arcana the rhinestone housewife

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rhinestone_housewifeIn honor of The Rhinestone Housewife’s third birthday, Arcana whipped up an exclusive scent called – naturally – The Rhinestone Housewife. The notes are as follows:

Caramelized banana trifles and blueberry cakes are deepened with dark, resinous amber and soft, creamy patchouli.

Blueberry is one of my favorite notes, and I’m of the opinion that there aren’t nearly enough banana scents in the world (plus as we all know I’m a huge Arcana fangirl), so of course I jumped on this one immediately.

In the bottle: Lots of banana and a bit of blueberry, dark and sweet with an almost boozy edge. The banana reads a bit artificial to my nose, like banana Runts, but for once “artificial” isn’t a bad thing – I love the smell (and taste, I love me some banana Laffy Taffy!) of fake banana.

Wet on skin: A strong whack of banana right off the bat, then hints of a more tart blueberry fruitiness come out. Dark amber oozes underneath, with an edge of patchouli. (I’m a patch-hater and this is more than a hint of patchouli, but it’s tolerable.) The base really cuts the banana and takes away a lot of the artificial qualities.

Dry down: I’m getting a bit more patchouli now, and more blueberry too – it kind of smells like blueberry banana bread with some sort of dark, boozy caramel drizzle on top, or blueberry banana pancakes. It’s actually not very sweet, though – when I read the description I was hoping for a sweet, creamy, cakey banana blueberry confection, but that’s not how it reads on my skin. I think I like it, but it’s different than I thought it would be, much less gourmand and if I’m being honest I’m getting a bit too much patchouli for my taste. I may try layering this one with something creamy like Isolde or Philtre: Embrace.

(I did layer on a bit of Isolde and highly recommend the combination! Rich, creamy Isolde – speaking of which, I don’t think I ever reviewed the Sunk Lyonesse collection, must remember to do that – doesn’t add an undue amount of sweetness, but the creaminess really cuts the patchouli nicely while still leaving the dark banana and blueberry to shine through. In this combination, I really like The Rhinestone Housewife.)

Short & Sweet: Strong banana and a bit of blueberry over a base of dark amber and patchouli. The banana is strongest to start and mellows out as it dries. Not nearly as sweet as expected, and heavier on the patchouli than I’d like. Not my absolute favorite on its own, but really lovely layered with Isolde and probably any similarly creamy scent.

arcana prynne collection, part 2

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We have a fox in the hen house this time around…

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.

arcana prynne collection, part 1.5

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We meet again, ladies…

Earlier this week I received the last few outstanding ladies from part one of Arcana’s Prynne collection (I have all the new ladies – and one gent! – from part two as well, but they need to rest a bit + get their picture taken) – I had gotten half bottles of Jezebel and Qedesha from a decant circle because I wasn’t sure I’d like them, and while I missed the original release of Fille de Joie, a super generous redditor over on IMAM had accidentally ordered two and was kind enough to offer me her extra bottle. So here we are! Let’s see how they fared, shall we?

Jezebel: Tiare, gardenia, jasmine, tuberose, and stephanotis are suffused with white musk, pearl musk, and citron.

In the bottle and on skin, Jezebel is strong sweetened white florals. Not too sweet, just a little bit. Citron and musk provide a nice base. It’s actually nicer than I expected, but not sweet enough for me. After a while on skin it goes bit perfumey and heady, and too overpoweringly floral for my taste.

Qedesha: Neroli petals dripping with honey, bee nectar, warm musk, and pearl musk.

Super strong neroli on first application. SUPER strong, gag-inducing. (To be fair, I don’t like neroli/orange blossom very much.) After a minute it calms down a little and I get more of the lovely honey and a powderiness that I attribute to the bee nectar. It’s got a nice clearness to it, if that makes any sense. I like it more than I expected to given the strong neroli, but it’s definitely not one I need more of.

A little further in it just turns to baby powder? All baby powder. Baby powder nightmare. I scrubbed it off. No bueno. This one may end up getting re-homed.

Fille de Joie: Delicate lavender marshmallows and yellow peaches cured in a vanilla absolute bottle.

Oh, Fille de Joie. This lovely little gem caused a lot of people (myself included) some consternation when the initial stock at Pretty Indulgent sold out in about 12 minutes. I missed it myself, and was super bummed, but had resigned myself to waiting for the restocks when I got a PM from a really lovely redditor who offered me the extra bottle that she’d accidentally ordered in the frenzy. Of course I jumped all over that, and now lovely Fille, she is mine! The restock IS happening at Pretty Indulgent in the near future, though, so fear not if you too missed it the first time around.

