31: skookum + a giveaway!


skookumSkookum was part of the 2013 Halloween collection, “Grotesqueries: Monsters & Marvels.” I have a fair few scents from that collection, so I’m sure most of it will pop up eventually if I don’t pull together a group review first, but for now let’s talk about this beastie.

The Chinook version of Bigfoot. A Northwest blend of fir needle oil, juniper, hemlock, rain, tiny wildflowers, strawberries, and a pinch of cool earth.

In the bottle, Skookum is sharp and green, with a loud blast of fir that’s quickly joined by a cool, airy note and just a little strawberry sweetness.

Wet on skin, the fir and juniper are most prominent, and there’s a cool dampness that makes it smell like a coniferous forest after the rain. After a few minutes a faint, fresh floral note comes out, along with a tiny bit of dark soil. There are a lot of other things going on here, but it’s still predominantly a fir needle scent.

As it dries, the sharp fir softens just a little, and a fresh strawberry sweetness peeks out. These aren’t dark, juicy summer strawberries – they’re the tiny wild strawberries you find growing in the woods. Throughout wear the strawberries are always small and quiet, and the scent isn’t particularly fruity, but they add a lovely subtle sweetness.

I love this one. Obviously. Julia had me at “rain, tiny wildflowers, strawberries, and a pinch of cool earth.” I love woodland blends, but I’m not always a huge fan of fir-heavy scents, so all the other elements are really what make Skookum for me. They soften and sweeten the fir just enough, and the overall effect is wonderful.

Elevator Pitch: Sharp fir needles, cool air and earth, faint wildflowers, and tiny wild strawberries – a damp green scent with a subtle sweetness, like a coniferous forest after the rain. Heavier on the fir at first, the cool earth and strawberry come out more as it wears.

There you have it, folks: the last official review of Arcana Month! I’m actually kind of shocked that I managed to be consistent about posting every day, to be honest, but I’ve really enjoyed it and it’s helping me weed through my rather unconscionably large collection. I mentioned before that I was thinking about keeping it going, and I’ve decided that I’m going to. It will transition into a general scent-a-day project, but since I’m on a roll with Arcana I’ll likely keep working through that part of my stash pretty regularly, with a few detours here and there.

But more importantly, since it’s the end of my official Arcana Month, I have some goodies to give away! I picked up a few extra things while I was hauling in December with the intention of holding giveaways throughout the month, buuuuut that didn’t happen, so instead I’ve got three prizes to give away all at once.


First prize is a bottle of Apples Crave Vanilla, which I love to death and which also has my illustration on the label! It’s pretty much a perfect storm of all my favorite things, to be honest. Apples + vanilla + Arcana + drawing naked ladies = ultimate happiness. So it seems appropriate to pass that joy onto one of my dear readers. Possibly you!

Second prize is a bar of Ambrosia soap! (Note that not all of Arcana’s soaps are vegan, but this one is.)

Third prize is a 5-scent sample pack, featuring Leaves Falling Like Rain, Apples Crave Tea, Bonfires at Dusk, Breakfast in Hollywood, and Ribbons & Teddy Bears.

SO! Now that you know what’s up for grabs, you should probably enter to win these awesome-smelling things before I change my mind and stuff them back into my stash like a dragon hoarding gold. Just leave a comment on this post about your favorite Arcana scent (or if you’ve never tried Arcana, just one that you’re curious about), and on Monday evening – let’s call it 10 pm EST – I’ll randomly select (via a number generator or possibly by writing everyone’s names on slips of paper and mixing them up in a hat, depending how old school I’m feeling) three winners and get in touch. One comment per person, please, and let me know where you’re located (just the country for shipping purposes, see below).

Details: This giveaway is open to anyone, anywhere with one exception – the soap. Soap is heavy, and when you’re shipping internationally, heavy means expensive. I hate excluding international folks, but I am also not made of dollar bills, so this is the compromise I’ve reached. First prize and third prize are open to everyone, but second prize is US only. If

With that out of the way – good luck!

100 thoughts on “31: skookum + a giveaway!

  1. Daisy

    I have yet to try an Arcana but am on a no-buy. Would love to be able to try one. All of the comments and so many people purchasing Arcana have lead me to believe that its a company that I will regret falling in love with! :) Your reviews are amazing and I Love reading your blog.

