arcana halloween 2014: ravenous (part 1)



Today I have reviews of a collection that’s a bit dear to my heart, because the lovely ladies you see on the labels are my own illustrations! I’ve done work for Arcana’s scent mastermind Julia before and always thoroughly enjoy it, but when she approached me about this series in particular I was over the moon. Why? Because APPLES, that’s why!

Did you know I’m obsessed with apple scents? It’s true. If it’s got apple in the notes list, I want to try it. So a whole line of apple-based scents from one of my very favorite brands was enough to put me into a state of perpetual shaking excitement all on its own. Add to that the fact that I get to draw sexy ladies for the labels?? Best day ever.

There are two halves to the Ravenous collection – Apples Crave and Pumpkins Crave. I have a number of bottles from both, and I’ll be giving each half its own post. Today, apples!

Apples Crave Flora: A fresh blend of Fuji apple, tropical Tiare blossom, tuberose, bergamot, orange flower, and a touch of vintage patchouli.

In the bottle: distinctly floral but with a sweet, crisp apple note. The floral is light and sweet, like apple blossoms. On skin it’s more floral, less apple. It’s a white floral, but not terribly heady. I’m sticking with fruity blossoms of some kind. The apple is there, providing a crisp sweetness, but it’s more of a background note. After a little while it gets sweeter overall, and considerably smoother, the floral elements a little softer and less aggressive. I wasn’t crazy about it at first, but I actually really like the dry down. It’s a nice addition to my small collection of MTW-approved Florals For Floral Haters.

Before I picked this one out, I asked Julia if she thought I’d like it, since I’m largely a floral-hater. She does make one of the few florals I like – Nacre – so I used that as a reference point. She said that it’s more like Nacre than another floral of hers, Venus Libertina (which also happens to bear one of my illustrations on the label!), so I decided to give it a shot. She was right, of course – it’s kind of like Nacre’s lighter, fruitier cousin.

Taking a look at the notes now, I see I was mostly correct about the flowers – white florals and orange blossoms – but I completely missed the bergamot and patchouli. Even sniffing with those things in mind, I have a hard time picking them out. I think I can find hints of patchouli in the base, but it’s very subtle, just grounding the scent.

Apples Crave Orchards: Dry apple cider with French hay absolute, a touch of heartwood, and a hint of rain.

In the bottle this smells a bit like autumn potpourri, but not in a bad way. Hard cider-y apples, winesaps maybe (I love winesaps, we just picked a ton two weekends ago), dry grass, cinnamon. I think it’s the dry cinnamon smell that’s making me think “potpourri.” (Which, funny story – my dad ate some potpourri off my sister’s table at Thanksgiving one year, thinking it was a bowl of some kind of snack mix. He put a handful in his mouth and went “Yuck. What kind of nuts are these supposed to be?” and we all laughed so hard we died. The running joke now is that you have to make sure you take the potpourri off the table before Dad arrives.)

ANYWAY. On skin – the oil is green! That’s surprising. On skin the cinnamon is softer, miraculously (my skin amps cinnamon like mad), and I smell mostly dry, crunchy grass and herbs and a bit of cidery apple, also dry, with a slight tang. It’s a little spicy and woody, and there’s a crispness to it. It smells very similar to an apple orchard, appropriately. As it dries down it gets a little spicier and the apple recedes further, which is really my only disappointment with this – I want more apple! I know apple is a fleeting top note, so I guess I shouldn’t expect it to be a powerhouse here, but these are my unreasonable demands. The apple is present, though, don’t get me wrong. I just want MOAR.

This ends up being a dry, grassy, woody, lightly spicy scent on my skin, with a nice, crisp, tangy – if faint – bite of apple hanging over the whole thing. The dry down especially gives me an almost cuddly vibe, like I you just want to bury your nose in it. It’s very fall-appropriate and I do enjoy it, despite wishing for a little more apple. If you’ve ever tried Haus of Gloi’s Olde Cider Haus and thought, “man, this is just too sweet and/or too apple-y for me,” Apples Crave Orchards might just be your dream come true. However, I think this might’ve been discontinued already? At least according to the Soapbox Co facebook page. So if you want it, get it now!

Side note: I made The Dude smell this one and he said it smelled like “warm laundry.” Okay.

Apples Crave Peaches: Green apple hard candy with sugared peaches.

In the bottle this smells like candy. Sweet candy peach and tart green apple, hard candy versions of each. It almost makes my mouth water. On skin it’s an explosion of juicy, candied peach at first – sweet, ripe, sugary, and very lightly floral. The apple is in the background – green apple, crisp and tart. The overall effect is simple, sweet, and very fruity, smelling for all the world like those translucent fruit-flavored hard candies taste. The peach is more dominant on me, but both are detectable. The peach also leans rather floral on my skin, which I’m not super crazy about, but it doesn’t detract much from the fruitstravaganza going on here.

Side note: If you’ve had the chance to try any of Arcana’s single layering notes, this smells very much like Green Apple + Sugared Peaches. (I had a review in the works for the handful of these I have, but a couple seem to have gone missing, much to my chagrin. My desk is a black hole for perfume.)

Apples Crave Vanilla: Wild apples and green apples with delicate vanilla, sensual musk, and white amber.

My favorite of the apple scents on cold sniff. Sweet vanilla, slightly milky, and light, delicate green apple. Not tart, but not overly sweet either. On skin it’s the same – sweet, milky, mild vanilla musk with soft, fragrant apple. The apple starts off in the background, but get a bit stronger as it dries. The way I’m describing it sounds so simple… and it is, I suppose, but the combination is really wonderful and I don’t think I’m doing it justice.

I can’t accurately communicate how much I love this one. It smells amazingly soft and comforting and just dreamy. I want my life to smell like this, or at least my pillows and blankets when I go to sleep at night. I feel like it would make me have good dreams. Hands down my favorite of the Apples Crave scents, and probably one of my favorite Arcanas (and apple scents) ever. I have a strict no backups rule on account of how I’m a terrible hoarder who never uses anything up, but man, I’m going to struggle with this one. It’s just gorgeous.

Side note: I wore this one for real the day after writing this review, so I can actually comment on lasting power. I put it on when I left for work at 8, and it was still detectable on my wrists when I got home at 6 and beyond, so 10+ hours. Low-ish sillage, especially after the first few hours, but overall great longevity.

Apples Crave Resins: Citron-laced cider with dragonsblood resin, warm myrrh, and smoky frankincense.

In the bottle this smells very churchy. I don’t get any apple. On skin it’s softer than it is on cold sniff, but it still pretty much just smells like incense and resins to me. Like church. I’m bad with these sorts of scents – I can’t tell what’s what. It’s warm and spicy and incense-y and that’s pretty much all I’ve got. And I still can’t really pick up any apple. That may be my fault; my nose isn’t accustomed to these kinds of scents, because it’s definitely not my usual oeuvre. In any case, it’s nice. It smells exactly like a fancy witch store. Not something I’d usually go for, but I like it enough to keep it.

(That was the least helpful review ever. Sorry!)

Overall Thoughts: Positive, duh. It’s Arcana + apples, this was never going to be bad. My favorite is Apples Crave Vanilla by a mile, followed – surprisingly – by Apples Crave Flora.

Stay tuned for Pumpkins Crave in part 2!

Arcana can be purchased from The Soapbox Company and The Rhinestone Housewife.

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