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.
CocoaPink Sanibel Island
Soft Tahitian vanilla, coconut milk, coconut pulp, clear aqua ocean water deepened with a cool ozone accord.
There are certain scents that carry strong sentimental value, either due to the name or how they smell. This scent is very sentimental to me for the name. Sanibel Island is a small, beautiful, sleepy island just off the coast of Florida. When I was a little kid, it was one of my family’s go-to vacation places when we didn’t want to leave the state. For that reason, I had to try this scent.
In the bottle: I’m getting an absolutely stunning coconut note. It’s not too sweet or sugary; it smells very much like coconut water. I love all things coconut, but I don’t want a coconut single note scent.
On the skin: The coconut is still the most prominent note, but now it is backed up by some seawater that cuts the sweetness slightly with the salt. It’s rounded out by the ozone note, which makes it very different from most other coconut perfumes that I’ve tried. I feel like the ozone also adds something surprisingly alluring to this scent. In all, this smells like drinking coconut water on the beach just before a big storm. It’s more atmospheric than it is gourmand. It honestly does remind me of my vacations to Sanibel Island. I’m a fan.
TL;DR: Gorgeous coconut with saltwater and ozone. Alluring and evocative. 4.5/5.
Arcana Sea Witch
Delicate aquamarine scales and fins mingle with ribbons of seaweed, blueberries, brine, fresh rain, and gently sweet amber resin.
For the 2017 Halloween collection, Arcana did a set of perfumes about different kinds of witches. Within the collection, this one seemed to be a favorite. I’m not a huge fan of aquatics, so a friend sent me a decant to test out since I was curious. You can buy this scent on Arcana’s ebay page and on Nui Cobalt Design’s website for $20 US, or on Pretty Indulgent’s website for those in Canada.
In the bottle: SEAWEED. Oh boy, that is really strong and accurate smelling. It smells exactly like the kelp that wraps around your legs at the beach. Honestly, I can’t smell anything else right now.
On the skin: The seaweed calms down somewhat, which I appreciate, but it’s still really freaking powerful. I’m getting more of the background notes, which remind me a lot of the Arcana scents Lammas and Ostara, with the fresh water and blueberry. That part is very pleasant, but they just get drowned out by the seaweed. I can see why people really like this scent, but the salty kelpy smell is too much for my tastes.
TL;DR: Extremely strong seaweed on a bed of fresh blueberry aquatics. Like glamorous Cthulhu. Not my thing. 2/5.
BPAL Mary Read
Salt air, ocean mist, aged patchouli, sarsaparilla, watered-down rum, leather-tinged musk, and a spray of gunpowder.
You know what’s better than a regular pirate? A badass lady pirate. Mary Read was just that, and she pillaged and plundered during the golden age of piracy along side another famous female pirate, Anne Bonny. The scent really sounded evocative of piracy and the Caribbean, so I was happy when an imp of it came along. You can find this scent on the BPAL website for $17.50 US for a full size and $4 US for an imp.
In the bottle: Spicy! I’m getting a lot of sarsaparilla, patchouli. and musk.
On the skin: This is a very strong scent with a lot of throw. The salt and musk really ramp up once applied and you can definitely smell the gunpowder and the leather. The spices tone down a little bit, but they’re still there. This really encapsulates the scent of a pirate without all the sweat and dirt. Jack Sparrow probably smells like this.
TL;DR: A strong mix of salt, spice, musky leather, and gunpowder. Very pirate-y. 4/5.
Arcana The Kraken
Gorgeous smoked vanilla, black vanilla, saltwater, China musk, and black musk.
I’m low-key scared of trying aquatic perfumes, because the ones I have smelled before always came our smelling like astringent sunscreen. However, since I’ve fallen down the indie rabbit hole, I figured I should give them another shot. The Kraken seemed like a good bet since it has the vanilla in it and I adore vanilla. You can find this scent in Arcana’s ebay store. It retails for $20 US.
In the bottle: I’m confused. It’s very perfume-y and I don’t sense any vanilla. It’s just black musk and something weirdly floral.
On the skin: Once I applied it, it turned rather powdery and musky. Eventually, the saltwater came out with the hint of vanilla which gives it an almost spicy smell. There’s also something very skin-like about it, which makes it quite sensual. I find this to be a very masculine scent; Killian from “Once Upon a Time” would smell like this. Seriously, if I smelled this on a guy, I would melt into a puddle. The longer I wear it, the more I like it.
TL;DR: Powdery, musky skin smell with a hint of saltwater. Smells like a hot pirate who actually bathes. 4/5