    • Thank you! It’s been great to see Arcana get more love on IMAM and elsewhere lately – they’re one of my absolutely favorites and Julia’s products are really top notch. :)

    • shamac13

      I’ve loved your daily review round-ups, especially since Arcana is one that I’m still trying to suss out exactly what I want to try. I’ve gotten so behind in trying samples/decants, so I still have a fair number of Arcanas to work through, but right now my favorite is probably Pumpkins Crave Cappuccino. It was the perfect fall scent! (I can’t wait for Dollface and Sitting Pretty to get here though, I have a feeling one of those will rocket to the top of my list.) This is such a fab little giveaway, btw! I’m in the U.S. and gladly throwing my hat in the ring since I’m still building up my Arcana stash. 😀

  2. Saffrin

    Favourite Arcana scent is definitely Astrid’s Diadem. Big surprise!

    Located in Australia, but also have a US parcel accepter person.

  3. How exciting! I’m super glad that you’ll continue with your daily pulling me into the rabbit hole! I’ve been resisting-ish so far, but I’m super curious (and maybe have started picking up indie perfume samples in destashes and in orders placced for other things). From your descriptions I’m most curious about Pretty Lollies, Breakfast in Hollywood, Bee’s Knees and Dollface. What can I say? I like fruity.

    • Yay, thank you! I’m always happy to enable people to the dark side. 😀

      If you like fruity, Dollface is absolutely amazing! Keel and Drool are also great if you can find them, though they’re not around much anymore.

  4. melonstruation

    Thanks for your reviews! I’m steadily falling down the Arcana hole. . . So far my favorite is Little Man on a Boat, but Velvet Underpinnings smells delicious. Sturm und Drang’s patchouli is too strong on me, but it smells great on a friend of mine.

    • Ooh, Little Man is fantastic! I feel like I should like Velvet Underpinnings, but it (and Frilly Underpinnings) go all pepper on me. Sad.

      P.S. Are you in the US or international? I just want to keep things straight for when I pick winners. :)

  5. arrpix

    This series has been amazing, I’m so pleased it won’t really end despite being officially over. My favourite Arcana scent, despite everything, is probably still Byzantium. I am just completely, consistently infatuated with it, and am going through it at quite a pace despite constantly wearing new scents. I also love Last Judgement, which is very much my kind of scent.

    I’m in the UK.

    • Thank you so much! I’ve really been enjoying doing them, so I’m happy to continue the daily reviews as well. :) I haven’t tried Byzantium yet, but it’s been on my wishlist forever – I adore the scent of mint tea but black tea scents and spicy scents can really go either way for me. I’ll try it someday!

  6. ashleemalfoy

    Thank you so much for posting all these Arcana reviews, they’ve definitely encouraged me to blind-purchase some bottles in the future. I’ve never tried any (hopefully this will be eradicated son) but dear god the Philtre series will definitely be mine. I’m also really digging Caffinated Death, Prosperity (I LOVE cardamom), Apples Crave Vanilla, Apples Crave Tea and Genteel.

    Anyway, you’re a saint – I feel like you deserve some sort of medal. *internet hugs*

    (P.S. I’m in the US woooo)

    • You’re very welcome! (And are far too kind! <3) I live to enable. 😀 Especially when it comes to Arcana. If you like cardamom, Prosperity is definitely up your alley! Apples Crave Tea, too.

  7. Merel

    Your drawing on the Apples Crave Vanilla bottle is just precious! I haven’t tried Arcana yet, but The Sunflower’s Lament sounds amazing. I love scents with floral and fruity notes, since I feel like I am still a bit too young for all the super heavy stuff. Avalon sounds gorgeous, too. I am in the Netherlands, by the way :)

  8. Alexandra

    So far, Tess! I’ve tried a couple others, but this wins so far. Violet isn’t usually at all my thing and for some reason Tess smelled like- of all things- popcorn for the week it rested, but now that it’s aged a bit? Gorgeous.

    (I’m in the US)

    • Ooh, I haven’t tried Tess! I’ve been tempted, but violets are pretty much always a no go for me. I’m more curious now though, since you mention not liking it either. So strange that it smelled like popcorn for a while!