In the bottle: GORGEOUS. How’s that for descriptive? On skin it starts off with lots of lavender, sharp and a little powdery, balanced overall but not very sweet. As it dries down the peach becomes more assertive. It’s a soft, fresh peach, not candy-like. That powderiness is from the marshmallow, which gets stronger and sweeter, and the whole scent becomes this beautiful fresh peach and sweet marshmallow blend with a bit of calming lavender. It’s a lovely soft scent, very delicate and pretty.

Overall Thoughts: Very positive on Fille de Joie, surprising absolutely no one. I have mixed feelings about Jezebel (it’s just not my style), and out-and-out dislike Qedesha (as expected). Three more ladies of the evening and one fancy gentleman to go until this collection is complete!

arcana valentine’s day 2016 – the prynne collection

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HEY LADIES

HI GUYS. It’s been a while. I’m a terrible blogger, please forgive me. As a mea culpa, I return to your screens with a review of Arcana’s 2016 Valentine’s Day collection, which is all about the saucy ladies of ill-repute who sent starched-collar puritans into fits of sputtering indignation and angry boners.

I picked up most of the collection from The Rhinestone Housewife when it was released, with the exception of Jezebel and Quedesha, which I went with half bottles of from a decant circle, and Fille de Joie, which went up at Pretty Indulgent and then immediately sold out during the 40 minutes that I was commuting home yesterday. GRRR. Thankfully there will be a restock in a few weeks, so I’ll be waiting (impatiently) for that and then ordering ASAP. So I only have 7 out of 10 scents to review at the moment – I’ll post the rest when I receive them. (I’m not too confident about liking Jezebel and Qedesha, but I’m really excited for Fille de Joie!)

Anyway – reviews!

 

“It hath evermore been the notorious badge of prostituted Strumpets and the lewdest Harlots, to ramble abroad to Plays, to Playhouses; whither no honest, chaste or sober Girls or Women, but only branded Whores and infamous Adulteresses, did usually resort in ancient times.” –William Prynne, Militant Puritan

“That girl, she holds her head up so high!” –Bikini Kill

 

Demimondaine: Sugary milk, Venezuelan coffee CO2 extract, espresso, and rich gateau.

Milk? Coffee? DID SOMEBODY SAY CAKE? This one was a no-brainer. In the bottle it smells like sweet, syrupy coffee with a bit of milky cakiness. Wet on skin the coffee is a little less intense, more milky, and I get more cake. The cake is buttery and not overly sweet (as far as cake goes). It smells like tiramisu! Oh my god, I love it.

It dries down to a sweet, milky coffee with a bit of buttery cake. It reminds me a little of Ooomph, if you layered Yellow Cake LN on top – though that would probably be significantly sweeter. In any case, it’s a winner. I’ve really grown to love coffee scents. Sillage is a bit above average, noticeable but not crazy strong, and it lasted 12+ hours on my skin.

Short & Sweet: Sweet, milky coffee with buttery cake. The coffee is stronger to start, but gets milkier as it dries. Tiramisu!

 

Harlot: Three bittersweet chocolates, French cocoa absolute, and caramelized vanilla bean.

Harlot smells like the most delicious, rich, grown-up brownies. It’s intense chocolate, but not too sweet, and there’s an almost fruity liqueur note to it. Like if someone told me that there was a bit of apricot in there, I’d believe it. (I don’t think there is, though.) It’s not powdery or artificial like chocolate can sometimes be. Honestly the best way I can describe it is to repeat myself: super rich, bittersweet grown-up brownies. The kind of brownie or flourless chocolate cake you’d get at a fancy restaurant, drizzled with dark, dark chocolate ganache.

It smells really goddamn amazing, is what I’m saying. After about 20-30 minutes, the caramelized vanilla comes out more, thick and smooth. Yum. Sillage is good but not crazy strong, and it lasted 10+ hours on my skin.

Short & Sweet: Super rich, bittersweet grown-up brownies, drizzled with dark, dark chocolate ganache. A bit more vanilla on dry down.

 

Strumpet: Plush, rich vanilla, tart cassis, brown sugar, and green cognac absolute.

In the bottle, Strumpet smells like blackcurrant creme brulee. Rich, creamy vanilla, caramelized sugar, and berries. Wet on skin it’s a bit less sweet, with the tart cassis taking center stage. It stays that way for the first 20-30 minutes or so, and the cognac makes an appearance, a shot of sharp green over creamy vanilla and tart berries.

After a while, the sharp green element fades back, but the scent remains much more tart than I expected from the bottle sniff. It’s not a bad thing – it’s really quite beautiful, tart and creamy at the same time, like a sour berry smoothie or milkshake. Sillage is good, I could easily smell it wafting around, and it lasted 12+ hours on my skin.

