Arcana Vatican Archives
Honey from the Papal apiaries, Roman figs, Atlas cedarwood, smoky frankincense and myrrh, crimson musk, black musk, and smudgy parchment musk.
Based on notes alone, this is definitely my kind of scent. I love a good spooky blend! I also just watched the film Angels and Demons, so the Vatican Archives have been on my mind. The only worrying note is the cedarwood, since I tend to amp that.
In the bottle: This is dark. I’m getting a very strong musk blend that almost reminds me out oudh, with a hint of church incense and figs. It’s ancient and scholarly; I can really smell that kind of “old tome” smell from the parchment musk.
On the skin: Whoa. Brace yourselves, because this is a strong scent. Lots of throw here. I’m really surprised on how this smells on me, honestly. I was expecting something in a similar vein to sixteen92 Liber Officiorum Spirituum, but it’s not like that at all. It’s very heady, with a fruity incense kind of vibe. I feel like that’s due to the combo of the figs, honey, and church incense. I don’t get any cedarwood, which I don’t mind. Of the musks, the red musk is most prominent. I don’t get much in the way of parchment on me. I could swear that there is oudh in it, because I keep smelling it. This is a dirty, mysterious smelling scent. I was hoping for something more book-heavy, and this is a bit too incense-y for me, despite the fact that I like church incense. I feel like I might like this on someone else who amps the parchment instead of the incense combo. I’m quite surprised! I thought for sure that this was going to be the big winner for me from this collection.
TL;DR: Fruity, heady incense and musk. Not what I was expecting, and I don’t like it on me. 3/5.
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.
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.
Arcana Peaches Crave Trance
Peach creme and honeyed red musk
In the last few years, Arcana has become extremely popular, partially due to their Craves collections, which consist of fruits (strawberry, peach, apple, pumpkin) mixed with other components. While many of the scents in these lines didn’t really appeal to me, this one did, since it has peach, honey, and musk. This scent was not a favorite of the Peaches Crave line making it hard to find, but I managed to snag a bottle.
In the bottle: Syrupy peach and something dark and sexy; that’ll be the red musk. Very promising start.
On the skin: Hell yeah. The peach becomes more of a honeyed peach, and the red musk becomes slightly more prominent that that peach note. What I love about this is it’s simplicity; this has three notes, but it’s executed in exactly the right way. This is just dripping with sensuality and sex appeal; it’s a real grown-up fruit scent.
TL;DR: Honeyed peaches and rich red musk. Sexy as hell. 6/7.