  9. Mirela

    Thank you for the great reviews, as always. I’ve yet to try any of Arcanas, except the Yellow Cake layering note which is HEAVENLY. I’m so curious about Apples Crave Vanilla and the like, yum! I’m located in Canada.

  10. Griddlebone

    I’ve never tried any Arcana but Skookum slunds amaaaazing. Caffinated death sounds pretty interesting too. I’m kind of curious if I would like the boozey part of it.

    • Skookum is fantastic if you like soft green scents! Caffeinated Death reminds me a little of Haus of Gloi’s Vice with booze thrown in.

      P.S. Are you in the US or international? I just want to be able to keep things straight when I pick winners. :)

  11. Jennifer

    I’ve never tried Arcana, but reading your posts has been wanting to try them out! “Breakfast in Hollywood” sounds lovely, and citrusy scents are my favorite! “Love” also sounds nice, but I am very picky about my vanilla scents.


  12. justalittlejen

    Love your blog! Thanks for always leaving such thorough reviews :) I’m in the US and my favorite Arcana is a toss up between Gersemi and Apple’s Crave Flora. The chocolate note in Gersemi is delicious and Apple’s Crave Flora is such a perfect floral smell !

    • Aw, thank you! I really like Apples Crave Flora too, which is surprising since I don’t usually like florals much. I haven’t even tried Gersemi yet but it sounded so good that I bought a bottle un-sniffed!

    • Well thankfully Apples Crave Vanilla is still around! I think I heard that it’s been so popular it might be made general catalogue, actually.

      P.S. Are you in the US or international?

      • Sam

        Oop, sorry! I’m in the US. I am so happy to hear I still have a chance to grab Apples Crave Vanilla! Last I checked they were occasionally popping up on Julia’s eBay shop, but I see its back in stock on RH. Thanks!

  13. Confession: I’ve never tried Arcana. I’ve desperately clawed at The Soap Box Co.’s shop pages for them and drooled a little at the screen, but haven’t bitten the bullet… yet.

    My wishlist is a little ridiculous. Of the ones you reviewed, Genteel, Ghost Pumpkin, Haint, and Madame Lapin are on the list. Ghost Pumpkin… I want to marry it based on the description alone. It sounds like the illicit love child of HoG Ghost Puffs and BPAL Pumpkin II, both favorites. I have a difficult time saying no to anything involving pumpkin, and perfume is no exception.

        • I’ve been willfully ignoring BPAL for years, if I’m being honest! There’s just too much… and I already have too many companies that I obsessively follow. But if it’s clove in it I’d probably pass anyway, since my skin likes to be all HI CLOVE CLOVE IS HERE HAVE YOU MET CLOVE BTW THIS IS CLOVE HE IS CLOVE.

          • BPAL was my first indie anything, so they hold a special place in my heart. Their inventory is almost impossible to keep track of, though. It gets pretty intimidating.

            My skin does the same thing to cinnamon. HEY, YOU REMEMBER OUR OLD BUDDY CINNAMON? HERE HE IS, WITH HIS WHOLE FAMILY! BOOOOOOM, CINNAMON! Stupid cinnamon.

  14. Danielle C

    I’m super into Indie scents, but I don’t have any from this brand yet! Only have Solistace Scents and BPAL. So I’d have to say my favorite scent so far is BPAL Black or SS White Fox!

    • White Fox is so good! It seems to have been the star of the Woodlands collection for sure.

      P.S. Are you in the US or international? I want to be able to keep things straight when I’m picking winners. :)

  15. Amy

    I would have to say that my favorites are Pumpkins crave Cappuccino and Murder Ballad Blues. Too bad the latter didn’t work for you, it’s weird how body chemistry can affect things. But I have enjoyed reading your reviews, I have a nice long list now to look into!
    Also I’m in the US.

  16. Joelle

    I just recently got into Arcana and I’m already blown away by the amazing quality of everything I’ve tried. Your reviews have been so great! My Arcana wish list has grown quite a lot this month (Skookum is now at the top).

