The four scents from part 2 of Arcana’s Prynne collection arrived in my mailbox earlier this week, and after letting the pretties sit for a few days they were up on the chopping (testing) block this morning. This part of the collection features the one lone male courtesan, Fancy Boy, which I believe sprang from a rather entertaining conversation on Facebook about whether male customers would mind wearing scents named after ladies of the evening. (The general consensus was no, but I’m glad Fancy Boy exists anyway! Maybe Dandy, Gigolo, Rent Boy, Hustler, and Leisure Suit Larry will follow in his footsteps?)
Why is thye lord so sluttish? –Geoffrey Chaucer
Coquette: A flirty blend of honeyed strawberries, pink cotton candy, Tahitian vanilla, French cognac absolute, and balsam of Peru.
In the bottle: Honey sweet sugared strawberries and booze, like a really sweet daiquiri.
Wet on skin: Sweet strawberry, dark red and ripe, covered in honey. I get the spun sugar cotton candy floating in the background, and the boozy edge that was so prominent in the bottle is markedly less pronounced. It smells more like candy and less like a pink drink. The peru balsam is detectable as a soft, plush sort of woodiness underlying the whole scent. It’s subtle but cuts the sugary sweetness just a bit.
Dry down: The scent has smoothed out a bit and the peru balsam has melded with the other notes in a way that it’s near-undetectable if I’m sniffing for it, but the effect it provides remains. The vanilla is a touch stronger, lending a creaminess that works so well with the strawberry.
Short & Sweet: Sweet red strawberries smothered in honey and vanilla, whiffs of sugary cotton candy, and a subtle, plush woodiness underneath to balance it out. Sharply boozy in the bottle and on first application, but that smooths out quickly and doesn’t last. More noticeable vanilla on dry down.
Floozy: Silky opium smoked with boozy amber, dark vanilla, and sandalwood.
In the bottle: dark boozy amber and vanilla, a bit woody.
Wet on skin: WOOF. This is strong. Strong smoky vanilla and rich amber over a woody base. I think I’m reading the opium as smoky but it’s not JUST smoky, if that makes sense. It’s kind of heady and slinky, like, well, rather like I imagine opium dens would’ve been like in the roaring 20’s.
Dry down: The amber has overtaken the vanilla a bit and now there’s something almost a touch savory about the smoky opium + amber mix. It’s not bad but it’s a very unusual blend. I can’t decide how I feel about it, except that I think I might want it to be sweeter? But sometimes not? My feelings keep changing from sniff to sniff. I like it and then I don’t and then I do. This is a strange one.
Short & Sweet: Strong smoky amber + vanilla over a woody base. The opium is heady and slinky and the amber really takes over on dry down. An unusual blend.
Tramp: Red roses, worn leather, blood cedar, oudh, and 3 trampy musks.
In the bottle: Cedar, rose, and LOTS of musk. Dirty, trampy musk. This scent has been very naughty.
Wet on skin: Cedar and rose with leather floating over top. The rose is kind of juicy, not sweet, and the leather smells like worn brown leather, soft, not harsh. The dirty musks are hanging underneath. Nothing is too strong here, all the notes are very well-blended.
Dry down: I get a bit more rose, still more juicy than heady or perfumey. Everything is still present, but the musks are much less intense, which makes the scent smell less like a night with a dominatrix and more like, I don’t know, someone role-playing a saloon girl in the old west. I actually didn’t expect to care for this one at all, but I kind of like it in the end. I may still layer on a touch of vanilla when I wear it, though, because I always want my roses to be sweeter, forever and ever.
Short & Sweet: Softly musky rose and worn leather with touches of wood.
Fancy Boy: So indulged! A slice of warm bread smothered in golden honey, white chocolate, almond bits, and rich vanilla.
In the bottle: I get mostly white chocolate and almond, sweet, creamy, and a bit sharp.
Wet on skin: Strong almond at first, like almond extract. Sharp. After a minute or so a soft powderiness develops, then morphs into a yeasty bread smell. Not exactly like bread, but more of a perfume interpretation of bread. I’m not sure what the powderiness is, but it’s my least favorite bit. Usually I’d blame the honey but Arcana honeys rarely go that way on me. Hmm. After a few minutes more, the smooth white chocolate becomes a bit more prominent.
Dry down: That odd powderiness isn’t going away. It almost smells like baby powder. What IS that? It almost has to be the honey + almond. I don’t dislike it, per se but I wish the honey was more like Arcana’s lovely dripping golden honey notes. Anyway, no major morphing here. Slightly perfumey bread, white chocolate, almond, powdery honey. Later into wear the powderiness does fade down (yay!) and the bread comes out more, warm and very nice. At this point it’s warm bread, smooth white chocolate, and a hint of almond. Really beautiful.
Short & Sweet: Warm bread, smooth white chocolate, and a hit of almond. Lots of sharp almond to start, and rather powdery for a while, but the dry down is very nice.
Comparison to Vanilla Craves Bread: VCB is more bready-smelling to me, like a sweet bun covered in a vanilla glaze. Fancy Boy is less obviously a bread scent and the almond is pretty strong. I also think it’s a bit less sweet. Of the two I prefer VCB, only because the initial phase of FB has a powderiness I don’t completely love.
Overall Thoughts: In order of preference we have Coquette (love), Fancy Boy (like a lot once it dries), and then a tie between Tramp (moderate like, may need some layering) and Floozy (just because I can’t decide how I feel about it). Tramp was a pleasant surprise while Floozy is a bit confusing, since I really can’t pin down whether I like it or not. Sometimes I like it, sometimes I don’t, and those times can be about 3 sniffs apart. It’s an odd duck.