solstice scents estate vanilla & rose mallow cream eau de parfums


Sample size 3.3 ml EDPs come in wee little sprayer bottles. Small but sturdy!

A little while ago, Solstice Scents debuted a line of eau de parfums (henceforth abbreviated as EDPs because I’m lazy) that includes several existed scents from their catalog as well as two new scents available only in EDP format: Estate Vanilla and White Feather. I haven’t tried White Feather, but I did pick up samples of Estate Vanilla and Rose Mallow Cream. Today I’ll talk mostly about Estate Vanilla, with just a quick note about how RMC compares to the oil version at the end.

Estate Vanilla: Raw Vanilla Pods, Vanilla Infused Sugar, Cream & Vanilla Extract. Our Rich House Vanilla

Estate Vanilla is a warm, floaty vanilla scent with a distinct creamy sugary-ness to it, like homemade vanilla bean sugar. It’s a light vanilla, not heavy or cloying or overly sweet. There’s a very slight alcoholic edge on initial application, but it disappears quickly and isn’t even close to the alcoholic astringency I get from commercial EDPs.

I find Estate Vanilla more or less linear on my skin – once the initial whiff of alcohol burns off, I’m left with a wonderful soft vanilla scent with great sillage and longevity.

On my initial testing day (the one where I took notes like a nerd), I applied 3 spritzes (wrist, wrist, neck) at 8 am. Around 3 pm I noted that it was slightly fainter but still very noticeable; at 7 pm I noted that it was wearing substantially closer to the skin, but was still perfectly detectable if I sniffed my wrists. I stopped taking notes at that point, but I’ve worn it many times since and can say that it routinely lasts 12+ hours on my skin. The throw gets fainter as the day wears on, of course, but even at the end of the day it’s still lingering close to my skin.

I’m sure a lot of people are curious how this compares to Solstice Scents’ old star vanilla fragrance, Cenobite, which was sadly discontinued a few months ago. I have Cenobite and on my skin they’re really not very similar at all. Cenobite is sweeter and thicker, with a distinctly boozy french vanilla vibe, and it’s just a heavier scent in general. Estate Vanilla is much lighter and airier, and less heavily sweetened. Both are wonderful vanillas, but they’re very different.


The full size 60 ml EDPs come in a gorgeous, thick frosted glass bottle.

As I’m sure you can tell, I love this scent. I’ve worn it nearly every day since I got my sample, so frequently that I actually felt justified in ordering a full size EDP, which just arrived and is beautiful (as you can see above). It’s just a fantastic, wearable, everyday kind of scent. It’s not too heavy or sweet to wear in warm weather (it’s still in the 90’s here and halloween candy is already out, what’s up fall?), but I can already see all my cozy sweaters smelling like Estate Vanilla once the heat breaks. It would also be great for layering with any scent you’d like to sweeten up a little, though I haven’t tried that yet as I’ve been too enamored of it all on its own.

Short & Sweet: A warm, airy, sugary vanilla. Light and not too sweet, with just a touch of creaminess. A++, highly recommend if you like vanilla at all. Like, at all.

And now for Rose Mallow Cream: save for the fleeting whiff of alcohol on initial application, RMC smells spot-on like the oil on my skin. No differences large enough to stand out to me when I wore it. If you’ve never tried RMC in any format, my review is here.

sixteen92 fall 2015 collection


sixteen92_fall2015It’s one million degrees here in Philly with no plans to drop below 90 for the foreseeable future, so I can’t say I’ve been too eager to try out my Sixteen92 fall and halloween collections. It’s gross, I’m sweating, the last thing I want to smell like is spices and pumpkin and candy. But since the fall collection goes on sale September 1st, I figured I should push through my heat-induced misery and try to get this review up before then.

But I’m not happy about it. Eat a dick, Philadelphia summers.

Bela Lugosi’s Dead: Night black clove bud, tobacco absolute, smoked benzoin resin, flame.

In the vial: Sweet resins with a bit of woodsmoke.

