126-132: arcana peaches crave collection


Peaches Crave Beaches, Dolci, Mambo, and Pirates, featuring a lovely lady by yours truly.

Peaches Crave! I was super stoked when Julia asked me to do the illustration for this collection. I always love working with her, of course, but also: PEACHES CRAVE you guys! I love peach scents. Let’s do this.

Peaches Crave Beaches: Green bamboo, coconut, vanilla musk, citron, lemongrass, bergamot, and dewy peach flesh.

In the bottle: Sweet lemongrass and coconut, a touch of bitter citrus. Not a ton of peach, just a whiff in the background, more tart than sweet.

Wet on skin it’s softer, mostly lemongrass and a bit of bergamot. The peach is mild and not floral. As it dries down, the slightly bitter citrus gets a little stronger, and more musky vanilla and coconut come out. The peach is a little more detectable at this point, tart and gummy-like.

I love lemongrass, so this was a sure bet for me. It’s very tart and summery.

Elevator Pitch: A sweet tart summer scent, heaviest on the lemongrass with some gummy-like peach and soft, musky vanilla and coconut.

Peaches Crave Dolci: Peach gelato and pistachio gelato with 3 golden bakery cakes.

In the bottle: WHOA SWEET. Syrupy sweet peach, creamy and thick, with yellow cake. Just a bit nutty. Entirely edible.

Wet on skin it’s super sweet peaches and cream, cake, and nutty pistachio. The peach isn’t tart or floral at all. Peach pie or peach cake with pistachio ice cream. One word: yum.

Dolci is awesome. Awesome. Foodie scent haters, stay away, but if you like sweet, dessert-like scents, this is a winner.

Elevator Pitch: Super sweet peaches and cream, cake, and a little nutty pistachio. Delicious and completely edible.

Peaches Crave Mambo: Cuban tobacco, dark vanilla, sweet rum, tonka, white musk, and sun-warmed peaches.

In the bottle: Sweet, musky tobacco, a little sharp and boozy. Not a ton of peach.

Wet on skin I get rum and tobacco and dark vanilla, with a bit of juicy peach in the background. It gets muskier and a little less sweet as it dries. It’s very warm and a little sharp. The tobacco isn’t quite wet and sweet, but not quite dry and smoky either – somewhere in between.

I like this, but I find myself wishing it were just a bit sweeter and smoother on my skin. I like tobacco scents, but I always want them sweet, so your mileage will most assuredly vary there. It’s definitely a warm weather scent, though – good for steamy summer nights.

Elevator Pitch: Sweet, sharp tobacco and rum, musky, with a bit of juicy peach.

Peaches Crave Pirates: Arcana’s Queen Crossbones with plenty of peach and an extra shot of Egyptian musk.

In the bottle: Queen Crossbones (musky resins and honey) with a shot of peach. Obviously.

Wet on skin the peach is more noticeable, tart and fresh. It’s a nice contrast to the creamy, deep, musky honey and resins of Queen Crossbones. It makes this blend less intense than QC on its own.

Elevator Pitch: Tart, fresh peach laid over musky, resinous honey. A lighter, less intense take on Queen Crossbones.



Peaches Crave Paws, True Love, and Vanilla

Peaches Crave Paws: Our Puppy Kisses blend with peach skin and peach blossoms.

In the bottle: Creamy and minty, a touch of lavender, and slightly floral peach.

Wet on skin it’s soft and sweet, peaches laid over the melty coconut butter mint of Puppy Kisses. This blend is extremely mild, and sillage is low, but it’s lovely. I really like Puppy Kisses to start with, so adding peach was a no-risk situation.

Elevator Pitch: Fuzzy peach laid over soft, melty coconut and mint with a touch of lavender. The peach is a nice addition to Puppy Kisses. A mild, comforting scent.

Peaches Crave True Love: Resinous black amber, caramelized sugar, vanilla bean, peach nectar, and a tiny hint of pear.

In the bottle: Oh man, this smells so similar to an old HoG reverie pumpkin butter that I loved – Caramelized Apricots. Sweet, caramelized peach. Holy yum.

