Arcana Soaps – Spring and Other Sundries

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photo by smellallthethings

Julia over at Arcana was kind enough to run a little sale where, if you purchased 3 or more scents from the Ebay page, you got a free 5ml of Vanilla Craves Spring!  Couldn’t pass that up, ya know.  Oh, and not shown is the backup bottle of Phoebus I got.  That’s one sexy blend right there.

First up, lets try the bottle that was so generously gifted, Vanilla Craves Spring.  It’s notes include: two gourmand vanillas, young honeysuckle, pink bubblegum, white amber, a hint of galbanum, and a single drop of sweet mint. Now, let me preface this review by stating I’m emphatically NOT a “foodie” or gourmand scent person.  I don’t enjoy smelling like food.  However, my skin seems to have a rather arbitrary line as to what crosses that “foodie” edge for me.  Sometimes I get surprised.  Vanilla Craves Terror was a surprise considering all the reviews I’d seen saying it leaned gourmand because it didn’t for me.

In the bottle Vanilla Craves Spring is all vanilla – beautiful, rich, and buttery.  It doesn’t hit that food edge … yet.  On my skin the galbanum comes out with a touch (and I do mean a touch – I wouldn’t have placed it if I didn’t know the notes) of the sweet mint and together they seem to reign in the overly foodie aspect of the vanilla.  The bubblegum is almost non-existent, which I think I saw on another review the same thing.  The honeysuckle is that beautiful and bright yellow scent that you associate with the onset of spring.  This blend is innocent to the extreme!  I can just see my daughter out playing in our yard, ice cream cone in hand, as she runs her hands over the honeysuckle.  Pure, unadulterated innocence tucked into a little 5ml brown apothecary bottle.  This … This scent just makes me happy, plain and simple.

(As an aside – I take hours if not days to write reviews sometimes so as to not go “nose-blind” to scents.  That being said, it’s now about 4 hours since I put on VCS and I’m like a little addicted I think.  I keep huffing the small spot and sighing happily.  I want to slather, but Yurt is on the other hand … I’ll likely wash Yurt off before too long and cuddle into some comforting Vanilla Craves Spring!  It taunts me with glorious whiffs as I move my hand.)

Next up we have Yurt – which, admittedly, is fun to say.  (Go on, say it out loud – you know you want to!).  Yurt’s notes consist of: glowing dragonsblood resin and cedarwood with hemlock, fir needle, juniper, and bonfire smoke.  Wowee – this is so different from the a fore mentioned VCS – where VCS is light and happy, Yurt is dark green, shadowed and maybe just a bit fierce. In the bottle this is all fir needle.  On my skin the bonfire smoke alights and the night is now glowing with the fierceness of fire.  There is a spiciness to this blend (dragonsblood maybe?  some companies are spicy, some are floral – this is my first foray into Arcana’s dragonsblood) and the wood is scorched (but not in a bad way? is there a good scorching?) the juniper gives the feeling of being in a coniferous forest.  The hemlock is bitter but it doesn’t overwhelm the blend like it can sometimes do.  Yurt is fire.  Yurt is forest.  Yurt is … the complete opposite of Vanilla Craves Spring.  Yurt is becoming slightly overwhelming.  Yurt is fun to say, but don’t use too much – a little goes a very, very long way.

Necklace Made of Tears  isn’t one of the spring scents, but the frankincense tears called my name.  Its notes consist of: Sticky spun sugar with frankincense tears, peach nectar, violets, lacrima water, and cardamom.  I have no idea what lacrima water is … and a google search turned up only one description from Scent for Thought that describes it as saline and slightly metallic.  I guess we’ll see what it does.  In the bottle it is water, peach and violets.  On my skin this lets the sugar and violets come out.  Normally I don’t “smell” a metallic note, instead I feel it or taste it on my tongue – and I’m getting that sensation.  The frankincense tears give a nice resinous base to this and the peach nectar has a juicy quality that almost makes my mouth water.  With each sniff I go back and forth on whether or not I like it.  One sniff gives an aquatic feel, and I typically don’t go for aquatic scents.  On the next sniff I get the frankincense tears, the violets, and a nice comforting sweetness which I adore.  Such a morpher!

And bringing up the end is Two Finger Ballet.  I’m really a 12 year old boy at heart and snort-laughed at the name.  The notes for this blend include: A delicate blend of French vanilla creme, white amber, sugared vanilla beans, caramel, and the smallest dab of opium.  Have I mentioned before I love opium?  And all that vanilla?  And amber?  Well, I do.

Just like with Vanilla Craves Spring, Two Finger Ballet smells like a rich, buttery vanilla in the bottle.  On my skin it smooths out and looses some of that buttery scent and the creme makes it more languid.  The opium adds to that sweet and languid feel.  Two Finger Ballet verges on being foodie, but doesn’t cross that line for me.  The caramel isn’t apparent, but seems to be adding a slightly smoky quality.  Oh man, this is an addicting scent as well.  I can see why it is so popular!

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