Wet on skin: The same sweet resins, a little spicy. Very warm. The smoke isn’t too noticeable here. It’s much sweeter than I expected from the description, the benzoin is almost vanilla-y.

Dry down: There’s the smoke. It’s not overpowering, but it becomes more apparent as it dries. It also gets a little less sweet and a little more spicy. However I’m pleased to say that the clove doesn’t take over and go nuts on my skin, which is what usually happens with clove (and cinnamon, and spice in general). It does get a little stronger with wear, but nothing crazy.

Short & Sweet: Very true to cold sniff on me. Sweet resins with a little woodsmoke, warm but not too spicy. Sweeter to start, smokier on dry down. The clove is more apparent with wear. Sillage is low.

(Every Day Is) Halloween: An overflowing candy pail, the crunch of leather boots on fallen leaves, cold stones, damp air & a wisp of bonfire smoke.

In the vial: Leather and chocolate. Further sniffing brings out some damp stone.

Wet on skin: Lots of candy at first, mostly chocolate to my nose. Then the leather comes out, then the damp stone and leaves. The sweetness hangs over everything and brings it together. I’m not fond of leather but the blend is very fall appropriate.

Dry down: Lots of leather. A little smoke comes out here too, but not a ton. It’s less sweet here, more leather and stone. I hated this one, but then after about 20 minutes it really surprised me – the leather fades into the background and becomes less sharp, and the candy sweetness develops a more vanilla tone that’s really nice with the cold stone and leaves. And suddenly I’m a fan.

Short & Sweet: Chocolate, vanilla, leather, and cold stone and leaves. More chocolate to start, then lots of leather and just a touch of smoke. A while into wear the sharp leather softens and fades, and more vanilla comes out – it’s a really nice development. Sillage is medium-ish at first but drops off to low pretty quickly.

Last Exit for the Lost: Orchard apples, woven wood baskets, dried hay, distant chimney smoke on cool air.

In the vial: Apples! And hay and wood. Not sweet, it smells like very dry hard cider.

Wet on skin: Dry, spicy apples and green hay. It smells like standing in an apple orchard in the fall.

Dry down: A little more wood, but mostly the same. Dry, crisp apples, green hay, wood. Nothing bad about this. A while into wear, the faintest hint of smoke comes out.

Short & Sweet: Dry, crisp apples, green hay, and wood. Slightly smoky and a little spicier with wear. Nothing revolutionary but a nice fall apple scent. Sillage is low.

Lucretia, My Reflection: Orris root, immortelle, white sandalwood, blackened vanilla, star anise.

In the vial: Anise, dark vanilla, and a little powdery sandalwood. It smells like spicy Amish root beer and cedar wood.

Wet on skin: Anise party! It’s mostly anise with a little powdery sandalwood. More spicy than sweet here.

Dry down: The anise is a little calmer and a good deal sweeter, but it’s still center stage. It smells like a spicy root beer float. The sandalwood grounds it in the background, but isn’t super present on its own.

Short & Sweet: Strong anise and a powdery sandalwood to start, dries down to a spicy-sweet root beer float. Sillage is low.

Spelllbound: Creamed pumpkin, spiced bourbon & tahitian vanillas, sticky marshmallow fluff.

In the vial: Pumpkin cake with cream cheese frosting. Delicious.

Wet on skin: The same. Sweet, spicy, creamy, totally edible.

Dry Down: A little less creamy, a little more spicy. A while later the marshmallow really comes out, which gets a big thumbs up from me.

Short & Sweet: Pumpkin cake with cream cheese frosting. Dry down is a little less creamy and a little more spicy, but it remains solidly in the “pumpkin cake” perfume family. A while later, marshmallow! Yum. It’s spicier and more cakey than Haus of Gloi Pumpkin Eater – my bottle, at least, which is several years old and starting to read almost a little peachy. I don’t have it to compare, but image their Pumpkin Cake Pops scent would be closer. In any case, it’s a nice foodie scent and fall-appropriate but not unique. Sillage is low.

