Nui Cobalt Designs Ain’t I a Woman: Sojourner Truth
A sacred incense of amber and sandalwood, Bartlett pears poached with vanilla bean, and a scattering of dry tea and patchouli leaves.
The second scent of the three I received is another one from the famous, influential women collection. This perfume was inspired by Sojourner Truth. Again, in NCD’s own words: “She was born into slavery in New York, fled to freedom with her daughter, then attained legal custody of her son, becoming the first black woman to successfully sue a white slave owner. She spoke widely as an abolitionist and women’s rights activist. Her groundbreaking 1851 speech, later titled “Ain’t I A Woman,” was delivered at the Ohio Women’s Rights Convention.” The combination of pears and vanilla with patch, incense, and tea seemed very intriguing for me.
In the bottle: Warm, yummy, and very familiar. Seriously, this smells very similar to something else that I can’t quite put my finger on. This scent is both comforting and powerful.
On the skin: Once applied, the pears vanish, but the patch, sandalwood, and incense become much more prominent. There’s a distinct powderiness that occurs as well, but it’s not a bad thing. I can detect a nice smoky undertone as well, probably from the tea and the incense. This actually reminds me of a combination of two scents from the famous Bourbon French Perfumery in New Orleans’ French Quarter: Kus Kus and Voodoo Love. What’s interesting about this is that it was very foody in the bottle, and it changed completely on the skin. I do think that this is a little too powdery for my personal taste, but it is objectively a nice, womanly scent for someone with different skin chemistry.
TL;DR: Smoky, powdery incense, sandalwood, and patchouli. The kind of scent for a mature, no-nonsense woman. 3.5/5.
Deconstructing Eden Lucrezia Borgia
Clementine, red mandarin, Italian lemon, ambergris, vanilla, patchouli and orange blossom on a resinous bed of labdanum.
I decided to live real dangerously and blind buy a large size of this scent. The notes are not things that normally catch my eye, and I’ve never dealt with ambergris before. Why did I buy it then? The name. I’m planning to get my PhD in early modern/Renaissance Italian history, and Lucrezia is one of my favorite historical figures.
Now, since I have found that alcohol based scents don’t change as much from bottle to skin, I’ll just include my overall thoughts.
My thoughts: GOOD LORD THIS IS SEXY. It opens with a blast of sweet and tart citrus followed by a spicy, dark undercurrent. I’m getting a really glorious musk note too, which might be the ambergris. I remember seeing a review that described this as a “sexy creamsicle” scent, and I can totally see that comparison. The vanilla is there, but it’s not an innocent, foody vanilla at all. This is real grown-up scent, seductive, beautiful, and dangerous. I’m definitely glad I got a larger size. It also has insane wear length; I can smell it on jewelry from a month ago.
TL;DR: Citrus with a rich, earthy base and a hint of sweetness. Crazy sexy. 7/5.
Arcana Molly Malone
Cotton candy, sea spray, green sugarcane, salt, pink musk, sweet bergamot, lily of the valley, black pepper, vanilla, patchouli, and the merest hint of aged vetiver.
Looking at the notes, this is not my kind of scent at all. But I heard several people raving about it and my curiosity got the better of me, so I just had to try it out to see why people were fussing over it.
In the bottle: ???? This is so weird. I’m getting cotton candy, but also sea spray and lily and something else green. I don’t know what to make of this.
On the skin: The notes that smelled on the bottle are magnified on the skin. The cotton candy is not really that sweet or sugary, which is interesting, and I have come to the conclusion that the lily and vetiver are creating that green smell. It’s unlike anything I have smelled before. I can see why people enjoy this, but it’s so not my thing. I’ll destash it.
TL;DR: Aquatic yet green cotton candy with salt, lily, and vetiver. Weird as heck. 3/5.
Fire of Water
Precious sandalwood over a base of Madagascar vanilla, golden amber, salt water, clove, sweet musk, pumpkin, patchouli, and sugarcane.
