03: arcana genteel


Today’s scent is a Rhinestone Housewife exclusive. Its companion is Vulgar, which I don’t have and don’t plan to get, because while it has some lovely-sounding notes, it also contains pepper, patchouli, and smoky bacon, none of which are my particular jam, especially in large quantities. BUT I DO HAVE GENTEEL SO LET’S DO THIS.

Made exclusively for The Rhinestone Housewife by Arcana, Genteel is the well-bred housewife who pens perfect thank you notes and always matches her carpet to her drapes. Aniseed, 2 vanillas, dry amber, sugar, and cashmere musk with wisps of fine sandalwood and cedarwood.

In the bottle, Genteel is all anise at first, but then it gets sweeter and creamy and kind of soft and fuzzy-smelling. It’s really nice. On skin I get a heavy blast of anise – very black licorice-y, it literally smells like black jelly beans or black Twizzlers.  There’s no sweet creaminess or lovely fuzzy musk. It’s disappointing. This stage lasts longer than I’d like.

About 10 minutes into the dry-down, I start to get little whiffs of all the things I love about this one in the bottle, plus some dry, woody notes – and later still, maybe 25-30 minutes in, it finally settles into what I wanted it to be from the start. Sweeter, creamier, fuzzier, not so anise-heavy. The sugary musk comes out. It’s beautiful. So in the end I love what it turns into, I just wish it got there a bit faster.

To indicate to you how drastic a shift this one made on my skin, I had The Dude smell it when it was freshly applied: “I know there’s other stuff in there, but all I can smell is anise. Even I can’t mess this one up.”

And then later on, when it finally reached its full and glorious potential: “Mmm… wait, is that the same one?? What?”

Also, I didn’t try it because I got distracted watching Gilmore Girls and eating vegan white cheddar popcorn (BURY ME WITH A HUNDRED BAGS SO THAT I MAY FEAST IN THE AFTERLIFE), but I bet this would be perfection layered with a simple vanilla oil. I’ll definitely be experimenting.

Elevator Pitch: Intensely anise-heavy in the beginning, Genteel softens into a lush, velvety, spicy-sweet beauty of a scent that’s really quite sexy.

Tomorrow’s chosen one: Avalon!

8 thoughts on “03: arcana genteel

  1. Lydia

    sorry, I know this is an older post, but I was reading thru your arcana reviews and I *must* know…OHMYGODWHEREDIDYOUGETVEGANWHITECHRDDARPOPCORN?!?! WHO MAKES IT?! WHERE CAN I BUY IT?! I need this is my life yesterday. or, more accurately, 7 years ago when I went vegan.

    • Earth Balance makes it! TADA! The first time I had it was on a trip to Farm Sanctuary in NY, they had it in the gift shop, but recently I’ve been able to find it at my local grocery store, and I know some Whole Foods carry it too. Mine doesn’t, but they do have the Earth Balance chips (Cheddar and Sour Cream flavors!!) so I can’t hate.

      • Lydia

        yeeeaaaahhh! I have 2 whole foods near me, i’m checking them asap. and if they don’t carry it… i’ll still find it. it will be mine. oh yes, it will be mine. thanks so much for the info!

        and also, love your blog! I’m a recent indie perfume convert, and you’ve been a great help in deciding which arcanas I want to throw my money at people for. =)

        • Thank you! I’m glad the blog has been helpful. :) I’m forever searching for reviews when I buy things, and Arcanas used to be particularly hard to find opinions on – thankfully that seems to be changing.

          • Lydia

            you’re welcome! and you seem to have the most arcana reviews, which is either great or terrible, depending on if you’re asking my nose or wallet. and loooove the illustrations you’ve done for some of the collections!

            also, I am forever indebted to you. the earth balance site has a locator for specific products, and while neither of my local whole foods carry the popcorn, or the wegmans 5 ft from my house…the next closest wegmans to me does. I’m typing with a mouthful of vegan cheddar deliciousness. I CAN DIE HAPPY.

          • Thank you again! Doing illustrations for Julia is always a blast, but the Crave girls have been especially fun!

            And I’m so glad you found the popcorn! Isn’t it amazing?? I ate like 3 bags the first week I found it at my grocery store.

          • Lydia

            i’m SO amazed, the popcorn tastes just like i remember “real” white cheddar popcorn tasting, it’s freaking delish. i kept shoving handfuls in my mouth the whole drive home with no regrets other than not having larger hands. so glad i was researching arcana/reading thru your backlog of reviews and saw the mention! srsly. i owe you my life!

            and your crave girls are so gorgeous, i love them! have a couple strawberries and apples and one pumpkin (not a fan of peach scents so none of those, but she’s cute too), and can’t choose a fav! i hope there winds up being another collection with another of your gorgeous and realistic ladies!

            and this is the first time i’ve been on your blog via comp (not phone) and perused a little further…you’re in philly! i live in collingswood (like 5 mins off the ben)! *waves from the other side of the delaware* howdy, neighbor! it’s pretty awesome that indie researching led me to your blog, you do my fav arcana illustrations, made me discover my latest food weakness, and you happen to be in my area! oh, the internet! (i’m not a creepy stalker, i swear!)

          • Gah, sorry for the late response! I was computer-less for about a week and just checking stuff on my phone, where I have no patience for typing anything longer than a text. But howdy neighbor indeed! I’m a few minutes outside of the city now (we moved a few months ago), in the western ‘burbs, but still in the same general area. Definitely a weird small world moment! I’d offer you access to my perfume collection if that wouldn’t make ME sound like a creeper.

            Aaaand I can’t spill details, but I’m pretty sure there will be more Crave collections down the line!

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