Short & Sweet: Tart blackcurrant and creamy vanilla with a little shot of sharp green cognac. More sweet in the bottle and more tart on first application, the two extremes equalize as it wears. Smells like a sour berry smoothie or milkshake.

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GET FUNKY

Tart: Sweet lemon cakes, fluffy coconut frosting, and a dash of bergamot.

In the bottle Tart is, well, tart – all zesty sugared lemon cake. On skin the cake bit isn’t as strong, but the coconut asserts itself more, not too tropical or overly sweet, more just a smooth base for the tart lemon. There’s a little bite of bergamot to balance out the sweetness.

Later on it’s a little less tart, warmer and a bit sweeter, but never overly so and definitely always a citrus-heavy scent. It’s not nearly as cakey or foodie as I expected, but I really like it. Sillage is average, but lasting power is stellar, especially for a citrus scent – I could still smell it on my wrist after more than 13 hours.

Somebody asked me on IMAM how this compares to Ambrosia, and in my opinion they are very different. Ambrosia is SO sweet, almost cloyingly so; Tart is much, much less sweet, more balanced, and warmer, and obviously there is no peach or honey involved. I’m a little biased since Ambrosia isn’t a favorite of mine, but between the two I much prefer Tart.

Short & Sweet: Sweet/tart sugared lemon, warm, smooth coconut, and a little bite of bergamot that balances out the sweetness. Definitely on the tart side, not too foodie or sweet.

 

Bawd: Bright red cherry, brassy tobacco, Anjou pear, and white amber.

In the bottle Bawd smells like a Luden’s cherry cough drop, aka candy they couldn’t stop you from eating during class in elementary school. Wet on skin I get a BLAST of cherry, holy shit. It’s intense. Definitely candy cherry, red and shiny like a cherry lollipop, with a bit of sweet, wet tobacco. I think that fresh tobacco smells a little like cherry anyway (my dad smoked a pipe when I was a kid and I loved the smell of the tobacco), so it’s a combination that seems surprisingly natural. After a few minutes I start to pick up the pear, a crisp, wet fruitiness around the edges of the bold cherry candy that’s center stage.

During dry down the tobacco gets stronger, vying with cherry for top billing, and it develops a touch of soft fuzziness, which I tend to associate with white amber. The pear is there, but it’s an accent – this remains unmistakably a cherry scent.

I like cherry scents more in theory than in practice, since they often end up just smelling like cherry candy on me – which this one does, but it’s got more depth and grounding from the tobacco. It’s interesting, if not my favorite out of the bunch, and a great blend if you’re a cherry lover. It’s also incredibly potent! I didn’t do a full day test of this one so I can’t say how long it wears, but sillage was high while I had it on for testing.

Short & Sweet: Strong, STRONG cherry candy wrapped up with wet tobacco, fuzzed around the edges and accented with crisp pear.

 

Odalisque: Thick vanilla syrup, golden musk, black musk, kyphi, and spikenard.

This scent is a bit tricksy. When it’s wafting around me – which it does, heavily, the sillage is great – it smells like a root beer float drizzled with thick honey. Spicy and syrupy, a little creamy, with a golden honey sweetness (though it’s really not that sweet overall). It’s deep and rich and unexpected. When I sniff closer to my skin, it’s a little smoky and the root beer bite is much less sweet, almost a little like dry tobacco, and bordering on medicinal.

Thankfully I don’t spend a ton of time with my nose pressed to my wrist (though still probably more than normies who aren’t obsessed with smelling things), so my experience of Odalisque is mostly the odd and lovely spicy honey root beer cloud that surrounds me when I’m wearing it. Which I really like. Sillage is, as I said, fantastic, and it lasted 12+ hours on my skin.

Someone on IMAM posited that this might be a softer, friendlier version of Honey and Venom – I do have a decant of Honey and Venom, but I hate it a lot. Honey and Venom smells like smoky burning plastic cat pee on my skin, so while I can intellectually recognize some similarities between the two scents, I’m not sure I’m the best person to make a direct comparison. Odalisque would win by default, because I want to shoot Honey and Venom into space.

Short & Sweet: A spicy root beer float drizzled with honey. Not overly sweet, especially close to the skin, where it’s a little smokier and borderline medicinal.

 

Trollop: Vintage patchouli, resinous amber, boozy apple rum, and vodka.

In the bottle Trollop smells wet and earthy, a little sweet, with a distinct booziness. Wet on skin it takes me a moment to smell anything, which is odd – it’s surprisingly subdued. It’s warm and earthy, a little dirty, with a bit of boozy fruitiness. It’s definitely not as strong as I expected from bottle sniff. The amber is nice and rich, the apple rum lends a touch of sweetness. I actually don’t hate it? The patchouli isn’t my favorite element, and it is center stage, but it’s not nearly as “stinky hippie” as strong patch can often be. It’s a softer, warmer scent than I expected, with an almost honeyed tone to it. It’s not particularly sweet, though – it’s just got a warm reddish-gold quality. (Because that’s a smell, right?) Especially after a while, when it dries down and mellows a bit. The apple rum comes out a bit more then, with almost a hint of smokiness.

