51 & 52: arcana aestas & phoebus

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The catch-up train keeps rolling! I’m so close! Today I’ve got two Soapbox Co exclusive scents from a winter release quite a while ago – the exact collection is escaping me, and I can’t seem to dig up the original release post online anywhere.

First up, the one I ordered as soon as it was released, because vanilla? Peach? Cake? YOU RANG?

Aestas: The ancient Roman goddess of Summer. Madagascar vanilla, yellow cake, soft peach nectar, golden musk, black musk, and a hint of patchouli.

In the bottle, Aestas smells like a gourmand dream – deep, sweet peach, creamy vanilla, rich yellow cake. Unf.

Wet on skin it’s similar, creamy, fruity, and very sweet. It’s like yellow cake topped with caramelized peaches and a drizzle of cream.

As it dries, the base gets a bit deeper and muskier, but it remains predominantly a sweet, fruity gourmand scent. It’s not a fresh, light fruity scent, though – it’s deep and rich. If it were a color, it would be a deep translucent amber. I’m not a fan of patchouli, but don’t be scared of it here. As with many Arcana scents that include a touch of patchouli, it seems to just serve to deepen and ground the scent a bit, rather than being a discernable patchouli note.

In case you couldn’t tell, I frickin’ adore Aestas. If you like gourmands, especially sweet, fruity scents and cake scents, you should seek this one out ASAP. It has pretty great sillage and lasting power, too.

Elevator Pitch: A sweet gourmand blend of peaches, creamy vanilla, and rich yellow cake over a deep, slightly musky base. Like yellow cake topped with caramelized peaches and a drizzle of cream.


And then we have Aestas’ companion scent, Phoebus. I didn’t buy Phoebus – it was sent to me as a freebie with a SBC order when they were doing a “free wishlist item” promotion. This description for this blend contains a bunch of my no no buzzwords (resins, red musk, woodsmoke) so I probably wouldn’t have picked it up of my own volition. And in fact, despite having had it in my collection for over a year, I’m just trying it out for the first time.

Phoebus: The ancient Greek personification of the sun. Smoked vanilla, sweet resins, red musk, marshmallow, and fiery woodsmoke.

In the bottle, Phoebus is all resins, smoke, and red musk with just a touch of sweetness. Not gonna lie, it made me wrinkle up my nose.

Wet on skin, the red musk is the most prominent note, with a hint of marshmallow. It’s sharp and smoky. There’s something about red musk that smells like bacon to me, which is why I usually stay away from it. Here, combined with all the smoky notes, there’s definitely a bit of that going on. There’s enough sweetness to keep it from going full-on smoked pork, but it’s still not pleasant.

It gets smokier as it dries, but the vanilla and marshmallow come out a little more too. It’s never a particularly sweet scent, though – it’s definitely heavier on the musk, resins, and smoke. The sweet elements here just kind of serve to smooth out the sharpest edges of the scent. The vanilla does get a bit stronger as it wears, to the point where I’m like, “hmm, maybe this isn’t so bad… ” but ultimately it’s just not bag.

I do want to note that the smokiness here isn’t so much an in your face WHOA SMOKE smokiness, but more of an impression of smoke, if that makes sense. It smells like the glowing red embers of a just-extinguished campfire, where bits of gooey marshmallow are still climbing to the charred and ashy wood.

Predictably, I’m not a big fan of this one. I suspected I wouldn’t be, which is why the bottle has sat in the back of my perfume cabinet for so long. Now it’ll go in my destash pile, and hopefully find a good home sooner or later.

Elevator Pitch: A musky, resinous, smoky “red” scent with a bit of sweetness. Like the glowing red embers of a just-extinguished campfire, where bits of gooey marshmallow are still climbing to the charred and ashy wood.


Overall Thoughts: Aestas for president! Clearly. Phoebus is simply not my kind of scent, though of course it’s very well done for what it is. The fact that I don’t just completely hate it is a testament to Julia’s wizardry.

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