Wet on skin it’s the same, sweet, caramelized peach and creamy vanilla. The peach has a nice toastiness, and there’s some dark amber there as well, just grounding the scent a little bit. As it dries a sugariness comes out more. It’s sweet but not cloying. A while into wear it gets muskier and more resinous, and the black amber is quite a lot stronger.

I like the initial application more than the dry down, but overall True Love still gets two thumbs up from me.

Elevator Pitch: Sweet, caramelized peach, creamy vanilla, and dark amber. Toasty and sugary, but not cloyingly sweet. Sweeter at first, the resinous amber is more prominent a while into wear.

Peaches Crave Vanilla: Sugared peach, glorious vanilla, marshmallows, sweet milk, and sheer musk.

In the bottle: peaches and cream. Soft, creamy, and sweet, but not overly so. Really lovely.

Wet on skin it’s muskier, and a little less fruity. The sweetness is a little more powdery and marshmallow-y. As it dries it gets milkier and more sugary. A while into wear the marshmallow is even stronger. It’s really nice, very soft and cuddly. Decent sillage and lasting power, too.

This one is really beautiful. I couldn’t stop sniffing at it. Easily my favorite of the peach scents.

Elevator Pitch: Soft peaches and cream, sugary and milky, with a bit of powdery marshmallow sweetness that gets stronger as it wears. Gorgeous.

Overall Thoughts: Extemely positive! Who’s surprised? No one. My favorites are Peaches Crave Vanilla and Dolci, but I like them all. Mambo is the only one I’m on the fence about.

125: ohwto sprout


sproutA fragrance for Spring, of new growth pushing through the remnants of last year. Wood violets, dewfruit, fresh earth, green leaves, lichen and moss, and delicate alyssum.

In the vial, Sprout is fruit and green, earthy, and a bit powdery (hello, violets).

Wet on skin it’s much more earthy, but quickly gets really powdery. There’s a sweet fruitiness underneath, but the powdery violets are overpowering.

That fact doesn’t change as it wears. I was hoping this wouldn’t be so violet-heavy, because the rest of the notes are lovely, but unfortunately that’s pretty much all I smell. This one, alas, was a scrubber for me. If you like violets and earthy scents, though, it’s worth trying.

Elevator Pitch: An earthy green scent that’s heavy on the powdery violet. Just a bit fruity underneath.

OMG: arcana haul


peaches_strawberries_haulI got a big box in the mail from Arcana HQ today, containing most of the new Peaches Crave and Strawberries Crave collections. (I did the label art! Hurray.) Reviews to come, of course, but this pretty much sums up my reaction to receiving this parcel:



Edit! In case you’re curious as to what’s coming down the pipe, here’s what was in that big box of delights:

Peaches Crave: Beaches, Dolci, Mambo, Paws, Pirates, True Love, Vanilla

Strawberries Crave: Botanicus, Cacao, Lucy, Helios, Incense, Nyx, Rococo, Summer, Waterfalls, Rhinestones, Indulgence

Apples Crave: Apples, of course!

I also ordered decants of all the scents I didn’t get bottles of, so I’ll have those eventually as well (Peaches Crave Cthon, Forests, and Trance, and Strawberries Crave Kink).

124: ohwto lucky


luckyCrisp, juicy red apples, tart granny smiths, and rolling, endless green hills perfumed by nature awakening from her winter slumber. Spring is in the air!

Ooh, girl. You knew I had to have this one, right? Apples are an automatic in for me. I tried a solid last year and enjoyed it a lot, though I don’t think I ever actually reviewed it. So let’s remedy that with the oil version.

In the bottle, Lucky is all tart green apple and fresh grass. Not terribly sweet.

Wet on skin it’s even less sweet, and smells a touch artificial at first. Not bad, just a little like a “spring grass” scented candle or something. The apple is subtle and crisp, definitely green – I don’t get any sweet red apples at all.

As it dries the grassy notes smell fresher, a bit more real. The apple and grasses are really about 50/50 here, which is nice and a bit unusual – apple is more of a top note, and rarely makes up the bulk of a scent blend. It stays pretty linear as it dries, just a nice, crisp, grassy apple scent. Very springy.

Elevator Pitch: Crisp green apples and spring grass. Fresh, not sweet.