Still my least favorite of the bunch – strong patchouli just isn’t quite in my wheelhouse – but I might actually keep it, which I didn’t think would be the outcome here. So that’s a pleasant surprise. I didn’t give this one a full day wear test, so I can’t comment on lasting power, but when I had it on for testing sillage was average. I only dabbed a bit on to test, though, so I’m thinking if you load it on you might get stronger throw.

Short & Sweet: Patchouli – warm, earthy, and a little dirty – with rich amber and a bit of boozy apple rum. If Trollop were a color, it’d be a warm reddish-gold.


Overall Thoughts: Positive! Which is shocking to pretty much no one. The only one I can’t see myself wearing is Trollop, though it went over better than I expected. Bawd is kind of middle of the pack, just because I’m not always big on cherry scents and I’m not sure how much regular wear it will get, but I still like it objectively. The rest are definite winners, with my particular favorites probably being Odalisque (I don’t have anything else like this), Strumpet, Harlot, and Demimondaine.

arcana miranda & de minimus non curat lex

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miranda_deminimusHere are the other two scents in Arcana’s Lady Justice mini-collection – Miranda and De Minimis Non Curat Lex. I was on the fence about both of these, De Minimus more so than Miranda, but I ordered them anyway to complete the set… let’s see how they fared!

Miranda: Inspired by a soft grey kitten named after Miranda v. Arizona. Pink tuberose petals, Monoi de Tahiti, pearl musk, strawberries, and sugary watermelon.

In the bottle: Pink! A super pink, sugary floral. Sweet and a little fruity.

Wet on skin: Creamy florals and sweet strawberry. A little musky. A minute or so later I can pick up fresh watermelon. I’m no fan of florals but this smells really, really nice.

Dry down: The fruitiness is a little more prominent and the florals, while definitely still present, are a bit calmer. They’re not heady or perfumey at all. Concerning the fruits, I smell strawberry most strongly but can pick up the watermelon as well.

Short & Sweet: A sweet, creamy fruity-floral blend with a bit of musk. Sugary, pink, and very girly. This one was a really unexpected hit for me! I love it. Miranda is gorgeous and should be on every floral hater’s list of florals to try.

De Minimis Non Curat Lex: The law does not concern itself with trifles. AKA Circus by the Sea. A cool blend of saltwater, ocean air, rain-soaked blackberries, neroli, coconut, and a hint of green cognac absolute.

In the bottle: Cool and watery, a little bit sharp and floral with some berry sweetness.

Wet on skin: It’s immediately deeper and a bit salty. A little sweet but not really sweet. A little floral but not really floral. Just a hint of coconut. This goes back and forth between being a little too floral for me, and then not.

Dry down: After a short period where it smells a bit like a dryer sheet, De Minimus settles in as a musky, slightly salty ocean scent with hints of neroli, berries, and coconut. It does occasionally tip back over into smelling like a dryer sheet, but I think that’s just my general impression of slightly floral ocean/ozone/sea air kind of scents, especially if they contain neroli or orange blossom. They just usually smell like dryer sheets to me. I’m saying dryer sheets a lot. Dryer sheets dryer sheets dryer sheets.

Short & Sweet: A musky, slightly salty ocean scent with hints of neroli, berries, and coconut. Only occasionally smells like dryer sheets.


Overall thoughts: Julia may not be a big floral lover, but the ones she does, she does well! I’ve consistently loved her sweet floral blends and Miranda is no exception. It’s beautiful.

De Minimus was the scent I was least certain about, and it is indeed the one I like least – but I do still like it, I think. I’m not generally a huge fan of oceanic/ozoney scents, but this one has enough murky saltiness to (mostly) keep it out of dryer sheet territory. Mostly. I ended up with a sample of this as well as a bottle, and I’m not sure yet which one of them I’m going to destash. I don’t mind having a bottle, but I think I’d probably be happy enough with a sample.

arcana gideon & peppermint candyflip

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gideon_candyflipIn mid-August, Arcana released a mini-collection called Lady Justice. As with the past Cocktails for Charity collection, the Lady Justice collection was created for a cause – in this case, 100% of profits are being donated to help a wrongfully arrested friend of Julia, the perfume mastermind behind Arcana.

