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.
Haus of Gloi U-Pick
Apricot, Tahitian vanilla, sandalwood, and cedar.
Haus of Gloi recently opened up their perfume vault, where discontinued scents become available again. One of those scents was U-Pick. As a self-proclaimed peach fiend, I really liked the sound of an apricot scent, since those fruits are similar. While I did not get a bottle from the vault release, a friend sold me hers.
In the bottle: It’s perfectly ripe, juicy apricots in a wooden or straw basket. I can literally smell the dryness woodiness from the basket, its crazy. I’m a bit worried about the cedar though, since that note can go wonky on my skin.
On the skin: It’s now just super realistic, fresh apricots. I swear, I can almost smell the fuzzy skin of the apricot. The cedar is in the background adding a touch of dry woodsiness. I can’t smell any vanilla or sandalwood, but I’m not mad about it. It’s so freaking summery and honestly really unique, thanks to the cedar note.
TL;DR: Fresh apricots with a touch of dry wood. Perfect for the summertime. 5/5
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.
Arcana Vanilla Craves Terror
Creamy vanilla with Arcana’s Holy Terror (An unsettling, austere blend of burning frankincense, sandalwood, deep myrrh, and dusty beeswax candles.)
When I told some of my friends in the indie community that I hadn’t tried this scent yet, they were shocked, because this scent is very much up my alley. I love church incense scents, and I love vanilla, so it seemed like a match made in heaven. That being said, while this scent is beloved by many, there is also a large contingent who think that this smells like a cheap vanilla candle. What would it be for me though?
In the bottle: Acrid and plastic-y. Sometimes vanillas can do that, and it doesn’t bode well.
On the skin: Well, it no longer smells like burning plastic. However, what I’m basically getting now is just regular old Holy Terror with the smallest hint of vanilla sweetness. Honestly, if you had me blind sniff this and regular Holy Terror, I might not be able to tell the difference. And that means that this is going into the destash bin.
TL;DR: Holy Terror with the tiniest bit of vanilla. Boring and disappointing. 2/5.
Arcana Peaches Crave Fire
Ripe peaches with our Fire accord (scorched black tea leaves, curling wisps of woodsmoke, Arcana’s Holy Terror blend, and a splash of hot toddy)
I like smoky scents. I like Holy Terror. I’m a fan of peach notes, especially Arcana. Therefore, it was a no brainer when it came to trying this scent.
In the bottle: Smoky peaches. There’s nothing sweet about it; its really like a bunch of fresh peaches sitting in a fireplace. It’s quite interesting.
On the skin: I…don’t know what’s going on here. The tea and smoke combo reminds me a lot of the tea and smoke combo from Marshmallows Smoke, but for some reason, this scent is turning sour on me. It almost smells sweaty? There’s also the hot toddy that adds this warmth and depth, but I can’t get past that weird BO smell. I don’t know what’s causing it, but I’m not a fan.
TL;DR: Weird smoky, sweaty peaches and smoke. No bueno. 1/5.
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.
BPAL Volcano in Springtime
Whipped vanilla cream and white sandalwood with a touch of lotus root.
Cream has a bit of an infamous reputation in the indie perfume community, because it has a tendency to turn curdled and spoiled on a lot of people. However, I wanted to try this scent since it was a favorite from that year’s Lupercalia collection. Normally, I also include a photo of the bottle, but I won’t for this one, since it is extremely explicit. This scent is no longer available.
In the bottle: Definitely vanilla, but I’m getting something kind of green and wet. I’m gonna guess that that’s the lotus root. It’s odd, but I kind of like it!
On the skin: The vanilla is kind of dry and a little dusty, which is think is a result of the sandalwood. It’s feminine and delicate, and almost a little woodsy. In the back, I get that same green, slightly wet floral note from the lotus; it’s a great contrast to the dryness of the sandalwood. The blend as a whole is alluring in a very subtle way. This is honestly a really pretty, unique scent, and it reminds me a lot the Monet painting series “Water Lilies”!
TL;DR: Dry vanilla sandalwood with slightly aquatic, green lotus. Beautiful. 5/5.