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.
Alkemia Arcanum Experiment #18
Lavender, amber, steel. and stone
Every year, Alkemia does a special sale event where some of their unreleased scents and one of a kind prototypes are put up for sale on their Etsy for the incredible price of $6 US. I’ve never come across such a unique sale, and I was super curious to try a one of a kind prototype scent. 25 such fragrances were offered, and I decided to try #18; the notes sounded really intriguing and unusual because of the mix between the delicate (lavender, amber) and the strong (steel, stone). Most of these experimental perfumes are still available on Alkemia’s etsy shop, but several are sold out.
In the bottle: Super weird. It’s very amber on the outset, with the lavender coming if after with a back drop of cool, wet stone and shimmering steel. It’s not metallic per say, but you can still tell that is steel if that makes sense? The lavender isn’t super herbal, its very delicate. It’s certainly unique. I honestly don’t know if I like it or not.
On the skin: For some reason, it gets really spicy on the skin. The lavender also gets a lot more herbal. There’s something much sharper about it now than before, and I’m not getting any stone at all.
TL;DR: Strong amber, lavender and steel. Really weird. 3/5.
BPAL De Vos’ Unicorn
Sugared peony and rose-tinted vanilla with mallow, white musk, lavender buds, and a touch of apricot.
Last year, BPAL released a special collection called “The Art of the Unicorn”, which was a bunch of scents inspired by different artistic depictions of unicorns in various works. While the collection as a whole was very well received, one particular scent stood out from the rest: De Vos’ Unicorn. I’ve always had a soft spot for unicorns (I still have a plushie of one that I’ve taken with me to college), and this scent, while somewhat floral, had enough notes in it that I liked. This scent is no longer available.
In the bottle: Sweet. I’m definitely getting a lot of vanilla and mallow with the apricot. It’s pretty!
On the skin: It’s glorious. I was afraid that the rose and peony would take over the blend, but they’re so beautifully subtle. The vanilla, peony, and rose are so creamy, and the apricot adds some brightness. The mallow and musk form the base and ground the blend, making it a little less airy. For some reason, it really reminds me of the Moon Reflected in Every Rice Paddy hair gloss, which is a favorite of mine. It is a lighter fragrance, but that is to be expected since the notes are all very delicate and ethereal. I can’t stop smelling my wrist.
Unicorn by Maerten de Vos, 1572, Oil on oak panel. This is the inspiration for the scent.
TL;DR: Delicate vanilla and peony with musk and apricot. Light and ethereal. If unicorns had a scent, it’s this. 7/5.
No official notes
I’m back! I hope all of my fellow American readers had a lovely Fourth of July weekend. Today, I’m back with a “Beloved Favorites” scent from Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab. TKO is very popular general catalog scent from the Somnium collection. TKO (an acronym for “technical knockout”) is considered by many to be the perfect sleep scent, as it is a blend of lavender and marshmallow. Considering that one of my favorite perfumes of all time (Arcana Fille de Joie) has a similar set of notes, I was very excited to get my hands on an aged bottle of TKO. You can purchase this perfume on the BPAL website for $28 US.
In the bottle: Sweet herbal lavender, straight up. I sniffed this next to Fill de Joie (which will be abbreviated in this post as FdJ) and FdJ’s lavender note is almost identical.
On the skin: This scent is very similar to FdJ, which means that I like it. They do differ slightly though. FdJ has the peach note which adds a fruity little punch in there, whereas TKO is just pure sugared lavender. A friend of mine mentioned that TKO smells similar to the “Sugared Lavender Twist” wax melts from Wal-Mart, and they do smell quite alike. I really like TKO, but can I justify having two scents that smell very, very similar? I’m not sure.
TL;DR: Fluffy sugared lavender. A non-fruity version of Fille de Joie. 5/5.
BPAL The Bow and Crown of Conquest
Sage, carnation, and cedar with lavender, vanilla, white musk, and leather
This perfume was pretty much marketed as “smell like the Antichrist”. With a description like that, I knew I had to smell it for myself. When it’s in stock, you can buy it on the BPAL website for $17.50 US for a full size or $4 US for an imp.
In the bottle: There are a lot of things happening and I’m having a hard time picking out notes. It’s quite spicy, but also floral as well. I think I can detect the sage.
On the skin: It doesn’t really change much from what’s in the bottle. Its very much a spicy floral along the lines of Alice, Reaper of Cruelty. Sage is by far the most prominent note, followed by the carnation and lavender. The leather lurks in the back grounding everything. It’s quite nice, but its not something I would wear. If you like spicy florals though, you’re gonna really like this.
TL;DR: A spicy blend of sage and carnation with a touch of lavender and leather. 3.5/5.
Haus of Gloi First Blush
Tahitian vanilla bean, white tea, lavender and peach.
This perfume was my first foray into Haus of Gloi (aka HoG). First Blush caught my eye because the notes reminded me of one of my favorite scents, Arcana Fille de Joie. This is one of HoG’s Valentine’s scents, so it is seasonal in their catalog. When available, it comes in perfume oil samples and full sizes, sugar exfoliant, whipped soap, Pumpkin Butter and scrub.
In the bottle: The white tea is very prominent, as is the peach. It’s very vibrant and punchy.
On the skin: I really like this. On the skin, the tea evens out and the vanilla and peach get stronger. I only get a tiny bit of lavender, so if you aren’t a fan of that, you might like this. This is quite different from Fille de Joie, however: Fille is heavy on the herbal lavender, with creamy vanilla and peach. It’s comforting and soft. First Blush is mostly white tea and juicy peach, and its much brighter and more youthful. It’s like the bubbly kid sister of Fille de Joie. It’s honestly a perfect scent for the spring and summer.
TL;DR: A bright, playful blend of white tea and peach with a hint of vanilla. Ideal for warm weather. 4/5
Vanilla-infused sandalwood, blood musk, antique patchouli, vetiver, lavender, bitter almond, amber, and a trickle of Snake Oil.
Tombeur is part of the VILF collection also known as the “Vampires Don’t Sleep Alone” collection. I was drawn in from the vampire theme and then I fell in love with the note list; it sounds utterly sexy. I was also curious to try a scent with BPAL’s famous Snake Oil since I hadn’t smelled it. Because this is part of a special collection, it only comes in the 5mL size. You can buy it from BPAL’s website for $20 US.
In the bottle: Spicy. Kind of smells like the renaissance faire? I’m pretty the spice is coming from the blood musk and Snake Oil
On the skin: There’s something kind of bitter and off smelling at the beginning. I think that might be the bitter almond or the vetiver, but I’m not sure. It softens after a few minutes and the sandalwood appears, but it still has that weird opening. I’m not sure about this one.
TL;DR: Spicy and bitter. Not sure if I’m a fan. 3/5.