I happened to have just finished placing a Rhinestone Housewife order a few minutes before I saw the news about this release, so I emailed Jeanine from RH to ask if I could tack the four Lady Justice scents onto my order. Because it’s Arcana, and it’s for a good cause, and if I was going to get two bottles I might as well just get the other two as well and complete the collection, right? I have no self-control.

Anyway, today I have half the collection for you – Gideon and Peppermint Candyflip. These were the two scents I knew I was going to get right off the bat.

Gideon: Inspired by a spunky orange tabby kitten named after Gideon v. Wainwright. Apricot, golden amber, and a saucerful of cream.

In the bottle: Sweet, creamy apricot. Like one of those fruit and cream swirled hard candies I can’t remember the name of… Creme Savers! Yes, like that but apricot.

Wet on skin: Intensely fruity and sweet at first, it mellows quickly into a beautiful creamy apricot and warm amber blend. It’s pretty evenly balanced and not as heavily fruity as it was in the bottle.

Dry Down: No big changes as it settles in. The apricot is more subtle than in the bottle or on initial application, and does get softer with wear, but it’s definitely present.

Short & Sweet: A really soft, pretty, creamy apricot and warm amber blend. This one is beautiful.

Bonus Boy Review: “I like it. It’s got a peaches and cream thing going on.” He was very pleased to have guessed correctly.

Misc: I was asked how this compares to Estella, and I would say they’re not similar at all. Amber is present in both, but Gideon is creamier and fruitier, while Estella is a slightly boozy amber/vanilla blend. I like both, but they’re definitely different on my skin. Gideon is my favorite of the two.

Peppermint Candyflip: A psychedelic blast of cold peppermint dries down to a trippy candy center of blue frosting, sugar cookies, pink musk, blueberry candy, bakery vanilla, bergamot syrup, and lemondrops.

In the bottle: Sweet peppermint! A bit musky and somehow smells blue.

Wet on skin: The mint is less intense, but it’s still the star of the show, and it’s got that cooling sensation going on when I sniff it. In the background I get a sugary musk. It’s got a cotton candy-ish vibe.

Dry Down: The mint calms down a little bit, and I get more musky vanilla and a bit of citrus. I was afraid this one might be insanely sweet given all the candy/bakery notes, but it’s really not. It’s sugary, yes, but not to the point where it’s cloying. The citrus is a nice touch and while it’s by no means tart, it does serve to balance the sweetness a bit. Further into wear, the vanilla gets stronger and smooths out the whole blend a bit.

Short & Sweet: Bracingly minty to start, Candyflip calms down into sweet mint and musky vanilla with a little of citrus. Definitely sugary but not cloyingly sweet. The vanilla is a little smoother and more prominent with wear.


Overall Thoughts: Gideon is hands down my favorite of this pair, but I like them both. I really like sweet mint scents in general, so Candyflip appeals to me, especially once it settles down and smooths out. If I’m nitpicking, I wish it was just a tiny bit less sugary and/or a little creamier, but that’s personal preference and mostly works itself out once it dries anyway. Gideon, however, is just gorgeous. I have zero nits to pick, and though I haven’t tested Miranda or De Minimus Non Curat Lex yet, I suspect is going to remain the winner of this collection for me.

arcana strawberries crave indulgence & rhinestones

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indulgence_rhinestonesHello blog! My laptop started freaking out last week and had to be sent to Apple for repair (again… there’s a graphics card issue that seems to plague 2011 Macbooks and mine has been seriously afflicted, like Exorcist afflicted), so I was computer-less for a while. It was actually kind of nice – I marathoned a bunch of stuff I’ve been meaning to watch on Hulu, including the first season of You’re The Worst (which is the best) and the 1995 BBC miniseries adaptation of Pride & Prejudice (not for the first or last time… how you doin’, Mr. Darcy?).

But now my laptop has been returned to me in what seems to be working order (fingers crossed that the second time’s the charm), so I’m back with two more Strawberries Crave scents! There are just a ton of these and I am super okay with it.

Strawberries Crave Rhinestones: Sparkle strawberry with pink frosting, white musk, black raspberry, black cherry, pink pepper, and a drop of champagne. (Rhinestone Housewife Exclusive)

In the bottle: PINK! Sweet, sweet, sweet pink berries and cherries with a bit of fizz.

Wet on skin: So pink! Initially I get tons of syrupy cherry, reminiscent of a cherry lollipop, and a bit of bubbly champagne. After a few minutes a little more tartness comes out, as well as a tiny nip of pepper.

As it dries I get more of the sugary frosting and strawberry, while the tartness mostly fades away. The champagne fizz is still there, and I’m not super crazy about bubbly/champagne scents (they usually remind me of cleaning products), but it’s subtle and works here. It smells like a very fancy pink dessert, like sugared strawberries drizzled with pink champagne. The pepper is very subtle at this point, but it’s there if you look for it.

