23: arcana relapse


Succumb to your addiction with this intoxicating, distractingly pleasurable pastiche of caramel amber, vanilla oleoresin, coffee CO2 extract, French cognac, a touch of warm hazelnut, and a drop of sweet bay rum.

In the bottle, Relapse smells like strong, syrupy coffee with something a little herbal and cologne-y underneath.

Wet on skin, the coffee is strong. It’s a little sweet and amber-y, still with that touch of cologne underneath. I think that’s the bay rum, possibly the cognac.

After a few minutes, nutty vanilla and caramel come out, sweetening everything a little and grounding it nicely.

Dried down, it’s dark, syrupy coffee over a base of amber-y vanilla caramel. There’s a hint of bay rum underneath that adds a little something unusual and keeps it from being a straight-up sweet coffee scent. It’s not actually very sweet at all, in fact.

The bay rum gets stronger as it wears. A little stronger than I’d like, alas.

I have sort of a contentious relationship with coffee scents. I used to hate them. I didn’t even bother trying blends with coffee in them. But at some point, I started to come around. I think most of it was Arcana’s doing. Ooomph, and then Pumpkins Crave Cappuccino, and then I venture to pick up Relapse and Caffeinated Death. I have a few other coffee Arcanas kicking around, too – Small Cottage in a Clearing and Skipping Vespers. Of the ones I’ve tried, I like Ooomph and Pumpkins Crave Cappuccino better than Relapse, but I don’t dislike Relapse. The coffee works unexpectedly well with the herbal bay rum, but it’s a little much for me – unfortunately it was slightly headache-inducing.

Elevator Pitch: Dark, syrupy coffee and nutty vanilla caramel over a base of spicy, herbal bay rum and amber. The coffee and sweeter elements are stronger at the start, while the bay rum and amber really come out once it’s dry.

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