Some scents can be easy to find. Some can be hard to find. And some can be damn near impossible to find and this was one of them. I was on the hunt for this scent for over a year, and I only ever saw it for sale once. Luckily, an extremely kind person offered to sell me their bottle. But would this scent be worth all of the searching?
In the bottle: This is really unique and unusual. I’m mostly getting sandalwood and salt water with a hint of sweetened pumpkin and amber. It’s alluring and intriguing.
On the skin: The clove comes out more when applied on the skin, but it’s not a super aggressive clove. It’s just enough to add a kick of spice. The sandalwood and pumpkin are most prominent along with the clove, and its much less sweet compared to how it smelled in the bottle. The salt and musk add this very seductive edge to the scent. There’s something almost incense-y about it too, which I actually really like (I usually despise any kind of incense except church incense). I feel like this is the witchier version of Darling Clandestine Inked. It’s totally not what I expected, but I can’t stop smelling my arm. Two thumbs up from me.
L;DR: Sandalwood and pumpkin with clove and salty skin musk. Alluring and witchy and really unusual. 5/5.
Coconut, vanilla bean, rice milk, golden amber, watermelon, banana leaf, aged patchouli, and lemongrass.
Despite living in a tropical climate, I’ve never really been into super tropical scents, with the exception of the occasional coconut blend. However, watermelon is a note I never see in perfume, and I was extremely curious about how that would play out in a scent.
In the bottle: A big splash of watermelon starts it out. Slowly, the coconut and rice milk creep in. The citrus scent of lemongrass finishes it off. I’ve never had a watermelon note in a scent perfume, but I like it! It’s like watermelon candy, but much less sweet. This is definitely a summer/warm weather scent. It’s quite refreshing.
On the skin: The watermelon becomes even more beautiful on the skin. It’s subtly sweet and watery, and it no longer has that candy-like smell. It’s accompanied by a very delicate banana note that is not cloying or overly sweet. I’m getting a tiny bit of vanilla and rice milk in the back to sweeten things up, since the fruit notes here are not as sweet as one would expect. I really like that though, because the fruits smell more realistic that way. This is a truly gorgeous scent overall; it’s sunny and tropical and warm. I’m gonna be wearing this a lot.
TL;DR: Realistic watermelon with an aquatic edge, alongside banana and sweet rice milk. Absolutely stunning. 5/5.
Dark patchouli, amber, cardamom, vanilla.
I’ll try basically any scent that has patchouli and vanilla in it, since it’s a favorite combination of mine. I love a good witchy scent too, and this one seemed to fit the bill.
In the bottle: A vanilla cardamom blend with this deep patch undercurrent. There’s a slight powderiness, I think from the amber. It’s very rich and almost foodie. I like it.
On the skin: It’s now much more patch forward, with just a hint of cardamom. It almost reminds me of cigarettes and that’s not a good thing. I wish I got more vanilla!
TL;DR: Patchouli and cigarettes. 1/5.
Winchester Mystery House
Vanilla, fireplace embers, aged cedarwood, dark patchouli, sandalwood, amber, gingersnap cookies, clove.
Sarah Winchester, the widowed wife of the heir to the Winchester Rifle Company, built a house out in California after she lost her husband and child. This house had dozens of rooms, fake staircases, and doors that lead to no where. Sarah believed that if she kept building in a confusing fashion, then the ghosts of those killed by Winchester rifles would not haunt and kill her. Everything I just said is true: you can visit the now-famous Winchester Mystery House today. I’ve never been, but I really want to go. This scent has most of my favorite notes in it, so I had to try it.
In the bottle: Oooh this is good. It’s like smoky gingersnap cookies with a dusty woody background.
On the skin: I’m getting smoky patch and gingersnap cookies. Its very warm and there is definitely some spicy clove in there too. I like that. And then…it morphs. It becomes very cedarwood heavy and dusty. It now reminds me a lot of Solstice Scents Manor, which I didn’t like. Ugh, this was so good in the bottle!
TL;DR: Smoky gingerbread and patch that gets devoured by dusty cedarwood. 2/5.