Elevator Pitch:  After an initial blast of cherry lollipops, Rhinestones quickly settles into sugary frosted strawberries and champagne. Sweet and bubbly with just a touch of tartness and the tiniest nip of pepper. Unabashedly pink and girly.

Strawberries Crave Indulgence: French vanilla, white amber, sugared vanilla beans, caramel, lady finger cookies, opium, strawberry creme, and the faintest whiff of tobacco. (Pretty Indulgent Exclusive)

In the bottle: Sweet, sugary vanilla and amber, a little cookie-ish, just a touch of creamy strawberry.

Wet on skin: The strawberry is stronger, and very creamy. I get lots of sugary vanilla and amber, and a little buttery lady finger (heh). The whole blend is very, very sweet.

As it dries the cookie and creamy strawberry are most apparent, and there just a faint whiff of tobacco, dry and a little smoky but still sort of sweet. It adds an interesting dimension to the scent, however it is still unquestionably a super sweet gourmand affair and sweet/foodie scent haters should pass on this one. If you like that sort of thing, though (and I do), Indulgence is pretty fantastic.

Elevator Pitch: Creamy strawberry, sugary vanilla and amber, buttery cookies, and just the faintest whiff of dry tobacco. Super sweet!


Overall Thoughts: I really like both! Who’s shocked? No one, I’m sure. I like Indulgence a bit more than Rhinestones, but I will keep and wear both. No losers here.

arcana strawberries crave incense, summer, and waterfalls

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incense_summer_waterfalls

Hello friends! I’ve got three more Arcanas for you today: Strawberries Crave Incense, Summer, and Waterfalls.

Strawberries Crave Incense: Burning frankincense and myrrh, rich red musk, and fraises des bois.

(This isn’t one I originally chose a bottle of, because red musk and I aren’t generally bros, but Julia included it as an extra in my package because she is the sweetest.)

In the bottle: Incense and red musk, with a hit of sweet strawberry. It smells almost candied, but like… smoky candy? I don’t know if that’s a thing, outside of the “put bacon in everything” trend. (Which, ew. Sorry guys, but no.)

Wet on skin it’s all red musk and incense, deep and resinous, with a sense of wafting smoke. Kind of like church incense, but dirtier? I don’t know, I’m a godless heathen. I’ve been in a church like 3 times in my entire life, and the last time it happened I was 7. I just turned 32. So take any and all church comparisons with a tub of kosher salt.

ANYWAY. Dirty church. The red musk is very prominent on me, and it’s got that same deep “smoldering embers” quality I’ve come to associate with Arcana’s red musk scents. It smells like a dying campfire, all intensely hot red embers peeking out from under cracked and blackened wood. Sometimes it can also go bacon-y, which I expected because of the incense notes, but thankfully it doesn’t. And the strawberry starts to make an appearance after it wears for a bit, adding a bit of sweetness and also emphasizing the “red” feeling I get from this scent.

Overall I like this more than I expected, but I’m not sure it’s something I’ll reach for. Or maybe I will, someday when it’s not a constant 90 degrees and the thought of smelling like a smoldering embers doesn’t make me turn the air conditioner up. I’ll likely keep it around until the fall and re-test. In any case, I expected to hate it and I actually kind of like it, so that’s a win. Also, great sillage.

Elevator Pitch: A dying campfire next to a strawberry patch. Alternately, eating strawberry candy in Dirty Church ™.

Strawberries Crave Summer: Tropical blossoms of tiare, tuberose petals, star jasmine, and neroli over melty pistachio and strawberry sherbets.

In the bottle: Super sweet, fruity tropical florals. The strawberry is tart and fresh.

Wet on skin it’s a little more overtly floral, but still super sweet and tropical, which is one of the only kinds of florals I really like. It’s got a lovely creaminess to it, and the strawberry is syrupy but still a little tart, like sorbet. The sweetness keeps the floral notes from being perfumey or overpowering.

It stays pretty linear throughout dry down and wear, and sillage is above average.

Kind of a short review, but I actually really like this one! I always hesitate when it comes to floral scents, but I’ve learned that I can like them if they’re sweet and/or tropical, so I figured I’d give this one a shot. I’m really glad I did, because it’s a beautiful sweet summer floral that I will definitely wear. It falls into the same category as some other sweet florals I have from Arcana – Nacre, Apples Crave Flora, Hnossa – so if you’ve liked any of those, Strawberries Crave Summer is definitely worth trying.

Elevator Pitch: An ice cream parlor on a tropical island, all sweet, creamy frozen treats and lush tropical flowers. A+, even floral haters should try.

Strawberries Crave Waterfalls: Rain, woodland strawberries, fresh water, petitgrain, osmanthus, clover, and smooth amber.

