Arcana: Phoebus

Arcana Phoebus

Smoked vanilla, sweet resins, red musk, marshmallow, and fiery woodsmoke. 

If you’ve been following this blog, then you’ll know that I really love woodsmoke scents. I don’t know why, but I find woodsmoke to be very calming and relaxing. I’m also a big fan of red musk and vanilla. Therefore, this scent seems like it’ll be an instant winner. While Phoebus has been out for a while, I haven’t gotten the chance to try it until now.

In the bottle: I’m getting an absolutely gorgeous woodsmoke note backed up by red musk and resins. The red musk is beautiful, with an almost dark fruit-like quality to it. The resins lend a slight incense-y edge without making it headshoppy. If this scent was a color, it would be a deep crimson.

On the skin: It stays pretty true to the bottle to be honest. The red musk here really has this fascinating sweet quality that other red musks don’t; it’s almost cherry-like, without being similar to cough syrup. This is also a very bold scent in that it has a lot of throw and power. It’s a “notice me” scent. I think that this really perfect for fall, if you’re into sexy, smoky, musky scents.

TL;DR: An almost fruit-like red musk with bonfire smoke. Powerful and autumnal. 4/5. 


Poesie: Tiny Phantom

Poesie Tiny Phantom

Innocent pink roses, marshmallow buttercream, pale white musk, antique mahogany

As I’ve mentioned, rose is a very tricky note for me. I love the smell of roses, but I find that many rose fragrances give me a headache. This particular scent has been raved about on the indie makeup and perfume subreddit, with even rose haters praising it. Will this be the Holy Grail rose scent that I have been searching for?

In the bottle: Oh, I already love this. I’m getting realistic roses (definitely pink) with a touch of sweetness. I hope I get a little more of the other notes on the skin, but I’m a happy camper already.

On the skin: The roses are still prominent on the skin, but I am getting some mahogany and musk. It’s so lovely! This is definitely a feminine scent, but it’s not screaming “PINK!” at me as much as I thought it would. It also smells expensive and fancy. It could be worn by an elegant lady or a young girl.

TL;DR: Gorgeous, slightly sweet roses with a touch of wood and musk. Lovely. 4/5.

Poesie: Secret Boyfriend

Poesie Secret Boyfriend

A mountain of light fluffy marshmallows, your secret boyfriend’s leather jacket, pine and cedar, a wisp of smoke

I love smoky scents; I just find them so comforting. Marshmallows and smoke is a no-brainer, but I was really intrigued by the leather in the blend, since leather and marshmallows are not a combination I see very often. I’m also a huge fan of Twin Peaks, so the fact that this scent is from Poesie’s Twin Peaks collection definitely made me want to try it even more.

In the bottle: I’m getting mostly cedar, pine, and smoke with a touch of leather. I was afraid that the cedar would be aggressive like it is in Great Northern, but its not. It’s lovely.

On the skin: Nooooo. I think my skin really amps cedar because that’s what this has turned into. The cedar is still softer than Great Northern and I detect a smoky note underneath the wood, but I wish I was getting more vanilla and leather and marshmallow. I won’t toss my sample, but I don’t need a FS.

TL;DR: Tons of cedar with a hint of pine and smoke. Still too much cedar for me. 3.5/5.

Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab: Ivory Vulva

BPAL Ivory Vulva

Marshmallow root, coconut, macadamia milk, cream accord, and a drop of golden amber. 

There are several BPAL Lupercalia scents that have become very popular despite only being around for one season. This scent is one of them. It’s part of the Shunga collection (no surprise there), with several other scents sharing the name of that particular part of the female anatomy. The notes sounded lovely, so a friend sent me a decant of it.

In the bottle: A very sweet, rich, buttery vanilla. Seriously, it really smells like buttercream frosting. I’m getting that’s from the marshmallow and cream. It’s yummy.

On the skin: It’s definitely less buttery on the skin. It’s a very creamy, sweet scent overall. I don’t get any coconut, which is disappointing since I love coconut. There’s a slight dryness in the background, probably from the amber. Overall, this scent sort of reminds me of Volcano in Springtime, but I think I prefer that scent since it’s more unique. I’ll keep my decant of this, but I don’t need a full bottle.

TL;DR: Creamy, sweet marshmallow. Pretty basic, but done well. 4/5.

Blooddrop: Whinnies no. 2 (2018)

Blooddrop Whinnies no. 2 (2018)

Marshmallow, elderflower, quince, buttercream frosting, green cognac, tea, and vanilla

Blooddrop is an indie brand that I have not explored very much at all. I’ve heard that they make some really lovely scents, but I’ve just never found one that really spoke to me, until now. Every year around Easter, Blooddrop releases what are called Whinnies. In the words of Blooddrop’s owner: “Whinnies are my horsie version of marshmallow peeps.  Each scent has a marshmallow base.” Now, usually marshmallow scents get completely eaten up by my skin, but after seeing the Whinnies list, this one jumped out at me. The notes seemed more unusual, and I love the adorable horse theme (I was the “Horse Girl” when I was a kid). This particular scent is unfortunately sold out on Blooddrop’s site, and since the Whinnies are limited edition, it will not be restocked. I also made sure to note the year of the Whinnies in the title, since there has been a Whinnies no.2 in previous years, but they all have different notes.

