Villainess Soaps – The Garden

I know it’s been a while since I reviewed anything, but life grabbed hold.  It still is, but I’m trying to find a bit of zen in the crazy and decided this would be a good choice.  I enjoy the process of finding new things!

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photo by smellallthethings

Excited for another first!  This time it’s Villainess!  I admit I’ve hemmed and hawed over purchasing from them for years.  Also this is the perfect scent for me today as I’ve been working on my flower garden this morning.  And my dear Minh Scent might enjoy reading about this one!  The eye dropper is perfect for those of us that enjoy slathering scents!

Villainess describes The Garden as:

A tiny Eden blooming in a dark city. Sunwarmed earth and sweet green grass. Cucumber and tomato leaf, crisp apple, and a breath of old fashioned flowers.

In the bottle this is a blast of crisp green, beautiful and fresh, dew covered and glistening in the sun.  As it hits my skin the flowers bloom instantly, surrounding me with a fresh white fragrance.

This dries as the sun warms the grass – releasing the dew into the atmosphere and all the juicy greeness that goes with it.  The cucumber keeps that “dew” scent lasting long past when the grasses would be dry.  The apple is only there to lend a touch of sweetness and does not assert itself over the grass.  There is only a hint of tomato leaf, more so to add to the overall green feeling of the blend than as a star.

Once it comes to a full dry down, it is a fresh grass scent, with a hint of sweetness from the apple, a touch of tomato leaf, and a whiff of fresh white flowers on the breeze.

If you enjoy the scent of grass and greenery, then this scent is definitely for you!

Personally, I would like it if the flowers were a bit more prominent, but I’m curious to see how this one will age!

Sixteen92 General Catalog Samples

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photo by smellallthethings

I just had to go and get some more samples from Sixteen92‘s general catalog after having such a good experience with their Spring Collection.  There has been discussion on their Facebook Page about discontinuing a few scents and making room for others, possibly A Thousand Times More Fair from their Spring Collection as well as three others.  Two of the scents I’m reviewing (The Awakening and La Llorona) are on the chopping block!  Eek!  Discontinuations are expected and understandable, but they are still sad.  I always get this knee jerk reaction of OMG I NEED IT (even if I’ve never liked the scent before) because what if it gets better with age and then it’s all gone and you can’t find it anywhere because everyone else knew it was awesome and then you missed it and can never have the awesome again and …. *deep breath*  Yeah, so, I got those two specifically to see if I truly want them or if I’m just having discontinuation anxiety.

The Awakening has notes of: Ocean air, dark water, damp mosses, gulf mud, saltwater taffy.  Now normally I’m not one for ocean types as it usually means ambergris and I’m not a fan of ambergris.  However, I really enjoyed Storm of Fortunes which has ambergirs so I decided to give this a try.  Plus it’s on the chopping block (eek!) and I’m going to the beach on vacation soon and I like “water” scents to wear when I’m at the actual water.

In the vial it is mostly the dark water, a bit of mud, and moss.  As soon as it hits my skin the water deepens even more and the ocean air starts blowing.  There’s a small hint of sweet saltwater taffy.  The mosses are wet from a recent storm and the mud has been churned by the waves.  This morphs and moves through phases as it dries, letting each note come to the fore like the coming and going of the ocean waves.  There’s also something cold in here.  Not physically cold, but it smells cold.  This is a very interesting blend, but a bit more salty than I care for.

Paper Moon is a Premium perfume and contains: Soft vanilla musk, benzoin, oakmoss, trailing ivy, peach blossom, rose.  Paper Moon isn’t awe inspiring in the vial and is mostly benzoin.  On my skin it blooms though.  The rose and benzoin are initially the strongest notes.  The vanilla musk is at the base, soft and light and barely there while the ivy and peach blossoms weave through the rose and benzoin.  This is a soft skin scent with very light silage (throw).  Pretty, but I like things with a little more oomph to them.  It does end up having a paper-like quality to the scent which is neat.  Eventually the benzoin calms down, the oakmoss comes out and all the other notes blend and play nicely together.

This is growing on me the more I wear it.  Soft, slightly sweet, with a nice green base and a hint of flowers.

La Llarona (the other one on the chopping block) consists of: Bulgarian and Egyptian rose absolute, pink and white pepper, pink grapefruit, wisteria, cashmere wood, pale amber. At first this is all wood, soft and brown with a hint of pink grapefruit and a whisper of wisteria.  This was one I put on right when I got it a few days ago and fell in love.  Which is sad because it’s going away so I’ll have to jump on a bottle of it! This is not only a golden blend in the vial, but also on my skin.  The rose is soft and velvety, the pepper adds just the barest touch of spice while the grapefruit burns off as it dries.  Now the wisteria is coming out stronger with that beautiful base of wood and amber.  Truly a warm blend that just makes me think of snuggling up and being cozy.