    My favourite Arcana scent right now is probably Snug, which is just so warm and delicious and, well, snuggly! (Canada)

  17. Raye

    I began following your blog some months ago (so I’ll try not to lurk around here as much and comment more often) and was pretty excited when you announced that you would dedicate a whole month to Arcana perfumes! I’ve heard so much about them and how people just love them, but I have yet to try anything from Arcana yet. I’m thinking that my first purchase from them will include Fugue; I’m drawn to spicy, musky scents.

    Aside from that, I’m trying to get a feel for gourmand scents (which it seems Arcana does very well), even though they’re not my cup of tea. Sweet perfumes become cloying on my skin, so I try to stay away from them unless the scent includes a spice. Do you have any suggestions for a gourmand scent from Arcana that isn’t “intensely” sweet?

    I’m in the United States by the way. :)

    • I think Arcana can be kind of hard to get into, just because the catalogue is so large and samples aren’t readily available. But it’s so worth it – Julia’s scents are really something special, and they’re absolutely some of the highest quality oils I’ve tried.

      If you like spicy, musky scents… Love Her, Love Her, Love Her (from the Great Expectations collection) comes to mind because I just tested it out today. It’s smoky resins with a little creamy honey. Ghost Pumpkin might fit your need for a spicy gourmand – tobacco, spiced pumpkin, and marshmallow. Black Maria if you can find it (spicy-sweet gingerbread), Winter Mirth (lemongrass, pumpkin, and coconut), Nymphomania (smoky resins and black tea with a little pop of guava), and Apples Crave Tea (baked apples with cardamom and smoky black tea) might be worth checking out. Holy Terror and Apples Crave Resins, too. MAN seriously don’t get me started on Arcana recs… >.<

      • Raye

        Thank you! I definitely don’t mind a lot of recommendations. Like you said, Arcana has an extensive list of perfumes and the only reason I haven’t bought anything from them yet is because I have a crazy desire to read absolutely every scent’s description. (And, honestly, I’ve been tempted many times to buy some just because I like their names.)

  18. makeupaway

    It’s hard to choose a favorite Arcana scent, but I’ve been really loving Byzantium (so gorgeous and heavy and spicy and unf). Second place would have to go to Ganesh – Arcana’s honey note is incredible!

    I loved your month of Arcana and am really excited for you to continue :) Arcana can be a little difficult to get ahold of (particularly samples), and so it’s great to have lots of reviews!

    • Another rave for Byzantium! I really need to pick that one up. I definitely agree about Ganesh – Arcana makes my favorite honey scents.

      And thank you! I’m excited too. :) Arcana reviews can be hard to find (it’s getting easier) and without readily available samples and with such a large catalogue, it can be overwhelming for sure. I’m glad to contribute to the cause.

      P.s. Are you in the US or international? I want to be able to keep things straight when I pick winners.

  19. Kathryn

    I fell in love with the one Arcana scent I have- Giggle Water. It has a great fizzy-musky-sweet smell that makes me happy whenever I wear it! I waffled for ages of Apples Crave Vanilla, same with Breakfast…fingers crossed I might end up I with one of them!

    Australia :)

    • Ooh, if you like Giggle Water, I bet you’d love Breakfast in Hollywood! I liked GW more than I expected to, but champagne-y scents are really not my thing. I think the one I like best is Dollface.

  20. Nicole

    I don’t have a favourite Arcana scent! I know, I’m horrid–I have a lurking sample vial but never did order much else. I’d really like to try some out. :) Also, from Canada over here!

  21. emmian

    I haven’t tried very many Arcana scents yet, but I really enjoyed Schnaps Mit Krampus from the Yule release this year. I should hopefully have some of the Cocktails for Charity scents on their way soon… if I can stop adding on to my decant orders! Your review of the collection is what convinced me I needed them!

    • I have Schnaps Mit Krampus hanging around but haven’t tried it yet… I just can’t resist anything with apples in it! But oh my goodness, I’m glad I could enable you into Cocktails for Charity! Dollface and Sitting Pretty in particular. :)

  22. Katie

    Really appreciate all your reviews, especially since you are the one who convinced me to purchase Erzulie’s Soft Kiss, which is now one of my very favorite Arcana scents. Thanks so much, and hoping to read more reviews in the future!