In the bottle: Right out of the gate, I’m getting what is straight up the best marshmallow note I have ever smelled; it’s sweet, but not artificial or tooth-rottingly sugary. It’s backed up by a lovely cognac note. Then there’s the quince, which is a guava-pear type fruit and it honestly smells like the lovechild of both of those. I think I detect a bit of creaminess from the frosting as well, but it doesn’t read as pure frosting which I like.

On the skin: It doesn’t really change from what I smelled in the bottle. Perfect creamy, marshmallow and juicy, sweet quince with just a touch of cognac. It’s definitely a light scent though, so I have to apply more liberally. But it’s really lovely; sweet and feminine and so very spring-y. It’s just a bright, joyous scent, and its really unique as well. This is gonna be in heavy rotation for the remainder of spring and for summer.

TL;DR: A creamy marshmallow blend with cognac and quince. Absolutely stunning and unique. 7/5.

Arcana: Spirit and Shadow

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: Marshmallows Smoke!


Arcana Marshmallows Smoke!

Marshmallows with woodsmoke, dry black tea, dead Maple leaves, and a hint of vanilla.

I love the smell of woodsmoke. There’s something about it that I find very comforting. When the new Marshmallow Attacks! collection dropped, this one immediately caught my eye, since marshmallows and smoke go together like peanut butter and jelly. Dead leaves are also a popular addition to indie scents, but I haven’t tried many of them. As a result, curiosity took over and I purchased a secondhand bottle of this scent. You can buy this on Arcana’s ebay page or the Nui Cobalt Design website for $20 US.

In the bottle: Strong black tea with a touch of smoke. This is a very realistic black tea note too, like sticking your nose into a tin of fancy gourmet tea leaves.

On the skin: The black tea is still ruling the blend, but the smoke comes out more on the skin. It has a certain crispness to it which is from the dead leaves. I can also detect a sweetness, but I can’t tell if it’s from the marshmallow or the vanilla. If you’re looking for a marshmallow heavy blend, then this is not it. That being said, I really like this and I think it’ll be great for colder days and rainy days.

TL;DR: Realistic black tea with smoke and crispy dead leaves. Perfect for cold weather or rainy days. 5/5.



Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab: TKO



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.

Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab: Stekkjarstaur

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BPAL Stekkjarstaur

Wooly sugared marshmallow root.

This little guy was part of the Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab Yule 2014 collection. Being a seasonal scent, it was then discontinued within two months. However, Stekk (as it is lovingly called) became a fan favorite because of how great the scent is supposed to be. I was very lucky to receive an imp of this as a free sample with another package from a user on reddit. The name, “Stekkjarstaur”, refers to one of the 12 Icelandic Yule Lads, who were tricksters that evolved into gift givers who gave presents to children from December 11 or 12 through 24. This scent is discontinued and can no longer be found on BPAL’s website.

In the bottle: The description says it all. Sugared marshmallow. There’s something distinctly cold about it.

On the skin: This is actually very layered and complex even though the description is simple. Its definitely marshmallow, but its an elegant marshmallow. If the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man from Ghostbusters is regular marshmallow than this is a marshmallow monster in the shape of Keira Knightley. There’s also something about it that reminds me of Arcana Mother of All Souls, but I can’t quite put my finger on exactly what. This is also distinctly not gourmand; it’s rather dry and cold and not super sweet at all. I like that its almost a little earthy too. I really like this, but its very different from what I expected.

TL;DR: Fancy, non-gourmand marshmallow. Super interesting. 4/5. 

Arcana: Twirling the Pearl

Arcana Twirling the Pearl

Rich, golden honey, marshmallow, lavender milk, soft musk, and a tiny hint of green galbanum.

I was intrigued by this one, because the notes sounded similar to Arcana Fille de Joie. That, combined with numerous good reviews, made me excited to try it. I also got a kick out of the name; “Twirling the Pearl” is a euphemism for female masturbation. This fragrance is currently available on Arcana’s ebay page for $19 US, but it is sold out on Femme Fatale.

In the bottle: The lavender milk and galbanum are the strongest with a hint of honey in the background. Not getting really any marshmallow or musk.

On the skin: The marshmallow has arrived! It adds this gorgeous hint of sugar to the blend. The galbanum has taken a back seat as well. It’s now herbal lavender with the golden honey with marshmallow to add sweetness and a hint of the galbanum to make it green. It’s super creamy and silky. This is like Fille de Joie’s greener sister. Really lovely for warm weather.

TL;DR: Creamy lavender, honey and marshmallow with a touch of greenery. Perfect for spring and summer. 4.5/5