Arcana Apples Crave Cider
Bright, spiced apple cider drizzled with honey and a small wisp of smoke.
If you follow this blog, then you know that I have this weird thing about apple scents. While I love the smell and taste of apples in real life, I can’t stand apple-scented things. I have no explanation for this. Because of that, take this review with a grain of salt.
In the bottle: Well, those are definitely apples! This is a very realistic apple note too, and very much a red apple note specifically. The cider is very distinct too. Not getting much smoke yet.
On the skin: The spices of the cider come out more on the skin, and I’m getting some nutmeg and cinnamon, with maybe a tiny hint of clove. At first, it threatens to go into Yankee Candle territory, but it never goes there. I’m getting more of the smokiness and less of the actual apples. As a result, I like this more than I thought I would! It’s still too apple-y for me, but it’s probably my favorite apple scent that I’ve tried. It’s really perfect for autumn. Throw is low.
TL;DR: Spiced apple cider and a touch of smoke. Not too bad actually. 3/5.
Poesie Secret Boyfriend
A mountain of light fluffy marshmallows, your secret boyfriend’s leather jacket, pine and cedar, a wisp of smoke
I love smoky scents; I just find them so comforting. Marshmallows and smoke is a no-brainer, but I was really intrigued by the leather in the blend, since leather and marshmallows are not a combination I see very often. I’m also a huge fan of Twin Peaks, so the fact that this scent is from Poesie’s Twin Peaks collection definitely made me want to try it even more.
In the bottle: I’m getting mostly cedar, pine, and smoke with a touch of leather. I was afraid that the cedar would be aggressive like it is in Great Northern, but its not. It’s lovely.
On the skin: Nooooo. I think my skin really amps cedar because that’s what this has turned into. The cedar is still softer than Great Northern and I detect a smoky note underneath the wood, but I wish I was getting more vanilla and leather and marshmallow. I won’t toss my sample, but I don’t need a FS.
TL;DR: Tons of cedar with a hint of pine and smoke. Still too much cedar for me. 3.5/5.
BPAL Lavender Lace
A cascading bouquet of French lavender, smoke-touched, with bourbon vanilla and caramelized tobacco, pricked by tiny daggers of cognac.
BPAL has a line of scents called the Laces, and every scent has a wispy, gentle tobacco note in it to represent that soft, delicate lace. I haven’t tried any of them (Antique Lace is not a part of that collection) until now. I love lavender, woodsmoke, bourbon vanilla, and cognac, so the only worrying note is that tobacco. Will it work on me?
In the bottle: Herbal lavender with something else that I can’t put my finger on. I’m not sure how I feel about this.
On the skin: This is a really unique scent. The lavender is quite herbal, and the smoke pairs with that very well. The tobacco doesn’t turn into an ashtray on me, which I’m thankful for. It almost adds a peppery kick to the blend. However, while I like these notes individually, I feel like they’re not working well together on my skin. The result is a scent that smells like an expensive, feminine, department store perfume, which just isn’t my style.
TL;DR: Smoky lavender with spicy tobacco. Smells like a mainstream scent. 3.5/5
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.
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