Southern Gothic has notes of: Mandarin Orange, Apple, Coconut Pulp, Southern Magnolia, Jasmine Sambac, Balsam, White Sandalwood. In the vial I get all the high notes: orange, apple, magnolia, and jasmine.  I’m a sucker for jasmine sambac.  On my skin the mandarin orange comes and goes fairly quickly leaving behind just a golden bright sweetness in its wake.  The coconut pulp comes out and gives a creamy almost tropical feel without going completely tropical.  It’s a nice balance.  The sandalwood and balsam are the base on which everything settles on.  This blend reminds me of Georgia, sitting out on my Mom’s porch when she lived down there.  It’s a languid, sweet, and comforting blend meant for porch sitting and tea drinking.

And last, but not least, Wicked with its notes of: Three vanillas, dark aged patchouli, almond buttercream. In the vial this just SCREAMS almond buttercream.  Unfortunately that intensifies on my skin.  Normally my skin chemistry turns almond into this sour mash smell and unfortunately it’s doing the same thing, only now it’s surrounded by moldy buttercream and off smelling vanilla.  I’m not even getting any patchouli as my own chemistry is amping that almond.  (Because I wanted to point out chemistry, I did not wash this off as fast as I’d intended and now …) Now, after a while the patchouli has come out and the almond, while still this weird mash thing, isn’t screaming at me.  It’s a bit on the foodie side and not my cup of tea, but others may enjoy it.

Not sure if this needs said or not, but my experiences may or may not be what you would experience in a blend.  If you notice with Wicked I mention my own skin chemistry.  Everyone is different.  Hormones, hydration, medications, diet, and even the water in your house and the lotion you use can effect how a scent smells on your skin.  Please bear that in mind and take all reviews with a grain of salt (or a sniff of perfume …).

 

Alkemia Perfume Sample Set

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photo by smellallthethings

I purchased a set of 6 samples from Alkemia Perfume about a week ago.  They shipped quickly and I’ve let them sit for a day to rest after their journey.  This is my first time purchasing from this perfumery and I’m excited to try something completely new to me!

First up is Midnight Garden whose notes consist of: A lunar intoxication of night-flowering white flowers – tuberose (flower of dangerous pleasures), lily (flower of majestic beauty), honeysuckle (flower of binding love), gardenia (flower of secret passions) and moonflower (flower that inspires dreams of love).  This opens with a lovely lush blast of soft and sweet flowers.  However, this isn’t an “in your face” blast, this is a gentle breeze bringing you the scent with a hint of fresh and clean dew.  You can smell each flower individually if you go “hunting” for them, yet they meld seamlessly together at times as well.  I can totally see myself sitting on a concrete bench in a beautiful garden at night and letting the warm summer breeze flit around me while inhaling the intoxicating scent around me.  I’m not normally a floral person, but this has most of my favorite floral notes all in one … and it works!  The longer it sits, the more you can smell the greenery around the flowers to.  It’s a very true-to-life scent in my opinion.

Now, for something completely different … Autumn.  (Notes include: Sun warmed fallen leaves, golden amber, light wool warmed with skin musk.) You can smell the sun as it beats down on the Earth in this blend!  How neat!  The wool has a freshly cleaned scent as though you are hanging your laundry out to dry on one of the last warm nights of the year.  The leaves are golden, dew covered and newly fallen.  This is a skin scent as it stays close.  It is clean smelling, warm, and reminds me very much of that first warm but breezy day when you decide it might just be time to bring out your winter clothes and get them ready.

I ordered Deadly Nightshade because it has most of my favorite notes in it, such as: deep purple violets, dark leather, patchouli, black amber, and a narcotic swirl of opium.  In the vial it’s all leather and violets which makes for a rather unique scent.  The leather is black and sleek.  Once on my skin, it does this weird meld that isn’t gelling totally.  It’s like walking into the leather store at the mall – slapped in the face with leather, and not in the good way.  This may need a bit more time to itself to figure out what it wants to do.  I will set this aside for a week and check on it again later then update this if anything has changed.