123: ohwto butterfly


butterflyOne Hand Washes the Other’s spring collection isn’t long for the world at this point – the consistent and horrific 90 degree forecast here in Philly this week makes it quite clear that despite ostensibly having another 3 weeks or so of spring to look forward to, summer is, alas, here. But there’s still some stock left, so I figured I should review what I have before it’s all gone for the season.

I tried many of the spring scents last year, so this year I only picked up a few things – bottles of Lucky and Butterfly, and two minis, Sprout and Scarlett (which is not specifically a spring scent).

First up: Butterfly.

Colorful and bright, like a flower in flight. Ripe Apricots, Nectar, Mimosa blooms, Black Currants, Oranges, Melons, and a hint of fresh Mint.

In the bottle, Butterfly is bright and fruity – mostly apricot, with a bit of melon and mint.

Wet on skin it’s got an odd astringent quality… almost a little bit ammonia-esque? I blame the black currants. It’s not entirely unpleasant, though, and that aspect mostly fades pretty quickly. It’s very fruity, with a touch of fresh mint and just the tiniest breath of sweet florals.

This one doesn’t change much during dry down, save the fruits getting a little juicier. It’s actually a bit less sweet than I expected from the description, more of a light fruity scent with just the barest touch of florals. It’s nice and very springy, but there’s nothing in particular that makes it stand out to me. I like it, but don’t love it. I don’t mind having a 5 ml, but I would’ve been fine with just a 2 ml mini too.

Elevator Pitch: A light, fruity scent, heavy on the apricot, with melon, mint, and just a touch of florals. Not too sweet, and juicier as it dries. The black currants give it a slightly astringent, ammonia-esque quality at first, but it mostly fades by dry down.

122: sixteen92 la llarona


La Llarona is a new addition to the Sixteen92 catalogue, and I received a sample with my recent Circle and EDP order.

“Deep in earth my love is lying
And I must weep alone.”
– Edgar Allan Poe

Bulgarian and Egyptian rose absolute, pink and white pepper, pink grapefruit, wisteria, cashmere wood, pale amber.

In the vial, La Llarona is spicy and a little floral-fruity. It smells like vintage perfume.

Wet one skin it’s more peppery – pepper and soft grapefruit. After a minute or so the floral elements come out more. It’s an old-fashioned rose, not sweet, but not too perfumey either. The base is musky, very slightly woody, and kind of velvety.

The pepper and cashmere wood both get a bit stronger as it dries. The grapefruit is an interesting, tart, slightly sour complement.

This perfume isn’t to my particular taste – too peppery, too floral (though it is less floral than I expected) – but I like it in concept. It really does feel like modern take on old-fashioned perfume.

Elevator Pitch: A spicy, peppery floral scent with a grapefruit tang over a base of velvety woods. La Llarona smells quite vintage.

117-121: sixteen92 summer circle review



Hello, gentle readers! It’s been a while. My schedule was seriously crazy for a while, and as soon as my workload lightened I managed to sprain my back working out. Which: ow, avoid this at all costs. So I’m sidelined from my usual leisure time activities for a while, which sucks mightily, but also leaves me with no excuse for neglecting the blog. I’ve been spending my minor convalesence reading, catching up on podcasts and tv (including my new obsession, Outlander – which is also occupying the reading category), and yes, working through my massive backlog of perfume. I am, it goes without saying, dreadfully behind on my review-a-day project, but hopefully I’ll be able to remedy that before too long.

And as a first step in that direction, I present to you Sixteen92’s summer collection! My summer Circle subscription arrived earlier this week, and I’ve now tested out all five of the samples included. The inspiration behind this one was the Jazz Age of the 1920’s, and the scents lean toward the fruity end of the spectrum, which is always okay by me.

The Beautiful & Damned: Sparkling pink grapefruit, strawberry, raspberry, and currant with soft violet, gardenia, and tahitian vanilla absolute.

In the vial TB&D is more floral than I was expecting – gardenia and violet over a sparkling grapefruit cocktail. Wet on skin the gardenia is strongest, but there’s a good dose of bright fruitiness as well. The sweet berries are more noticeable on skin, as opposed to the bubby grapefruit I got in the bottle. The floral elements get stronger as it dries, and soapier as the violet, well, for lack of a better word… blooms.

