arcana the darling buds


The fresh essence of the darling buds of May. Baby cucumber, strawberry, petitgrain, grapefruit, pomegranate, basil, and a splash of pink rosewater.

What better perfume to review on the first of May than Arcana’s The Darling Buds?

In the bottle, The Darling Buds smells like strawberry, grapefruit, and cucumber. It’s sweet, fresh, and very Springy. On skin it’s less sweet and the basil, cucumber, and petitgrain are the most prominent notes – herby, green, woody and citrusy, a bit watery. The fruity pink notes of strawberry, grapefruit, pomegranate, and rosewater are almost undetectable, just providing a faint sweetness in the background.

I really love this one, and it’s pretty much the definition of a Spring scent for me. It’s funny, because while searching around for an image to convey this scent, the first thing that came to mind was some of the visuals from the show Pushing Daisies, which if you haven’t seen you should watch immediately. In addition to being a wonderful story and well acted and all that, the visuals are just stunning. It’s one of the most attractive shows I’ve ever seen and I will forever cherish my DVDs. So I don’t know why exactly, but to me The Darling Buds smells like Pushing Daisies looks.

Pretty! Also, Lee Pace and his eyebrows. Be still my loins.

Would I buy it again?  Yes! Absolutely yes. I love this and I know I’ll be wearing it a lot this Spring.

Available from: Wherever Arcana oils are sold – The Rhinestone Housewife and The Soap Box Co among other places, or you can order direct from Julia using the contact info at Arcana Soaps. Eros was part of Arcana’s Valentine’s release, and is still available as of this posting.

solstice scents chiffon


chiffonVanilla, White Amber, White Musk & Lemon Myrtle EO.

Chiffon is a scent that I’ve heard quite a bit of raving about and always wanted to try, because I love sweet lemony scents. I was all set to just order a full bottle right off the bat, until I read in the description that it had similar elements to and would appeal to fans of Snowshoe Pass. I don’t think I’ve reviewed Snowshoe Pass on the blog yet, but spoilers: I hated it. Or, it hated me. The white amber and white musk absolutely took over and destroyed it for me, so seeing those same notes in this made me wary enough to just order a sample. (Which I should always do anyway, but I don’t, because I’m dumb and bad with money. SO.)


Chiffon smells like lemon meringue pie. It’s a soft lemon, not at all Pledge-y. It’s sweet, but not overly so – it’s not sickening or cloying. After a while I do get hints of that dreaded white amber/white musk combo, but it’s not overpowering and it doesn’t ruin it for me the way it ruined Snowshoe Pass. From first application to dry-down, Chiffon is just a soft, sweet lemon.


I’m on the fence about whether it’s bottle-worthy, but only because I have similar things. It reminds me a bit of OHWTO’s Carnivale and The Cake is a Lie, the main difference being that Carnivale is more fruity and The Cake is a Lie is more, well, cakey. I also have Maggie from Wiggle (muskier from what I recall) and Ambrosia from Arcana (way sweeter, and a bit creamy), a sample and a pumpkin butter in Honeysuckle Lemon Curd from Haus of Gloi (tangier and more flowery), and probably a few others that I’m forgetting – I mentioned that I love lemon scents, right? Yeah. While none of these are exactly the same as Chiffon, I don’t know that I can warrant adding yet another sweet lemon scent to my collection at the moment, especially since this one, while lovely, doesn’t knock my socks off in any particular way.

Would I buy it again? See above. I do like it, but probably not.

Available from: Solstice Scents

solstice scents blossom jam tea cakes


Southern Tea Cakes, Petit Fours, Floral Infused Jams & Preserves and a Delicate Aroma of Tea.

I have such mixed feelings about this one. When I did my first-sniff impressions, Blossom Jam Tea Cakes was hands down my favorite. It smelled like cake and jam and I loved it. Once I put it on, however…

On my skin the tea and florals are the strongest notes. I love me some tea scents, but we all know I don’t like florals. It’s a white sort of floral – gardenia is coming to mind. It’s slanted a bit more toward the fruity side of the fruity-floral spectrum, and I suppose it does compliment the tea nicely if you’re into that kind of thing. The sweet cake is sort of the background scent, not nearly as strong as I expected from cold sniff.

As it wears the jammy fruits come out a bit more, but not as much as I’d like. The tea stays on top throughout and the floral note keeps second billing. It does soften after a few hours, but it started to give me a headache long before that point. So.

I don’t hate it, but I don’t like it as much as I thought I would – it’s just too flowery. And unexpectedly so, given the description – Solstice Scents’ descriptions are usually quite accurate so I can only assume this is a skin chemistry thing. In general I wish I got more jam or cake – more of the stuff that doesn’t give me a thundering headache, basically. Sad.