Madam X is up next and she touts a note list of: An homage to unsettling, eccentric, irresistable beauty – bergamot, mandarin, dark violet, Italian iris, black orchid, Japanese incense, orris root, sueded musk, white sandalwood, Tahitian vanilla, and pale patchouli. In the vial I get a pleasant Oriental vibe from the oil.  On my skin it goes on close and I’m finding it hard to pick up anything, but what I do get is soft, purple in color, and sweet.  This is a scent that stays close to the skin.  The bergamot and mandarin seem to burn off quite quickly and the patchouli is so, so soft.  Mostly I get violet, orchid and a touch of vanilla.  Almost everything else gets lost.  This might be another blend that needs a bit of time and age to come into its own.

Sol Invictus is a specially aged blend of fine frankincenses drenched with a slightly woody, luminously golden trio of ambers. I adore resins and sometimes they are done best when done simply.  And this is one of those times.  This starts off with a glorious whiff of golden amber. The frankincense comes up and gives it a beautiful resinous boost.  This is simple, beautiful, golden, and perfect.

Finally I have a vial of Vamp whose notes include: a darkly erotic blend of opium, labdanum, Tonka, balsam, sueded leather, and black musk.  This is a dusky scent, shadowed yet soft.  The opium and labdanum give it a gossamer feel while the tonka, leather and musk keep it grounded.  It’s that scent that hides in the shadows and comes out when you least expect it.  I find I’m drawn to sniffing the spot I put it more than I thought I would be.  The scent has snuck up and laid it’s spell on me in the best possible way!

Arcana Soaps – Phoebus

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photo by smellallthethings

Phoebus is another beautiful creation from Arcana Soaps.

It’s notes are listed as:

Smoked vanilla, sweet resins, red musk, marshmallow, and fiery woodsmoke.

I adore blends with red musk in them and with my current track record with Arcana, I figured this was a sure win.

Wet this is a strong red musk (yay!) with a smoky undertone and a hint of sweetness.  As this dries the notes begin to meld and the red musk tones it down a bit to allow the resins, vanilla and woodsmoke to come out and do their thing.  The woodsmoke isn’t quite as in your face as you would think – more like it is way in the background.  Also the wood is fragrant and beautiful smelling.  The marshmallow gives a bit of a fluffy feel and a hint of that powder you find on the outside of marshmallows.  It doesn’t overwhelm the blend and adds just the right amount of sweetness to combat the woodsmoke and smoked vanilla.

It reminds me of Holy Terror (another wonderful blend by Arcana) – but just a bit different.  Perhaps it is the resins and vanilla that put it in the same vein.  They are not the same, but in that same type of scent family.

The throw on this is low to moderate but it wafts around as I move my hand and I get gentle little blasts of red musk sweetness.

Arcana Soaps – The Prynne Collection 2016

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photo by smellallthethings

I’m so excited to dig into Arcana’s Valentine’s Day Prynne Collection from this year (purchased via The Rhinestone Housewife).

Odalisque is from Part I of The Prynne Collection (notesThick vanilla syrup, golden musk, black musk, kyphi, and spikenard.) In the bottle it mostly smells like golden amber musk.  However, once on my skin it blossoms.  The black musk leans in the back, supporting the other notes.  The kyphi is nice and spicy and sweetened by the vanilla syrup.  Arcana’s vanilla is wonderful, and this is no exception.  The golden musk and spikenard give the blend a slightly lighter feel.  Overall, despite the black musk, thick vanilla and kyphi this is not a heavy blend.  It smells light and flowing.  More like a veil of scent than a blanket.  The throw is light to medium at times.

Tramp, from Part II of The Prynne Collection, contains: Red roses, worn leather, blood cedar, oudh, and 3 trampy musks. In the bottle is smells of beautiful full red roses.  On my skin the roses bloom with a hint of the blood cedar underneath.  As it dries the oudh comes out and it is a beautiful brownish-gold smell, deep and intoxicating.  The musks start to come out – perhaps one is a red musk?  When it is completely dry the leather comes out to layer along with everything.  At first this was almost boozy – but as it dried it’s become sexier with the leather, oudh, and musks coming out.  The rose is still apparent, but it becomes more like petals strewn across leather instead of full blooms.  Very beautiful and only slightly trampy.  This has a rather large throw.

Floozy, the last purchase from Part II of The Prynne Collection (notesSilky opium smoked with boozy amber, dark vanilla, and sandalwood.) In the bottle it smells strongly of smoky opium.  Wet on my skin it’s a bit more smoky, but not overwhelmingly so.  The sandalwood is fragrant and bright which contrasts nicely with the dark vanilla and the boozy amber.  This is gorgeous, flouncy and flowing, and so soft. Floozy is sweet, smoky, and woody – darkly golden with sweet opium smoke. It has a wonderful throw – not too much, not a skin scent – that nice in-between.