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 Aine
Sunflowers, bergamot, orris, melons, peaches, pink grapefruit, jasmine, honey, lilies, sweet lemon, sandalwood, and palo santo wood.
I’ve been into alcohol-based perfume sprays lately, since I’ve been so busy. I love a good fruity floral, so this seemed like a safe choice. The jasmine worried me a little, but I figured that all of the other notes would cover it up.
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: This is a very bright, clean fruity scent that isn’t too sweet. I can definitely detect the peach and melon, as well as some honey. The florals pair really well, and I thankfully don’t smell any jasmine. I get mostly palo santo, sweet lemon, and lily along with the fruit. This is a very summery, youthful scent. I like it, but I don’t think I’ll get a larger size.
TL;DR: A nicely balanced fruity floral. 3.5/5.
Arcana Pumpkins Crave Terror
Holy Terror (burning frankincense, sandalwood, deep myrrh, and dusty beeswax candles) with glowing pumpkin and a small dash of pie spices.
In the bottle: I already love this. It’s that same sweet pumpkin note that other Arcana pumpkin scents have, but it’s much darker and more resin-y thanks to the Holy Terror. I like the smokiness that I’m getting.
On the skin: This doesn’t change much on the skin. It’s exactly what the description says: Pumpkins and Holy Terror. It’s not overly sweet at all, if that’s a concern. It’s spicy and warm and awesome. It’s like the distilled essence of Halloween in a bottle.
TL;DR: Not overly sweet pumpkins and Holy Terror. So very Halloween. 4.5/5.
Arcana Pumpkins Crave Quietude
Soft vanilla, white amber, white musk, Mysore sandalwood, sweet pumpkin, and a tiny pinch of white pepper.
I’ve been super curious about this scent for a while, but it’s been very, very hard to find. When I heard that Julia was bringing it back, I got very excited. Would it live up to the hype?
In the bottle: Oh, this is pretty! I’m getting a sweet pumpkin and vanilla blend with a kick of pepper. It’s not too sweet or too foodie, which I am happy about.
On the skin: This is very nice. The pumpkin retreats into the back, and the blend is taken over by the vanilla, pepper, and sandalwood. It’s delicate and feminine, like the olfactory equivalent of white lace. The pumpkin is still present, just subtle; this isn’t a foodie, Halloween-y fragrance at all.
TL;DR: Vanilla, sandalwood, and pepper, with a hint of pumpkin. So delicate and lovely. 4/5.
Possets Arc of Venus
Sexy sandalwood base flirts with black lavender, a very small hint of calendula, “abstract” musk, and a bit of sharp grey musk
Possets is a brand that I haven’t delved into very much. I tried and liked Jurogumo, but the other samples I received in swaps and sales were just okay. But I’m a lavender lover, and this scent sounded very intriguing.
In the bottle: Interesting. I’m getting strong herbal lavender, and some really unique florals. It’s a bit powdery and cold, with a touch of woodsiness in the background. I’m not sure how I feel about it yet.
On the skin: Okay, I love this.The lavender is medicinal, but it’s sweetened up in a non-foodie way by the calendula (marigold). The calendula also adds a floral element that isn’t too “grandma”. The sandalwood and musk form the base and add the sex appeal to this scent. It’s almost cold smelling, but very alluring at the same time. It’s super unique and I’m glad I decided to try it.
TL;DR: Cold, medicinal lavender with sweet marigold and musky woods. Really unique. 4/5.
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.
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.