really good, and I was intrigued by the inclusion of vodka in the fragrance. This scent is no longer available, as it was a gift with purchase from a previous winter collection
In the bottle: A very crisp vanilla with a tiny vodka bite. It’s sweeter than I expected and a little powdery, but in a good way.
On the skin: I get more of the snow, but I actually like this snow note! It’s not ozone-y or minty, its just cold and delicate. Mix that with the vanilla and vodka, and it really works. Once it dries, it’s a musky, cold vanilla with the tiniest hint of vodka for crispness. There’s also something surprisingly sexy about this scent, which is interesting. It’s very unique and I really love it. It reminds me of Snegurochka (Снегурочка) aka the Snow Maiden of Russian folklore who helps Grandfather Frost (Ded Moroz).
TL;DR: A delicately cold vanilla with musk and a bit of vodka. Perfect for winter. 7/5.
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.
And now I’m hungry. Photo belongs to halfbakedharvest.com
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!
BPAL Cave of Treasures
Sweet amber and golden honey, cream accord, blue lilac, and a drop of cardamom.
I’m not a huge floral person, but I’ve discovered that I really enjoy the smell of lilacs. They’re a big part of one of my favorite scents ever, Jareth, and a friend was kind enough to decant a little bit for me to try. Since this was a BPAL 2017 Lupercalia scent, it is no longer available.
In the bottle: Florals and spices. This actually reminds me of a commercial “oriental floral” type of scent.
On the skin: This scent definitely becomes more nuanced on the skin. The lilacs become more distinct, and I can also smell the cardamom. It’s a delicate cardamom however, not very powerful, but enough to add some spicy dimension. There’s a creamy smoothness to this as well that I think pairs really well with the lilac. I like this!
Lilac is such a pretty flower. Image does not belong to me.
TL;DR: Lilacs with a soft undercurrent of creamy spices. Very feminine. 3.5/5.
Two Finger Ballet, Twirling the Pearl ,deep labdanum, satiny sandalwood, and sugary French lavender absolute.
Arcana is one of my favorite perfume houses, and they recently released their Halloween collection. This scent was not a part of that, but is instead a collaboration with a customer who suggested it and drew the label. It combines two of Arcana’s most beloved scents: Two Finger Ballet and Twirling the Pearl, both of which I have tried and liked. This scent is chock full of notes that I love, so I knew I had to try it. The name is also a bit sentimental, since I’ve danced since the age of 4. This scent will be restocked at Pretty Indulgent, Arcana’s ebay store, and Nui Cobalt Designs and it will cost $20 US for 5mL.
In the bottle: Oooooh this is lovely. It’s mostly Two Finger Ballet, but it’s got that gorgeous Arcana lavender underneath it, plus some honey and then galbanum. The galbanum adds a green scent that cuts the sweetness just enough so that it doesn’t really read as gourmand.
On the skin: The Two Finger Ballet retreats, and the labdanum, sandalwood, galbanum, and lavender come forward. Honey and caramel can be detected as the base. Once it fully dries, the Two Finger Ballet takes the spotlight again, but the labdanum, lavender, and honey are still prominent, with the galbanum in the back adding the tiniest touch of green. It’s sexy but in a very understated, delicate way, like the way a cream lace dress can be sexy. This scent is a serious morpher, but its so unique and stunning.
TL;DR: Two Finger Ballet with labdanum, lavender, and galbanum. Morphs a lot, but is absolutely beautiful. 6/5.
Arcana Peaches Crave Trance
Peach creme and honeyed red musk
In the last few years, Arcana has become extremely popular, partially due to their Craves collections, which consist of fruits (strawberry, peach, apple, pumpkin) mixed with other components. While many of the scents in these lines didn’t really appeal to me, this one did, since it has peach, honey, and musk. This scent was not a favorite of the Peaches Crave line making it hard to find, but I managed to snag a bottle.
In the bottle: Syrupy peach and something dark and sexy; that’ll be the red musk. Very promising start.
On the skin: Hell yeah. The peach becomes more of a honeyed peach, and the red musk becomes slightly more prominent that that peach note. What I love about this is it’s simplicity; this has three notes, but it’s executed in exactly the right way. This is just dripping with sensuality and sex appeal; it’s a real grown-up fruit scent.
TL;DR: Honeyed peaches and rich red musk. Sexy as hell. 6/7.