  23. Rebecca

    The only Arcana scent I’ve tried so far is The Huntress and I love it (though I like it more in the bottle than on my skin). I live in the US :)

  24. rekha

    It’s so hard to choose one Arcana favorite, but right now I’d have to say Namaka. Or Holy Terror. Or Black Maria. I’m in the US for shipping purposes, thank you for hosting the giveaway and for the reviews!

  25. Elizabeth Pedersen

    I haven’t tried Arcana yet (but half their stock is on my to-buy list once my no-buy ends in march- weee!), but I am really excited to try “Apples Crave Vanilla” and “Frilly underpinnings”.

  26. /u/Catpuff

    Hi, I’ve never tried Arcana before, but I want to try their Giggle Water, Dollface, and Puppy Kisses. Love reading your review! I’d like to enter your contest. I’m located in Canada.

  27. ariadneee

    Thanks for all your reviews this month, I’ve added loads to my wishlist!

    I have a few Arcana perfumes and I definitely want to get more (but not for a little while – the pain of unemployment!). My favourite Arcana so far is Morphine. When I first tried it on my skin, I was kind of disappointed because the cocoa absolute started off really dusty and bitter on my skin. However, after a while the sweeter notes came through and softened the cocoa. The patchouli and vetiver (a combo I really love) in the dry down anchored everything and hung around on my wrist for hoooooours. (Australia)

  28. AG

    Congrats on finishing your wonderful month of Arcana reviews, and thank you for the giveaway! Your Cocktails for Charity review inspired me to order a few decants from Ajevie, of which I think I’m most excited for Sitting Pretty :)

  29. Kalli

    I have yet to try Arcana, but I definitely want to! Skookum and Leaves Falling Like Rain sound really pretty. I’ve also heard good things about Holy Terror. One of these days.. :)

    Thank you for having this contest! I’m in the US.

  30. Juliana

    I got a bottle of Apples Crave Flora, but the sample I got of Gargery’s Forge actually grew on me, and I’ve enjoyed that one more than the bottle I ordered! I’m in the US.

  31. Berkshire0629

    I really want to try Breakfast in Hollywood… I know you didn’t love it but from the description it sounds like I will LOVE it. I’m in the U.S.!

  32. I haven’t gotten the chance to try Arcana yet, but they are on my wishlist. Of the scents that I made a note of when I first looked through their catalog, I think I’m most interested in Gloom. After looking through your Arcana Month posts, Angel Clare sounds amazing. Also probably the Star Light/Star Bright duo and The Darling Buds. There are so many I want to try. I’m in the US. Thanks for doing a giveaway :)

  33. Your blog is my go to for indie scent reviews, and arcana is a brand that’s more difficult to get where I live (in Australia) and I have never wantsed to try Apples Crave Vanilla more than I do now

  34. Vanessa

    Hi! I have yet to try any Arcana scents. Here’s hoping to my first time! Thanks for the chance to enter into the giveaway!
    Im in the UK

  35. Do I even need to say that it’s Holy Terror? It totally is. Though I just woke up and this post made me realize I actually had nightmare/dreams about buying Sunflower’s Lament, which I have yet to omg. Also now I’m on eternal Caffeinated Death quest too.

    And I tend to put on Holy Terror pre-sleep because it’s so comforting so last night I put on that and my salve stick, which is popcorn, and my gf was like “Why must you do that…” “I like how the perfume smells it’s comforting” “yes but…the popcorn smell…i can stand the church smell but THE POPCORN”

    I go to sleep smelling like a Catholic Church that has invested in a popcorn popper…

    • “The popcorn smell… ” haha! I have another one to add to your wishlist, though – I tested out Love Her, Love Her, Love Her from the Great Expectations collection yesterday, and oh man, you would love it. It’s very church-y with smoky resins, but with some some creamy honey. Highly recommend.

  36. Samantha

    I must confess I am yet to try indie fragrances – I’ve always been a swatch-then-buy kind of gal and I’ve been a little scared to invest $10-$15 into a fragrance I may be unsure of. I appreciate your insight as well as other bloggers in allowing me to feel a little more comfortable in terms of wanting to try fragrances. Once I’m off my no buy, scents like “Apples Crave Vanilla” seem rather appealing and are definitely scents that I would want to sample (plus that packaging is ADORABLE). Thanks for doing the giveaway! Much love from here in the U.S. <3

  37. LL_CoolHay

    I haven’t tried Arcana yet but I’d love to! Frilly Underpinnings is the one that stands out to me reading their scent catalogue. Love creamy scents!

