59: deep midnight aurora borealis

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This rich, sweet, velvety scent is comprised of a delicious vanilla bean accord, winterberries, sweet musk, soft peppermint, white sugar, and winter pines. Enjoy the scents of the season!

In the vial, Aurora Borealis smells sweet, buttery, and a bit minty. It reminds me of Solstice Scents Snowmint Mallow.

Wet on skin, it’s a little more minty, with a musky undertone. Still quite sweet and buttery, definitely in the Snowmint Mallow family.

As it dries, the mint gets stronger and the overall scent gets colder. I get a hint of pine in the background, but way in the back, very subtle. It just reinforces the coldness. Further on, a slight berry sweetness develops. Nothing major. Again, very subtle.

I actually really like this! My first unequivocal success from Deep Midnight, hurray. I won’t be picking up a larger size, because it’s definitely in the same wheelhouse as SS Snowmint Mallow (but less buttery sweet), but I do enjoy it.

Also, the description for this is very similar to an old Arcana winter scent that, to the best of my knowledge, hasn’t been around for years and which I never got my hands on – Winternights. Described as “… three vanillas, frosty peppermint, a dab of white musk, and a hint of ripe young berries encased in ice,” it sounds like these two might be kind of similar, no? So as a bonus it scratches that itch a bit.

Elevator Pitch: A sweet vanilla mint scent with a light, musky base. A very “cool” scent in general, with a tiny bit of pine and a very subtle berry sweetness on dry down.

Bonus Boy Review: I asked M what he thought about this and he said “something apple-y?” NOPE. Not even a little bit. He was very tired.

58: haunt doe

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Haunt is kind of a frustrating brand. They make wonderful products with really gorgeous packaging (probably the prettiest of any indie I’ve tried), but getting your hands on said products is something of a task. The store has no regular inventory, instead doing only sporadic and extremely limited sales. The owner has reasons for operating this way, and obviously she should do what’s best for her situation, but it can be a frustrating experience from the consumer side of things.

That said, I have a handful of Haunt items in my stash (mostly perfumes, a few glossing oils), but I don’t believe I’ve ever talked about them on the blog. So let’s spotlight one today – Doe. Apologies in advance since you can’t get it right now, but in the event that it ever comes back, here’s a review.

Dry oats, creamed honey, bits of apricot, orange blossom petals and sweetened almond milk.

In the bottle, is mostly sweet, creamy honey with a light apricot fruitiness.

Wet on skin, the oats come out, toasty and warm, and a really nice compliment to the creamy honey. The honey in this scent is reminiscent of my very favorite honey notes – Arcana’s lovely, creamy, golden ones. It’s not powdery at all, just smooth and sweet.

It stays pretty similar through the dry down – predominantly sweet, creamy honey and toasty oats with a hint of apricot. There’s orange blossom in this, and I think I get a tiny whiff of it occasionally, but for the most part I don’t really detect it, which is a plus for me since I usually hate orange blossom. The fruitiness gets a bit stronger as it dries, and it develops a slightly milky tone.

I like Doe. In the bottle it smells like it might be a strong scent, but it’s actually soft and pretty. A warm, comforting scent, but not so much that I wouldn’t wear it in the spring and fall.

Elevator Pitch: Sweet, creamy honey and toasty oats with a hint of apricot. Yet somehow it doesn’t smell like a bowl of oatmeal? Magic.

57: deep midnight house of healing

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I’m so irritable today, you guys. Everything is getting on my nerves. GRR ARGH. Maybe House of Healing will calm me down? (Spoilers: NOPE.)

In this last safe refuge, one might breathe in the soft, earthy comforts of: wild iris, linden blossoms, fragrant green trees and grasses, fallen oak leaves, and sweet morning dewdrops. Magical and serene!

In the vial, House of Healing smells wet, green, and very floral.

Wet on skin it’s the same – very floral and green. Strong. Very strong.

It doesn’t really change as it dries, just somehow getting more and more floral and kind of dryer sheet-y. Actually, that’s exactly what this smells like. Like sticking your face into a box of heavily-scented dryer sheets.