 Would I buy it again? Surprisingly, no. I love the way this smells in the bottle but it goes flower crazy on my skin and makes my head hurt. Boo, hiss. Very disappointing. I can’t say that’s the fault of the perfume, though – it’s a lovely scent, and if it stays true-to-bottle on you I’m very jealous. I have a bottle now, though, so I’m going to try layering it. Liber Vix commented that it layers well with Chantilly Cream, so maybe that’ll save it for me.

Available from: Solstice Scents

solstice scents chantilly cream


Whipped Cream, Peach Nectar, Vanilla & Yellow Mandarin EO.

Chantilly Cream is one of Solstice Scents’ recurring Spring releases. I missed the Spring release for the last few years so this one was new to me. Despite that, I ordered a full-sized perfume and a burnishing glace straight off because I was 99.9% sure I would love this.

And unlike many other adventures in foolishly ordering full-sized stuff that I was so sure I would love and then didn’t, I was actually right this time.

Chantilly cream is, obviously, sweet, fruity, and creamy. I get mainly peaches and a touch of zesty mandarin – just a tiny bit. It doesn’t smell orangey at all, really, there’s just that slight tartness. The vanilla is creamy, more like a french vanilla than vanilla extract. It’s not boozy or sharp at all. The whole shebang smells delicious and edible yet light, like a bowl of ripe peaches topped with rich vanilla bean-flecked ice cream and just a dollop of airy whipped cream.


Overall it’s a very delicate kind of scent – it’s sweet, for sure, but it’s not cloyingly sweet or pastry-like. The peach note is similar to the one in Kitchen, but where that’s buttery peach pie, this is just fresh, fuzzy, perfectly ripe fruit. It doesn’t have massive throw, staying fairly close to the skin. The glace smells like a slight milder version of a perfume, and layering them does help the scent to last longer and be more noticeable. Even layered, though, it’s not going to knock anyone over.

Would I buy it again? YUP. Did it, would do it again if I ever ran out, which I won’t, because I have more body products and perfume than I could ever feasibly use up in my lifetime even if I had 14 arms. But still – yes, love this one.

Available from: Solstice Scents

first sniff impressions: solstice scents spring #1

Note the cute little bird’s nest – Solstice Scents’ package decorations are the best.
Another seasonal release, another First Sniff Impressions post! This time it’s from Solstice Scents, whose spring scents are, again, a completely mystery to me. Somehow I seem to have missed everyone’s spring releases for the last few years. But that just means NEW STUFF, even if it’s just new to me, which is always more exciting than restocking familiar stuff.Let’s get to it!

Blossom Jam Tea Cakes: Fruity cake. I love this. (Reviewed!)

Chantilly Cream: Peaches and cream. Very soft and delicate. (Reviewed!)

Chiffon: Sweet lemon. Lemon meringue pie, kind of. (Reviewed!)

Courtyard: VERY strong. Green, lavender, and woods.

Devil’s Millhopper: Really, really green. Like a thick carpet of damp moss.

Banana Nut Bread: At first this smelled exactly like banana bread, but the more I sniff, the more I get this rummy note that comes off really plasticky. Might be different in use.

That’s that! Just from cold sniff, Blossom Jam Tea Cakes is my favorite, and I really wish it came in a glace or a ganache, but alas, it does not. So unless Chiffon or Devil’s Millhopper really grab me when I test them out this will probably be the extent of my haulage from this release.

As always, everything is available from Solstice Scents.

haus of gloi ruth


Fresh strawberry, green patchouli, rose geranium and crushed violet leaf.

Oh, Ruth. Usually, I save my favorite things for last – but not here. Oh no. I just kept putting Ruth off, because honestly? I didn’t want to smell it again. But now her time has come, so let’s do this thing.

In the imp, Ruth smells vaguely like strawberries and something musty and rotten, like flowers that have been sitting around for too long and have started to get soft and mushy. On skin it’s less rotten-smelling, and now I’m getting strawberry and loads of green patchouli, which I really don’t like. I don’t think I’ve ever smelled it before, but it’s just… nope. Not for me.

This one’s a scrubber. OUT, OUT DAMN SPOT.

Would I buy it again? NO. Oh god, no. I’m sure this is either a skin chemistry issue or a personal preference one, since I’ve seen a few other reviews of Ruth that are rather positive. It just really, really does not work on me.

Available from: Haus of Gloi

haus of gloi lassi


Cool, fresh mango cream, Tunisian orange blossom absolute, black ginger to ground, splash of green tea and a soft squeeze of lime juice.