My skin tends to amp florals, especially white florals and violets, and I’m not fond of either scent to begin with, so The Beautiful & The Damned was probably never meant to be for me. And it’s not. The fruits are nice, but I can’t with the gardenia and violet. At all. This one got scrubbed off.

Elevator Pitch: Gardenia and soapy violet over a sweet cocktail of berries. More floral than fruity,

Blood & Honey: Blood orange, wildflower honey (vegan), pale amber, honeysuckle.

In the vial, Blood & Honey is a resinous honey scent with a lightly floral edge. Wet on skin the honey is super strong, all golden and dripping. After a minute or so a slightly bitter orange comes out. The honey note here is wonderful, and gets even richer as it dries. The lightly floral honeysuckle peeks out just a bit – this isn’t really a floral scent at all.

I didn’t completely love the bitter orange at first, but as it dries down it does provide a nice complement to the deep, sweet honey. It smells like some sort of honey candy, maybe one of those flavored honey straws you find beside the cash register at farmers’ markets and little country stores. I really like this one. It’s quite strong, too, with good sillage and lasting power, which is something that can be a bit lacking for me with Sixteen92’s scents, so that’s a real bonus. I put it on before I went to bed last night and can still smell it pretty plainly this morning.

Elevator Pitch: Sweet, golden honey is the star of the show, with a touch of bitter orange and a faint whiff of honeysuckle.

Eternal Return: Peat moss and damp garden soil, tomato leaf, beetroot, grass, herbs, lavender spikes, galbanum, sun-warmed oak bark.

In the vial, Eternal Return smells, well, like a garden. Sharply green and fresh with dark, damp soil. Wet on skin the sharp green galbanum is strongest, but the other notes bloom very quickly and I can smell fresh, fuzzy tomato leaf, herbal lavender, and damp soil and peat moss. It smells very literally like digging in a garden – our garden, full of lavender, herbs, and tomato plants (among other things, like brussels sprouts, because get in me), which we planted in a raised bed in our back yard about a month ago. It’s exactly that, and stays as such throughout wear.

I like this one. It’s not an everyday scent for me – I’d actually love it as a candle or room scent – but it’s so spot-on to digging in a garden that I can’t help but enjoy it, and I can definitely see wearing it occasionally when the weather is particularly hot. However, given that the sillage and lasting power are quite low, it won’t be a full size purchase.

Elevator Pitch: Sharp green galbanum, fuzzy tomato leaf, and herbal lavender over dark, damp soil and peat moss. Eternal Return smells exactly like digging in a new garden, before the plants have really taken off.

Paper Moon: Soft vanilla musk, benzoin, oakmoss, trailing ivy, peach blossom, tea rose.

In the vial, Paper Moon is lovely – soft vanilla musk and light, sweet peach. Wet on skin the peach is a bit stronger, and the vanilla musk takes on a very slightly deeper spicy quality. A tiny bit woody and resinous. The vanilla musk reminds me a bit of Solstice Scents White Fox, but more delicate. It’s really beautiful. Soft, sweet, and comforting. This is hands down my favorite from the summer collection, and I plan to pick up a full size bottle for sure, and an EDP too if it makes it to that format.

I’ve heard some comparisons drawn between Paper Moon and Talia, the limited edition scent included in one of the past Hello Waffle Visage boxes. I’m not a Visage subscriber, but I managed to acquire Talia secondhand, and the two do share some similarities. Paper Moon is sweeter, though, and fruitier. I really love both.

Elevator Pitch: Soft, fuzzy vanilla musk and light, sweet peach with just a tiny bit of resinous, woody spice. Beautiful.

Theda: Tart sangria infused with ripe summer fruits (white peach, nectarine, berries, citrus), dark vanilla, wild vines, rose absolute.

In the vial, Theda smells exactly like sangria – boozy fermented fruits and dark, syrupy sweet vanilla. Wet on skin the boozy element is softer, and it smells mostly like very sweet summer fruits and dark vanilla. As it dries down the tart booziness comes out again, and it really does smell just like sangria or some other fruit-filled summer cocktail.

I like Theda quite a bit. It extremely summery, perfect for drinking fruity cocktails on humid nights. A definite bottle purchase.

