arcana halloween 2014: ravenous (part 2)

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We meet again, ladies…

In part 1 of this series, I covered the Apples Crave scents I have from the Ravenous collection. Today, it’s time for PUMPKIN ALL THE THINGS! And the Soapbox Co contest winning scent too, because… it came in the same box as all the others… and it had to go somewhere… and I think it’s got pumpkin in it too? Sure, sounds logical.

Like Apples Crave, the Pumpkins Crave scents also feature one of my illustrations on the labels, which is mega-super-exciting.

Anyway – let’s get to the reviews. As always, these were done as blindly as possible, with notes and descriptions added after the fact.

Pumpkins Crave Cappuccino: Super roasted coffee bean EO, vanilla milk, pumpkin, and rum with shots of blackberry and black raspberry syrup.

In the bottle this is ALL COFFEE. Sweet, dark, syrupy coffee. It kind of smells like a pumpkin spice latte, and it is STRONG. Like, I can smell it from a foot away, just opening up the bottle. On skin it’s still heavily coffee, but smooth and sweet, like coffee with condensed milk or coffee ice cream or something. After a minute or so, some more spicy sweetness joins the party, like pumpkin bread or cake. The whole affair is very sweet and rich and a little spicy, and frankly smells amazing, which is not something I was expecting to say because I don’t usually love coffee scents. But oh. Oh man. This smells like sitting in a coffee shop on a Sunday morning, drinking a cappuccino and eating a pumpkin muffin. It is extremely yum and very fall-appropriate.

Looking at the notes, I was a little surprised by the blackberry and raspberry syrups, but sniffing again with that in mind – yeah, I can smell it. Especially after about 10-15 minutes, it develops a noticeable fruitiness, exactly like flavored coffee syrup. Again I say: yum.

I wore this for real one day, and it was still reasonably detectable on my wrists after 10 hours. Sillage was low-ish after the first couple of hours.

Pumpkins Crave Honey: Spiced calabaza and beeswax candles smothered in acacia honey, buckwheat honey, and mead.

In the bottle – holy geez this smells good. Sweet, creamy, a little spicy, deep and rich and golden. Yum. On skin I get a strong blast of honey, but after a minute or so it smooths out and it smells like pumpkin pie drizzled with honey. It’s a little spicier on skin than in the bottle, especially more cinnamon-y, though my skin does like to grab cinnamon and hold on for dear life, so YMMV. After a while I notice that it’s not quite as sweet anymore – after the first couple of buttery sweet minutes, I wouldn’t really call it a gourmand or foodie scent at all. I actually wish the sweetness stuck around, because I’m the kind of person who enjoys smelling like pie sometimes. Or all the time. Pie allatimes.

Also because without it, this goes a little too cinnamony on me. Thanks, skin chemistry! I swear almost every spiced pumpkin scent I try just ends up smelling like I’m huffing a cinnamon stick. This one does not go full-on cinnamon stick – it’s not as one-note as that – but for a while it’s teetering right on the line. Thankfully it does mellow out after 20 minutes or so.

Skin chemistry hijinks aside, this one is super warm and very, very Fall. It’s like Julia condensed Thanksgiving into a perfume oil and bottled it. From the description and the bottle sniff, I thought this one would be my favorite of the pumpkin scents. It’s not – see above re: my personal cinnamon hellscape -but I do enjoy it, especially after dry down, and will definitely break it out around the holidays.

Pumpkins Crave Treats: Rum-laced caramel, cane sugar, pumpkin custard, and delicate, vanilla-infused marshmallows.

In the bottle this smells like some kind of frosted pumpkin cake, or a pumpkin whoopie pie. Very sweet, sugary, lightly spiced. On skin it’s stronger, spicier – there goes cinnamon again, making it all about him. The blast of cinnamon calms down pretty quickly, and then it smells more like cake or pumpkin pie again – sweet, spicy pumpkin, a little buttery, a little creamy. I also get some soft, powdery vanilla, like marshmallows. That part gets more prominent as it dries, which I love.

In the bottle it’s got a boozy caramel thing going on, which smells amazing – at first I don’t get much of that at all, but after about 10-15 minutes it comes out to play, and the yum factor is immediately boosted.

I really like this one. It’s very much in line with the sort of sweet pumpkiny blends that pop up this time of year, but I like this better than most. It’s not overly spicy, the marshmallow is a nice addition, and I love the buttery rum caramel note.

Pumpkins Crave Viola: Purple violets, lemongrass, Oregon lavender, coconut milk, and gently spiced pumpkin flesh.

In the bottle I get mostly violets, sweet and not too soapy, like those little French violet candies in the cute tins. Something a bit buttery and lightly spicy in the background as well. On skin – lemongrass! Oh, I love lemongrass. The violets are there, along with a fresh, herbal note – lavender, I think – and some deeper, spicier sweetness underneath. This is surprisingly lovely. The violet is present, but it’s not too prominent on my skin, especially at first. It does get a little stronger as it dries – admittedly a bit stronger than I’d like – but it’s never really overwhelming, and the tart lemongrass and fresh lavender balance it well.

This reminds me a bit of Winter Mirth, which has the lemongrass, pumpkin, and coconut without the lavender and violet. Winter Mirth is very much a fall/winter scent to me, and Pumpkins Crave Viola kind of reads like a spring version of the scent. I do prefer Winter Mirth of the two, but I enjoy PCV more than I expected to. I don’t tend to like violet scents – I can only think of one that I’ve liked enough to buy a bottle of (Solstice Scents Violet Mallow) – but I took a chance because I like all the other notes. Violet is never going to be a note I love, but this is a blend I like, which is no small accomplishment.

Autumn: Crisp dry air, leaves, caramel apples, pumpkins, chocolate candy, chimney smoke, warm apple cider, and cookies baking in the oven.

In the bottle this smells a bit like an autumnal candle. Sweet, spicy, a little smoky. There’s definitely apple and maybe a little chocolate. On skin I get smoke first, and then apple, and crunchy dry leaves. Then it starts to sweeten up, and I get a little chocolate for sure, and maybe caramel. Later on there’s a distinct apple cider smell. The overall effect is like walking outside on a crisp fall night, but not in a literal way – that’s Solstice Scents Foxcroft. Autumn is more like a scent story, all the various smells and associations of the season liquified and mixed together in a bottle. Dry air and crunchy leaves, spiced harvest fruit, a wisp of chimney smoke in the distance, a pocket full of leftover Halloween candy.

On cold sniff I didn’t expect to like this one much, but I actually really love it. Very much a surprise hit. When I first read the description, I thought it sounded a lot like Sleepy Hollow: “An atmospheric ode to romantically spooky Autumn evenings, with fresh pumpkin, spiced apple brew, and bonfire smoke.” And looking at the notes, they are not entirely dissimilar, but they really don’t smell alike at all. Sleepy Hollow is much more of an apple cinnamon, spiced cider kind of scent on me.

Overall Thoughts: I like most of these quite a bit. My favorite is, surprisingly, Pumpkins Crave Cappuccino, followed by Autumn and Pumpkins Crave Treats. Pumpkins Crave Honey and Viola rank lower, by virtue of excess cinnamon and the presence of violets respectively, but I don’t dislike either one.

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

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