In the imp, Lassi smells like gummy bears. If I tried to parse it I’d say it’s lime and orange blossom, but honestly? I can’t smell anything but gummy bears. So many gummy bears. On skin it’s still pretty much gummy bears – sweet and tart, very fruity, mostly orange and lime. It’s a very Pixie Stix orange, powdery and slightly sour. (Literally all of my points of reference for this scents are candies.) I feel like I should be smelling more mango, and maybe it’s the tartness that’s making me think orange, but yeah – orange.

As it dries the tartness fades a bit and I get a little of the mango cream, but this never really comes across as creamy, if that makes sense. It pretty much just always smells like gummy bears.

Would I buy it again? Maybe? Probably not as a perfume oil though. I like Lassi, because I like the way gummy bears smell (and taste, when I can find vegan ones). (Also because bears are my favorite animal.) But I think it’s better suited to a pumpkin butter (which I have and which also smells like gummy bears, just slightly creamier) or a whipped soap, even for sugar-loving me.
Available from: Haus of Gloi

haus of gloi milkmaid


Flushed, but demure. Fresh milk, clean linens, pale musk and pink sweet pea blossom.

Milkmaid is one of Haus of Gloi’s recurring Spring scents. It’s not really my kind of scent, but I’ve wanted to try it for a while regardless. Milkmaid paints such a lovely picture – a fresh, rosy-cheeked girl who smells of cream and clean sheets and pink flowers. It’s very quintessentially Spring.

In the imp it smells pink and milky. On skin it’s sweet, a bit tangy, and powdery, smelling to me like baby powder and sweet peas and clean skin. It’s not nearly as floral as I was expecting, nor is it as creamy and milky as it smelled on cold sniff. As it dries, the tanginess softens a bit and I’m left with a powdery pink scent with just a slight dairy edge. It’s not something I would wear, really, but it’s very pretty.

The Milkmaid by Myles Birket Foster

Maybe it’s because I’m an illustrator and used to thinking visually, but I find that sometimes images can convey what a scent smells like or feels like to me better than words can. In this case, Milkmaid smells very much like the appropriately-named painting above. It’s a very pastel, pastoral scent.

Would I buy it again? No. While I love the concept and think the execution is on point, it’s not a scent I would wear. Also it started to give me a headache after a while, as florals tend to do.

Available from: Haus of Gloi

haus of gloi ploughman


ploughmanWell worn leather, dirt n’ dandelions, carrot, a pinch of tobacco and a light sheen of feral skin musk.

In the imp, Ploughman smells like dirt and leather. But it’s not dirty – it’s clean and fresh. On skin it starts out the same, but with a bit of that grassy dandelion element in there too. After a while the carrot peeks out, very slightly sweet, and I don’t smell the leather quite as much, and the end result is a scent that smells like nothing so much as a vegetable garden on a spring day.


As it dries further, I get a little hit of tobacco, spicy and warm. It gets less damp and the leather comes out again. Ultimately that’s how it stays – dark, damp dirt, leather, green, and slightly sweet with a touch of warm spiciness. It smells like you’ve been running around outside all day (but not in a sweaty way) and I pretty much just want to bathe in it.

If you like HoG’s Samhain, you will like this – they’re similar scents, all dirt and atmosphere, but Ploughman is fresh and green where Samhain is chilly and herbal.

Would I buy it again? Yes. I didn’t expect to want a full bottle of this, but I really  should’ve known better since I love Samhain. I’m a sucker for these kinds of evocative outdoorsy scents. On the list it goes.

Available from: Haus of Gloi

haus of gloi selkie


The break of waves, gurgling sea foam, kelp, rain tinged air, sand smoothed driftwood and wild sage.

In the imp, Selkie is a slightly spicy, ozoney scent. On skin the spiciness and the sage are really present – it smells a bit masculine, even. The ozone isn’t nearly as strong as it is on cold sniff. And what there is of it isn’t your typical ozone – it doesn’t have that airy, blue, beach house bathroom kind of scent that’s common of oceanic or beachy blends.

As it dries down it starts to smell a bit woody and salty in addition to the spicy sage notes. It does very much remind me of the ocean, but more of a rocky, driftwood-strewn beach than a warm, tropical beach. The former is actually my preferred kind of beach, so this one is a hit with me.


Photo by Flickr user pencrush

This. This is what Selkie smells like.

Misc. Notes: The boyfriend says, “smells very summery.”

Would I buy it again? Yes. I’m planning to pick up a bottle of this, because I really love it and it’s pretty unique to my collection. The only reason I haven’t already is because I want a mini pumpkin butter in this scent too and it’s currently out of stock. Boooooooo-urns. Come back, Selkie, I need you on me.

Available from: Haus of Gloi