Arcana: Strawberries Crave Black Sand

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Arcana Strawberries Crave Black Sand

Amber resin with black coconut, coconut husks, smoky vetiver, and a sliver of almost-overripe strawberry.

Arcana recenlty re-opened with a resurrection event where several fragrances that have been out of stock for a while came back. For customers with purchased 3 or more bottles, this was a gift with purchase, available only that way and only as a 3.7mL dram. While I did not make any purchase during Arcana’s re-opening, I managed to find someone who was selling their bottle of it.  I was worried about the vetiver in it, everything else sounded so gorgeous that I really wanted to try it. This scent is currently unavailable.

In the bottle: Coconut is the main note here, and its delightfully milky. I get a hint of the famous Arcana strawberry note, and then something very dark in the back, which is that smoky vetiver. So far, the vetiver is working for me; it’s not too bitter or too sour. It’s just dark and smoky and resin-y.

On the skin: This one is a morpher. Once applied to the skin, the coconut retreats into the back and the strawberry gets stronger and sweeter. The vetiver also takes on an almost chocolate-y quality, but it still has that smoke. The amber also gets much more prominent.  At this stage, I don’t really like it. Then after about an hour, it morphs again, and it becomes a fruity blend of strawberries and coconut with a touch of smoke in the back. Now I like it again.
TL;DR: Coconut, overripe strawberry, and smoke with a touch of vetiver. Morphs a lot. very unique. 4/5.

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Sixteen92: Keres

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Sixteen92 Keres

Blood orange, black iris, metallic accord, vetiver, sun-warmed musk, and iso e super.

For their Summer 2017 collection, Sixteen92 chose to take inspiration from different female beings from Greey mythology. Keres refers to bloodthirsty death spirits, and the scent is meant to reflect that because of its dark and metallic notes. Such a scent sounded very interesting, but I was concerned about the vetiver. You can find this scent on Sixteen92’s website for $4.65 for 2mL, $15 for 6mL, and $22 for 10mL.

In the bottle: Sharply metallic blood orange. If the phrase “a clockwork orange” was an actual real-life thing, it would smell like this. I’m kind of it to it.

On the skin: This is so unique and I honestly really like it. It’s citrusy and metallic, but on the skin, the musk and iris come forward. They add some “perfume-y” aspects to it, but in a good way; it’s just enough to prevent it from becoming too weird. It’s dark and badass, but also quite feminine. Like some kind of a blade-wielding vampire assassin. It’s also quite strong, with powerful throw. It’s not for the faint of heart.

TL;DR: Metallic blood orange with musky and iris. Badass and feminine. 5/5. 

Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab: Tombeur

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BPAL Tombeur

Vanilla-infused sandalwood, blood musk, antique patchouli, vetiver, lavender, bitter almond, amber, and a trickle of Snake Oil.

Tombeur is part of the VILF collection also known as the “Vampires Don’t Sleep Alone” collection. I was drawn in from the vampire theme and then I fell in love with the note list; it sounds utterly sexy. I was also curious to try a scent with BPAL’s famous Snake Oil since I hadn’t smelled it. Because this is part of a special collection, it only comes in the 5mL size. You can buy it from BPAL’s website for $20 US.

In the bottle: Spicy. Kind of smells like the renaissance faire? I’m pretty the spice is coming from the blood musk and Snake Oil

On the skin: There’s something kind of bitter and off smelling at the beginning. I think that might be the bitter almond or the vetiver, but I’m not sure. It softens after a few minutes and the sandalwood appears, but it still has that weird opening. I’m not sure about this one.

TL;DR: Spicy and bitter. Not sure if I’m a fan. 3/5.

Solstice Scents: Conjure Dark

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Solstice Scents Conjure Dark

Amber, Frankincense, Sweet Incense Smoke, Dried Rose Petals, Sandalwood, Vetiver, Woods, Oud, Vanilla

Okay, this one was a gamble for me. I enjoy the smell of church incense, but I hate anything that smells “headshopy”. This one has that “sweet incense note”, but the kind of incense isn’t exactly specified. But I figured “what the hell, I’m gonna try it.” You can purchase this on Solstice Scents’ website; its currently sold out for the 5mL perfume oil version, but you can still get it in the 60mL EDP version for $90 US. The perfume oil version is still available on the Rhinestone Housewife and Pretty Indulgent.

In the bottle: Oh no. Okay, so I like the smell of frankincense, but HOLY CRAP. It’s a very strong bite of frankincense and something sour in the background. I think that’s the vetiver?

On the skin: I think my fears about incense have been confirmed. It’s very strong incense and with more incense. It’s like a headshop with a church next door. The scent is very strong and it’s kind of burning my nostrils. I don’t like this, but if you love incense, then I think this could be a holy grail.

TL;DR: Incense, incense and more incense. Too strong for me. GET IT OFF OF ME/5