In the bottle: This scent is perfection. Fresh and watery, with tiny sweet strawberries and clover.

Wet on skin it’s a bit deeper, I get a lot of strawberry and amber with a little woody-citrusy petitgrain. It’s sweet but not candy sweet. As it dries down it gets a little richer, the base takes on sort of a golden tone, with just a little bit of fresh green around the edges. It’s warm and sweet and smells like the most idealized version of summer in the woods, where it’s warm but not hot and the sun is golden and streaming through the trees and it’s all kind of magical and you don’t feel like you’re simultaneously melting and boiling alive inside your skin. (Guys, I hate summer.)

Okay, this one is really gorgeous. To say I’m in love would be an understatement. Strawberries Crave Lucy just got knocked into the #2 spot. I seem to recall hearing that this one was pretty limited due to its ingredients, and that’s really a shame because it’s perfection and I would buy many backup bottles if I could.

Sillage and lasting power are both above average. I could easily smell it wafting around me.

Elevator Pitch: Ripe strawberries and warm amber with bits of fresh green clover and just a slight wateriness. Perfect.


Overall Thoughts: Oh my goodness, Strawberries Crave Waterfalls is amazing. Amazing. Strawberries Crave Summer is also great, and Incense was a pleasant surprise, though it’s not really a “me” scent. But oh. Waterfalls, you guys. I hate to gush so much about something you can’t get anymore, but… ugh. So good. New #1 with a bullet from the Strawberries Crave collection.

arcana strawberries crave nyx, rococo, and botanicus

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nyx_rococo_botanicusWhat is this? Another post?? Madness! But no, it’s true, I’m back today with three more scents from Arcana’s Strawberries Crave collection: Nyx, Rococo, and Botanicus.

Strawberries Crave Nyx: Drunken honey, lavender-laced mallow, soft amber, night musk, and hints of strawberry and nectarine.

In the bottle: Musky lavender honey with just a touch of fruit.

Wet on skin I get a ton of amber and musk, followed up with slightly herbal, powdery lavender marshmallow. It’s not nearly as sweet as I expected. There’s a rather strong citrus (tangerine) undertone that makes the scent a bit sour, and mixed with the powdery mallow and honey the effect is… not something I’m super fond of. It’s almost a little bit ammonia-y. Hmm.

As it dries the honey comes out a little more and the scent gets sweeter overall, though still not as sweet as I thought it would be. The citrus sourness mostly fades and I start to get some of the strawberry in its place. Later on the strawberry is more prominent, and the whole blend has softened into something a bit less powdery and more warm and sweet. I like it a lot better at this point, but I’m still on the fence about this one, which is so surprising. Given the notes list I really expected to love it, and I’m not really sure what’s throwing me off. I think it’s the fruit – something about it doesn’t mesh well with the powdery notes on my skin, and the scent clashing makes me a little headachey. But then sometimes I sniff it and I really like it? I’m so confused.

The longer I wear Nyx, the more I like it. Quite a while into wear, the powderiness is pretty much gone and there’s only a faint whiff of strawberry. It’s mostly sweet honey, amber, and marshmallow with a touch of lavender, and it reminds me a little of a lighter, warm weather version of one of my all-time favorite Arcanas: Snug. And when it gets to this stage I actually love it. It’s beautiful. I just have to get through the initial application to get to the glory.

P.S. Great sillage on this one.

Elevator pitch: Musky, powdery amber, honey, and lavender, with a bit of marshmallow sweetness. I get a marked sour citrus undertone to start, then more strawberry as it dries. Sweeter and warmer on dry down.

Strawberries Crave Rococo: Tiny strawberries with Madagascar vanilla, Tahitian vanilla, apricot, white musk, and skin musk.

In the bottle: Sweet, creamy strawberry and vanilla, a little musky, very sweet and decadent.

Wet on skin it’s candy sweet, creamy apricot and strawberry and just a little soft musk. It smells entirely edible. As it dries the apricot and strawberry blend together and soften a bit, losing that intensely candy-ish edge. It’s still really sweet, but the muskiness is a little more prominent and tones it down just a touch.

This one is good. If you like sweet fruity scents, this is right up your alley.

Elevator Pitch: Lightly musky apricot and strawberry cream candy! Gets a bit less sweet and more musky as it wears.

Strawberries Crave Botanicus: Fresh strawberry, guava, galbanum, basil, green hemp, bayberry, and ruby grapefruit.

In the bottle: Very green and herbal, a bit sharp and resinous, and fruity. I get mostly guava and grapefruit on cold sniff.

