Shaking off vanilla’s unfair reputation for namby pambyness, this infernally dark and smoky fragrance comes complete with licks of fire and sulfurous wafts of brimstone.
At long last, this scent has returned! This GC Arcana favorite was out of stock for quite a while as a result of difficulties obtaining one of the scent components. I’ve been meaning to try this guy for a while now, because I love vanilla and I love smoky scents.
In the bottle: I’m getting vanilla frosting and campfire smoke. It’s rather soft, which is surprising.
On the skin: The smoke definitely becomes more prominent on the skin than it is in the bottle. I’m also detecting something kind of spicy…ginger maybe? That could possibly be the brimstone though. Overall, I’m getting a layer of smoke with vanilla and a touch of spice. As for how it compares to Alkemia Smoke and Mirrors: Devilish has a softer smoke note, and its much sweeter because of the vanilla. Smoke and Mirrors, on the other hand, is pure campfire smoke with very little vanilla and a realistic, subtly acridity. They’re similar scents for sure, but they have their differences.
TL;DR: Smoke with vanilla frosting and a hint of ginger. Yummy and interesting. 4/5.
Damp leaves, church incense, Italian leather, dry birch woods, clove bud absolute, bonfire smoke
What better scent to test out in October than one called Salem? This is one of sixteen92’s best selling scents, and I’ve heard tons of hype about it. A friend sent me a sample, and I’ve been anxious to finally try out this well-regarded fragrance. You can buy this on sixteen92’s website for $4.65 US for a 2mL sample, $14 US for a 6mL bottle, and $20 US for a 10mL roll-on bottle.
In the bottle: LEATHER. Very strong leather and some nondescript spices.
On the skin: The clove comes roaring in, and the leather softens a bit. Now it’s primarily clove with smoky church incense with leather to round it all out. There’s a certain dryness to this fragrance, probably from the dry leaves. This definitely leans masculine to me, like a hot man who smells like clove lurking in a church while wearing leather pants.
TL;DR: Clove with church smoke and leather. Very atmospheric and masculine. 3.5/5.
sixteen92 Liber Officiorum Spirituum
Ancient parchment, leather bindings, smoldering resins, frankincense tears, ritual candles, black fire, soot, steel, dust and smoke.
Since it is October, it’s time to break out all of the spooky scents! This one was highly recommended by several of my friends in the indie community as a holy grail creepy scent, evoking the image of some kind of dark magic ritual. While I haven’t had a lot of luck with sixteen92 as a brand, the description and reviews convinced me to try this. This scent is currently unavailable, but it might return for a sixteen92 resurrection event.
In the bottle: RESINS. Lots of resins. But these resins aren’t really earthy, they’re on the sweeter side.
On the skin: The sweet resins are still the most prominent note, but I am getting some kind of dusty, almost woody scent. I think that’s the parchment and/or the candles. There’s just a touch of smokiness, and I’m getting some incense sweetness from the frankincense. I wouldn’t say that I can really pick up the leather bound books from this though. It also doesn’t smell creepy to; this smells more like a ritual to drive out a demon rather than summon one. That being said, I still really like it. It’s like the nicer, less evil cousin of Holy Terror.
TL;DR: Sweet, dusty resins. Not spooky per say, but definitely mystical and Halloween-y. 5/5.
BPAL Impressions of the Floating World
Vanilla silk, patchouli leaf, sweet benzoin, and smoked honey.
This scent was one I recently discovered, and the notes instantly pulled me in, since I like all of them. After it received rave reviews from a friend of mine, I knew I had to try it out. Since this is part of BPAL’s 2016 Lupercalia collection, it is no longer available.
In the bottle: Resins. The benzoin is clearly king here, but I do get that beautiful earthy patchouli too. I detect some smoky honey in the background.
On the skin: It starts out with lots ofpatch and resins and it reminds me of Fuck You Said the Raven a little bit. As it evolves, it is still very benzoin-heavy, but the smoky honey comes out more, alongside a very subtle, powdery, non-foodie vanilla. Not sure where the patchouli went. There’s an extreme elegance to this scent; it smells expensive. There is something a bit perfume-y about it at first, but it goes away after about an hour. Something about this scent (probably the powderiness from the vanilla silk) reminds me of luxurious lingerie. It’s very sensual and feminine and elegant.
TL;DR: Deep resins and smoky honey with a touch of powdery vanilla. Silky, sensual and feminine. 4/5.
Solstice Scents Smokewood Apiary
Smoked Honey, Creamed Honey, Beeswax, Amber, Wooden Frames, Ginger & Vanilla
Solstice Scents is a brand that I have not delved into too much, so when I had the opportunity to get a sample bundle in a swap, I jumped at the chance. This particular scent is well-loved by fans of honey, which means it is right up my alley. You can find this scent on the Solstice Scents website for $16 for a full size (5mL) or as part of a sample pack.
In the bottle: A lot of smoke and a little honey. That sounds good in theory, but I’m getting barbecue sauce from this.
On the skin: The ginger comes roaring in, and it creates a very sharp mixture with the honey. That, combined with the smoke, creates a very interesting combination. There is also some kind of underlying bitterness to it, as well as a prominent wood note. I’m not really a fan of this and I have other honey scents that I like more.
TL;DR: Smokey honey with ginger and wood. Somewhat barbecue-y. 3/5.
Fyrinnae Tarnished Crown
Smoldering hardwood, dark vanilla swirled with smoky resins, and a hint of black pepper.
Fyrinnae is one of the most popular indie cosmetic companies, and they are known for their fabulous duochrome eyeshadows (Mephisto is GORGEOUS, and I’ve heard great things about Rapunzel Had Extensions). However, they recently revived their fragrance division and have received rave reviews. While the majority of the scents did not appeal to me, I’ve been wanting to try this one, since vanilla and smoke are some of my favorite notes. I was also curious about the black pepper in it. Since this was really the onnly Fyrinnae scent I was itching to try, a lovely redditor sent a sample as part of a swap. You can buy this on Fyrinnae’s Etsy page for $2.50 for a sample or $12 for a full 5mL.
In the bottle: Very smoky, but also sweet. It reminds me of this old perfume oil I got at the Renaissance Faire years ago.
On the skin: I’m getting more vanilla from this on the skin, but not a lot; it’s mostly smoke and wood, which makes it smell somewhat similar to Solstice Scents Manor. There is also something distinctly “perfumey” about this that I don’t like. It’s middle of the road for me.
TL;DR: Wood and smoke with a tiny touch of something sweet. 3.5/5
BPAL The Light of Men’s Lives
The wax and smoke of millions upon millions of candles illuminating the walls of Death’s shadowy cave.
This scent is a part of the Märchen collection, which is based around old fairytales. The Light of Men’s Lives comes from the tale “Godfather Death”. I love a good smoky scent and this one received great reviews, so I was pleased to receive it as a free sample. It can be purchased on the BPAL website for $17.50 US for a full size or $4.00 for an imp.
In the bottle: Fragrant and waxy. This totally reminds me of something, but I can’t quite put my finger on what.
On the skin: It doesn’t change much from how it smells in the sample. It’s pure beeswax, fragrant but simple. There’s not much more to say about this, quite honestly. It smells like a less creepy version of Arcana Holy Terror.
TL;DR: Dripping candle wax. Very straight forward, but done well. 4/5.