  38. Gewichtzaehltnicht


    Thank you for doing this giveaway and opening it up to internationals as well! <3 I loved reading the description compilation you post on Reddit and I actually have a list of Arcana that I want to try and it's mostly based on your reviews :).

    I'm in Finland and sadly engulfed in a cloud of Stretched on your grave. I'm saying sadly because I just got a couple of decants from a fellow redditor and this one fell out of my hand onto ny glass scale and broke :(. I tried to salvage what I got and slathered it everywhere, but I think it got a bit too much after a while :D.

    I have only tried two Arcana perfunes and sniffed like five others, but my favourite so far is Death of a Sinner. I'm a fruity beachy scents kind of girl, but this reminds me of home and I love it for that. I used to live in Egypt and this smell reminds me of the men there, the perfume shops in the old market where they mix different scents together for you and it reminds me a bit of these scented sticks people used to burn on Fridays. I probably won't wear the scent outside, but I'll keep putting it on when I want to get a taste of home or a bit of comfort.

  39. Ashe

    Apples Crave Cake is the best scent I have ever experienced. It smells exactly like apple cake on my arm, and fades to an almost buttery scent that is almost unfairly good! I live in Australia, and so shipping is annoying, but I relish my bottle like nothing else.

  40. My favorite scent is Philtre #2: Adoration (I’m dropping all the numbers from the Philtre series, so this is actually Philtre: Adoration now.), but leave me out of the contest. Of course.

    Hey, can you email me about doing a Peaches crave illo? No rush at all, this will be for a spring collection further down the road. Also, Apples Crave Apples is really coming along, but not quite done. It just really needs more apples. Heh.

    • You mean you don’t want me to send you a bottle of Apples Crave Vanilla?? Haha. I feel like I should love Adoration, but it goes all pepper on my skin. My favorite Philtre is Embrace, because it smells like a creme brulee on me, and I am all about that.

      And of course! Doing it now. Also can I say how excited I am that Apples Crave Apples is a becoming a thing? You rule.

  41. Tobie

    I love your reviews! I’m new to the indie scent world but I have been dying to try Arcana, Cake Lust in particular. I’m in the U.S.
    Can’t wait for your next post!

  42. Amanda

    My Favorite Arcana scent is Devilish but it was so difficult to choose just one! By the way I am in Greece. I loved your Arcana month:)

  43. I still haven’t tried Arcana yet, but all of their wintery scents (e.g. Astrid’s Diadem, Skookum) sound so dreamy. I grew up in Alaska, but I’m in Connecticut now, which is not nearly wintery enough for me! So I try to snatch up a lot of cold, woodsy wintery smells, haha!

  44. Caitlin

    I’ve loved that you’ve done this month. I started reading just after the New Year, when a friend showed me the Breakfast in Hollywood she’d gotten as a Christmas gift. I ordered Doll Face based off your review and yay charity, and am expecting it any day now. I can’t wait for it…..thanks for your awesome reviews, I can’t wait to read more. Also, I’m in CT. :)

  45. Smidjin

    My first and foremost Arcana love (and my first indie big bottle purchase) is A Pale Young Gentleman. Now that you’ve reviewed them, I’m dying to try Murder Ballad Blues (A Pale Young Gentleman sparked my interest in violet scents) and Astrid’s Diadem (IT CAME BACK!!!). And let’s be real, a huge amount of the Arcana catalog. I am in the US.

    • I have Pale Young Gentleman sitting on my desk to be tested out and I’m dreading it… damn violets. If you like violets, though, definitely check out Murder Ballad Blues! Maybe Pumpkins Love Viola, too, if it’s still around. I did see that Astrid’s Diadem is being made permanent, and I AM SO EXCITED!

  46. Hannah

    I haven’t tried Arcana yet but I’ve been wanting to for a while now, one scent I’m super interested in is Puppy Kisses because I love mint! I’m in the US, btw.

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