Wet on skin, HELLO GALBANUM. It’s all galbanum and basil up in this bitch, sharp and green and a little spicy. After a minute or so some tart fruitiness starts to emerge, mostly grapefruit and guava, just a hint of strawberry. A little while later the sharp edges have softened and the fruits are a little stronger. It’s not terrible sweet, though, more fresh and herbal, like a bunch of basil muddled with just a few ripe strawberries. It does get softer and less spicy as it wears, turning into something almost soothing and spa-like.

I like Botanicus! It was a little sharp at first, but it mellowed nicely without ever losing its freshness.

Elevator Pitch: All sharp, spicy galbanum and basil at first, Botanicus mellows into more of a soothing herbs + strawberries blend after a while.


Overall Thoughts: Mostly positive! At first I thought my favorite was Rococo, but the longer I wore Nyx the more I started to love it. And Botanicus is really different than the other two, so I don’t really want to rank them. I like them all to different degrees, but I think Strawberries Crave Lucy remains my favorite from this collection so far.

arcana strawberries crave cacao, helios, and lucy

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cacao_helios_lucyHELLO BLOG IT HAS BEEN FOREVER. Okay, not forever, but it’s been a long time! Two months, almost, since my last post. My bad, guys. I got super busy and the blog is, alas, a purely leisure time activity, so it was the first thing to get put on the back burner. To be honest, I haven’t even been buying much perfume-wise, though I’ve still acquired quite a few things through other means. I do have the entire Summer Constellations collection from Arcana to review (yay!), but first I guess I should finish the second half of the summer Crave collection, huh?

I think I have every Strawberries Crave scent in some format, so I’m going to do this in a few parts. First up: Cacao, Helios, and Lucy!

Strawberries Crave Cacao: Chocolate, French cocoa absolute, creamy strawberry, golden amber, brown musk, vodka, and strawberry roots.

In the bottle: Creamy chocolate and strawberry. Heavier on the chocolate, but not as sweet as you’d expect.

Wet on skin the strawberry is stronger, especially at first. There’s a creamy muskiness to it. It’s sweet but not tooth-achingly so. The chocolate gets a bit stronger as it dries, and the sweetness is toned down a little more. I get more amber and musk, and a little clear kick of vodka.

I wasn’t sure how I’d feel about this one, since chocoalte scents aren’t usually my thing. But it’s really nice! It’s not overly sweet or Tootsie Roll-ish, nor is it an artificially fruity chocolate covered strawberry. Really good sillage, too.

Elevator Pitch: Creamy chocolate and strawberry with a musky amber base. Not overly sweet or artificially fruity.

Strawberries Crave Helios: Strawberry jam with juicy blackberries, lemonade, limeade, and pure white amber.

In the bottle: Sweet berries and zesty citrus with a touch of something incense-y.

Wet on skin it’s intensely sweet/tart – strawberry limeade rimmed with sugar, or the taste of strawberry sour patch kids. (Wait, are there strawberry sour patch kids? There should be. I love the watermelon ones that aren’t kids at all but just watermelons. Bring strawberries to the party, I say.) This one is pretty linear as it dries, no big morphing, just sweet-tart strawberry lime goodness. The white amber isn’t a major presence, it just floats around in the base keeping the lighter notes grounded.

I like Helios! It’s easy to like. It’s sometimes just a tiny bit too sour for my taste, but other times the strawberry is stronger and I have no complaints.

Elevator Pitch: Sweet-tart strawberry lime goodness.

Strawberries Crave Lucy: Our own Surfers on Acid blend with pink strawberry.

In the bottle: The most delicious fruity drink! Sweet, sugary pineapple and strawberry, just a touch of anise.

Wet on skin it’s super sugary sweet at first, all pineapple and strawberry. Very juicy, summery, and tropical. The anise comes out quickly, though, just like it did with the OG Surfers on Acid. I like anise scents, but I found the anise in Surfers on Acid to be just a touch too strong for me at times – I’m happy to say that Strawberries Crave Lucy strikes the perfect balance. The extra sweetness of the strawberries helps lighten the anise and keep it from going too black licorice-y. It stays pretty linear on me as it dries, and sillage and lasting power are both fantastic.

I love Lucy! Ha. It’s pretty much what I wanted Surfers on Acid to be – the perfect warm-weather anise scent. I couldn’t stop sniffing my arm. I seriously want a drink that tastes like this.

Elevator Pitch: A sugary pineapple-strawberry daquiri spiked with anise.


Overall Thoughts: Positive! Of course. Lucy is my favorite out of these three, with Cacao and Helios being something of a draw for second place. They’ve very different, but I like them both.


P.S. Can we agree to just sort of abandon that daily review thing that was happening? Because at this point I am like… 75+ reviews behind and that’s just not happening. So RIP, Review-a-Day project. I like you in theory but the obligation of keeping up with you gives me agita.