Elevator Pitch: Boozy fermented fruits and dark vanilla – sweet and tart, pretty much spot-on sangria.

Overall Thoughts: I really like this collection! It’s easily my favorite seasonal release from sixteen92 thus far. Paper Moon is my #1 with a bullet – I just adore it. Theda and Blood & Honey round out my favorites list. I like Eternal Return but am content with my sample since it disappears pretty quickly. The Beautiful & Damned is the only scent I can say I dislike – it’s just too floral for me.

This collection goes live over at Sixteen92 on May 29th at 9 am central standard time (so 10 am if you’re on the east coast like me). I’ll be there to pick up bottles of Paper Moon, Theda, and Blood & Honey. Claire has said that some of the summer scents will be released as EDPs as well, but probably not right away. I’m crossing my fingers for Paper Moon, myself, because I want to cover myself in this scent in every possible way. It’s wonderful.

116: haunt may queen


may_queenThe beginning of May seems like an appropriate a time to finally pull out one of my long-untried Haunt scents – May Queen.

Forest berries of black, blue, and elder, silver needle tea, a hawthorn bower, moist earth, and sweet davana flowers.

In the bottle, May Queen is all earthy berries and tea, very slightly sour.

Wet on skin the tartness is mostly gone and the earthiness is stronger. Lightly sweet. The tea note is a tiny bit dusty.

The tea gets a little stronger as it dries – it smells like drinking berry tea in a clearing in the woods. I don’t always like tea scents, and if I’m being really honest I’d like this scent better without the tea, but it’s inoffensive here. The sweet berries and dusty earth are nice enough that I don’t really mind it. And it doesn’t give me a headache, which is always a plus. Black tea is the main headache culprit for me, and this smells more like white tea. But in any case, it’s not a head-over-heels love situation; I like it, but wouldn’t cry if I lost/broke the bottle somehow. (Which is a real fear I have. It was reinforced recently when I dropped one of my sample boxes and one vial smashed to bits on the floor. Quelle horreur!)

Not much sillage, unfortunately, and it’s pretty fleeting, which is an issue I have with most Haunt scents. I haven’t seen enough other reviews to know if it’s a skin chemistry thing or if it’s just a general brand thing.

Elevator Pitch: Lightly sweet berries, dusty earth, and tea.

115: darling clandestine mayfly


mayflyI’d heard a lot about Mayfly and how disappointed people were that it was discontinued, so when Evonne brought back a reinvented version, I knew I had to try it out.

This is the new, reinvented version of my original Mayfly fragrance. I’ve kept the initial inspiration for Mayfly—the hot, heavy, vapor-rising-from-the-pavement flash of an early summer rain—but I’ve made the florals a bit greener, a bit twangier. Opens deceptively sweet with notes of plum blossom, lilac and other damp, delicate budding blossoms, then gets deeper and jade-greener and muddier and woodier. Petals on a wet, black bough.

In the bitsy, Mayfly is dark and ozoney. A little green, a little floral.

Wet on skin it’s sharply floral on a canvas of black ozone – dark, sharp, thin. As it dries it gets a bit greener, a bit muddier and more earthy. There is still a sharpness to it that I don’t love, though. It’s the combination of ozone and floral elements; they come together to create a scent that reminds me very strongly of laundry detergent or dryer sheets. That’s not the only thing I smell here, of course, but it’s there. It sort of fades in and out of prominence as the earthy green elements wax and wane. Further into wear those are stronger in general, and I get more of the “vapor rising from pavement” vibe mentioned in the description. However, it does always smell just a bit like laundry detergent to me.

I do really enjoy parts of Mayfly, and I don’t dislike it as a whole, but it’s not my favorite from DC and I’m happy with just a bitsy. I was originally tempted by a full bottle because I’m a sucker for rain-on-pavement/petrichor scents, but in my opinion La La La, All Right (which should hopefully be back soon so I can finally get a bottle and stop rationing my bitsy, my preciousss) is a lot more along those lines than Mayfly.

Elevator Pitch: Sharp floral and green elements on a base of dark black ozone. Gets greener and earthier as it wears, but always smells just a bit like laundry detergent.