Another fail for me and Deep Midnight. This one sounded so good – green trees and grasses! Fallen oak leaves! Sweet morning dewdrops! What do I get? Dryer sheets. I had to scrub this one off, and ugh, it didn’t want to leave.

Elevator Pitch: An extremely floral scent with a wet green edge. Dry down is total Eau de dryer sheets. Very strong.

56: wild hybrid lover’s walk

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Wild Hybrid is a new company for me – I’d only heard of them in passing until Jeanine from The Rhinestone Housewife slipped this bottle into one of my orders as an extra.

A moonlit beach walk.  Beach daisies, peony, spiced peach, cassia, honey, blue musk, citrus peel, petitgrain, golden resins and vanilla.

In the bottle, Lover’s Walk is a sweet, resin-spicy floral.

Wet on skin, it’s very strongly floral – white flowers, sweet, with a sort of citrus bitterness and a musky base. It’s strong and definitely not my usual style, but I actually kinda like it.

After a few minutes, a bit of fruity peachiness develops, not overly bright but sort of resinous and golden in tone.

A little while into dry down, the golden resins and vanilla are more present. The florals are still very much center stage, but they’re not heady or too perfumey. It gets slightly sweeter and smoother, a bit less floral and more golden, as it wears.

Sillage is very strong on this one.

This scent is surprisingly lovely. I didn’t really expect to like it, being floral and all, but I have to say I’m impressed. Lover’s Walk is a sweet, interesting floral blend that I actually like quite a bit. I had pretty much planned to test it out and then destash the bottle, but now I’ll definitely keep it around, and look into trying out some more scents from Wild Hybrid.

Elevator Pitch: A sweet floral scent with a shot of citrus and vanilla over a base of musk and golden resins. Strong and definitely a floral scent, but sweet and complex enough that floral haters might want to give it a try.

Bonus Boy Impressions: “I get something vaguely apple-y? I don’t like it the most of anything you’ve had me smell, but it’s not bad.”

P.S. I don’t know about you, but the first place my mind goes when I think “lover’s walk” isn’t holding hands while strolling along a path lined with wildflowers. It’s this:

spike_lovesbitchI’m not sure that version of Lover’s Walk would smell so good, but someone please make me a Love’s Bitch perfume for next Valentine’s Day? Smelly Yeti, you hear me girl?

 

55: deep midnight thalia

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Thalia means “festivity” or flourishing”. Her scent is a delicious and festive mix of raw honeycomb layered over succulent peaches, sweet gardenia, and a deep, rich myrrh.

In the vial, Thalia smells pretty damn delicious, like rich peaches and honey, slightly waxy. Very good, yes, but also kind of like a scented candle? A really nice scented candle, though.

Wet on skin, it’s sweet, smooth, and peachy, but really is also giving me full-on candle vibes. It’s Candle City.

As it dries down, it gets less fruity and sweet and takes on a slightly floral, resinous quality. It’s still got a bit of a waxy tone, too, and the result isn’t… unpleasant, per se, but it’s just kind of meh. Sillage is light, and when I do catch a whiff of it, I’m kind of like, “oh, that’s nice,” and it is, but it’s not wowing me or anything.

Deep Midnight and I are not having a stellar run so far. I don’t dislike Thalia like I did Naenia and 1922, but I don’t love it either. If I had a 5 star system, I’d probably give it like… 3 stars. Pretty, pleasant, solidly middle of the road. I’ll keep my sample, but it’s nothing I feel compelled to own more of.

Elevator Pitch: Starts out sweet, deep, and peachy, and dries down to something a little less fruity, with a slightly floral, resinous quality. Has a waxy tone, and is a bit scented candle-y at the beginning, but that fades.

54: deep midnight 1922

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A sexy, high spirited blend in the spirit of the flapper girls of the Roaring Twenties! Delicious gardenia envelops a sweet, sexy tobacco, the old polished wood of a dance floor, exotic musk, a wee bit of bourbon whiskey, followed by a hint of sultry berries. It’s the bees knees!!

In the vial, 1922 smells sweet, alcoholic, and a little musky.

