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.
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.
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.
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!
TL;DR: Lilacs with a soft undercurrent of creamy spices. Very feminine. 3.5/5.