107-114: long overdue summer simplicities from blooddrop



In the immortal words of Miss Paula Abdul and MC Skat Kat: two steps forward, two steps back. Things are still crazy busy around here, but I finally managed to tackle some reviews over the weekend – a bunch of Summer Simplicities from Blooddrop.

Summer Simplicities, you say! But it’s not summer yet! No, it is not. These are actually LAST YEAR’S Summer Simplicities. That’s how long it’s taken me to get around to testing them out, which is really just the saddest. Obviously none of these are available right now, but maybe some of them will be when this year’s summer simplicities come around? Maybe that. Also I just really wanted to get them out of my “to review” pile.

107: Beach Towel: This is as if you left the scent of your tropical vacation smothered into your plush beach towel; warm skin, coconut, fruity cocktails, tanning lotion, and your paramour’s earthy scent.

Surprisingly perfumey. I mostly get musk and coconut in the vial, like suntan oil (don’t use suntan oil, kids) on warm skin. Wet on skin it’s all suntan oil at first, but then it gets really strongly musky and perfumey. I don’t really get any coconut or fruit. It smells like a scented candle that would be called “Summer Nights” or, well, “Beach Towel.”

108: Strawberry Soda: Sticky, sweet, and quite possibly the only soda that leaves you feeling thirsty after drinking it!

The most artificial strawberry. Syrupy, sugary, chemical strawberry. Wet on skin it smells, well, like strawberry soda. Artificial strawberry with a bit of fizz.

109: Blackberry Soda: Sticky, sweet blackberry soda.

I love blackberries. This doesn’t smell like blackberries. I have a hard time distinguishing it from Strawberry Soda, to be honest. It’s all just super-sweet, sugary, chemical fruit. On skin it has a similar fizz to Strawberry Soda, but it’s less syrupy sweet and a little more tart.

110: Orange Creamsicle: Deliciously wonderful orange sherbet and vanilla ice cream.

In the vial, this smells EXACTLY like orange sherbert. Creamy orange, kind of artificial. There’s a little bit of a chewable vitamins thing going on too – a kind of powdery vitamin c edge. Wet on skin it’s more chewable vitamins, but the creamy sherbert-ness comes out after a bit. This smells good but so, so artificial. It’s like one of those orange dreamsicles coated in crushed up Flintstones chewables.

111: Peach Pie: Summer’s delight; peaches baked in a sugared, buttery pie crust.

Does what it says on the tin: peach pie. Sweet, syrupy peaches and buttery brown sugar. Wet on skin it’s juicier, with the peaches taking center stage. It’s not a complex scent (obviously, these are simplicities) and it still does smell just a touch artificial to my nose, but it’s a nice peach. This is the only one of the bunch that I actually like.

112: Sea Shell: An accord of oceanic notes; sand, ozone, warm sun, scraggly beach pines, seaweed, and salt air.

Beach house bathroom candle. Wet on skin it’s more subtle and warm, but only for a minute – it gets really strong and ozoney really quickly. It smells like an air freshener interpretation of a beach scent. Do not like.

113: Vanilla Tea: Gentle white tea infused with vanilla bean.

Blerrrrgh. I ordered this one before I figured out that Blooddrop’s tea notes are usually pretty terrible on/to me. This is like… really strongly artificial vanilla-flavored tea. Wet on skin it’s oddly fruity at first, but then does smell like huffing a vanilla-scented tea bag.

114: Watermelon: The ripest of the ripe minus the seeds!

Watermelon Big League Chew. Or Hubba Bubba. Serious watermelon bubblegum. Wet on skin it’s a bit less bubble gum-y, and a little more like watermelon juice or watermelon sorbet. As with most of these, it smells pretty artificial to me. Not bad, necessarily, but more like gum or sugary candy than real fruit.

Overall Thoughts: Obviously I didn’t have much success with most of these. Blooddrop is really hit-or-miss for me, emphasis on the miss. There are a handful of scents I’ve really enjoyed (Les Madeleines, Charming, Epona, At the Diner After Rocky, and a few others), but the Simplicities especially tend to skew too artificial or perfumey for me, and that was definitely the case here. The only one of the bunch I’ll be keeping around is Peach Pie – the rest are destined for the swap pile.