Wet on skin it’s strongly boozy at first, musky, with a berry sweetness. Gardenia blooms (no pun intended) on my skin very quickly, and then it’s basically The Gardenia Show with special backup performers whisky, musk, and berries. It’s also very strong and perfumey at this point.

As it dries, the intense perfumey gardenia just keeps on getting stronger. We’ve moved past 11 and are approaching 25. Ye gods. If I sniff through the heavy wet blanket of gardenia, I can detect musky woods, a bit of booze, and just the slightest touch of berries, but mostly it’s All Gardenia All the Time.

Another swing and a miss for Deep Midnight. I’ll admit that I didn’t expect to like this, and I don’t. If you like loud white florals and traditionally perfumey scents, you might enjoy this. I scrubbed it off. In addition to just being a scent I don’t like, it had a sharp, artificial, perfumey edge to it that I found really unpleasant.

Elevator Pitch: Heavy, perfumey gardenia over a faint base of musky woods, whiskey, and the tiniest hint of berries. Mostly gardenia, though. Really. Do you like gardenia? Here is some gardenia.

Bonus Boy Review: I had M chime in on this when he passed by my office. He said: “It smells extremely antiseptic. Like medicine. It smells like someone tried to sanitize a crime scene.” So that’s a no, then.

53: deep midnight naenia

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I’m caught up! WOO. Also, my first Deep Midnight review ever. It’s not a company I have much experience with – I only have a handful of samples, all collected secondhand through swaps and sales, and I’ve never gotten around to actually, you know, trying any of them. So I’m going to remedy that, starting now.

Naenia, a beautiful name for a beautiful creature…This perfume oil named for the little moth, also known as the “The Gothic,” is a sexy, sultry blend of: Ripe apricots, carnations, sweet magonlia blossoms, dark honey, white peaches, with bits of tart cranberries, wood, and black pepper rounding out the main notes of the scent. Definitely sexy and exotic and a teensy bit dark. Opens with notes of the fruits and honey and then dries down to a deeper, sweet floral with wood notes. Come fly away with her!

In the imp, Naenia smells like peaches, a little tart, with a lot of waxy white flowers. It’s not entirely pleasant to me.

Wet on skin it’s very similar, an abundance of white flowers with a vague peachy fruitiness. There’s also something dark and a little spicy underneath. It smells a bit artificial somehow as well.

As it dries it gets a little more floral, and the peach fades a bit, but somehow it still gets sweeter. It also develops a little bit of a powdery or woody edge.

I’m sure it’s no surprise that I don’t like this at all. Blech. I also found the sillage and lasting power to be pretty poor.

Elevator Pitch: Heavy on the white florals, with a bit of sweet/tart peachy fruitiness and a very slight spiciness. A little powdery or woody on dry down. Smells a bit artificial.

51 & 52: arcana aestas & phoebus

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The catch-up train keeps rolling! I’m so close! Today I’ve got two Soapbox Co exclusive scents from a winter release quite a while ago – the exact collection is escaping me, and I can’t seem to dig up the original release post online anywhere.

First up, the one I ordered as soon as it was released, because vanilla? Peach? Cake? YOU RANG?

Aestas: The ancient Roman goddess of Summer. Madagascar vanilla, yellow cake, soft peach nectar, golden musk, black musk, and a hint of patchouli.

In the bottle, Aestas smells like a gourmand dream – deep, sweet peach, creamy vanilla, rich yellow cake. Unf.

Wet on skin it’s similar, creamy, fruity, and very sweet. It’s like yellow cake topped with caramelized peaches and a drizzle of cream.

As it dries, the base gets a bit deeper and muskier, but it remains predominantly a sweet, fruity gourmand scent. It’s not a fresh, light fruity scent, though – it’s deep and rich. If it were a color, it would be a deep translucent amber. I’m not a fan of patchouli, but don’t be scared of it here. As with many Arcana scents that include a touch of patchouli, it seems to just serve to deepen and ground the scent a bit, rather than being a discernable patchouli note.