Overall Thoughts: My feelings, they are mixed. I’m not over the moon about any of these, but I do like a few of them. The real problem is that they all suffer from a pretty severe lack of sillage and staying power on my skin. Most were barely detectable by the two hour mark, and the ones that stuck around longer wore so close to the skin that I had to shove my wrist under my nose to smell them. (Every Day Is) Halloween and Spellbound fared the best, with the rest disappearing at about the same rate. Obviously this is a YMMV situation depending on your skin chemistry and a host of other factors, but it’s disappointing that these are so fleeting, especially since these kinds of spicy/foodie/resinous scents tend to stick around better to begin with.

(Every Day Is) Halloween is my surprise favorite – it became really nice on the dry down after starting off as a terrible leather explosion, so I’ll probably end up picking up a larger size of that one. But I’d prefer an EDP if it comes out in that format, since those tend to stick around a little better. Lucretia, My Reflection is nice if you like anise, which I do, but I’m not sure I need more than my sample, especially since I already have Arcana Genteel, which is another sweetened anise scent with much better longevity on my skin. Bela Lugosi’s Dead is a classic spicy fall scent, but not really my thing, so that’s a pass. Last Exit for the Lost is apples, so it’s catnip to me, and I do like it a lot! But if I’m being honest I have several similar scents. Arcana Apples Crave Orchards and Comfort Me With Apples, and Haus of Gloi Old Cider Haus are all in this same wheelhouse. Do I need another one? Realistically, no, especially given the lack staying power. Spellbound smells awesome, but you can’t throw a rock without hitting a pumpkin cake scent in the fall, so given the longevity issues I’m on the fence about getting a larger size. This is another one that I might grab in EDP format if it’s available that way.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to take a cue from my cats and sprawl on my back on the cold tile floor in the bathroom. Wake me up when it’s actually fall and we’re past this weak-ass “it’s September, pumpkin beers and spicy scents are everywhere but you’re still wearing tank tops and running the air conditioner” bullshit.

sixteen92 boardwalk


Do you like the jaunty angle of my cap?

Boardwalk was a limited edition summer scent that was originally included in AFK Cosmetics Summer Lovin’ box, which was (I believe) a kind of Christmas in July advent calender… box… thing. I think? I didn’t order it myself, in fact I think I missed it entirely somehow, but mentions of Boardwalk kept popping up and I liked the sound of it. So when Sixteen92 released a batch of Boardwalk for sale, I jumped on it and ordered a bottle.

The words “limited edition” are seriously dangerous, guys. The struggle with indie FOMO is real.

As you can see in the photo, the lid on my bottle is kind of wonky… it doesn’t screw on straight. It didn’t leak in transit though, so it still seems to be secure enough.

Anyway, on to the review.

Coconut pulp, coconut milk, Coppertone, sand, sea breeze, driftwood, melted vanilla ice cream cone, sticky cotton candy

In the bottle: Salty coconut, oceanic-type ozone, a little cotton candy. Vanilla. Sweet but not super sweet.

Wet on skin: Salty! It’s still sweet, but warm and salty too, very much like baking in suntan oil on the beach while salty sea air blows by. (Don’t do that, by the way. Skin cancer is real. I avoid the sun like I’m going to burst into flames and it’s only mostly because I’m a mole person who hates bright light and being hot.)

After a while it gets a little more sandy (if that makes any sense… ) and the cotton candy comes out more, which I like. The “sea breeze-y” ozone also becomes more prominent, and I like that less – that sort of note always makes me think of air freshener or a blue “ocean breeze” scented candle – but it’s not a total life ruiner here.

This was a complete blind buy, and I’m okay with having it, but I think if I’d had a sample first I may not have gone back for a full bottle. I really love the initial application, but I’m a little less fond of the more sea breeze-y dry down. I think I like it enough to keep it, but I’ll need to test it out a few more times to be sure. Fate TBD.

