Arcana: Frilly Underpinnings


Arcana Frilly Underpinnings

Pink, white, and black pepper, sweet cream, bourbon vanilla, caramel amber, white musk, two sugars, spice, and everything nice.

Black pepper is a rather uncommon note that I have a small obsession with. Nothing else adds that same kind of sassy spice to scent. However, as we saw with Krampus Cones, black pepper scents can be tricky. I’m always game to try a new pepper scent though, and this hard to find Arcana has always been on my list.

In the bottle: Creamy bourbon vanilla with a smack of pepper! The booze is strong with this one, but I feel like the pepper cuts it to a certain degree.

On the skin: The bourbon vanilla calms down quite a bit, as does the pepper, but both are still detectable. The cream doesn’t go sour, which I’m very thankful for. I’m mainly getting a creamy vanilla with musky not foodie caramel and a kiss of pepper to keep it from being too sweet. It’s an extremely feminine scent, but that beautiful pepper adds this interesting, dark kick to it. I feel like this perfume would be worn by a lace-draped Victorian lady who is demure by day, but a stealthy jewel thief by night. Think Irene Adler from the Robert Downey Jr. Sherlock Holmes movie!

TL;DR: Creamy vanilla, musky caramel, and a touch of pepper. Feminine but punchy. 5/5.


Arcana: Aestas


Arcana Aestas

Madagascar vanilla, yellow cake, soft peach nectar, golden musk, black musk, and a hint of patchouli.

Today is a review of a scent that I have been wanting for a while now. Named after the ancient Roman goddess of summer, Aestas has a bunch of notes that I adore: peach, patchouli, vanilla, and musk. My only hesitation came in the form of the cake, since I don’t like overly foodie blends. Despite that, I was super happy to find a full bottle because I had a feeling that this was going to be a scent that I would love.

In the bottle: Oooooo. I’m getting the most glorious peach note with some subtle vanilla cake. The peach note is identical to the one in NAVA Adele, to my nose. Actually, this is like a muskier version of Adele!

On the skin: I’m getting more of that buttery cake, and the peach note is no longer similar to Adele; Adele’s peach note is lighter and more delicate, whereas the Arcana peach note is much richer.  It’s heavier and almost more sensual. The musks are still very present, and I like that because it prevents the scent from being too sweet and foodie. I’m starting to get some of that patch, but it’s not in your face at all. Someone who hates patchouli would still like this scent, I think. Frankly, I wish there was a bit more patch, but that’s really the only complaint I have with this scent. It’s rich and golden and absolutely stunning.

TL;DR: Rich, golden peaches with buttery vanilla cake rounded out with musk and the smallest touch of patch. Glorious. 7/5.

Arcana: Vanilla Craves Snow Fairies


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: Affaire de Coeur

Alkemia Affaire de Coeur

Sugared white musk, creamy Madagascar vanilla, white sandalwood, tonka bean, white amber, and pale sugar cane.

I haven’t had much luck with Alkemia as a brand, but I desperately want their scents to work on me because I love the sound of many of them. A friend sent me some of her old samples so I could test them out without having to blind buy. This scent sounded right up my alley, since I like every single one of the notes. You can buy it from Alkemia’s Etsy store for $12 US for a 5mL full size. You can also buy it as part of an Alkemia sample set, where it will be 1mL.

In the bottle: Sandalwood and sweetness. Dusty, but incredibly feminine. Something in it reads as pear to me for some reason.

On the skin: This definitely a a sugared sandalwood blend. I’m having a hard time picking out the notes individually, though; there’s sandalwood for sure, and I think some sugared vanilla and musk. There’s a powdery kind of note in there too, and it’s very light and delicate. I feel like this will be a good scent for occasion where I can’t wear a scent that’s very strong or a little more unconventional.

TL;DR: Sugared sandalwood. Nice and unoffensive. 4/5.

Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab: Spinning on Graves

BPAL Spinning on Graves

Dorian and lavender mist, crushed grass, cypress leaf, and a drop of clove.

Every year, the owners of BPAL and BPTP release a set of perfumes for their daughter Lilith’s birthday. This scent was a part of the BPTP side of that collection. I knew I had a to try it once I saw the notes, since I love the scent Dorian as well as lavender and clove and cypress. This scent can be purchased on the BPTP website for $24 US.

In the bottle: Sugary herbal lavender with green elements! I’m also getting a hint of clove for the spice. It’s really fresh and beautiful.

On the skin: That sweet, herbal lavender is still the most prominent alongside the green notes that lend an almost wet feel to it, like morning dew on a leaf. The Dorian comes out more on the skin, and the black tea and lemon from that are just perfect alongside the green and lavender. It conjures up the image of a misty morning at an old Victorian mansion. I’m so glad I bought a bottle of this!

TL;DR: Sweetened herbal lavender with softly wet greenery and Dorian. Misty and calming. 5/5.

sixteen92: I Believe in Mary Worth


sixteen92 I Believe in Mary Worth

Tarnished silver, flickering candlelight, faded violet petals, cold glass, shadowed musk, melted wax 

Every year, sixteen92 releases a new scent based on urban legends for Friday the 13th. While this year’s scent was based upon the legend of Sleepy Hollow’s Headless Horseman, last year’s scent was this one, with it’s roots in the legend of Mary Worth, also known as Bloody Mary. Luckily, the previous Friday the 13th scents come back alongside the new release, and I was finally able to purchase a bottle of this. I’ve been so curious about it because the notes are extremely unique and creepy sounding. This scent is no longer available, but it will return on the next Friday the 13th.

In the bottle: The violets are very strong, but these are cold violets with a biting metallic edge from the silver.  There’s a certain dustiness to it as well. It’s really interesting and weird.

On the skin: It starts out very similar to what’s in the bottle, but as it dries, it morphs into something resembling artificially grape flavored candy. I want to say that it’s from the violets, but I’m really not sure. I’m still getting the coldness, but I can’t get past the weird grape scent. It’s super disappointing that it turns into that on my skin.

TL;DR: Cold grape candy. Not a fan. 2/5.

Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab: Mme. Moriarty, Misfortune Teller

BPAL Mme. Moriarty, Misfortune Teller

Red musk, vanilla bean, pomegranate, black currant, patchouli leaf and wild plum.

I think that patchouli gets a bad reputation. Yes, it can smell like a hippie who hasn’t bathed in two weeks, but if blended right, it can be earthy and rich and very sexy. This particular scent is considered one that you need to try if you like patchouli, so a friend sent me a decant of it. Since I love pretty much every note in it, I was very excited to finally try it. You can buy this scent on the BPAL website for $24 US for 5mL.

In the bottle: Mostly patchouli, with a berry undertone. This is a dark, dirty patchouli with a lot of earthiness and I like that.

On the skin: The patchouli is…gone? Despite being a very powerful note, I can’t smell the patch anymore and it’s really weird. Instead, I’m getting tart pomegranate and a very red wine kind of smell, possibly from the currant. I’m really disappointed by this! I wanted a fruit and patch blend and I’m not getting that at all. It’s just boozy and sour on me.

TL;DR: Tart pomegranate and red wine. No patch when on the skin. Disappointing. 3/5.