In case you couldn’t tell, I frickin’ adore Aestas. If you like gourmands, especially sweet, fruity scents and cake scents, you should seek this one out ASAP. It has pretty great sillage and lasting power, too.

Elevator Pitch: A sweet gourmand blend of peaches, creamy vanilla, and rich yellow cake over a deep, slightly musky base. Like yellow cake topped with caramelized peaches and a drizzle of cream.


And then we have Aestas’ companion scent, Phoebus. I didn’t buy Phoebus – it was sent to me as a freebie with a SBC order when they were doing a “free wishlist item” promotion. This description for this blend contains a bunch of my no no buzzwords (resins, red musk, woodsmoke) so I probably wouldn’t have picked it up of my own volition. And in fact, despite having had it in my collection for over a year, I’m just trying it out for the first time.

Phoebus: The ancient Greek personification of the sun. Smoked vanilla, sweet resins, red musk, marshmallow, and fiery woodsmoke.

In the bottle, Phoebus is all resins, smoke, and red musk with just a touch of sweetness. Not gonna lie, it made me wrinkle up my nose.

Wet on skin, the red musk is the most prominent note, with a hint of marshmallow. It’s sharp and smoky. There’s something about red musk that smells like bacon to me, which is why I usually stay away from it. Here, combined with all the smoky notes, there’s definitely a bit of that going on. There’s enough sweetness to keep it from going full-on smoked pork, but it’s still not pleasant.

It gets smokier as it dries, but the vanilla and marshmallow come out a little more too. It’s never a particularly sweet scent, though – it’s definitely heavier on the musk, resins, and smoke. The sweet elements here just kind of serve to smooth out the sharpest edges of the scent. The vanilla does get a bit stronger as it wears, to the point where I’m like, “hmm, maybe this isn’t so bad… ” but ultimately it’s just not bag.

I do want to note that the smokiness here isn’t so much an in your face WHOA SMOKE smokiness, but more of an impression of smoke, if that makes sense. It smells like the glowing red embers of a just-extinguished campfire, where bits of gooey marshmallow are still climbing to the charred and ashy wood.

Predictably, I’m not a big fan of this one. I suspected I wouldn’t be, which is why the bottle has sat in the back of my perfume cabinet for so long. Now it’ll go in my destash pile, and hopefully find a good home sooner or later.

Elevator Pitch: A musky, resinous, smoky “red” scent with a bit of sweetness. Like the glowing red embers of a just-extinguished campfire, where bits of gooey marshmallow are still climbing to the charred and ashy wood.


Overall Thoughts: Aestas for president! Clearly. Phoebus is simply not my kind of scent, though of course it’s very well done for what it is. The fact that I don’t just completely hate it is a testament to Julia’s wizardry.

48, 49, 50: three from arcana’s meow collection

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L to R: Arcana Fluffing the Bunny, Twirling the Pearl, and Two Finger Ballet

My scent-a-day project seems to have turned into scent-a-few-times-a-week-maybe project lately… sorry dudes. I’m working a ton and my reviewing time has just been getting reallocated to other stuff. But it’s Saturday, and it’s snowing (AGAIN GOD WHY), and I’ve got nothing to do except sit on the couch, eat carbs, grump about the weathers, and watch Bob’s Burgers… which means it’s catch up time!

I have decants of the rest of Arcana’s Meow collection coming from Ajevie, but I ordered three bottles from The Rhinestone Housewife as soon as the collection was released because a few of them sounded right up my alley. They arrived yesterday, and after letting them sit overnight to recover from their long, cold trip across the country, I took them for a test drive. And since M was sitting on the couch next to me while I tested them, I had him chime in with his completely unbiased guy impressions.

Note: The Meow collection is based on/inspired by female masturbation, hence the racy/adorable names. Fluffing the Bunny! Cutest euphemism ever.

Fluffing the Bunny: Madagascar vanilla, Tahitian vanilla, apricot, white musk, skin musk, and a tiny tickle of mint.

In the bottle, Fluffing the Bunny is sweet, musky vanilla, slightly fruity, with a hint of mint. It smells rich but cold.