Short & Sweet: Salty coconut suntan oil to start, becomes more sandy and sea breeze-y on dry down. There’s a some sugary cotton candy in the mix as well, especially as it wears.

long winter farm sea sprite


At some point in the last couple of days, I lost my SD card reader, so all the photos I’ve taken of Arcana’s Summer Constellation collection and Sixteen92’s Boardwalk and Fall and Halloween collections are currently sitting impotently in my camera, mocking me. Le sigh. I ordered a new one, so I’ll be back in action in a few days, but in the mean time here’s a quick n’ dirty review of one of the scents I’ve been wearing constantly this summer – Long Winter Farm Sea Sprite.

I have it on good authority that mermaids serve coconut lavender cakes at their underwater garden tea parties, so I went ahead and put it in a perfume. Sweet coconut cream with some Bulgarian lavender and vanilla to keep it civil.

I picked Sea Sprite up on a whim from a destash on IMAM, and man I’m glad I took that chance! Sea Sprite is a well-balanced lavender/coconut cream scent, very sweet and golden. The lavender is a little bit stronger at the start and the coconut gets a little more prominent with wear, but both are present at all times on my skin. It’s thick and rich and perfectly summery.

Wear time is great – I put it on a little before 8 am, and I can still smell it fairly well as I’m writing this at 7 pm. Sillage is pretty good, too, though it does get more subtle throughout the day.

Elevator Pitch: A sweet, golden combination of coconut cream and lavender. A perfect late summer scent.

I don’t have many scents from Longwinter Farms, but they were actually one of my very first indies – I bought Iced Lemon Biscotti years and years ago, and I still have it. My impression of them has always been that they do simple scents very well, and Sea Sprite has confirmed that.

It’s also convinced me that I need to dive into their catalog again and see what else catches my eye. Unfortunately LWF doesn’t offer samples that I know of, but their full-sizes are pretty inexpensive at $9 so I’ll probably take a chance on a few in the near future.

arcana strawberries crave indulgence & rhinestones


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



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


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


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.

126-132: arcana peaches crave collection


Peaches Crave Beaches, Dolci, Mambo, and Pirates, featuring a lovely lady by yours truly.

Peaches Crave! I was super stoked when Julia asked me to do the illustration for this collection. I always love working with her, of course, but also: PEACHES CRAVE you guys! I love peach scents. Let’s do this.

Peaches Crave Beaches: Green bamboo, coconut, vanilla musk, citron, lemongrass, bergamot, and dewy peach flesh.

In the bottle: Sweet lemongrass and coconut, a touch of bitter citrus. Not a ton of peach, just a whiff in the background, more tart than sweet.

Wet on skin it’s softer, mostly lemongrass and a bit of bergamot. The peach is mild and not floral. As it dries down, the slightly bitter citrus gets a little stronger, and more musky vanilla and coconut come out. The peach is a little more detectable at this point, tart and gummy-like.

I love lemongrass, so this was a sure bet for me. It’s very tart and summery.

Elevator Pitch: A sweet tart summer scent, heaviest on the lemongrass with some gummy-like peach and soft, musky vanilla and coconut.

Peaches Crave Dolci: Peach gelato and pistachio gelato with 3 golden bakery cakes.

In the bottle: WHOA SWEET. Syrupy sweet peach, creamy and thick, with yellow cake. Just a bit nutty. Entirely edible.

Wet on skin it’s super sweet peaches and cream, cake, and nutty pistachio. The peach isn’t tart or floral at all. Peach pie or peach cake with pistachio ice cream. One word: yum.

Dolci is awesome. Awesome. Foodie scent haters, stay away, but if you like sweet, dessert-like scents, this is a winner.

Elevator Pitch: Super sweet peaches and cream, cake, and a little nutty pistachio. Delicious and completely edible.

Peaches Crave Mambo: Cuban tobacco, dark vanilla, sweet rum, tonka, white musk, and sun-warmed peaches.

In the bottle: Sweet, musky tobacco, a little sharp and boozy. Not a ton of peach.

Wet on skin I get rum and tobacco and dark vanilla, with a bit of juicy peach in the background. It gets muskier and a little less sweet as it dries. It’s very warm and a little sharp. The tobacco isn’t quite wet and sweet, but not quite dry and smoky either – somewhere in between.