Wet on skin, it’s fruitier – a very peachy vanilla. The mint is still present, cool around the edges. The white musk and mint combination reminds me a bit of Afterglow, with peach (well, apricot) instead of grape. This one lacks the white amber of Afterglow as well, which makes it less “fuzzy,” and also less likely to give me a headache.

As it dries, the fruity apricot fades a bit and the musky vanilla and mint become most prominent. It’s sweet and cool, but not cloying. After a while, the apricot gets stronger again and the whole scent is a bit lighter. It’s very pretty.

Elevator Pitch: A sweet vanilla musk with apricot and a hint of cool mint.

M says: “It smells like mint chocolate chip ice cream. I like it a lot.”


Twirling the Pearl: Rich, golden honey, marshmallow, lavender milk, soft musk, and a tiny hint of green galbanum.

In the bottle, Twirling the Pearl is mostly sharp green resins over herbal lavender and musk. Not nearly as sweet as I expected.

Wet on skin, it’s a bit sweeter and softer. I can smell the honey and lavender more, but the resinous green galbanum is still pretty prominent.

As it dries, the galbanum softens a bit more, and further on, the honey and marshmallow come out and I’m reminded slightly of Snug (one of my favorite Arcana scents). I like this stage the best. In general, though, it’s not as sweet as I’d hoped, and much greener. It seems like my skin always takes the very last “tiny hint of” note and runs away with it in a rather annoying fashion. I can’t say I love this one.

Elevator Pitch: An unexpectedly green scent, heavier on the resinous galbanum and herbal lavender with just a little bit of sweet honey and marshmallow. It does sweeten and soften a bit as it dries, but retains a sharp green edge.

M says: “Very herbal. It smells like dandelions to me.”


Two Finger Ballet: A delicate blend of French vanilla creme, white amber, sugared vanilla beans, caramel, and the smallest dab of opium.

In the bottle, Two Finger Ballet smells like boozy vanilla and caramel with a cold, almost stony edge.

Wet on skin – YUM. It smells like french vanilla and caramel, sweet and creamy. Like ice cream with caramel sauce, or a caramel steamer.

As it dries, it gets a little muskier and a tiny bit spicy, but for the most part it keeps on smelling like delicious vanilla and caramel cream. (God I want ice cream.) Much later on, that cold, stony edge return, just very slightly. I’m not sure if that’s the opium or what but it’s faint and not unpleasant.

Elevator Pitch: Sweet, creamy vanilla and caramel with tiny bit of spice. A while into wear, it develops a faintly cold, stony edge.

M says: “All I smell is cinnamon red hots.”


Overall Thoughts: Two Finger Ballet is hands down my favorite. If you like creamy gourmands, you need to get on this one. I really like Fluffing the Bunny, especially the dry down. However, I’m pretty on the fence about Twirling the Pearl; it’s not really blowing my skirt up right now, but we’ll see if that changes with age or subsequent testing.

47: arcana straitjacket

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If this bottle looks a bit different than your standard Arcana bottle, it’s because this guy is a 10 ml, not a 5. Arcana hasn’t offered their scents in 10 ml bottles for several years, to my knowledge, but they used to on occasion (and in smaller 3.7 ml drams, too), and I have a handful in my collection.

Today: Straitjacket.

Trust us, it’s for your own good. A warm, controlled hug of rich Tahitian vanilla, pumpkin flesh, ginger custard, breadfruit, and hints of tonka bean, mango, and cinnamon.

In the bottle, Straitjacket smells like thick, warm, spicy mango and ginger.

Wet on skin, it’s warm, sweet, and just a little spicy, like a syrupy mango crisp with brown sugar and cinnamon. It’s definitely fruity, but not bright or particularly summery – it reminds me more of the fall and winter seasons, and if I were to assign it a color it would be a rich orange-yellow.

Dry down is pretty linear, and thankfully the cinnamon doesn’t take over at any point.

I really like Straitjacket. I love mango scents in general, and if you like your mango sweet, this is a great one.

Elevator Pitch: A syrupy sweet mango dessert, lightly spiced with cinnamon and ginger. Fruity but deep and warm.