I like this, but I find myself wishing it were just a bit sweeter and smoother on my skin. I like tobacco scents, but I always want them sweet, so your mileage will most assuredly vary there. It’s definitely a warm weather scent, though – good for steamy summer nights.

Elevator Pitch: Sweet, sharp tobacco and rum, musky, with a bit of juicy peach.

Peaches Crave Pirates: Arcana’s Queen Crossbones with plenty of peach and an extra shot of Egyptian musk.

In the bottle: Queen Crossbones (musky resins and honey) with a shot of peach. Obviously.

Wet on skin the peach is more noticeable, tart and fresh. It’s a nice contrast to the creamy, deep, musky honey and resins of Queen Crossbones. It makes this blend less intense than QC on its own.

Elevator Pitch: Tart, fresh peach laid over musky, resinous honey. A lighter, less intense take on Queen Crossbones.



Peaches Crave Paws, True Love, and Vanilla

Peaches Crave Paws: Our Puppy Kisses blend with peach skin and peach blossoms.

In the bottle: Creamy and minty, a touch of lavender, and slightly floral peach.

Wet on skin it’s soft and sweet, peaches laid over the melty coconut butter mint of Puppy Kisses. This blend is extremely mild, and sillage is low, but it’s lovely. I really like Puppy Kisses to start with, so adding peach was a no-risk situation.

Elevator Pitch: Fuzzy peach laid over soft, melty coconut and mint with a touch of lavender. The peach is a nice addition to Puppy Kisses. A mild, comforting scent.

Peaches Crave True Love: Resinous black amber, caramelized sugar, vanilla bean, peach nectar, and a tiny hint of pear.

In the bottle: Oh man, this smells so similar to an old HoG reverie pumpkin butter that I loved – Caramelized Apricots. Sweet, caramelized peach. Holy yum.

Wet on skin it’s the same, sweet, caramelized peach and creamy vanilla. The peach has a nice toastiness, and there’s some dark amber there as well, just grounding the scent a little bit. As it dries a sugariness comes out more. It’s sweet but not cloying. A while into wear it gets muskier and more resinous, and the black amber is quite a lot stronger.

I like the initial application more than the dry down, but overall True Love still gets two thumbs up from me.

Elevator Pitch: Sweet, caramelized peach, creamy vanilla, and dark amber. Toasty and sugary, but not cloyingly sweet. Sweeter at first, the resinous amber is more prominent a while into wear.

Peaches Crave Vanilla: Sugared peach, glorious vanilla, marshmallows, sweet milk, and sheer musk.

In the bottle: peaches and cream. Soft, creamy, and sweet, but not overly so. Really lovely.

Wet on skin it’s muskier, and a little less fruity. The sweetness is a little more powdery and marshmallow-y. As it dries it gets milkier and more sugary. A while into wear the marshmallow is even stronger. It’s really nice, very soft and cuddly. Decent sillage and lasting power, too.

This one is really beautiful. I couldn’t stop sniffing at it. Easily my favorite of the peach scents.

Elevator Pitch: Soft peaches and cream, sugary and milky, with a bit of powdery marshmallow sweetness that gets stronger as it wears. Gorgeous.

Overall Thoughts: Extemely positive! Who’s surprised? No one. My favorites are Peaches Crave Vanilla and Dolci, but I like them all. Mambo is the only one I’m on the fence about.

125: ohwto sprout


sproutA fragrance for Spring, of new growth pushing through the remnants of last year. Wood violets, dewfruit, fresh earth, green leaves, lichen and moss, and delicate alyssum.

In the vial, Sprout is fruit and green, earthy, and a bit powdery (hello, violets).

Wet on skin it’s much more earthy, but quickly gets really powdery. There’s a sweet fruitiness underneath, but the powdery violets are overpowering.

That fact doesn’t change as it wears. I was hoping this wouldn’t be so violet-heavy, because the rest of the notes are lovely, but unfortunately that’s pretty much all I smell. This one, alas, was a scrubber for me. If you like violets and earthy scents, though, it’s worth trying.

Elevator Pitch: An earthy green scent that’s heavy on the powdery violet. Just a bit fruity underneath.